Fitness

Chatelaine Winter Step Diet

Beat the winter bulge with our four-week personalized walking plan

Chatelaine Winter Step Diet

Baby, it’s cold outside – but you can still reap the fat-busting, health-boosting benefits of walking. Just bring your walking workout indoors to a mall, track or treadmill with the Chatelaine Winter Step Diet, developed by Rosemary Quinn, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Works Personal Training in Victoria. Need some motivation? Over the next four weeks, you’ll meet four women who didn’t let bad weather stop them from getting fit. One beat depression, another lowered her blood pressure, and collectively, they blasted off a total of 179 pounds – all by walking. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to hoof it, even on the most blustery of days.

Welcome to Week 1 of the four-week Chatelaine Winter Step Diet
Boost your mood!

Lack of sunlight got you down? Take a walk at lunch. According to research from Duke University in Durham, N.C., walking briskly for as little as 14 minutes a day can help beat depression temporarily. For more permanent results, walk quickly for 30 minutes, three times a week.

Load up on antioxidants

Eating antioxidant- and fibre-rich fruit and veggies such as carrots, spinach, berries and cantaloupe can help you lose weight and fight colds, according to recent U.S. and Australian research. Antioxidants boost your immune system, improve blood flow and help prevent diseases such as cancer. To get more antioxidants in your grocery cart, read 10 pantry superfoods. Also, enjoy some of these delicious recipes: Curried cauliflower bisque, Roasted butternut squash or Oven-roasted carrots and zucchini.

Walk off weight

Use walking poles on your next outing, suggests Quinn. They help you burn about 30 per cent more calories than going without, and they’re safer than hand weights, which can throw you off balance. Poles also add an element of strength-training to your routine, by forcing you to use your arms, shoulders, chest and back muscles.

Inspiration of the week

Melanie Kenrick is 29 pounds lighter since adding two 20-minute walks to her daily routine last January, and now walking and running up to an hour and a half a day. “I feel better, I sleep better, I get up in the morning with energy,” raves the 41-year-old. And she loves her treadmill because it shows her how fast and how far she’s walking. “That pushes me,” she says. To motivate herself to lose another 60 pounds, Kenrick placed a $250 bet with 10 friends and colleagues. Whoever loses the most body fat and achieves the biggest overall change wins the pot after three months. “I want to win that money and I want to be in a bathing suit in April,” she says.

Keep track

Logging your progress is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Record the speed, distance and frequency of your walks at Chatelaine Walking Club.

Welcome to Week 2 of the four-week Chatelaine Winter Step Diet
Boost your brain!

We all know that walking is good for our hearts, but did you know it could also charge your brain? According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who regularly walked at least 90 minutes a week enjoyed better mental function than less active women.

Snack well

If you want to lose weight, get out your cereal bowl. After-dinner snackers who munched on cereal with low-fat milk consumed fewer calories overall than those who ate their usual snacks, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Plus, cereals with four grams of fibre or more per serving, such as our Three-grain power porridge, can help keep you full, curb food cravings and encourage weight loss. To find more healthy snack options, search the lower-fat recipes in our Recipe File .

Walk off weight

Beat boredom and zap more calories by changing your routine every day, says Tom Seabourne, professor of exercise science at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, Texas. Try a treadmill one day and a stationary bike the next, walk a portion of your route backwards (with a spotter!) or bundle up and head outdoors for a long winter’s walk.

Inspiration of the week

Patricia Godard found the perfect way to lose 30 pounds of post-pregnancy weight: walking. Twice a day, this 31-year-old mother heads out for a 30-minute stroll in the country with her one-year-old daughter, Adéle. “I feel better because she gets to see trees and animals instead of cars and pollution,” Godard says. She recently purchased a winter-proof stroller so that snow, sleet and ice can’t slow her progress. “Walking is great for people who are stressed,” she says. “You have more energy afterwards and you feel better about yourself.”

Get support

In a walking rut? Log on to our Fitness & sport forum for advice and motivational tips from fellow walkers.

Welcome to Week 3 of the four-week Chatelaine Winter Step Diet
Boost your health!

Can’t talk while walking? Slow down. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that those who could speak comfortably while exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike were exercising at the optimal intensity, because they experienced safe heart rate and oxygen levels. Participants who struggled while speaking, however, had heart rate and oxygen levels high enough to cause fatigue and muscle strain.

Let hunger guide you

Hunger can make it easier to overeat. Recognizing this, don’t let yourself become too hungry, says registered dietitian Heidi Bates of Sherwood Park, Alta. Eat small amounts of nutritious foods at regular intervals throughout the day. To make the right choices when you do dine, read Eat more, weigh less.

Walk off weight

For maximum calorie burn, schedule early evening walks. Your metabolism and body temperature peak at about 5:30 p.m.at night, so you expend the most energy at this time, says Tom Reilly, sports-science professor at Liverpool John Moores University in England. Most of us don’t work out as hard in the morning because our joints are stiff, lung function is low and many of us are still groggy, he says. No time to walk at night? “Better to exercise at any time than miss out,” says Reilly.

Inspiration of the week

Barbara Vance has lost more than 100 pounds by putting one foot in front of the other. Three years ago, an overweight and depressed Vance realized that she had to take control of her health. Although her initial jaunts were small, the 45-year-old gradually began walking more. “I started feeling better about myself,” says Vance, who now gets out for an hour five times a week. She’s also boosted her self-confidence and weaned herself off antidepressants. “[Walking is] something that is very sacred to me,” she says. Although her route never changes, Vance mixes things up by changing her walking style with her mood – wiggling her hips when she’s feeling sensuous, perfecting her posture when she’s determined and hoofing it when she’s mad.

Get competitive

Sometimes all it takes to get moving is the drive to win. Whether you’re competing against yourself or want to walk farther than our other Walking Club members, log your walks and see who tops our walkers lists.

Welcome to Week 4 of the four-week Chatelaine Winter Step Diet
Boost your sleep!

People with moderate sleep complaints who walked for 30 to 40 minutes four times a week slept better and almost an hour longer than their more sedentary, sleep-troubled peers, say Stanford University School of Medicine researchers in California.

Pump up the protein

To feel fuller for longer periods, add protein to every meal, suggests Brenda Arychuk, a registered dietitian in Edmonton. Eating protein may also protect your bones, which can weaken as a result of weight loss, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Choose healthy proteins such as lean meats, low-fat milk, yogurt, legumes and tofu, found in some of these yummy recipes: Bistro lentils with sausage, Easy oven meatball chili or Bountiful burritos. Then, keep track of how much you’re eating with our Daily eating log.

Walk off weight

Add weights to your walking routine for added strength-training and cardio burn, says Toronto-based personal trainer Kathy Magilton. Wear a tight-fitting backpack containing five pounds of cat litter, sand or salt and work your way up to 20 pounds, increasing the weight as the workout gets easier. Keep the chest and waist belts tight so the pack doesn’t pull down on your back. Never wear ankle or wrist weights when using an exercise machine such as a treadmill, though – they can throw you off balance.

Inspiration of the week

Searing arthritis pain in her legs meant 41-year-old Lynn Tucker could barely walk up the stairs. Her doctor’s prescription? Strong pain medication, exercise and weight loss. After an intense three-month rehabilitation program, Tucker bought a treadmill and began walking for an hour five times a week. “When everybody was sitting around watching TV, I would get on the treadmill,” she says. She even outfitted her machine with a bookstand so she could read novels, something she never had time for before. In a year, Tucker has ditched 20 pounds and her pain meds, lowered her blood pressure and improved her strength and flexibility. She even works out at the gym five times a week. “Without walking, I wouldn’t have the strength,” Tucker says.

Keep going!

Maintain or increase your fitness level with other Chatelaine workouts such as the original Chatelaine step diet, our 15-minute workout or the no-gym workout. Don’t forget to visit the Chatelaine Walking Club regularly for more easy-to-follow programs and walking tips.

Chatelaine Winter Step Diet

Cardio training is an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular system and zap fat fast, says Rosemary Quinn, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Works Personal Training in Victoria, B.C. Maintain a challenging speed for 30 to 60 minutes.

Duration
in minutes
Intensity
5 Warm-up
3 Moderate (70 to 85% of your target heart rate
44 Maintain 70 to 85 percent target heart rate
3 Moderate
5 Cool-down



Duration
in minutes
Intensity Incline
5 Warm-up 0
3 Moderate (70 to 85% of your target heart rate 3
44 Maintain 70 to 85 percent target heart rate 2
3 Moderate 1
5 Cool-down 0

Cardio training is an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular system and zap fat fast, says Rosemary Quinn, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Works Personal Training in Victoria. Print out this chart and tape it to your treadmill. Instead of varying your speed every few minutes, as you would when speed or interval training, maintain a challenging speed and incline for 30 to 60 minutes.



Duration
in minutes
Incline
5 0
2 1
1 0
2 2
1 0
2 3
1 0
2 4
1 0
2 5
1 0
2 6
1 0
2 7
5 0

Hill training increases your heart rate and tones your butt and thighs, says Rosemary Quinn, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Works Personal Training in Victoria. Building leg muscle will make you a stronger walker, too. Start with small hills and work your way up to steeper ones, maintaining a challenging speed throughout. Or, print out this treadmill chart and tape it to your machine. TIP! Experienced walkers should try to go as fast as they can on the lowest incline and attempt to reach between 90 and 100 per cent of their target heart rate at hill peaks.



Increase your pace every five minutes until you’re almost jogging for a full minute, then return to your normal pace and start over.


If you’re in a mall, alternate walking at regular speed for six stores, then walk as fast as you can for the next two stores. Outdoors? Alternate walking at regular speed from one telephone pole to the next, then walking as fast as you can to the next pole.


Duration
in minutes
Speed
in miles/hour
Incline
5 2.5 0
2 2.8 0
2 3.0 1
2 3.2 2
2 3.4 3
2 3.6 4
2 3.8 5
2 3.8 5
2 3.6 4
2 3.4 3
2 3.2 2
2 3.0 1
5 2.5 0

Pyramid training involves changes in both speed and incline. In addition to adding variety to your workout, it boosts your heart and strengthens your legs, says Victoria-based certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Works Personal Training, Rosemary Quinn.



Start with a five-minute warm-up, then vary between a challenging and easy pace every minute until your five-minute cool down.


Subtract your age from 226 = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Multiply your MHR x 70 per cent = low end of your THR/fat burning zone
Multiply your MHR x 85 per cent = high end of your THR/fat burning zone