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Question
Posted by: Roz | 2006/10/24

No Big Loser

Today is Day 8 of the proverbial leaf turning. Of these 8 days, 6 have seen me push myself out of bed at 5am (or as close as possible) so that I can stumble off to the gym and get a half hour of excecise, alternating between cardio and resistance training in the super circuit. To show for this remarkable courage and, what some people have been so bold to say is inspirational, I have accumulated two large bruises as a result of badly negotiated gym machines and my full weight compliment mocking me from the scale face. What I would like to know is, am I going to lose the KG'S from my frame any time soon? Im eating fairly well, have removed the mass of bread I was previously consuming and upped my veg & fruit intake. Im hardly having any fats and sugars, addmittedly sugar in tea with full cream milk and occasional butter in cooking (not much though) AND Im snacking on the said fruit and veg morning, tea, lunch, tea and supper time. Okay I know Ive not been doing the gym thing that long but I was hoping for at least 1kg to leave my fat reserves. Your thoughts on this?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Roz

I think it's wonderful that you are making this change. HOWEVER, I must give a word of caution - I am concerned that your sudden drastic change is not sustainable. I have seen many big efforts at lifestyle change fail because the change is so drastic and sudden that it can't be sustained. In otherwords, I worry that changing everything all at once is too much to handle. I would say go with the exercise and don't obsess too much about the diet for now. Obviously, eat sensibly, or you'll be wasting the early mornings, but I would not worry too much about a little bit of sugar in my tea, or cutting out all sugars. Once you conquer the gym machines, then you can shift your attention to diet more.

Getting onto the possible progress you can expect, you should certainly see results. Even the diet changes will produce some change, and exercise is bound to help. Eight days is not long enough though. If anything, you will gain weight in the first 3 to 4 weeks, because your muscle mass will increase. So you may well have lost 1 kg of fat already, but you could just as easily have gained 1 kg of muscle. That is why I always suggest to people that they should focus on how fit they are, how they are feeling and perhaps how they are looking, rather than on the scale. Aim for centimeters not kilograms, and you immediately change your focus from weight to fitness and toning. Also, you will be doing certain sessions more than once a week - for example, you will be jogging 3 km, or cycling 20 minutes. If you monitor whether those training sessions are getting easier over the weeks, then you are looking at the right thing. Let me put it to you this way - if you look at the people who are running in 10 km races, or riding the ARgus etc. most are pretty lean and fit-looking. Their performance determines their appearance, and that's the best goal - get fitter, get stronger, and you'll start looking better too!

Keep up the good work, remember that it takes time, but have faith that you are on the right track! And thanks for the colourful description in your email, it made me smile!

Ross

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