Archive for October, 2015

Screw the Scale

There are many ways to measure success in your fitness journey but one of the most misleading ones of them all is the number on the scale.  There are a number of people who weight themselves on a regular basis. This seemly simple act can leave an individual emotional distrait, especially if the change is perceived as negative. A weight increase may not actually be from a fat gain, there are many factors that can go into daily weight fluctuations. 

Take into consideration when looking at the number on the scale that some of these factors can attribute to the changes:

  • Stress – when your body is experiencing stress there is weight gain from fluid retention
  • Hormonal changes like PMS and menopause
  • Increase in carbs. Interesting fact: For every gram of carb ingested the body will hold up to 2 grams of water.
  • Increase sodium intake. Excess sodium makes the body hold extra fluids in the cells. When you cut down salt and high sodium condiments like soy sauce, you can quickly lose water weight.
  • Hard training sessions and soreness will cause water retention, as the body shuttles nutrients in and out of the to repair damaged muscle and eliminate waste. Much like an car collision can cause a knee, elbow or other damaged part to sweep. Training sessions cause tissue damage that the body needs to repair, so you may retain additional water when there needs to be extra healing.
  • Building muscles may increase the number it may appear you are not losing weight as the body fat drops and the lean muscle is increasing. Building muscle is an advantage as it helps increase your metabolism to help with fat loss.
  • When you weigh yourself. If you weigh yourself later in the day you have to take into account the meals you have consumed. The best time to weigh yourself for a true reading is first thing in the morning after you have used the bathroom and have not consumed any liquids or food.

Fact:  It takes 3,500 excess calories to gain a pound of fat. Unless you are eating an excessive of 3,500 calories of what your body needs to function you are logically not gaining body fat.  The flip side is true as well if you are not burning an excess of 3,500 calories then you are not losing body fat and are most likely losing water weight.

Instead of using the scale as a measurement tool you may want to use measuring tape or the mirror. If you look different, your clothes fit different and the tape measure shows progress but the scale doesn’t move you still have made progress and inches loss is fat loss.

Don’t let the scale dictate what kind of day you are going to have or mess up your fitness journey.  If you are consistent you will reach your goal.

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Resource: Some of this content from this post came from Lean Bodies Consulting Facebook page post.

Carbs – how important are they?

I was in the Costco the other day and asked the cashier who I have become antiquated with how his diet was going as he recently made a lifestyle change and started eating healthier. While he has had some set backs he said he was doing well. One of the topics that came up was reintroducing carbs into his diet because he was a diabetic and had taken carbs out and found that his body sugars dropped really low and he had no energy all the time.  So today I thought I would post some information on carbs.

  • Carbohydrates are your bodies preferred source of energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

Carbohydrates are broken into 3 classifications – sugars (simple), starches(complex) and fiber.  It is important to understand how different carb sources are broken down by the body and how food can be used for quick or longer rates of energy.  Simple carbs such as those found in fruit or honey, are digested easily and provide a quick boost of energy. Complex carbs that are found in whole grains take longer to digest making them a good source for pre-workout fuel for your body. And finally one of the most important aspects of carbohydrates is fiber.  Carbs with fiber helps with weight loss, moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol.

What foods are carbs?
Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

 

No/Low Carb Diets

When you first start reducing carbs in your diet you start to lose weight. This is an exciting time for people because they think they have lost body fat weight.  However, the truth of the matter is the first amount of weight lost when cutting carbs is water weight.   When carbs are reintroduced into the diet the water weight will come back.   If the person continues on this type of diet they will start to see a body fat weight loss, however the weight loss in general is not because they are on a no/low carb diet it is because they have drastically cut their calorie intake.  The basic principal of weight loss is if you are in a calorie deficiency you will lose body weight. The exception to this principal are people in too much of a deficiency and their metabolism is no longer functioning properly to allow them to lose weight and people with thyroid issues.

So how do you feel on a no/low carb diet?

  • Run down & lacking energy
  • Easily irritated. Hangry (Hungry and Angry)
  • Foggy – unable to think clearly
  • Headaches

Overall no/low carb diets are not a good long term solution it losing weight and often result in gaining all if not more of the weight lost.

Creating a balance 

Its important to create a healthy balance in your diet that includes lean proteins, carbs and healthy fats.  One of the easiest was to do that is to build your meals to include all 3 macronutrients.  My recommendation is for your three big meals of the day choose a lean protein between 4-8 oz,  1 cup of green vegetables and 1 cup of a complex carb.

Sample Meals for the Day:

Breakfast:

  • 3 to 5 Egg Whites, 1 -2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Serving of Oatmeal with Cinnamon

Snack

  • 2 Brown Rice Cakes
  • 2 Tbs All Natural Peanut Butter

Lunch

  • 4-8 oz of Grilled Chicken
  • 1 Cup Steam Green Beans
  • 1 Cup Sweet Potatoes

Snack

  • Protein Shake
  • Apple

Dinner

  • 4-8 oz of Grilled Tilapia
  • 1 Cup Steam Broccoli
  • 1 Cup Rice

While there is much more detailed information regarding carbohydrates this is just a basic overview to provide a bit of information when deciding how important carbs are in your daily diet.

For a more indepth discussion about macronutrients or for nutritional guidance please contact us today to become a client.

Balsamic Steak and Pan Seared Vegetables

I love lean cuts of beef for my protein of choice.  This amazing dish came together when I was trying to decide what vegetables I wanted for to pair my steak with for dinner.

 

Ingredients:

  • Lean Steak (sirloin or round cuts are your best choice for lean cuts)
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Sliced White Button Mushrooms
  • Red Peppers
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Season steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the steak and sliced mushrooms to a skillet. Cook meat to temperature you enjoy.
  3. Remove steak and add red peppers and frozen green beans.
  4. When green beans appear to be cooked add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of garlic.
  5. Slice steak into strips and add back to vegetable mixture. Toss steak with vegetables.
  6. Cook a few more minutes so the steak has a chance to absorb some of the balsamic and garlic flavors.
  7. Enjoy!

The macros vary depending on what type of meat you use and how much. Also how much vegetables you use.  This would be great on a tortilla or with some rice on the side. I encourage you to play around with the ingredients.

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