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DOCTOR AT THE DESK

Middle Ground

"Why moderation is key"
By: Stef dela Cruz, MDMiddle Ground

If your aim is to lose weight and keep it off, a healthy lifestyle is the formula you’re looking for. A weight loss regimen will be effective only if it allows you to maintain your weight once you’ve lost the excess pounds.

When you lose weight slowly, it modifies the weight preset that your body has been programmed to follow. The brain learns to accept your new, healthier body instead of gearing up to fight the weight loss. In a nutshell, you don’t gain back the weight you lose if you lose it in moderation.

Don’t think that going on a diet is enough. Without exercise, your basal metabolic rate doesn’t get the boost it needs to burn calories faster. Weight training adds to your muscle mass. Take note: muscle eats up calories faster than other tissues. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your body burns those extra calories.

Cardio exercise also does its end of the deal by helping you melt those extra pounds away. Initially, the body uses up your body’s glucose and glycogen supplies during short bursts of activity. But longer physical exertion, such as the one you get when you do your cardio exercises, allows your body to tap the fat that it has deposited as energy reserve.

Of course, these are just the aesthetic benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Aside from making you look awesome, regular exercise and a healthy diet also help you live longer.

In your 60s, when diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension become the “in” thing, you’ll be glad you took good care of your body years ago. Even overweight people live longer by almost five years as long as they continue to exercise, according to a 2012 analysis of six different studies by Steven Moore and his team, published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine journal.

Once you learn to appreciate the value of healthy eating, you will learn to enjoy food, not dread it. Too many people have “unlearned” the skill of enjoying a good meal—don’t be part of that sad statistic.

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