Fast Result; Fast Return


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I’ve often preached that fast results from crash-diet programs and extreme exercise programs like Bootcamp, won’t keep the pounds away. Losing weight is easy; try eating not more than half a rice bowl of food and a glass of water everyday for two weeks. I guarantee results. You will lose weight, but is it the right way to do it? Will there be any side effects? Will those pounds come back?

Weight loss is a lifestyle. It’s about developing the right habits, getting your body to adapt to the changes and seeing results over a reasonable period. Disagree with me?

Check out this article about the contestants from the Biggest Loser.

If you want to learn more about weight management, click here.

The Problem With Weight Loss


Everyone I know wants to lose weight, even the skinny scrawny ones (which I truly don’t get); unfortunately, very few actually do anything, or at least anything right, about it. Most would opt for the easy way out – quick fix diet programs. At one point in time, it was “eat less”, skip meals, no food after eight in the evening; then came the “no-protein” diet, followed by the “no-carb” diet, the “no-sodium” diet and of course the all supplement only diet. Seriously, did anyone actually take notes on any of these diet programs?
All-in-all, I concluded that all these programs are ever saying is “don’t eat”; and I total and undisputedly agree with it. If you don’t eat, you will lose a great amount of weight. Try it for two weeks. Don’t eat a Goddamned thing. I guarantee you will drop at least four dress sizes down. I have seen corpses. They are freakishly thin; bone like thin.

Weight ManagementHere is the plain and simple truth, your body needs everything. It needs carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, fats, sodium and anything else that you can find in nature. The cave men did it for many centuries. They ate anything that was edible and they probably lived far healthier lives than most of us today. Two to three decades ago, we would not bat an eyelid to walk a kilometer to the bus station; but today we drive to the store that’s just two hundred meters away. We have become a very spoilt and lazy society.

So, What Is The Problem With Weight Loss?
There is a huge difference between weight loss and weight management. If any of you have ever gone on a diet or exercise program, you would likely agree that the hardest part of losing weight is keeping it off. It is easy to lose weight. Just starve a few days and you will lose weight. The problem with weight loss is that it deprives your body of necessary nutrients and basic building blocks. Most weight loss programs are basically starvation programs and starving your body of any food group is bad. Our body is adaptive and when you starve it of anything, it will compensate any way it can and the most common method is excessive storage. If we do not eat regularly, our body will store any excess food for those periods that you do not eat. That is basically how we regain the weight we worked so hard at losing.

The key is not in weight loss rather in weight management. Weight management takes more effort and a longer time period but it pays off. To understand weight management, you would first have to understand how food effects our body and how it is processed. The first most basic problem with most of us is that we eat more than we need to and we also eat rather erratically. What weight management does is it teaches our body to take what it needs and when it needs it. Have you noticed that your weight tends to fluctuate at a plus or minus 2 to 3 kilograms? This is because your brain is managing your weight at what it had always known itself to be. The weight increases and decreases are only temporary effects due to some random activity such as increased stress at the office or a party you attended two nights ago. Other than that, your body tends to stay at more or less the same weight. Weight gain, as with weight management, happens over a long period of time.

Why Do We Gain Weight?
The question is, why do we gain weight? There are several factors for this. The first and most obvious reason is our eating habits. As I said earlier, eating erratically and excessively causes the body to store food unnecessarily. Missing two meals in the day, does not justify eating double the amount later at night. It is just as bad if you skip meals to compensate for the birthday party you had the night before. When this happens too often, you brain starts to prepare for these starvation periods. If it happens too erratically and too often, you brain will get confused and continues to store more and more because it doesn’t know when your body may actually use those backup resources.
The second component is inactivity. Most of us were physically active when we were in school and college. All that excess food and energy gets burnt off with all that activity. After that however, most of us got a job where we spend most of the time at a desk. Suddenly, our bodies are not as active but the brain is still sending that signal to store energy and other resources for those activities that we used to do. To make things worse, most of us eat more when we are stressed. Now your food intake is gradually increasing, your eating habits are all over the place and you are getting less and less physical.
Over time, our muscles start to degrade and less energy is burnt and that is the third component. See, our muscles burn energy even when we are laying about doing nothing. So the more muscle mass you have, the more energy is used and that is why body builders need to consume a lot of food. After months have passed, you realized that you are gaining weight but now lethargy starts to set in. The excess sugars processed from food, builds up in our system and that causes that weak, lazy feeling you get on the weekends. Remember how you used to be able to go on playing games, partying, staying up late at night and still have the energy to wake up and repeat that process? Well, that was because all that energy was eventually used.

On the flip side, some of you may have always been overweight. This means that your body was programmed to be overweight since you were a child. You too can lose weight, however it would take a longer time and more likely a greater amount of effort.

What Is Weight Management?
Weight management is a gradual process of reprograming the brain to take and store only what it needs and to maintain your weight at a more ideal level. In order for this to work, you need to start a regular eating habit with regular physical activities scheduled into your daily or weekly routine. Yes, weight management is a set of routines or habits. Now, here is the good news; it doesn’t only get easier, but it becomes part of you. After that your brain will take over and you’d probably never have to worry about gaining too much weight for a long time. Except for the occasional soirée, you will naturally eat what you need and exercise becomes a necessary part of your day. You will no longer worry about that serving of desert and you would have better control on your cravings.
There are only 4 things that you need to do to begin your journey in managing your weight:

  • Eat at regular intervals – Set yourself to have a meal every four hours. Yes, that probably means having up to four meals a day; breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. You eat even if you don’t feel hungry during a meal period.
  • Eat moderately – Practice eating moderately during each meal. Eat to fill and not to stuff. You are not a turkey, so don’t stuff yourself at every meal.
  • Exercise – Build your natural muscles. Start a simple daily and weekly exercise routine. Join an exercise group or get some friends together on a weekly basis for a sport activity.
  • Drink lots of water – Water keeps your body hydrated. Water also flushes out unnecessary waste and toxins from your body. Have a bottle of water at your desk and in the car. Take little sips every five to ten minutes.

The bad news is that you cannot pick and choose. Weight management can only work with all the above component. It is 100% or nothing.

In the article Weight Management – A Real Diet Plan, I go into more detail on how to manage your weight. For now, this should be enough information for you to start. So, what are you waiting for?

Disclaimer
I am not a trained professional, so do not take this as any form of fact. It is a summary of personal research and experience I had over the years while learning to manage my weight and battle diabetes. I would advice you to seek professional help if you have health conditions that effects or can be effected by your weight.

What A Fixie Rider Can Do

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This woman has skills. Please share this with all those fixie riders who think they are really great riding around dangerously. Riding around without brakes and cutting through traffic as if you’re indestructible is not a skill. Respect!

Fueling Up


Most people don’t really understand what the body needs in order to perform sports activities. Due to the many fads out there in the market, it is easy to lose focus.
Fueling the body properly is vital in any sport but knowing how and when to fuel as well as how much, takes some know-how and practice.

Your muscles use energy all day even when you are just sitting around. When you increase your physical activity, you use more energy. The more intense the physical exertion the more energy is used. Your energy comes from food that contains carbohydrates (carb). Anything starchy (rice, noodles, pasta) or sweet contains carbs. There are simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are found mainly in fruits, milk and anything that has sugar as an ingredient. Complex carbs can be found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables like corn, peas and potatoes. Your body converts carbs into glucose which travels through your bloodstream providing energy throughout your body.

Your muscles usually store small amounts of energy resource in the form of glycogen. When you run out of glycogen after some physical activity, you will feel fatigue and tired. The more muscles you build the more glycogen is stored and more energy is used. This is why you may feel the desire to eat more than usual as you exercise more often.

Complex CarbPlanning your meals before exercise is important so that you don’t run out of energy too soon. To do this, you first have to know how much energy you will need and for how long. It is generally advised to have a small meal one to two hours before exercising, giving your body time to digest and process the food into energy. You should never go into a workout session on an empty stomach; neither should you eat until you are so full that you end up feeling bloated or nauseous during a workout. The more you eat the longer it takes for the food to digest. This meal is meant to fuel your muscles and therefore should mainly consist of carbohydrates for that very purpose. A small bowl of rice or noodles, some bread or fruit would do the trick. Reduce on proteins and fats as both take a longer time to process and generally do not provide sufficient energy boost.

Sports like badminton, squash and tennis require short burst of energy. The same goes for resistance workout and bench pressing. Your muscles would work for brief periods only and you have the time to rest before repeating the process. During the rests, you have time to grab an energy drink for an instant fuel supply should you require it. Fueling for activities like running or cycling for 30 to 60 minutes is pretty much the same. On the other hand, long distance running, cycling and any other form of endurance activities that extends up to several hours without opportunity to rest, require a prolong and continuous supply of energy. In such activities, it is not convenient to carry along that much energy drink and energy gel packs can only do so much. In a half-marathon (about 21 km), the average runner will run for nearly two hours. So what do marathoners, triathletes and ultra-marathoners do for energy? They carb-load.

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Carb-loading (or carbohydrate-loading) is a strategy used to increase the amount of fuel stored in your muscles to improve athletic performance for endurance sport. Basically, the athlete eats more than the usual amount of carbohydrate for 2 to 3 days working up to a race. The carb is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver becoming the most easily accessible source of energy. For this to work, a diet of complex carbohydrate is required and the most common of this is pasta. You can also take oatmeal, bread, pancakes, bagels, fruits and any other source of complex carbohydrates.

Originally developed in the late 1960’s, carb-loading typically involved two phases. The result was a boost in glycogen storage beyond the usual levels. This technique starts with a depletion phase where the athlete would go through 3 to 4 days of hard training and a low carbohydrate diet. This depletion phase was thought to be necessary to stimulate the enzyme glycogen synthase. This was then followed immediately by a 3-4 day ‘loading phase’ involving much lower training time combined with a high carbohydrate diet. The combination of the two phases was shown to boost glycogen storage beyond their usual levels. Sports nutritionist Ilana Katz, R.D. says that it is common to see at least four pounds increase in body weight when you carb-load. “With every gram of stored carbohydrate, you store an extra three grams of water,” says Katz. This means that you will also be hydrated as you fuel up.

Carb-loading will not make you run or cycle any faster. There is no increase in efficiency nor skill. Carb-loading merely gives you that extra energy supply when you are working your muscles over a prolonged period. An endurance athlete who does not carb-load may hit “the wall”. Hitting “the wall” means that your body has run out of fuel and its reserves; and is starting to convert fat into energy, however, it takes the body more effort to convert fat into fuel. When this happens, your body starts to feel weak and unresponsive; you may even lose focus.

So, plan your “fueling” meals according to your activities. Getting this right will give you just the right boost of energy. Have a small carbohydrate meal a couple of hours before a regular workout or sport; and work out a one week carb-loading meal plan for an endurance workout or race that’s going to take several hours.

There Are No Walls


I watched this talk on Tedx and thought that some of you out there could use some motivation whether for your health, your weight or your life as a whole and who better to give it than a person who have talked in front of more than 5 million people, received 30 awards, he won best actor in a short film, made his own music video, wrote 4 books and sold over 800,000 copies on the first one alone. So, what makes him special?
He was born without all four limbs that we take for granted. Imagine going thru life as an outsider or a joke and yet achieving more than most of us have.

Nick Vujicic spoke at Tedx in Novi Sad, Serbia in 2012. Hearing him speak is almost like hearing words from God simply because he not only speaks from the heart but through personal hard experiences and what to most of us would be impossible challenges. Two lines that lighted up like an LED display in Japan:

“There are no walls”
“If you don’t get a miracle; you can still be a miracle for someone else”

Share this with your family and friends, whether or not you think they need a “pick-me-up” because I personally believe that he will inspire everyone.

Why Workout On The Weekend?


Tired businessman

Why should you workout on the weekends when you could stay in bed a couple more hours?
You’ve been waking up early the last five days, battling traffic, battling office politics, managed to squeeze in a little real work somewhere in between that and had drinks with colleagues you don’t really like. You deserve the break. You deserve that extra time in the sack. Right?

Well not exactly wrong. To most people, exercise is painful and tiring. You would feel better laying down like a log in the ruffles of your pillows. You do deserve that break and more downtime in order to recuperate for next week’s battle. But remember a strong warrior need training and preparation.

If you are the type that gets out to the park once every full moon to get those muscles moving and convince yourself that you do try to maintain a healthy body, exercise is painful. Simply because you don’t do enough of it. Exercising once in a while is like trying to start up your car engine after leaving it in the garage for a month. It is difficult, it is painful and very tiring.

I find that when I don’t exercise regularly, my body gets lethargic and my mind is not fully awake most of the time. The thing is, you all feel it too but you have been doing it for so long that you no longer realise it. In fact, you probably feel awkward when you don’t feel it. Since I started exercising regularly, I have learnt to like the feeling of being awake and energized. I find that I get more done and more effectively. If you truly want to change your lifestyle then know that you have to make some lifestyle changes.

Try A Simple Start

Start by waking up just a few minutes earlier on your work days. Go for a good, but not heavy, breakfast. Take your time enjoying your breakfast. You would actually need to plan your breakfast – what will you eat, where and who with? Get a couple of friends who live nearby to join you. Do this two to three days in that week. Sleep in on the weekend.

Week 2

On week 2, set your alarm a half hour earlier and exercise for 15 minutes. Do simple exercises in the comfort of your home, or go out to that park near your house. After you’ve done that, take a shower, get ready for work and meet those friends of yours for breakfast again. Do this three to four days in that week.

By now, you should find your friends complaining about having to wake up earlier to meet for breakfast and that they are not getting enough sleep. You should also begin to feel the opposite. You will find that your body and mind is more awake. Sleep in on the weekend if you can.

Week 3

Continue on this path for the third week even if you are now having breakfast on your own. Get in the office earlier and start catching up on work and planning ahead. Leave the office early on Friday evening. Plan an evening out with your partner or have dinner with friends or family but get home early. On this third week, you will wake up early on both Saturday and Sunday. Set your alarm very early on Saturday morning. Take your partner or family along with you and head out to the nearest community park. Stretch for 15 minutes, jog for 30 minutes and then go for a hearty breakfast. On Sunday, set your alarm to go off just after sunrise. Make Sunday your lazy day. Have a slow and easy breakfast with the family or plan one with your friends. Go someplace nice where you can enjoy the environment and not rush thru breakfast. After that go out for a movie or ice-skating or go-carting or anything that you like to do.
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It’s Week 4

On week 4, you go back to the normal routine you had before. No exercise. No breakfast. Yes, you heard me. Go back to your drinking sessions and staying out late and having irregular meals. Go back to your normal routine and see how you feel now. I can guarantee that most of you will find it very irritating. You might even try to continue your new routine from week 1 or week 2. But don’t. Give your mind the time to feel the difference.

Week Brand New Lifestyle

On week 5, you start your new lifestyle. You can start the process all over again, or jump into what you did in week 2 or 3. Only now, plan your workouts. What days you will workout and at what time. Is it going to be a run or a cycle or a day at the gym. Whatever it is you will discover the new more energetic you. You will find yourself performing better at work. More importantly, you will feel your body getting healthier and you will feel a whole lot younger too.

Try it out. What is the worse that could happen?
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