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November 21, 2016 UnThin
EMS – Electrical Muscle Stimulation

What is EMS? EMS is an electronic machines that generates electric current. The electrical currents are delivered through electrodes (usually pads that adhere to the skin) that are placed on the muscles. These currents mimic the action potential coming from the central nervous system, causing the muscles to contract. Theses devices are regulated by the FDA. EMS can be used for training, therapeutic device, and as a cosmetic tool. Potentially, using these devices can increase muscle strength, diminish fatigue, and tone the body. I have an EMS unit, and I did not experience any of the cons that are mentioned above. However, I am very pleased with the unit, as I found that using it makes me want to exercise much more. After using it my body feels ready to run, jump, cycle, anything! I just feel like I need and want to move and do some exercise. I decided to buy the Slendertone ReVive S5 Pro Muscle Conditioner & Stimulator. The reason? The price was right (usually sells for $69.99, but lately has been $49.99 on Amazon), and most reviews were positive. I also googled the item and found the company is considered to be reputable. The machine itself is very small. I took a picture of it next to my iPhone 7  so you'd have a better idea of its size: EMS It has 4 electrodes, but you need 2 electrodes to connect to one pad, therefore you can use only two pads, not four. The pads are large and have a very good coverage. The unit has 6 muscle conditioner programs + 99 Intensity Levels: Program 1: Exercise Preparation (12 minutes). Program 2: Active Recovery 1 (30 minutes). Program 3: Active Recovery 2 (20 minutes). Program 4: Active Recovery 3 (20 minutes). Program 5: Build Endurance (20 minutes). Program 6: Muscle Strengthening (20 minutes). I tried all the programs, and the one I love the most is program 6. The muscles are being contracted nice and strong (I'm now at levels 40-50), and as I mentioned, it makes me want to exercise. Often after a session with my EMS, I hit the treadmill for 30-60 minutes. I just HAVE to move! It could be that I don't notice any toning effect because I'm so overweight. It would be interesting to know if you do see your muscles tone the more  you use this device, when you have much less fat tissues. The unit comes with 4 pads. I've had this unit for about a month, and so far the first 2 pads (remember, each pad connects to two electrodes) are holding up very well. They still stick well to my body, and I don't even need to use an electrode gel. After I finish using them, I simply put the clear film on them, and that's it. img_2051 Make sure to read all instructions. They do suggest that you consult with a doctor before starting to use the device, and they also explain very well where on your body you should or shouldn't use it. I am very happy with this EMS device, as this is the one thing that physically motivates me the most to exercise!

August 24, 2016 UnThin
Exercising When You’re Obese

You're obese, and you want to start exercising. Good for you! Remember that when you have a lot of extra weight, exercising should be handled a bit differently. Exercise always creates stress for the body, however, if you're obese your body is already continuously stressed, and it's best to follow these tips:

Tip #1 - Start Slowly

True, this is a common tip for everyone. But overweight people need to pay extra attention to this and start slower than usual. Us obese people, our hearts already work hard by having to carry around our very heavy body, and our joints are also under daily significant stress. Adding more stress in the form of exercising should be done very gradually. When you start, ignore generic suggestions, and simply do what is manageable for you. Don't aim for a 30-minute walk, but walk several times a day for 5 or 10 minutes. Do not work out for more than 20-30 minutes a day and do not do too many types of activities all at once.  Introducing one new activity per week is a better idea. Increase the duration/intensity of the workout as you feel more comfortable. If you can easily talk while exercising you are exercising at a comfortable rate. Exercising will become easier for you, both because you condition your body, and because as you lose weight your heart will not need to work as hard for just supporting your body.  Don't exercise every day. A good rule of thumb is to exercise 3-4 times a week on alternate days. Exercising will become easier for you, both because you condition your body, and because as you lose weight your heart will not need to work as hard for just supporting your body. Focus first on gradually increasing the duration of exercise. Only then, gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. 

Tip #2 - Choose the Right Exercise

Choosing a wrong exercise can cause injury, and there's nothing like an injury to discourage you from continuing your weight-loss program. Many obese people, in addition to other issues that I already discussed above, also have balance issues. Ideal activities would be working out on cross trainers and recumbent bikes, and swimming, all excellent exercises which reduce the impact on joints and lower back. A treadmill is also a good choice, as it is predictable (straight surface with shock absorbers and steady speed), and you can hold on to the rails. The problem is that obese people have a hard time going to the pool, and the exercise machines are found in gyms, another place where most obese people feel very uncomfortable in. If your budget allows, and if you have enough space for it in your home, I would recommend buying a treadmill. It doesn't have to be fancy with all the bells and whistles, just make sure that it can support your weight. That was the solution I went for, and it encourages me to exercise as much as I can. I put the treadmill in front of the TV, I make sure to record plenty of shows that I like, I turn on the AC, and voilà! I'm all set, and I actually have fun walking several times a day. No worries if a treadmill, or other fitness equipment, is not an option for you. As mentioned before, you can simply find an activity you are able to do without it being too strenuous. It can be a 5-minute walk about 4 times a day, or moving your arms for a few minutes several times a day.

Tip #3 - Be Consistent

If you're doing short low-intensity workouts, you might get the feeling that you are not doing much, and that all that effort doesn't even make any difference. These thoughts can be very discouraging and you might want to quit altogether if you focus on such thoughts and on not seeing quick results. The reality is that moving a little is better than not moving at all. Another reality is that if you have regular workouts, you will improve gradually and be able to handle longer and higher intensity workouts.  

Tip #4 - Do Weight Training

The aerobic ability of obese people is usually not very good. Because an obese person will tire easily doing aerobic exercises, not a lot of energy will be used. Short weight training sessions will enable spending more calories than short aerobic exercises. In addition, weight training will increase the person's basic metabolism rate, and will improve the looks of a person by increasing muscles' tone (and possibly also increase muscle mass). Start with doing 8-15 repetitions for each exercise, with 30-60 seconds of rest periods.

Tip #5 - Hydrate and Avoid Heat Exhaustion

Obese people can not adapt to temperature changes as well as other people, and they are more susceptible to dehydration. Make sure to wear light clothing when exercising, and use a fan or A/C if you're too hot. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising.

Before you start dieting
August 21, 2016 UnThin
Before You Go on a Diet

You already know that you weigh too much, and it has gotten to a point that it has serious negative effects on your life. You want to go on a diet (good for you!). ln order to maximize  your chances of success, you can make some preparations before you start dieting. Think how you prepare for important things in your life. For example, when you're looking for a new job you first make sure to write a great resume, you brush up on your interviewing skills, you network to get more leads. Taking dieting seriously and preparing for it will increase your chances of long-term success.

Mental Preparation:

  1. Picture yourself thin. This will help you focus on the end goal. If you were once thin, hang up these pictures of yourself around the house.
  2. If you're not doing that already, start dressing nicely and taking good care of yourself. Start feeling good about how you look, and you'll believe you are worthy of all the effort involved with dieting.
  3. Start thinking as a thin person. Mostly, that you need to eat only when you're hungry, don't worry about not having the opportunity to eat when you get hungry, don't be afraid of being hungry.
  4. Make a list of why you want to get thinner. List everything that you will gain by losing weight (and not just the obvious - that you'd look better and be healthier. Think of everything, such as that you will feel more outgoing, do more things, will probably live longer, and much more). Hang this list in strategic places, such as on the refrigerator.
  5. Know that you will face some breaking moments, and prepare yourself on how to respond. Read more here - Let's Stop Fooling Ourselves.
  6. Find out if you're an emotional eater, and think of the strategies to deal with it - Emotional Eating.
  7. Choose small goals that you will celebrate. If you want to lose 40 pounds, plan to focus on losing only 5 pounds at a time. Plan how to reward yourself on every 5 pounds that you lose, and not with cake of course  ;)
  8. Think about when do you eat the most, and find other things to do during that time. For example, If you mostly eat junk when you're watching TV in the evening, decide that you will start exercising at that time instead or join some class.
  9. Be realistic. Healthy weight loss can take longer than you might expect.  Even if it is realistic to lose 1-2 pounds a week,  there will be weeks that you plateau, or even gain a little weight. Expect this, and you will not be disappointed when that happens.

Practical Preparation:

  1. Choose a diet that you will follow. There are so many choices available, so read about the different suggestions and see what makes sense to you.
  2. Prepare an exact menu for at least one week. You don't want to start thinking what you need to eat when you're already starving.
  3. Do some shopping, and make sure you have all the ingredients you need to prepare your food. It's even better if you can prepare some food in advance.
  4. I strongly recommend getting a food scale. This will help you measure the exact portions that you're eating, eliminating the guesswork. I have this scale, but there are so many other options as well.
  5. I also strongly recommend that you write down everything that you eat. This will enable you to make sure  you're still on track and not straying too much. Find a platform that can help you with this task. If you have a Fitbit device, you will be able to use their platform to log what you ate (and your exercises as well), but there are plenty of other available apps, such as MyNetDiary.
  6. If you have some food  laying around that is not supposed to be included in your diet, throw it away. It's harder to resist temptation when it's right in front of us.
  7. Plan how to incorporate exercise into your routine. You can start by getting a good pedometer and setting a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day. Omron's pedometers are known for their accuracy, I personally love this Fitbit.
  8. Consider joining a weight loss group or working with a dietician or personal trainer. Many people can benefit from the structure and motivation that these options offer, not to mention that they help to adopt healthy lifestyles.
  9. Think if you will benefit from sharing with others that you're dieting. Some people will enjoy the moral support that they receive whereas some will experience it more as pressure and even nosiness.
Plan ahead! This diet could be life-changing  for you, it is important so it makes sense to treat it as such. Do you have other tips? I'd love hearing from  you!