Step on It America is a program based on the latest information about what works in weight loss. It also uses the newest body fat monitors to help you chart your progress towards losing unhealthy fat.
The Path to Fitness is Right at Your Own Feet - The program consists of three steps to fitness:
the First Step
Figure your body fat, compare it to recommended ranges, and set
realistic goals for improvement.
Assess Your Body
Being overfat, or obese, has health risks. Obesity causes or aggravates
a wide range of health problems from high blood pressure, to arthritis,
to certain forms of cancer. The good news is that weight loss--actually
body fat loss--can help prevent or control the development of many
of these diseases.
It's fat, not weight, that is a problem. Fit people come in all
weights, sizes and shapes. Standard height-weight charts and Body
Mass Index charts (BMI), that relate height and weight,
may be misleading. Many experts believe that percentage of body
fat is a better measure of physical fitness than weight alone.
A person who
is "overweight" according to height-weight charts does
not necessarily have too much fat. The extra weight may be due to
an above-average amount of muscle. On the other hand, a person can
be "overfat" even if they are not overweight, if they
have too much fat in proportion to the muscle in their body. Figuring
your fat can tell you if you are truly "overfat."
Fat Measurement and Monitoring
Until recently, measuring and monitoring body fat has been a complicated
process. The most common methods required a trained technician,
expensive equipment or uncomfortable procedures. As a result, it
was not convenient for people to monitor their body fat on a regular
basis, nor in the privacy of their own home.
Step on It
Monitor your body fat regularly to chart your progress and as part of a routine personal fitness program.
Recent guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirm successful weight loss requires increasing physical activity and reducing calories. Changing your balance of diet and exercise can help you achieve a healthier balance of fat and muscle in your body.
Exercise contributes to weight loss, and is most helpful in prevention of weight gain. It also can change overall body composition, by reducing fat while building muscle. In addition, exercise increases cardiovascular fitness.
Start an exercise program with moderate activity, progressing to 30 minutes or more on most or preferably all days of the week.
Exercise can be done in one session, or in short periods throughout the day that add up to 30 minutes.
Choose physical activities you enjoy and can do regularly. Consistency is important.
Walking is an excellent exercise because it is safe and accessible. Start at a slow pace, gradually increasing how long, how fast, how hard, and how many times a week you walk.
In addition to planned exercise, increase everyday activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It all adds up.
Step It Up
Make changes in diet and exercise to change the composition of your body, not just your weight.
Most weight loss occurs by cutting calories in the daily diet. According to the USDA, you should restrict your daily intake of fat to no more than 30% of total calories consumed.
To lose weight, the NIH recommends 1-2 pounds per week as a safe and effective goal based on an individually planned low-calorie diet. But the weight you lose will consist of muscle, as well as fat, unless you exercise. With proper diet and regular exercise you can lose the weight and increase your muscle mass. Monitoring body fat as part of your program can tell you if your exercise and diet goals are in step by showing how your proportion of muscle to fat improves.
Even if your weight appears to remain the same from year to year, your body composition can change for the worse. The good news is that you can catch any change with the regular use of a home body fat monitor and make the necessary adjustments to your diet and exercise. Keep in mind that reducing body fat takes longer than losing pounds. Losing fat and keeping it off often requires permanent changes in eating and exercise habits. Monitoring body fat, as well as weight, can be part of those long-term changes, and tracking body fat percentage over time is the best way to measure any progress.
So figure your body fat and step on it, America!