Will Eating 5-6 Small Meals Per Day Help Burn Fat?

Written on March 26, 2012, by Eric Cressey

Will Eating 5-6 Small Meals Per Day Help Burn Fat?

Today’s guest nutrition blog comes from former Cressey Performance intern Tyler Simmons.

“It’s best to eat 5 – 7 times a day.”

“Eating every three hours fuels your metabolism.”

“If you skip meals, your body goes into ‘starvation mode,’ you gain fat, and burn muscle for energy.”

Chances are that you’ve probably heard something like the above statements if you’ve read anything about diet or exercise in the last ten years. Many of you (myself included) probably spent a lot of time preparing and eating meals, in the hopes of optimizing fat loss and better muscle gain.

What does the data really show about spacing out your meals? When I started researching the topic of meal frequency in 2010, I assumed there was ample scientific evidence to back up these nearly unanimous claims that smaller, more frequent meals were better than larger, less frequent meals. Boy, was I disappointed.

To my surprise, the scientific literature had some different things to say. My research focused on how changing meal frequency impacts two different things: 1) Metabolic Rate and 2) Weight Loss. What I found was compelling evidence that reduced meal frequency, sometimes known as Intermittent Fasting (IF), could actually help me, so I started an experiment.

In the summer of 2010 I was living in Alaska doing construction and labor, as well as doing off-season training for Track and Field (sprinting, jumping, and lifting). For years I had focused on eating every 2-3 hours, but based on my new findings, I decided to limit all my food intake to an 8-hour window, leaving 16 hours of the day as my fasting portion.

Despite doing fasted, hard labor all day, then lifting, sprinting, and playing basketball, I managed to set records on all my lifts at the end of the summer. Not only was I stronger than ever, but I got leaner too.

Here’s pictures from before and after, about 2 months apart:

Getting lean wasn’t even my main goal; the idea that I could be free from eating every three hours without suffering negative side effects was extremely liberating. No longer was I controlled by arbitrary meal times and tupperware meals in a lunch box. During this summer, I developed the ability to go long periods of time (18-24 hours) without food, and not get tired, cranky, our mentally slow down.

So why didn’t I catabolize my muscles, drop my metabolic rate, and end up looking like skinny-fat Richard Simmons (no relation)?

The Science

The idea that eating several smaller meals is better came from a few pieces of information. The first was because of an association between greater meal frequency and reduced body weight in a couple of epidemiological studies, although this only shows a correlation, not causation. Breakfast eaters are more likely to engage in other health activities, such as exercise, which explains the relationship. In the most comprehensive review of relevant studies, the authors state that any epidemiological evidence for increased meal-frequency is extremely weak and “almost certainly represents an artefact” (1).

The second piece is related to the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), which is the amount of energy needed to digest and process the food you eat. Fortunately, this is dependent on total quantity of food, not on how it’s spaced, making the distinction irrelevant.

So, now we can see that the supposed benefits from increased meal frequency do not hold up to closer inspection, but why would we want to purposefully wait longer in between meals?

Originally, researchers thought Caloric Restriction (CR) was the bee’s knees. Preliminary research showed that CR slows aging, reduces oxidative damage, and reduces insulin and levels. All good, right? Unfortunately, these benefits come with some nasty trade-offs, including reduced metabolic rate, low energy levels, constant hunger, and low libido, pretty much what you would expect from chronically restricting food intake. These were not happy animals.

Recent research has shown that Intermittent Fasting or reduced meal frequency can convey many of the benefits of CR while avoiding the negative side effects. Some of these benefits include:

Favorable changes to blood lipidsReduced blood pressureDecreased markers of inflammationReduction in oxidative stressIncreased Growth Hormone releaseGreater thermogenesis/elevated metabolic rateImproved fat burningImproved appetite control

Some of these effects may be secondary to the reduction of calories due to improved appetite control, or they may be primary effects of IF, the research is not conclusive on this yet.

One of the most interesting findings was that contrary to conventional wisdom, reduced meal frequency actually causes an increase in thermogenesis (metabolic rate), which is mediated through the increase of catecholamines (stress hormones), such as adrenaline and norepinephrine (1,2). Yep, you read that right: instead of slowing your metabolism down, it speeds it up. Catecholamines also help with the liberation of fatty acids from fat cells, making them available to be burned as energy.

That’s the “why” and the “how” for some of the effects of IF. Whatever the mechanism for it, IF seems to be effective for at least some people, myself included. But before you rush off to go start fasting 16 hours a day, here are some tips and caveats.

Important Considerations

Many people ask me if IF is good or bad, but as with most things, it depends. IF is not appropriate in certain situations. It can be good or bad, depending on who you are (your current health status/lifestyle) and what your goals are. IF is a stressor on the body; one of the primary effects is an increase in stress hormones. If you’re lacking sleep, eating low quality foods, stressed out about your job, and excessively exercising then don’t start an IF protocol. It will backfire and you will end up fat and tired!

Only experiment with an IF program if you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night, eating a high quality diet, appropriately recovering from exercise, and don’t have too many mental/emotional stressors.

As far as what goals this works for, common sense applies here. IF is generally best for people who are already moderately lean and are trying to get leaner. If you’re trying to put on 30 pounds of mass, don’t start IF. If you’re an athlete with a very heavy training load, don’t try IF.

For those of you who fit the criteria of goals and health status, I suggest experimenting with the 8-hour fed/16-hour fasted periods. Eat quality foods to satiation in your eating window, especially focusing on the post-training period.

Keep in mind that IF is not for everyone, but it can be a powerful tool at certain times. Most importantly, even if IF isn’t for you, remember that you shouldn’t stress out if you miss a meal occasionally!

About the Author

Tyler Simmons is the owner and head Nutrition/Strength & Conditioning Coach at Evolutionary Health Systems. He has his bachelors in Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Science and Exercise Nutrition from Humboldt State University. A former collegiate athlete, Tyler specializes in designing training and nutrition programs for athletes of all levels, as well as general population. Learn more at EvolutionaryHealthSystems.com.

Related Posts

Why You Should Never Take Nutrition Advice from Your Government
Anabolic Cooking: Why You Don’t Have to Gag to Eat Healthy

References

1. Bellisle, F., & McDevitt, R. (1997). Meal frequency and energy balance. British Journal of Nutrition, 77, 57-70.

2. Mansell, P., & Fellows, I. (1990). Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans. The American Journal of Physiology, 258, 87-93.

3. Staten, M., Matthews, D., & Cryer, P. (1987). Physiological increments in epinephrine stimulate metabolic rate in humans. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, 253, 322-330.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

View the original article here

Eat Your Age

What your age does to your need for calories and how you can help your body respond appropriately.

When you were a kid, you only ate when you were hungry. Everyone said you ate like a bird until you became a teenager. Then you couldn’t eat enough. By the time you hit your 30s you stopped listening to your stomach and started listening to your eyes. But you were working out enough to keep off unwanted pounds. But now you’re starting to see the effects of eating too many calories.

So how can you avoid age-related weight gain? By keeping these three age-appropriate tips in mind the next time you decide to grab your favorite fattening treat.

1. Age Changes Everything

You may feel like a teenager, but when you’re out of your teens and into your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, your body tells a different story. Whether you’ll admit it or not, you realize that you can’t move quite as quick in your 50s as you could in your 20s. Likewise, your body can’t burn through calories like it could a few years ago. With that in mind, the need to curb your calorie intake as you age makes sense. Because if your body can’t use all the calories you’re eating, consuming excessive calories only leads to excessive weight.

Live your life and forget your age. – Norman Vincent Peale

2. Activity Takes More Effort

When you were a kid, getting out and about for a two-hour game of neighborhood football was no problem. Ever since you started working at an office, stuck behind a large oak desk, getting physical activity has become more and more difficult. Thanks to this increased difficulty of getting a work out, your body’s metabolism has dropped dramatically since your skinny high school days. Ideally, you should get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise five days a week. Since this isn’t always possible, you’ll need to chop even more calories from your diet to make sure the calories you eat are being used rather than stored as fat.

3. You Have to Cut

Regardless of how much exercise you get, you’ll probably need to reduce the amount of calories you consume as you age. A good guide to help you understand your calorie need is to start with 1,800 calories for women age 31 to 50 and 2,200 for men of the same age. If you’re younger than 31, add another 200 calories. The over 50 crowd should subtract 200. With certain levels of activity, you can also add calories to your diet. However, since every person’s caloric needs are different at every stage in life, you should consult with your physician before making any minor or major changes in your diet. To get a more precise idea of how many calories you should eat each day, a number of calorie calculators are available on the Internet. Using your age, height, weight, gender, and level of activity, these calculators help you have an idea of how many calories it will take for you to maintain a healthy weight. If you find the amount of calories you’re eating isn’t helping you meet your weight goals, modify your diet as needed.

Junk It Up

Along with all those healthy calories that you chow down on each day, you may be wondering how many of the delectable and not-so-healthy calories you can eat on a daily basis.

An easy way to keep your bad calorie consumption in check is to have no more than one-eighth of your calories come from foods that offer no nutritional value. This includes cookies and cakes, potato chips and bonbons, and those sugar-filled drinks that you can’t live without in the morning and afternoon.

Share This Article

The Power of Change

Do you wish you could change something about your life right now?

I’m here to argue that change can happen in an instant.

I know this goes against popular thought. Most people believe that change has to be worked at for months or even years. We expect to try and fail numerous times before we ultimately give up or succeed.

How many people do you know who struggle with their weight? They want to make a healthy change by getting in shape, but the change never seems to take hold.

Is there something in your life that you want to change? Do you have weight to lose? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have a pair of pants that you wish you could fit into?

What is keeping you from making a positive change in your life?

According to professional speaker and author, Anthony Robbins, it’s the getting ready to change that takes time. In the end there’s a single instant when the change occurs. Robbins goes on to outline three specific beliefs that you must have in order to instantly create a lasting change.

Belief #1: Something must change.

Do you sort of want to get into shape, or do you absolutely have to lose the weight? Does dropping a few pounds sound nice, or is living another day in your current body unbearable? In order to make a lasting change you must be convinced that the time has come.

Belief #2: I must change it.

It is vital that you take full responsibility in making the change. Sure, others may assist you, but in the end you are the one who is going to make it happen. You have to need this change enough to make it your personal mission—no one else will do it for you.

Belief #3: I can change it.

Don’t let past failures get in your way. The truth is that you do amazing things when you put your mind to it. Believe that you are capable of losing weight or making any other positive change in your life.

Why do most people fail to make lasting change? They leave it up to willpower. This works for awhile, but you’ll always revert back to what’s comfortable. The solution?

Change what you’re comfortable with.

You’ve probably heard that humans are motivated by two things: 1) to avoid pain and 2) to gain pleasure. When you want to change a behavior pattern the key is to associate pain with the behavior that you don’t want and pleasure with the behavior that you do want.

You know that you want to lose weight and that to do so you need to quit eating comfort food late at night. You also know that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Up until this point your brain is trained to associate pleasure with eating comfort food late at night and to associate pain with exercise.

It’s time to retrain your brain to feel good about exercise and to feel bad about eating late at night. Think about all of the negative things about being overweight and connect these unpleasant thoughts to your late night snack. Now think about all of the wonderful things about being in shape and connect these pleasant thoughts to exercise.

You are capable of making a big change in your life. Start by calling or emailing me for your no obligation fitness consultation.

Remember, change can happen in an instant.

Smartsize Your Weight Loss

Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D. shared her favorite food fact in her book, The Portion Teller Plan. “You can lose 10lbs a year by cutting back on 100 calories a day.” To do this simply trim your portions:

  • Choose a 12oz beverage instead of a 20oz.
  • Eat only half of an energy bar.
  • Use 1 Tablespoon of salad dressing instead of 2 Tablespoons.
  • Eat half of a sandwich instead of a full one.
  • Eat prepackaged bag of pretzels instead of eating out of a large bag.
  • Order a tall drink instead of a grande at your next Starbucks visit.
Herb-Coated Halibut with Zucchini and Whole Wheat Couscous

Not only is this meal delicious, it’s also incredibly healthy. A tangy herb paste coats both the fish and zucchini, which roast on the same pan. The entire meal is ready in 30 minutes – perfect for busy weekday dinners.
Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 zucchini, cut into spears
  • 4 skinless fillets firm white fish
  • 1 cup dry whole-wheat couscous
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Throw the scallions, cilantro, mint, oil, ginger, coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Season with pepper.
  2. Toss zucchini with 3 tablespoons herb paste in a bowl. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes.
  3. Rub remaining herb paste onto both sides of fish fillets. Push zucchini to edges of baking sheet, and arrange fish in center, leaving about 1/2 inch between each fillet. Roast until fish is opaque and semi-firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare directions. Serve fish and zucchini over couscous.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 354 calories, 10g fat, 29g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 32g protein.

Spread the word. Use the “refer a friend” link below to forward this info to your friends, family, and coworkers.

Banish Flabby Arms

Think it’s impossible to turn your saggy underarms into sleek, toned arms? Time to change your thinking and tone up your triceps!

Do you dread wearing sleeveless evening gowns? Wish your swimsuit covered your arms down to your elbow? Fear waving to family and friends when they’re leaving town? Then it’s time for you to get rid of those flabby underarms! To make it happen, you’ve got to do five things.

Number One: Know the Muscle

The muscles that are causing your underarm sag are your triceps. So while doing exercises that strengthen other parts of the arm are helpful for your overall health, they aren’t going to give your underarm the upper lift you seek. Rather, you’re going to have to go after the muscle that is causing the sag – your triceps. But before you do that, you’ve got to consider something else that is more basic than overcoming flabby arms.

Muscles come and go; flab lasts
Bill Vaughan

Number Two: Remember Your Body Is the Spot

When you have fat stored in your arms, you can’t simply make it disappear with a few magic exercises. You’re going to have to tone up the rest of your body as well. Along with triceps-specific exercises, get plenty of cardio in your routine. This will get you sweating and help you burn fat from your head to your toes.

Without this full-body burn, your spot-specific exercises will reap very little visible benefit for your triceps. So before you spend hours in the gym, working out your underarms, you should spend half an hour on the treadmill or the Stairmaster.

Number Three: Feel the Burn

If you stop working out when you start to sweat or begin to feel a little fatigued, you aren’t giving your triceps the full workout they need. In order to push your triceps to the position and shape you want, you’re going to have to work them harder than ever. That doesn’t mean you should work your body to exhaustion every day. Like every other body part, your triceps need some days off between being worked out.

Good exercises that are tailored specifically for your triceps include the following:

  • push-ups with your hands close together or touching
  • bench press with your hands close together
  • overhead cable extensions
  • weighted dips
  • dumbbell triceps presses

Number Four: Go under the Knife

For some people, reducing the sag under the arms isn’t as easy as hitting the gym. After losing lots of weight, some people are left with excess skin on various parts of their bodies – including the under arm. In the event you find yourself with skin hanging off your underarms that isn’t covering fat and won’t go away, you may need to have the extra skin surgically removed. This is a relatively fast and easy procedure that helps you show off the new body you worked so hard for through your weight loss efforts. But don’t use surgery as an easy way to trim your arms. Surgery should only be used when medically necessary and there is no other way to trim up your triceps. And once you undergo surgery, you have to be careful to avoid regaining the flabby arms you have removed.

Number Five: Never Give Up

It may take some time to cut away the flab under your arm, but if you keep yourself focused and really want sleek arms, it’s worth the effort. So know what you want, push yourself to reach it, and never give up. With perseverance and plenty of hard work, you’ll have the arms you’ve always wanted!

Share This Article

Thin from 40 to 60

Beating the odds and maintaining a healthy figure throughout middle age.

Gaining weight during middle age is only natural, right? Wrong. If you dread the pounds of midlife, cheer up! With the right attitude and an appropriate diet and exercise regiment, you may be able to keep your youthful figure and good health for a healthy start to your silver and golden years.

Weighing Responsibility

Midlife weight gain is unfortunately very common.There are definite factors working against you as you age. Besides fluctuating hormone levels, your metabolism begins to slow down. This means it takes more work to burn the calories you consume. Another problem is that most adults lose between 30 and 50 percent a pounds of muscle each year. The smaller your muscles are, the fewer the calories you are able to burn. Weight gain during your midlife is also a danger to your health as it increases your risks for a range of serious medical conditions from diabetes to heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite these possible setbacks to maintaining a healthy weight as you age, it is very important to prevent those extra pounds. There are four main reasons why people gain weight during their 40s and 50s: hormones, overeating, lack of exercise, and stress. Though it would be easy to blame weight gain on changing hormones, research has shown that hormones are responsible for only two to five extra pounds. Poor lifestyle choices account for the rest.

Looking for an answer to combat your lack of good lifestyle decisions? It comes down to maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management. In other words, you’re going to have to start making good decisions soon.

Eat and Burn

The key to avoiding gradual weight gain is to burn as many calories as you consume. This will probably mean eating smaller portions at meals and including more physical activities in your daily routine. When you eat smaller portions, it is important to make sure you include a balanced diet of high protein foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs, and high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not only will these healthy foods contribute to your weight control, they will also improve your mood and give you more energy throughout the day.

After watching your calorie intake, you must make sure you burn those calories and speed up your metabolism with aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a “minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days to improve health.” A good goal would be to burn 400 to 500 calories a day, and here’s the good news – it is never too late to begin exercising! Whether walking, swimming, biking, gardening, or weight lifting, find something you enjoy, and make it a part of your everyday routine. Not only will you burn those extra calories, you will feel better about yourself and have more energy to face your day.

Decompress the Stress

A third reason for why people in their middle ages gain weight easily is because of the high level of stress in their lives. When under stress, many people tend to overeat, not exercise enough, or attempt to ease stress through unhealthy behaviors such as drinking or smoking. To manage stress, you must first identify the causes. Then you must take charge of your thoughts, emotions, work schedule, family life, and environment. Aim for a balance of fun, work, and relaxation. For some extra help, find support from a friend, spouse, or therapist to reduce the stress in your life.

No matter how common midlife weight gain seems, it is not necessarily inevitable. You just have to take control. So eat a balanced diet, exercise for your physical and emotional well-being, and reduce the stressors in your life. Then kick back and relax, knowing you won’t be another victim of midlife weight gain.

Share This Article

Diet over the Edge

How to recognize when your diet has gone too far.

Losing weight is no easy task. In fact, if you’re going to lose weight, you have to be exceptionally dedicated, not allowing anything to get in your way. However, your desire to trim up can occasionally come at a price. Sometimes your dieting can become so extreme that your body becomes deprived of the basic vitamins and minerals necessary for functioning during daily life.

Want to keep a tight reign on your diet and make sure it’s not going too far? Make sure you don’t experience these signs and symptoms of a diet gone wrong.

Mood Swings

Even when you’re not dieting, if you don’t eat, you probably get a little agitated. It’s normal, as not getting enough of the right foods will put anyone in a bad mood. In the event you’re undergoing an intense diet that robs you of the stuff you need to keep going strong, you’ll wind up with regular mood swings that can be rather severe.

Lack of Energy

As you probably know, your energy level is directly proportionate to the amount of energy-filled foods you consume. Stop eating fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich lean meats without substituting these foods for other items and your energy level will plummet.

Half and Half. An amazing 50 percent of all American women are on a diet at any given time.

Muscle Loss

At the same time your energy level drops, so will the amount of muscle in your body. While a low- or no-carbohydrate diet will probably result in some weight loss, it comes at a cost. In order to maintain muscle, your body needs a certain amount of carbs, and robbing your body of all carbohydrate intake prevents your body from being able to maintain muscle.

Urinary Tract or Kidney Infections

Crash diets come in all kinds of forms. While many of the consequences of a crash diet can be overcome fairly quickly, crash diets that are maintained for a long period of time can put stress on your kidneys. The end result could be multiple infections in the urinary tract or kidneys.

Constipation

Nearly every diet encourages you to eat less of something. Some simply reduce your overall intake, while others focus on a specific type of food. Unfortunately, if you cut out fiber or other elements that are essential to good digestive health, you’ll wind up with constipation or other complications of an unbalanced diet.

Frequent Illness

Cut back severely on the foods you eat and your body won’t have access to vitamins and minerals necessary to keep your immune system strong. When your immune system is compromised, you put yourself at a much greater risk for illnesses ranging from the common cold to the flu to pneumonia and beyond. But dietary deficiencies don’t just result in physical ailments. They can also result in depression and other mental health issues.

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a physician or dietitian immediately. Be open about your concerns and be willing to make changes necessary. Since your dangerous dieting may be tied to other issues, you may require more than simple dietary changes. But by using the same determination that helps you say “No” to unhealthy foods, you can beat other underlying issues.

Trust Your Friends

If you’re dieting on your own, you may find yourself being questioned on a regular basis. “Come on, one little bite won’t hurt.” “Are you sure you don’t want some?” Often, these questions are asked by family and friends who are impressed by your will power and are interested in testing it.

However, if your loved ones begin to express concern about your diet, you should pay attention. If their questions begin to call into question whether you’re eating enough to maintain your good health or if they are constantly talking about how skinny you are, your diet may have gone overboard. Speak with your physician or a dietitian to get it back on track.

Share This Article

Eating for Energy

If you want energy, you don’t have to fill up on sugar-laden energy drinks any more! You can get all the energy you need three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to rely on energy drinks to keep your eyes pried open and your mind and body attentive and ready for action? Well, you’re in for a treat, because if you want energy, you don’t have to fill up on sugar-laden energy drinks any more! You can get all the energy you need three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Big, Bad C

Thanks to a fellow named Dr. Robert Atkins, carbohydrates have picked up a lot of flack from folks trying to improve their health. His world-famous Atkins diet has caused countless people to stop eating breads and pastas in order to lose a few quick pounds. Unfortunately, carbohydrates are essential when it comes to boosting your body’s energy levels.

And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all. – Mark Twain

Don’t eat enough carbs and you won’t be able to push your body to its limits in the gym. So while you may lose a few pounds from not eating carbs, you’re going to have a hard time keeping the pounds off when you go back to carbs, and you won’t build much muscle mass in the meantime. Instead of starving your body of fuel, eat smart carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread, cereal, and brown rice.

The Magic M

You probably don’t think about including magnesium in your diet, but if you’re looking for energy, it’s time you reconsidered. Otherwise, the sugar that makes its way into your body isn’t going to offer you anything but extra weight. That’s because magnesium has unique properties that turn sugar into something useful: energy. In other words, you can get away with a little sugar as long as you get enough magnesium. Since going without any sugar every day is nearly impossible, magnesium is your lifeline to healthy energy levels.

Fortunately, getting sufficient magnesium in your diet isn’t rocket science. Many foods have plenty of magnesium, including bran cereals, certain nuts (almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts), and halibut. By keeping magnesium in your system, you help your body turn sugar into energy and prevent yourself from feeling worn out.

A person of intellect, without energy added to it, is a failure. – Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

The Fabulous F

Few nutrients are given as much media attention as fiber – and for good reason. It helps regulate intestinal issues and prevents dangerous and deadly diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. On top of these wonderful perks, fiber also helps you feel full of vigor and energy.

Unlike other energetic foods, fiber doesn’t necessarily provide you with an instant energy boost. Instead, fiber helps regulate how quickly your body uses the energy it has in storage. By eating plenty of fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals, you can maintain a steady flow of energy throughout your daily routine.

The Basic H

Need to stay focused? Expect your body to go strong until the end of the game? You’re going to need to stay filled up on H20. According to research, even a tiny lack of water in your system can instantly lead to feelings of fatigue. By making regular trips to the water fountain or keeping other unsweetened drinks at your disposal, you take a huge step toward ensuring your energy levels are at their peak, so you’re always able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.

Another way to get fluids in your body is by eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Not only do they offer an instant rush of hydrating fluids, but they also taste wonderful and come with an array of additional health benefits.

Runners Up

As you know, there are plenty of places to get energy boosts. In case you’re wondering about some other items that are guaranteed to increase your energy levels, the following are a few fast energy pick-me-ups:

  • coffee
  • dark chocolate
  • energy drinks
  • tea
Share This Article

Kissing (or Kicking) Unwanted Pounds Goodbye

Got some extra pounds hanging around? With the right steps, you can get rid of them and get on with a thinner, fitter life.

Pounds, pounds, go away, come again another day! If only losing weight were as easy as singing this simple rhyme over and over. Though shedding unwanted pounds is a good deal harder than that, you can do it. Do the following four action items and you’ll get rid of those unwanted and unsightly pounds faster than you can say fad diet.

Don’t Binge

You’ve had a rough day and the only thing that could possibly help you feel better is a tub of ice cream. Or so you think. In actuality, gorging yourself on super double chocolate chip ice cream isn’t going to do you any good right now or in the future. If you want to get rid of weight, you’re going to have to learn self-control. When you’re by yourself and feel hungry for something unhealthy, find something else to do. Pick up a good book, call a friend, or drink a glass of water. If you’re especially intent on losing weight (which you must be if you’re reading this article), follow the next tip.

Be Exercise Minded

In the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to eat whatever you want whenever you want. Learn to identify what causes you to want to eat unhealthy foods or unhealthy amounts of food. Then, begin to modify your behavior when you come face to face with the trigger. If coming home from work is usually followed by an hour on the couch, bonbons in hand, redesign your post-work routine around exercise. When you first get home, don’t hit the couch. Hit the closet for a change of clothes, and then get to the gym or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Changing your mindset takes time and dedication, but putting exercise first on your to-do list is vital to taking off excess pounds.

Deny the Treats

Many dieters feel they’re obliged to a cake or cookie now and then to celebrate their small victories. Unfortunately, this good idea can often become a trap, as the treats become more and more common. Just remember that every time you’re offered a special treat, you have the option of accepting or denying the offer. Force yourself to say “No” 10 times more often than you say “Yes,” and the special treat will actually be a special treat instead of an everyday necessity. By doing this, you’ll also watch your weight slowly and steadily decrease.

Sweat It Off

For the best chance at losing weight, you’re going to have to sweat. While a quick set of push-ups during lunch break will help your body a little bit, you’re not going to get the results you seek without making yourself sweat. No matter if you choose to walk or run for miles on end, participate in a local spin class, join a kickboxing class, or work out with free weights or elliptical machines, you need to sweat. If your workout leaves you dry, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to lose weight. Increase your workout intensity and prepare to become the thinner, healthier you that you’ve always wanted to be.

Something Extra Needed

If you’ve been working to stay fit and eat healthily but you just can’t seem to get rid of extra pounds, it may be time to stop going at it alone. Instead, contact your physician, dietitian, and personal trainer to find out what specific steps you can take to begin dropping unwanted extra pounds from your body.

In the event you’ve never interacted with a personal trainer, be ready for the shock of your exercising lifetime! It is your personal trainer’s job to make sure you work harder than you’ve ever worked in the gym. Follow your personal trainer’s rigorous recommendations to the letter, and you’ll be utterly exhausted. Of course, you’ll also be on your way to losing the extra pounds you’ve picked up over the years, and shedding pounds is well worth a little sweat and soreness – right?

Share This Article

Exercise for Big Bodies

How you can begin living a healthy life with a few simple exercises.

Whether you inherited your weight problem, suffered a life-altering injury that caused you to be immobile for a long period or time, or have just made bad dietary choices, there is no time for self-pity if you’re going to overcome a weight issue. What can you do when your weight prevents you from fitting on an exercise machine; causes knee, joint or heart problems; or makes you feel too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit? Swallow your pride and get to work. And it is very hard work.

If you think you’ve got the resolve to do what it takes to shave some pounds off, read on to find out how you can get started.

The place to start is your doctor’s office. Have your physician check on any current health conditions that are affecting you. Also, going to the doctor will allow you to get a baseline on your heart rate and overall health, which will make it easier to work with your physician to monitor your progress along the way. The key to any weight-loss routine is to find an exercise you can enjoy doing and to start out slowly. Ask your physician for recommendations of good exercises, and give them a shot. If you find them too repetitive and boring or a little more difficult than you expected, try something different. Gradually, smartly increase the time you spend at it as well as the intensity of your exercise.

For those who may be severely obese, the exercises to get you on your way would be simple leg lifts, arm raises, or bending and leaning over, which can be done while sitting. These movements provide the muscle strength necessary for future exercises and will minimize your risk of injury. As you go through each day, look for ways to add more movement and exercise. Make it a part of your daily life.

A great form of exercise for anyone is walking. The more steps you take, the better you’ll feel. Even walking from one end of the house to the other is helpful. When walking, start off slow and only go short distances. Each day try to go a little farther but do not overdo it. If needed, take frequent breaks and don’t walk so far that it will be hard to make it back to your starting point. No matter where you’re walking, be sure to wear good walking shoes and drink enough water along the way. Doing these easy steps will keep your body ready for the next walk around the block.

For those who are able to wear a bathing suit and have access to a body of water, swimming is a wonderful form of exercise if you’re obese. As the water supports your body and therefore does not put the usual strain on your bones and joints, swimming makes it possible to move your body with greater ease, which increases your strength, stamina, flexibility, and range of motion. With these improvements in tact, performing other exercises on the ground will become easier as well.

No matter how much you weigh, what you may need most is accountability and encouragement along the way. If possible, a personal trainer is a great way to stay on track and stay safe along the way. A close friend can also help keep you accountable or tag along for your regular workouts. Joining a support group may be a good option for some. With any exercise program, remember that the gym isn’t the only step to losing weight. You should also eat a healthy diet. Not only will healthy, low fat foods help you lose weight, but they will also give you the energy you need to do the exercises that do the body good.

Understanding Obesity

As the weight of the average American has been increasing during the past decades, health professionals have claimed America to be suffering an “obesity epidemic.” How do you know if you’re overweight or obese? First, you have to calculate your body mass index (BMI).

To do this, multiply your weight in pounds times 703. Next, figure out how tall you are in inches, and square this number. Finally, divide the first number by the second. The answer is your BMI.

A BMI below 18.5 means you’re underweight, between 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy weight, 25-29.9 is overweight, and 30 and above is obese.

Share This Article

Your Self-Guided Kitchen Raid

Our Pantry
Image by Incase. via Flickr
Your kitchen will make or break your weight loss results.

A kitchen stocked with the makings for healthy meals and snacks will keep you on track, even when late-night cravings strike. On the flip side, a kitchen filled with unhealthy munchies will derail your weight loss efforts every single time.

So what should your cupboards hold and what should be off limits? I’ve designed this self-guided kitchen raid to help you sort out the good from the bad.

Go ahead, grab a garbage bag, print out the list below, and then head to the kitchen.

The Refrigerator
Let’s start with the fridge, the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Dump this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that garbage bag ready.

Dump this: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.

  • Replace with: Water. It is a well known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and wreaks havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.

Dump this: Rich dairy products. I know that cream cheese tastes amazing, but fat-filled dairy products are extremely high in calories and should not reside in your fridge. Eliminate high-fat cheese, milk and yogurt from your kitchen.

  • Replace with: Fresh Vegetables. The produce drawer in your fridge should be overflowing with colorful nutrient-rich veggies. In fact, your fridge should hold more veggies than the drawer can hold. Veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and are a vital part of a healthy well-rounded diet.

Dump this: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.

  • Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish – there are numerous choices when it comes to lean meats.

Dump this: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.

  • Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.

The Freezer
Next let’s take a look into your freezer. Anyone who has walked the freezer aisles at the store knows how plentiful frozen temptations are. How does your freezer measure up?

Dump this: Ice cream. We may as well get this one over with. Hiding a gallon or two (or even a pint) of your favorite ice cream “for a rainy day” is NOT a good idea. Save yourself from that temptation and don’t buy ice cream.

  • Replace with: Frozen fruit. When your sweet tooth starts acting up, throw an assortment of frozen fruit into the blender and whip up a healthy fiber-filled smoothie.

Dump this: Frozen Pizza. This is another one of those items that is just too tempting to keep around. Why would you bother to make a healthy dinner when a frozen pizza is calling your name? Ban frozen pizza from your home and watch as your waist starts to shrink.

  • Replace with: Turkey or Veggie Patties. For quick dinners keep your freezer filled with lean turkey patties and veggie patties. Serve on a bed of brown rice or on a whole grain bun.

Dump this: TV Dinners. I doubt that you need me to go into too much detail on this one. The next time that you are tempted to buy a pre-packaged frozen meal, please turn the package over and read the nutritional facts. You will be shocked by the staggering number of calories and less-than-healthy ingredients.

  • Replace with: Home-made Portioned Meals. Spend some time on the weekends to cook up healthy meals, and then freeze them in portioned containers. Then throughout the week you simply need to reheat and enjoy.

Dump this: Frozen Breakfast Food. French toast, waffles and pancakes are popular items in the freezer aisle. Don’t fall for the pretty photos and tasty-sounding names. These items are highly processed and contain loads of unnecessary sugar.

  • Replace with: Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Muffins. It is just as easy to throw a slice of sprouted, whole grain bread into the toaster as it is a frozen waffle. Spread it with some natural peanut butter and pair it with a piece of fruit. Now that’s a much healthier breakfast.

The Pantry
Last, but not least, we come to your pantry. This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since most junk food ends up here. So take a moment to give yourself a pep talk before grabbing that garbage bag and opening your pantry.

Dump this: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal.

Dump this: Refined/White Bread/Rice/Pasta. These highly processed products promote weight gain and a plethora of other health problems. Do not buy “white” bread, rice or pasta – especially if you want to lose weight.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Bread/Rice/Pasta. Whole grain is the best choice you can make. It is filled with healthy fiber, and is less likely to contain harmful, waist-expanding ingredients.

Dump this: Chips/Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.

  • Replace with: Almonds. The key to making this snack a winner is to practice portion control. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.

Dump this: Packaged Sweets. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies and cakes and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.

  • Replace with: Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.

That completes your self-guided kitchen raid. I encourage you to raid your kitchen every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Talk with your family members about the healthy changes that you’re making, and try to get everyone’s support.

You know that weight loss comes as a result of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts. Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will get you on the fast-track to your best body ever.