Lose Weight with Agility Bits - My Plan

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Exercise is as important as diet
Most people who run agility dogs are a fitter than they would be if they had a more sedentary hobby, however if you are overweight you are either eating the wrong foods or you are not exercising vigorously enough or both.  When I stopped losing weight I had to work out what it was that was going wrong.  The first thing I did was to buy a heart rate monitor.  If you are exercising to lose weight you do need to increase your heart rate during exercise so that it's in the fat burning zone.  The simple fact is that  if you exercise too gently or too hard you won't burn the fat.  There is an optimum zone known as the fat burning zone which is just right for reducing flab.
One way to calculate this is to take your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate.  Your fat burniing zone is then 65 to 80% of your maximum heart rate.  Here's an example.

Jane is 44 so her maximum heart rate is

                      220 - 44 = 176

Her fat burning zone is 65 to 80% of her maximum heart rate so Jane's lower heart rate should be 

                     176 x 0.65 = 114

and it shouldn't exceed the higher end of the fat burning zone which is

                     176 x 0.8 = 141

Don't increase your heart rate with exercise until you have the all clear from the doctor.  This is especially true if you are very overweight or you have heart trouble, high blood pressure or any other ailment that may be aggravated by exercise.

I bought a heart rate monitor from ebay and I was able to set it so that it beeped if it was outside my fat burning zone when I was exercising.   This helped enormously as I was able to judge how much I needed to do to get rid of the fat.  The first thing I found was that the doctor was right.  I had to walk faster.  I also found that jogging helped to get me into the right zone as did walking a bit more slowly but uphill.  Within a week of my weight getting stuck I was back on track and losing weight again.

Shown above is a typical heart rate monitor which consists of a wristband like a watch
with an LCD display, and a monitor to strap round your chest to count the heart beats.

Some facts that you probably already know

  • Muscle weighs heavier than fat.  If you are doing a lot of weight training and building muscle you may not lose a lot of weight but you'll lose the flab and you'll certainly change shape. 

  • It's easier to lose fat if you build muscle.  Muscle burns calories faster than fat so getting fit is important if you want to be slim. 

  • Diet alone may help some people but for most of us diet must be combined with exercise or you won't lose weight.

  • You shouldn't lose more than 2lb a week through dieting.  Apparently this is the amount of fat that you can physically expect to lose over seven days.  If you lose a lot more than this then you could be losing body tissue.  You will need to eat more to maintain a healthy loss of fat.

What they don't always tell you
It's important to measure yourself each week to see where you are losing the weight.  Some people, especially men, build muscle more easily than others.  If you belong to a slimming organisation they will put you on the scales each week and judge your performance on your weight loss.  If you haven't lost weight they will be sympathetic and you will receive lots of support from the other slimmers.  What they don't seem to do is to look at the exercise that you've done or to measure your waistline. 

In one extreme case that I know about the person has belonged to a national slimming organisation for over 20 years without losing weight.  Every week they put her on the scales and commiserate when the weight hasn't come off but they never ever suggest that she starts an exercise routine. 

Here's my suggestions for losing the flab

  • Forget about Weightwatchers. 

  • Start a programme of exercise that you can do and that includes the following kinds of exercise, aerobic, stretching and resistance.  Have rest days from the stretching and resistance exercises to allow the muscles to recover. 

  • Eat sensibly.

  • Measure your bust, hips and waistline as a measure of your success, as well as getting on the scales.

What to eat and how to do it without starving
First of all, if you suddenly try to cut everything you enjoy out of your diet and eat nothing but healthy foods you aren't going to be very successful.  Not many people have that much willpower.  If you take it steady it will be much easier.  Just cut out the odd biscuit and slice of cake to start with, or something else that you won't notice too much.  If you get hungry eat some fruit or cook more veg to go with your meal. 

Try to replace the unhealthy foods with healthier options and try not to eat too much saturated fat or sugar.  Do it bit by bit so that your diet gradually changes over the months.  My diet now consists mainly of, chicken, fish, fruit and veg, cereals, a couple of slices of bread a day, baked beans, dried fruit and raw nuts.  I often have porridge for breakfast with chopped up grapes or other fruit.  I use skimmed milk and half a teaspoon of sugar.

Did you know? You can get one of your five a day from eating a few dried apricots

How often to weigh
I weigh myself frequently.  This isn't an obsession it's to help me monitor my weight loss more successfully.  Now that I'm at my goal weight I don't need to keep losing but it's important to keep an eye on it.  If I was to weigh just once every couple of weeks and I found that I had gained a couple of pounds it would be much more difficult to lose it.  By weighing much more frequently I can tell when my weight is on the increase and it's easier to make small adjustments in my diet.  I might cut down on the nuts or have a bit less potato.  This is why I weigh myself at least once a day in order to achieve this.

And Finally...don't feel you have to starve yourself or stop eating all the goodies.  I have a digestive biscuit most days and a one point Weightwatchers cake.  I'm also partial to the odd piece of liquorice.  Occasionally I'll eat something much more fattening but this is a treat when we go out.  As long as it doesn't become habit you can get away with it.

I hope this has been of some help to you.  I'm actually quite proud to be able to say that a sylph like thing now bounds around a field with the dogs.  It's so much easier without all that weight.  Good luck.


Disclaimer: I can only go by my own results.  I had a complete medical check up and I was officially obese, however, my body was sound enough to start a more rigorous exercise routine.  I can't take any responsibility for anyone who follows my plan.  If you are overweight you MUST see a doctor before you start exercising and take advice on the kind of exercises that will suit you. 

If you'd like to buy a heart rate monitor you can find some bargains on ebay. I bought mine second hand for a very small amount.

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