TO YOUR HEALTH

Try the Ru­bik’s Cube of fit­ness, one swivel is bound to work

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Be­wil­der­ing World of Weight Loss

Ever feel that los­ing weight is like solv­ing a Ru­bik’s Cube? There are 43 quin­til­lion (that’s 43 with 18 ze­ros!) pos­si­ble per­mu­ta­tions of the cube’s squares, yet only one cor­rect out­come. Yes, it is solv­able and by more than one com­bi­na­tion of moves―and many have solved it. In the same way, you know that weight loss is pos­si­ble be­cause so many do it. And, yes, some make it look easy. Well, don’t hate, be­cause many have tried 43 quin­til­lion (give or take a few) meth­ods to get there.

And then there is the even tougher ques­tion of how to keep the weight off.

As you search for the so­lu­tion to your own weight loss puz­zle, keep th­ese re­al­i­ties: Weight-loss is not just a sim­ple equa­tion. You might think calo­ries taken in and then fig­ure out how to ex­pend or burn more than that. While there is a de­gree of truth in this con­cept, there is so much more to take into ac­count!

For in­stance, tim­ing is every­thing. When you eat has a pro­found im­pact on weight loss. The same 50 carbs (hope­fully healthy, slowly di­gest­ing ones) at break­fast when your body’s hor­monal bal­ance is primed for burn­ing them, will be a fat-de­posit­ing dis­as­ter when your me­tab­o­lism is slow­ing for sleep.

The Big­gest Loser is not, in reality, a reality show. One study shows 13 of 14 con­tes­tants gain­ing back an av­er­age 66 per­cent of the weight they’d lost. Sad­der still, four were even heav­ier. As a per­sonal trainer, I have seen time and time again that ex­treme weight-loss tac­tics usu­ally do not lead to sus­tained weight loss.

About 90 per­cent of those los­ing and main­tain­ing weight loss ex­er­cise, on av­er­age, an hour a day. You are prob­a­bly groan­ing imag­in­ing seven sweaty hours per week on a tread­mill or el­lip­ti­cal ma­chine. It does not have to be that. Walk­ing to the gro­cery store, wash­ing the car, mow­ing the lawn—any­thing that keeps you mov­ing for any length of time— counts. As does gym work and the 2.5 hours (min­i­mum) of medium-in­ten­sity car­dio you need for heart health.

No one weight-loss plan works! Though most hu­mans fit within a rather univer­sal phys­i­cal tem­plate, there is tremen­dous di­ver­sity within that tem­plate. For ex­am­ple: You and a pro ten­nis player have a lot in com­mon phys­i­cally . . . and clearly you also have many phys­i­cal dis­sim­i­lar­i­ties. And that is just what you can see! Meta­bolic, hor­monal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences also abound. Some of us can han­dle carbs more ef­fi­ciently than oth­ers. A very low-carb (“keto”) diet can cause some to gain weight due to stress. Some have faster meta­bolic rates and burn more calo­ries, even at rest. I could go on and on. Th­ese are some of the rea­sons why no sin­gle diet will work for ev­ery­one. Here’s the good news: If you do not solve the Ru­bik’s Cube puz­zle of weight loss on your first (or sec­ond or third) at­tempt, do not be dis­cour­aged―you are not alone. Keep mov­ing, keep try­ing and keep learn­ing as much as you can, and sooner or later you will hit on the so­lu­tion to your own per­sonal weight-loss puz­zle.

Tony DiCosta is a Cer­ti­fied Per­sonal Trainer C.P.T. and fit­ness writer. As a com­pet­i­tive physique ath­lete in the Masters Di­vi­sions, Tony has been the Over-60 Florida state cham­pion and holds nu­mer­ous re­gional and in­ter­na­tional ti­tles. Tony can be con­tacted at the Sanibel Health Club.

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