Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weight Loss True or False

I am finally settled in Toronto and I have been as busy as a bee! I just wanted to let you know that I am here and I am committed getting out bi-weekly tips to all of my loyal clients :) I have dug up the archives for this tip but I think it is a useful one!

When in doubt about diet and exercise for weight loss, let common sense be your guide and listen to body signals, both positive and negative. Set yourself in the right direction by testing your weight loss know-how with the following true and false:

True or false: A good way to lose weight is to always limit snacks between meals.

False: The axiom "don’t snack between meals" really doesn’t apply if you are trying to manage your weight. In fact, the best way to keep extra pounds and inches at bay is to eat many small healthy meals throughout the day. Snacking has gotten a bad rap, being blamed for weight gain. This is simply not the case, especially if you make smarter choices about the types of foods you choose to eat. Examples of healthy snack foods are: fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, whole grains, and seeds and nuts. These foods are filling and satisfying, making it easy to naturally control portion sizes. They are also perfect for providing slowly released energy, which helps to keep you feeling great throughout the day. As these slowly released calories are ready for use, they are continually being burned off.

True or False: In order to burn optimal amounts of body fat you should exercise first thing in the morning without eating anything beforehand.

The answer is actually both true AND false: The rationale here is that if your carbohydrate stores are near depletion as they are after "fasting" all night, you will force your body to burn a higher amount of fat for fuel while exercising. Exercising first thing in the morning will kick-start your metabolism for the day. However, although it may be true that you are burning more body fat for energy, the rest of the story is that there is also a huge price to pay for engaging in this practice on an empty stomach. Deliberately exercising when blood sugar levels are low puts needless excess strain on your body. You may feel as though you’re getting a great workout, but if you’re "running on empty" it’s not possible to give 100% to your exercise routine. An often overlooked point is that any time you go for long periods without some sort of nourishment your body begins to break down, converting protein—including muscle—into the sugar needed to fuel the brain and other functions. So while you are indeed burning more fat for energy, you are also burning muscle at the same time. The question becomes: Is it worth it to burn 1 pound of body fat if you sacrifice 5 pounds of muscle in the process? The answer is no. Muscle is key to keeping your metabolism revved up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is active tissue that must have calories to survive. It is therefore highly counterproductive for both long term and healthy reduction of body fat to train while in "starvation" mode.

True or false: If body fat loss is your goal, you should weigh yourself every day

False: First of all, because of individual differences, it is difficult at best to determine what "ideal," "normal," or "healthy" body weight is. Scale weight is a very poor indicator of body fat levels and tells you nothing about your health or true degree of progress. After all, muscle cells are denser than fat cells. Remember that the scale tells you the weight of your entire body: muscles, bones, organs, blood and water. When you are trying to lose "weight" think in terms of body composition (ratio of muscle to fat) instead of the number on the scale. Without keeping this in mind, you may become frustrated with your weight loss efforts.

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