By Jamie Atlas, Guest Blogger, The Denver Post, March 17, 2014
Your bathroom scale is the worst judge of weight loss.
In short, your scale is a liar. In fact, if you’re a woman, then it’s misleading you even more so. That solitary number does not define you. In fact, that number doesn’t even describe you. Other than to say that the sum of your muscle, fat and hormone and diet-related water weight adds up to that number below you.
Now, I’m not a woman (let’s get straight right off the bat), but I know enough that most women experience hormone shifts and fluctuations that lead to changes in more than just a craving for chocolate. Your hormone profile can alter your “bloating” or body-water percentage, which can change significantly depending on what time of the month you are testing yourself for weight loss or body fat (or any weight-related reading, for that matter).
For some women of a certain stage in life, the concept of hormone fluctuation might be less of a concern; however, for those taking it, hormone replacement therapy can come with its own adjustment period, and in some cases, permanent water retention. So if you’re already taking a replacement, the time between weigh-ins might not matter as much — but if you have recently started, then certainly give your body six to eight weeks to adjust to your new “non-cycling.”
Muscle + Fat
Imagine a bag of unpopped popcorn. Now imagine the size of that same bag popped. Weighs the same, right? You’d be amazed the number of clients I’ve worked with who (when working out and eating optimally) have lost 2-3 dress sizes and dropped not a single pound. It causes a perplexing amount of glee mixed with frustration, I can tell you.
On one hand, we’ve been trained to think that dropping weight means a leaner person. Back to the popcorn analogy. Imagine the popcorn is your muscle, and the popped popcorn is fat. The density of one is much higher (and takes up less space) than the other. Which is why you want to know both numbers, and not just the sum of both. If you know your body-fat percentage and your “lean mass,” then you can know how much muscle and fat you have on you, and work to change one or the other — depending on where you want to be.
You don’t need a super-fancy scale (although one of those can help, depending on what your goals are). Chances are your doctor, friend or gym has one that will tell you the wicked truth. For optimal accuracy, measure yourself in the morning right after you get out of bed and have visited the bathroom. Then try to measure yourself once a week. Again, for the ladies, mark an ‘X’ on your calendar to give the greatest validity to the result that comes a month after your initial weigh-in (to account for that hormone/water weight variation we talked about earlier).
As you see numbers change in your body fat (and hopefully very little change in loss of muscle, which can happen with body-fat loss), then you’ll likely see a change in the way your clothes fit, and probably the way your husband/wife/co-workers flirt with you.
Above all, be kind to yourself. If you’re on a weight-loss journey, remember that you aren’t a “Biggest Loser” contestant stuck on a ranch somewhere — you’re a real person. Measure results, be diligent, and be patient.
Jamie Atlas is a personal trainer and owns Bonza Bodies Fitness. He’s also an ambassador for Lululemon and RallyMan for the nonprofit LiveWell Colorado.
Hopping on an elliptical trainer to do simple cardio, without turning it high-intensity, may be contributing toward making you fat, according to recent studies.
Cardio may be the worst thing you can do if you are trying to lose fat, according to recent studies. In fact, if you want to gain weight, you should get on the treadmill or go out for a nice slow jog. Hopping on an elliptical trainer to do simple cardio, without turning it high-intensity, may be contributing toward making you fat, according to recent studies.
Several new studies show that long and boring cardio workouts actually sabotage your body’s natural ability to burn ugly belly fat. Crazy right? Think about it…if you’re fed up and tired of not getting the results you want from your current workout, then keep reading. This cutting-edge research is going to change your life!
For years we have been led to believe that to lose fat you need to do cardio. The more the better, in fact. We have all seen that chart on our favorite cardio machine that reads: Fat Burning Zone. This is old science, taken out of context. What it should really say is this: By doing this you are teaching your body to store fat.
When you spend 30, 40 or even 60 minutes pounding away on a treadmill, you send your body a powerful signal to start storing fat instead of burning it. This is because when you do cardio, your body reacts to the stress by suppressing a very important hormone that is produced by the thyroid to burn fat. When this hormone, called T3, is suppressed, your body starts gaining and storing fat immediately. Now why would our bodies go and do something annoying like that? It’s because the body needs fat to function, and its automatic response to stress is fat storage for survival.
According to a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology: People who performed intense cardio suffered from decreased T3 hormone production. But that’s not all… Doing the same intensity aerobic conditioning, or cardio, will make your body more efficient at burning calories at that pace. Your body adapts and becomes smarter in how it uses its fuel. If your goal is to burn fat, you definitely don’t want your body to become more efficient. Less efficient equals more fuel used/calories burned.
Doing cardio also puts massive amounts of stress on your body.
One study even suggests that if you jump out of bed every morning at the same time to go for a run, your body knows what to expect and begins to stress out, releasing cortisol and hanging onto fat, before you even start your run. Super rude!
If that weren’t enough…cardio increases your appetite.
This is a physical as well as an emotional response. Your body craves it, and you believe you earned it…which isn’t true. In fact, most folks end up eating an average of 100 calories more than they just burned off.
Perhaps worst of all, after 20 to 30 minutes, most classic, steady-state cardiovascular exercise begins to chew up your precious, calorie-burning muscle. Shocking to realize that something you believed was the ultimate weight-loss tool ends up being the ultimate weight-gain tool, because the moment you chew up that muscle, you are in a metabolic free fall. Muscle is active tissue that burns 6 calories/per lb per day. Fat, on the other hand, burns only 2 calories/per lb per day.
Muscle loss equals a slowed metabolism and fat storing. After the age of 20, the average person loses one-half to seven-tenths of a pound of muscle a year anyway. That’s 5 to 7 pounds a decade. The news is even worse for women. As we approach menopause, the rate at which we lose muscle doubles, which is why so many women begin to gain weight right around that time of life.
Just in case you need one more reason to stop doing cardio, consider this:
A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that cardio causes immense oxidative damage and a flood of free radicals to the body.
Free radicals are molecules that cause rapid aging in your body. During your “healthy” cardio routine your body is filled with free radicals which cause damage to your organs, damage your skin and not only make you look older but actually do make you get older faster!
So if you’re interested in losing weight you you should cut back on classic cardiovascular exercise. Throw out your treadmill, or better yet, give it to someone you don’t like since cardio just doesn’t work if your goal is long-term weight loss.
Now you need to know what you should be doing. . . . Don’t jog–sprint! Train with weights. Do intervals, or better yet, high intensity interval training!
If you want to lose fat you need to increase your metabolism by lifting weights and signal your body to burn fat with short high intensity bursts or sprints.
Not only will you save your joints, protect your heart, look younger and feel better, you will do it in half the time!!
Dana Fullington is a certified personal trainer, nutrition and fitnesscoach. She offers personal training and small group training through Small Group Fit Club.
©2013 Denver Post Blog: http://blogs.denverpost.com
It is common for people dealing with celiac disease to suffer from ‘brain fog’ along with other symptoms, like intestinal problems. However, the latest study indicates that closely following a gluten-free diet helps to improve memory and brain function. Let’s learn about the findings in detail.
How The Study Was Conducted?
The study that was published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics was conducted on eleven participants, out of which eight were females. These participants had just been diagnosed with celiac disease. To find out if the ‘brain fog’ of these patients truly improved after consuming a gluten-free diet, the researchers tested them with a series of cognitive assessments, which included and analysis of memory, motor function, visuospatial ability, efficacy and attention.
Simultaneously, researchers also collected small bowel biopsies from the patients through routine gastroscopy around week twelve and fifty-two. These biopsies were then compared with those that were taken at the beginning of the study.
With all the collected information, researchers were able to compare cognitive performance to serum concentrations of tissue transglutaminase antibodies (which are beneficial for diagnosing conditions such as celiac disease), biopsy results and other biological markers.
What’s The Connection between the Gut and the Brain?
Experts have already found that gluten sensitivity is associated to decline in memory power and neurological health conditions such as Parkinson’s, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s. The scientists involved in one study that was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, even claimed gluten sensitivity as a neurological disease.
Gluten sensitivity is a condition that causes inflammation and can directly affect a person’s immunity to disease, as well as the brain, causing various symptoms including deterioration of memory power, extreme headaches, difficulty in concentration and brain fog.
The results of the study show that eliminating gluten-rich foods helps to heal the gut and treat the symptoms that are linked to celiac disease. According to the senior researcher of the study, Dr. Greg Yelland, the study emphasises the importance of a gluten-free diet for maintaining the physical and mental wellbeing in individuals.
© 2014 Divine Health, Inc., All rights reserved.
If you are what you eat, and especially if you eat industrial food, as 99 percent of Americans do, what you are is "corn."
Go to this link to view excerpts from Michael Pollan's article, We Are What We Eat: http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/we-are-what-we-eat.
We all know how great a good night's rest feels. You wake up feeling refreshed, energized and ready to tackle your day. Unfortunately, this rested feeling is the exception and not the norm for many who live busy lives in the modern world, and it's hurting more than our energy levels—it's also harming our hearts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-quarter of the U.S. population doesn't get enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia.
Although it may feel like it, sleep isn't a passive activity, or a luxury for that matter. It's a must for your overall health and well-being, and according to numerous studies, it's essential for a healthy heart. According to the CDC, not getting enough sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Together, these four health conditions prove a powerful case that sleep isn't just beneficial, it's vital.
© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos
The color of your urine is an indicator of your health. It lets you know if your body is hydrated, dehydrated or whether your organs are functioning well. The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio has created an infographic specifying what the color of your urine indicates about your health status.
Dr. Daniel Shoskes, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic, says that changes in the color of your urine are usually influenced by your body’s hydration levels. If you are hydrated, you will pass clear urine. Yellow and dark yellow colored urine signify that your fluid intake is less than your body needs. However, if your urine has another strange color, then it is important to find out what is responsible.
There are certain colors that are linked to specific organs. Blood in the urine is a sign that blood is coming from the urethra, urinary tract, kidneys, bladder or prostate. Shoskes says that if the color of your urine is more brownish, it can be linked to a liver dysfunction. Checking the color of your urine is only a preliminary examination. Your doctor may look at it under the microscope to learn more.
The following explains the various shades of urine and their relation to your health:
Transparent: If you pass clear or transparent urine, it signifies that you are drinking lots of water. This is a condition known as overhydration. Drinking excessive amounts of water is generally not harmful to your health. However, in rare cases it may dilute the amount of salt in your body. This generally won’t put you at risk unless you are pushing yourself to drink more than the recommended amounts of water.
Pale Yellow To Amber or Honey: If you pass urine with a lighter shade of yellow, it indicates that you are well hydrated. However, if the color of the urine darkens, it means that your fluid intake is low and you need replenish your fluids.
Thanks to Dr. Don Colbert, DIVINE HEALTH, http://www.drcolbert.com/
Question: What increases blood sugar more, whole wheat bread or a Snickers® bar?
Answer: Whole wheat bread increases blood sugar more than a Snickers® bar. (The glycemic index of whole wheat bread is 72, Snickers® bar is 41.) In fact, with few exceptions, whole wheat and other grain products increase blood sugar more than any other known food. Yes, the foods we are advised to eat more of, "healthy, whole grains," raise blood sugar higher than many candy bars. (The exceptions are dried powdered starches, like cornstarch, potato starch, rice starch, and tapioca starch. Incidentally, these are the foods used to make most "gluten-free" foods.) So carbohydrates, especially wheat products, also increase triglycerides and VLDL, which thereby increase production of small LDL and small HDL particles. - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/c/7986/117269/triglycerides#sthash.JQ1IOxTm.dpuf
According to a study, women who consume a high dietary glycemic load may increase their risk of colorectal (colon) cancer. Glycemic load is a measure of how quickly a food's carbohydrates are turned into sugars by the body (glycemic index) in relation to the amount of carbohydrates per serving of that food.The study consisted of 38, 451 women who were followed for almost eight years. The participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits, so researchers could examine the associations of dietary glycemic load, overall dietary glycemic index, carbohydrate, fiber, non-fiber carbohydrate, sucrose, and fructose with the subsequent development of colon cancer. Researchers found that women who ate the most high-glycemic-load foods were nearly three times more likely to develop colon cancer.
This study shows that not only can a diet rich in sugar boost the risk of type 2 diabetes and contribute to obesity, but it may also lead to colon cancer.
Exercising excessively or incorrectly can backfire on your health in a number of ways. For example, the following can occur when you exercise too much or too hard: