Love My Lap Band!

Everything you want to know about life and weight loss with a Lap Band!

Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Lap Band Success! 21 Pounds in 21 Days

Posted by Lori on October 6, 2009

I had my surgery on September 10th and have done a meticulous job of sticking to the diet. Happily, I’ve only experienced a little hunger. On the 21st day, I finally got my courage together and weighed myself – I’d lost 21 pounds. Wow. This operation is a miracle.

As a result of the weight loss, I’m walking farther than I have in years. Two nights ago, I walked 5.4 miles without having to stop even once and I got it done at a 20 minute per mile pace. Not rocket speed but I haven’t been able to do that in years. If I’d had a better pair of shoes on, I could have gone another 2.7 miles. As it was, my feet were covered in blisters by the end of the walk and it’s kept me home for a couple days now. But now I know I can do it. I used to walk 8 to 10 miles a day, and I’ll be able to get there once again. You can’t imagine how good it is for your soul to walk alone at night time with no voices or music bobbling in your ears. Just me, my dog, the stars and Ventura Boulevard in the late evening.

My clothes are finally getting baggy. I wear stretch jeans and it takes quite a bit before they stop fitting. I think I have ten more pounds max in my current jeans and then, times being what they are, I’ll have to figure out what to do next. In the meantime, I have a Macy’s Wish List for Love My Lap Band, in case any of my readers want to help out with my current dilemma. If so, the jeans are the priority.

I’m still not experiencing much hunger – it’s a very nice thing to have it totally swept away.  My big splurge day was just under 900 calories. I’ve made this decision to keep my calorie intake ultra-low, if I can, until the point where I can fit back into a size 14 and I find myself relating to the notion of 900 calories the way I used to relate to the notion of 2000 calories. But now, because I have a Lap Band, 400 calories,only provokes occasional twinges of hunger rather than a full out assault on my consciousness. I drink a lot of water and that helps as well. I know Dr. Ortiz’s materials suggest having some Metamucil for hunger. I may pick some up just in case.

My compromised computer does not allow me to link pictures right now, so I apologize for how dry looking blog is at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll have a new MacBook Pro sometime soon, and I’ll make this blog a little prettier once again.

I want to say one more time that this operation is a miracle. My life is now under my control in a way that  it hasn’t been in years. I’m not hungry, it doesn’t hurt and no, I’m not throwing up. I’m going to be able to do it – I just know it. Nothing is gonna stop me now. 🙂

Posted in My Lap Band Experience, Plus size clothing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Do I Have To Exercise To Lose Weight With A Lap Band?

Posted by Lori on July 27, 2009

No one admits that they wonder about this, but I know from the searches that bring readers to this site, that it is a popular question.

The answer to that is, in short, you probably don’t have to exercise to lose weight with a Lap Band. I talk to lots of people who lose weight with a Lap Band who don’t exercise. Lorraine Kay, whose Lap Band videos are linked on this site, was in her late fifties and weighed over 300 pounds when she had her Lap Band procedure done at Cedars Sinai. She now weighs 125 and she’s not exercised a day. And there are lots and lots of people out there who have that same experience.

However, Dr. William Lee of Blue Earth, Minnesota, has this to say about exercise and his patients:

Lee said his patients can be divided into two groups, those who shed 6 to 8 pounds a month and patients who lose 10 to 15 pounds a month. “The difference between these two groups,” he said, “is exercise.:

So, he is saying that his patients lose weight without exercise. Good to know. Still, that’s a pretty big gap and I’m sure a lot of us would rather be in the 10 to 15 pound weight loss per month group than the 6 to 8 pound weight loss per month.

Speaking as someone who has both been very successful with exercise programs and an utter failure, I have a few tips for being successful. One of the things that people who aren’t used to exercising do  is that they assume that they should exercise in a certain fashion at a certain time of day. So they sign up at local gym and either plan on working out before they go to work, or after they go to work. And then they get there, discover they hate the gym and after a few weeks, never go back. In point of fact, with the exception of the YMCA, most modern gyms are designed to make you hate them because the corporations who own them make their money because most people who have membership don’t use their facilities. And that is why they don’t offer 3 month memberships. So, unless you know that you love working out at gyms, don’t do that.

If you’re not naturally inclined towards exercise, start off by looking at where you have time open in your schedule and how much time you have. You’re going to fit working exercise into your life rather than re-arranging your life around exercise – at least for now – because if you don’t have to worry about hiring sitters or getting dad to stay home with the kids, or carving out huge chunks of time in your schedule, you’re just more likely to stick with it.  A 20 minute burst of exercise two or three times a day burns more calories than one 40 or 60 minute burst of exercise once a day. Even if you’re at home with tiny kids, you can carve out several minutes here and several minutes there. Can you take 15 minutes while they’re watching Sesame Street, 15 minutes while they nap and 15 minutes after they go to bed? Probably. Boost that up to twenty minutes, and you’re exercising an hour a day. If you work, same thing – do 15 minutes before you leave, 15 minutes on your lunch break, and 15 minutes when you get home. And if you hate exercising in the morning, as I do, skip the morning work out and add one on before you go to bed.

So, what can you do in 10 – 20 minutes that helps burn calories? Lots of things.

  • Dance. Get an MP3 player with several of your favorite dance songs and just dance. If you’re feeling shy, do it behind carefully closed doors.
  • Nordic Walking. I have to do a whole ‘nother post on this because Nordic walking is great for people who are wrestling with their weight. You know those ski poles that cross country skiers use to propel themselves? People use slightly modified versions for walking and it burns 40% more calories, protects joints from wear and tear, improves stability (four legs good), and helps build upper body strength. It’s a real exercise bargain. Here’s YouTube video if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
  • Plain old walking. However much time you have, walk half of it in one direction, and then turn around and come back. When you start picking up speed (and you will pick up speed faster than you can imagine), just do the same thing. It will be fun to see that you consistently travel farther in the same amount of time as your cardiovascular health improves.
  • Calisthenics – remember those? They require nothing except that you have a body. There are lots of routines online and lots of books available.
  • Work Out DVDS – there are tons of these available. This one, from  Gaiam, offers ten minute work outs that you do in front of your tv. And as you get more fit, you can do more than one. This is perfect for people who just don’t have much time to exercise, and the work outs look pretty simple.
  • Resistance Bands – I’ve never worked out with them and I don’t know the first thing about them other than what I have read. Still, it seems like it should work out pretty well. It’s resistance that builds muscles and so I’ll be giving this a shot.
  • Free Weights. You don’t need a lot of equipment to have a good strength programming at home. You need a bench,  a few dumbells to start and a little bit of space. As you gain strength, you’ll want to expand what you own, but that’ll come naturally to you. In the meantime, Strength For Dummies pretty much gives you the basics. And no matter your age or health, there is a strength training program that will make your life better. If you’re shy about going into a store to purchase equipment, order it online.
  • Exercise machines. Well, there are lot of bad ones out there and a lot of expensive ones out there. You some how or the other have to walk the fine line. My suggestion, if you’re interested in buying an exercise machine, is that you go try it out first and make sure you like it. Lots of machines are sized for people over 5’10” and will be tough to use if you’re much under that height. I love working out on the Concept II rower and can get a real zone thing going on where I row and think about what I’m working on and the time just flies.

My suggestion would be that if you are just starting to work out, keep it simple. That’s part of the reason that so many gym memberships fail. There’s nothing simple about driving to the gym, finding a parking place, changing clothes, waiting for a machine, waiting for the next machine, taking a shower and then finding your car and going home. Start by walking, or dancing, or using work out dvds. Then look at incorporating some resistance bands, or nordic walking poles into your routine. At that point, you’ll have aerobic activity and some muscle development going on – and that’s a good thing. Once you’ve adjusted to those changes, then think about adding a weight bench and dumb bells, or an exercise machine to the mix. Keep it simple.

Oh, and if you can, show yourself some love and buy some comfy, high quality work out clothes. They’ll fit better, be more comfortable and last longer. 🙂

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Bands And Exercise, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lap Band Surgery Patients Lose More Weight

Posted by Lori on July 25, 2009

than people who use diet and exercise. Even when the diet and exercise group are under a doctor’s supervision.

I was looking around for new and interesting studies and I found this one, which is two years old, from Paul O’Brien, JB Dixon and C. Laurie entitled Lap-Band or Medical Therapy for Metabolic Syndrome. Now here is how the American Heart Association defines Metabolic Syndrome:

The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:

  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood)
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.

So, of course, we are studying how best to treat Metabolic Syndrome and this study finds that Lap Bands are far more effective.

Aims: The primary aim of this study was to conduct a randomized, controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of standard, nonsurgical therapy for weight loss with LAP-BAND in mild to moderate obese adults (body mass index [BMI] 30–35 kg/m2).

A BMI of 30-35 is our 5’4″ woman weighing between 169 and 197. It’s our 5’10” guy weighing between 209 and 243. Not huge. Not morbidly obese, by any means. But certainly quite a bit heavier than most people can carry and be comfortable. Check your BMI here.

Methods: Participants were eligible for inclusion if they were between 20 and 50 years of age, had a BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m2, and had an obesity-related comorbid condition (including severe physical limitations or clinically significant psychosocial problems related to their obesity). Participants were excluded if they had had previous bariatric surgery or medical problems that contraindicated treatment in either study group (ie, impaired mental status or drug or alcohol addiction). In addition, participants who had undergone an intensive, physician-supervised program that used very low caloric diets or pharmaco-therapy for weight loss were also excluded.

And what happened with that group of people? Well…

The percentage of initial weight loss (~ 13.8%) was the same for both groups at 6 months. However, the surgical group continued to lose weight at the 12-, 18-, and 24- month evaluations. At the end of the 2-year study period, the surgical group had lost 87.2% of their excess weight. The nonsurgical group showed progressive weight gain after the initial weight loss described above. All of the patients who had surgery and eight of the 33 patients who were treated without surgery achieved satisfactory weight loss, defined as a loss of 25% of excess weight.

Basically, the people who had Lap Bands lost close to 90% of their excess weight. The people who were treated non-surgically, gained most of their weight back. At the end of the two year period, only 8 of the 33 non-surgical patients had lost 25% of their excess weight.

Those non-surgical patients had a pretty optimal experience for losing weight. It’s not like they were handed a 28 page pamphlet and told to knock a few pounds off. They were aggressively treated with drugs, exercise and had appointments with a physician every six weeks. From the study:

The nonsurgical program was centered on behavioral modification and included a very low caloric diet, increasing physical activity, and pharmacotherapy. After an initial intensive 6-month period of very low calorie diet (500–550 kcal/d), patients were started on 120 mg
of orlistat once a day, which was then increased to 120 mg of orlistat before all meals. All participants were seen at least every 6 weeks by a physician. All participants were instructed in appropriate lifestyle behaviors, including healthy eating habits and regular exercise for at least 200 minutes per week regardless of the study group to which they were randomized.

Even under those ideal circumstances, most people couldn’t lose the majority of their excess weight in two years, unless they had the Lap Band surgery. And that is certainly experience that I have had in my life and if you’re reading this blog, I bet you have as well.

Good to know.

Posted in Lap Band Studies, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obesity Isn’t Your Fault and How To Change It!

Posted by Lori on October 11, 2008

For those of you who are new to this blog and are wrestling with obesity, the first thing I want to say is that it’s time to give up your guilt. I know you’re thinking that if you just wouldn’t have eaten that cheesecake when you were twelve, and if you could cut back on your lunch and not have dessert every night, you could buy oodles of those darling little Stella McCartney frocks and some lighter than air Christian Louboutins, and float around town like the beguiling little waif you really are. But the human body doesn’t work that way – DNA has intervened. Around 75% of your excess weight is caused by genetics – that is what the diet industry doesn’t want you to know. You know those disclaimers that you see in television and magazine ads for various weight loss programs “Results not typical.”? That’s what it’s referring to.

Think about what 75% of excess weight means – if you’re 5’6″ and your ideal weight is 135 but you weigh 195, 45 pounds of that is genetic in origin and your body is going to put it right back on as soon as you take it off. They did a fascinating study in Canada. They put a group of obese women on 500 calorie a day diets and exercise programs. They lived in the hospital so that their food intake could be controlled. No surprise – they all lost weight. Then the scientists upped their calories to 800 per day and kept the exercise going. Guess what? They all gained weight. Your body is more than capable of adjusting your metabolism to keep your weight stable where DNA commands it to be. That’s what you’re up against. Your ancient body has figured out innumerable ways to keep your weight where it thinks you should be.

That’s where weight loss surgery comes in. When you eat food and you’re full, stretch receptors in the top of your tummy are activated and let your brain know that you’ve eaten plenty. If you’re full with every meal, your body will burn the calories and keep your weight stable. But once you go on a diet, those stretch receptors let your brain know that you aren’t full and it starts cranking your metabolism down. Your body will want to conserve calories to keep your weight where it thinks you should be. That’s one of the reasons you can’t keep it off once you lose it. Weight loss surgery though, changes that. Weight loss surgery, because it makes your stomach smaller, tricks your brain into thinking that you’re full – so your metabolism stays steady. You’re eating less food, but you’re burning it just as quickly as you did before so you lose weight, and you keep it off.

I read a heartbreaking post from a young woman a few months ago who had lost 120 pounds and got herself down to 110. Of course, she put it right back on and after a few trips to the psychologist resolved that she was averse to male attention and was thus sabotaging her own efforts. She was determined to own her failure, and no scientific study I pointed her to could set her free. She was totally captivated by her magical thinking. I wonder how many more cycles she’ll need to burn through before she subordinates her ego to double-blind, peer reviewed science?

Of course, you don’t need to have weight loss surgery to lose weight and keep it off. But doing so otherwise requires changing your eating habits, dramatically increasing the amount of exercise, and keeping your calories at diet level for the rest of your life – or until you don’t mind gaining the weight back. that’s a lot of work. A lot of self-discipline. Most people fail.

Also, you can simple decide that obesity isn’t the end of the world and just love yourself as you are. If that’s what you decide to do, you have my full support. Get yourself out there, get your hair done and buy yourself nice clothes – you deserve it. You have children, family and friends who all want you to live a long and happy life. Take care of yourself for their sake, if not your own. Eat right and get out for walk everyday. Buy a dog if you need inspiration for the walk. Or just dance – get a dance tape, find a place you can dance in private if you must, and just move to the beat for a half hour a day. Once you get good at it, do it twice a day.

But if you hate being obese, quit blaming yourself for your genes and move on. If you want to lose the weight, and you’re more than 50 pounds overweight, you owe it to yourself to look into weight loss surgery. Lap Bands are non-invasive, reversible and adjustable. You won’t lose weight as quickly as with a gastric bypass, but you will lose as much and keep it off as long. That’s what really matters.

I’ll be back tomorrow linking some studies to this post and bringing some new stories. I’ve been gone on a project for several months, and I apologize for my absence, but I’m back now and I’m cooking up some good interviews for you. Come back for more!

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Why You Can't (Or Don't) Lose Weight And Keep It Off | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Exercise, Weight Loss, and Metabolism

Posted by Lori on May 10, 2008

Here is a fascinating exchange from the New York Times’ head science writer, Gina Kolata about her book, RETHINKING THIN. Here is the book excerpt in question.

This excerpt makes that case that changing the body’s weight above (resp. below) some intrinsic value causes the body to increase (resp. decrease) its metabolism. The research seems good on this.

This doesn’t mean that people are powerless to reach their desired weight. There seem to be effective ways to increase a body’s metabolism beyond adjusting caloric intake. It seems like increasing muscle mass, doing aerobic exercise, drinking caffeine, and eating small amounts throughout the day all can increase your metabolism. Are any of these things known to be effective in counteracting the body’s use of metabolic rate to maintain some given weight?
— Posted by A. Johnson

2.
May 7th,
2007
11:49 pm
The real issue is, how realistic is the desired weight? In studies, many obese people state a dream weight but almost no one achieves it and of those who do, almost no one maintains it. It can be very difficult to become as thin as you might want to be and stay that thin. On the other hand, many people can successfully lose modest amounts of weight and keep those pounds off. But you asked about other methods to increase the metabolism. Exercise can increase the number of calories you need but it does not increase your metabolism. And the amount of calories most people burn, particularly with moderate exercise, is not very significant, 100 or 200 calories per session. Increasing muscle mass does nothing for metabolism – that’s an exercise myth. The reason is that any added muscle is minuscule compared with the total amount of skeletal muscle in the body and muscle has a very low metabolic rate when it is at rest, which is most of the time. A man who weighs 70 kilograms, or 154 pounds, for example, has about 28 kilograms of muscle. His muscles, when he is at rest, burn 22 percent of his body’s calories — the brain uses the same amount and so does the liver. If the man lifts weights and gains 2 kilograms, or 4.4 pounds of muscles, his metabolic rate would increase by 24 calories a day. The average amount of muscle that men gain after a serious 12-week course of weight lifting is 2 kilograms.

— Posted by Gina Kolata

One more in a series on why you can’t (or don’t) lose weight and keep it off or what the diet and excercise industry doesn’t want you to know. This stuff really ticks me off.

Posted in Why You Can't (Or Don't) Lose Weight And Keep It Off | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Successful Long Term Weight Loss With The Lap Band

Posted by Lori on April 16, 2008

Diets and exercise just don’t work – let’s face it. Fewer than 5% of people who lose weight through diet and exercise manage to keep it off. There are reasons for this, as I have written about before, that have nothing to do with self-discipline. You can’t lose weight and keep it off for some very sturdy evolutionary reasons – your body likes having all that handy-dandy energy just packed away for a rainy day. Or more precisely, a non-rainy season. So when you lose weight, after a certain amount, your body starts cranking down your metabolism. Youve been losing weight on 1200 calories a day? No more. That fifteen pounds you’ve lost that has you feeling svelte is gonna come right back, if your body has any say over the situation. And your body does have say over the situation. So, your metabolism goes down and your hunger level goes up. Your body floods you with chemicals that make you feel hungrier than you’ve ever felt. Oh, you think you’re just being undisciplined and you feel guilty for eating. But that’s not what’s happening. Your body is pushing you to eat, eat, eat, and it’s slowing your metabolism down so that you can pack the weight right back on. Good bye, little red dress. Hello, big black dress. Have you ever stood in the kitchen eating something, hating yourself for eating it because you’re actually losing weight, but you can’t stop because you’re so darn hungry? That’s normal. That’s your body functioning as it should. The curious thing is that obese people’s bodies functions normally when they’re heavy and their bodies cease to function normally when they lose weight. Factor in that we now know that around 75% of weight gain is genetic, and we’re all in a dire situation.

Look, there are lots of reasons to lose weight besides vanity – you’ll live longer. And if you’re like most people, you have family who love you and want you to live as long as possible. That right there is good reason to do it. You’ll be happier. And more physically comfortable. And you’ll probably earn more money. And have more sex. So with all those motivations, if losing weight was really possible, you would do it. Some of us master the literally Sisyphean task of weight loss and peel off 120 pounds or maybe more. But then, because of biological imperatives, we gain it back again. Over and over.

That’s where Lap Bands come in. Dr. Favretti, one of the first surgeons to work with Lap Bands, completed a 12 year study on the effectiveness of Lap Bands and the news is good – people don’t gain the weight back. The study covered over 1700 patients over twelve years both morbidly obese and super obese. The average weight of the patients started out around 260 pounds plus or minus 37 pounds with an average BMI of 42.6 – that’s our 5’3″ woman at 236 pounds or our 5’10” guy at 292 pounds. At the end, they weighed on average 185 pounds plus or minus 60 pounds with an average BMI of 31.6 – putting our woman at 175 pounds and our man at 216.

If you want to check your BMI, you can do so here at the Centennial Treatment Center For Obesity in Nashville, Tennessee.

I know all of you reading this think, “Oh no, I want to lose a lot more weight than that!” Well, of course you do, and as far as I can tell, you can. You do have to exercise though and to make that point, I’m going to quote Dr. William Lee of Blue Earth, Minnesota in the Mankato Free Press:

Lee said his patients can be divided into two groups, those who shed 6 to 8 pounds a month and patients who lose 10 to 15 pounds a month. “The difference between these two groups,” he said, “is exercise.”

So, just keep that in mind – you’re gonna have to buy a trampoline, a pair of Nordic Walking Poles or get yourself a backyard treadmill. And if you do, and if you follow the doctor’s directions, and get yourself into a support group, you’re going to have a really good shot at getting down to the tiny little person you’d really rather be. 🙂

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Studies, Lap Bands And Exercise, Weight Loss Surgery, Why You Can't (Or Don't) Lose Weight And Keep It Off | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Lap Band Fill – What’s It Like Getting One?

Posted by Lori on March 28, 2008

Los Angeles Lap Band patient Lorraine Kay talks about a few different things in this clip. She talks about exercising, her husband’s reaction to her weight loss, and most importantly for most people thinking about getting a Lap Band, she talks about the process of having a fill. Doest it hurt? How long does it take? What do you do?

Posted in Lap Band Weight Loss Stories, Love My Lap Band Video Interviews, Video Blogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lap Bands, Exercise and Nordic Walking

Posted by Lori on March 3, 2008

Wow, have a I gotten a huge response to the exercise post. I know most of us hate exercising – and I’m sympathetic from the get go. But as Dr. Lee said directly in the interview, his lap band patients who do exercise lost between 6 and 9 pounds more per month than his patients who didn’t exercise. For many of us, that’s the difference between getting to our goal weight in a year or getting to our goal weight in two years.

Pete Edwards of SkiWalking.com sent me a couple articles about Nordic Walking which I’m going to put on a separate page and link including one by Dr. Christine Northrup. I think Nordic Walking is perfect for people who are obese because the poles increase stability, provide more calorie burning and help protect your joints against wear and tear – in other words, less pain. You’ll lose weight faster than walking without the poles, you’ll be safer from falls and stumbles and you’ll hurt less. What could be better than that? In addition, he’s offered any of my readers free shipping on a set of Nordic Walking Poles. If you decide to order a set of Nordic Poles from him, use shipping code PE49636. Good deal, huh? 🙂

I have one more post to make on exercise for the day and then I will return to the subject of insurance which all of my readers seem to find really interesting. You guys…..

Posted in Lap Band Basics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Lap Bands, Weight Loss and Exercise

Posted by Lori on March 2, 2008

I’m reading the Mankato Free Press in southern Minnesota right now, and they have an article about Dr. William Lee, a local surgeon, who has just recently begun doing lap band surgeries. It’s a good article with all of the basic information you’d expect. This, however, jumped out at me, and I thought you’d want to know this:

Lee said his patients can be divided into two groups, those who shed 6 to 8 pounds a month and patients who lose 10 to 15 pounds a month. “The difference between these two groups,” he said, “is exercise.”

Up to 9 pounds more a month because of exercise. Wow. Now, I know you probably hate exercising as much as I do. There’s nothin’ I’d rather do than hunker down in my little bedroom on my lap top, with my little foster dog snoring adorably at my feet and cruise the internet. But that really doesn’t cut it, does it? Nope. Not for me. Not for you. And that’s part of the way I, at least, got into this mess.

Anyway, if you’re contemplating surgery, you do need to prepare to start walking afterwards. Being a great walker, myself, I have a few tips to pass along.

First of all, you need to buy a good pair of walking shoes, and that involves going to a store where they really know how to fit you for shoes. A good store will have a clerk that watches you walk, takes a look at your bare feet, checks for flexibility, and they’ll have a good idea what shoes are likely to be best for you. The right shoe can change instantly how far and how fast you walk and how much fun you have doing it. People who have high arches are miserable in shoes designed for people with flat feet and vice versa. The right pair of shoes will let your feet just roll forward – easy as pie – and stay steady. And when you experience it for the first time, it’s going to change your mind about walking. Seriously. Walking, in a good pair of walking shoes, is a premium physical delight. Now, good walking shoes aren’t necessarily expensive. You should budget somewhere between $60 and $150 and it can fall anywhere in between. There are some that are more expensive, but unless they are particularly perfect for you, you can probably find something as delicious for quite a bit less. In LA, my favorite place to buy shoes is Phidipiddes in Tarzana – great stock and wonderful sales people who know their business. It’s worth the trip from all over the city. They also have this little note about how many calories you burn walking:

We are often asked about calories burned while running or walking. The number of calories is directly proportional to your weight. In round numbers, a person weighing 100 pounds will burn 67 calories per mile. If you weigh 190 you will burn 128 calories per mile. These numbers are for walking, and running tends to be slightly higher. As with any transportation system (and our bodies ARE, in fact, a transportation system) the issue is moving weight over distance, so the more you weigh, the more you will burn in moving that weight.

The best site I’ve found for walking is www.thewalkingsite.com. They outline an excellent walking program for beginners. They have a wonderful forum as well where you can check in to ask any questions that you have.

Lastly, I haven’t tried Nordic Walking yet. But I understand from people who have that it makes walking easier particularly for people who are heavy. The poles engage your entire body so you burn more calories, and they help move the impact of weight away from hips, knees and ankles – in other words, less pain. Good deal. Here’s what the Nordic Walking Online Site has to say about weight loss using Nordic Walking Poles:

Nordic walking is also great for weight loss. By using the Nordic walking poles, you increase your heart rate on average 10-15% more than normal walking. This means you can burn up to 450 calories per hour, much more than normal walking, which only burns approximately 280.

Now, the numbers there are less optimistic than the numbers from The Walking Site. But I do know that with the Nordic Walking Poles, so much more of your body is engaged – arms, back and abs – that it will inevitably burn more calories while protecting your joints from trauma. Here’s what Tom Rutlin, who more or less invented it as an exercise form has to say about the benefits:

* Strengthen abdominal, back, arm, shoulder, chest, leg and all “core” muscles (without separate weight or resistance training!)
* Burn 25-50% (and up to 70%!) more calories with each step
* Improve both “cardio” and vascular fitness
* Increase overall stamina and muscle endurance
* Improve lymph system function and boost your immune system
* Reduce pain and injury-causing stress on hips, knees and feet Help maintain overall bone density
* Maintain joint health and range of motion Improve both your posture and balance
* Enhance both your energy and mood Experience a truly fun and convenient “good use” total body exercise

When you first start walking, don’t fret. If you get out of breath after ten feet, that’s okay – just stop. Catch your breath. Walk another ten feet. And then another ten. If that’s all you can do, turn around and go home. Just make sure you do it the next day as well. The point is that you don’t have to be a marathon walker the first day out. Once you get to the point where you can walk a couple blocks and back again comfortably, you’re going to feel a lot different about starting your walking program. And maybe, if you’re too self-conscious, you don’t think of it as a program until you’re that far along. That’s okay too. Whatever you do, don’t let “shoulds” intimidate you. The only thing you should do is get out and walk and get a little fresh air.

Here are a couple more Nordic Walking Links:
http://walking.about.com/cs/poles/a/nordicwalking.htm
http://www.skiwalking.com/index.asp
http://www.fittrek.com/weightloss.htm

I know you didn’t come here to hear about exercising. But I figure that if I can lose eight to ten more pounds per month, that’s something I want to know about and I’m betting you do too. At least, I want you to have the option.

UPDATE Claire Walter, a Colorado based writer, provides a link to her website with a really fantastic story about two obese women who are using Nordic Walking to lose weight and are seeing their blood pressure and other vitals returning to healthier norms.

Elizabeth Foote, one of the two Nordic Walkers, told KSL, “The first time I did this I went out three times. My blood sugar dropped 20 points. So that got my attention. The fact my knees didn’t hurt got my attention. I could breathe and talk while I did this and that got my attention.”

If you’re interested in reading more about Nordic Walking, check this out!

And the link to the home page ofClaire Walter’s Nordic Walking site as well.

Thanks, Claire!

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