Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lose Big Time!

Ways to lose fat:

1. Diet.
2. Exercise.

That’s it.

There is no fancy schmancy pill, elixir, fad-of-the-month, machine, or other person that can do it for you.

Diet is not a “diet” that you go on, but rather a lifestyle of what type of fuel you put in your mouth.

Exercise is not performing certain moves in a gym, but a lifestyle of activity.

In my experience, diet makes up 70% of losing fat, and exercise makes up 30%. You cannot lose inches on your waistline if you work out but eat poorly.

Questions to ask yourself:
1. How often do I eat out?
2. How much sodium is in the food I eat?
3. How much refined sugar is in the food I eat?
4. How processed is my “food”? That is, how far away from nature is it?
5. How many “white” foods do I consume? Flour, bread, sugar, potatoes, rice?
6. How much corn containing products do I consume? Chips, high fructose corn syrup, fillers, on the cob, kernal?
7. How many fresh, organic fruits and vegetables do I eat with each meal?
8. How much processed meat do I eat? Sausage, lunch meat, pepperoni, bologna?
9. How many foods do I eat out of a box or bag at home?
10. How often do I find myself sitting in a drive thru or running into a convenience store for “food”?
11. How many foods do I eat that are fried and/or breaded?12. How much fresh, purified water do I drink?
13. How often do I sit during the day? Car, desk, computer, meetings, couch, TV, movies?
14. How often am I moving? Walking, running, swimming, cycling, soccer, weight lifting, hiking?

Diet. What to put in your mouth? Lean protein. Fruits and vegetables. Meat should be about the size of your palm and as close to natural as possible. Fruits and vegetables should be as close to their native form, ripe, and organic as possible. Do not buy the bulk of your fruits and vegetables from your regular supermarket. They lack flavor and nutrients. Buy from Whole Foods, Akins, Martha’s, or your local farmers’ market. You really don’t need to purchase anything else from these stores unless you want to buy meat. Shop the produce section and leave. Meat can be purchased from your local supermarket; they usually have “natural” varieties available. Perry’s, Harvard Meats, Oklahoma Coop, farmer’s market, and your local rancher are excellent places to purchase meat. Oklahoma has some of the best free-range beef in the country, yet it is usually sent to the east and west coast. Eggs should be from free-range chickens and possible have extra omega-3 fatty acids in them. Your local farmer’s market has excellent eggs. The difference between a mass-produced egg and a natural egg is notable in just cracking it open. If you plan on eating soy as your protein, try tempeh instead of tofu. There seems to be some controversy eating soy, and it seems the fermentation process in tempeh improves the nutritional quality.

Watch your sodium. This is not just for high blood pressure but water retention. The look of “fattened” skin under the jaws and in the face is noticeable when sodium intake goes up. Restaurants have lobbied Congress for year to not have to label their nutritional content. Watch out. Almost every restaurant out there has a huge salt intake. Some meals are the equivalent of eating two or three ramen noodle packs in one seating. 2,000 and 3,000 mg of sodium are not uncommon. What to do? Prepare more meals at home.

Water. We don’t get enough. It’s frankly one our greatest missing nutrients. You might have heard that we need to have eight glasses of water a day. This is a good place to start. However, the best way is to take your body weight number in pounds and chop it in half. This will be the number in ounces you should drink per day. For example, a 180 pound individual should drink 90 ounces of water a day. Water should be purified and fresh. If you are sweating a lot by working intensely, you need more water combined with some electrolytes. It has been shown recently that tea and other drinks help with fluid intake, but some of them can be diuretic. So stop whining about it and drink more water. Squeeze a lemon or lime in the water if you need to add flavor. A good way to stay consistent with your water intake is to pour the amount you need for the day in a large container at the beginning of the day and drink all of it by the end of the day. A cold 16 ounces of water drank first thing when you wake up has been shown to help you fire off your metabolism and lose fat. So drink up. Cheers!

Most of our food quality is never going to be sufficient. A highly absorbable organic as possible multi-vitamin/multi-mineral, antioxidant, and omega-3 supplement is essential to maintain a high level of health. Digestion of nutrients and building of essential tissues requires cofactors that are not always consistently present in our diet.

How do you plan meals? Pick a protein – lean meat, eggs, or tempeh – then add a fruit or vegetable. That’s it.
Is it really that easy? Yes and no. Yes, in that the concept is easy; no, in that it is difficult to stay disciplined.

Here are some examples. For breakfast, eat two hardboiled eggs that you have previously prepared on Sunday; add a chilled organic pink grapefruit. For lunch, eat a rotisserie chicken quarter of dark meat with green beans and broccoli grape salad at Charlie’s Chicken. For dinner, eat a quick stir fry of cubed chicken breast, ginger, garlic, broccoli, and low sodium soy sauce. Add a side salad of organic spinach leaves with a Mediterranean nut and fruit mix from Walgreen’s, a small amount of a unique cheese from Whole Foods, and a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

How about some more? For breakfast, a lower calorie vanilla and orange Greek yogurt cup from Reasor’s plus an organic apple. For lunch, organic salad bar at Jason’s Deli without the bread and pasta items. For dinner, free-range rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods plus the spinach, nut, cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil salad. For dessert, a stamp-sized piece of lower sugar dark chocolate with some unique flavor like cayenne or almonds and orange.

What about quick snacks when I’m raging hungry? Organic apple slices with Smart Balance Omega peanut butter. A can of low sodium tuna, rinsed, and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and eaten straight out of the can. Low sugar Greek yogurt. Whey protein shake. Muscle Milk from QT, Walgreens, or Sams. Celery stalks with Smart Balancce Omega peanut butter. A handful of Mediterranean nut mix from Walgreens, not the dried fruit one this time.

I recommend Muscle Chow by Gregg Avedon as an excellent source of easy-to-make recipes. It is written to guys trying to look fit in the gym but is an excellent source for woman and kids alike. His shopping guides and diet cycle are excellent. The creatine and glutamine supplements he recommends are not necessary unless you’re trying to maximize your strength in a gym.

Sometimes, additional help is needed early on to control your urges. A personal trainer, nutritionist, dietician, or physician can help. Many support programs such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers give individuals discipline in the beginning. I have found, interestingly enough, that auricular acupuncture can help a good portion of people sedate their cravings in the early stages of life change.
Exercise. How much do I do, what do I do? You need to set aside a minimum of an hour a day for activity. Period. Some of the larger people that I have seen lose their size did so by eventually walking an hour a day. Activity includes walking, riding a bike, swimming, and weight lifting. Intensity does matter. However, in the beginning start out at 10 minutes a day for one week then add on five minutes for each additional week until 60 minutes is reached.

Intervals ignite a fat-burning furnace compared to slow, plodding “cardio” exercise. Intervals include periods of high intensity followed by lower intensity. For example, warm up for five minutes then hit near your max intensity for 30 seconds followed by one minute of slow intensity. Repeat the high/low cycle for 15 minutes. You can do this on a treadmill, outside on a trail, on a bicycle, and in a pool. This total time of 20 minutes will burn way more fat for the day than 45 minutes of steady moving. Note: if you are on a machine the 20 minutes of intervals will show less calories burned than the 45 minutes of steady exercise. Don’t worry, the interval workout makes your body burn fat for the rest of the day. Intervals work because they raise and lower your heart rate. Check with your physician before starting interval training.

Strength training is key to burning fat. Muscles require a lot of energy to work. When you use them, they will continue to burn up excess calories the rest of the day. Big muscles burn up more energy than small muscles. The more muscles you use, the more you burn.

Body weight squats and assisted pullups are two great ways to start activating big muscle groups like quadriceps, glutes, and lats. Combination of lower and upper body exercises maximize your time.

I have found that setting up time with a personal trainer, in the beginning, is a great way to get started and know how to properly perform exercises. There are some great facilities out there such as Fitness Together that provide one-on-one personal training and nutritional advice. As you become more experienced working out, you may want some variety and change in intensity. A CrossFit facility is a fun change of pace and competition.

As you may have noticed, “losing weight” has been de-emphasized in this article and losing fat and decreasing your waistline have been emphasized. Muscle weighs more per volume than fat because it is more dense. So if you start gaining muscle and losing fat, your weight may stay the same. They easiest way to monitor your progress is to pay attention to your pants size. Did you have trouble fitting into a pair of pants and now you can? Are your pants waists becoming looser? What about your jaw line? Is it less “swollen” looking? These are good signs you are along your way.

As a final note, our environment, food quality, and sedentary lifestyle have really taken their toll on our current health. Most Americans are malnourished to some degree. Malnourishment does not always take on the image of skin and bones kids in Africa with flys landing on their eyelids. It also takes on the image of a rotund American kid with high cholesterol, high blood pressure drinking a Coca-Cola for breakfast riding the bus to school and sitting hunched over eating trans-fat potato chips playing video games after school.

It is estimated that a lot of the damage that we do to our DNA is not that noticeable in our lifetime. It is, however, noticeable in several generations out. Cancer, obesity, IQ, athletic ability, and stature are some of the issues that might not just affect us from our choices, but also our future offspring.

Remember, life is a journey. Enjoy it!


Michael K. Van Antwerp, DC, CPed, CCSP

Back to Health Wellness Center
2433 N Aspen Ave,Broken Arrow, OK 74012


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