Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

Carbohydrate TimingIlovecarbs

High levels of insulin and insulin resistance puts fat burning on the back burner.  If you can limit your carbohydrates so that you are only eating them during the time periods when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest (low insulin), you will make your goal of losing fat a whole lot easier.  When are these time periods?

(1) Your first meal of the day – After a night of not eating, your insulin sensitivity is higher than normal. This is because your body has been using the glucose in your blood and the glycogen stored in your liver to maintain body functions throughout the night. Upon waking, your body’s stores of glycogen are lower – resulting in a lower amount of insulin needed to store the carbohydrates you’re about to eat.

(2) Your pre-workout meal – Most people don’t think of insulin sensitivity being high just before your workout. And really, it isn’t. However, during exercise, your insulin response is muted. Your pre-workout meal is a great time to get in some carbohydrates and some much needed energy for your workout.

(3) Your post-workout meal – Your post-workout meal is the time when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest, and it’s a great time to implement nutrient timing principles. While you work out, your muscles use glycogen to fuel your exercise. So much so, that after your workout, your muscles just soak up the glucose in your blood. Your muscles are so starved for glucose that they are able to take the carbohydrates you eat and convert it into glycogen without any real need for insulin.

Knowing that these 3 time periods are preferred for carbohydrate intake, we can then start to formulate a diet plan. Depending on your carbohydrate demand and your goals, I would prioritize my carbohydrate intake like this:

Carbs post-workout only

Carbs post-workout and first meal of the day

Carbs pre and post-workout, and the first meal of the day

If you have a stubborn metabolism and have trouble losing body fat, eat the majority of your carbohydrates post workout. This meal should consist of protein and carbohydrates and very little fat. The remaining carb-less meals should consist of protein, healthy fats, and veggies. Planning your meals this way enables you to get all the benefits from the 3 macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein).

It also puts you in a prime metabolic state to mobilize fatty acids. Nutrient timing is your answer to successful fat loss. By eating your carbohydrates at specific times of the day, you enable your body to remain in a fat burning state for a longer period of time.  If your energy is low and you feel you need more carbohydrates, add additional ones first thing in the morning.  If you workout early, then add them post-workout and before 2pm.  For those high energy, high volume exercisers, you could probably get away with all three, pre and post workout as well as first meal of the day!!!

It’s that time of year again.  Thanksgiving is upon us, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner.  Holiday festivities, parties, gatherings, and lots of processed, unhealthy food awaits.  You’ve been working hard all summer to get the physique you’ve been longing for.  Maybe you’re healthy lifestyle just started.  What steps do you need to take to insure a positive outcome? First and foremost, I would set the bar low.  Instead of continuing to try and lose weight and reduce body fat, I would suggest going for maintenance.  There are too many temptations out there to overcome.  Telling yourself that you will remain at or near a certain number until the end of the year will bode well for your confidence and allow you to pick things back up where you left off starting in January.  Doing otherwise, could set you up failure and derail your motivation.  Take these tips and begin your holiday journey:

  • Get/Stay Moving – If you are consistently going to the gym 3-4 times a week then continue doing so. If you have to miss because of a party, schedule another day/time.  If you are not currently exercising, get the blood flowing and make the commitment.  Start small, be consistent. And it doesn’t have to be structured exercise. Maybe do some extra cleaning around the house.  Take a long walk with a friend!
  • Limit Alcohol to a minimum – For many people, the holidays are a time for drinking and toasting.  The expectation is enjoy a few extra cocktails.  This is not the case if you are trying to maintain.  Have a little fun but take into consideration all the hard work you put in the previous 10 months of the year. And alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns.

Wine 4 oz glass:  62 – 160 calories
1.5 oz liquor shot:  115 – 200 calories
Gin and tonic:  280 calories
Frozen creamy drink:  800 calories
12 oz can of beer:  140-200 calories
Alcohol + carbonated drink:  200 calories/12 oz
Eggnog + jigger of rum:  343 + 97 calories
Seltzer with a splash of lime:  0 calories

  • Fruits & Veggies – Aim for seven-a-day.  Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level.  When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients.  What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods.  Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits.  Grab a bag while on the go or at work.  Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats.  You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.
  • Keep the Serving dishes off the table – This has been shown to reduce caloric intake.  Think about it, if the food is right in front of you, it is much easier to grab and eat.  But, if you have to get up and walk into another room to grab your serving, you may think twice about it.
  • Control the risk for temptation – Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake.  While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can.  For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace?  Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies?  Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. For example, make a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept solely in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices.  Mentally plan out how you will avoid tempting situations.
  • Limit to one-a-day – While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth.  If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain.  One way is the one-a-day method.  Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season.  Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising.  If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.
  • Eat Slow and Take Breaks – Studies have shown that people who scarf down their food eat up to 52% more before they feel full than those who chew small bites for at least 9 seconds.  They are also over three times more likely to be overweight according to a study in the British Medical Journal.  That’s because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’ve had enough so you get way more into your stomach.  So, chew your food a bit longer.  People who chew each bite 50 times usually feel full and stop eating after consuming less food.  Take lots of breaks and eat mindfully.  Instead of living to eat, eat to live.  Be present.  Put down your utensils or crescent roll or that drumstick between bites.  As you slowly chew your food, savor the flavor.  Breathe deeply and count to 20.  Take a sip of your beverage.  If you’re eating with others, talk to them.  You’ll get full and fully satisfied eating much less food.
  • Get More Sleep – Sleep is a major factor in weight control.  This is the time when all of your systems regulate, especially that of your hormones.  Inadequate sleep wreaks havoc to your hunger hormones.  You will not have enough discipline and willpower to overcome these hormones, trust me.   People who sleep too little, 5 hours or less each night, gain nearly 2½ times as much abdominal fat as those who sleep 7-8 hours.  This needs to be consistent as well.  Naps in the middle of the day don’t count.  Don’t take this step too lightly!

For some other Holiday Eating Tips from a previous post and a funny way to look at things, click on the link below. But, I assure you, these will probably not work that well 🙂 LOL

http://wp.me/pOgCs-4V

Research shows that people who are more physically active throughout the day can burn an extra 300 calories per day, over 12 days that can add up to an extra pound of weight loss.  Our bodies were meant to move so don’t become victim of the “sitting disease.”  By just doing a little more throughout your day you can increase the total number of calories you burn.  To accomplish this just reduce the time you spend sitting, while adding calorie burning activities to your day.  Challenge yourself to sit for no longer than an hour at a time even if that means just walking around the office for 2-3 minutes at a time.  This summer wash your own car, mow the lawn, garden or weed, get out at lunch for a brisk walk, take a bike ride, etc.

To be more in tune with how much you are really moving you may want to invest in a pedometer.  First, determine how many steps you are averaging each day.  Then,  set goals for yourself to increase those steps.  You should be getting in at least 10,000 steps a day!

Write down your goal for positive affirmation. Put it in present tense, as if it is already real and draw a picture or photograph to make it more powerful.  Pick one goal and write it on 10 sticky notes. Place these around the house, office and car to remind you of your goal and personal strength.  During moments of vulnerability we are prone to negative thoughts and mindless binge eating.

Next steps:  Share your positive affirmation with your accountability partner.  Do one thing, just small thing to help you reach your goal each day.  You can plan it out (if you are a planner) each day on a calendar.  Then you know what to do each day and you’re not scrambling or feeling overwhelmed.

Insulin – a hormone produced in the pancreas regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.  In diabetics, the pancreas produces no insulin at all, too little, or it is defective.  Only about 10% of the people with diabetes are Type I where their bodies do not produce insulin.  The majority of the diabetic population produce too little or the system is defective.  The major function of this hormone is to distribute the broken down food (glucose) to leave the bloodstream and enter the cells of the body for energy.

Obesity is the excess accumulation of fat.  The excess fat is stored in the fat cells (adipose cells), which, collectively make up the adipose tissue.  So, how does this fat get into the fat cells?  The answer is Insulin.  It’s well known that insulin stimulates an enzyme on the surface of the fat cells that moves the fat into the cell.  So, if you produce a lot of insulin, there is going to be large amounts of fats moving into the fat cells.  People always ask about the fat in their diet.  You would assume a lot of fat in your diet would increase your fat storage.  That is not the case.  Take a look at Type I diabetics.  They can have large amounts of fat in their diet and eat ravenously but cannot store fat because their bodies don’t produce insulin.  So, dietary fat, even in enormous amounts, won’t even find the way to the fat cells without insulin.  The opposite holds true for a low amount of insulin.  With it low, insulin’s sibling, glucagon, plays a role in retrieving energy from the fat cells for usage.  Problems arise when this system becomes defective, which most commonly happens when people develop insulin resistance.  Insulin talks, but the cells don’t listen.  In other words, the pancreas keeps producing insulin and the blood levels continue to rise until the cells finally get the message.  But it’s a message that has taken a lot of insulin force to deliver. 

If all the different types of cells developed resistance to insulin at the same rate, we wouldn’t have as much of a problem.  But they don’t. Different cells develop insulin resistance at different rates.  Typically the first cells to become insulin resistant are the liver cells.  The liver cells are continuously producing sugar and dumping it into the blood.  Insulin shuts this process down.  If the insulin level drops to zero, as it does in type I diabetes, the liver dumps a huge load of sugar in the blood causing all the blood sugar problems associated with this disease.  Under normal circumstances, just a little insulin stops the liver cells in their tracks.  But if these cells are resistant to insulin, much more is required to get them the message to turn off the sugar flow.

In most people, the fat cells develop insulin resistance later, which creates the problem.  If insulin levels are high to control the liver’s sugar output, then these elevated insulin levels are sending a strong message to the non-insulin-resistant fat cells.  The message is take this fat and store it.  High insulin not only drives fat into the fat cells, it prevents it from getting out.  Fat is packed into the fat cells and kept there.

Between meals when insulin levels would normally fall, allowing the fat to freely feed all the body’s tissues, insulin remains high in an effort to keep the liver in check.  Fat can’t get out of the fat cells, and the tissues begin to starve.  Even though there is plenty of stored fat, the body can’t get to it because elevated insulin is preventing its release.

Starving tissues send a message to the brain, saying ‘we’re hungry.’  The brain responds by increasing the drive to feed.  We eat, and the carbs we eat are consumed by the cells for immediate energy, and insulin stimulated by the dietary carbohydrate drives the fat into the fat cells where it is trapped with the rest of the fat already there.  The fat cell mass gets larger and larger, and we become obese.

We make too much insulin because we eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  The key is to stay away from these kinds of foods, increase your amounts of lean proteins, choose healthy fats, and moderately eat fresh fruits and vitamin packed veggies.

 

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner.  Pool season is coming upon us.  Outside events and dinner parties wearing sun dresses and shorts.  You’ve probably been going at it hard for awhile or maybe you are just starting.  Either way, right now, your decision to get lean and in shape for the warm weather is decided now.  Maybe you’ve been try to lose weight and have been working hard to sculpt those shoulders but just haven’t found the right mix to get it done.  Use these strategies as they are the Keys to Getting Lean.

  • Get the proper amount of sleep.  Aim for 7.5 hours a night.  The human body requires fuel in order to function correctly.  Just as a machine would malfunction if you take away an essential part, the body fails to operate in a competent manner if you remove an essential component. Sleep is a crucial element to retain energy and stamina throughout the day.  In addition, sleep supports the maintenance of balancing in hormone levels, which significantly affects body weight and body fat.  A good night’s sleep allows the body to restore the physical and mental stresses of the day and provides the body with the vital means to function correctly.

 

  • Be consistent. Make a commitment and continue to strive for excellence.  Even when you don’t feel like the scale is reflecting the effort you are putting in, keep pushing.  Don’t rely on a number.  Instead, base your results on how you feel with regards to energy and stamina.  The scale may not have changed but your clothes are fitting better.  Remember, this is a process and it takes time to achieve your goals.  Stay motivated and remain consistent.

 

  • Nutrition is very important.  How’s the saying go: “Nutrition is 80% of it.  Results are based on the quality of foods you put in your mouth.  Abs and lean bodies are made in the kitchen.  You are what you eat.  If you eat cookies and doughnuts, you’re physique is going to look and feel like them, soft and round.  You want results, start eating better.  Incorporate lean proteins from lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, preferably organic and wild caught.  Cut out all your sugar, bread and other processed food items from your diet.  You don’t need them.  Energy is minimal if you make those choices.  Eat a lot of veggies and fruits in moderation.   Also don’t forget your healthy fats.  Sources such as avocados, nuts, and Omega 3 oils.  Drink plenty of water.  Your body cannot burn fat without proper hydration.  Limit the consumption of alcohol.  If the liver is metabolizing alcohol, fat burning is non-existent.

 

  • Strength train 2-3 times a week.  Focus on all the major muscles groups.  Stay away from machines and use your own bodyweight, dumbbells, functional apparatus like bands, kettlebells, and the Trx.  Add a little muscle and your body becomes a more efficient fat burner.  Do not, I repeat, do not go all out on your cardio.  Chronic cardio will only raise your stress hormones.  Higher stress hormones (cortisol) cause more carbohydrate consumption.  Hormonally your body doesn’t know the difference between you having fun running on a treadmill or you fleeing a predator.  Chemically, the system sees it as a fight or flight response.  Instead, be active and do some light activity throughout the day.  Continuous movement and walking are the best ways to burn energy.  

 

  • Write stuff down. Write your goals down, write your measurements down, record your workouts, write it down or keep track of it with online tools.  There are many websites and applications you can use.  Two that I like are myfitnesspal and lose it.  Seeing your daily progress serves as an inspirational motivator.  Studies have shown better weight loss results and goal achievement with those individuals who keep a diary.

Look at this as a lifestyle, a journey with continuous change.  There will be times when you falter.  But, remember, it’s only a mere bump in the road.  Have a strong reserve and move forward with a consistent valiant effort and you will achieve excellence!

            There was an interesting quote I came across the other day that I liked regarding exercise and fitness.  I feel more people need to refocus their energies on the outcome using a macro-level approach instead of the “right now” approach.  Here’s the quote: “It’s a lifestyle- train like there’s no finish line.” When I work with clients I always try to explain that fitness and what you do with your health is an ever changing journey and that you need to adapt to certain situations day in and day out.  A lot of people begin an exercise program measuring their health and fitness levels based on a number on the scale.  Most of the time that number doesn’t measure up like they want it.  Then, the de-motivation process begins. 

            Instead of looking at exercise and healthy nutrition in this sense, look at the situation as a lifestyle and when making choices with fitness and nutrition see the body as a temple and cherish it by eating quality foods, cleaning the systems with consistent exercise, and resting with adequate sleep.  If you’re overweight and out of shape it didn’t happen overnight.  It was the collection of years of living a bad, unhealthy lifestyle, making poor food choices, and tons of sleepless nights with large amounts of stress. Check this out: If you only consumed 20 extra calories than your body needs per day, in 25 years that’s an extra 50 pounds of unwanted weight gain.  So, if you’re goal is to lose some lbs, begin the journey knowing up front that the weight loss will come in time and there is no quick fix.  It took a long time to gain so it will come off the same way.  Any right now, quick fix approach will not work in the long term.  Discipline yourself to be consistent, building upon each day in its own, making a conscious effort to adapt to pitfalls of life without losing focus on the new lifestyle you created for yourself.