Strong Women Stay Slim

( 2 )

Overview

From the bestselling authors of Strong Women Stay Young, an exciting, medically sound program to help you boost your metabolism and melt away fat!

Scientific research has shown that strength training increases metabolism--a key to permanent weight loss--by as much as 15 percent. In fact, a Tufts University study comparing women on identical diet plans found that the strength-training group lost 44 percent more fat than the diet-only group.

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Overview

From the bestselling authors of Strong Women Stay Young, an exciting, medically sound program to help you boost your metabolism and melt away fat!

Scientific research has shown that strength training increases metabolism--a key to permanent weight loss--by as much as 15 percent. In fact, a Tufts University study comparing women on identical diet plans found that the strength-training group lost 44 percent more fat than the diet-only group.

Strong Women Stay Slim has everything you need to shape up and feel great--no matter what your age or fitness level:

Fully illustrated exercises especially designed for weight loss
Up-to-the-minute information about weight, appetite, nutrition, and fitness--explaining why this program works
A hunger-free food plan, including menus and delicious recipes from award-winning cookbook author Steven Raichlen
Progress logs and extra guidance for the first ten weeks
Motivational secrets...and more

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The Strong Women Stay Young coa-authors have another hit on their hands: This good-natured guide preaches the health and fitness virtues of strength training. Readers of the hardcover edition praised its easy-to-digest scientific data and sane food plan.
Michelle Faulkner
From the Publisher
"This book is a gem...thoroughly based in science, yet written to help women get started immediately to make their lives better today. It's jam-packed with ready-to-go tools for success."
--Barbara Harris, editor in chief, Shape magazine

"Practical, easy-to-follow, and medically sound...This program combines the essentials for living a long, healthy, and physically active life."
--Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., author of The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being

Library Journal
Nelson's Strong Women Stay Young (LJ 1/97) demonstrated how a weight-training program can prevent or reduce the balance problems and osteoporosis that are sometimes considered a "normal" part of aging. Here she shows how a simple program of weight training, aerobics, and sensible eating can improve one's figure without necessarily resulting in weight loss per se. The usual diet plans often result in a loss of lean muscle tissue and bone density; pounds are lost, but so is muscle tone and bone strength, while the actual amount of fat remains the same, causing potential health problems in several areas. Nelson's program, which avoids these problems, has multiple benefits and is easy to follow. Menus and recipes are included. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/98.]Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553379457
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 271,570
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D., is Associate Chief of the Human Physiology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Assistant Professor at the School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College.

Steven Raichlen is the author of fifteen cookbooks and the winner of a Julia Child/IACP Award and two James Beard Awards for his High-Flavor, Low-Fat series.

Sarah Wernick, Ph.D., is an award-winning freelance health writer.

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Read an Excerpt

I'm a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. For the past ten years, our laboratory has studied the health benefits of strength training. My particular research has shown that strengthening exercise can prevent the loss of muscle and bone that debilitates so many women later in life. Along the way, I've become increasingly excited by another discovery: that strength training is also a remarkably effective aid to weight loss.

You may have read my first book, Strong Women Stay Young, which explains the benefits of weight lifting. The book was based on my research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showing that strengthening exercise not only makes women stronger, but also builds bone, improves balance and flexibility, and increases energy. I had recruited forty women who were at risk for muscle and bone loss: they were postmenopausal, sedentary, and not taking hormones. Before they started, I warned the volunteers that they'd have to avoid changes that could confuse our findings: for the next year they could not lose weight or begin aerobic exercise.

The women were very conscientious. But they changed anyway--they couldn't help it:

Dorothy, who had been wearing size 16, was careful to maintain her weight. But after a few months of strength training, she noticed that her clothing was becoming loose. "I knew I needed a smaller size, so I bought 14s," she says. "Then I had to take them back because I needed 12s and sometimes 10s. My legs and hips became trimmer, and my arms got much more firm."

Verna was shapelier, thanks to strength training. "My weight was never out of control, but there was fat in the wrong places," she says. "My inner thigh flab trimmed up, my upper arms got firmer, and I lost my tummy."

Flora kept her promise not to start aerobics. But her new strength gave her so much extra energy that she took up ballroom dancing. Says Flora, "My girlfriend kept asking me to come with her, but I used to think the muscles in my calves would bother me. Now I can dance all night."

While this project was going on, my colleagues and I began a pilot study to see if strength training could prevent muscle and bone loss in another especially vulnerable group: women who were losing weight. Many women are shocked to learn that this is an at-risk category. They assume that when they lose weight, the only thing their body burns up is unwanted excess fat. Until recently that's what doctors and scientists believed too. But researchers have taken a closer look and discovered something disturbing: When women diet, at least 25 to 30 percent of the weight they shed isn't fat, but water, muscle, bone, and other lean tissue. This is true no matter how much protein and calcium their food plan includes. And the faster they lose weight, the larger the proportion that isn't fat.

I had been greatly encouraged by research from the University of Michigan showing that strength training could help women preserve muscle while they lost weight, and I wanted to explore this further. For our pilot study, my colleagues and I put ten overweight women on individually customized food plans designed for slow but steady weight loss. Half of them came to our laboratory twice a week and did strength training; the others just followed the diet.

Our diet-only volunteers lost an average of 13.0 pounds during the study. The women who strength trained lost about the same amount--13.2 pounds. But the scale didn't tell the whole story. A dramatic difference emerged when we looked at body composition. Women in the diet-only group had lost an average 2.8 pounds of lean tissue--mainly muscle--along with the fat. In contrast, the women who'd done strength training actually gained 1.4 pounds of lean tissue. So every ounce they lost was fat. Indeed, since the new muscle replaced fat, their total fat loss was 14.6 pounds. They lost 44 percent more fat than the diet-only group.

Our volunteers were thrilled to find an exercise at which they could excel. They became stronger, fitter, healthier, much more physically active--and were filled with self-confidence. Pat, who lost twenty-nine pounds:

Strength training helped the weight loss a lot. My metabolic rate went up, so I can eat more. I wear a smaller size than if I'd just lost weight and didn't build muscle. My doctor was very happy because my cholesterol and blood pressure went down. I have so much more energy--I feel invigorated. It gives you more self esteem, a more positive feeling about anything you want to do.

After Strong Women Stay Young was published, I received hundreds of letters, faxes, phone calls, and e-mail messages from readers all over the world. Many of these women found, to their great delight, that strength training had helped them lose weight. Inches, as well as pounds, had vanished. They looked better, felt healthier. Becoming strong had boosted their energy and vitality. Letter after letter spoke of new happiness and self-confidence.

Diana: I've only lost ten pounds, but people are saying, "You are losing so fast!"

Bobbie: I'm now 42, but I feel like I'm in my twenties! Two years ago I was ten pounds heavier, had constant back pain, and felt slightly depressed. I was walking four miles a day, and thought this was all I should be doing. Then I started weight training, and everything changed. I wish I had discovered this ten years ago. If feel so good! I ski, and I do in-line skating--they were easy to master once I was strong.

Along with the progress reports came questions:

Should I be doing aerobics too--and if so, how much?
What food should I eat?
Do I need to take a vitamin supplement if I'm losing weight?

I have the great privilege to work at Tufts University, along with dozens of other scientists involved in exciting new research on nutrition, exercise, and health. I discussed the readers' concerns with my colleagues, as well as with some of the many experts from other institutions who visit our laboratories to exchange information. I began to realize how much different specialists have learned about what works for healthy long-term weight loss. What was needed, I became convinced, was a comprehensive program that would pull together the essential pieces. I wanted to combine new findings about strength training with up-to-date information on nutrition and physical activity. My aim was to come up with a practical program that would not only help women lose weight permanently, but would also become the foundation for a long, healthy, vibrant life. That's why I decided to write Strong Women Stay Slim.

*
• *

Over and over, I've seen strength training open the door for weight loss. Dianne, one of the women in the group that helped me refine the program for this book, isn't sure exactly how much she weighed when she started because her scale doesn't register above 300 pounds. "I figure it was about 340," she says. Aerobic exercise was out of the question for her--even five minutes of walking left her winded and made her legs ache unbearably. "I wanted to exercise, but how could I? I was a ball of jelly," says Dianne. "Then I read about strength training. Boing! A light went off in my head. Here was something that would bring me to a point where I could be more active."

Dianne became the star of our test group, rapidly graduating from 3-pound dumbbells, to 5-pound, then 8-, 10-, and even 15-pound dumbbells for some exercises. Other changes followed. "Strength training gave me an overall sense of wellness, and it snowballed," says Dianne. "I started to eat better within two weeks. I could see myself getting more involved in my own life, being better to myself. I became more active in little ways--instead of sending my daughter upstairs to get my earrings or my watch, I'd go myself. I frequently parked at the far end of parking lots."

By the end of ten weeks, Dianne had lost more than 35 pounds--and she glowed with vitality. The woman who could barely manage a five-minute walk when she started had joined a gym and was regularly walking thirty minutes on a treadmill. Says Dianne, "It's been a great uplift--I feel so much more positive." I'm thrilled with Dianne's progress so far and look forward to watching her continue.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
I Weighing the Scientific Evidence 1
1 Putting New Muscle into Weight Loss 3
2 The Surprising Reason That Women Gain 19
3 How Exercise Transforms Your Body 37
4 Eating for Health and Pleasure 51
II Getting Started 73
5 The Seven Mental Secrets of Successful Weight Loss 75
6 What Have You Got to Lose? 87
III The Strong Women Stay Slim Program 105
7 Six Exercises That Will Make You Strong 107
8 Ease Yourself into Fitness 148
9 A Lifelong Plan for Eating Well 176
10 Pulling It All Together 208
11 Staying on Track 220
12 Questions and Answers 239
IV Menus and Recipes by Steven Raichlen 257
Index 309
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First Chapter


Chapter One

PUTTING NEW MUSCLE
INTO WEIGHT LOSS

From my teens through my twenties, I was always struggling with the same twenty pounds. I didn't eat excessive amounts, but I ate the wrong foods--a lot of sweets. I managed to lose ten pounds through excessive aerobic exercise: I'd go to step class for an hour, then spend forty-five minutes on a stair climber. But even that stopped working when I was in my early thirties.
    I was determined to lose ten more pounds, and I wanted to eat better. So a year and a half ago I began to follow a flexible, healthy diet that I could adapt to my lifestyle. In two months I lost four pounds, and I stopped stressing out about food. Then I started strength training, and it made all the difference! I lost that last six pounds, and my figure changed. I'd been pear-shaped--my tops were size 10, but my bottoms were size 12 or 14. Now I can wear size 10 suits. My strength has increased tenfold. I got married a few months ago, and my husband was amazed by what I could lift when we were moving into our new home. He said, "I can't believe how strong you are!"
-- Susan

* * *

I went through some difficult changes in my life when I turned 40, and gained about forty pounds. I avoided looking in the mirror-I wore huge tanks and covered myself up. Then my picture was in the local newspaper. I was appalled; I didn't recognize myself. I joined a weight-loss class at my HMO and started doing aerobics, but I was having pain in my knees and hips. It hadn't occurred to me to add strength training until I saw an article about the research at Tufts. I decided to try it.
    The results have been a dream come true. I've lost the weight. I feel so much younger; I have so much more energy. I can do things I didn't think were possible. I used to run--I love how it makes me feel. But I'd written that off when I was 35, because my orthopedist said, "Don't do it if it makes your knees and hips hurt." Now I can run every other day for an hour. Because I feel stronger physically, I feel like a stronger person from a psychological standpoint. My picture was in the paper again recently, and I was quite pleased!
-- Isabel

* * *

    I'm a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. For the past ten years, our laboratory has studied the health benefits of strength training. My particular research has shown that strengthening exercise can prevent the loss of muscle and bone that debilitates so many women later in life. Along the way, I've become increasingly excited by another discovery: that strength training is also a remarkably effective aid to weight loss.

    You may have read my first book, Strong Women Stay Young, which explains the benefits of weight lifting. The book was based on my research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association] (JAMA), showing that strengthening exercise not only makes women stronger, but also builds bone, improves balance and flexibility, and increases energy. I had recruited forty women who were at risk for muscle and bone loss: they were postmenopausal, sedentary, and not taking hormones. Before they started, I warned the volunteers that they'd have to avoid changes that could confuse our findings: for the next year they could not lose weight or begin aerobic exercise.

    The women were very conscientious. But they changed anyway--they couldn't help it:

* Dorothy, who had been wearing size 16, was careful to maintain her weight. But after a few months of strength training, she noticed that her clothing was becoming loose. "I knew I needed a smaller size, so I bought 14s," she says. "Then I had to take them back because I needed 12s and sometimes 10s. My legs and hips became trimmer, and my arms got much more firm."
* Verna was shapelier, thanks to strength training. "My weight was never out of control, but there was fat in the wrong places," she says. "My inner thigh flab trimmed up, my upper arms got firmer, and I lost my tummy."
* Flora kept her promise not to start aerobics. But her new strength gave her so much extra energy that she took up ballroom dancing. Says Flora, "My girlfriend kept asking me to come with her, but I used to think the muscles in my calves would bother me. Now I can dance all night."

    While this project was going on, my colleagues and I began a pilot study to see if strength training could prevent muscle and bone loss in another especially vulnerable group: women who were losing weight. Many women are shocked to learn that this is an at-risk category. They assume that when they lose weight, the only thing their body burns up is unwanted excess fat. Until recently that's what doctors and scientists believed too. But researchers have taken a closer look and discovered something disturbing: When women diet, at least 25 to 30 percent of the weight they shed isn't fat, but water, muscle, bone, and other lean tissue. This is true no matter how much protein and calcium their food plan includes. And the faster they lose weight, the larger the proportion that isn't fat.

    I had been greatly encouraged by research from the University of Michigan showing that strength training could help women preserve muscle while they lost weight, and I wanted to explore this further. For our pilot study, my colleagues and I put ten overweight women on individually customized food plans designed for slow but steady weight loss. Half of them came to our laboratory twice a week and did strength training; the others just followed the diet.

    Our diet-only volunteers lost an average of 13.0 pounds during the study. The women who strength trained lost about the same amount--13.2 pounds. But the scale didn't tell the whole story. A dramatic difference emerged when we looked at body composition. Women in the diet-only group had lost an average 2.8 pounds of lean tissue--mainly muscle--along with the fat. In contrast, the women who'd done strength training actually gained 1.4 pounds of lean tissue. So every ounce they lost was fat. Indeed, since the new muscle replaced fat, their total fat loss was 14.6 pounds. They lost 44 percent more fat than the diet-only group.

    Our volunteers were thrilled to find an exercise at which they could excel. They became stronger, fitter, healthier, much more physically active--and were filled with self-confidence. Pat, who lost twenty-nine pounds, says:

Strength training helped the weight loss a lot. My metabolic rate went up, so I can eat more. I wear a smaller size than if I'd just lost weight and didn't build muscle. My doctor was very happy because my cholesterol and blood pressure went down. I have so much more energy--I feel invigorated. It gives you more self-esteem, a more positive feeling about anything you want to do.

    After Strong Women Stay Young was published, I received hundreds of letters, faxes, phone calls, and e-mail messages from readers all over the world. Many of these women found, to their great delight, that strength training had helped them lose weight. Inches, as well as pounds, had vanished. They looked better, felt healthier. Becoming strong had boosted their energy and vitality. Letter after letter spoke of new happiness and self-confidence.

* Diana: I've only lost ten pounds, but people are saying, "You are losing so fast!"
* Bobbie: I'm now 42, but I feel like I'm in my twenties! Two years ago I was ten pounds heavier, had constant back pain, and felt slightly depressed I was walking four miles a day, and thought this was all I should be doing. Then I started weight training, and everything changed. I wish I had discovered this ten years ago. I feel so good! I ski, and I do in-line skating--they were easy to master once I was strong.
Along with the progress reports came questions:
Should I be doing aerobics too--and if so, how much?
What food should I eat?
Do I need to take a vitamin supplement if I'm losing weight?

    I have the great privilege to work at Tufts University, along with dozens of other scientists involved in exciting new research on nutrition, exercise,' and health. I discussed the readers' concerns with my colleagues, as well as with some of the many experts from other institutions who visit our laboratories to exchange information. I began to realize how much different specialists have learned about what works for healthy long-term weight loss. What was needed, I became convinced, was a comprehensive program that would pull together the essential pieces. I wanted to combine new findings about strength training with up-to-date information on nutrition and physical activity. My aim was to come up with a practical program that would not only help women lose weight permanently, but would also become the foundation for a long, healthy, vibrant life. That's why I decided to write Strong Women Stay Slim.

THE DESPERATE STRUGGLE

    So many women are battling to lose weight--yet they keep getting heavier and heavier. Since 1980 the prevalence of overweight in American women has jumped by nearly 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We don't need government statistics to see the changes as we get older. One woman in five is overweight in her twenties. The problem intensifies during the later reproductive years: more than a third of women age 30 to 49 weigh too much. But the numbers really soar at menopause. An astonishing 52 percent of women in their fifties are overweight.

    We all know that excess weight endangers health. Overweight triples the normal risk for heart disease and stroke, contributes to diabetes, and has even been linked to cancer. Dr. C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. Surgeon General, estimates that 300,000 Americans die from overweight-related causes each year! And millions of heavy women suffer from associated medical conditions that diminish the quality of their lives--from heartburn, to joint pain, to infertility. The burden is emotional as well. Many women are caught in a sad vicious circle: feeling depressed about their weight, seeking consolation in food, gaining more weight, and feeling even worse.

    In desperation, some turn to risky medications and fad diets. But it's actually healthier to remain heavy than to lose weight the wrong way. I'm not just talking about the obvious dangers, like life-threatening side effects from drugs or nutritional deficiencies from unbalanced diets. Even the standard "sensible" advice--to eat 1000 to 1200 calories a day--puts women at risk because they lose so much lean tissue along with fat.

    Preserving muscle and bone is vitally important for women. We start out with a lot less muscle and bone than men do, so we have a narrower margin of safety. Yet we live longer, so we're much more likely to reach an age where our lives are severely limited by muscular weakness or fragile bones.

    But there's a much more immediate reason to be concerned about the loss of lean tissue: the less muscle you have, the harder it is to lose weight and to maintain the loss. Muscle is metabolically active; body fat isn't. So the smaller the proportion of lean tissue in your body, the lower your metabolic rate. To make matters worse, when you lose muscle, you become weaker and have less energy. Consequently you're likely to burn fewer calories through physical activity. If you've ever hit a long plateau during a diet and remained stuck at the same weight despite all your efforts, this could be a reason.

    The kind of dieting that leads to muscle loss also sabotages metabolism in another way: by cutting calories too drastically. Nature cleverly designed the human body so we could survive famine. If you put yourself on starvation rations--and for some women even 1200 calories a day is starving--you trigger hormonal shifts that help the body conserve calories instead of burning them. But when you're trying to lose weight, that's the last thing you want! Between the starvation effect and muscle loss, the wrong diet can reduce your metabolic rate by up to 30 percent.

    These metabolic changes help explain the all-too-common phenomenon of "yo-yo" dieting: a woman manages to lose weight--but in the process she undermines herself by depressing her metabolism. Maintaining the loss is a losing battle. She's ravenous all the time; her energy disappears. Eventually she gives in to her hunger and quickly regains.

    After one of these discouraging cycles, a woman might console herself with the thought that she's no worse off than when she started her diet. Unfortunately, that's not true. The weight she lost was partly lean tissue, but nearly everything she regained is fat. Because she has less muscle now, it's going to be harder than ever to lose. What's more, repeated bouts of yo-yo dieting increase her risk for heart disease and stroke.

    Once scientists and doctors understood the key role of lean tissue in metabolism, they began looking for ways that people could conserve muscle while shedding pounds. The answer turned out to be very simple: strengthening exercise.

THE FAT-FIGHTING POWER OF
STRENGTH TRAINING

    With strength training, you don't merely lose weight--you give yourself the leaner, healthier body of someone who's naturally slim. The benefits start with muscle and metabolism, but they go even further.

    Here's how strength training helps you lose weight forever:

* PRESERVES MUSCLE AND BONE AS YOU SHED FAT

    I've already explained that women usually lose muscle when they diet. Another disturbing finding, of particular concern to women: at least seven well-controlled studies have shown that when you diet and lose weight, you lose bone too. A 1994 study done at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, England, studied premenopausal women who dieted for three months. Even though they followed a sensible food plan for modest weight loss (the average was just 7.5 pounds), they lost 1 percent of their bone mass. That's an alarming change for so short a period in women under age 50, who normally lose no more than half a percent in an entire year.

    We know that strength training can preserve muscle when women are losing weight, and we think that it may help prevent bone loss as well. Several investigators currently are examining this question, and I look forward to seeing their results.

* REVS UP YOUR METABOLISM

    Have you ever noticed that your male friends and relatives can eat much more than you do without gaining weight? Men really do have a metabolic advantage. But the explanation isn't their hormones, it's their muscles.

    Strength training gives your metabolism a boost. You burn calories when you strength train--and you also burn more calories throughout the day when you have more lean tissue. In a study by Wayne Campbell, Ph.D., in our laboratory, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the combined difference amounted to about 15 percent. That translates into an extra 300 calories per day for the average woman.

* FIRMS AND TIGHTENS, SO YOU LOOK TRIMMER

    A pound of fat is bulkier than a pound of muscle. So if your weight loss is almost all fat, you'll look trimmer than if you lose lean tissue too. The women in my JAMA study all agreed not to lose weight. Nevertheless, many of them dropped one to three sizes because their bodies were more toned.

    Nancy, one of the women in the group that tested the program in this book, reported:

The other day I needed a dress for a wedding. My teenage daughter had a navy sheath that was perfect. But I had been size 14 going on size 16, and this was size 12. Also, the dress didn't have sleeves, and I'd never worn anything sleeveless because my arms were always too flabby. I tried it on anyway. My daughter said, "It looks great--your arms aren't flabby at all!" So that's what I wore.

* EASES YOU INTO A MORE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

    Becoming more active is not only a tremendous help to weight loss--it's also the key to staying slim. First, you burn extra calories when you move. Second, your metabolism remains slightly elevated for several hours after exercise. Third, there's evidence that being active helps tame your appetite. Moreover, an active lifestyle conditions your heart and lungs, making you fitter and healthier.

    The problem is that many overweight women don't enjoy physical activity--and for good reason. Understandably, they feel self-conscious about pulling on spandex leggings and joining an exercise class. Even walking has little appeal for someone who's out of shape, especially if her joints ache and she becomes winded in a few minutes.

    Strength training makes all the difference. The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to get moving. All the women in my JAMA study, as I've mentioned, previously were sedentary and had actually been directed not to begin an exercise program. Nevertheless, these revitalized women spontaneously began walking more, climbing more steps, and selecting more active leisure activities like dancing, hiking, and gardening. When we added it all up, after a year of strength training they had become 27 percent more active! We've now seen similar results in three other studies.

* MAKES YOU HEALTHIER

    You've heard about weight-loss methods that carry alarming risks--surgery that could shorten your life, pills that might damage your heart. Strength training is different. Instead of risks and side effects, it offers impressive health advantages. All women benefit from increased strength. Women over age 40 gain even more, because strength training reverses age-related muscle and bone loss; it even improves balance and flexibility. Indeed, as I'll explain in Chapter 3, strength training is one of the most effective ways to combat osteoporosis and the frailty too often associated with aging.

* * *

When I was 36, I had a blood clot in my leg. I'm 48 now, and I'm looking toward menopause. I know I'm not a candidate for estrogen therapy. Strength training is a great alternative.
-- Martha

* * *

* HELPS YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF

    When I work with women who are strength training, some of the most significant changes I see are emotional. Physical strength is something that women rarely expect of themselves. But when a woman becomes strong, her self-confidence and self-esteem soar. The effect is especially powerful for women who are overweight and sedentary.

    Excess weight is a handicap for many forms of exercise--but not for strength training. Indeed, very heavy women are often quite strong. It's always a special joy to watch an overweight woman--someone who has never succeeded at any physical activity in her entire life--discover that she's not merely capable of lifting weights but actually good at it! Her whole view of herself is transformed.

    Over and over, I've seen strength training open the door for weight loss. Dianne, one of the women in the group that helped me refine the program for this book, isn't sure exactly how much she weighed when she started because her scale doesn't register above 300 pounds. "I figure it was about 340," she says. Aerobic exercise was out of the question for her--even five minutes of walking left her winded and made her legs ache unbearably. "I wanted to exercise, but how could I? I was a ball of jelly," says Dianne. "Then I read about strength training. Boing! A light went off in my head. Here was something that would bring me to a point where I could be more active."

    Dianne became the star of our test group, rapidly graduating from 3-pound dumbbells, to 5-pound, then 8-, 10-, and even 15-pound dumbbells for some exercises. Other changes followed. "Strength training gave me an overall sense of wellness, and it snowballed," says Dianne. "I started to eat better within two weeks. I could see myself getting more involved in my own life, being better to myself. I became more active in little ways--instead of sending my daughter upstairs to get my earrings or my watch, I'd go myself. I frequently parked at the far end of parking lots."

    By the end of ten weeks, Dianne had lost more than thirty-five pounds--and she glowed with vitality. The woman who could barely manage a five-minute walk when she started had joined a gym and was regularly walking thirty minutes on a treadmill. Says Dianne, "It's been a great uplift--I feel so much more positive." I'm thrilled with Dianne's progress so far and look forward to watching her continue.

THE STRONG WOMEN STAY SLIM
PROGRAM

The Strong Women Stay Slim program combines the power of strength training with nutritious eating and an active lifestyle. It's not just a weight-loss program; it's a way to become healthier for a lifetime.

EXERCISE YOU CAN DO

    Regardless how much you weigh, you can become active and fit. Instead of starting with aerobic exercise, this program begins with strength training. There's no huffing and puffing, no special clothes, no getting down on the floor (and struggling to get up again). You'll love the quick results you get with strength training. What a confidence booster!

    If you've been sedentary, you'll systematically increase your activity in your third week on the program. By then you'll be stronger, so moving will be easier and more fun. Over the next eight weeks you'll slowly build up strength and endurance--never pushing yourself too far or too fast--until, by the tenth week, you'll join the 25 percent of American adults who get at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity three or more times a week.

A DIET THAT'S REALISTIC

    Most programs put all overweight women on the same 1000- to 1200-calorie diet. But one diet plan does not fit all. For many, a 1200-calorie diet is self-defeating because it cuts food intake too drastically. They try to comply, but hunger usually wins. The Strong Women Stay Slim program has 1200-, 1600-, and 2000-calorie plans, so it adjusts for everyone. You'll learn how to eat to the limit--to adjust your intake so you continue to lose, while eating as much healthy food as possible.

    Let's face it: if you're trying to lose weight, you can't eat as much as you want of whatever you want. But if deprivation has kept you from succeeding in the past, I can offer you two important promises:

* First, you can eat the foods you love. There are no forbidden foods on this program. You can have a slice of chocolate cake on your birthday; you can order barbecued ribs at your favorite restaurant.
* Second, you never need to be hungry. In addition to ample meals and snacks, you can have almost unlimited amounts of certain filling and nutritious foods.

A VIBRANT NEW LIFESTYLE

    Of course, you want to lose weight to improve your appearance. But I hope you're also concerned about your health. Some weight-reduction measures force you to chose between looking good and feeling good, but not this one. Instead of worrisome side effects, this program offers added benefits--increased vitality and strength, improved mood and sleep, better balance and flexibility, plus reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and other debilitating conditions.

* * *

I'm not just happy about the weight loss; I'm happy about how I'm losing weight. I love being strong. I like knowing that my diet is healthy and that I'm getting regular aerobic exercise. My husband keeps telling me how proud he is of what I'm doing.
-- Alexandra

* * *

TEN WEEKS TO A NEW YOU

The Strong Women Stay Slim program lets you bypass the dangers and deprivation of quick-weight-loss programs. You lose weight steadily, at the sensible rate that doctors recommend--one-half pound to two pounds a week. But thanks to strength training, you'll see results just as quickly as with risky, counterproductive quick-loss programs. As you trade fat for muscle (which is more compact), you'll look trimmer. You'll also see fast results in the form of increased energy and strength. Most women experience thrilling improvements in less than a month.

    Here's where you'll be at the end of ten weeks:

* If you needed to lose five to ten pounds, you will have reached this goal by losing half a pound to a pound per week over the entire ten-week period. You may have been battling that same five or ten pounds for years! Now, thanks to weight loss and exercise, you should be shapelier as well as slimmer. And the weight is gone for good.
* If you needed to lose between ten and fifty pounds, you will have lost about ten pounds. I realize that may not sound like much if you're used to the quick results of fad diets. But because you've also been doing strength training and aerobic exercise, you'll probably look much more than ten pounds slimmer. More important, this time you won't have to put up with inconvenient (and unnecessary) food restrictions or go hungry. Instead, you'll be following a sensible plan that will let you lose the remaining weight and stay slim and healthy for the rest of your life.
* If you need to lose more than fifty pounds, you'll shed ten to twenty pounds during the first ten weeks--a significant start. Adding to this loss will be the slimming effects of your fitness program. For the first time you'll have a food plan that doesn't starve you, and exercise that allows you to succeed. I'm sure you'll be brimming with self-confidence. Just keep going, and your weight loss will continue. You're establishing the lifestyle that will keep the weight off forever.

You can expect other changes, regardless of where you started:

* You'll feel stronger and more capable physically; you'll have much more energy.
* You'll sleep better at night.
* Your chronic aches and pains may disappear.
* Your self-esteem will increase; you'll feel happier. You'll look in the mirror and like what you see.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2004

    I lost weight and felt really well.

    The best thing about this book is that it is not about a diet, it is about eating well every day and building a leaner body. I lost about 12 pounds in as many weeks about a year ago, and the weight stayed off until I stopped excerising. The results were really dramatic for only losing 12 pounds. I was wearing clothing 1-2 sizes smaller, and everyone who saw me commented on the change. I had a lot of energy, and everyday tasks were easier because I was stronger. The moves are clearly explained, and the diet program is easy to work into real life. I am getting back on the wagon now to prepare for my wedding, and I know I will be successful. This time I plan to make this a permanent change.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2000

    It works - and I feel great!!

    After two kids and a back injury, I had resigned myself to flab and frailty. The Strong Women Stay Slim approach gives the reader convincing evidence of the benefits of weight training in boosting metabolism. Walking on a treadmill wasn't doing it for me. Within two weeks, my tight clothes were loose and I was bounding up stairs which had been difficult. The exercises are explained well, and the nutritional information/recipes are first rate!

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