Archived Story

Weight loss tops resolution list

Published 12:11pm Friday, December 14, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of articles addressing the struggles with obesity within Tallapoosa County.

With obesity affecting more than one third of the nation’s population, it’s no surprise that weight loss is the number one New Year’s resolution in the country, according to USA.gov. The success rate for those who make that New Year’s commitment is less than 8 percent. Success requires adherence to a sound program and motivation, said Cara Tidwell, fitness coordinator at Total Fitness.

“If you want to be successful, adherence and motivation are key factors in achieving your goal. Without those, it’s all for naught,” Tidwell said.

Improving one’s health requires a change in lifestyle, and Tidwell observed that the lifestyle change necessary to weight loss is very basic. “You need to make your intake less than your expenditure.”

That can be extremely challenging, she said.

“Each individual needs something different in making changes related to diet, exercise and bad habits. At Total Fitness, we make an assessment of each person who comes to us for help and prescribe a plan for that person to meet their goals,” Tidwell said.

The assessment includes a review of the client’s health history and the setting of fitness goals. Health history plays a large part in writing an individual’s plans, Tidwell said. “With some health history, you may need to stick to a strict exercise program. For example, a person with arthritis will need to stick to exercises in the pool. Aquatic exercise is the very best for a person who deals with that kind of pain, not exercises that are jarring to the body.”

Tidwell said a healthy plan of action is one that adjusts as a person advances through it. “We’ll give you a prescription to build on. As you advance on the program, you advance on exercises.”

The exercise specialists and licensed therapists at RMC’s facility follow the guidelines of the College of Sports Medicine and the Center for Disease Control, Tidwell explained. “It is recommended that you do not lose more than one or two pounds per week. That is healthy, normal weight loss,” she said. “However, the first 10 pounds or so a person loses is water, so you’ll see a drop if you flush your system by drinking a lot of water.”

The CSM recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week to improve health, Tidwell said. “To prevent weight gain, a person should exercise for 150 to 250 minutes per week.”

For weight loss, Tidwell said 200 to 300 minutes – or five hours – of exercise are recommended per week, and changes in diet may also be recommended, especially if a client is older. “As you get older, you have a tendency to gain weight,” she noted.

“Exercising more elicits greater improvements in health as well,” she said. Among these are more energy, less stress and a more resistant immune system, as well as others. “To be healthy, exercising at least three times a week is recommended, and five days a week for weight loss,” she said.

If you really want to be successful, Tidwell said, you have to be motivated to stick with the program. “There’s always someone here to help guide our clients, but you need to develop self-motivation.”

Some aids to keeping motivated can include setting intermittent goals that can be achieved in a shorter time but contribute to the ultimate goal. Variety in the program also can help to keep it from becoming boring.

“We have a great facility here with a lot of different disciplines, and we try to make it as accessible as possible,” Tidwell said. “There’s no contract and no enrollment fee, and the monthly fee of $40 includes everything – access to all the rooms and all the classes.”

The Total Fitness facility, located at Russell Medical Center, includes two fitness gyms with modern exercise equipment, such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, cycles and free weights; an indoor fitness pool with a wheelchair ramp, benches, grab bars and aquatic exercise equipment; a spin room with 11 bikes; and a therapy pool with hydro-massage, aquatic treadmills and continuous swimming settings. The staff includes personal trainers, physical therapists and occupational therapists, Tidwell said, and with the affiliation with the hospital, other medical consultants are readily available when needed.

“I suggest that anyone who wants to improve their health, whether it’s a formal New Year’s resolution to lose weight or they just want to get fit, call us and make an appointment for an initial assessment to get started,” she said.

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