Promising Solutions for Weight Loss Results

The buzz in weight loss these days is to decrease carbohydrates and reduce calories. However, if you decrease carbohydrates too much, blood sugar drops, stress hormones increase (cortisol rises) and insulin levels become imbalanced. When this occurs, the body resists weight loss. A better approach is to modify the types of carbohydrates eaten to allow blood sugar, insulin and cortisol levels to remain stable. Eliminating refined starches and simple sugars is a perfect start.

Next is the selection of quality protein (lean meats, poultry, fish, whey and eggs or egg whites). Increasing protein decreases the potential for weight gain and regain. Higher protein, combined with a lower intake of starch and sugar also has a favorable impact on belly fat.

Fat intake alone will not impact insulin or cortisol levels, but the combination of fat, starch and sugar eaten together spells disaster. The combination of protein and vegetables, however, does not spike hormonal imbalances. Additionally, protein and vegetables sources suppress hunger and increase fiber. This is a powerful punch to enhance fat burning at the cell level.

Obviously some individuals lose weight and burn fat quicker than others, but results are achievable for everyone with a positive mind-set and personal commitment to one-self. Losing weight is a systematic process that takes time. Be patient, results will not happen overnight.

The Fat Burning Plan

A healthy, fat burning plan limits the intake of simple sugar and starch, increases quality protein, vegetables and legumes, includes small portions of low-sugar fruits, advocates healthy fats rich in omega fatty acids and allows for skim or low fat dairy and dairy substitutes. The fat burning plan requires meal spacing and exercise. No skipping these two.

For exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a minimum of 150-250 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week and resistance exercise at least 2x/week. You can split exercise sessions into 10-minute bouts performed 2-3 times/day, or cut back the intensity and increases the duration to a do-able amount for your body.

When choosing an exercise plan, pick something you enjoy! If it’s walking the dog, gardening, hiking, using in-home equipment, swimming or biking, make it a routine. Set realistic goals and schedule your exercise in advance. Make an appointment with yourself.

I also recommend self-monitoring weekly activity and food intake. When you have a visual, the success rate increases dramatically. There are several aps to help with this or you can journal by hand.

Finally, when attacking fat stores, expect to lose no more than 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. This equates to 5,250 to 7,000 calories burned per week! If you are losing more than 2 pounds per week, the additional loss is likely water or lean body mass.

Understanding Food Labels

Understanding how to read a food label will help keep you abreast of wise food selections for yourself and your family.  For  consumers, it breaks down to an applicable knowledge on product packaging.  Digging deeper and looking at the nitty gritty of ingredients going into our bodies.  Mainly, the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and artificial flavorings that are hidden in products you buy.

For example, did you know that the label on a Kid Cuisine Fried Chicken Dinner says it is “88% fat free” but the actual fat amount is close to 50% of the fat a child should eat for the entire day?  Some labels list the percentage of fat in the product by weight rather than calories of fat per serving.  To find the calories of fat per serving, simply multiply the total grams of fat by 9.  Look at the total number of calories per serving compared to the total number of calories from fat.  If it is over 30%, buyer beware!

Real Fruit Additions.  Did you ever notice that the package on Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars say “made with real fruit” but the actual amount of fruit per bar is only 1/50 of an apple?  Any inclusion of fruit, no matter how much or how little, allows the manufacture to say it is “made with real fruit.”  I would rather buy something without fruit and add my own later.

Wheat and Whole Wheat.  Did you know that the words “wheat” or “whole wheat” on a label don’t guarantee the flour is whole grain?  Nabisco Whole Wheat Premium Plus Saltines, Nabisco Wheatsworth, Pepperidge Farm Hearty Wheat and similar “whole wheat” crackers all have more white flour than wheat flour.

Oat Bran.  Did you know that you would have to eat almost 28 bowls (over 3,000 calories) of Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal to get as much oat bran as you would in one bowl of hot, oat bran cereal?  The packaged name of a product does not necessarily justify the ingredients that are in the product.  Real oats are much healthier and less expensive than some of the top-brand, packaged cereals.

Beef Franks and Fat-Free Hot Dogs.  Did you know that a standard beef frank labeled 73% fat free has over 12 grams of fat and 130 calories per serving?  As a consumer, you might notice the label and automatically think “this beef frank must be ok – it’s low in fat”, right?  Once again, remember to look at the number of fat grams per serving.  In this case, 12 grams.  12 x 9 calories/gram = 108 fat calories in one beef frank with 130 calories.  The hot dog is really 83% fat.

If you would like additional help in understanding the new food labels, please call or email our office.  We’ll take you on a tour of the shopping isles and teach you what to put in and leave out of your cart!

Body Fat Measurements – Common and Easy Methods Available Today

Body composition measurements provide individuals with an estimate of fat-free mass relative to fat mass in the body.  Several methods are currently being used by practitioners today:  Skin Fold Techniques, Bioelectrical Impedance, Body Mass Index, Near-Infrared, Hydrostatic Weighing, Dual Energy X-Ray and Circumference Measurements.  For convenience and practically, skin folds, bio-impedance, body mass index and circumference measurements are the most commonly used methods employed in the health and fitness industry today.

Skin Fold Techniques measure the thickness of subcutaneous fat on various sites of the body.  The measurements obtained are converted into an equation to predict percent body fat and lean mass.  Skin-fold techniques are quick, noninvasive and inexpensive, but the accuracy and reliability of using this method can vary based on the technician’s skill, type of caliper being used and precision in measurement.

Bio-Impedance (BIA) is a noninvasive, easy and fast way to estimate body composition.  Individuals simply stand on a BIA device, or hold a BIA device that passes a low dose, single frequency current through the body.  BIA measures the body water’s resistance to that electrical current.  An individual with a greater percentage of body fat will have a greater resistance (slower flow) of current than a person with less body fat.  Lean tissue, muscle, has a greater percentage of water and can conduct an electrical current faster than fat.

Body Mass Index is a number based on a person’s height and weight.  BMI is noninvasive, quick and easy, but the standard error of estimate exceeds 5%.  To avoid confusion, BMI does not offer a % of fat.  It is a calculated number correlated to being “overweight” or “underweight”.

Circumferences measure distances (inches or centimeters) around certain parts of the body:  Arms, Legs, Chest, Waist, Hips, Buttocks, and Neck.  Like skin folds, circumference values can be used in equations to predict percent fat or whole body density.  This method is a great way for practitioners monitor site-specific reduction, but is not as accurate as Skin Folds or Bio-Impedance.

Iverson Fitness and Wellness Consulting uses a comparative approach to body composition analysis by incorporating several of the most common methods listed above.  Our bio-impedance analysis retains excellent reliability and accuracy, followed by circumference measurements for site-specific comparison.

New % fat health standards for men and women.

Low

Mid

Upper

Obese

Young Male

8%

13%

22%

> 22%

Middle Age Male

10%

18%

25%

>25%

Older Male

10%

16%

23%

>23%

Young Female

20%

28%

35%

>35%

Middle Age Female

 25%

 32%

 38%

 >38%

Older Female

25%

30%

35%

>35%