Taking off weight can be easy.
Managing a sensible weight goal while living strong and healthy - that takes a balanced, common sense approach. It's not complicated, St. Joe's at the Mall fitness instructor Lana Eddy-Campfield said.
''It's inward hygiene,'' Eddy-Campfield, who has a master's degree in exercise physiology, said. ''You take time to comb your hair and brush your teeth. You say, 'I don't have time to exercise.' You don't have time not to.''
St. Joe’s at the Mall fitness instructor Lana Eddy-Campfield gives advice to Carmel Rinaldi of Niles as part of the center’s Strong Bones, Strong People program. The free strength-training program was designed for osteoporosis patients but has gained popularity for its weight management benefits as well.
Among those she advises are members of various teams in the Tribune Chronicle-St. Elizabeth / St. Joseph Centers Fitness Challenge. The community weight-loss competition to benefit local charities is in its final week.
''What people used to do was starve the weight down," Eddy-Campfield said. "That's the worst thing you can do. You sacrifice the good weight. A lot of muscle goes away.
"(Then) we used to really focus on body fat loss," she said.
Cardiovascular exercise was emphasized - walking, running, cycling and otherwise moving 30 minutes to an hour at least three times a week. Something still was missing.
"Now we know it's also very important to do the weight training," Eddy-Campfield said.
Strength improves the ability to deal with cardio activity. It improves posture, bone density, balance, ability to handle stress and other markers of overall fitness.
How easy can it be?
Eddy-Campfield said first, reduce total calories consumed by 250 a day.
''Two-hundred fifty calories is like a latte or a couple of cookies you sneaked because you thought no one was looking,'' she said.
Then increase activity by walking two to five times a week and adding some other activity on the other days, anything that will burn 250 calories. A brisk walk burns about 180 calories in 30 minutes. Thirty minutes on a stationary or outdoors bike burns 250 to 500 calories, depending on speed and resistance.
''That's a 500-calorie deficit per day,'' Eddy-Campfield said. ''By the end of the week, that's 3,500 calories. That's one pound of fat.
''Then you can see a loss of pound of body fat to two pounds of body fat a week. That's a safe way to lose.''
''Most people are unreasonable in how much weight they want to lose. They need to come to a professional'' who is able to see the whole health picture and set up sensible numbers to shoot for over six to nine months, she said.
''We need to wrap our heads around that this is a lifestyle. We need to wrap our minds around that food is fuel. If we overgas our cars, fuel spills onto the ground. But the body doesn't spill fuel. It keeps and stores. The body keeps expanding.''
It is well documented that being overweight taxes the heart and joints while putting a person at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other dangerous conditions. But eating too little or too little of the right foods and not exercising sets up the body for other problems, such as brittle bones, poor posture and lack of balance.
The key is a sensible, balanced, even mild approach that a person can stick with while vastly improving quality of life, she said.
In each of the 10 years of the Fitness Challenge, teams choose nonprofit service organization to which their winnings are donated.
This year, the groups with the most teams getting skinnier to fatten their bottom lines are:
l?American Hearth Association, five teams;
l?Relay for Life / American Cancer Society; four teams;
l?Nicholson Center, four teams;
l?Warren Family Mission / Hannah's House, four teams;
l?Animal Welfare League, three teams;
l?Hospice of the Valley, three teams;
l?Dynamite TKD Kids, three teams.
The teams that lose the greatest percentage of their starting weight gain the largest share of the prize money for the group of their choice. The winner will donate at least $1,350 to its charity; second place, $900; third, $540; fourth, $360; fifth to seventh, $315 each; eighth to tenth, $270 each; all others, $225. Also, the team with the best one-week showing earns a bonus $10 for its charity that week, putting another $100 in play.
TIPS AND TASTY TIDBITS
The Fitness Challenge is winding down but weight loss and healthier lifestyles can keep on chugging.
Challenge dietitian Lauren Manusakis of Humility of Mary Health Partners says there are five simple tips to success that will keep this not-so-lumbering-anymore-train on the tracks.
''One, eat breakfast,'' she said. ''Three foods from three food groups.
''Two, write it down - keep a food log. It keeps you accountable and on track.
''Three, plan, plan, plan! We plan everything in life. Plan your meals so you're not making quick and unhealthy choices.
''Four, use smaller plates. The smaller the plate, the less food you can put on it. It will help control your portions.
''Five, be active. No weight management program is successful unless you get up and move," she said.
GROUPS WE'D LIKE TO TAKE TO DINNER
Four teams designated the Nicholson Center, 3581 Youngstown Warren Road, Warren, as its service organization of choice. It's a nonprofit center that offers services for adults with developmental disabilities.
The teams are PB's Pastry Puffs, PB's Dough Balls, PB Dough Girls and Lose 2 Win.
Colleen Rose, captain of the Dough Girls, said, ''My son, who is 28, autistic and mentally disabled, attends the programs there, and they are wonderful to him.''
Her son, Jason, has been attending since the center opened two years ago and she said she notes marked improvement in his behavior and attitudes.
''He loves it there,'' Rose said. ''He thinks he goes to college.''
The Nicholson Center states that it ''provides employment and training for adults with developmental disabilities or special needs in Trumbull County.''
The two programs in the day center are a work program in which clients are paid for their efforts and a second is based on vocational tasks which includes nonwork activities that are educational and fun, according to the center.
This week, it's the Farmers Bank Fit Five's turn to answer the question, ''How did you come up with your team name?''
''All of us are employed by Farmers Bank located in Niles and the bank was kind enough to sponsor our team with the donation,'' captain Philip Lammers said. ''Not a lot of employers would do that for their employees so we wanted the bank's name involved.''
As for the Fit Five part, well, each team has five members. And these five plan to be a lot more fit at the end of the 10 weeks than they were at the beginning.