Do You Really Need to See a Doctor Before Exercising?

You've seen it hundreds of times. A nasty disclaimer that begins with a big, red WARNING that gets in the way as you start up an exercise DVD or stream an exercise video. "See a doctor before starting any exercise program," it reads. Here by dragons. This means you. You try your best to fast forward through it, and then don't give it a second thought. I bet you haven't even read FitWatch's disclaimers, right? Sure, a company adds those disclaimers as a "CYB" (Cover Your Butt!), but there are certain circumstances when it's important for you to see a doctor before exercising. We want to help, not hurt, you. When you exercise, certain physiological changes happen to your body.
  • You put additional stress on your bones and joints.
  • Your body burns fat and glucose for energy to fuel the muscles.
  • Your heart rate and the amount of blood pumped to the body increases.
  • Your blood flow is diverted away from your abdominal area to provide more blood to the muscles.
  • Your blood pressure changes as you exercise: your systolic number -- the number on top -- increases.
It's important to know your whole body is in good working order before you head out for a run, start pumping iron or do a downward facing dog. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before you start exercising:
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12 Week Walking Program for Weight Loss

Feeling sluggish and unmotivated to exercise? Can't stand the thought of huffing and puffing your way through a strenuous exercise routine?

While getting your heart rate up is an important part of an exercise program, jumping in and going all out is the wrong way to go about things. If you're new to exercise or are more than 20lbs overweight -- or if you have an aversion to *shudder* the big E -- one of the best ways to ease yourself into exercise is to start a walking program. Studies show that people are more likely to stick to a walking program.

See? I'm always trying to set you up for success!

Let me, um, 'walk' you through an easy-to-follow 12 week walking schedule that will having you walking away those extra pounds -- and may even get you to like exercising. (Hey, it can happen!) I'll even tell you one simple tip on how to walk faster. Bet you didn't know this one...
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Forget Bobby McFerrin: Eat Veggies, Be Happy

No disrespect to Bobby McFerrin, but he may need to change the title of his song from Don't Worry, Be Happy to Eat Veggies, Be Happy. A study of 80,000 people in Britain concluded that people who eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

The study looked at 80,000 individuals and used seven different methods to measure an individual's happiness. Seven servings of fruits and vegetable seemed to set free those bluebirds of happiness.

Don't eat enough fruits and veggies? Here's what you need to know to help you stop singin' them blues:
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Soup's On! How to Make Vegetable Stock

There's nothing like a bowl of soup to help keep cravings at bay and help you drop those extra pounds. A healthy, low-cal bowl of soup before a meal can help fill you up so you don't overeat at lunch or supper.

Add a lean source of protein to the soup and you've got yourself a low calorie meal. It's a great way to cut down on calories in a healthy way.

When you start with a basic vegetable stock, you can add in any number of vegetables, beans, legumes and spices to create spectacular soups. The only limit is your imagination.

Who says healthy eating has to taste bad?

If you don't have the time, store-bought vegetable stock will do in a pinch. But I recommend making a homemade vegetable broth. The taste is so much better than a canned broth -- and you can control the sodium. And when you make healthy meals taste good, you'll be more likely to eat them. I make soup on Sunday afternoons, so that I have soup handy throughout the week.

Here's my favorite homemade vegetable stock recipe:
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Weight Loss 101: How Do I Lose Weight?

When it comes time to dropping those extra pounds, you're most likely to have a ton of questions. There are so many different concepts out there, so many diets, so many opinions that you can feel confused and intimidated.

For everyone who's ever asked, "Where do I start?", I've put together this Weight Loss 101 guide taking you through the six basic steps you need to take to lose weight in a safe and healthy way.

While the guide is great for beginners, if you're a yo-yo dieter or if you've been on a lot of "diets", this guide is a great starting point for you as well. You'll never go on another "diet" again.

So, here's my six-step answer to the age-old question: "How do I lose weight?" The first step may surprise you!
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Top 3 Worst Weight Loss Shortcuts That Will Take You Off Course

If you learn one thing from FitWatch, I hope it's this: there are no quick fixes when it comes to losing weight and getting fit. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Yet there's a little part inside of us that wants the weight gone NOW. No, not even NOW. We want it gone YESTERDAY.

And then that's when we resort to desperate measures and try to find shortcuts. But shortcuts will have you going round in circles, not knowing which way to turn.

Here are the top three worst weight loss shortcuts. Doing one of these is bad enough. But all three? That's a recipe for disaster.
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5 Simple Things to Do to Lose Body Fat Faster

When it comes to losing body fat, slow and steady wins the race. You're more likely to keep the weight off if you don't try to drop a gazillion pounds in one day.

But sometimes you just want to speed up the process a little bit. Or maybe you find the fat is coming off a little more slowly than usual

You're doing everything 'right' but you just want to add a little more fuel to the fat burning fire.

Here are five simple things you can do to lose body fat faster in a safe and healthy way:
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Can You Trust Dr. Oz?

I bet many of you are familiar with Dr. Mehmet Oz, the cardiologist who has his own show (Dr. Oz) and was a frequent visitor on Oprah. He has an engaging personality and always seem to want to help you get healthy. He's a real doctor, so you can trust everything he says, right?

Not necessarily.

I used to watch Dr. Oz's show when it first came out. I had to stop. The show was too over the top, for me. I tried to watch one of the shows last year, but it seemed ever worse. More "Take this supplement and it will solve all your problems." Unfortunately, it's too easy for people to get caught up in the hype.

Julia Belluz and Stephen J. Hoffman wrote an excellent piece on called, Dr. Oz' Miraculous Medical Advice. In it, the writers look at the research that Dr. Oz is basing his claims on. The expose will shock you if you're a fan of Dr. Oz.
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Calories In Vs Calories Out: The Basic Formula Explained

In a world run rampant with fad diets, quick fixes and bogus claims, the most basic formula for weight loss has become lost in all the noise. Cries of "Why am I gaining weight?" are being answered with complicated eating habits:
  • Eat this.
  • Don't eat that.
  • Eat this with that.
  • Don't eat this with that.
It gets so confusing, don't you think?

But when you understand the basic formula for weight loss, you'll never be at the mercy of the diet companies again.

Let me take you back to the basics:
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4 Ways to Track Your Weight Loss Progress

If you want to get serious about dropping pounds, you need to track your progress on a weekly basis. Creating a weekly 'feedback loop' will help you pinpoint what's working for you -- and what isn't. What you're looking for is a pattern of progress over a period of several weeks. Don't get discouraged if you see a loss and then a slight gain.

Here are four ways you can track your weight loss progress. You can use one method -- or all four. The key is to track on weekly basis, at the same day and time, under the same circumstances. Tracking weight along with body fat percentage gives you a better indication of your body mass composition (fat weight vs. lean body mass).
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