The Apple Principle
At this time of the year people are coming off of their summertime high and are a little depressed about the impending dark and cold winter.
In the fall we are more likely to hunker down, stay indoors and eat carb-rich foods. The problem with all of this is that our body’s requirements do not change with the seasons, they still need regular exercise and a clean diet to function properly even though it is a bit more difficult to do in the winter months. The apple principle.
We need to approach exercise the same as we do eating an apple, in small bites. Do something active every day and it will save your life and increase your quality of life. You would not believe how much 15 min of exercise everyday can improve your health or how much gaining/ losing weight every year can be harmful to your body.
It has been found that people who have been overweight their whole lives have a higher life expectancy than those whose weight fluctuated on a seasonal basis. Also, people who have fluctuations in their weight generally end up gaining weight every year, which is the real problem.
The apple principle approach is the answer to good health, always regular weekly exercise of some type along with a consistent diet of a variety of natural foods. A colorful plate is generally a healthy one and a consistent weight is generally a healthy one.
Keep an eye on your weight by stepping on the scale every week and you will be surprised at how it changes your eating and exercise habits. If you gain 5 lbs in two weeks it’s quite easy to lose it, but if you have gained 5lbs and been walking around with it for 3 months, it is far more difficult to shed because your body has had time to change it’s set point to accommodate it. (Your body weight set point is the weight your body thinks it is supposed to be and will always try to maintain)
Know your ideal weight and your body’s set point. When you were 22 and in your best shape your weight was 175 lbs for instance but you now weigh 190 at 50 years old, that doesn’t mean you have 15 lbs to lose, your body has changed since then. Your new set point is probably 185 lbs with your current lifestyle and you should first try to get back to that weight before trying to conquer your college shape. You can get back to your college weight but it will take some time because your body thinks it is supposed to weigh 185 lbs and has to gradually change that set point for your body weight to stabilize.
People often say to me” no matter what I eat I can’t seem to lose weight, when I was young I could drop it off easily”.
Changing your body’s set point is the reason for this and it can only be done gradually over time or your weight will just bounce back as soon as you give your body the chance because it thinks it should be heavier than you would like it to be.
Find an indoor activity that you can do during the winter months and start it now so that you will start the spring in better shape than last spring.
Lastly walking is not enough, unless you are doing it at a fast pace for a long period of time. It’s great for mobility and fresh air but in terms of exercise for your body, it doesn’t do very much because your heart rate remains so low. Try something with a higher intensity so your workouts will be shorter and more productive.
Remember the apple principle is to take small steps at first and work your way into larger routines.
Stephen McKenzie BSc, BA, CANFIT PRO
Director of Fitness | Cambridge Club