One year ago today, the readers of Bodysmart News and I began a conversation about how our lifestyles can become smarter.
One year into this new beginning, the signs of a smarter health conscious group of people in our local communities are evident. Smarter thinking is creating a more sophisticated mindset of what it means to be truly healthy.
People Are Questioning
Eating healthy, exercising consistently, and living life in the present moment, is beginning to take off in our local communities. People are questioning the effectiveness of quick fix dieting practices, outdated modes of exercise adherence, and wavering self help practices aimed at seeing life as joyful and satisfying.
Awareness, it seems, is all around us. “I’m tired of eating these so called healthy meals found in supermarkets and restaurants. They are overly processed and loaded with sodium”, says one client in St. Augustine whose trying to live a healthier cleaner life. “And exercise”, one Serenata Beach Club member remarks, “is getting to be too much of the same old thing.” “Stepping out of the box of the same old routine is a good sign that people are aware”, one fit looking member comments, “that there is a need to progress physically and mentally in different directions.”
A Local Physician Notes
And, a physician here in town, reminds me that, “the need is there to work from the inside out with people by inspiring a more enjoyable process for living healthier. Health coaches are miles ahead of the game.” And, he states, ”those coaches that are armed with a background in kinesiology, physical therapy or personal training, are going to be the leaders in the next decade when it comes to infusing a sensibility into people that is effective in treating lifestyle induced diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, and premature heart disease.”
Two years into this conversation with Bodysmart readers, this new found perspective on health continues to take shape. Readers have progressed from asking, “What is the quickest way to lose weight?” to “What exercises should I be doing to be healthy?” “Is cardiovascular exercise better than weight training, and should I be doing both?” “I am exhausted after work, is it a good idea to exercise when I am so tired, as I have high blood pressure?” Questions such as these are inspiring to hear as they indicate a smart trend in thinking. A trend that recognizes that life is about feeling good about ourselves, our health, and what we can obtain that brings us a satisfying life.
Being Lean Makes Us Feel Good
However, as a trainer, I don’t want people to feel I am downplaying one’s desires to lose weight and look better. We all want this. Being lean makes us more feel alive, more in tune with life, more vibrant, and more satisfied with our physical appearances.
The reason I am so excited about this new trend in thinking is that positive psychology tells us that when it comes to weight loss, focusing on weight is futile, but focusing on behavior change is central to shedding weight for a lifetime. “With an emphasis on the power of mindfulness and positive lifestyle strategy planning we can actually begin to see people change their lives. In most cases body composition changes and people lose weight, feel better and become more satisfied with the way they are focusing their energies,” says health coach Sandy Moore of Boulder Colorado. “Health, Moore says,” is viewed more as changing behaviors vs changing body fat content.”
Changing Behaviors is Essential
In my 10 years as a personal trainer and health coach, I can attest to the fact that those that lose the most weight and keep it off, are the ones that have learned to change behaviors. In my practice people are aware of behaviors they do not want to change and they let me know. This is an important point, because we can’t change what we don’t want to change. And that’s OK. The important aspect is to get started on behaviors you feel ready to change. One should have no feelings of guilt. This is the old way of thinking. Just change what you want to change now, and keep it simple. You will progress. You will feel better. You will see results. There’s no hurry, but you must go into these changes with a positive spirit by making them manageable and meaningful.
Without a doubt this new focus on behavior strategies accomplishes the ultimate goal, which for most is losing weight. But many people still are not aware of how health coaches assist their clients. Everyone knows what a personal trainer does, but not everyone knows what a health coach does.
What is Health Coaching?
Health coaching can be described as a newly emerging profession that focuses on developing a partnership with individuals who are interested in improving their health status in order to enjoy a more vital and vigorous lifestyle. It has its roots in the findings of behavior scientists who have shown that one-to-one coaching is among the most effective approaches to helping people make and sustain improvements in their lives. A coach enables change by focusing on the client’s stated needs, values, vision, and personal goals in order to bring about his or her physical and mental best.
Weekly strategy planning with the client in a conversational setting is a large part of what a health coach does. At first glance, it often appears that “little work” is taking place. After all, most of us are conditioned to what we see on TV, for example, with the Biggest Loser television show, and how they have their clients exercise physically hard. It seems we are conditioned to think that the more physical exercise we do the, the more weight we will lose. This is rarely the case, and people are beginning to understand this fact. Don’t misunderstand me though, as health coaching involves quite a bit of strategy planning in exercise adherence. But for those that are most successful, balancing exercise with healthy eating changes is an absolute must in any successful weight loss plan.
Weight Loss is Best Accomplished in Collaboration With Others
For me personally, most of my clientele have a weight loss goal. “OK,” I’ll say, “you want to lose weight? Let’s set a three month weight loss goal. Now, forget about it!” Many look at me with questioning amazement. But only briefly. To tell you the truth, many are relieved. And that is exactly how I want them to feel. Think of all the times you were caught up in negativism while trying to diet. Wasn’t it a constant struggle of feeling good about yourself then bad about yourself? Now ask yourself if this is really the way you want to diet. Like so many things, learning new skills is best addressed with a positive spirit and with a collaborative partner that has an interest in you. Most successful businesses are those whose top people are coached and partnered in a collaborative effort to breed success. This idea, I am happy to report, is taking hold in savvy weight loss communities across the nation. And we fortunately, here in the Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine areas, are a part of that community.
Let’s continue to build a smarter community. Together we can realize a more abundant life. One that is free of obesity, lifestyle induced diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and all diseases that can be attributed to our lifestyles. Besides, looking good, feeling good and performing great is central to our continued good health!
In my 12 years as a personal trainer and health coach, it is clear that those who lose the most weight and keep it off, those who stay trim, lean, active, and passionately enjoy life, are the ones who have learned to change behaviors.
Dr BJ Fong, a professor at Stanford University has done some fascinating work in the field of behavior. Dr Fogg states that three elements, Motivation, Ability, and Trigger, must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing
Dr Fogg’s list of the Top Ten Mistakes in Behavior Change will give more insight about our behavior. (Bodysmart comments are in italics.) for further information on Dr. Fong go to http://www.bjfogg.com/
1. Relying on willpower for long-term change
Imagine willpower does not exist. That’s step 1 to a brighter future.
When we see someone who is trim and lean, we tend to think s/he is naturally thin or must have a lot of willpower. Not so. A healthy life results from healthy habits not from continuously exercising iron willpower. Willpower — such as it is — is great for short-term emergencies but it is quickly exhausted. Better to flee temptation than try to resist it. If you do not have that wonderfully rich desert in your refrigerator you will not need willpower to not eat it! (You will also be removing a trigger for an unwanted behavior.
2. Attempting big leaps instead of baby steps
Seek tiny successes — one after another.
Success breeds success. Repetitive successes will reinforce the new behavior. Small modest goals are easier to accomplish than are ambitious large goals. Goals that are easy to accomplish require less motivation. So now that you no longer have that wonderfully rich desert in the refrigerator have a small bowl of berries or a piece of melon instead.
3. Ignoring how often environment shapes behaviors
Change your context & you change your life.
Try a “one-day experiment.” Commit to only one simple change only one day a week. On Mondays, for example, instead of going to one of your convenient fast food restaurants for a cheeseburger bring a small peanut butter sandwich and an apple from home. Walk, or drive, to the nearby park to eat the sandwich and apple. If you had to drive to the park, take a 15-minute walk in the park.
If you feel like trying two lunch-in-the-park days per week, then do so. Add more days in the park when you feel ready. The objective is to get some momentum going only progressing further as you feel comfortable.
Alternatively, instead of relaxing after your evening meal watching TV and nibbling on popcorn or a little candy take a 15-minute walk. When you return home, do not turn on TV. Pick up a book or magazine and forgo the snacking. Add more days a week to the no snacking and no TV as you feel comfortable doing so.
4. Trying to stop old behaviors instead of creating new ones
Focus on action, not avoidance.
Just as you will steer a car or throw a ball wherever it is you are looking, you will tend to do whatever it is you are focused on — even if you are focused on it because you are trying to avoid it. Find something positive to focus on and do that instead. It is a lot easier to replace a bad habit than it is to break it.
5. Blaming failures on lack of motivation
Solution: Make the behavior easier to do.
Remember, the easier it is for you to do the behavior the less you have to be motivated. If, for example, you are having difficulty in getting an exercise routine started then make it easy to do. Just commit to a single 5-minute workout. Climb on a machine or go for a walk, pick any activity of your choice, but commit only to 5-minutes.
If you end up doing more than 5 minutes – great, but the goal is just to accomplish the 5-minutes. Once you see how easy it is to do the single, one time, 5-minute workout it, add a second one a few days later. Keep adding more days as you find comfortable until you are exercising daily. In a similar manner, you can gradually increase the time you spend exercising each day and soon you will into a real training program.
6. Underestimating the power of triggers
No behavior happens without a trigger.
Are you motivated to be trimmer and a little leaner? More energetic? Keeping a rich desert in your refrigerator, or dishes of snack food in your TV room can be a powerful trigger for an unwanted behavior especially a behavior that is soooo easy to do. Get rid of triggers for unwanted behavior. Replace them with triggers for healthy living.
7. Believing that information leads to action
We humans are not so rational.
Why is it that we can be so successful in our life, yet not successful in staying lean and trim and in having the more robust, vigorous and high-energy life? Can it be that success in life is a result of personal dedication to work, family, and other ideals rather than to the pursuit of the trappings of success? Can we put healthy living into action the same way we put success in our family and work life into action?
8. Focusing on abstract goals more than concrete behaviors
Abstract: Get in shape
Concrete: Walk 15 minutes today
The abstract goal can be overwhelming. The overwhelming part is the commitment of changing behavior for life, so it may be necessary to remove some of the commitment aspect to take some pressure off. By removing the commitment, you will get an accurate assessment of just how challenging the behavior changes really are.
But how do you remove the “commitment” from something that seems to inherently require one? Try a “one-day experiment.” This is where you commit to only one single day of change. For that one day, toe the line: make healthy choices, and workout. The next day go back to your normal routine. If you feel like trying another healthy day, then do so. If not, try another one the following week. Add a second day when you feel ready. The objective is to get some momentum going by accomplishing at least one day and only progressing further as you feel comfortable.
9. Seeking to change a behavior forever, not for a short time.
A fixed period works better than “forever”.
Forever seems like such a long time that it requires huge motivation. Better to choose a fixed period that is not overwhelming – a day, a week, a month.
10. Assuming that behavior change is difficult.
Behavior change is not so hard when you have the right process. For a behavior to happen requires that Motivation, Ability and a trigger all converge.
Many men say they want more muscle, but rarely do we hear women say they want more muscle. For men more muscle is desirable, yet for women more muscle is not as widely accepted. In fact, depending on one’s age, it may appear a ridiculous statement. Aesthetics validate building and maintaining muscle for both genders, but in reality, muscle does much more than one might initially consider.
What Happens When You Don’t Build Muscle
When you start to lose muscle and lay down fat around the belly, it’s the first sign that your metabolism is off-track and your health is taking the slow (or fast) spiral to chronic disease. Storing fat and losing muscle is one of the most significant signs of aging, and worse, belly fat (also known as “visceral fat”) is metabolically active, impairing the ability to maintain testosterone and build muscle, and increasing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
While this is ominous sounding, muscle actually makes one a better fat burner and more resistant to metabolic problems. The more muscle one has, the better the body balances blood glucose. The improved balance of glucose will result in feeling better and weight maintenance or loss will be easier.
Why You Should Stop Letting Cardiovascular Activities Rule
While most know that lifting weights will burn calories, people may still point out that they could easily burn more calories by jumping on the treadmill for the same amount of time. What they don’t realize is that after they finish with the weights, they continue burning more calories for the next six hours and possibly even longer (some studies suggest it can last up to 18 hours)!
After you finish a hard set, you’re probably breathing rather hard.
This is the key to why lifting weights is a great calorie-burning workout. After finishing an exercise, one enters a phase called “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption”, or EPOC for short. This is saying that after the exercise you will need to catch your breath. However, EPOC has some amazing qualities. For starters, one burns significantly more calories after the workout has finished than while actually doing it.
Why? Well, for every liter of oxygen the body consumes, it burns about 5 calories. While were lifting weights, you probably didn’t start breathing too hard. In fact, you might even have been holding your breath (though you really shouldn’t)! You are burning calories, but when your body attempts to recover, you are consuming a whole lot more oxygen than you were when you were exercising, and your body is burning calories this whole time.
Better yet, even though you probably did not notice it, your body actually increases its oxygen consumption for hours after you finish a high-intensity exercise, which is why your heartbeat might be faster four hours after you finish exercising than it normally is. This increased oxygen consumption adds up to a whole lot of calories burned, after you finish exercising!
Increases in muscle size not only increases the metabolic processes for a longer time after the workout but there is a direct correlation between muscle mass and basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Of course the more energy expended, the higher our daily calorie burn is. And who doesn’t want this? I like to call this burning energy or calories in our sleep. And this is just one of the nice things that muscle mass does for us.
So to the question of why wouldn’t women want increased muscle mass too? Well why not? It looks good and it helps maintain a higher metabolic rate.
In my practice people often tell me that they hardly eat, yet they cannot lose weight. There is a reason for this, but this is for another post. Just know this, increased muscle mass for both men and women not only makes us feel better, move better, look better, but allows us to continue to eat in abundance all the nutrients that we are designed to take in, and without gaining weight.
Body and Mind
Muscle also makes routine tasks less cumbersome and reduces injuries. Our day-to-day life often involves lifting and moving heavy objects. When the body is equipped to carry these burdens then it is considerably less injury prone. It’s hard to imagine (a young) Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing out his back taking the trash out. However this is a common injury precisely because so many people have not built muscle to support their necessary daily or weekly tasks!
Muscle also provides a golden ticket to an improved sex life. It boosts immunity, and reduces the risk for dementia. In fact, studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that building and maintaining muscle improves balance, fall risk, blood sugar levels, sleep, and mental health.
The Hormonal Advantage
Strength training has another big advantage over endurance training athletes. In a recently published clinical trial, athletes who strength-trained over 12 weeks reported the greatest testosterone to cortisol ratio while endurance athletes experienced plummeting testosterone levels. Increased testosterone is key to building more muscle, maintaining anabolism (growth), and enhancing sex drive.
To keep this in perspective, realize I am not suggesting one eliminate cardiovascular workouts. Our heart muscle is central to good health. What I am suggesting is that you would be wise to focus on more strength training as a means to reach your desired weight and body composition rather than cardiovascular workouts. Or in other words if you are pressed for time, and your heart is in good shape, then avoid the temptation to jump on the elliptical, treadmill, bike or other cardiovascular machines, thinking that a good sweat is going to burn more calories. In the long run, and often in the short run, weight training trumps cardiovascular workouts in weight loss/maintenance, body strength, and overall functional living capacity!
An enemy of anabolism in muscle tissue is inflammation and the immune response that happens after your exercise. When you train hard, your body responds by releasing inflammatory compounds. It is your job is to manage and remove those inflammatory signals that switch off your ability to make gains from training. Reducing inflammation is important It controls everything from reflex time to stamina, and strength, and recovery time .
Controlling inflammation is another topic. For now, between posts, just remember that controlling inflammation after working out is important because it controls the muscle repair process that ultimately causes one to gain lean muscle.
Since the New Year, many people have been implementing cleanses as a sort of a jump-start to feeling good and losing weight. I advocate periodic cleanses, but as you will see, not for the usual superficial reason of calorie restriction.
Many people still view calorie restriction as king when it comes to weight loss. No doubt calories are very important. They are our body’s fuel, and there will probably never be a way to over consume those calories and not put extra fuel into the storage “fat tank.”
But when it comes to losing weight successfully and quickly, it’s about a lot more than simple calorie restriction, and the difference between weight loss programs that work and those that only provide extra frustration always comes down to more than the calorie.
A properly designed weight loss approach is not just the result of taking calories out of your budget. One needs to also incorporate a food elimination program to the mix to some degree.
There are three major ways that this extra step supports fast weight loss and helps you overcome weight loss resistance:
1: Reduces inflammation.
2: Reduces glycemic load
3: Allows better control of two very important hormones.
Reducing Inflammation Makes Weight Loss Easier
Most people realize that having excess fat is not good, but many don’t realize that excess fat is actually characterized as a chronic state of low-grade inflammation. Inflammation makes it hard for our body to lose weight because it fights some of the natural hormonal responses we have to food and hunger, such as through increasing levels of IL-6 and TNF, two inflammatory cytokins which decrease insulin sensitivity signaling. Cytokins are types of signaling regulators produced throughout the body.
These cytokines make your insulin less effective, and you are more likely to store excess fuel as fat as a result.
Many common foods today contain proteins which people are often sensitive to, but not outright allergic to. These sensitivities can go undetected for years because they do not cause the same debilitating symptoms an acute allergy would, but may still undermine one’s health by increasing inflammation within the body.
For example, eliminating certain foods that doctor’s patient’s are sensitive to has been shown to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease with strong connections to chronic inflammation.
Even if your body does not suffer from an overt form of inflammation, chances are that increased inflammation is still adversely affecting your health and weight loss goals. My increasingly popular cabbage soup cleanse eliminates all of the common foods which provoke common inflammatory responses in the body. For many people this is the missing step standing between them and their goals.
In a few days I will expand on the cleanse I offer to my newsletter readers and go into the details for those of you that may be interested. For now it is important to understand that weight loss is about more than just calories in and calories out.
Insulin Tells Your Body To Either Use Energy Or Store It
Foods, which are high in easily digested starches and sugars, also known as high glycemic foods, cause our body to release more insulin. Insulin is not a bad hormone in and of itself–it does exactly what it is supposed to do, which is help our body get rid of excess sugar in our blood.
The problem is that the modern diet, with its highly-processed and rapidly-digested ‘foods’, causes an undue amount of sugar to be unloaded upon our blood all at once. When our blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemia), our body releases extra insulin to counter it.
The first thing insulin wants to do is get our muscles to take that sugar up and use it for energy, but the unfortunate truth is that the highly-processed diet we eat often goes hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle.
If the muscles can’t use the sugar, then insulin tells your body to store it as fat, long-term storage designed for a time when food might be scarce. For most, this time will thankfully never come, but we still have to live with the results of a diet which spikes our blood sugar and insulin levels.
Keeping insulin levels low also means our body is focusing less on storing fat and focusing more on releasing it. Why? Because…
Glucagon Tells Your Body To Take Energy Back Out Of Storage!
Insulin may be the most well-known hormone which controls blood sugar, but there is another hormone which is just as important: glucagon. Glucagon is a pancreatic hormone that raises blood sugar by promoting conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver. Whereas insulin acts to keep your blood sugar from running too high, glucagon works to keep your blood sugar from running too low.
Where insulin tells your body to store extra energy as fat, glucagon tells your body to release extra energy from that fat. This is one reason people feel better when starting a cleanse.
Do Not Do This When Trying To Lose Weight
A myth which has been ingrained in our beliefs is that blood sugar is inherently unstable, and we need a constant stream of calories to ensure it never dips or spikes. Now people are running out to buy little snack packs and trying to eat exactly 100 calories every hour to make sure their blood sugar remains stable.
This is actually one of the worst things you can do for blood sugar stability, and worse still is that this will actually fight your ability to lose weight.
If insulin is the storage hormone, then glucagon is the “take from storage” hormone. The problem is that insulin responds rapidly to the increase in blood sugar that eating causes, allowing us to store excess energy readily, but glucagon has a much slower response which only happens after we have gone through that fuel, a process which can take up to four hours!
If you attempt to control blood sugar by eating often, the only metabolic change you are likely to make is that your body will be releasing more insulin and less glucagon. By actively suppressing glucagon secretion, your body is less likely to take energy back out of storage, and weight loss will be slow.
When you allow healthy intervals between your meals, your body gets the chance to use its own natural blood sugar stabilizer, the hormone glucagon. The result is your body spends more time in “take from storage mode” and you lose weight more readily!
Just as what you eat during a cleanse is important, a smart cleanse plan addresses the timing of when you eat allowing your hormones to work exactly as they were intended to and allowing you to experience better results.
Weight Loss Success Is Not Just About Cutting Calories
If you are only focused on reducing how many calories you are consuming, then you are missing a big piece of the puzzle! Cutting calories can only take you so far before you hit a weight-loss wall, and it’s no wonder so many programs just don’t provide long-term results.
Cutting calories is only effective if your body is capable of picking up the slack. Reducing inflammation and better regulating your blood sugar-controlling hormones allow your body to actually burn the fat it has been storing, not just reduce your overall energy levels. When these additional goals are met, weight loss occurs naturally, and you’ll actually feel great while doing it! If you are like me, feeling better is secondary to losing weight. However, a well designed jump start such as a smartly designed cleanse that address inflammation reduction, a lowered glycemic load, and the ability to control insulin and glucagon has the capacity to not only make us feel better but to lose weight as well.
My cleansing clients lose 4 – 11 pounds on a 4 day cleanse, and 6 – 14 on a week-long cleanse. This is typical, but I am not into gimmicks. I am into helping people feel good and lose weight. It’s important they know what to expect in the long run after the cleanse. Gaining half of the weight back is typical when they go back to their regular diets. But maintaining three quarters of the weight off is highly possible if they simple adhere to making a couple dietary change afterwards on a fairly consistent basis. This change can be as simple as eating protein, fiber and good fat for breakfast, and committing to a non starchy lighter than typical dinner a few days of the week.
In a few days I will provide information on the increasingly popular cabbage soup weight loss jump start plan that I have been offering to clients. I will type on the subject line, Cabbage Soup Jump Start Information, so that only those of you that have an interest will open and read. And by the way, this jump start cleanse includes protein – a necessary component to fighting inflammation and ridding toxins in the body.
(Nutrient density explored and why it is absolutely necessary for losing weight.)
Today, unlike several years ago, the common theory on losing weight was considered simple, consume fewer calories than you expend in energy and you will lose fat. Unfortunately, for most people over thirty-five, that simple calculation does not hold true. Sure, it still holds true for those who are younger. It even holds true for a few over thirty-five. Unfortunately, those over approximately thirty-five who manage to lose weight primarily by reducing portion sizes, stop losing weight and come to a standstill after losing 5, 10, maybe 15 lbs. Why is that? The short answer to this question is that bodies adapt to the reduced calories and the dieters find it difficult to sustain the reduced portion sizes when nutrient density is lacking in their daily diet. Let me explain by illustrating what the scientists are saying regarding losing fat in our 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
We all know that calories are still important in losing weight, but what is not so well known and that demands our attention is that what we eat is even more important in weight loss.
A nutrient dense diet is something that helps you adhere to a diet. They say any diet will work if you stick with it. We are told to burn more calories than we consume, and that this is the fundamental science of weight loss.
Yet every single one of us who has followed this approach inevitably experiences a period where it is literally impossible to stay on this path. To make matters worse, we then feel badly about ourselves. Nutrient density is a key part of ending this cycle.
We have all been on diets and failed. In fact, people that I come in contact with in my practice are openly admitting to the notion that “diets do not work.” Yet, there are elements of dieting which I have seen in training and coaching people that really work well. For example, portion control remains an important part of the weight loss process. However, my clients realize that one must combine “nutrient density” with portion control, to get on a path to sustained weight loss.
What Is Nutrient Density?
Nutrient density is a concept pioneered by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It is simply the measurement of the concentration of micronutrients in food. Some foods, like green vegetables have very high nutrient density measurements. Processed foods have very low nutrient density measurements. Foods that are nutrient dense are associated with greater health, increased energy and weight loss.
According to Dr. Fuhrman, if you can’t stick to a diet, you cannot achieve permanent weight loss and health. If a diet does not provide the nutrients you need, then your body will demand more food and it will be nearly impossible to maintain a proper weight. From his perspective and research in this area, this is the key to permanent weight loss. It can be made part of any diet strategy.
Part of my core coaching practice utilizes the concept of nutrient density. For example, I often see that when people increase the high nutrient foods (see the chart below) and combine them with common portion control diets, weight loss becomes easier. I have seen this with people wanting to lose a little weight and also with people who have lost a lot of weight – upwards of 25 lbs.
The Science Behind Nutrient Density
It is now believed that people feel hungry on a diet because their body is not getting the nutrients it needs. More and more evidence has revealed that eating more high nutrient food is a key way to lose weight permanently. Learning how to incorporate this into your life and the diet you have chosen to follow is the secret to controlling food cravings and overeating.
Here is the formula for nutrient density:
H= N/C or Health = Nutrients Over Calories.
The scientific principle represented in this formula is known as “Nutrient Density”. It is the measure of the nutrients provided per calorie of food, or the ratio of nutrients to calories (energy).
An apple, for example, is a better choice than a bag of chips for weight loss even though both have roughly the same number of calories. The apple is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and hundreds of other beneficial phytochemicals. Therefore, the apple has a higher nutrient density. By eating the apple, you will feel fuller, have more energy, and over time, will help you lose more weight.
With more nutrient-dense food consumed, the more you will be satisfied with fewer calories, and the less you will crave fat and high-calorie foods. One of the huge benefits to high nutrient eating is that people lose their food cravings, hypoglycemic symptoms and other sensations that drive people to overeat. They are put back in touch with their body’s natural instinctive signals to eat- when food is really needed.
These natural, true hunger signals will help direct you to your true ideal body weight. You will simply desire less food. If you choose foods based on nutrient density, you will essentially be choosing foods based on their overall quality and their ability to have a positive influence on your body and overall health.
Foods That Score Highest in Nutrient Density
Which foods offer the most nutrients, and which offer the least nutrients per calorie? Most of the foods on the following chart will be of no surprise.
Vegetables, fruits, and beans score the best, by far. However, some surprises may change the way you eat forever. With Kale scoring the highest nutrient density of all 20,000 foods tested, it has the highest score of all – 1000! If a product scores 500, it offers half the nutrients of Kale.
· Strawberries, the #1 fruit, only offer one/fourth the nutrients of Kale.
· An Apple is only one/third as valuable as Strawberries.
· Apple Juice is one/fifth as nutritious as an Apple per Calorie.
This information is vital to any dieter trying to stay healthy and lose weight.
It is now estimated that less than 10% of adults and only 2% of children get the minimum daily requirement of vital nutrients their body needs to seek its ideal weight or ward off chronic illnesses. The chronic illnesses that develop as a result of poor eating have become so serious that in 2006 the Center For Disease Control and Prevention announced that this generation of children may be the first not to live as long as their parents.
Incorporate Nutrient Density for Fat Lose
My experience in the training and coaching fields has been that people quickly see the value of adding more nutrient dense foods into the diet when they experiment with foods and see the changes in their pant sizes and body weights on the scale. Inevitably, as results become obvious the motivation increases. As motivation increases, the weight continues to come off, not just temporarily, but for a lifetime.
Here is the question. Where do YOU start now that you are armed with information that when applied smartly and consistently reduces body fat?
As I sit here and write, a text has just come in from a personal training and coaching client. She sends me her picture of dinner out on her boat.
By the way, what may appear as big fat white potatoes are actually mushrooms! Not that white potatoes are bad, but when one is in the process of losing weight-and she is, and doing a great job I might add, we need to skip them!
She has lost 8 lbs in 20 days, has done nothing extreme, and sees that her middle section, hips, and inner thigh are feeling tighter and leaner. When I ask her how confident she is in maintaining and or continuing to lose weight, she indicates she is very confident. She continues by explaining that she is never hungry, has huge amounts of energy, and has a lifestyle she can easily maintain.
This is what I love to hear. And it’s happening. People are eating like they mean it. It’s out of vogue to deny hunger and it’s in vogue to be healthy. When we are eating healthy, we eat lots of high-density foods that bring nutrients to our bodies. Then we layer them with a moderate amount of good fats and proteins, and we lose fat.
Look at the picture of what my boater friend is eating. Then ask yourself if you can be that healthy person?
I had this client apply two principles of fat loss:
1. Nutrient density on a daily basis – as is discussed in this article.
2. Fighting stubborn fat with protein, fat, and fiber for quick and sustainable weight loss.
This second principle of weight loss will be the topic of my next newsletter. If you are motivated to lose weight and keep it off, and want to get a jump-start into the holiday season, then call or e mail me and I will be happy to discuss how you can be feeling good, looking good, and having enormous amounts of energy this holiday season. It will be simply. You will lose weight. You will have a huge amount of energy.
Stayed tuned. In two weeks I will discuss ways to beat stubborn fat with high quality protein, an abundance of fibrous foods, and believe it or not, fat!