Losing Weight For the Long Term

The statistics are overwhelming. More than 65 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. What’s worse? Many who try to maintain a healthy weight fail.

As a result, to see results, young and older adults are turning to structured weight loss programs, often led by personal trainers, to make life changes over time that are sustainable, Katie Benick told MD TV in an interview recently.

It takes more time, Benick said, but the results are longer lasting.

Benick is the Director of Performance Services for Tidewater Performance, the personal and sports performance training division of Tidewater Physical Therapy, Inc. (TPTI). Their clients, who come to one of TPTI’s three Performance Centers in Suffolk, Newport News and Gloucester, arrive with weight loss as their goal.

They want to workout, Benick said. They just don’t know where to start.

Some think the answer lies in burning as many calories as possible.

“So they gear toward cardio exercises,” Benick said. “They jump on a treadmill, on a bike, on an elliptical, and all they focus on is, ‘How many calories did I burn on my workout.’”

Cardio exercises are great, Benick said, especially for heart health and overall metabolism. And you need them as part of a fitness portfolio.

But strength training is also a key factor, even when weight loss is the primary goal.

Strength training, by Benick’s standards, can be anything from lifting weights to increase strength, muscle mass, bone density, ligaments and joints to push-ups and pull-ups to slamming medicine balls.

“There are a lot of different ways you can structure workouts within that ratio,” Benick said. “This may mean doing strength training one day and cardio training the next or combine both within one workout.”

The key?

“Just find a system that’s right for you,” she said.

As for food and diets, Benick tells her clients that when dieting there should always be a beginning and an end. The goal is to get to a place where healthy eating is an everyday act.

“Start with drinking more water, eating more vegetables, eating more fruit, eating more lean meats like chicken, pork,” Benick said.

Avoid the baked goods and processed food aisles in the grocery story.

And make it a point to think about what you’re eating every day.

Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight.

“Set up a goal that’s realistic for you and then set up a plan to achieve it,” she added.

“There are going to be days you don’t make it to the gym. There are going to be days when you eat way more than you should have or when you eat something you never should have eaten. And you know that. Give yourself the grace to get off track every now and then. Weight loss isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being consistent.”