Tag Archive | Diet

What Women Need to Know To Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Improve Performance (this one’s for you, ladies!)

With summertime and days at the beach right around the corner, this may be a time when many of you are feeling like you’re not quite bikini-ready. Some of you may have even been trying to get into shape over the winter and aren’t seeing the changes you had hoped for. I know for me, I see lots of men in the gym with toned bodies, great muscle definition and six-pack abs…and they don’t exactly seem to be going HAM to get it. I feel like I eat pretty clean and push myself, yet the results (while they are happening) are sloowwwwww. What gives?!

The thing is, women’s bodies differ significantly from men’s in terms of metabolism and somewhat in terms of exercise response. On top of that, there are considerable gender stereotypes and misconceptions that limit women’s ability to get useful advice about how to improve their physiques (i.e. the myth that lifting heavy will make you bulky and/or manly).

I found an article online by the Poliquin Group™ Editorial Staff on How Women’s Metabolism Differs From Men’s & What To Do About It that was so well written that I decided to share it with you all 🙂  They mention 5 key pieces of information that will empower you to meet your goals:

#1: At rest, women burn more glucose (carbs) than men and less fat. In addition, women tend to have greater fat storage after eating, which also contributes to their higher body fat percentage.

From an evolutionary perspective, it’s favorable for women to have more body fat because these fat stores will be used during pregnancy and lactation. Once young women become able to reproduce, their bodies will begin storing fat around the hips and thighs “locking it away” in preparation for having a baby.

The fat around the hips and thighs (called gluteofemoral fat) has a particularly high concentration of DHA, one of the three omega-3 fats. The theory is that gluteofemoral DHA fat is used to make breast milk, and that it is for the development of a baby’s brain.

Research suggests that U.S. women tend to have a low percentage of DHA in their gluteofemoral fat due to low intake of omega-3s. This typically leads to significant weight gain during pregnancy, because the woman’s brain is thought to monitor nutrient status throughout the body, sensing the low DHA stores.

This leads to excessive hunger cues, causing women to eat more, in the quest to store as much DHA as possible for nurturing an infant brain. In contrast, Japanese women have a much higher percentage of DHA in their fat due to high fish intake and are correspondingly leaner.

-!Heart Health trade Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E--561800368

I personally like this brand…high quality, low toxins, and meets recommended doses of EPA and DHA. Click photo for more info.

What To Do About It: Regardless of whether you’re planning on having a baby, get adequate DHA in your diet. Shoot for a balanced ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats by limiting your intake of vegetable fats and oils.

Make your body metabolically flexible so that it is capable of burning fat for energy. Do this by limiting carbohydrates in your diet at certain times so that your body is forced to learn to burn fat. For example, try eating lower carb on a day when you aren’t training but higher carb on workout days. Doing anaerobic-style exercise such as weight lifting and sprints also improves the body’s metabolic flexibility.

 

 

#2: Women and men burn (and store) body fat differently. Women rely on fat for fuel during exercise to a much greater degree than men. This makes exercise absolutely essential for women to lose fat because of the unfortunate fact that women burn much less fat at rest.

In addition, women store fat right below the skin (subcutaneously), whereas men have more visceral fat. Visceral fat is metabolically active and a risk for cardiovascular health and insulin resistance. Meanwhile, for women, having a reasonable amount of lower body fat indicates better health and less heart disease risk!

Women tend to lose fat from the upper body first, but have a harder time losing lower body fat. As mentioned in #1, women’s bodies preferentially store fat for pregnancy, but they also have a greater number of alpha receptors in this region than men. The combination of alpha receptors and estrogen inhibits the loss of fat. Men have a higher total proportion of beta receptors, which makes it easier for them to mobilize fat to burn it off.

To get rid of stubborn lower body fat, research shows women must perform anaerobic training. For example, a recent study found that by adding a strength program to an aerobic exercise protocol produced superior fat loss. Women who did concurrent training lost 12.2 percent of fat mass from the legs, decreased hip circumference by 4 percent, and lost 9.7 percent of the original body fat. In contrast, the women who did aerobic training lost 5.7 percent fat mass from the legs, decreased hip circumference by 4 percent, and lost 5 percent of their original body fat.

Scientists suggest that the higher intensity of resistance exercise helps to stimulate the release of body fat from fat cells so that it can be burned for energy. In addition, it’s possible (though not definitive) that estrogen has a positive effect on fat burning during exercise via a few mechanisms:

• Estrogen appears to limit the breakdown of triglycerides in the blood stream for storage.

• Estrogen enhances epinephrine production for greater fat burning.

• Estrogen stimulates growth hormone, which plays a role in fat metabolism and stimulates blood flow.

What To Do About It: Perform strength training, favoring multi-joint exercises, with a focus on lower body and total body lifts such as squats, deadlifts, step ups, and lunges. Do high-intensity interval training on a track, bike, or by pushing a sled to target the alpha receptors and enhance fat loss from the lower body.

 

#3: Stress affects women’s metabolism, inhibiting fat loss. Of course, stress affects fat loss for everyone, but it’s possible certain kinds of stress are more harmful to women than men.

Stress leads to persistent cortisol secretion, and cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar (bringing with it an insulin spike) so you have enough energy to get through a stressful situation.

When this becomes chronic, the body turns the hormone pregnenolone, which is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone, into progesterone, which is then used to make cortisol and aldosterone. Together these hormones lead to greater fat storage and more fluid retention. Not only will you have more cortisol, but you’ll have less estrogen and testosterone.

Women with lower testosterone than normal have a disadvantage when it comes to fat loss. Although elevated estrogen is not beneficial for loss, low estrogen isn’t either as we saw in #2, because it inhibits the greater fat oxidation that women experience during exercise. The body’s just not working right any more. Everything is out of whack and fat loss simply won’t happen.

What To Do About It:Find stress management strategies that work for you, whether it’s meditation, yoga, psychological therapy, or something else. (In addition, you might want to take an adaptogenic supplement if you think your adrenals are really out of whack)

Focus on optimizing your circadian rhythms. Consider that the body operates around a 24-hour circadian clock. Each person’s clock is slightly different, a trait known as chronotype or tendency toward being a morning or evening person. Chronotype reflects the time of the day that someone’s physical functions (hormone level, body temperature, cognitive faculties, eating and sleeping) are active.

When you adhere to your chronotype, you can promote balance and optimal health. When you go against the clock, the innate rhythms are disrupted. This will increase stress and make fat loss much more difficult.

 

#4: Intermittent fasting and calorie restriction tends to be detrimental for women but beneficial for men.

Intermittent fasting (IF) and calorie restriction is a glaring example of how stress negatively affects women’s metabolism compared to men. Both are metabolically beneficial for most men, allowing them to lose fat, lower inflammation, and improve disease risk factors.

However, research shows fasting is harmful for female reproductive health. Anecdotally, many women have reported that fasting has caused weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, sleeplessness, missed periods, and infertility.

Where men tend to lose fat with fasting, a large portion of women gain it. The mechanism behind this discrepancy likely has to do with how the female body responds to lack of calories. Scientists believe that calorie restriction, even sporadic restriction, causes hormonal dysregulation, and excess cortisol secretion with the body holding onto its fat stores. It’s a “protective response” as the body stores the fat for future survival when calories will be scarce.

What To Do About It: Avoid calorie restriction if you’re exercising at a high intensity or for long duration. Be very cautious with fasting. It sounds counter intuitive but if you give your body enough energy, with balanced fat, carbs and protein, your hormones will be in happy balance, stress will be lower, and your body will be more willing to give up your fat stores.

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#5: Young women have the same ability to build muscle as men. Older women appear to be at a disadvantage when it comes to building muscle.

A common belief is that women can’t build as much muscle as men because they don’t have as much testosterone. Technically this isn’t true. Recent studies show that protein synthesis and gene signaling that leads to muscle gains are nearly equal between young men and women.

However, women start out with less muscle and their bodies tend to be lighter and smaller than men’s, so increases a 10 percent increase in muscle for a woman will be smaller than a man’s in absolute terms.

In addition, very large increases in testosterone such as when a male goes through puberty or when one takes testosterone in the form of steroids do increase muscle mass. The small, transient post-workout increase doesn’t. Rather, the exercise-induced increase is thought to be linked to athletic performance.

A recent study illustrates this: Women and men performed a resistance training workout and then took a protein drink. Muscle protein synthesis was 2.3 times higher in men and 2.7 times higher in women than at rest. Men experienced a 45-fold higher increase in testosterone post-workout than the women, however this had no effect on protein synthesis or gene signaling, which are the primary factors for building muscle.

The exception is older women who have a reduced muscle building response to resistance exercise. They have lower protein synthesis than men of the same age in response to training, which appears to be maintained even when they take supplemental protein, however more research needs to be done regarding dosing.

It’s possible older women require a larger dose of protein or more of the amino acid leucine (which has been found to equalize protein synthesis in older and younger men).

What To Do About It: If you’re a woman who wants to put on muscle, you’re in luck! You won’t look like a man, but you will be able to build muscle in the same way men can. Consider this a good thing!

Do a periodized hypertrophy-style training program that favors moderate reps (8 to 12) and moderate load (65 to 85 percent of the 1RM) for a high volume.

If you just want to get lean, building muscle will help. A small increase in muscle mass will boost your metabolism significantly so you burn exponentially more calories at rest, enabling fat loss.

Use a training program that changes every 3 to 6 weeks to continually shock your body into adapting. Make sure to use heavy enough weights—one of the most common reason women don’t get results from training is that they use weights that are too light.

 

The takeaways:

  • Don’t starve yourself
  • Eat enough protein
  • Include healthy fats in your diet
  • Don’t be afraid of weights/lifting heavy
  • High Intensity Interval training is better than steady state cardio for fat loss
  • Keep stress levels under control

 

Ciao for now!

 

-E

 

 

Liquid Armor Coffee

The time has come for me to post the much anticipated (at least I’d like to think so) recipe for my delicious, and relatively nutritious, Liquid Armor Coffee!!  As I mentioned previously, this is my modified take on the over-hyped BulletProof ® coffee that has Paleo enthusiasts, cross fitters, and even just us regular folks who love a tasty cup of joe, going crazy and jumping on the buttered/oiled coffee bandwagon.

So, in case you haven’t come across the heavily promoted (and in my opinion, overpriced) recipe for this coffee that will, metaphorically, protect you from being pumped full of encapsulated explosives…here’s the scoop. Basically, you need to buy the coffee that that the BulletProof® head honcho endorses. It’s around $20 for a 12 oz bag because it’s organic and low in mytotoxins, which supposedly will make you feel better than any coffee you’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about paying extra for healthy foods if it’s going to make a significant difference, but to be honest, the coffee I buy for $6 to $8 at Trader Joe’s tastes great and makes me feel pretty darn good, and who’s to say what level of mytotoxins is in your average cup of coffee, particularly if you buy organic. That said, I will at least give credit to the Bulletproof site for mentioning tips to finding the highest performance coffee in your city if you don’t want to pay for the stuff they market on their site.

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Can you tell I love this place? haha

Anyway, the special, pricey beans are part of the deal…another ingredient you “need” is a special MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides…just scientific jargon for healthy fats) that is supposedly 6x stronger than coconut oil.  Well, at $30 for a 32 oz bottle, it’s also about 6 times more expensive than the organic, deliciously flavorful coconut oil I get at old reliable Trader Joe’s. Coconut oil is loaded with health benefits all on its own, …so I personally don’t think it’s worth the upgrade.

And lastly, the original recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee. I’ve tried my Liquid Armor using both options (unsalted butter & ghee) and I didn’t care for it. I prefer mine with straight up coconut oil, but you’re welcome to experiment and find what you like.

Now for the big reveal…my Liquid Armor Coffee Recipe!

What you’ll need:

1-2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil (can use 1 Tbsp coconut oil & 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, but I prefer just coconut oil)
8 oz freshly brewed coffee (use filtered water and, ideally a French Press, but I usually just use a regular drip coffee pot and mine tastes delicious)
Blender (I use NutriBullet)

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I always use this coconut oil, and this is one of my favorites of Trader Joe’s coffee.

The instructions are very simple:

1. Brew coffee and add to blender (yes, while hot)
2. Plop in coconut oil (and, if you would like to try it, unsalted butter or ghee)*

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Steps 1 + 2…. I know what you’re thinking…Oil? In my coffee??? But what about my milk? creamer? How will I get it the right caramel-y color??

3. Blend 20-30 seconds until frothy.
Just a tip that with the NutriBullet, sometimes the cap feels stuck after you turn it over. I think it’s a combo of heat and pressure buildup while blending. I find that turning the blender over (lid facing up) and letting it set for 30    seconds or so before opening usually does the trick!

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It will turn a lovely, creamy caramel color…and check out that foam!! 🙂 ❤

4. Pour into your favorite mug/to-go cup and enjoy an awesome tasting cup of coffee with latte-like foam that will make you feel satisfied, focused, and energized 🙂

And there you have it!

Trust me, I was skeptical myself…but now that I’ve made it, I’m hooked. It’s so delicious, natural, and satisfying, but you’ll never know unless you try it. Don’t worry, you can always go back to using the Almond Milk Creamer you just made from my recipe, but this offers a decadent and healthy variation 😉  *You can also add in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or sugar (I like brown or coconut sugar), but try it first as is because it’s so yummy, you probably won’t even want to mess with it.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your blender, give it a whirl, and let me know what you think!

Ciao for now,

-E

1200 Calories ?!?

This is a GREAT article. Couldn’t have said it better myself, which is why I’m reblogging it! “Toned” is MUSCLE, goddammit, just call it by it’s effing name! Muscle.”  🙂
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Sophieologie

I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…

View original post 2,040 more words

Want a Fast Metabolism? Avoid “Starvation Mode!”

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a fantastic start!  I’ve seen lots of new faces at my gym and hope that they can keep themselves motivated for some healthy lifestyle changes in 2014!  Weight loss, fat loss, healthier eating, and getting in better shape are often at the top of many lists of resolutions. The problem though, is that there is overwhelming and conflicting information on how best to achieve these goals. Given my professional background and personal experiences, I often have many people reach out to me for tips, tricks, and recommendations…and I’m always happy to share what I know.  One of my ongoing pleas to those who ask me (and even to those who don’t), is PLEASE DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF!!  And by starve, I don’t just mean stop eating…I also mean UNDEReating.  I’ve written before about how eating less food can cause your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy, and I recently found an article by integrative physician, Jade Teta where this process is explained both simply and thoroughly.

In the article, Dr. Teta discusses “starvation mode” (aka adaptive thermogenesis), which is the body’s natural protective mechanism developed through millions of years of evolution to keep you from starving when food was something you had to work to get. Rather than trying to paraphrase this awesomely well-written, concise article, I think I’ll just share it as is:

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Starvation Mode? What are we really talking about

We realize there is a ton of noise out on the internet regarding “starvation mode”, “metabolic damage” and “weight loss resistance”. Because of that it is difficult to make sense of what people mean by these terms.

Whether you are a lean bodybuilder, an elite athlete or your average Jane or Joe trying to lose some weight, you will be impacted by the metabolic compensation of the body. It is a natural response of the metabolism and not some crazy disease state. Here is how it works in bullets so you can easily follow the narrative:

  • You go on a diet.  By diet I mean you do some combination of “eat less, exercise more”.
  • At the start you do just fine and may actually lose a few pounds.  You’re happy. YAY!
  • A few days or weeks in and your body starts to compensate. You start feeling more hungry, your energy becomes unstable, you start getting cravings and your metabolic rate declines. This is metabolic compensation. It’s the body’s normal protective response.  Lets called this starvation mode phase 1.
  • Because of this metabolic compensation your weight loss slows, halts or, if you have a very large drop in metabolic rate and/or can’t control the hunger and craving urge, even reverses.
  • Being a good little dieter you decide to double down on the eat less, exercise more approach. You think, “I just need to work harder”.
  • Things may change briefly.  Maybe you lose a few more pounds or at least stop the weight regain.  But the body compensates again and this time more quickly.
  • Perhaps you try even harder, but the body slowly becomes more resistant to your attempts.
  • Now you are eating like a bird and spending hours in the gym and nothing seems to be happening. We call this metabolic resistance. You can think of this as starvation mode phase 2.
  • You don’t understand what is happening, but you have an iron will.  All you need to do is work harder.  You hit the internet and immerse yourself in the best “thinspiration” you can fine.  Maybe you play some Rocky theme music.  You quadruple your effort!!
  • You see some results, but now you have other worries.  You start feeling gassy and bloated all the time.  If you’re a women, your menses becomes irregular or disappears. Your libido is shot.
  • Your sleep is disrupted and you are exhausted.  You may feel a “wired but tired sensation”. You feel sick and unwell. Anxious or depressed but usually both.
  • You just can’t keep up any more. Now you are slowly gaining weight no matter how hard you try. This is metabolic damage. Phase 3 and the final stage of starvation mode.
  • You go to a physique coach.  Tell them what is going on and they say “you are in starvation mode”.  You need to eat more and ease up on the exercise.  They tell you to move from an eat less, exercise more approach to an eat more, exercise less approach.
  • Guess what happens?  You gain so much weight so fast you could swear someone stuck an air pump in you!  Not good, not good at all.  You gain 15 pounds in 7 days and feel worse than ever.
  • You go to seek answers, but no one has them. What do you do?  You go back to the eat less, exercise more model. But it still does not work and continue the cycle doing more damage to your body and your psyche.

The escape from starvation mode

Here is the information you have never been told. Your body does not work like a calculator.  It works like a thermostat.

What happens if your heater breaks in the winter and starts pushing out cold air?  You don’t turn up the fan speed do you? You turn it off and find another way to keep warm.

When you play the game described above you are playing an UN-winnable tug-o-war game. You pull as hard as you can and the metabolism pulls back just as hard or harder. So you pull even harder and the metabolism once again responds in kind.  If you keep playing this game you will end up in a heap of exhausted rubble on the ground. You can’t win this game, so stop playing. Remember that trick in tug-o-war when you were matched against a team that you knew would beat you? When they pulled, you let the rope go and they went flailing to the ground as you looked on in laughter!  That is how you beat starvation mode.

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Fixing starvation mode

Whether you are in metabolic compensation (phase 1), metabolic resistance (phase 2) or metabolic damage (phase 3) the beginning steps are the same.

You stop the eating less, exercise more approach and instead let go of the rope by matching your intake of food with your output of energy. You either 1) eat less and exercise less OR 2) eat more and exercise more.

These are your only two options, and the only way you start to decrease the stress on your metabolism while not gaining weight in the process. If you happen to have gotten all the way to stage 3, your only real option is the eat less, exercise less approach.

Steps to take

Metabolic Compensation (phase 1):  This phase is pretty easy to deal with.  Just simply move to an eat less, exercise less OR and eat more, exercise more approach. The approach you choose does not really matter. This will almost always solve the issue. Expect to be back on track within a week.

Metabolic Resistance (Phase 2): If you find yourself in this phase you will need to cycle the diet.  Spend 2-3 weeks in the eat less, exercise less phase and then switch to an eat more, exercise more approach for a time.  You will likely need to take some other steps involving rest and recovery activities like prioritizing very low intensity activity like walking and muscle regaining activity like weight training over intervals and traditional cardio. Expect to be back on track within 1-3 months.

Metabolic Damage (Phase 3):  Here you have no choice.  It’s eat less, exercise less.  It is also relaxing and restorative activity and no intense exercise or cardio.  Even the popular short intense metabolic conditioning workouts will be too much at this stage.  You will likely also need to consult with a functional medicine doctor who can evaluate thyroid, adrenal and gonadal function. This is beyond the scope of a physique coach to deal with. Supplements and or hormones may be required at this point. Expect to be back on track within 3 to 15 months (if you get the right help).

Understand-metabolism

I hope this hit home with some of you who are struggling with weight loss and educates you as to what NOT to do. I often wish I would have had this information when I was 14, before I began the slippery slope of crash dieting that would find me in a decade longs struggle with eating disorders. Then again, now that I’ve made it through to the other side and now know how to properly nourish my body, I’m grateful for my experience, as it allows me to connect with and educate others.

If anyone has any struggles, questions, or success stories about anything mentioned in this post, please feel free to share 🙂

Ciao for now,

-E

 

 

Sometimes Flu Comes Around and It Knocks You Down

Well, coming off the heels of last week’s gratitude post, I am certainly grateful for my health today! I’m back in action after being knocked down all day Tuesday with a 102h a°F fever, body ache, and chills. Yeah, super fun, right? I spent the whole day (literally) in bed just thinking how I would give anything to have my energy back and be able to do anything…like even walk to the kitchen without pain!

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I swear, when you’re chugging along, working out, with all kinds of energy and pep in your step, you start to feel invincible. Like super-human almost. Until illness or injury affects us personally, we can easily forget that the human body can, at times, be quite fragile.

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On the other hand, the fact that I’m up-and-at-’em today is also a testament to the resiliency of our bodies. I mean, just 48 hours ago, I felt like I was on my death bed, and today, I’m sipping coffee and writing this blog post! I think it certainly helps that I normally do a good job taking care of myself with plenty of rest, regular exercise, good diet, etc. And when I get sick, I take time to rest and let my body heal itself naturally. But still, I’m pretty in awe of the quick turnaround!

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Even though I felt better rather quickly, I have thought to myself about anything I could have done to boost my immune system even more to maybe prevent the next illness (especially now that it’s cold & flu season). Here’s a few I came up with:

  • On top of my typical water intake, drink 16oz extra of water per day (especially if I insist on having an afternoon cup of java!)
  • Be sure to have 4-5 servings of veggies daily, and supplement what I don’t eat with powdered Complete Greens (which actually don’t taste half bad, especially if you add them to a smoothie!)
  • MINIMUM of 6 hours per night of sleep. Not enough sleep = no gym…gotta prioritize!

What do you do to arm yourself against cold & flu season? I always love new tips 🙂

Hoping this finds you all healthy and happy!

Ciao for now!

-E

To Fast, or Not to Fast…That is the Question.

As summer comes to a close, you may be feeling like you indulged in a few too many margaritas, barbeques, and ice cream sundaes. Maybe you didn’t get out and exercise in the nice weather as much as you had planned. We live in a society of “extremes,” so it’s not surprising to me that, in the wake of the new fall season, I’m hearing talks of people “fasting” to detox and undo some of the summer over-indulgences.

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Given that there was a period in my life where I did a lot of fasting (in a very unhealthy way, and for unhealthy reasons), my initial reaction to hearing that someone is on a “water fast” makes me cringe and feel concerned. I personally feel that our bodies are perfectly equipped with organs that already do the job, removing toxins through the skin (by sweating), liver, colon, and kidneys.

That said, I do that that the typical American diet includes too much processed food, saturated fats, genetically modified products, and too much sugar. So I actually do support the idea of eating clean as a method to “detox” from all the non-foods that many of us consume. But as far as eliminating food altogether? I feel that it just sets you up for an all-out binge once you start eating again, because that’s what tends to happen after deprivation.to fast or not to fast

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WebMD seems to support my beliefs, and according to their site:

When you fast, your body is forced to dip into energy stores to get the fuel it needs to keep going, so you will lose weight. The big question is how long you will keep that weight off. Because food was often scarce for our ancestors, our bodies have been genetically programmed to combat the effects of fasting. When you eat less food, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Then, when you go back to your usual diet, your lowered metabolism may cause you to store more energy, meaning that you will probably gain back the weight you lost and possibly even put on more weight when eating the same calories you did before the fast.

As you fast, your body will adjust by reducing your appetite, so you will initially feel less hungry. But once you have stopped fasting, your appetite hormones will kick back into gear and you may actually feel hungrier and be more likely to binge.

So, in conclusion, fasting (such as with a water fast) for a day or two probably won’t hurt you if you’re generally healthy. Longer than that, though, and you start messing with your metabolism and depriving your body of necessary nutrients that it needs to survive.  And unless it’s part of your religious practices (which I completely respect), I don’t think temporarily starving yourself does much good.  I don’t know about you, but I actually like food and feel like a huge grouch when I’m hungry. If you want my advice, just cut out the crap. Yep, you heard me…lay off the alcohol and stop eating Cinnabon, pizza, Haagen Dazs, and 25-cent wings for a while. Eat fruits, veggies, healthy fats (like avocado), and drink more water and herbal tea…your body will detox naturally and you won’t have to starve yourself. Your body (and your friends, coworkers, and spouses) will thank you.

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Ciao for now!
-E

Why Has “Diet” Become a “Four-Letter” Word?

Diet

If we look at the primary definition of the word diet, it simply means- food (sidebar: as you can see, I love Wikipedia).  But with today’s focus on weight loss, most people think of a diet as a four-letter word…as a temporary/fad plan someone goes on to lose weight. These “diets” will have a certain gimmick or theme (Atkins, South Beach, etc), and are centered around temporary deprivation as a means of achieving weight loss.

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The main (and obvious) problem with these “diets” is that many simply don’t work long-term because people find them unrealistic, too restrictive, too costly, too complicated, or too inconvenient to maintain.

Most importantly, restrictive dieting (too little calories or inadequate balance of carbs, fats, and proteins) messes with your nervous, endocrine (hormones), digestive, and musculoskelatal systems. Furthermore, with regard to caloric restriction, it’s a fine line. Yes, you want to burn more than you consume, but consume to little and your body thinks it’s starving and slows your metabolism to try to conserve energy. Take it from someone who has been there, done that…temporary weight loss from a starvation/overly restrictive diet isn’t worth it. You’ll wreck your metabolism and lose lean muscle mass instead of fat.

So I’m going to tell you what you’ve heard many times before: What we need to do is reconsider the way we think about food. Rather than thinking we should temporarily go on some fad “diet,” we should be thinking about making changes that we can realistically achieve and sustain for a lifetime.

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Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life.  Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat certain foods…if you tune into it, you will realize that you have an innate intelligence about the inner workings of your anatomy. Eat what makes you feel energetic and alive.  But forget all the dieting and weight loss nonsense.  Eat for health and nutrition the majority of the time, but if it’s your birthday and you want some cake, eat some damn cake and enjoy it!  Each one of us is unique, different and truly beautiful in every shape, age, ethnicity, and any other form. Focus on health and a balanced lifestyle, not weight, and treat your body with the love and respect it deserves.

Ciao for now!

-E