Weight loss and the shape of things to come

By WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
Posted 1/11/17

Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle are at the top of most people’s list for a great start to an exciting new year.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated the number of …

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Weight loss and the shape of things to come


Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle are at the top of most people’s list for a great start to an exciting new year.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated the number of overweight and obese people has more than doubled over the past 30 years, from 857 million in 1980 to more than 1.9 billion, 18 and over, in 2014.

In Cleveland, young and old alike are taking fitness seriously, and making needed changes in their diet and exercise to improve their health. There are a wide variety of local health and wellness programs to get a person in shape. These programs offer individual and group support that can be used with or without a personal trainer.

Experts say exercising for 30 minutes every day burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep and builds muscle. The YMCA is the nation’s largest provider of health and wellness programs. The Cleveland Family YMCA offers a wide range of group exercise classes. Whether it’s aerobics, cardiovascular training, strength and resistance training or Yoga and Pilates, there’s something for all levels of fitness from beginner to advanced. The classes are not only a proven way to get in shape, but also a great way to meet new people, according to Dominique Craigmiles and Tiffiny Guardia, two YMCA members who transformed themselves through diet and exercise, and are now staff members training others.

At one time Craigmiles weighed as much as 440 pounds. But in 2012, he decided to adjust his eating habits, added cardiovascular exercise and weightlifting to his daily workout and lost 213 pounds in 12 months. To date, the Cleveland native has lost more than 250 pounds and is now inspiring others to shed their weight.

Explaining his fitness modification, he said, “Nutrition is what keeps me fit more than anything. Working out keeps me mobile. Fitness, honestly, the result — is physical. But the drive and the push is all mental.” My motto is: ‘Faith is your guide. Fitness is your drive.’”

Guardia has also seen phenomenal changes in her mind, body and spirit. Since embarking on her weight loss journey two years ago, Guardia has shed 142 pounds and is still losing weight due to her diet and exercise routine at the Y. She also teaches Zumba at the Y.

According to Membership Director Princess Snyder, Guardia is one of the favorite kids’ coaches in the YMCA’s Youth Activity Center. This area is exclusively for boys and girls ages 6-12, and features kid-size workout equipment. Guardia and other coaches lead kids in various games, classes and activities that help to get and keep them fit.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “In the absence of a physical disorder, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity. Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation. The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that they tend to go back to their old habits of eating and exercising. An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain a desired weight.”

With the alarming rise in Type 2 diabetes in children, experts are encouraging youths to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease estimates about one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. According to the American Diabetes Association, “Even a small amount of weight loss can help prevent or delay diabetes.”

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a 12-month program that educates individuals on how to adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits that have been proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It is specifically for people who are overweight and have “pre-diabetes” or are at risk for acquiring Type 2 diabetes. Open to members and non-members.

One of their newer programs, “Healthier You In 2,” is being called “a ‘user friendly’ educational program for any health seeker who is wanting help developing motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle.” The program is delivered in two one-hour sessions on basic nutrition and the importance of physical activity. The goal is to help participants establish healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and physical activity. The program is free to members.

Wellness Coaches at the Y are available to discuss health and fitness goals. Whether you are interested in group exercise classes, functional strength training, cardio machines, strength training or aquatics, they will help develop a fitness plan that best suits you and your schedule. Children ages 12 to 15 can enter the Fitness Center with their parents.

Others have found that being able to work out anytime at a 24-hour fitness facility like Workout Anytime is exactly what they need to suit their busy lifestyle. Ryan Strother, owner and operator of Workout Anytime in Cleveland, said, “At Workout Anytime, we want to see you invest in yourself and reach your fitness goals in a friendly, clean, and safe environment. We operate a fitness center that prides itself on having a positive atmosphere above all else.

“We truly appreciate and try to get to know our members as individuals. They’re not just a number in a system. We also have on staff several nationally certified personal trainers to help you reach both short and long-term goals. Our staff is friendly and knowledgeable and are always willing to give tours and help with learning the state of the art equipment. All three membership options allow members 24/7 access to our facility and the cost is very budget friendly!”

Still others are drawn to a personal training studio like Spectrum Health and Fitness in Cleveland to reach their physical fitness goals. Gina Tolbert, owner and personal trainer at Spectrum said, “Doing something is better than nothing. Even if it’s not five days a week — doing something — any kind of exercise is best.”

Married couple David and Ellen Smith said they enjoy working out together at Spectrum. The Cleveland couple said having a personal trainer has been just what they needed to feel better and improve their health.

David joked, “We come so we can keep eating! We learned diet is 85 percent of the battle. It’s 85 percent eating right and 15 percent is getting exercise. So we’re here just doing the 15 percent,” he said with a laugh.

Ellen said, “I worked out here years and years ago. I’ve known Gina a long time. I’ve been overweight most of my life. When I’m happy I’m overweight. When I’m worried I don’t eat. Well, I’ve been happy lately! I’ve lost weight with Gina before. Recently, David and I put on weight. We’ve been coming here for years. We have fun. Gina is patient and very good with people. We like the privacy of a personal trainer.”

Regardless of your age when you start, experts say everyone can benefit from moderate physical exercise. Still, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider as an important first step. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for more than 300,000 deaths each year. A combination of exercising and eating right is considered the only healthful way to succeed in lasting weight loss goals.

To accomplish this, it is suggested that you think about what kind of exercise you’re likely to stick with — whether it be tennis, swimming, walking, cycling or something else — as long as you make it your regular routine. It’s also important to remember that nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels. So, if you haven’t already, make it your goal to lengthen your life and add to your joy by eating healthier and getting more exercise.


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