Posts Tagged lose 20 lbs
Wait, what? I thought that a Calorie was a measure of energy. Am I wrong?
Well, not exactly. First off, the correct terminology to use here would be kilocalorie, or kcal. 1 kcal is defined as being enough energy to raise 1ml of H2O by 1 degree Celsius. That means that when a calorie is being used it produces HEAT. Does your food continue to get hotter and hotter as it sits there? No. This is because the energy is STORED in your food. The Calories that are in your food are not energy; they are POTENTIAL ENERGY. So when you exercise, your body starts to “burn” this potential energy. Heat is produced as a waste product, and your body temperature goes up. Pretty simple, right? Are you wondering why am I explaining the difference between energy and potential energy?
People are always concerned about whether or not they have consumed enough energy to perform a task. The reality is though, your body is going to find this energy one way or another. Your body has energy stored in a couple different forms, the largest being fat. In the simplest of terms: if your body does not receive enough potential energy from food to survive, it will then pull energy from your fat storage. This is something that I have to explain over and over again to clients; even those who are pregnant or nursing (and have excess body fat). Here is how the conversation goes:
“My doctor says that I need to eat an extra 200-300 Calories per day because I am nursing”
“How many Calories per day are you currently eating?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tracked it”
“…then what are you going to add 300 Calories to?”
This dialogue always makes me laugh a little bit, because we Americans are always concerned about not getting enough energy from food, when the reality is that we don’t have a starvation problem here in America. In fact, MORE THAN HALF OF US ARE OVERWEIGHT! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?! We need to start looking at food as POTENTIAL ENERGY, because that is a healthier and smarter way to look at it. When you are looking at something you are considering consuming you should ask yourself, “am I realistically going to use all of this energy?” This might help you make better choices.
All that being said, it is important to give your body enough fuel to maintain the muscle mass that you have. Otherwise you will begin to lose your muscle (because your body needed more potential energy) and your metabolism will begin to slow down… But how do you know how many calories your body needs per day? That is a question that is easier to answer if you have had an accurate Body Fat % measurement done recently. Either way, there are websites that you can use to get a good estimate of how much energy (kilocalories) your body uses, both at rest and with exercise. Once you know that you will have a better idea of how much POTENTIAL ENERGY to consume each day.
Here is a great calorie calculator: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm (click on “Advanced Options” to enter your body fat %)
I get a lot of questions surrounding this topic. What is a plateau? How do I avoid plateaus? I hit a plateau; how do I get through it?
Put simply, a plateau is a speed bump in your progress that feels like a dead-end. Whether you are trying to build muscle or lose fat, this can be very frustrating. In my opinion, “plateau” is also a word that is WAY overused! People think that they hit plateaus all the time, but this is not necessarily the case. Just because the number on the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean that you hit a plateau (are not getting results).
That brings me to the first problem: over-diagnosis. I don’t know about you, but my weight fluctuates by multiple pounds every day. If I consume too much salt or don’t drink enough water to flush out extra salt, my weight goes up. Women: you know what this is like. Every 4 weeks you have a few days where the last thing you want to see is a scale! Right?! People, this is normal! So why weigh yourself every day if your weight can fluctuate so easily? Doing this is just asking for disappointment. Keep the weigh-ins to 1x per week, MAXIMUM! Also, weigh yourself in the morning before breakfast, ideally after a bowel movement. Also very important- don’t weigh yourself after a “not normal” day (heavy drinking, ate way more than normal, didn’t eat enough, ran a marathon, etc…) Doing this is just asking for an inaccurate reading on the scale that can result in several outcomes:
- Weigh in lighter than you are, which means you will not show favorable results the following week.
- Weigh in heavier than you are, which means you will ask your husband if you look fat, then get mad at ANY answer that he comes up with
Method of measurement:
Is the scale the only thing you are doing to check your progress? This is very common and is a HUGE mistake! Results should never be measured by only one form measurement. Circumference measurements as well as monthly picture can be a great way to check progress. Most people now know that muscle weighs more than fat, right? The idea of being happy that you lost or gained a certain amount of weight doesn’t make much sense if you are not sure that you are gaining muscle, or losing fat.
Plateau as a Scapegoat:
Do you measure and log your daily food intake? Are you consistent day in and day out with your workouts? Are you pushing yourself as hard as you used to with your workouts? Are you still refraining from alcohol when you hang out with friends? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you have not hit a plateau, YOU ARE JUST SLACKING!!! Be honest with yourself. Plateaus are not common and can usually be explained. If something is missing from your program, replace it. If you are not as dedicated to a part of your program, get back on it!
How to get through a plateau:
Ok, so you hit a plateau. You are having a hard time losing more fat: this is why it is so important to log your food. It is easy to go back through your notes to see what can be changed. Check to see what, if anything, has changed. If you notice that something is in your diet that wasn’t there before, get rid of it and see what happens. You can also start eliminating one type of food at a time until you notice a change in how you are feeling and notice that the fat has started coming off again. This will occasionally happen with dairy, as well as wheat gluten, even soy!
You are having a hard time gaining muscle: when is the last time you switched up your rep ranges, weights used, tempo, rest periods? Are you only doing isolation exercises or are you incorporating compound movements? Are you measuring and logging your food? If not, how do you know you are getting enough fuel to your muscles to allow them to grow? Are you getting enough sleep? Enough rest days?
Here is the bottom line: the possibility of hitting a plateau means that you are trying to achieve a goal. Hitting fitness goals can be tough, especially if it is a big goal. Be honest with yourself. If you know that you are not doing everything that you can, ask yourself why. Maybe it is time to re-commit to your program. Maintenance is easy, and you have that to look forward to. For now, though, show yourself what you are capable of. Prove to yourself what you know is possible. Be consistent. Be disciplined. Hit your goal because you know you deserve it.
This should probably have been split between several posts, although I am sure that I will revisit some of this content.
What is a supplement? According to www.Thefreedictionary.com, a supplement is “Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.” Please notice that nothing was ever mentioned about necessity, because supplements are only to be used when something is missing, or as an aid.
Let’s first talk about the most commonly asked about supp… Protein Powders. There are several different types, and again, I will go into more detail on a future blog. In a nutshell, protein powders are predominantly whey-based, although there are many different forms. They are usually marketed towards men, promising to “build muscle fast, and to get you ripped.” Some are marketed to women, usually called something like “Her Protein”, and promising to help you shed fat and speed up your metabolism. Here is the interesting part…
They are the same thing!
The only difference about most of these proteins is the label. When it comes to protein powders, they should generally be used when you can’t easily get protein from a whole food source, when you are having a hard time digesting or consuming your recommended amount of protein, or immediately after a workout for recovery. The truth is that your body would much rather get its protein from a natural, whole food source. Things like chicken, fish, yogurt, eggs, etc, contain all the protein that you need. When it comes to picking a protein out, try a few until you find one that you like. I recommend going the natural route, and trying to minimize artificial flavors and sweeteners, which is why I recommend MRM brand protein. I will go into the different types of protein powders and their uses in a future post.
Fat Burners are another hot topic. Fat burners promise to work in several different ways. They will often suppress your appetite using stimulants while increasing your body temperature (thermodynamics). Almost every time a new fat burning product gets put on the shelf, it is only a matter of time before it gets pulled right back off. Bottom line: they are generally unsafe and should be avoided. Also, taking pills alone will never get the extra weight off. No matter what you take or how much you exercise, if you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will never reach your goal. My advice: your body loves to burn fat. Let it. Educate yourself about what you are eating. Buy a food scale. Increase the amount of resistance exercise that you do, and turn your body into a 100% natural fat-burning machine!
Have you been approached by a friend yet, telling you that they have been taking this “revolutionary, doctor-approved” supplement that has helped them lose weight? If you haven’t, it is only a matter of time, my friend… Let me break this down really quick:
- They lost weight because they are making better decisions and replacing high calorie meals with low calorie shakes.
- There are SEVERAL of these companies promising to be the only one of its kind. Are they all lying???
- They are excited for you to try it because it will make them money. And if you decide to sell it, they make even more. Did you know that with most of these companies you are forced to have the products auto-shipped MONTHLY to your house? That’s a pretty serious commitment for a shake or a vitamin…
- Most of these products are crap. Not all, but why not just get your supplements at a reputable health food store for a fraction of the price?
- The people selling them are often not educated outside of the sales rallies that they attend to learn more about the same company’s products. Ask them a question that is not answered on the brochure and watch them refer you to their sales director. All this for a protein shake? No. All this for a sale.
If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Do your own research before putting any foreign substance into your body. Don’t take my word for it, and especially don’t take a salesman’s word for it. Remember, supplements are just that- supplements. All goals can be achieved without them. (unless we are talking about steroids) If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your fitness goals, please shoot me an email and I will see if I can get you pointed in the right direction.
Has this ever happened to you:
You go to a restaurant and enjoy half of the massive serving that they gave you. You ask for a “to go” box, and you are already fantasizing about how great it is going to be tomorrow for lunch. But the next day you go to reheat the food and it looks like a completely different dish!
Oil and salt happened. When you go out to almost any restaurant (even when they claim to be healthy), they cook with massive amounts of salt and usually use a lot of oil. When your food has had a chance to sit overnight, the salt has also had a chance to pull the water out of the food. This, combined with the oils that have solidified underneath your food, makes for a disgusting and pathetic looking meal. This is why most people don’t like “left-overs.” This is also why it is hard for me to get some of my clients to prepare their meals ahead of time.
The most successful clients I have ever worked with are the ones who log their food, and prepare it themselves. But let’s face it: most of us don’t have the time to cook every day. Especially multiple times per day! If you want to be healthier, lose weight, and save money, then you really need to consider preparing your meals ahead of time.
But John, what about the “salt and oil” bit that you were just preaching about??
That won’t happen. (At least not so noticeably) Healthy cooking should mean more than just buying natural, whole foods. It is also knowing what amounts of those foods go into your meals. For example, do you want to cook with less oil? Then let it heat up first! It is very common for people to drizzle oil into the pan (which hasn’t finished heating up) and immediately place in whatever they are cooking. It sticks. So the next time they use more oil. The cycle continues…
Really, try first letting your pan heat up, then the oil. I promise you wont need as much, and you will cut down A LOT on the extra calories! (Oil contains about 120 calories/ 1 TBSP)
Here is your challenge: next Sunday try cooking some extra food to bring to work for the week. Trust me, it will only seem like a pain in the ass until you notice that your pants are getting loose and your wallet is getting bigger. Then you can email me a “Thank You” letter!
Looking forward to your responses!
I have a new(ish) client that I have been working with since December. Her name is Dina and she came to me with a weight loss goal. She had worked with a trainer before and had lost weight, but had gained it all back. We couldn’t let that happen again…
I made Dina promise me that when her clothes no longer fit her she would throw them away or donate them, but she couldn’t have them as a “security blanket” in case she did not keep the weight off… Folks, this is absolutely crucial if you have a weight loss goal. Show those “fat pants” who’s boss. Show them that you are never going back to your old habits or your old size. Embrace the fact that you can go shopping and buy something because you like it; not because it makes you look smaller or hides a flaw… Embrace the new you!
I am happy to announce that Dina has just donated her first bag of clothes! They no longer fit her because she has lost over 20 pounds!!! To give you an idea of what that looks like, consider this:
Did you know that one 16oz jar of regular mayonnaise is not only very close in volume to 1lb of human body fat, but also has almost the same amount of calories?
1lb human fat= 3500 cal 16oz jar mayo= 3,252
I bet THAT will make you think differently the next time you eat a sandwich. “Maybe this bread isn’t so dry after all,” you may say to yourself…
Dina, I am so proud of the progress you have made so far, and I cannot wait to post your “after” pictures in a few months! Keep up the good work!