Monday, May 11, 2015

How Much Do I Eat vs How Much Should I Eat?

This is an important question.  Knowing the answer to both parts of the question will play a vital role in your success.  Let’s examine the first part of the question; how much do I eat?  The average person underestimates their food intake by 10-20%.  This means that if someone stated they are consuming 2000 kcals per day the actual number may be closer to 2200-2400 kcals.  Day to day this representation may be insignificant but it quickly adds up.  As an example you could gain 1lb every 8.75-17.5 days (approximately 3500 kcals equates to 1lb.  3500/200 extra kcals per day= 17.50 days and 3500/400 kcals extra per day= 8.75 days).  Over the course of 1 year that could equal 21-42 lbs. of additional weight.

Now let’s examine the second part of the question; how much should I eat? There are a variety of methods and devices to help to determine the amount of calories to consume.  Most devices are not readily available and can be quite expensive.  To estimate the amount of calories you need to consume let’s talk about Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).  Stated very simply RMR is the amount of calories the body needs to function at rest.  

How to calculate RMR (Mifflin-St. Joer Equation)

RMR= {(9.99 x BW in kg) + (6.25 x Ht in cm)} – (4.92 x age) – 61

RMR= {(9.99 x BW in kg) + (6.25 x Ht in cm)} – (4.92 x age) + 5

In order to use the equation you will need to know and or determine the following information:

·         Age
·         Gender
·         Weight (convert from pounds to kilograms  lbs/2.2kb)
·         Height (convert inches to centimeters inch/2.54cm)

Example:·         40 y.o.
·         Male
·         220 lbs or 100kg
·         77 inches or 195.58 cm

RMR = {(9.99 x 100 kg) + (6.25 x 195.58)} – (4.92 x 40) + 5 = 2034.495 kcals.

2035 kcals represents the number of calories needed on a daily basis to meet the body’s daily caloric expenditure at rest.  This number doesn’t include activity.  To include activity an activity factor is necessary.

Activity Factors
Physical Activity (PA)
Activity Factor
Est. Using our example; RMR = 2035
<30 min of PA per day
2442 kcals
Light Activity
Light Exercise or  PA 1-3 days/week
2798 kcals
Moderate Activity
Moderate Exercise 3-5 days/week
3154 kcals
Very Active
Hard Exercise 6-7 days/week
3510 kcals

The challenge is to select the right activity factor.  Most individuals that I encounter would describe themselves as light to moderately activity, but are in reality sedentary to lightly active.  The difference is approximately 356 kcals.
Using the RMR equation will provide a good approximation of the amount of calories you should be consuming.   The next article will discuss how to increase your RMR and how to create a caloric deficit to lose fat.  In the mean time think about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T).  NEAT is defined as any activity done outside of exercise, such as taking the stairs vs elevator at work, picking a parking space further from the store to add extra steps or standing vs sitting during the day to name a few.   What other ways can you think of to increase your NEAT?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

To Use or Not Use CLA... That Is The Question.

Captivating headlines such as “Scientific Proof” or “Melt Fat Away” are great attention getters.  The vast majority of use are certainly interested in melting fat way.  I do believe that is the new American dream. 

Here is a quick rundown on CLA.  Conjugated Linoleic Acid: A polyunsaturated fatty acid in which the position of the double bones has moved, so that a single bond alternates with two double bonds.  Okay perhaps to technical, let’s try this CLA is a collective term for a group of geometric and positional isomers of linoleic acid in which the double bonds are conjugated. One more try, CLA is as naturally occurring fatty acid.

It is an essential fatty acid.  This means that the body does not produce CLA.  It must be ingested through diet.   The best sources are grass feed meats and it is found in smaller quantities in dairy products. CLA is produced from linoleic acid (sunflower and safflower oils) utilizing a process that converts linoleic acid into conjugated linoleic acid… thus all the double bond chatter previously mentioned.

Moving on… the majority of the research regarding CLA on fat loss is performed on animals.  The research is supportive of a fat loss reduction in animals. However, the human studies are not as conclusive. In fact depending on the study results have been noted as 0.2 lbs per week, 4 lbs over 12 months, or no change.  One study noted that individuals using CLA which gained the weight back was more in the form of lean body mass and not fat. 

Increasing your consumption of CLA through your daily diet would improve impossible. CLA is available in such small amounts and is generally accompanied saturated fats (the bad fats).  This is where supplementation comes in.  You can increase your consumption of CLA using supplementation.  The good news with supplementation is that you don’t consume the additional calories from saturated fat.  The doses seem to vary, research conducted used a daily intake of 3.4 grams and 7 grams. The benefits associated with humans seems to be restricted to the obese with BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 25.

Research also points to some additional benefits of CLA, such as:
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Enhanced muscle growth
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lowers insulin resistance
  • Reduces food-induced allergic reactions
  • Enhances immune system
  • Potent anti-oxidant (inhibits the oxidation of other molecules)
  • Anticarcinogen (a substance that counteracts the effects of a carcinogen and/or inhibits the development of cancer)
  • Anticatabolite (any substance that inhibits)
  • Possible general abdominal distress
  • May induce insulin resistance in obese men with metabolic syndrome (may cause diabetes)
  • Hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin, above normal)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose…blood sugar)
  • Decrease HDL (good cholesterol) 

It is also a:

Potent anti-oxidant (inhibits the oxidation of other molecules) Anticarcinogen (a substance that counteracts the effects of a carcinogen and/or inhibits the development of cancer) Anticatabolite (any substance that inhibits)

The downside:

In the end the research currently doesn’t support the use of CLA as means to achieve significant weight loss or loss of abdominal fat.Would I recommend the use of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)? 

No, given what I can interpret from the research it is not an effective weight loss or fat loss aid.  In fact the prevalence of diabetes and the over consumption of sugar it would appear that this CLA could even prove dangerous to some. The positives associated with CLA are also associated with eating healthier.   I would strongly recommend to spend your time and money on buying and prepping meals made with whole ingredients, minimally processed, and grass feed meats.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Trainer Dishes out a Reality Check!

It’s time for that all important reality check.  Losing weight or fat isn’t easy.  You must be present, you must participate and above all else you must be consistent.   I know what you’re thinking, my will power isn’t strong enough.  I got news for you will power only works is short spurts.  p But what does work is not accepting excuses.  Notice I didn’t say not making excuses… I fear that is an impossible task for all of us. But instead you need to recognize when you are making an excuse and not accept it. You can’t just go on auto pilot and bag it in.  You need to use that moment to look back on your goal(s).  Choose the path that leads to accomplishing those goals, not the path that leads back to the same place you started. To that place where are ashamed of looking in the mirror, the place where you choose to hide your body, where you choose not to socialize because you’re ashamed of yourself.  The place where you do all that you can to avoid eating the unhealthy snacks, treats, etc lying around the office, but choose to take a covert mission to binge eat when no one is looking.  Certainly perfection isn’t the goal.  However, there is absolutely no reason why you should be ashamed.  Choose the path that leads to a healthier outlook on life, one that would allow you to wear the skinny jeans (this one is only for the ladies, guys if you are wearing the skinny jeans… STOP), choose the path that allows you to wake up in the morning feeling invigorated, refreshed and excited to be alive.

Stop buying into the fad diets… com’on you know better!  It’s simply you accepting an excuse.  This isn’t even a matter of looking or hoping for the next or latest gadget to come out that is going to help you achieve your goals.   It’s about being present in the moment focused on make better choices and choosing to live a healthier life.  The benefit to making healthier choices is a leaner, more toned physique, disease resistance/prevention or management that may just having your strutting your stuff behind closed doors and not sitting on the couch eating the bag of potato chips.

I’ve had those moment where you are lying on the couch on the weekends, the sun is shining and you think, I should get up and get something done (walk, work around the house/garage, run some errands, go for workout) but choose not to.  From time to time this can be a well-deserved break, but it cannot be the norm.

Losing fat isn’t about the new latest and greatest supplement to hit the market. It is about you making the choice to be present, to participate, and to be consistent in pursuing a healthier lifestyle.   It’s not going to happen overnight.  But it will happen.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Best Friend When It Comes To Fat Loss…. LEPTIN !?

When it comes to losing fat there are many gimmick diets and strategies. This plethora of options make it difficult to decipher what works and what does not.  To make the matter even more difficult is the fact we are all not built the same.  With that said, I want to take a moment to talk to about a very special hormone called ‘Leptin’.  Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells that regulate the amount of fat stored in the body.  Leptin is also known as the ‘satiety hormone’. This is done by modifying our sensation of hunger with respect to our energy expenditures. It is worth noting the hormone Ghrelin that is produced in the stomach that stimulates feeding, ‘hunger hormone’.

Very cool, right?  Is this the magic pill?   

Not quite so fast.  Because leptin is produced in fat cells we should acknowledge the fact that if we are carrying a few extra pounds of fat and leptin is produced in fat cells we already have plenty of leptin in our bodies. 

I should warn you that there have been studies in mice whom have been giving extra doses of leptin reduces overeating and obesity. 

Well if it works for mice, why not me?

There is a phenomenon called leptin resistance.  Similar to insulin resistance the pancreas produces enough insulin however the body doesn’t make the right adjustment.  In leptin resistance, fat cells are producing enough leptin however the brain is either not receiving or interrupting the information being sent correctly.

Leptin produces or more importantly signals a sensation of being full after consuming a meal to the brain. Individuals who are leptin resistant the brain doesn’t acknowledge or receive this signal.

So, what is one to do?

The good news is there are no special pills or leptin supplements you need to take to improve your leptin sensitivity. In fact women produce 2 times more leptin than their male counter parts.  As mention earlier leptin is produced in fat cells.  So having extra fat means having plenty of the leptin hormone. Improving your eating choices and choosing foods that contribute to leptin sensitivity vs leptin resistance will put you on the right track. 

Foods that contribute to leptin resistance: starchy vegetables, white flour, breads, cereals, and grains (and yes this include whole grains and wheat). Most of these items will also fall under the category of processed foods.  Lastly eliminate high fructose corn syrup.  

Food that increase leptin sensitivity: nuts (almond, Brazil, cashews and pecans), Fruits (avocados and olives), Oils (almond and olive), fish (cod, halibut, bass, sardines, catfish, tune) and fibrous vegetables (leafy greens).

Prep the body for leptin sensitivity and start your morning off with healthy breakfast containing protein and some leafy green veggies.  Your waist line will thank you for it!!!