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Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.

When it comes to creating a healthier you, there are many things you can do to improve your lifestyle, and as a result your health. But did you know that weight loss is at the top of the list?

Sure diet, sedentary lifestyle and genetics are primary causes of overweight and obesity, but much of it is in your control. Even a modest reduction in weight for many of the approximately 75% of Americans who are overweight or obese will reduce risk factors for serious illnesses.

As owners of a Total Gym, you’ve already taken an important step in promoting a healthy lifestyle. You know the advantages of having the convenience of a complete full-body workout within immediate reach. Reducing calories and exercising for a minimum of 150 minutes each week is the simplest approach to weight control and instant accessibility to the Total Gym in your bedroom, family room, basement, garage—even outside—makes it more likely you are taking those important steps to become a healthier you.

Exercising for at least an hour a day, eating a low-fat/low-calorie diet, having a sensible breakfast every day, weighing yourself regularly and eating the same diet on weekends as you do during the week are essential steps for anyone who has lost significant weight and wants to keep it off.

Lifestyle change encompasses more than just diet and exercise though. The major categories you can control, according to the LEARN Program for Weight Control, include:


• Develop smart weight loss goals that you can accomplish

• Get rid of any “it’s all or nothing” type of thinking, otherwise a lapse will become a relapse

• Don’t equate your weight with your self-esteem

• Be sure you dump your erroneous thinking about yourself, your weight and what you “can” and “can’t” do about it


• Find support in others and be clear about the kind of help you’d like from those close to you

• Being part of a weight loss group, working out on the Total Gym with family and friends, even with a Total Gym DVD, allows you to stay motivated and share your triumphs and strategize solutions if you face any lapses.


• Forget pop diets—they are short-lived

• Portion control, count calories, and eat with moderation in your approach to food

• Stay with an individualized, systematic

• Keep a journal. Recording your body weight, counting calories, and general self-monitoring have been shown to be of significant benefit.plan (WeightWatchers is rated # 1 by US News and World Report)

• Survey the entire buffet before serving yourself has been shown to lead to putting less on your plate


• Set achievable, realistic exercise goals

• Deal with emotional barriers to exercise

• Be sure you continue adding increased activity levels to your daily lifestyle

• Start with small steps at first, of course—on your Total Gym, set the glide board at a comfortable level and progress slowly

But wait, there’s more. Of course self-care involves proper diet and exercise. But what are you doing to increase your mastery of stress, to improve your overall relationships, to provide for yourself financially? These are also important to overall health.

Your work-life balance, the amount and type of play in which you engage and key environmental factors you can control are also essential elements of overall self-care. Let’s not forget about having a clear purpose in life, healthy doses of self-esteem and a spiritual foundation as well.

Exercise has been demonstrated over and over again to serve as the central foundation for overall life wellness. Think of wellness as the integration of each of the areas above—mental, social, emotional, spiritual and physical. These are the areas that will expand your life’s potential and impact how you feel about your life and your ability to function effectively and cope positively, optimistically and constructively, day to day.


Follow Dr. Mantell on Twitter @FitnessPsych

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D., earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his M.S. degree in clinical psychology at Hahnemnann Medical College where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. He coaches world-class athletes and fitness enthusaists for performance enhancement. He is Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for ACE, on the faculty of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, a national Community Ambassador for Experience Life Magazine’s health initiative and for FitFluentials, appears weekly on San Diego’s CW channel 6, is a consultant to Les Mills International, writes for IHRSA, is a member of the Sports Medicine Team at the Sporting Club of San Diego and the La Jolla Sports Club specializing in fitness psychology, writes the “San Diego Fitness Psychology” column and “San Diego Life Coach Examiner.” He is also a writer and consultant to the Total Gym company. Dr. Mantell has written two best-selling books and appears regularly on radio and TV.

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