How to Grow a Couch Potato

I grew up at the dawn of the computer age.  Atari was the latest craze and kids still went outside to play in the afternoons when they got home from school.  However, I have this great mom that taught me things like fast food is a delicacy, dessert comes with every meal, and sports and rigorous physical activity are meant for athletes.  It’s not surprising that I tipped the scale at two hundred pounds by the time I turned thirteen.

As I reached my early twenties, I realized that my weight was making me very unhappy.  I began a strict diet and exercise program.  I would lose the weight and then return to my regular lifestyle of fast food and inactivity.  Needless to say, I would quickly gain the weight back and add on a little more for good measure.  Soon, I realized that I needed to make a lifestyle change.  Having no idea what that meant, I returned to college and pursued a degree in Health Promotion.  Today, I manage my weight with a much healthier lifestyle and daily activity.

I now own a personal training business at the YWCA and I use my personal experiences to help other people learn how to make some of these same lifestyle changes.  However, I do believe that the root of my problem was that I never learned how to be healthy when I was a kid.  Having grown up overweight, I now see this problem all around me.  When I was in school I was the one who was different because of my weight.  Today, kids everywhere are sedentary and overweight.  Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001 indicated that 25% of all white children are overweight and 33% of all African American and Hispanic children are overweight.  Those numbers are even higher today. Furthermore, the number of overweight children increased by 400% between 1982 and 1994.  400%!  So, my question for you is this…are you growing couch potatoes?!  We must remember that our children learn by example.  Exercise alongside your children.  Teach them healthy eating habits by practicing them yourself.  Enroll them in group sports and encourage them to participate in an active lifestyle.  This summer, choose experiences for your child that will help them to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how great it feels to be active.  Remember, it is paramount that you lead by example!  Do it for your health and theirs.

Industrial Strength Certified Personal Training offers a variety of training options for both adults and children.   Call Joe Montgomery at 704-996-0411 for more information.

Horizontal Body Weight Pull Up

Here’s a great exercise that with benefits that include:

  • – Integrated closed chain pulling strength and improved scapular rhythm.
  • – Hypertrophy of the Rear Delts, Rhomboids, Traps, and Lats (relatively).

Pre-Requisites :

  • – The client must display adequate shoulder flexibility and strength to perform this exercise with proper scapular rhythm.
  • – Common weakness can be seen in elevation and protraction during the movement.

Preparation :
Place hands on Smith Machine bar with palms facing forward. Your grip width should be at least shoulder width apart with entire body hanging straight down.

Movement :

  • – From the start position, draw your belly button inward toward your spine.
  • – Maintaining optimum spinal alignment, in a controlled manner, pull your body upward towards the Smith bar.  The shoulder blades should move downward and in while the arms follow.
  • – Only move as far as you can control core stability and return to the start position.
  • – The return motion must include shoulder girdle upward rotation and elevation under CONTROL.  Note: The return motion should be stopped just before the muscles relax.
  • – Do not allow head to “jet” forward.
  • – Relax arms as much as possible, placing the emphasis on back muscles.
  • – Do not round back!
  • – Common mistakes to avoid:  Raising the legs to help start the pulling motion, rotating the shoulders forward, hunching up the shoulders by the ears (indicating possible weakness in lower-mid shoulder girdle musculature), arching low back and rocking body.

Click here for step-by-step photos of the Horizontal Body Weight Pull-Up

10 Benefits of Personal Training

Source: Healthworks Fitness

With summer right around the corner I begin thinking shorts, tank tops, sun dresses and bathing suits!  These thoughts are often enough to get someone stepping back into the gym.  But, how many times have you set new fitness goals for yourself only to lose interest in a couple of weeks?  We all need a little help sometimes.  As a trainer, I sometimes struggle through the same flux of motivation and feelings of unfulfilled fruitless efforts as the average gym goer.  And it is for this reason that I capitalize on the tremendous benefits of working with a personal trainer.  Personal trainers are not just for stars and athletes.  Every single person can benefit from working with a trainer.  Personal training is truly an investment in one’s own health and well-being. Let’s take a look at the reasons why all people, including myself, achieve more working with a personal trainer.

ACCOUNTABILITY & MOTIVATION- Trainers are experts at holding you accountable. You have a set, paid appointment. Your trainer will be there waiting for you with a smile on his/her face each and every time you show up. They help you to not only develop your own personalized goals but to also develop a realistic and achievable plan to attain these goals. Trainers have the ability to believe in you even when you are feeling at your lowest and don’t believe in yourself. “CAN’T” is not in a trainer’s vocabulary.

DEVELOP A ROUTINE- Sure, it’s easy to get to the gym and hop on the elliptical, but then what? Trainers are educated on the most effective ways to help you get to your fitness goals. They will work with you to develop a routine that makes since and is realistic for you. If you haven’t worked out in months and are just returning to the gym, a trainer will not expect you to begin a fitness regimen consisting of 60 minute routines 5 days a week. A trainer will help you to figure out what makes since in your life that will maximize your time in the gym but not overwhelm you. They will work with you to develop an exercise routine that takes you on the path to achieving your personal goals. All along the way holding you accountable and providing motivation!

FRESH NEW PERSPECTIVES & IDEAS ON HEALTH, NUTRITION, AND FITNESS- There is an overwhelming amount of fitness, nutrition, and health information available. It is impossible for the average person to have time to sift through this information for what is most valid, accurate and up to date. It is the job of the trainer to stay on top of health trends and continue their education in order to provide you with the safest and most accurate information in the industry. Is that new fad diet really effective? Will I really get a bikini body by doing that popular workout? Is it true what I read in this fitness magazine? These are just some of the questions trainers deal with on a daily basis. Trainers are able to use their education, knowledge and experience to provide you with tips and tricks to help you develop a healthier lifestyle. We are constantly sharing recipes and ways to contend with obstacles in your nutrition such as “candy in the office”, or how to manage menu’s when dining out with friends. Often trainers are the first to say, “Hey, you’ve been complaining about this for a little bit. Maybe you should go see a doctor, massage therapist, nutritionist, etc.” We see you on a regular basis and are able to recognize if something is different or just not right and are happy to point it out and refer you to the appropriate expert. We care about your health and well-being! And we will hold you accountable to taking care of yourself nutritionally, physically, and with your overall health!

SOLID, CONSISTENT, NON-JUDGMENTAL SUPPORT- Not everyone has your best interest in mind. Your trainer, though, only cares about you and your success. Your trainer will be there. Each hour you spend with your trainer is an hour to focus on you and only you! They will provide consistent feedback to help you better yourself and achieve your goals. Most importantly, the trainer is able to do this without making you feel inadequate or judged. We have all gone into the gym and worried about what we look like doing an exercise or compared ourselves to someone else. Trainers don’t judge or derogate. They help you to see all of your successes, big and small, even when you can’t see them yourself. Through this support, trainers will hold you accountable and motivate you, despite your feelings about yourself!

PROPER TECHNIQUE & FORM- Watching all the you tube videos in the world and reading all the fitness magazines, does not substitute having a person by your side providing you immediate feedback on form and technique. It is very easy to hurt yourself in the gym. Trainers pay attention, cue both your mind and your body and help you achieve your goals more quickly by making sure you are doing each exercise correctly. They can help you develop better running form, improve your posture, and increase your strength by teaching you to recruit the proper muscles and making a mind body connection. With each exercise trainers will hold you accountable to proper form and technique preventing injury!

INJURY PREVENTION and/or INJURY REHAB- Often people shy away from equipment in the gym because they are afraid of hurting themselves. Likewise, one may stop attending the gym due to an injury. Trainers will teach you how to use equipment properly so that you do not injure yourself. Trainers will also work with you to prevent injuries in everyday life by helping you increase your balance, flexibility, and core strength. They are able to focus on specific exercises that will benefit you based on your activities of daily living. And in the chance that you have suffered an injury, trainers are able to work with you to safely exercise, keep your range of motion, and get your strength back. Just recently, I broke my leg. My trainer did not let me stop working out. After communicating with my physical therapist, we were able to develop a plan for me to keep up my upper body strength and begin rehab on my leg. A personal trainer will not let you use an injury as an excuse to not workout!!

SPORTS SPECIFIC TRAINING- Are you an athlete? Even a recreational athlete can get better at their sport. Trainers have studied body patterns and movements. They know the best exercises to help you develop strength, endurance, speed, and agility for your sport. A trainer will know if you have been keeping up your routine through your performance and will hold you accountable to the sports specific exercises in your program!

MAXIMIZE WORKOUT/MINIMIZE TIME- You will burn more calories in less time when working with a trainer. A trainer develops a program that is efficient and allows you to get the most in, in the shortest amount of time. Time does not need to be lost at the gym. If you are finding it hard to find time to workout, not only will a trainer help you to get the most out of your work out, but they will teach you how you can do that on your own. Each week trainers will follow up to see if you achieved our workout goals for the week, holding you accountable to exercise on your own time and make tweaks to the program to help you be successful!

PERSONALIZED PROGRAM- Personal training is just that, PERSONAL! A trainer will develop a program that is specific to you and your goals. If you have an injury, if you want to climb a mountain, if you want lose weight to become pregnant, have lower back pain… The program will be specific to you and only you! A program your trainer takes the time to develop and teach to you. You know they are going to hold you accountable to achieving the goals of that program!

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING- Some of my favorite time during the week is with my clients. You develop a relationship with your trainer like no other. Your relationship is very personal. There are not very many people whom you share your goals so specifically, who in turn will work so diligently to help you achieve them. Often that hour (or two, or three) a week you spend with your trainer, is the only time in your week that is truly devoted to you, your goals, and your successes. I have had sessions in which my client is angry and just wants to workout. There is no talking for the hour. I have had sessions with clients who have recently lost a loved one and their hour with me is their time to escape. I also have sessions with clients where they are so excited to share with me their personal successes and how what we are doing in training is translating into their life outside the gym. Often times intimate details of life are shared in sessions and I am so grateful that people trust me enough to allow me these details. It is these personal relationships and the intimate knowledge of who you are that helps the trainer work specifically with you and to hold you accountable to your goals!

Although this post is titled 10 Benefits of Personal Training I thought it was important to emphasize the eleventh. The one that is reoccurring through each bullet point. The benefit that above all is most important.

RESULTS- Working with a trainer will allow you to achieve the results that you cannot achieve on your own. Each person’s goals are extremely personal. Whether it be weight loss, injury rehab, or companionship. A trainer is going to develop goals that will lead you down a path to success. As a trainer, I work diligently with each of my clients to help them recognize their results, tangible and intangible, as well as results they never anticipated having. It is these results that not only hold you accountable to me, but they hold me, your trainer, accountable to you!

Fitness & Nutrition Tip: Worst Foods You Can Eat

If you want to stay fit and healthy, keep these foods off your plate!

20. Worst Fast Food Chicken Meal
Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips from McDonald’s (5 pieces) with creamy ranch sauce
830 calories 55g fat (4.5g trans fat) 48g carbs
The only thing “premium” about these strips is the caloric price you pay. Add a large fries and regular soda and this seemingly innocuous chicken meal tops out at 1,710 calories.

19. Worst Drink
Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie(30 fl oz)
900 calories10 g fat 183 g carbs (166 g sugar)
Jamba Juice calls it a smoothie; we call it a milk shake. In fact, this beverage contains more sugar than two pints of Ben and Jerry’s Butter Pecan ice cream.

18. Worst Supermarket Meal
Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie)
1,020 calories 64 g fat 86 g carbs
The label may say this pie serves two, but who ever divided a small pot pie in half? Once you crack the crust, there will be no stopping. Pick a Better Pie: Swanson’s pot pie has just 400 calories.

17. Worst “Healthy” Burger
Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger
1,145 calories 71 g fat 56 g carbs
We chose this burger for more than its calorie payload: Its name implies that it’s healthy.

16. Worst Mexican Entree
Chipotle Mexican Grilled Chicken Burrito
1,179 calories 7 g fat 125 g carbs 2,656 mg sodium
Despite a reputation for using healthy, fresh ingredients, Chipotle’s menu is limited to king-size burritos, overstuffed tacos, and gigantic salads —all of which lead to a humongous waistline.

15. Worst Kids’ Meal
Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
1,210 calories 62 g fat 3,450 mg sodium
It’s like feeding your kid 1 1/2 boxes of Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese. Your Best Option: The 390-calorie Grilled Chicken and Broccoli.

14. Worst Sandwich
Quizno’s Classic Italian
1370 calories 86 g fat 4490 mg sodium
A large homemade sandwich would more likely provide about 500 calories. Cut the Calories: Isn’t it obvious? Order a small — or save half for later.

13. Worst Salad
On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef
1,450 calories 102 g fat 78 g carbs 2,410 mg sodium
This isn’t an anomaly: Five different On the Border salads on the menu contain more than 1,100 calories each. The Salad for You: The Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad supplies an acceptable 760 calories. But remember to choose a non caloric beverage, such as water or unsweetened iced tea.

12. Worst Burger
Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger
1,520 calories 111 g fat
Carl’s brags about this, but also provides convenient nutrition info on its Web site —so ignorance is no excuse for eating it. A Simple Solution: The Low Carb Six Dollar Burger has just 490 calories.

11. Worst Steak
Lonestar 20 oz T-bone
1,540 calories 124 g fat
Add a baked potato and Lonestar’s Signature Lettuce Wedge, and this is a 2,700-calorie blowout. Choose with Your Head: The golden rule of steak restaurants is this: Limit yourself to a 9-ouncer or smaller. After all, that’s more than half a pound of meat. You won’t walk away hungry.

10. Worst Breakfast
Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes
1,540 calories 77 g fat (9 g trans fat) 198 g carbs (109 g sugar)
Five Egg McMuffins yield the same caloric cost as these sugar-stuffed flapjacks. Order This Instead: The Western Omelet has 654 calories and 44 grams of protein.

9. Worst Dessert
Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
1,600 calories 78 g fat 215 g carbs
Would you eat a Big Mac for dessert? How about three? That’s the calorie equivalent of this decadent dish. Clearly, Chili’s customers get their money’s worth. Don’t Overdo It: If you want dessert at Chili’s, order one single-serving Sweet Shot; you’ll cap your after-dinner intake at 310 calories.

8. Worst Chinese Entree
P.F. Chang’s Pork Lo Mein
1,820 calories 127 g fat 95 g carbs
The fat content in this dish alone provides more than 1,100 calories. And you’d have to eat almost five servings of pasta to match the number of carbohydrates it contains. Now, do you really need five servings of pasta? Pick Another Noodle: P.F. Chang’s Singapore Street Noodles will satisfy your craving with only 570 calories. Or try the Moo Goo Gai Pan or the Ginger Chicken & Broccoli, which have 660 calories each.

7. Worst Chicken Entree
Chili’s Honey Chipotle Crispers with Chipotle Sauce
2,040 calories 99 g fat 240 g carbs
“Crispers” refers to an extra-thick layer of bread crumbs that soaks up oil and adds unnecessary calories and carbs to these glorified chicken strips. Switch Your Selection: Order the Chicken Fajita Pita: At 450 calories and 43 grams of protein, it’s one of the healthiest entrees you’ll find in a chain restaurant.

6. Worst Fish Entree
On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans
2,100 calories 130 g fat 169 g carbs 4,750 mg sodium
Perhaps the most misleadingly named dish in America: A dozen crunchy tacos from Taco Bell will saddle you with fewer calories. Lighten the Load: Ask for grilled fish, choose the corn tortillas instead of flour (they’re lower in calories and higher in fiber), and swap out the carbohydrate-loaded rice for grilled vegetables.

5. Worst Pizza
Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza
2,310 calories 162 g fat 123 g carbs 4,470 mg sodium
Downing this “personal” pizza is equivalent to eating 18 slices of Domino’s Crunchy Thin Crust cheese pizza. Swap Your Slices: Switch to the Sausage Flatbread Pie and avert deep-dish disaster by nearly 1,500 calories.

4. Worst Pasta
Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce
2,430 calories 128 g fat 207 g carbs 5,290 mg sodium
This meal satisfies your calorie requirements for an entire day. Downsize the Devastation: Ask for a lunch portion of this dinner dish (or any pasta on the menu, for that matter), and request regular tomato sauce instead of meat sauce. You’ll cut the calories in half.

3. Worst Nachos
On the Border Stacked Border Nachos
2,740 calories 166 g fat 191 g carbs 5,280 mg sodium
The only way you should ever consider eating these is if you’re rolling with a crew of eight. Turn away: You won’t find a decent option on the appetizer menu. Instead, turn to the Chicken Tacos on the entree portion of the menu; at 250 calories a pop, they make as good a start to your meal as you can hope for.

2. Worst Starter
Chili’s Awesome Blossom
2,710 calories 203 g fat 194 g carbs 6,360 mg sodium
Hard to believe that a single onion can wreak so much nutritional havoc, but batter and fry anything and serve it with a rich dipping sauce and your bound to do some damage. Start properly: At Chili’s, take a detour to the “Sides” menu and try the Garlic & Lime Grilled Shrimp. 4 shrimp will only cost you 160 calories.

1. The Worst Food in America
Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing
2,900 calories 182 g fat 240 g carbs
Even if you split this “starter” with three friends, you’ll have downed a dinner’s worth of calories before your entree arrives. Follow this up with a steak, sides, and a dessert and you could easily break the 3,500 calorie barrier. Front-load: Start your meal with a protein-based dish that’s not deep-fried. A high-protein starter helps diminish hunger without putting you into calorie overload. At Outback, that translates to either the Seared Ahi or the Shrimp on the Barbie.

Motion is Lotion: How exercise helps to protect your joints

There are many reasons why people exercise, but have you ever thought about how much exercise helps your joints?  Many people tend to think that when a joint hurts we need to immobilize it so it will get better. However, research shows that this simply isn’t the case.

Our joints are comprised of two bony surfaces that articulate with each other. These surfaces are covered by cartilage so that the hard surfaces of the bone don’t rub together. The entire joint space is surrounded by a capsule filled with synovial fluid which further helps to lubricate the joint as well as act as a shock absorber and nutrient source for the cartilage. A very important lubricating component of synovial fluid is hyaluronic acid (HA) which lowers its viscosity so that it can better protect your joint. Guess what helps the joint produce more HA? MOVEMENT! Guess how your cartilage gets its nutrients so that it doesn’t deteriorate? MOVEMENT!

Doctors at the University College London showed that by immobilizing the knee joint patients’ HA levels decreased by more than 50%! Another study in Pain Journal reported that increased HA levels lessened pain signals from the joint to the spinal cord. So the loss of HA actually leads to increased pain! This tells us that keeping that painful joint from moving isn’t the best idea after all. Even passive movement can increase the lubricating properties of your joint as well as keep your cartilage from deteriorating. Passive movement can be performed by any qualified health or fitness professional.

So the next time your joint starts to hurt, don’t keep it locked up. Remember that “motion is lotion”, and contact your personal trainer, massage therapist, and/or physical therapist to help you get through the rough patch so that both you and your joints are happy and healthy.

The Importance of Eating Breakfast

You hear it all the time. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…but many of us often skip breakfast. With busy work schedules, getting the kids to school on time or just not being hungry, we don’t place an importance on it.

Breakfast…and the right breakfast foods, can help you concentrate, keep you focused, give you energy and help boost your metabolism for the day.  According to WebMD, a healthy breakfast refuels your body, jump-starts your day and may even benefit your overall health, and studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals
  • Improved concentration, performance, and productivity
  • The ability to stabilize hunger and cravings later in the day, preventing binging and eating high-fat, high-sugar snacks
  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity
  • Lower cholesterol levels

So what does this all mean for your health and your waistline? According to Lauren Conrad, your metabolic rate slows to its lowest levels when you are sleeping, then rises as you get up in the morning. Since your metabolism is directly related to your energy levels, the higher your metabolic rate, the more energy you have and the more calories you burn. Eating breakfast will control your appetite while also revving up your metabolism, which will help burn more calories throughout the day. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that those in the study who ate breakfast had a lower body mass index and ate more micronutrients than those who didn’t eat breakfast.

“People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved,” says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. “Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.”

The Research Shows

There’s evidence that eating breakfast is a big part of losing weight. According to The Mayo Clinic, eating breakfast is a daily habit for the “successful losers” who belong to The National Weight Control Registry. These people have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year, and some as long as six years.

“Most — 78% — reported eating breakfast every day, and almost 90% reported eating breakfast at least five days a week – which suggests that starting the day with breakfast is an important strategy to lose weight and keep it off,” says James O. Hill, PhD, the Registry’s co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Lauren Conrad

Muscle v. Fat

Did you know that 1 pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day, while 1 pound of muscle burns 100 calories a day? A pound of  muscle  occupies less space than a pound of fat.  In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn  more calories.



Exercise can make you happy!

Exercise can make you happy! Yes, that is just one of the many benefits of exercise including losing weight and staying toned. According to U.S. News & World       Report, exercise does many things, with these seven topping the list:

1. It reverses the detrimental effects of stress and may even work on a cellular level.
2. It lifts depression.
3. It improves learning.
4. It builds self-esteem and improves body image.
5. It leaves you feeling euphoric.
6. It keeps the brain fit and active, fending off memory loss & keeping vocabulary strong.
7. It may keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

The impact of exercise is great and a personal trainer can make it better. Call  us today at 704.996.0411 to schedule a health assessment and get started on your personal training!

Snack Time!!

Snack Time!! Remember, when it is snack time, grab something that has carbs, protein and fat. This keeps the body’s metabolism functioning optimally and will help you avoid the energy roller coaster. Try string cheese and low fat wheat things, low fat yogurt and granola, a balance bar, or a piece of fruit with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Eating less, more often keeps your fire burning!

A Week in the Life of a Pound of Fat

A Week in the Life of a Pound of Fat

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times…”why can’t I lose any weight?!” While our metabolisms may differ, the truth about fat loss is universal. A pound of fat has 3500 calories and in order to lose that pound, you must create a deficit of 3500 calories. It’s as simple as an accountant’s balance sheet-eat more calories than your body uses and you will gain weight. Eat less calories than your body uses and you will lose weight. Remember…all the good eating and working out during the week can be undone in just a weekend of not-so-healthy eating. If you are frustrated about your progress, you have two choices: 1) Get Serious. I mean really serious…weight loss is hard work. OR 2) Learn to enjoy your body as it is and be happy with maintaining your body weight. Since you started working out, you have gotten stronger, healthier, and happier. As a side benefit, you are able to occasionally eat the foods that you really enjoy without the weight gain. Remember, it’s all up to you!

The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight
“When eating out in a restaurant, people grossly underestimate how much they eat and drink by about 50%”– Brian Wansink, Cornell University & author of “Mindless Eating”

Those of you who have known me anytime at all have seen me skinny and not-so skinny.  I have all of the tools in my toolbox but sometimes I forget where I put the key to the darn lock!

Recently, I went out to this great Italian restaurant and they brought me this ginormous plate of pasta.  I thought (just before inhaling every last morsel of it) “I wonder just how many servings this really is…”  As I left the restaurant, feeling fat and happy, I thought this is something I need to research and report on to my clients.

In a recent study done by Harvard Medical, two-thirds of  participants underestimated the amount of calories they were consuming.  They also found that the heavier the person, the more they would underestimate what they were consuming.  Wow!  Maybe this IS the key to why you can’t lose any weight.  Did you know that a serving of medium sized french fries is 10-12 fries??  Or that a serving of red wine is 4-5 fluid ounces?  Tell me…when was the last time you ate 10-12 fries or drank 5 ounces of wine?!

Here’s an experiment for you…pour that glass of wine or bowl of cereal, don’t try to be “good”…just be normal.  Then pour it into as measuring cup and see just how much you are over-estimating your portion size!  Spend some time this week measuring out the portion size of your most frequently consumed foods and beverages.  Those calories really add up!!  Have a great week and look for “The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Any Weight Part Two” very soon!

Joe~

Ask the Experts: Healthy Fats

Wow! What a relief this one is! The jury is in on “no fat” diets…they don’t work! This is really no surprise considering the US population has gotten 10% more obese since the arrival of all the low fat/no fat products in the 1980s and 1990s. Take a look at the following Q&A article from Harvard.

Harvard School of Public Health asked Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health and Amy Myrdal Miller, M.S., R.D. of The Culinary Institute of America to explain why it’s time to end the “low fat is best” myth—and to provide ideas for how to use healthy fats in the home kitchen.

Should I ditch a low-fat diet?

Walter Willett: If you’ve been able to keep your weight, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose under good control while eating a low-fat diet, this type of diet may be working for you. But for many people, low-fat diets don’t work. In fact, dozens of studies have found that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate-or high-fat diets—and for many people, they may be worse.

Low-fat diets are usually high in carbohydrates, often from rapidly-digested foods such as white flour, white rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, and refined snacks. Eating lots of these “fast carbs” can cause quick, sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, and over time can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. High-carbohydrate, low-fat diets also have a negative effect on the fats and cholesterol in our blood: They raise “bad” blood fats (triglycerides) and they lower the “good” blood cholesterol (HDL), both of which can increase the risk of heart disease. These diets also tend to increase blood pressure.

For many people, low-fat diets are not satisfying. People finish a meal and within a few hours, they are hungry again, seeking more low-fat fixes for their hunger. This vicious cycle leads to weight gain and, in turn, to the conditions associated with excess weight (such as blood triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes).

Are “fat free” foods healthy?

Amy Myrdal Miller: Some foods in their natural state contain little or no fat—for example, most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dried beans. And of course these are healthy choices. But processed foods billed as “low fat” and “fat free” are often higher in salt, sugar, or starch than their full-fat counterparts, to make up for the flavor and texture that’s lost when food manufacturers slash fat. So they are not necessarily “healthy” choices. For example, low-fat and non-fat salad dressings are nearly always higher in sugar and salt.

Will eating fat make me get fat?

Willett: No, it’s a myth that eating specifically high-fat foods makes you fat. Eating or drinking more calories than you need from any source, whether it’s fat, carbohydrate, protein, or alcohol can lead to weight gain. Over the past 30 years in the U.S., the percentage of calories from fat has actually gone down, but obesity rates have skyrocketed. Sugary soft drinks don’t contain any fat—yet the billions of gallons of sugary beverages that Americans drink each year have been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.

Can I lose weight on a low-fat diet?

Willett: It’s possible to lose weight on any diet. But carefully-conducted clinical trials find that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or keep it off. In fact, study volunteers who follow moderate- or high-fat diets lose just as much weight, and in some studies a bit more, as those who follow low-fat diets.

Calories are what count for weight loss, so it’s important to find a lower-calorie eating plan that you can follow—and a lower-calorie plan that’s good for lifelong health. Low-fat diets raise triglycerides and lower good cholesterol, so for many folks, they’re simply not the best choice for health. For some people, high intake of carbohydrates, particularly if they come from refined rather than whole grains, can make weight control more difficult.

Are all kinds of fat equally healthy?

Willett: Some types of fats are healthier than others. Unsaturated fat is the healthiest type of fat. Plant oils, such as olive, canola, corn, peanut and other nut oils; nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios; avocados; and fish, especially oily fish such as salmon and canned tuna, are excellent sources of unsaturated fat. Eating unsaturated fat in place of refined grains and sugar can improve blood cholesterol profiles and lower triglycerides, and in turn, lower the risk of heart disease.

It is essential to include a special kind of unsaturated fat, called omega-3 fats, in the diet; good sources include fish, walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil. Keep in mind that omega-3 fats from marine sources, such as fish and shellfish, have much more powerful health benefits than omega-3 fats from plant sources, like walnuts and flax seeds. But omega-3 fats from plant sources still are a good choice, especially for people who don’t eat fish.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health: www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-fats/