My Revelation
February 26, 2011

I quickly realized that diet and exercise are two totally different worlds. I had already mastered the art of eating so as to not store up extra fat, but monitoring my food intake was not going to give me maximum health benefits and to be honest, the body I was hoping for. After several weeks at the gym I could see how much dedication was needed, thus being close to impossible to keep up with all other activities I had grown accustomed to.

I pondered these self-analyzing questions: Where am I going to spend my time? What is more important to me? What am I going to focus my energy on? Am I going to just sit here and complain about myself or actually do something about it?

I have now bought out time I was spending on other hobbies and put it toward something beneficial. It is good to reevaluate your favorite activities and see how constructive they really are! I had to cut out the majority of my old hobbies and now I can hardly recognize myself in terms of where I spend my time.

Be aware of time wasters that leave you feeling depressed and even more tired than when you started. Yes it takes self motivation to get out of the house and go to the gym. But most people do not realize that although you are exhausted after a work out, you will quickly regain needed energy to get through your day. You are left feeling alert and refreshed not drained and lethargic like you would if you had chosen to mope around the house.

I still enjoy some hobbies, but I did have to give up many of my favorite time wasters. My body is one of my hobbies now and I have something to show for it.

*Photo provided by Geek Wallpapers


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Not convinced?
February 6, 2011

This might encourage you to pick up some weights!

“It turns out that while lifters didn’t burn as many calories during their workouts as the folks who ran or biked, they burned far more calories over the course of the next several hours. This phenomenon is known as the afterburn–the additional calories your body burns off in the hours and days after a workout. When researchers looked at the metabolic increases after exercise, they found that the increased metabolic effects of aerobics lasted only 30 to 60 minutes. The effects of weight training lasted as long as 48 hours. That’s 48 hours during which the body was burning additional fat. Over the long term, both groups lost weight, but those who practiced strength training lost only fat, while the runners and bikers lost muscle mass as well. The message: Aerobic exercise essentially burns only at the time of the workout. Strength training burns calories long after you leave the gym, while you sleep, and maybe all the way until your next workout. Plus, the extra muscle you build through strength training means that in the long term, your body keeps burning calories at rest just to keep that new muscle alive.

That raises a question. What aspect of strength training creates the long afterburn? Most likely, it’s the process of muscle repair. Weight lifting causes your muscle tissues to break down and rebuild themselves at a higher rate than normal. (Muscles are always breaking down and rebuilding; strength training simply accelerates the process.)” The Abs Diet

*Photo provided by Women’s Health article: Cardio vs Strength-Training


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


Is weight training for me?
December 19, 2010

Why should we consider training with weights to strengthen our muscles?

“Weight training builds muscle mass which is ultimately the best tip for anyone seeking to lose the flab. As your body accumulates muscle your metabolic rate will increase, which in turn will help you burn more fat. End of story!” MuscleMag International

Weight training is just the ticket if we cannot picture our life without cheats. Having more muscle mass will give us more freedom to indulge; thus maintaining our figure while still taking pleasure in daily cheats. On the other hand, if we are living with minimal amounts of muscle mass then we will find our food choices much more limited.

*Photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art


Reevaluation needed?
October 15, 2010

Some researchers believe there are many benefits to eating specific fruits according to their respective season, arguing that our body is not designed to ingest certain fruits all year-round. For example, some fruits eaten out of season block your body’s ability to metabolize vitamin D. So during winter, when the sun (just one source of vitamin D for humans) is minimal, we would not be getting an adequate amount of vitamin D.

Do not get me wrong here, that could be a well-founded argument if you are prone to any vitamin deficiencies. More importantly, what poses a bigger health risk: your levels of vitamin D or being overweight?

Also, since we do not have all the time and energy in the world, where do you want to spend it?

One can easily get caught up in continually changing opinions. Fun facts might make you seem knowledgeable around your friends, but why not accept practical suggestions, ones that yield the most results. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. This is what matters most and changes ones life for the better. Start simple and work your way up, you can always fine tune later. If a few years from now you find yourself slim and trim, and maintaining your weight has become second nature, then by all means incorporate other suggestions.

Please keep things in perspective! If you find yourself worrying about your vitamin levels and passing by fruits because they are not in season, but are still throwing chips and cookies into your groceries cart, then maybe it is time for a reevaluation! First things first… let us start worrying more about loosing some weight (fat).

*Photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art


Balance
August 5, 2010

If you were to choose a diet that persuaded you to severely cut calorie intake, you would run the risk of loosing muscle mass. People are often encouraged by the quick results they see on the scale but unfortunately don’t know the negative effects of their plummeting numbers. If you restrict either calories, protein or carbs for too long, loss of muscle mass will result and inevitably will slow down your ability to lose the remaining fat. That is why so many people hit plateaus in their diets and put on more weight after. This stands to reason as they have less muscle mass than when they started their diet and therefore now have a slower metabolism.

So how do you lose fat, gain muscle, while at the same time eat enough protein while not consuming too many calories? A balancing act it can be! Your key to success is this: eat a balanced diet and incorporate weights or resistance training.



For a quick and easy way to determine your own portion size, just follow these three simple rules:

    1. Choose lean protein like chicken or turkey, approximately the size of your palm.

    2. Fill two-thirds of your plate with fresh fibrous vegetables as your carbohydrate portion. If you prefer a starchy food such as sweet potato, rice or beans, then only add a portion equivalent or slightly bigger than your protein portion.

    3. Use a half-palm measure of seeds or nuts as a fat source. Otherwise add one tablespoon of olive or flax oil over your salad or vegetables. Cut these portions in half if your protein choice is high in fat such as red meat or fish.

    Fat Wars

*These guidelines are based on a meal plan consisting of five meals a day.

If you do not like leaving things to chance and need to know exactly how much to eat, then reread my post entitled “The perfect balance!” and I will be glad to help you with your numbers.

I would recommend buying a food scale as it is the only sure way to know exactly what you are taking in. I am enjoying this model: Breville – Electronic Kitchen Scale.

All that being said, one can over complicate things which may lead to discouragement. This nicely leads us into the next subject…


*Photo provided by deviantART user: Tree-Enthusiast


Break through!
July 27, 2010

If you only remember one thing about your metabolism, remember this: Basel metabolism or resting metabolism, refers to the calories you’re burning when you’re doing nothing at all. Yes, your body needs a lot of energy just to stay alive; 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories.

This alone is huge; it’s a really big deal! Why? Contrary to popular belief, only 10 to 15 percent of your daily calories are burned through exercise. Depressing right? Yes, if you are relying solely on cardio to burn off those extra calories you consumed from last night’s dessert.

We have been trained to think backwards, and we are paying the price. Instead of thinking “How can I cut calories?” we should all be thinking “How can I eat so my body consumes more calories?” See where I’m going with this?

We just learned that metabolism means the rate at which your body burns its way through calories just to keep itself alive. So how do we obtain a calorie devouring machine? The secret is muscle. Yes, more muscle means more body mass, which in the end means your body needs more calories to keep alive and more fat is burned as fuel, even when you’re sitting on your butt. It’s as simple as that!

Your fat loss goals can only be reached and maintained if you come to terms with this fact: in the long run you will burn more fat if you implement some form of resistance training (weights) opposed to hopping around your living room in unison to a women in spandex.

I know, it’s quite the mental adjustment and it can be difficult to make the switch. GET OVER IT!


*Photo provided by Microsoft Office Online Clip Art


The perfect balance!
July 11, 2010



For those of you who are into numbers and are not intimidated by a little bit of math, the perfect balance is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. Your height and body fat percentage is also taken into consideration to calculate your daily caloric needs.







Here are what my numbers look like;



*These values are based on a meal plan consisting of five meals a day.

If you are interested in what your numbers would be, based on your specific needs, send me a request via the “Leave a Response” link at the top of this entry or “Submit a Comment” below. I will be happy to crunch the numbers for you. To do so I will need the following information: your height, weight and body fat percentage. Use this Body Fat Test to calculate your body fat percentage.


*Photo provided by BodyLogicMD’s Hormone Therapy Blog


Glucagon
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


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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