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.

Advertisements

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!

Fitness and Nutrition / Facts and Myths (Part I)

As a personal trainer and fitness coach, I am continually presented with questions about diet, exercise and nutrition.  Most are related to fact or fiction.  Something they have been told, heard of or read about in the media network.  To clear up some of the confusion, I decided to present a two-part series on the Top 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions I receive from my clients, family and friends.  To make it interesting, you’ll get a first hand chance to answer the questions before the truths revealed.

  1. True or False:  When the body stops exercising regularly, muscle turns to fat.
  2. True or False:  Exercising specific parts of the body will reduce fat in those areas.
  3. True or False:  Low cholesterol foods are also low in saturated fat.
  4. True or False:  A person can safely lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
  5. True or False:  “Sugar Free” means there is not sugar in the product.

Answers:

  1. False:  Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue.  Smooth muscle tissue is found in the vascular system, cardiac muscle in the heart and skeletal muscle tissue around the bones and connective tissue.  Skeletal muscle can contract, extend, maintain tone, grow in size (hypertrophy), become stronger with use, or deteriorate in size, strength and tone with disuse (atrophy).  Muscle fibers, however, cannot turn into a fat cell.  The distribution of muscle fibers and fat cells we have is genetically determined.
  2. False:  Exercising specific parts of the body can strengthen and tone the muscles in those areas, but it cannot reduce the number of fat cells located in a target area.  Fat cells can and do shrink with a proper combination of diet and exercise, but the cell itself will not disappear from the genetically positioned spot.
  3. False:  A product that is low is cholesterol doesn’t mean it is also low in fat or low in saturated fats which, if consumed in abundance, can contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels.  Although it sounds confusing, I distinguish cholesterol from fat with a word association.  Cholesterol is a sterol, fat (technically referred to as a lipid) is composed of fatty acids.  All fats contain three types of fatty acids – monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated.  Butter, Coconut Oil, Lard, Palm Oil (things that are solid at room temperature) are high in saturated fatty acids.  These are the food items that can contribute to increased blood cholesterol.  Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Safflower, Sesame, Soybean and Sunflower Oil are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids which can help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  4. False:  A person who tells you they have safely lost 20 pounds in two weeks simply isn’t telling you the whole truth.  Physiologically, if someone has lost that much weight, it is most likely a combination of water and intestinal junk that has accumulated in the system.  They could be dehydrated, starving or on a detox diet.  The weight lost is not body fat.  To safely lose one pound of body fat, a person needs to burn or expend 3,500 calories.  To lose 1.5 pounds of body fat, they would need to burn 5,250 calories.  Now imagine 20 pounds in two weeks.  That is 70,000 calories expended in 14 days.  Highly unlikely and very unsafe.
  5. False:  Beware of labels that contain the words sugar free.  It only means there is no sucrose in the product.  Other forms of sweeteners include: honey, maltose, fructose, corn syrup, molasses, dextrose and sorbitol.  These substitutes are not necessarily better than sugar.  They are all carbohydrates which contain 4 calories per gram and offer the same insulin spike as regular sugar.  If you are trying to cut back on sugar for health issues or weight loss, make sure you carefully read the food label first.