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Moderation key to weight loss


Debby Reynolds believes in getting maximum results with minimum effort. So extreme isn't in her vocabulary, and long, uber-early workouts aren't part of her healthy life.

She walks briskly for 20 to 30 minutes a day, five days a week, around her Sherwood Park neighbourhood. And she ensures that the 2,000 calories she eats each day include at least 100 grams of protein, because a body that gets enough protein burns only fat, she says.

It's a fairly simple routine, but the effect on Reynolds' weight and wellness has been dramatic.

Most of her adult life, she weighed 185 to 200 pounds, had a body mass index of 32 and wore a size 16 to 20. These days, her weight hovers between 128 and 132 pounds, her body mass index is 22 (between 20 and 25 is optimum), and she wears a size 6/8.

Looking good wasn't enough incentive to change her eating habits, but health was.

"As I started to age, my feet started to hurt, my back started to hurt," says Reynolds, 56.

"I looked at my family history and saw a potential for diabetes. I looked at other people's families and their health issues, and every time, it seemed the people who were complaining about their health were always overweight."

The first thing Reynolds changed on her journey to better health was her mental approach.

"I always used to say 'I have to do this,' and now I say 'I choose to do this' and there's something very powerful about choice."

From reading, Reynolds knew she could lose weight just by eating more protein to build lean body muscle, so initially her plan didn't include any exercise.

But she changed her mind when more reading revealed how muscle burns up to five times more calories than fat. And her initial weight loss of 25 pounds (at a rate of one to two pounds per week) energized her and made her feel like walking.

"Step by step, you make a one-degree change and at the end of a year, you're in a much different position than you were when you started," she says.

For example, by eating 500 calories less a day, you'll drop a pound of weight a week, or 54 pounds in a year. Add in a little exercise and you'll lose more.

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