diet

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Avoiding the Fat Trap

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Gastric hormones are programmed to restore fat stores after weight loss. The appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin remains high after weight loss, while hunger suppressing hormones, peptide YY and leptin, remain low. Lower leptin levels also lower one’s metabolism. The end result is more hunger and a lower metabolism.

According this NY Times article,  this state of more hunger and lower metabolism lasts a long time. A quote:

“Preliminary research at Columbia suggests that for as many as six years after weight loss, the body continues to defend the old, higher weight by burning off far fewer calories than would be expected.”

Well, it’s no wonder; a study that examined 60 years of trials found the common dieting outcome is weight regain or trivial loss.

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60 years of trials: Most common dieting outcome is weight regain or trivial loss

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From this article, Oprah’s Investment in Weight Watchers Was Smart Because the Program Doesn’t Work, a quote:

“My lab reviewed 60 years of clinical trials of diets, and we found that people lose an average of 10 percent of their starting weight on most diets but within two to five years have gained back all but about two pounds.  So, in reality, despite the short-term effectiveness of certain diet regimes, the most common outcome of dieting itself, by a landslide, is either weight regain or trivial weight loss".

A diet is not a permanent fix. Three life style changes that are sustainable:

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A study: Strength training plus additional protein results in fat loss and added muscle

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The body makes adaptations to survive. Don’t eat enough and the body will catabolize calorie-consuming lean body tissue to lower your metabolism. Lift weights and the body will build lean muscle and raise your metabolism. In order for that to occur sufficient protein must be consumed. To fight the resulting lower metabolism of a restrictive diet it makes sense to lift weights and consume adequate protein to keep your metabolism up.

From this study, More Protein Combined With Exercise May Lead to Weight Loss and Muscle Gain | McMaster University Research Snaps this quote:

“Weight loss regimes that involve a low-calorie diet result in a major loss in fat mass, but can also cause a loss in muscle mass.”

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60 studies say exercising is not the key to weight loss

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The opening lines from this article, Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies:

"'I'm going to make you work hard', a blonde and perfectly muscled fitness instructor screamed at me in a recent spinning class, 'so you can have that second drink at happy hour!'

At the end of the 45-minute workout, my body was dripping with sweat. I felt like I had worked really, really hard. And according to my bike, I had burned more than 700 calories. Surely I had earned an extra margarita."  

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The top twenty highest calorie burgers

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From this article, The most caloric burger at 20 chain restaurants, a partial list of calorie-dense burgers:

# 1 Johnny Rockets Bacon & Cheddar Double Cheeseburger
Calories Per Serving: 1,770 cals

# 8 Burger King Triple Whopper Hamburger
Calories Per Serving: 1,160 cals

# 10 Whataburger Chop House Cheddar Cheeseburger  
Calories Per Serving: 1,100 cals

# 19 McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder Cheeseburger
Calories Per Serving: 740 cals

There is trade-off with a steady diet of these burgers: The enjoyment of consuming them versus the eventual health problems, maybe not this year or next, but eventually.  You pays your money, you takes your chances.

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Changing perceptions: From fit to fat in an instant

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You are getting stronger and a bit heavier; surely most of that weight is muscle. Some refer to this phenomenon as bulking up. You might subconsciously have a bias when you look in the mirror, as you stand a little straighter, you suck your gut in a bit, and square your shoulders. You could be fooling yourself. 

Several years ago I used to weight myself at the health club where I worked. I was the heaviest I had ever been. No problem, I was the strongest I had ever been. Instead of asking if I once played basketball people would ask me if I had played football.

Shortly after that I went to work at a different health club. They had no scale, but when they did get one I was told it was five pounds off. The scale indicated 250, so I subtracted five pounds to get 245 pounds. I had gained an additional five pounds. Still no problem, I was bulking up and getting stronger.

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Eggs can quell your appetite

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According to the Harvard School of Health:

“A solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet. Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption—up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals.”

The key words there are "most people" and “healthy individuals” – no diabetes or history of heart disease.

When eating eggs I feel full longer.  I thought it was just me, but studies confirm that eggs will help to quell your appetite. The article, Is it OK to eat eggs every day?, addresses the myths regarding cholesterol and eggs and mentions two studies on eggs and satiation.

One study: “They also ate less at lunch and dinner after having the egg breakfast as opposed to the other breakfasts.”

The other study: “Eggs for lunch could increase satiety more than a carbohydrate meal and might even help reduce between-meal calorie intake.”

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Why Hot Dog Flavored Chips? There is a reason.

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I tried some hot dog flavored chips and damn, if they didn’t taste just like hot dogs. There is a wide variety of flavored chips choices to choice from - beet root to ham and cheese and even white chocolate. It is not just chips that have bizarre offerings – it’s fast food outlets and other restaurants with nuggets, French toast sticks, and the like.

The food designers work to create the combination of attributes that will keep us eating their concoctions. From this article Addicted to Junk Food? It’s Not Your Fault this quote:

“There are specialized food-science experts who engineer processed foods to deliver the right amount of salt + fat + sugar and crunch to disrupt the body’s natural controls on overeating to make people feel hungrier and unsatisfied.”

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Losing weight and keeping it off - what you are up against

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This New York Times article, The Fat Trap, explores how people lose weight, but almost without exception, gain it right back.

In one study, 50 obese men and women consumed just 500 to 550 calories a day for eight weeks and lost an average of 30 pounds. A year after the study, subjects had regained an average of 11  pounds and reported feeling far more hungry and preoccupied with food than before they lost the weight.

Yeah, I know the diet was too restrictive, but regardless, it is interesting to note what is going on hormonally. A quote from the article:

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Three different diets, equal in calories, three vastly different results

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This New York Times article, What Really Makes Us Fat, discusses the result of a study that produced surprising results.

The experiment: Three separate groups on three different diets stuck to a diet for a month. All subjects consumed the same amount of calories.

Diet 1: A high-carbohydrate low-fat diet - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein.

Diet 2: A low glycemic index diet - fewer carbohydrates in total - non-starchy vegetables, beans, and minimally processed sources.

Diet 3: The Atkins diet - high in fat and protein and very low in carbohydrates.

Results: The fewer carbohydrates consumed, the more energy was expended.

A quote from the article:

“On the very low-carbohydrate diet, subjects expended 300 more calories a day than they did on the low-fat diet and 150 calories more than on the low-glycemic-index diet.”

And another:

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