Archive for the ‘hormones’ Category

But I don’t want to bulk up!
February 1, 2011

“I have to be careful, I don’t want to bulk up.” “I was told not to do that, it’s a bulking exercise.” Statements like these continue to leave women’s lips as others encourage them to take up weightlifting. It is so commonly used; as if even looking at a dumbbell would make a woman’s muscles start to swell.

Mindsets like these could not be farther from the truth. No doubt pictures of unnaturally dark women walking around on stage with shoulders bigger than your average male have frightened the masses away from weights and into cardio based lifestyles.

The ugly truth is: unless you plan to dedicate most of your days to grueling workouts, eat a high-calorie diet along with high amounts of protein, have predisposed genetics for gaining rare amounts of muscle tissue, have unusually high amounts of testosterone or use anabolic steroids, the likelihood of you bulking up with a casual approach to weightlifting is next to none, it is impossible!

Gaining large amounts of lean muscle takes years of dedication. Even most men must be extremely patient. In fact, strength training, resistance training and weightlifting will sculpt your muscles into a fit and athletic body. At the very least it will lift and tone your body in all the right places. If by some miracle you do gain undesirable amounts of muscle then by all mean stop! Muscle, as you will soon see, is very difficult to build and very easy to lose.

Hitting the weights just might be the one thing your exercise routine is missing. Although we primarily think of building muscle while lifting weights, you might be surprised how much more fat you will lose instead. If you already are a heavyset person, I guarantee, you will shrink not grow.

Even if you are more concerned about losing fat, the advantages of using weights cannot be overlooked. If you have not read my post regarding resistance training and its affect on your metabolism and ultimately long term fat loss, check out Break through!

*Photo provided by Women On The Fence

The NO POP Pledge
October 1, 2010

I was inspired to write this post as I have seen a series of 2L Pepsi bottles finding their way back into my refrigerator. Simply outing the person responsible for this unthinkable crime just would not feel right; but I will take this opportunity to tell you… I am married.

Pop, soda, soft drink, cola, whatever you call it. Why is it so bad for you?

Most likely, if you really enjoy drinking pop, you are drinking too much. Unless drank occasionally, pop is extremely addictive, mostly because of the added caffeine, which is sad considering there are many different ways to get your caffeine fix other than drinking pop.

There are many conflicting reports about how much sugar is in pop. It is actually hard to believe that so much sugar can even dissolve in a can of pop. So just how much sugar really is in a can of pop? It is no mystery; the nutrition facts label on the back indicates plainly how many grams of sugar are in one serving. Knowing that a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams, you can then divide the number of sugar grams by 4.2, giving you the total amount of sugar in teaspoons. A can of Pepsi contains 41 grams of sugar, equivalent to 9.8 teaspoons of sugar. A can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, equivalent to 9.3 teaspoons of sugar.

That much sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies and causes mayhem on our hormones, making insulin levels skyrocket. Our entire bloodstream only contains approximately 5 grams (slightly more than a teaspoon) of glucose (blood sugar) at any given time. It is quite apparent how easy it is to upset our body’s delicate balance. With that much sugar in our system, our body will be in constant fat storage mode.

“Out of all the sweeteners in the world, nothing seems to contribute to obesity more than good old table sugar (sucrose). It is a very hard sugar for your body to handle, due to the minerals that are needed to digest it, such as chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, and magnesium. These happen to be the very minerals that are stripped from sugar during the refining process. As a result, sugar depletes the body’s own mineral reserves as it gets metabolized.

The powerful combination of glucose and fructose–such as you find in table sugar–simulates your insulin more than anything else tested. So STAY AWAY FROM REFINED TABLE SUGAR at all costs if you want to lose body fat and maintain or gain back your health.” Fat Wars

Think you are off the hook because you drink diet soft drinks? Think again!

“…most artificial sweeteners can affect your health just a negatively as sugar itself (and in some cases even more so).

These sugar substitutes didn’t exist… …therefore, our bodies don’t know what to do with them, so they treat them as a type of sugar. A number of laboratory tests confirm that artificial sweeteners can boost insulin by actually fooling the body into thinking the sweetener is sugar. And remember, it’s the insulin that causes your boys to switch into a fat-storage mode. When your insulin is stimulated, it looks for sugar. When it can’t find any real sugar from these substitutes, it ends up going after your own blood sugar, causing you to experience an energy decline and a fat-storage incline.

The ones to be extra cautious about are aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) and saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sprinkle Twin, and Sugar Twin)…” Fat Wars

It is obvious; we should not be drinking the stuff! Life can get hectic and we are not always in complete control of our circumstances. So here is what I propose…

Sign my NO POP Pledge blog post.

By doing so, you agree to keep your home a pop free zone, not willfully bringing pop into your home. Of course, there will be occasions when invited guests bring some over, when someone hands you a rum and coke at a gathering or you just might find yourself sipping a soft drink of a combo you bought at a fast food joint, but so be it.

Let’s just focus on keeping your refrigerator a pop free zone. You can sign my No POP Pledge by way of the “Leave a Response” link at the top of this post or “Submit a Comment” below.

Signed Stewy (making you healthier, one blog post at a time)

*Photo provided by deviantART user: littlexb

July 6, 2010

“Glucagon is the antagonist to insulin; when insulin levels are high glucagon is low, and vice versa. Unlike insulin, glucagon is stimulated by protein (not carbohydrate) intake. And whereas insulin is responsible for preventing blood-sugar levels from climbing too high, glucagon ensures that they don’t fall too low (like when we skip meals, exercise too much, or restrict calories too severely). Finally whereas insulin sets us up for fat gain, glucagon, via a different enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), sets us up for fat loss by triggering the release of fat from cells. Once liberated, the fat can be burned as fuel…

…As you will soon discover, the ratio of the macronutrients–protein, carbohydrates, and fat–in your diet can be more important to permanent fat loss then the overall calories you consume. Once you understand the ways in which foods control your biochemistry, you will be well on your way to victory in the Fat Wars.” Fat Wars

*Photo provided by Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

May 12, 2010

“Insulin is secreted after we eat and following periods of elevated blood sugar. Under optimal conditions, insulin is the body’s friend. It deposits that blood sugar (glucose), along with amino acids (protein), in muscle so that we can move and function. It also synthesizes chemical proteins for building enzymes, hormones, and muscles. Insulin, however, is especially sensitive to dietary carbohydrates, which are metabolized quickly into sugar…

…Carbohydrates are nothing more than various forms of simple sugars linked together in chains, which are broken apart during digestion. The faster a carbohydrate chain is broken, the faster its sugars are absorbed by the body. Carbohydrates can be classified according to the rate at which they break down in the body: the ones that give up their sugars quickest (usually highly processed white-flour and corn-based foods or junk foods) are “high-glycemic” carbs, while those that take longer to break down are referred to as “low glycemic”…

…So, what happens when there’s excess insulin in the bloodstream? …High insulin levels stimulate the most powerful fat-storing enzyme in the body; lipoprotein (LPL), which sets up your fat cells to store fat–and makes sure it stays stored. The more high-glycemic, or insulin-stimulating carbohydrates you consume, the more LPL your body secretes, and the fatter you become.

Although your body is designed to draw upon fat instead of sugar for 70% of it day-to-day energy needs, when insulin levels are high, they prevent the body from using its stored fat as fuel… In other words, too many of the wrong kinds of foods (high-glycemic carbs) can and will send a hormonal message, via the fat cells. The message? “Time to store some fat.”

…Don’t get me wrong; not all carbohydrates are bad. For optimum hormonal balance, we need to eat a certain amount of them each day.” Fat Wars

*Photo provided by Chuck Cartoons

Hormones and your fat
May 5, 2010

One of the biggest obstacles we face is we have no idea what is going on inside our bodies. Knowing what makes your body store fat or use fat as fuel was in itself the most important bit of information I have ever learned. If only I had been educated about this years ago, I would have saved myself much frustration and the effects of a few fad diets. Yet it is so very basic!

Never underestimate the power hormones have on your body, principally to fat storage or liberation. The two hormones under review are Insulin and Glucagon, which will be considered in my following two blogs…

*Photo provided by Fat Man Unleashed

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