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Good news for yo-yo dieters!

May 30, 2005

Are you a yo-yo dieter?

Do you never seem to shed those kilogrammes no matter how much you try?

imageGet Ahead fitness expert Samreedhi Sharma answers your queries and outlines where you might be going wrong.

I am a 27-year-old female.  I have always struggled with my weight and have never been too active.  

I walk a lot at work and do not take the stairs because I push a cart as I dispense medications at a nursing home. 

I eat decently, but eat a lot when I am bored at home. It may be low fat yogurt, chicken or vegetables. I quit smoking eight months ago, so I am sure that has a lot to do with it. 

I joined Weightwatchers' Anonymous and lost five kilogrammes last October, then binged at Christmas time. Since then, I've gained them back plus another five kilogrammes.

It is really hard for me to be motivated for some reason. I joined the gym twice in two years and have not gone for more that five times!

How can I motivate myself to follow an eating plan/ healthy plan and get regular exercise?

Also, is it true that low fat yogurt can help reduce your weight along with a healthy eating plan, cause I love yoghurt!

- Tanya

If your weight has always been a problem, you might have a thyroid problem. You need to test the T3, T4, TSH levels in your blood. 

Stop being a yo-yo dieter and stop following fad diets. Follow a more realistic pattern that you can stick to for the rest of your life.

It may take longer to lose weight like this, but these results are permanent and will not play havoc with your internal system.

If you don't enjoy gymming, why not try dance, aqua aerobics, swimming, tennis, Tai Chi or any other activity that you enjoy?

Concentrate on the fun part while doing the activity. The kilogrammes will take care of themselves. 

I am 27 years old, my height is 5' 5" and I weigh about 63 kilogrammes.

I suffer from arthritis, asthma and plantor fascitis (a pain in the arch of my right leg). And I can't continue on my excercise or morning walk due to the pain.

I have a lot of fat around my abdomen. I cannot run fast and my body is out of shape.

Please give me fitness advice to help get into shape.

- Ganesh 

Your height and weight are in proportion.

Since you have asthma, running/ jogging may not be the right exercises for you because you could get breathless and have an asthma attack.

Stick to gym workouts with light to moderately heavy weights. Practise about 10 to 15 repetitions, depending on how your strength builds up.

Never do any gym workout which makes you hold your breath while doing it. Strengthen your leg muscles by doing either machines or leg lifts on the floor.

Avoid squats and lunges since you have been diagnosed with arthritis. Your aim should be to also get fit along with getting in shape.

I weigh 95 kilogrammes. I don't find time for a morning walk. I do yoga as I have to spend hours in the office and reach home by 11 pm every day.

Is there any way I can keep myself fit, reduce weight and remain active, keeping my heavy work schedule in mind?

- Lalit

To reduce weight, change your food habits first. Have three to four small meals in a day. Eat plenty of fibre in the form of wholegrain cereals and pulses, fruits and vegetables.

Cut down on fried food, concentrated starch like potatoes, rice and sweets.

Maintain your routine timing as far as your eating habits go. Drink plenty of water.

Be active throughout the day. Use the staircase instead of the lift. Park your car a little away, so you can walk for a bit.

Instead of sitting at a coffee shop, go to a disco and dance for at least 30 minutes.

If not during the week, work out at least on the weekends or join an activity like tennis, dancing or swimming. If you take a lunch break for an hour, exercise in the gym for the first 20 minutes of the break at least three to four times a week and you should be on your way to a better shape and better health.

I was a swimmer for over six years. Now I don't swim anymore.

I have always had trouble with my love handles and my abs. I used to eat a lot when I used to swim. Now, I am trying to control my eating.

I am doing pretty good, but my tummy and love handles are getting bigger. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them?

I do ab workouts, but they just don't seem to work.

- Kenna

The reason why your body fat, which is the cause of your love handles, is increasing is because you were used to engaging your muscles in activity. And, right now, you are not doing any activity to burn calories.

If not swimming, how about going for a jog in the morning, playing a sport like basketball or football, or simply just joining the gym?

Just doing ab crunches will not reduce your abs. It will happen only if you do some kind of cardio activity for at least 30 minutes, three times a week along with weights (for at least 20 minutes) to tone up your muscles.

Keep an eye on your fat intake as well as processed refined, foods, fried food, sugar/ sweets.

Quantify your meals. Too much of a good thing is always bad, ie you may be eating the right foods but in excess.

These will get stored as fat in the body.

Got a question for Samreedhi? Write to us!

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