|You’ve been sticking faithfully to your calorie range and exercise plans for awhile now, but you’re not seeing the results you want on your scale. Meanwhile, your weight -loss buddy is happily watching the pounds melt away week after week. Not fair!Or maybe you’re losing weight but not from the areas where you really want to shed some fat. (Skinny feet are nice, but not so much when your muffin top is still as big as ever.) And then you have that other friend who can eat anything and everything without gaining a pound, while just watching him or her eat seems to make you gain weight.What’s going on here? Why don’t your efforts seem to be paying off while weight loss seems so easy for other people? Is there anything you can do to get better results?
Sometimes there is a simple, general reason why one person loses weight faster than another. For example, men tend to lose weight more quickly than women, mainly because most men naturally have more lean muscle mass (thanks to their higher testosterone levels), and more muscle translates into a faster metabolism. Men and women also tend to store excess weight in different places—men in the abdominal area (“apple” body type), which is usually easier to lose; women in the hips and thighs (“pear” body type), which is usually harder to take off.
People who have more weight to lose may also drop the pounds more quickly in the beginning of a weight-loss program. This is because the more you weigh, the more calories you burn during any given activity. (Walking with an extra 50 pounds on your frame is harder than walking with 20 extra pounds of weight.) A person who weighs more can also cut more calories from his or her diet without jeopardizing the body’s ability to function efficiently. If you weigh 300 pounds, you may need 3,500 calories per day or more to maintain that weight; cutting 1,000 calories from your diet (down to 2,500/day) will let you safely lose 2 pounds per week. But if you weigh 150 pounds, you may only need 1,800 calories to maintain your weight, and if you try to cut the 1,000 calories from your diet (down to 800/day), your body won’t have enough fuel and your metabolism will slow down drastically, making fat loss harder, not easier. Therefore a person with less weight to lose needs to aim for a smaller calorie deficit, which will translate to a slower rate of weight loss.
Likewise, factors like age and body type can affect how fast you can shed extra pounds. Older people, for example, often lose weight more slowly, perhaps because of hormonal changes and/or because they have less muscle mass or may be less physically active.
So, if you’re comparing your weight loss to someone else’s, make sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges (or pears)—that’s just going to be frustrating and won’t tell you anything useful about your own efforts.
Sometimes, though, people who seem to share a lot of these factors—similar body size, weight, age and activity levels—just don’t get the same results, even when they do the same things. A lot of individual factors, including your individual genetics and quite a few medical conditions (like hypothyroidism, PCOS,and insomnia) and medications (like corticosteroids, or antidepressants), can make weight loss difficult. If you’re in this boat, you may need to work closely with your health professional to find an individualized approach that will maximize your weight loss results without jeopardizing your health.
But more often, slow or non-existent weight loss can be traced to very common problems that can be identified and overcome with the right kinds of changes in diet, exercise, or daily activity patterns. That’s what we’ll be looking at below.
The No. 1 Problem: Your numbers aren’t right.
In a healthy, “normally” functioning body, weight loss occurs when you use (burn) more energy (calories) than you take in from food. This calorie deficit forces your body to take fat out of storage and turn it into fuel that your cells can use to maintain necessary body functions. A pound of fat represents about 3,500 calories of stored energy, so you can predict that a calorie deficit of 3,500 will translate into one lost pound, give or take a little.
By far the most common reason why weight loss seems to be going slower than people expect is that their calorie deficit is not as large as they think it is. Either they’re not burning as many calories as they think they are, or they’re eating more than they think they are, or a combination of both.
The formulas used to estimate how many calories people need to maintain their current weight aren’t accurate for everyone—they can be off by as much as 30-40%, especially if your body fat percentage is pretty high, your physical activity level is significantly higher or lower than average, or you’re counting almost everything you do (e.g., light housework, grocery shopping, walking up one flight of stairs) as “exercise” even though it doesn’t actually meet the parameters of what counts as fitness (a high enough intensity to elevate your heart rate to an aerobic range; a duration of at least 10 continuous minutes for the activity; the moving of large muscle groups in a rhythmic way).
You can have the same problem on the other end of the energy equation: calorie intake. It’s very common to underestimate how much you’re actually eating, even when you’re tracking your food consistently. If you just eyeball your portion sizes instead of measuring them, or if you tend to forget the little “extras” you eat during the day (like licking peanut butter off the knife while making your sandwich, or tasting your pasta sauce while you’re cooking it), you can easily add a few hundred uncounted calories to your daily total.
To fix this problem, make sure your calorie numbers are as accurate as you can get them. Track your calorie intake carefully and diligently, until you can recognize portion sizes of the foods you eat often without measuring. And don’t count the regular activities of daily life you’ve always done as part of your “exercise.”
Remember that fitness trackers and cardio machines only estimate how many calories you truly burn, and these trackers and machines tend to overestimate how much you’re really burning. For a more accurate reading, you could invest in a good heart rate monitor that better estimates your calorie burn based on how hard you are actually working during exercise.
The Second Most Common Problem: Excess muscle loss
We’d like to think that every pound lost is a pound of fat, but in reality, all weight loss involves some combination of fat loss and muscle loss. To get the best results from your weight-loss efforts, you want to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. The best way to do that is to include adequate strength training in your exercise routine. Without strength training, a substantial amount of the weight you lose could be muscle (lean tissue), which can reduce your fitness and lower your calorie burning capacity. To avoid these problems (and make it much easier to keep the lost weight off), be sure to include at least two full-body strength training workouts in your weekly routine.
The Final Problem: WHAT you eat may matter almost as much as HOW MUCH you eat.
How your body handles the food you eat is governed by a very complex set of biochemical interactions that determine when and where any excess calories are stored, and how easily this energy can be retrieved for later use. For some people with certain genetic predispositions, a diet high in fast-digesting carbohydrates like refined sugar and refined grains can make it easier for their bodies to store excess calories as fat and harder to get that energy back out of fat cells later on when it’s needed. It can also lead to increased appetite and more cravings for high-sugar foods. There aren’t yet any easily available tests that can identify people with this problem, but if you’ve been significantly overweight for a long time and you struggle with appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and slow weight loss, it may be worth your while to experiment with a diet higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor first, especially if you have any medical conditions/medications that can be affected by your diet.
Weight loss seems so simple on the surface: Eat less than you burn and your body will drop pounds. But for many people, there’s more to the equation than counting calories in and calories out. We are all an experiment of one; you cannot compare your results to someone else’s, just as you can’t expect to have the same results as another person, no matter how similar you may seem to be. Think of your weight loss as a continuous journey. There will be bumps in the road, along with times when the sailing is smooth, but no matter what, you’ll just have to pay attention to the route and be open to making changes in your approach or direction along the way. When you follow those guidelines, weight loss will become that much easier!
NEVER GIVE UP…
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Great snacks with less than 200 calories
- 5 olives (any kind) (45 calories)
- 1 small Martin’s pretzel (50 calories)
- 2 oz Applegate Honey and Maple Turkey Breast wrapped around 2 bread-and-butter pickles (80 calories)
- 1/4 cup hummus, 3 carrot sticks (80 calories)
- 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thin (85 calories)
- One 1-oz package tuna jerky (90 calories)
- 1 oz buffalo mozzarella, 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (94 calories)
- 1 bag Baked! Cheetos 100 Calorie Mini Bites (100 calories)
- 15 Eden’s Nori Maki Crackers rice crackers (110 calories)
- 1 cup unshelled edamame (120 calories)
- 50 Eden’s Vegetable Chips (130 calories)
- One 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds (130 calories)
- 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Chili con Queso, 18 baked tortilla chips (140 calories)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in shell (143 calories)
- 2 pieces (30 grams) prosciutto, 4 dried figs (154 calories)
- 1 Subway Turkey Breast Wrap (190 calories)
- 1 package Original Apple Nature Valley Fruit Crisps (50 calories)
- 1 packet O’Coco’s Mocha cookies (90 calories)
- 1 Jelly Belly 100-calorie pack (100 calories)
- One 100-calorie pack Trader Joe’s Chocolate Graham Toucan Cookies (100 calories)
- One 100-calorie Balance Bar (100 calories)
- 1 Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bar (120 calories)
- 1 package Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks (120 calories)
- 1/2 banana rolled in 1 tbsp frozen semisweet chocolate chips (123 calories)
- 2 tbsp Better ‘n Peanut Butter, 4 stalks celery (124 calories)
- 1 bag Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Butter Mini Bags topped with a spritz of butter spray and 1 tsp sugar (126 calories)
- 24 Annie’s Chocolate Chip Bunny Graham cookies (140 calories)
- Half of a 1.08-oz container of M&M’s Minis mixed with 1/3 cup lowfat granola (145 calories)
- 1 McDonald’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (160 calories)
- 1 container Fage Greek Total 2% fat yogurt, 2 tsp honey (173 calories)
There are so many exercises out there for each body part that it can be hard to figure out which ones will give you the best results. So, we asked IFBB figure pro Felicia Romero for the best excercises to help you get stronger, leaner, and fitter.
“Curls are one of the most popular arm exercises out there, yet they are also one of the least utilized by women. To get the best definition in your arms, do curls with 20–25 pounds. Then, immediately go into triceps extensions, making sure to keep your elbows close to your head. Do three sets of 15 reps.”
“Close-grip lat pulldowns are one of the most common back exercises but they’re frequently performed incorrectly. Using an underhand grip, slowly pull the bar down to your chest, making sure to keep your body and back straight with every rep.”
“Try plié squats. Make sure to keep your legs wide and your toes pointed outward. Lower into the squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and as you press up, squeeze your glutes and inner and outer thighs. To make them harder, try holding a weight between your legs. Do three sets of 20.”
“When it comes to working your core, definitely go with a three-exercise circuit. Exercise 1: Ball Crunch; hold a Bosu ball as you crunch for 25 reps. Exercise 2: Hanging Leg Raise (15 reps), and Exercise 3: Bicycles on the ground. Perform this circuit three times, resting only between each circuit.”
“Nice shoulders make you look more toned. I like the single-arm cable side lateral. Start with light weights and stand with your right side facing the machine as you grip the cable with your left hand. Good form is key. Make sure your arm stays straight— raise the cable to your left side to about shoulder height.”
Mix this lean muscle-building recipe into your menu a couple times a week and you should be on your way to reaching your goals in no time!
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 15-oz can 50% less sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 4-oz can diced green chills
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 1/2 pounds shredded precooked chicken breast
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried cilantro
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning Blend
1/ Place 1/2 cup broth and white beans in a blender and puree. Add yogurt and blend again. Pour liquid into slow cooker
2/ Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
3/ Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
Note: Be sure to rinse and drain black beans and chicken well before adding to slow cooker.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 275, Fat 2 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Cholesterol 47 mg, Sodium 401 mg, Carbohydrates 36 g, Dietary Fiber 11 g, Sugars 7 g, Protein 32
Does This 4-Minute Fitness Technique Deliver?
|Would you like to swap your usual workout out for one that’s just four minutes long? Of course you would! Well, that’s the allure of Tabata training, a type of super high-intensity interval training that is becoming more and more popular.
Said to deliver big results such as improved aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, muscular endurance and fat burning, Tabata training is all the rage these days. But what is Tabata training, exactly? Maybe more importantly, does it live up to the hype and is it really right—and safe—for you? Let’s tackle some Tabata training questions one by one!
What Is Tabata Training? What Are the Benefits of Tabata Training?
Does It Really Work?
Should You Try Tabata Training?
With that said, beginners can try Tabata-inspired intervals at a lower intensity that’s more appropriate for their fitness level. However, anything less than maximum effort won’t get the true Tabata training results. As always, if you’re trying Tabata—or any new exercise—for the first time, it’s a good idea to get it approved by your doctor and work with a fitness professional until you feel comfortable doing it on your own.
How Can I Incorporate Tabata Training into My Workouts?
Do I Need Any Special Equipment to Measure My Intensity?
Can I Just Do Tabata Training for All of My Workouts?
If you’re trying to lose weight, Tabata may seem like a quick way to boost metabolism and burn fat. And while it can be, remember that true weight loss comes down to taking in fewer calories than you burn. Because Tabata workouts are so short, they simply just don’t burn enough calories on their own to be the only workout you do for weight loss. So rather than viewing Tabata training as a shortcut or a replacement to your regular workouts, think of it as an “extra” boost for your usual workout plan.
Men have a biological clock, too. Find out how to combat the effects age has on your fertility.
While it’s no secret that a woman’s fertility declines with age, your sperm isn’t immune to the aging process either. In fact, research suggests that kids born to men 40 and older have a greater risk of autism and schizophrenia than those younger than 30, and miscarriage rates—as well as certain birth defects such as dwarfism—also rise for women who conceived with older men, according to Roger W. Harms, MD, of the Mayo Clinic.
The reason your swimmers lose some of their power is because the odds of errors in genetic coding increase as we age, researchers speculate. Think about it: After you ejaculate your body has to produce millions of new sperm cells again, and an increase in genetic mutations is a natural part of the aging process.
The good news is that simple diet changes can help keep your swimmers healthier for longer. For super sperm, fill up on these nutrients.
Men low on folate may have 20 percent more unhealthy sperm (swimmers that have missing or extra chromosomes) than those with higher levels, suggests a study in the journal Human Reproduction. If you’d rather not have mutant sperm, try filling up this B vitamin that’s key for cell production.
Which foods pack the most punch: Leafy greens (think: spinach and kale), citrus fruits, and beans are all full of folate. Another source? Avocados, which—not so coincidentally—the ancient Aztecs referred to as “testicle trees.” The recommended daily amount is 400 micrograms, but study authors think upping your intake to 700 micrograms might give sperm extra protection from mutations.
Easy fixes: Swap lettuce for spinach the next time you order a sub, opt for chili with extra beans, or add orange juice to your post-workout smoothie.
This mineral is also important for cell division, and thus sperm production. Bonus: Zinc may work as a libido-enhancer by helping with testosterone production, since higher levels of the hormone are linked to an increase in desire.
Which foods pack the most punch: Oysters take the prize, hands down. Besides being known as an aphrodisiac (thanks to their resemblance to a certain female body part), oysters hold more zinc than almost any other food. Aim to eat up to 15 mg daily—about the amount in six oysters. Other good sources include red meat, peanuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.
Easy fixes: Eat raw oysters on ice with some lemon juice or chili sauce. Or toss roasted pumpkin seeds or peanuts into your salad.
1. You would need to drink a quart of milk every day for three to four months to drink as much blood as your heart pumps in one hour.
2. Your heart is about the size of your fist and weighs about as much as a softball.
3. In the course of a lifetime, the resting heart will have pumped enough blood to fill 13 supertankers.
4. The pink under your fingernails is the blood in your capillaries.
5. Your heart is the strongest muscle of your body and beats about 100,000 times in one day, in an average adult.
6. We need light in order to see. Animals that live in deep caves or in the great depths of the ocean where there is no light are often blind or have no eyes at all.
7. A person breathes 7 quarts of air every minute.
8. Almost half the human body’s weight is made from one of three types of muscle tissue.
9. The human nervous system can relay messages to the brain at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Your brain receives 100 million nerve messages each second from your senses.
10. In one day, some 4000 children and teenagers take up smoking.
11. Underwater swimming is the only time you should hold your breathe while exercising.
12. Your brain weight about 3 pounds, is a pinkish gray color and is about the size of a cauliflower.
13. Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.
14. The three bones of the middle ear are so small all three could easily fit on your thumbnail.
15. If all 600 muscles in your body pulled in one direction, you could lift 25 tons.
16. If the 300,000,000 tiny air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs could be laid out flat, they would cover a home swimming pool.
17. Tongue prints are as unique as fingerprints.
18. If you weight 100 pounds on earth, you will weigh about 264 pounds on Jupiter.
19. There are 206 bones in the human body. One fourth of them are in your feet.
20. The human body has 45 miles of nerves.
Every sunscreen has a sun protection factor, or SPF, which is a measure of its strength or effectiveness. Each of us needs a different SPF, depending on whether, and to what degree, our skin burns or tans. A tan is the direct result of melanin, a brown pigment found in the epidermis that is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight.
Melanin protects the skin by absorbing, reflecting and scattering ultraviolet radiation before it penetrates the dermis, or underlying skin. However, armor that it is, melanin can’t prevent all the negative effects of the sun, and is often representative of damage. That’s why we need to use sunscreens. To determine what SPF your skin requires, you must know how long it takes your skin to burn when unprotected and exposed to sunlight. As a rule of thumb, anyone whose skin burns, whether or not it turns into a tan, should use an SPF of 15. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking antibiotics, antidepressants or antidiuretics. Some of these medications increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and may decrease the time it takes your skin to burn.
Creating a Barrier
When exercising outdoors on a hot, sunny day, light-weight, light-colored clothing combined with plenty of sunscreen on both exposed and unexposed skin is the way to go. However, if overheating isn’t a concern, dark-colored, tightly woven clothing is more effective at blocking UV rays than say, a white T-shirt, which allows UV rays to reach the skin. Another barrier against sun damage comes in the form of eyewear. Protect not only your eyes, but also the skin around them, by wearing sunglasses that block 90 to 100% of the sun’s UV rays.
And, last but not least, wear a hat. Though a cap may be more comfortable for jogging, try a wide-brimmed hat that will shade your neck and face while gardening or walking outside.
Start With the Inside
Now that you know how to protect the skin’s surface, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to make it glow from the inside out. You’re already off to a good start with exercise, which gets the blood circulating and delivers fresh oxygen to the skin all over your body. The next step is to drink plenty of water. Outdoor exercise, especially in the summer, increases your risk of dehydration. This is one risk you don’t want to take since it not only affects your performance and robs your skin of its vitality, but may be potentially hazardous to your health. Be sure to drink fluids before, during and after activity. To replenish your fluids after any outdoor activity, weigh yourself before you participate and then again after your workout. Any weight you lost is water and should be replaced by drinking two glasses (16 ounces) of water for every pound you have lost.
Everyone Needs a Little Sunlight
It’s been shown that a lack of sunlight can cause depression. After all, most plants won’t even grow without sunshine. And when the sun comes around and makes the days longer, our first instinct is to peel off our sweaters and bask in it. Go ahead. Just take precautions so you won’t have to deal with the unpleasant (and unnecessary) consequences.
- Wear sunscreen every day if you will be outside for more than 20 minutes, even when it’s cloudy.
- Sunscreen should be applied 15 to
- 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
- Don’t skimp: One ounce—enough to fill a shot glass—is considered the amount needed to properly cover exposed skin.
- Limit your exposure to sunlight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during Standard Time), which is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and most harmful.
- When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with an SPF of 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against all ultraviolet light wavelengths.
- Throw out old bottles of sunscreen, which can lose strength after three years.
Source: American Academy of Dermatology
What SPF Do You Need?
Follow these steps to calculate what SPF you should look for in a sunscreen:
1. Determine how many minutes your bare skin can be exposed to the sun before it burns.
2. Divide that number of minutes into the total number of minutes you want to remain in the sun.
3. The result is the SPF you should look for in a sunscreen.
For example, if your unprotected skin burns in 10 minutes, and you plan on being in the sun for three hours, you would need a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 18 (180 minutes divided by 10 minutes).
On your journey to healthy living, you’ll have good days, bad days, and days that are “just OK.” Don’t go into your lifestyle changes with the mindset that you have to be perfect all the time, because you don’t! Instead, focus on taking baby steps that will help you reach your goals. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
The welcome sight of the beer tent at the end of many endurance events just got a scientific credibility boost.
A new study reported in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (44 , 18–26) shows that consumption of nonalcoholic wheat beer (NAB) for 3 weeks before and 2 weeks after marathon competition reduces the postrace incidence of both muscle inflammation and upper-respiratory-tract infection (URTI). Beer possesses the same types of antioxidant properties found in red wine, according to prior research.
Two hundred seventy-seven marathoners were assigned to drink 1–1.5 liters of either NAB or a placebo per day for the 3 weeks preceding the Munich Marathon and for 2 weeks postcompetition.
Postrace, researchers recorded subjects’ muscle inflammation and signs of URTI.
Those who drank NAB had 20%–32% less muscle inflammation and an incidence of URTI 3.25 times lower than their placebo counterparts.
Again, polyphenols were the winning antioxidant ingredient. Perhaps popcorn and NAB should be served as a dynamic duo in postmarathon beer tents!