260218 Keeping the weight off by eating more

260218 Keeping the weight off by eating more

Well here we are, nearly at the end of March, still struggling to keep up with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. If it is not going too well, perhaps you need to change your plan of attack. Most adults know food volume plays a critical part in controlling hunger pangs. This is because the stretch receptors in the stomach largely control the feelings of satiety.

Therefore if you eat large amounts of healthy foods that are also low calorie in the stomach receptors are going to turn off the hunger sensations. This is something that is not going to happen when you are eating snacks, high fat or fried food. Unless of course you are really eating a bunch of this unhealthy stuff.

Thus, the answer to the question of filling your stomach begins with not filling it with calories.

For example, take two identical twins, each of them has the exact same stomach but with different contents. Twin number one has 400 calories of a great tasting candy bar. Twin number two has 400 calories of a salad on board.

Now we all know, having eaten candy bars, that one candy bar is not going to fill our stomach up. Even though our stomach is not full, we still have eaten 400 calories, which means there is an awful lot of spare space down there waiting to get filled up. Twin number two, the good twin, has a stomach full of salad and the stretch receptors are saying “I am full”.

At this point, which twin would you rather be?

Which one is going to reduce their weight and move forward with their New Year’s resolution of losing useless fat?

The moral to this story is to eat 2 to 3 servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other healthy bulky foods at every meal, preferably before the main course shows up on the table.

290118 Changing your physical activity habits

290118 Changing your physical activity habits

Here we are, into the New Year and already many people have broken at least one New Year’s resolution. Are you one of them? If so, now could be the perfect time to step back and reevaluate why you’ve fallen off the wagon and are about to end up under the wheels.

New Year’s resolutions most often involve changing habits and that takes time. Your old habits won’t change in a flash. They weren’t developed that quickly and won’t go away that fast either.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you successfully succeed in achieving this year’s resolutions. They involve creating new habits to replace the old ones that are not working for you.

  1. Use your resolutions as your goal list. It is already written down or should be. Take this readymade list and divide it up into long term, intermediate and short term relatively easy to achieve goals. Tell others about them and begin developing your support group to help your reach each one.
  2. Change takes time and if you try to change everything at once then nothing will change. Go slowly in making these changes.
  3. Pick out the smallest and easiest habit you want to get rid of.
  4. These changes will take upwards of three to four months to complete. Develop and secure one small success at a time and then move onto the next one on your list.
  5. Since you have decided, or at least considered deciding, to begin with the smallest change on your list let me give you an example of a small something that you can do immediately. Grab a pen and paper and write down what you most recently ate or drank. Do this for a week, you will be surprised at the stuff you are putting into your body.
  6. If you want to start exercising, start small. Ride or walk for five minutes every day. No excuses just get the time in. Soon these few minutes will become easier to do and you will want to increase the time spent doing them. These minutes, short as they are, are the future building blocks toward more physical activity.
  7. If you expect these habit changes to be a walk in the park you are setting yourself up for failure. Life brings with it setbacks. How you handle them will ultimately determine your success or failure at making these habit changes permanent.
  8. If you didn’t reach a goal, reset it and go at it again. Don’t give up. The world is full of quitters, figure out where and why you didn’t meet the goal, readjust and move on. You can’t change the past, it’s over but you can change your future. Don’t waste time looking back; instead, keep focused on the goal.
  9. If today is not changed then tomorrow will not be any different.

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

051217 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 2

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

A large Australian study from last year showed that breakfast was critical for school performance, boosting both literacy and numeracy skills, independent of the socio-economic group. This backed up a review of the previous 50 years of studies in school children. There is no doubt that breakfast is necessary to help you to learn new stuff. Usually not difficult with primary school kids because they wake up hungry. It is the upper high school kids we need to convince.

Breakfast habits changing
Twenty years ago just about every young kid ate breakfast, with only some older teenagers giving it a miss, rising to 15% of 19-24 year olds being breakfast skippers. Now we have nearly 1 in 4 of upper high school students missing breakfast, in Australia at least.

Two decades ago, over three quarters of adults ate breakfast. Now barely 6 out of 10 adults regularly eat breakfast, women being better than the menfolk. Why the decline? The most common excuse is “not enough time”, in other words not enough time to pour out cereal into a bowl, add milk and consume (Gee, that’s gotta take 6 whole minutes) or plonk two slices of bread into the toaster, shave/brush hair/pack lunch while you wait, then add peanut butter. Let’s see, that’s 7.5 minutes.

But then my concept of time and food differs to most people, a fact I accept and have resigned myself to, especially since the day I saw a line of cars outside the drive-thru section of a famous takeaway at 8 am on a school day.

What if you don’t fancy breakfast?
Don’t know how you can do it, frankly. Me? I can’t do without breakfast. No breakfast and I can’t do up shirt buttons, I squeeze Heel Balm onto my toothbrush and drive into oncoming traffic. I have a court order to eat breakfast by 7.30 am or face serving jail time.

You, of course, may be able to get away with it. Can I suggest that you at least have a banana, a yogurt or one of those breakfast drinks as you leave the house? With some glucose racing through your arteries you will make better decisions. Then, when you do feel hungry, eat smart, like choose a sandwich, fruit or a smoothie and not scarf some eye-level, salty, extruded snack from the vending machine. Just the term “extruded snack” should put you off.

What does it all mean?
It means what it has always meaned. Clever people eat breakfast and breakfast eating makes you clever. The evidence is pretty over-whelming.

There are plenty of choices to kick-start the day – breakfast cereals or muesli with milk, topped with nuts or a banana (my choice), wholegrain toast with peanut butter, poached eggs and mushrooms on toast, yogurt and canned fruit and you can think of more. If you buy your breakfast look beyond the cappuccino and croissant because you are worth a lot more than that. A lot more.

Selected references:

  • O’Dea JA, Mugridge AC. Nutritional quality of breakfast and physical activity independently predict the literacy and numeracy scores of children after adjusting for socioeconomic status. Health Education Research 2012; 27 (6): 975-985
    • Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243
    • Astbury NM, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Breakfast consumption affects appetite, energy intake, and the metabolic and endocrine responses to foods consumed later in the day in male habitual breakfast eaters. The Journal of Nutrition 2011; 141: 1381-1389

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell, part 1

281117 Breakfast Power by Glenn Cardwell

I have communicated with and known Glenn for over 6 years now. He offers excellent advice and recommendations for healthy eating in an easily understood and  simple to follow manner. Danny M. O’Dell

Breakfast
Not long ago I was asked to review the science on the benefits of breakfast for a cereal company. Although it is a common truism that “breakfast is good for you” I wanted to know if it remains good advice. So I plunged into 30+ research papers to see what was agreed about the first meal of the day. Here is what I learned.

Leaner
Breakfast eaters are less likely to be chubby. And it doesn’t matter if you are at primary school, university or calling the shots from head office. That might be all you need to know to reach for the cereal bowl. So, why are breakfasters likely to be leaner? You can probably take a good logical guess at that yourself.

Breakfast eaters are more likely to be active and eat a decent diet for the rest of the day. No surprise there. If you are fit, you get more hungry and can’t bypass breakfast. It may also be that eating soon after arising helps regulate your appetite control hormones, normalise your blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. There is some evidence that a long fast leads to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that may stimulate hunger and overeating.

Lifelong benefits
Breakfast doesn’t just pay dividends in the morning; it seems to give a good return on investment at the back end of life too. Breakfast skippers have a higher total cholesterol, higher LDL cholesterol (the evil one), an extra 5 cm (2 inches) of belt leather needed and, in one US study, a 21% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Smarter
It seems that with breakfast, you are more likely to meet your nutrient needs for the day. This may be because most breakfast choices are nutritious. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with nutrients like iron and folate. Milk or yogurt adds calcium and riboflavin. Add fruit or nuts and there is vitamin C, potassium, fibre, and on it goes. Miss breakfast and those two biscuits with coffee at morning tea don’t exactly make up the loss.

 

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

211117 Avoid Breakfast Mistakes

You likely know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your athletes need fuel to perform in the classroom and in their sport. Encourage your athletes to eat breakfast but to avoid commons mistakes .

Not Enough Protein – A bowl of cereal with low fat milk is good, but most people don’t drink all the milk that goes with the cereal and that amounts to eight grams of protein! A hard boiled egg, 100% whole grain toast w/ peanut or almond butter gives extra protein.

Too Little Fiber – Avoid sugary breakfast cereal options! Cereal should have at least FIVE grams of fiber, and always more fiber than sugar.

No Fat – A breakfast with no fat will make you hungry within an hour. Cereal, berries and low fat milk delivers the fat you need.

Too Late in the Day – Eat breakfast within an hour of waking

Not Enough Food – Fruit is good but not enough food for breakfast Your athletes should consume 300-400 calories.

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The science-based contents of the Washington Interscholastic Nutrition Forum (WINForum) Site and Nutrition Navigator, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. WINForum clinics are accredited by the WIAA for coaches credit hours, and promote a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low fat or fat free dairy.

250717 Sticking to an exercise program

250717 Sticking to an exercise program

There are those who exercise because they like it and those who exercise because someone told them they had to. Which one are you? If the latter, then perhaps you could benefit from a few tips on staying with it on your own.

Before doing any outside of normal activity see your doctor if any of these conditions exist in your background:

  • If you are a man over 40 or a woman over 50
    • If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma or are obese.
    • Are at a high risk for heart disease, particularly so if you have a family history of the disease or stroke of if you have any other health risks that should be considered and subsequently evaluated by a medical professional.

Getting moving

  1. Activity counts, no matter what it may consist of it is still movement and movement is what activity is all about. Choose something you like to do and stick with it. It can be as simple as walking around your property or neighborhood.
    2. Get a mechanical motivator like a pedometer to track how many steps you took at the end of the day. Go for at least 10,000 steps each day and you will soon notice the health benefits of doing so.
    3. Start a logbook. Once written down you begin a history of your activity and soon will be reluctant to miss a session.
    4. Hook up with a friend and exercise together. Both of you will make gains in your health.
    5. If you don’t have time to get a full session in then split it up into more manageable times. The current wisdom is ten minutes is about the shortest time that makes positive changes in your body and ultimately your health.
    6. Use the stairs at work or in the stores. Get that body moving. Don’t get lazy by taking the easy way out on the mechanical devices to get somewhere.
    7. Eat your noon meal on the go, get out in the fresh air by walking or doing something that gets your heart rate up.

Your body was built to move and not just sit on its butt.

180217 Bend like the willow

180217 Bend like the willow

Being faithful to your exercise and health programs is an admirable trait. But what happens when it starts interfering with your life and more importantly to the lives of those who love you? I’ll tell you. It’s time to reappraise the situation and make some necessary changes.

Most hardcore fitness enthusiasts exercise come hell or high water, no matter what they will find a way to get their exercise session in every day. I know a person who has not missed one single day in over twenty years.

Every day this person did something positive for their health and fitness; even while recovering from major joint surgery. They have pushed to get better by regaining their range of motion and doing isometrics to build the muscle strength back to its pre-surgery status.

Has this dedication caused conflicts in their life? I suspect so. Let’s look at how you can avoid these same issues.

Putting the check on the calendar

I call minimally doing something positive for yourself putting a check on the calendar for that day. The check on the calendar simply means you did something on this particular day to help improve your health in some small way. It doesn’t mean you went all out on the exercises; just that you did a little bit.

Suppose you were scheduled to max out on one of your lifts or run a faster than normal mile but your wife or child became ill and had to be cared for. No one in their right mind would consider taking time off to exercise as planned if a loved one needed their help. You are no different.

Abandon your schedule and help them out. There will be breaks in the day when you can get out the skip rope and hit it hard. Do as many pushups and sit ups as you can in one or more minutes. Do something for yourself, but not at their expense, during the time you’ve got before they need you again.

If you aren’t in good mental and physical shape it’s going to be much harder caring for someone else.

Sometimes it really is better to stop the head long pursuit of strength and high level physical fitness and smell the roses for a brief minute or two before hitting it again. Just don’t take to long…

Prescriptions for strength training

101216 The benefits of resistance training

101216 The benefits of resistance training

A lifestyle of activity provides ongoing lifelong benefits for many people. Amongst these favorable side effects are reductions in high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Using our muscles helps in staving off osteopenia and osteoporosis by engendering positive changes in bone mineral density. This, along with a higher level of lean body mass leads to healthier body composition figures, i.e. more lean muscle and lowered adipose or fat tissue in the body.

For those who are finding it difficult to stay at a healthy body weight, strength training may be another method of control. It has been noted that muscle is more metabolically active than fat which means more calories are burned if you have more muscle mass compared to fat tissue.

A greater percentage of lean muscle mass brings with it increased feelings of self esteem, greater self confidence and certainly contributes to a much more positive body image.

Now that a few of the recognized benefits have been listed, it’s time to get started planning your strength training program.

Misguided, but well intentioned, people go out and buy an expensive, supposedly multipurpose machine. Those who do generally find that it doesn’t fit them, is uncomfortable to use, is too big, too cumbersome or worse yet hurts them. Simply put they would have been better off spending their money on a set of free weights, a bench and knowledgeable coach to guide them along for a few months. A small set of weights consisting off a couple hundred pounds, a sturdy bench and coaching sessions would set them back less than the high priced ineffective machine that ultimately will end up in the garage or basement and then in a garage sale.

Free weights provide endless opportunities to exercise. They create greater strength gains because of increased muscle fiber recruitment brought on by having to maintain the movement of the bar in its path instead of allowing the machine do it for you. Using free weights permits full range of movement during the exercise. This motion is unencumbered by the limitations of a machine and makes for unimpeded progress. Using free weights increases the range of motion helps to maintain flexibility in the joints.

Additional benefits of free weight set ups are greater personalized accommodation to individual body structure differences such as height, weight, torso types, limb length and joint mobility. Free weights mandate greater skill development in balance and coordination which are vitally important to leading an active life.

Probably one of the most important reasons to strength train is the fact that it will help to decrease fatigue brought on from daily living activities.

As we age the sense of balance gradually diminishes along with our agility, coordination and overall body awareness. All of which are leading causes that contribute to falls, injury and fractures. A healthy body plays a significant role in preventing injury and if injured then in the rehabilitation of that injury.

Many individuals who participate in sports find the stronger and more physically fit they become, the better their athleticism on the field.

If the choice is made to buy your own weights and get started, then it incumbent upon you to get a medical check up and discuss this exercise option with your doctor before starting out on your own to greater fitness.

Remember to have a spotter for over head, on the back or over the face lifts such as the military press squat or military press exercises. Of course if you decide to perform heavy lifting then a spotter should also be an essential part of your lifting program. Always use correct technique, lift safely, sensibly and smart.

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

Often times an activity requires specific equipment be available in order to participate. Advanced fitness and strength training methods fall into this category. However a beginner with the desire and motivation to get moving will do well without any specialized gear. Just the basics are necessary.

Clothing that is comfortable and even a bit loose fitting, paired up with a quality cross trainer athletic shoe can be a beginning. Place the accent on quality when making your purchases; they last longer and in the long run you get more for your money. Once you’ve got the clothing it’s time to begin.

Start out with an overall general warm up prior to any intense exercise, the exception may be for those of you who like to jog. In your case just start out on your run but go slower until you are warmed up sufficiently to move faster. Notice that I am not advising you to stand like a stork and pull the other leg up to your buttocks. This is a waste of time and can cause injury to a cold muscle.

Exercise at an intensity level high enough to produce results. Aerobic benefits appear shortly when exercising within your target heart range. Stay away from the low intensity nonsense-get going. And for you strength athletes lift in the two extremes of your one repetition maximum. One day will be at the 30-60% for speed and the other at 85-100%.

Train at a level of intensity that allows you to carry on a conversation with your friends. If not, then you’re overdoing it a tad unless you are getting ready for a contest.

Keep yourself hydrated. The days of toughing it out without water are long gone.

The cool down is as important as the warm up. One of the most effective cool downs is to simply walk around until your breathing and pulse return to near normal levels.

If you happen to be a little under the weather, health wise, it’s best to skip your session for the day. Get well and then hit it again.

Having a good time while you exercise means you’ll more than likely stay with it longer and staying with it means making steady health progress.

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

Morning workouts may be somewhat better for weight loss. There is some evidence showing that more fat is burned when exercising before eating breakfast. This may be because when exercising later on these sessions will be fueled by the proteins and carbohydrates from meals eaten earlier in the day.

However, if you have any type of a heart disease, working out in the morning may not be your best option because your risk of a heart attack is slightly elevated.

Some of the research is showing that exercise in the afternoon may be better for building strength and endurance. These same studies are showing that your aerobic capacity, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and reaction time show the greatest training peak between 1600 and 1900 hrs.

Even though the research is becoming clearer as to the best time to exercise each day, it is not going to make a hill of beans if these times are not good for you.

Each day is special, and each day you have to make a conscious decision as to when you are going to work out. The more habitual this workout time becomes the better the chances are that you are going to stick with it over the long haul.

As for deciding what time to eat your biggest meal of the day, you may want to keep this in mind: stuffing yourself at the local buffet shortly before going to bed will almost guarantee you of a poor night’s sleep because your body is working to digest all the food you ate.