Q: What’s the difference between someone eating vegan vs. eating vegetarian?
A: Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game, slaughter by-products, fish, shellfish and poultry) and within this practice of eating there are four categories. Vegans only eat plant-based food, eliminate not just meat, but also dairy (and all by-products), eggs and honey. The most significant difference when someone says they are vegan vs. vegetarian is the philosophy behind the vegan way of life, whose adherents seek to also exclude the use of animals for clothing or any other purpose.
Lacto-vegetarians eat plant-based foods and milk products. Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat plant based foods, dairy and eggs. Flexitarians eat plant-based food and limit their frequency of eating meat.
Q: I have a very simple question for you: How often should I weigh myself?
A: Assuming you’re trying to lose weight, it really depends on where you are in the weight loss process and how sensitive you are to the results. If you’re in the early stages of active weight loss, I’d only recommend weighing in once every one to two weeks. Keeping it to a minimum will help you focus more on your behaviors. After all, consistency is key when it comes to both diet and exercise, and obsessing about the numbers on the scale won’t change anything. And let’s not forget that it can take some time for the scale to start trending down, especially if you’ve just started an exercise program. However, if you’ve reached your weight loss goals, and you’re now in maintenance mode, I’d recommend weighing yourself more frequently. That’s right — I said more often, and there’s actually research to support this. The logic behind it is simple. If you’re weighing more frequently, you’ll be able to quickly identify weight gain trends and respond accordingly. A couple days each week is probably enough to keep you at or near your target.
There’s one last point that’s important here, and it sort of goes without saying. The number on the scale is just one aspect of the weight loss process. In other words, tracking other metrics of success, like how you’re feeling, your circumference measurements and your body composition are just as important.
Q: A friend of mine keeps telling me I should be doing more compound movements. What does this mean, and what are the benefits?
A: Your friend is right. Isolated movements are really more appropriate for targeting weak areas or for rehabilitating after an injury. Today’s fitness trends typically involve more functional movements that mimic real-life activities. That’s why compound exercises are becoming so popular. They’re essentially just multi-joint.
Information provided by Wade Thompson, Anytime Fitness, 2815 Beaver Ave., Suite 206, Des Moines, 274-2100.