Friday, February 12, 2016

How to Snack Well

As a personal trainer who specializes in weight loss, I am constantly being asked “what am I doing wrong”? I then begin to ask some questions and the resounding response is snacking and portion size.

The remedy to both is sometimes the same thing. If you eat food that is healthy you can often get a bad result if you have too much of it. If you want to snack, you can eat the right stuff but again too much of it.

The best advice I can give you is to read the label. Most of the foods we buy comes in a package that allows you to find out how many calories are in a serving. We need to be careful that the serving size is not a trick. What I mean by this some companies give a small serving size that no one actually uses. Cereal is a good example. If you weight an ounce or cereal it is often half of what most people consider a bowl. Spray butter is another. They say it has no fat because one spray is less than a half a gram. When is the last time you only used one spray.

Next time you dole out a portion, look at how many portions are in the container. You can also buy a small food scale. After you use it on an item you can usually eyeball it for the next serving. Most people eat the same thing 80% of the time and eat new food item only on occasion. If you can learn the calories in the 80% the other 20% won't get you in much trouble.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Update on Family Weight Loss

     I posted something a few weeks back about a family member who asked how she could get back in shape. I had the unusual position where I didn't have to pussy foot around because of our long relationship and because of the fact that she asked for my professional opinion.

    Yesterday I got a text that she was doing great and had already lost six and a half pounds. We were both ecstatic. I then asked what was the secret. She said there are no short cuts but that one thing I said made a huge impact on her progress. I was curious what it was because I am always looking for a common denominator. If it works for one person it won't work for everyone but it may works for others as well.

    She said that one thing I said stuck out in her mind like never before. I don't remember the exact words unfortunately but it all came down to something like this. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is one word. "willpower". It may be two words "self discipline". She said that only thing keeping her fat and cutting her life span was her lack of willpower. No carb or fattening dish is worth my self esteem she texted! The good news was that there were only a few key times of day that she had to address to regain power and start making progress.

     If you are a successful business person and have done what it takes to succeed at work, just apply the same tenacity on something equally important, yourself. Someone once said that nothing tastes as good as being fit feels. You may find that if you try it for a few weeks you can create a new habit.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Should I Snack

     As a personal trainer who deals primarily with weight loss, I often get asked about snacking. The surprise is that I have done a 180 on what I used to think and do. The old mind set was to eat several meals a day to keep the metabolism up. The old rule also said eat breakfast as the most important meal of the day.

    I have to confess that at 60 my easy weight loss days are over. In the past with routine exercise and diet I could get in my best shape in a month or two. Now that old plan is not as effective. What I found was, that eating between meals was not working for me. There are several possibilities for this but the one that makes the most sense is the concept of glycogen depletion. What this means in English is when you snack you replenish your glycogen stores in the liver. This is the easy accessed fuel the body need for energy. Without this easy to accessed fuel,  the body must get energy from somewhere else. The body can now draw on fat to fill that requirement as an energy source.

     The good news is that it doesn't take long before this becomes second nature. We are all creatures of habit and good habits like bad are just that, habits. Give it a couple of weeks and you be surprised how the appetite is down along with your weight. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

How To Get Back On Track

     A family member asked me yesterday, how she can get back to her old shape. This lady has struggled  most of her life with weight until five years ago. She dropped about 30 lbs. and looked terrific, better than ever before. She is in her mid fifties and has put back 20 of the 30 lbs.

     Ever notice that after you drive to a new place the first time the second time is much faster. The same thing goes for weight loss. I'm not taking about a fad diet that you lose rapid weight in a short period of time. I'm talking about weight loss the right way with smart nutrition, exercise and most importantly willpower.

     There are no easy answers. Quick weight loss usually results in quick weight gain. The "exercise prescription" refers to three to five days a week of walking or exercise.  Food is often the hard part.
This lady knows what to do and already hits the gym.

     We went to a Mexican restaurant for brunch and I saw part of the problem. She had a omelet with rice, beans and tortillas. You cant eat carbs. like that and lose weight. My guess is the plate had about 2000 calories. She only had 1/2 but she brought it home WITH the tortillas.

    My suggestion was two things. 1)  Take the picture of you in the two piece bathing suit 20 lbs lighter and put it on the frig. 2) Hold off on the beans, rice and tortillas for four months. The immediate response was not even black bean?  My response was not even black beans for four months then you can go back to black beans.

     As I was leaving I left her with one thought, it all comes down to one word, WILLPOWER!
Are you going to let "it tastes so good" continue to be more important to you than looking your best?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Should I Eat Breakfast

When I started as a personal trainer 25 years ago, the conventional wisdom was very definite about not skipping meals. The most important meal of course was breakfast. If you follow the most current information, this is no longer a given. Many of the nutritional authorities have now put it out there that skipping breakfast many have other benefits.

The reason for this involves the concept of intermittent fasting. If you eat dinner at six or seven and skip breakfast, you add another four to six hours that the body is without food. After food is digested it is converted to glycogen which is easily converted to energy. Without a constant supply of this on hand fuel the body needs to convert fat into energy. Can you see where I'm going?

The old idea of six small meals made sense because something called the thermic effect of food. This means after you eat food the metabolism is boosted by 10% to convert that food to energy. If you eat 300 calories you burn 30 calories to digest it. We used to think if you ate all the time or grazed you would constantly be stimulating your metabolism. Look around,  we have more obese people now than ever.

If you eat 1000 calories you burn 100 calories. If you eat three meals of 333 calories you still burn the same amount but you continue to replenish your glycogen. The body never needs to burn fat reserves.

I don't recommend one meal a day but you may want to try eating a late breakfast and a early dinner or just skip breakfast and eat the same lunch and dinner. If you used to eat 21 meals a week and now you're eating 14, you will probably be eating less and losing weight. Try it, I did!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

When is the best time of year to start working out

 After 25 years of helping the local Foothill residents get in shape I often get asked, when should I start. The age old wisdom is after the first of the year, a new years resolution. What I have found may surprise you. The people with the highest success rate start in December.

The reasons for this may vary and don't get me wrong January is a close second. The best time to get in shape is when you're  ready. This is one of the things that no one else can do for you. I think the reason December is effective is because you are making a decision for yourself, not because everyone else is doing something.

One of best things to do if you want to lose weight and get in shape is ask the special people in your life to help out. If being strong and lean were easy the scenery at the mall would be a lot better. Most people make MUCH better progress with a proven system in place. A proven system is always more easily accomplished with a team in place that all work together toward a common goal.

If you don't have supportive team around you which is often the case, try a  few sessions with a experienced certified personal trainer. Body Mastery is the business I started over two decades ago and I tailored it to the average person who hates exercise. I consider our system the un-bootcamp.

No matter how effective a program may be, it will never succeed if people find it too unpleasant to follow. If you hate the process good luck in making it a way of life. This obvious principle is why we try to make each workout not only productive but also enjoyable. The first thing most clients find attractive is that you are never in competition with anyone. We have  clean cool environment that only involves you and your trainer, no distractions. We have music, TV or other forms of entertainment that help pass the time more quickly than you'll expect. If you want to try a workout for free just mention this blog post and I can show you what I mean.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Get Your Partner Going

     Many of my clients have partners that also work out on a regular basis, but some have to go it alone. The support system ranges from one end of the spectrum to the other. If your partner is already on the band wagon, good for you. If they aren't here are a few suggestions.
      If you're in a good relationship your partner wants the best for you. You can use that fact to help them by helping you. What I mean by this is you can ask your significant other to help you first with your food choices. I don't think a husband who brings home pizza on a regular basis is helping anyone with weight loss goals. Don't get me wrong I'm Italian and love Italian food but it can be enjoyed sparingly and certain foods are 1/4 the calories of others.
      The first thing to do is come out in the open and tell your partner you would like some help eating healthier. You can make suggestions for dinner like fish or chicken. Tell the waiter not to bring the bread or chips when you eat out. We often have a healthy salad or appetizer and then split an entry which is a habit that we really have grown to like.
      Snacking is often a problem after dinner. Sometimes you can make progress by switching to a smarter choice like popcorn or pretzels. Better yet ask you partner to skip a snack night here and there. That at least is a good start and you can build on to it.
       As far as routine exercise,  the best thing I have found is to ask for some company on a walk after dinner. It has been statistically proven that walking is one of the best things to speed up a sluggish metabolism. After 5PM the body begins to slow down metabolically. A walk anytime after can reap rewards that you wont get at other times. If you are a woman, you can use the safety issue of walking alone. Make your man play the protector role, we always love that even if we don't admit it.
     Finally you can buy a personal training session from a local trainer. Body Mastery has been helping the Foothill locals get in shape for 25 years. We have a private workout studio and also come to homes. If you get a bad response you just need to pull the "I love you and care about your health" card. Then use it yourself if that doesn't work.