Honest-to-goodness truth about losing and keeping off weight: exercise more, eat less

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

April 25, 2004|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

What is the secret to keeping weight off? I can lose it, but I always gain it back.

A grapefruit diet or a few weeks of strenuous exercise may torch pounds, but you can bet they'll be back faster than you can say "fad diet."

Never has patience been more of a virtue than when it comes to weight loss. Here are the practices that time and again are proven companions to lasting weight loss.

* Eat breakfast, but skip the late-night snacks.

* Exercise 30-60 minutes each day.

* Add protein and veggies, cut sugar and fat.

* Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Slip up? Forget about it. Guilt won't make you slimmer.

Most importantly, choose food and exercise that you enjoy. That's the real secret.

What's a good birthday gift for a Pilates fanatic?

First, try to get a feel for his or her style. If it's a gym or studio Pilates practice your friend fancies, go with a Pilates gear bag or sticky mat. If he or she is a Pilates homebody, a power ring (or "magic circle") or a home video is a better bet.

In general, classes are probably not a good gift, unless you know the name of his or her favorite instructor. Really want to splurge? Buy your friend a Pilates Reformer. This essential Pilates machine retails for $200 to $4,000, but you can find a steal on E-Bay.

What's the best exercise for firming up my rear end?

My favorite is called "the bridge." Lie face-up with your upper back and neck resting on an exercise ball or the seat of your couch. Your feet should be flat on the floor, knees bent 90 degrees. Lift and tighten your glutes, holding for a count of five. Relax and repeat. Work up to four sets of 25 daily.

And if you aren't already, you should begin cardiovascular activity like jogging, biking or kick-boxing. These workouts will accelerate your results.

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail fitness@baltsun.com.

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