So, if your diet consists of coffee and toast for breakfast (or gasp- you skip breakfast altogether), a sandwich for lunch, then a jolly ole feast for dinner, try this for a weight loss method: reverse it! That doesn’t mean that you need to roll out of bed and make supper-type foods for breakfast. Most of us wouldn’t find that appetizing. It just means that you should reverse your meal sizes, where breakfast is your big meal. You have your entire day to work off those calories, so bring on the hearty breakfast! By mid-day, you still have plenty of running around left to do before the day is done, so go ahead and indulge in a reasonable lunch. By supper time, though, your clock is about all ticked out. You’re getting quite close to hitting the sack for the night, so simmer down on the portion size for this meal. With the reverse diet, you may very well still consume the same number of total calories that you are right now, but by reversing the time of day that you consume the majority of those calories, you should see a change in the right direction on the scale. Skeptical? Give it a try for 3-weeks. Post comments on your experience with that! Think “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a squire.”
Archive for May, 2010
You can tell yourself all day that you want to lose weight… you’d like to lose weight… it’d be great to lose weight, but until you are honest with yourself about what that will take and the sacrifices you’ll have to make, you’re going to be stuck in you snug britches. This exhaustive list of 101 ways to lose weight will not do you a hill of beans of good if your desire to maintain your current lifestyle outweighs your desire to get lean. Thinking about wanting to lose weight will not change anything, if your actions and thoughts are not in sync. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep seeing what you’re seeing. You need to take a true look at the status quo and compare that to a weight loss initiative. If, right now, there are more pros in continuing to live exactly the way you are living, okay. That’s right, I said OKAY. That just means that you are not ready to make a change right now. Re-assess in 3-weeks.
Here’s how to create a pros/cons list.
Make a four quadrant chart with the following information:
(examples for this quadrant)
I get to eat all the foods I like, and as much as I want.
I am comfortable with my food patterns.
I enjoy sitting around and not exercising.
(examples for this quadrant)
I am not a good role model for my children.
I have no sex drive.
I really dislike what I see when I look in a full-length mirror.
(examples for this quadrant)
I think I will feel better about myself.
I think I will lose weight.
I think reducing my serving sizes will prevent this bloated feeling.
I think exercise will give me more energy and patience with my kids.
(examples for this quadrant)
I don’t think I will like the foods as much.
I would have to get used to eating new foods.
I think this new way of eating will be more expensive.
I will have to pre-plan my meals.
I think my body will be sore and achy from exercising.
By taking an honest look at your finished pros/cons list, you can assess whether you are equipped to explore the next step: designing a plan. The other 100 entries will help you with that, but this particular tool will determine whether you’re ready to go there or not. If you find that the pros to change significantly outweigh the pros not to, I suggest that you print out your pros/cons list and tape it to the refrigerator, pantry, and the clothes drawer that contains your workout clothes. Let that list be a reminder that you are NOT okay with keeping on keeping on the way you have been. Let that list be a reminder that you chose to venture down a new path, and ain’t nothing in that refrigerator gonna stop you!
Cause you never know when or where that little bugger is going to show up.
I am going to do my best to sum up different diet pills in one blog post, but let me tell you, this is a challenge!
The search is on to find a safe and effective drug solution to the problem of obesity. The ideal drug needs to be safe, free of undesirable side effects and abuse potential, and effective in reducing body fat. To date, that particular product does not exist. Moreover, this pill, when created, should not be the solution that moderately overweight (or those who perceive themselves as overweight, but really aren’t) turn to. Doctors are working ferociously to find a safe drug for OBESE people! If your BMI is less than 30, you are not obese, and your “magic pill” to losing weight lies in this simple prescription: move more and eat less! But hear me on this: the diet pill industry is a multi-BILLION dollar industry. I am hoping that this blog helps you to be better informed so that you know a gimmick when you see one.
Stimulant drugs, such as the amphetamines Dexedrine and Benzedrine, can suppress appetite and thereby cause a drop in food intake. However, their effects are short-lived. A person’s appetite will return to normal within a few weeks. The drugs can be addictive and leave the dieter with another problem: how to get off of them without gaining more weight.
Another class of drugs, chemically similar to amphetamines, are the agents that enhance the release of serotonin. These are typically nonaddictive. These drugs will curb the appetite. That typically means a reduction of food intake. Unfortunately, two drugs primarily in this category were pulled from the market in 1997. Those drugs are dexfenfluramine (Redux) and fenfluramine (Pondimin). Either of the pair was often prescribed in combination with a third drug: phentermine (aka “fen-phen”), which further suppressed appetite. These agents truly were effective at increasing the production of serotonin in the brain and thus suppressing appetite. Redux and Pondimin were pulled by the FDA when it was discovered that that patients taking the drugs were at increased risk of developing potentially fatal heart valve damage and elevated blood pressure in the lungs (known as pulmonary hypertension). Before 1997, the FDA had approved the use of these drugs, but NOT in the way that many physicians had prescribed them: for long-term periods, by people who were NOT obese.
Phentermine (Adipex-P or Fastin), which raises the level of norepinephrine, signals satiety, and acts as a stimulant to increase the rate at which you burn calories, is still available for use.
In 1998, the FDA approved sibutrmine (Meridia), another appetite-suppressant. Meridia enhances the effects of serotonin by slowing the body’s breakdown of serotonin it naturally produces. Side effects include dry mouth, insomnia, and high blood pressure. People who are NOT obese should not use this drug.
A different class of weight-loss drugs are the lipase inhibitors. Approved for use in 1999, Orlistat (Xenical) acts by inhibiting the enzymes- gastric and pancreatic lipase- needed for fat digestion. Xenical binds to the enzymes and makes them unavailable to digest dietary fat. Since fat absorption is reduced by as much as 30 percent, people lose weight. Side effects include bloating, gas, and anal leakage of undigested fats in people who do not adhere to a low-fat diet. Since Xenical may block the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, users are advised to take a multivitamin supplement. The drug is ONLY intended for OBESE people!
One over-the-counter appetite-suppresant ingredient, currently approved by the FDA without a prescription, is the anesthetic benzocaine. Benzocaine is usually found in gum or candy form. It acts by numbing the taste buds and other sensory signals, thereby reducing the desire for food. The safety and effectiveness of this drug as well as a host of new (proclaimed) weight-loss drugs is a matter of ongoing research by the FDA.
Numerous other diet aids on the market include products with mysterious sounding ingredients, such as spirulina, inositol, chromium picolinate, ginseng, and numerous other. Manufacturers suggest such products can aid in weight loss, but their ingredients often serve as little more than fillers. To date, none have proven effective in aiding weight loss. For example, manufacturers of products that include chromium picolinate praise its drug-like abilities to reduce body fat, build lean tissue, suppress appetite, and increase metabolism. This implies that our diets lack chromium. Chromium Picolinate has not been approved for weight loss by the FDA, and there is no scientific data to back these claims.
I will dive into herbal supplementation in a future post on our countdown. This particular post was intended to focus on pills. I hope that it has helped to shed a little bit of light on a subject that most of us have been in the dark on!
Most of us find that we can eat perfectly fine for most of the day, but late at night comes a diet catastrophe. Alcohol can certainly do it’s part to contribute (cause most of us eat while we drink), but even sans the booze, night time is when most people struggle with resisting the urge to snack… and snack and snack and snack. This is the very worst time to be loading up on calories, because you are getting ready to lie dormant for 7-9 hours (if you are getting adequate sleep). Even the most conditioned athletes, the people that I call “fat-burning machines,” would not be able to prevent weight gain if they eat a lot before going to sleep for the night. If you are a late night snacker, and the thought of cutting off food 3 hours before bedtime sounds impossible for you, begin with small steps. Start by restricting food 1-hour before bed. Try to sustain that for three weeks. Then up that to 2-hours before bed. Try to sustain that for three weeks. Finally, up it to 3-weeks and sustain that indefinitely. There will be nights where you slip up, and once in a while is okay. Just try to stick with fasting a few hours before bedtime most nights of the week, then if you slip here and there, fahgitaboutit! Cut yourself some slack, but get right back on track the next night.
On this end, I have to quote a guy from a bar. Picture this: It’s 2001. I was in college, hanging out at a local bar when the campus Casanova came over and started hitting on me. “You have a girlfriend,” I said to him. His response: “Same ole cracker gets stale.”
SAME OLE CRACKER GETS STALE! It’s a terrible thing to say about your partner, but it’s a perfect thing to say about an old workout routine!
When you start a new workout program, your body is shocked. That is why you see and feel results in the beginning. Over time, though, your body memorizes that old routine. It gets it; it’s over it; it’s not responding to this workload… the same old cracker has gotten stale, my friend! In order to get back to results stage, you need to change one of the following:
the frequency (how many times per week you do this workout), the intensity (how vigorous the workout level is), the time (how long you sustain the workout), or the type (what mode of exercise you are doing).
I see a lot of people get to the stale point with jogging. They jog 2-3 miles at a comfortable pace 4-5 days a week. Sounds good, and it is at first, but over time, your body adjusts and that mileage and exertion level become easy breezy. Ways to shock your body if the workout above is your stale routine may be to back off to 3-4 days a week, and on those days, instead of doing 2-3 miles of an easy jog, maybe you make one day a 1-mile run at the fastest possible pace you can run; one day an interval day of 2-minutes jogging followed by 1-minute of sprinting for 10 rounds; one day a long jog for longer than your “stale routine” consists of (in this case, up your distance to 4-5 miles on the long jog day); then one day doing a completely different mode of exercise, like cycling for 45-minutes. You have to make these types of changes in order to keep your body guessing. That being said, it is going to feel weird. If you have established a habit of doing a certain workout, it’s going to be hard to say ‘sayonara’ to that familiar program and move on to something new. Mentally, you will have to let go of the attachment to your old routine. You have to accept that without changing to something new, you cannot continue to lose weight. Your time is valuable; don’t waste it on an old routine that doesn’t bring you results.
Shake up your stale routine, shock your body, and get a new box of fresh crackers.
Keeping a diet and exercise journal seems like it would be an easy thing to do. In fact, most folks would say that they could tell you at the end of the day exactly all that they ate in that day. No, they can’t, and no, it ain’t easy. When keeping a log, you become aware of things you otherwise consume mindlessly: a stick of gum, cream in your coffee, and oooh man- how many tortilla chips you eat when they are served at restaurants before the meal. Moreover, a diet journal should be more than just “a piece of chicken and peas.” A record that broad is worthless. In order for that entry to be useful, you would need to include the serving size, seasonings, and method of cooking. So, with the example above, a revised entry that would be useful for weight management is “a 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned with 1 clove minced garlic, 2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, juice from 1/4 of a lemon. Pan seared in 3 T. olive oil. 1/2 cup of frozen peas, boiled, then seasoned with 1 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, and 1 T. butter.” That’s the attention to detail that makes keeping a diet journal laborious. Like all hard work, though, it pays off! When you have to write down everything that goes into your mouth, you become very choosy about what you eat. When you know that adding salty and/or fattening seasonings to your meal means that you have to see that junk staring you in the face on your food log, you’ll think twice about how much butter, lard, oil, and salt that you cook with. You’ll think twice about cooking methods, too. Let me reiterate, a broad diet journal is of very little value. Be as specific as possible! When I record a turkey sandwich, it’s “2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread, 2 T. mustard, 1/2 sliced medium tomato, 1/4 c. spinach leaves, 3 oz. swiss cheese, 3 slices Boars Head reduced sodium turkey breast (about 4 oz.).” That is the kind of detailed information you need to really see physical changes from keeping a food log.
For calorie count and nutritional guidance, enter your food log at www.livestrong.com. You can even access this on your mobile phone!
Many hormones are affected by sleep, but three that I will focus on are leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol. Leptin and ghrelin influence appetite. Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows that the day after always feels discombobulated. Nothing you eat seems to satisfy you, and no matter how much you eat, you don’t feel full. Leptin and ghrelin are responsible for this. Ghrelin, produced in the GI tract, is the hormone that rings the “I’m hungry” siren to your brain. Insufficient amounts of sleep result in higher amounts of ghrelin. (So, “I’m hungry” keeps resounding in your brain like a broken record). Leptin, produced in the fat cells, is the hormone that sends the “I’m full” message to the brain. Insufficient amounts of sleep result in lower amounts of leptin. Likewise, with reduced leptin hormones, you are incapable of feeling satisfied after a meal. So, due to low leptin, nothing you eat seems to satisfy or fill you up. To add insult to injury, not only are your appetite hormones (leptin and ghrelin) out of whack, but sleep deprivation also stimulates higher releases of cortisol. Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, is a stress hormone. The highest concentration of cortisol receptors are in the abdominal area. So, when you are under stress, cortisol levels rise and they bind to the areas with the most receptors. There is a linear correlation with higher cortisol and belly fat. You cannot skimp on sleep, but try to convince your body that it is not under stress. The fact that it hasn’t been able to rest is an obvious stressor. Moreover, chronically high concentrations of cortisol trigger lower release of dopamine and sarotonin. Dopamine and sarotonin are your “feel good” neurotransmitters. Less dopamine and sarotonin mean that you will feel lousy. You’ll likely turn to high fatty, salty, and sugery foods to try to feel better (since those devilish foods stimulate a dopamine release). That takes us back to leptin and ghrelin. You eat these unhealthy foods to try to feel better, but low leptin prevents you from feeling satisfied, and ghrelin says “keep eating; I’m still hungry.” Sleep deprivation and disruption absolutely affect your weight and body fat!
Of the 101 surefire ways to lose weight, simply getting more quality sleep could be the easiest step of all!
We’ve all been in the situation where you aren’t hungry, but a loved one serves you something to eat. You didn’t ask for it and you don’t want it, but you feel obligated to eat it. So you do. What message does that send to the giver? You like it! So he/she will keep doing it. You aren’t doing anyone, especially your body, any favors by eating to be nice. The best thing that you can do if you have a family member that insists on putting food in front of you is honestly tell them that you are not on “a diet,” but that you are trying to change your eating habits so that you can live a healthier life*. Chances are that this family member will applaud your initiative and back off. If he/she doesn’t, and the savory treats keep appearing before you, just know that you have done your part to be polite, and now you can let the food sit there. You and I both know that it’s hard to let good food stare you in the face, so you will need to prepare yourself for this scenario in advance.
*Loved ones who have established a habit of demonstrating their love through serving savory foods may need you to kindly remind them that you’d rather they not do this for you. If they continue this behavior after you have asked them to stop, they may not be intentionally resisting your request. It may be that they are so accustomed to demonstrating their love in this way that it is difficult for them to remember that you asked them to quit.