10 Minutes to Weight Loss

There have been hundreds of articles telling us to fit anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour of cardiovascular exercise into our daily lives. For many women, “that,” as they say, “just ain’t gonna’ happen!” Between working long hours and taking care of a home and family, most women complain that they have no time to just unwind for a few minutes before falling asleep. The idea of “finding” an extra hour every day is impossible.

But the good news is that any amount of physical activity is going to burn calories and help you lose weight. And 10 minutes here and there CAN make a difference.

Here’s more good news…”physical activity” for the purpose of burning calories doesn’t HAVE to mean running or playing tennis. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t have to include getting out of the house at all.

Bigger, stronger muscles burn more calories than un-developed ones. Muscle tone also makes us look better, too. So, we get a huge payoff from this. While we’re burning off the extra body fat, we’re making our muscles lean and strong – one activity can do both.

Once the body fat is gone (or reduced), the toned muscles are more visible – making you LOOK EVEN THINNER! Now, isn’t that a nice bonus?

There are ways you can burn calories AND develop muscle tone at the same time.

As I said, I know time is at a premium for all of us. So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to spend just 10 minutes moving and working some muscles several times throughout the day. How are you going to find the 10 minutes? That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Here are some questions to help you do that:

* Do you have television time built into your evening?

* How about meal prep and/or cleanup. Do you spend 10 minutes in the kitchen?

* Do you spend at least 10 minutes doing hair and makeup in the morning?

* Do you work in a building that has a large parking lot?

* Do you get at least a 30 minute lunch break?

* Can you get up 10 minutes earlier?

Here’s my TOP 10 List on what to do with those 10 minute blocks of time:

1. Put on some music while you’re drying your hair, getting dressed, making meals, etc. and just dance to the music. Who says Cameron Diaz is the only one who gets to dance in her underwear? I burned lots of calories in the privacy of my own bathroom and bedroom. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty….just make it fun and get your heart rate up a little!

2. While watching TV, get up and walk in place.

3. While sitting, watching TV, etc., lift 1-3 pound hand weights in a biceps curl. Don’t have weights? No problem, just use canned vegetables.

4. While sitting, alternately raise your feet off the floor (using your thigh muscles). Be sure to tighten your abs while you’re doing this and press your lower back into the chair or sofa so you don’t arch your back.

5. You’ve heard this one before…park your car as far away from the door as possible and walk briskly (weather and safety conditions permitting, of course). BONUS: by the time you get into the office, your blood will be pumping and you’ll be more energized to tackle whatever lands on your desk. Just remember to take a pair of walking shoes along so you’re not attempting this in high heels!

6. Before you sit down to eat lunch, take a 10 minute walk around the building (either inside or out). BONUS: after a brisk walk, you’ll eat less.

7. Instead of opening the door to the back yard to let the dog out, actually take him/her for a walk.

8. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If this activity is too strenuous for you right now, only go DOWN the stairs. You’re not burning as many calories as when you climb them, but a whole lot more than standing in an elevator. NOTE: many buildings only allow you to exit the stairwell on the ground floor, so plan accordingly. If you’re only prepared to go down one or two flights, don’t start on the 10th floor!

9. While attending your children’s (or grandchildren’s) sporting events, find an area where you can stand and walk around rather than sitting in the bleachers.

10. Go shopping! Both indoor and outdoor malls are a great place to walk. Just make sure you’re moving enough to get your heart rate elevated. And be sure to resist the temptation to “reward” yourself with ice cream, cookies or pretzels!

Admittedly, each of these activities alone burns only a few calories. But it’s a good start if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. By scheduling five or six 10-minute blocks of time into your day – EVERY DAY – you can burn an extra 100-200 calories. Combine that with a lower-calorie diet and you can easily lose a pound a week.

Top 3 Weight Loss Pitfalls

You may think you are doing everything right and still your weight loss efforts are stalled, or worse, you find the scale going in the wrong direction! Maybe you successfully lost weight, but now the number on the scale is creeping back up. What’s going on here? Well there are a few common pitfalls people tend to slip into without realizing they are sabotaging their efforts. Here are the 3 most common:

1. Skimping on Protein. Starting your day with a complete protein will increase chemicals in the brain that not only improve sleep but also improve your mood due to their tryptophan content. This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin the feel-good hormone that keeps you feeling happy and motivated. Serotonin becomes melatonin, which helps you sleep at night. Fewer than 6 hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, increased risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Sleep is critical for maintaining healthy weight and protein is important for restful sleep. Adequate protein in the morning blunts appetite throughout the day and studies showed starting the day with clean protein instead of carbs can reduce risk of fatigue by up to 75% for 6 hours and double your energy within 30 minutes! (A better workout!) One study found women who included protein at breakfast lost weight 65% faster.

2. Doing the same workout day in and day out. When you follow a consistent exercise program, your body gets more efficient and you no longer burn as many calories. You either have to increase the intensity or change your routine regularly if you want to maintain your weight loss. Your body is Intelligently created and when you do the same 3 miles on the treadmill or the same kettle bell workout every day, your body adapts. Just vary your routine – the intensity, number of reps, speed, and even the specific exercises every few weeks to keep your body surprised and burning the maximum number of calories. It is one of my recommendations in my book, Today is Still the Day.

3. Not Drinking Water. Don’t get so caught up in eating healthy foods that you overlook drinking adequate water. Staying hydrated reduces hunger, increases the number of calories you burn and improves your body’s ability to burn body fat for energy. Drinking 16 oz. 15-30 minutes before meals boosts metabolism 24-30% over the next hour to 1.5 hours.

My basic recommendation is one half your body weight in ounces and including ΒΌ tsp. of natural, unprocessed salt for every 32 oz.

Are any of these pitfalls hindering your efforts?

Your Eight Hormones and Weight Loss

There are many physical, mental, and physiological

benefits to regular exercise. One category of

benefits is the impact that exercise has on many

of your body’s hormones. Hormones are chemical

messengers within your body that affect almost

all aspects of human function:

1. Growth Hormone

– Stimulates protein synthesis (muscle tone/development),

and strength of bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. –

Decreases use of glucose and increases use of fat as a fuel

during exercise. This helps to reduce body fat and to keep

blood glucose at a normal level which helps you to exercise

for a longer period of time.

Release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland

in the brain is increased with increasing aerobic

exercise time, especially more intense exercise such as

interval training. To receive an article on interval

training, send email to: [email protected]

2. Endorphins

– An endogenous opioid from the pituitary gland that

blocks pain, decreases appetite, creates a feeling of

euphoria (the exercise high), and reduces tension and


Blood levels of endorphins increase up to five times

resting levels during longer duration (greater than

30 minutes) aerobic exercise at moderate to intense

levels and also during interval training.

Also, after several months of regular exercise, you

develop an increased sensitivity to endorphins (a

higher high from the same level of endorphins), and

endorphins that are produced tend to stay in your

blood for a longer period of time. This makes longer

duration exercise easier (you’re feeling no pain)

and it causes your exercise high to last for a longer

period of time after exercise.

3. Testosterone

– An important hormone in both males and females for

maintaining muscle tone/volume/strength, increasing

basal metabolic rate (metabolism), decreasing body

fat, and feeling self-confident. It’s produced by the

ovaries in females and by the testes in males.

– Females have only about one tenth the amount of

testosterone that males do, but even at that level in

females it also plays a role in libido and intensity

of orgasms. Production of testosterone in females begins

to decline as a woman begins to approach menopause

and in males it begins to decline in his forties.

Blood levels of testosterone increase with exercise

in both males and females beginning about 20 minutes

into an exercise session, and blood levels may remain

elevated for one to three hours after exercise.

4. Estrogen

– The most biologically active estrogen, 17 beta

estradiol, increases fat breakdown from body fat stores so

that it can be used and fuel, increases basal metabolic rate

(metabolism), elevates your mood, and increases libido.

This hormone is at much higher blood levels in females,

but the ovaries begin to produce less of it as a woman

begins to approach menopause.

The amount of 17 beta estradiol secreted by the ovaries

increases with exercise, and blood levels may remain

elevated for one to four hours after exercise.

5. Thyroxine (T4)

– A hormone produced by the thyroid gland, Thyroxine

raises the metabolic rate (“metabolism”) of almost

all cells in the body. This increase in “metabolism”

helps you to feel more energetic and also causes you

to expend more calories, and thus is important in

weight loss.

Blood levels of thyroxine increase by about 30%

during exercise and remain elevated for several

hours afterward – this period of time is increased

by an increase in intensity and/or duration of

exercise. Regular exercise also increase thyroxine

levels at rest.

6. Epinephrine

– A hormone produced primarily by the adrenal

medulla that increases the amount of blood the

heart pumps and directs blood flow to where it’s


– Stimulates breakdown of glycogen (stored

carbohydrate) in the active muscles and liver to use

as fuel. It also stimulates the breakdown of fat (in

stored fat and in active muscles) to use as fuel.

The amount of epinephrine released from the adrenal

medulla is proportional to the intensity and

duration of exercise.

7. Insulin

An important hormone in regulating (decreasing)

blood levels of glucose (“blood sugar”) and in

directing glucose, fatty acids, and amino

acids into the cells. Insulin secretion by the

pancreas is increased in response to a rise in

blood sugar as is often the case after a meal.

Typically, the larger the meal, or the greater the

quantity of simple sugars consumed, the larger

the insulin response. This is another reason

that it’s good to eat small frequent meals and

to limit consumption of sugar and of processed

bread, pasta and rice. The whole grain (non-

processed) versions of those products are a

much healthier choice.

Blood levels of insulin begin to decrease about 10

minutes into an aerobic exercise session and

continue to decrease through about 70 minutes of

exercise. Regular exercise also increases a cell’s

sensitivity to insulin at rest, so that less is needed.

8. Glucagon

A hormone that is also secreted by the pancreas,

but it’s job is to raise blood levels of glucose

(“blood sugar”). When blood sugar levels get too

low, glucagon is secreted and causes stored

carbohydrate (glycogen) in the liver to be released

into the blood stream to raise blood sugar to a

normal level. It also causes the breakdown of fat

so that it can be used as fuel.

Glucagon typically begins to be secreted beyond

30 minutes of exercise when blood glucose levels

may begin to decrease.

So, next time you’re exercising, think about all

the wonderful things that are happening to your

hormones. It might even make you want to do more


copyright 2007 by Greg Landry, M.S

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