#37 on the 101 Legit Ways to Lose Weight countdown focuses on one of the major reasons for weight gain: emotional eating. “HALT” is an acronym to remind you that before you put anything in your mouth, you should ask yourself this question: “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?” If the answer is anything besides hungry, proceeding with popping food in your mouth makes as much sense as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. Eating is the answer for hunger, alone. Meditating, walking, exercising, speaking with a therapist, taking a hot bath, or praying may be potential answers for assuaging intense emotions. By taking a step back before putting food in your mouth to make yourself “HALT,” you can prevent weight gain caused by emotional eating.
Archive for August, 2011
I am beyond excited to announce that on the day after Christmas, the GoFit FitLog by Brook Benten will hit Target stores, nationwide! This 245-page book gives you nutritional guidelines, then 3-months worth of pages for recording your daily diet and exercise. Look for the GoFit FitLog in Target stores on December 26.
August 2011 has been MY month! By closely watching everything I’ve eaten and exercising a lot (you know my mantra: “more cardio, less lardio”), I have gotten into the best shape of my life. There is a favorite workout that I have done daily, and I’m super excited to share it with you. Since I have performed this workout so many times, I have coined it “the Brook Benten.” I chose incline walking, because I have a hamstring injury that limited me to no more than 12 miles per week of running, per orthopedic’s orders. Incline walking gives me all of the workout of interval running, without the impact on the joints or aggravation of the hamstring muscles. Here is the “Brook Benten”!!!!
Treadmill: set the speed to 4.0 MPH; begin with 0 incline and raise the incline every 3-minutes. Once you get to incline 11.0, reduce the speed to 3.5 MPH. Continue to perform this drill through incline of 15.0. Upon completing 3-minutes on incline of 15.0, begin descending at intervals of 2.0 for 2-minutes each. Holding on to the unit with your hands is not intended; pump your arms by your sides.
To be specific, here is the 60:00 breakdown:
0:00-3:00 0 incline, 4.0 MPH
3:01-6:00 1 incline, 4.0 MPH
6:01-9:00 2 incline, 4.0 MPH
9:01-12:00 3 incline, 4.0 MPH
12:01-15:00 4 incline, 4.0 MPH
15:01-18:00 5 incline, 4.0 MPH
18:01-21:00 6 incline, 4.0 MPH
21:01-24:00 7 incline, 4.0 MPH
24:01-27:00 8 incline, 4.0 MPH
27:01-30:00 9 incline, 4.0 MPH
30:01-33:00 10 incline, 4.0 MPH (in my opinion, this is the hardest one of the whole workout)
33:01-36:00 11 incline, 3.5 MPH
36:01-39:00 12 incline, 3.5 MPH
39:01-42:00 13 incline, 3.5 MPH
42:00-45:00 14 incline, 3.5 MPH
45:01-48:00 15 incline, 3.5 MPH
48:01-50:00 13 incline, 3.5 MPH
50:01-52:00 11 incline, 3.5 MPH
52:01-54:00 9 incline, 4.0 MPH
54:01-56:00 7 incline, 4.0 MPH
56:01-58:00 5 incline, 4.0 MPH
58:01-60:00 3 incline, 4.0 MPH
I end the workout there, because Lifefitness treadmills are pre-programmed by the manufacturer to shut down after 1-hour. If you are utilizing another type of treadmills, feel free to continue the workout for another 3-minutes in order to wrap up an additional descent at a 1 incline, 4.0 MPH.
Not all workouts are suited for all people. For your safety, please consult your physician before begin this or any workout routine.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of training under Tony Horton at a fitness convention. We were in the middle of one of his signature P90Xish exercises when he looked around the room and shouted, “Stop. Making. Exercise. SERIOUS!” Indeed, most of us are guilty of taking the workout entirely too seriously. I observed this same behavior yesterday when I was at the gym. One of my favorite workouts is hill walking on a treadmill. As I trekked along, I looked around at all of the people around me. They were killing it on elipticals, bikes, and other machinery, but to look at them, you’d think that this was something they did for punishment. Exercise is a gift; a brief period of the day when we can escape the world and all the stress in it. We should exercise with joy, freedom, and an overwhelming sense of fun! When I power walk my hills on the tread, I literally mouth along the lyrics to the songs I’m listening to… and by mouth, I mean, head pops, facial expressions, and full-out Milli Vanilli style concert. Some of you may have witnessed me doing this at Pure Austin Fitness, and thought I may be mildly retarded… but that, my friends, is making exercise fun. Life is too short to take everything so seriously. Lighten up and let the good times roll.
“Turn on the Radio” by Reba McEntire
“A Little Want To” by Reba McEntire
“All the Woman I Am” by Reba McEntire
“Long Live” by Taylor Swift
“Today was a Fairytale” by Taylor Swift
“Best Days of Your Life” by Kellie Pickler
“Only Prettier” by Miranda Lambert
“Heart Like Mine” by Miranda Lambert
“Good Times” by Charlie Robison
“Oh, Tonight” by Josh Abbott Band
“Firecracker” by Josh Turner
“Old Hippie” by The Bellamy Brothers
“Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” by Jerry Jeff Walker
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
On two other blog posts, I have countdowns of the best music for cardio and strength. None of these songs are on either of those lists. I don’t believe these are the most motivating songs for everyone, so they won’t make any of those top hit countdowns, but they are the most motivating for ME. Find the songs that get your motor running, and HAVE FUN!!!!
After food passes through your chompers, it spends a few seconds of happy time on the taste buds, takes a ride down your throat, and then is eventually broken down into glucose. Glucose is absorbed through the wall of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. Glucose enters the bloodstream, but it cannot enter a cell because it cannot break through the cell wall. The pancreas must release insulin, which then escorts glucose into the cells. This process happens with every food you eat, whether it’s slow cooked oatmeal or Fruity Pebbles cereal! The difference is, with the sugar-charged cereal, the carbohydrates are easily broken down into glucose and there is a rapid increase in the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. This prompts a rapid and large release of insulin. The pancreas releases so much insulin that glucose rushes into the cells, like a lady to a sale rack. Since the glucose has taken a new home, into the cells, the glucose left in the bloodstream is extremely low. This condition is called hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. When you feel a grumbling in the tummy, and receive an “I’m hungry” signal to the brain, chance are, you are hypoglycemic, and you need to eat to elevate your blood sugar. Different foods are absorbed at different rates. The rate at which the glucose goes from the blood into the cells is determined by the amount of insulin released, and all of this makes for what is called the “glycemic index,” or GI. Foods low in glycemic index are typically broken down slower and insulin is released over a longer period of time, in lower volumes. This is good! Foods high in glycemic index are broken down rapidly, and insulin is released quickly and in high volumes. This is bad. Foods highest in glycemic index are simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, sugar, fruit juice, soda, sugary breakfast cereal, etc. Complex carbohydrates, such as 100% whole grains and most vegetables, are low in glycemic index. Fats are low in glycemic index, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to eat butter to your heart’s content. Fats are high in calories (9 kcal per gram, as opposed to 4kcal per gram of carbs or protein), and should not consume more than 35% of your diet. Proteins are higher GI than most fats, but lower than most carbohydrates. The best thing you can do for your body is try to eat to keep blood sugar relatively stable, and that means creating meals and snacks throughout the day that have a complex carb, protein, and healthy fat trio. I call that the P-C-F balance. Eating in such a way will lift your blood sugar, but not to dangerous heights as is done with simple sugar- only to take it away and leave you famished. It will lift blood sugar up to a sustainable height and keep it there for a while. The different GI of the different macronutrients will help to slow the release of insulin and absorption of glucose by the cells. So, eating a piece of whole wheat toast (carb) with one slice of turkey breast (protein) and ¼ avocado (fat) all at one time would be a fantastic meal! That’s an example of P-C-F balance. It would keep you satiated for about 4-hours. Eating a piece of whole wheat toast at 7am, a piece of turkey at 8am, and ¼ avocado at 9am would not have the same effect. I have attached a chart so that you may better understand what happens with blood sugar with each macronutrient, and why it is advantageous to create meals and snacks with P-C-F balance.
Eating this way will allow you to beat hunger, and actually lose weight without starving yourself. Be mindful of calories of each food you consume, but try to eat a P-C-F meal or snack every 3-4 hours. At the end of the day, carbohydrates should have made up 45-65% of your diet (mostly from complex carbohydrates), protein should have made up 10-35% of your diet (from lean sources of protein), and fat should have made up 20-35% of your diet (from unsaturated fat sources). For weight loss, you must calculate the total number of calories required each day in order to achieve your goals; do not exceed that number. Eating P-C-F in every snack/meal does not give you permission to eat “more;” it’s giving you the education on how to eat smarter. Keep in mind that 3,500 calories equals one pound of body fat. If you aspire to lose one pound each week, figure out how many of the 3,500 calories will be burned through exercise; the remainder will need to be lost from reducing calories consumed from food. Be wise in pre-planning your meals and snacks. Keep lots of fiber, lean protein, and healthy fat in stock, and use the P-C-F balance to lose weight and feel steadily energized throughout the day!
I’ve had a handful of clients tell me that they don’t like fruits/veggies and would just rather take a supplement pill. Fruits and vegetables can kill free radicals, help your body function better, and prevent chronic diseases. Americans are suckers for a supplement, but let me explain why a pill cannot provide the same benefits that you get from real fruits and vegetables. There are thousands of phytochemicals in plant foods we eat and only a portion of these have been identified, so it is not possible to replace the goodness your body can get from real foods with a supplemental pill. Because we know that these thousands of chemicals exist in a single piece of fruit or vegetable- yet scientists have not even discovered what all of them are- to try to capture individual vitamins into a capsule is not possible. Can you isolate individual chemicals and expect the compound to work independent of all of the other phytochemicals that were in the whole food? No. It doesn’t work like that, but the $20 billion (largely unregulated) supplement industry wants you to think it does. They slap a picture of whole fruits and vegetables on their product labels to deceive you in to thinking that popping that pill is just like eating those plant foods on the label. Be smarter than the average bear; increase your consumption of real plant foods.
A great way to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption is to toss several in a blender together, liquify them together, and voila! This process takes all of 60-seconds from start to finish. One of my favorite blender concoctions is a drink I just refer to as “green juice.” This drink is a nutritional powerhouse. Do not peel the skin off of the cucumber; the skin contains fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Do not discard the leaves from the celery; celery leaves are rich in vitamin A. Simply wash your veggies, and toss them in whole!
1/4 c fresh orange juice (from fresh oranges, using a citrus juicer)
1 handful fresh spinach leaves
1-2 stalks celery
3 broccoli florets (feel free to add more; I just find more than this overpowers the other tastes)
1/2 c. ice cubes
Blend on high until you have a liquid consistency.
Homemade juices, like this, are vastly different than commercial juices that you can buy at any 7-11. Vegetable juices, like “V8,” use a process where water is removed and then added back in; this process likely means the loss of natural enzymes and phytonutrients. Also, commercial fruit and veggie drinks are often loaded with sugar or salt, ambiguous “natural ingredients,” a few things that you cannot even pronounce, and preservatives. Although these drinks may be a better alternative than grabbing a slurpee, your healthiest option is to whip up your juices at home in your blender/juicer from whole fruits and vegetables and/or just eat the plant foods whole.