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Dr Russ Blog - Weight Loss - Taking the First Step
Weight Loss - Taking the First Step
Created on 6/8/2012

N feels she is somewhat overweight and asks how, in her mid-50s and with some back issues, can she begin to lose weight successfully and safely.

A very common question.

Weight loss is not as easy as many "experts" make it seem - if it were easy there wouldn't be a gazillion dollar weight management industry!

Some of the problem has to do with our unique nature as individuals - some people have a generally slower metabolism than others, for example.

But there are a few general guidelines that make sense for almost everyone. Even so, the information can be difficult to turn into action.

You all know a great deal about how to eat healthily, and many people know a lot about fitness - but knowing about something and turning the knowledge into successful action, well, those are two different things.

When it comes to appropriate weight loss diet is clearly important, but if you had to choose one thing to do to get started on a healthy weight management course it would be to get moving.

Really, get moving.

You know you should eat right and probably need to exercise more, but the wealth of research coming out over the past few years really underscores that in some ways fitness activities might be even more important than diet when it comes to weight loss.

In addition, regular exercise helps you feel better, which often translates into eating less.

And regular exercise keeps your heart, bones and even joints healthier.

I often recommend meeting with a fitness trainer one or a few times to help get an idea of what a good, individualized fitness regimen might look like, but short of that you can start easy - with walking.


Maybe, but walking is relatively easy on the joints and is a very effective way to help promote weight loss.

Studies have been published in recent years saying that all the sitting we do every day is undermining our health. In fact, some companies have run (forgive the pun...) with this information and developed treadmill desks, where people can walk at about 1 mile per hour while working on a portable computer, etc. Supposedly, it's easy to get used to and you burn plenty of calories.

In N's case, her back issues might make walking a challenging. For people with various joint issues I recommend water walking - if you can, get into a neighborhood pool on a regular basis and walk in the shallow end. Wear a set of waterproof headphones so you can listen to music or a book on tape, and swing your arms in the water to increase resistance even more. This is a great way to exercise, it's fun, and it's easy on your joints.

Everyone is different, and as hard as it might be to lose weight, most people can do so successfully. I think the most effective first step is to get moving - and to start by walking a little more.

You do need to put some effort into your walking, however, in order to get the weight loss benefits - in other words, there has to be some intensity to your walk, at least enough to break a sweat. If it's been a while since you've exercised it would be a good idea to consult your doctor before you hit the pavement.

Treat yourself to a good pair of walking shoes, put on some sunblock, pop your headphones on and listen to some upbeat tunes as you take strides to improve on your body weight - literally!

Walking may sound boring but it's easy, effective, honestly fun especially if you're outdoors, and ultimately effective for healthy weight loss if done regularly.

And your joints (including your back) may feel better, too.

I hope this helps, N - good luck!

And be well.
Dr Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **


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