I hope you had a great weekend, and gave yourself a chance to recharge your batteries.

I just spent an amazing weekend at a seminar that has completely supported, with peer reviewed research, all the the benefits, ideas and training methods my clients have been receiving for years.  But the really interesting thing is that study after study continued to show that steady state aerobics/cardio, is not effective in losing body fat quickly. Unless you have an unusually low body fat, long slow cardio (steady state) will not work effectively in getting rid of body fat quickly or effectively.

Don't believe me?  Check out the link below.

The addition of 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at 78% Max Heart Rate 5 days a week for 12 weeks had NO EFFECT over dieting alone.

Great, so what does it mean you ask? 

It means if you're spending hour after hour on a treadmill or other cardio machine and not doing intervals, you are wasting a lot of time and not getting near the benefits you could get if you stepped it up a bit and did intervals on your chosen machine.

I know, I know.  We've all been told for years that all you had to do was get on your favorite cardio machine and bang out an hour and you'll see results after such and such amount of time.  Well the research is in and it does not support that theory.  To be quite honest I haven't believed in steady state (long slow cardio) for quite some time based on my own personal experiences with myself and my clientele.  If you're just starting out it's a great way to start doing your cardio, but after approximately 6-8 weeks and with no significant health issues, you should really be doing intervals whenever you do cardio.

So what are intervals?  Simple. It just means alternating periods of intense cardio followed by periods of slower cardio.  If you walk during your slow periods, walk faster during the intense periods.  If you jog during the slow, jog faster during the intense periods.  It simply means alternating light cardio with intense cardio periods.  How long should each period be?  When you first start do 30 seconds intense followed by 45 seconds of lighter/slower cardio.  Continue this alternating process until you have completed 5-12 minutes.  From there you would slowly progress upward to longer periods of intense followed by shorter periods of slow.  Be sure to get your doctor's permission. This type of cardio is no joke.

Ok.  So maybe you're thinking that the 12 week period wasn't really long enough to show the beneficial effects of steady state cardio.  Believe me, I thought the same thing.

Then the presenter hit us with this.

A six month study was done between two groups.  One group was diet only and the second group was diet plus aerobic exercise (50 minutes, 5 days per week).  That should certainly show the significant benefits of doing cardio using the belief of slow steady state, right?

Wrong?

Still not a believer?  Check out the link below.

Six month Study of two groups.  One diet only the other diet plus aerobic exercise.

So what were the findings?  Plain and simple, no additional effects of aerobic exercise on body composition.

Please believe me when I tell you that numerous hands went up to explain their story of what they experienced.  The presenter did an outstanding job of explaining what was really at work in those "success stories". Then he went on to provide numerous other studies that continued to show the ineffectiveness of steady state/slow cardio for those serious about getting rid of body fat quickly and effectively.

So what do you do that works.  Well for one, try using intervals during your cardio training sessions and see the results.  In addition you should check back next week when I'll share with you what the studies say works to help you get rid of that stubborn body fat quickly and effectively.

See you next week for the real deal.

Get on Track and Stay on Track!

As I discussed in part 1, we can all admit that when we are under a great deal of stress it is difficult for us to commit to our healthy eating plan.
 

I discussed the hormones Cortisol (the stress hormone) and Serotonin (the feel good hormone) and how they each play an important role in food cravings, and fat storage.  In part 2, let’s take a closer look at stress and ways to manage it so that it doesn’t sabotage your weight loss goals.

 

Stress is a part of life.  Whether it’s the baby crying, the irritability of a loved one, the endless deadlines at work, or the constant flow of bills, stress is a part of all of our daily lives.  But not all stress is bad.  In some cases stress actually assists us in being our best selves by increasing our awareness and attentiveness to a situation. As a practicing psychotherapist for 7 years, and a fitness coach for the past 14 years, it has been my experience that the main culprit when it comes to stress sabotaging weight loss goals is chronic stress.

 

 

 

Stress is defined as a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences affecting physical health, usually by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.

I want to be clear; a “stressor” is the precipitating event or situation which can cause a response of “stress”.  Thus, a stressor is only stressful if you deem it to be so.  How you handle, or fail to handle the stressors in your life is what determines your stress level and your ability to maintain your commitments to your weight loss goals. 

 

There are two types of stressors:

  • Acute stressors which are similar to the flight or fight response, where you have an immediate physical response to the event, situation, or request and
  • Chronic stressors which are directly related to long term exposure to situations in which you respond to in a stressful manner.   What we need to understand and remember is that stress is as individual as styles and tastes of clothes.  What one person finds intolerable, another person may not be bothered by at all. 

     

     

    The first thing to do to learn to manage your stress level better is to start taking notice of situations that cause you stress.  What type of unique response do you have and to what types of situations?  Begin to notice your internal dialogue.  What is it saying?  Is it encouraging you to move forward or is it negative and self-defeating?  This first step is important because once you effectively identify your stressors you are now empowered to change your reaction to them.

 

The second step is HUGELY important.  Because believing that you are capable of making the changes necessary to enjoy a better, less stressful life begins the process of healing.  Ask yourself, can you avoid the stressor altogether or at least minimize your contact and/or length of time with the person or situation that creates the stress? 

 

Once you begin to believe that you can in fact change the way you respond to a stressor you can then begin to make the small adjustments towards experiencing less stress.  You can look at whether you are viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms. Are you trying to please everyone?  Are you being too rigid in your expectations?  Are you dealing with an all too familiar situation and expecting a different outcome? Then take some deep breaths to slow your heart rate and help clear your thoughts.  Look at these stressful situations as something you can cope with successfully.

 

Stress creates many different reactions on a hormonal level, mental level and emotional level.  I believe you are capable of sticking to and achieving your weight loss goals.  Here are a few tips to keep you on track in the face of stress and cravings:

 

By taking the time to read this valuable information, you have already demonstrated that you are ready to achieve your weight loss goals.  You have the information, now it’s time for action!  To change, one has to move.  You are now ready to handle stress, rather than it handling you.  Move to a place of power in your life. I know you can do it!  If you have any questions or have a unique situation let me you would like help with, please contact me.

Here's your FREE-- Checklist_to_Reduce_Stress.pdf

 

May
21
2010
Share |

I hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed my newsletter.

One of my clients had a great question that I’d like to answer here. She expressed concern that the carbohydrates (carbs) in the last recipe, on the newsletter, seemed a bit “high”.

 

The first thing I would ask you to remember is that one meal, slightly “high” in carbs, is not an issue.  What’s of bigger importance is the total caloric intake of protein, carbs and fat over a 24hr period.

 

We’ve all watched the media bounce back and forth between low carb, high protein, fat-free, and an assortment of other inaccurate and short sited responses to losing weight and keeping it off.

 

I personally don’t believe in the “one size fits all” type of philosophy when it comes to nutrition. I genuinely believe that each person is unique in their metabolism, fitness level, time they have to spend exercising, as well as how many calories they burn just doing their daily activities. That is why I take a body composition analysis on each of my clients, as well as find out what a “typical” week of exercise looks like for them, before I create a customized nutrition program.  That way I am sure that the nutrition program meets their individual needs and lifestyle.  And to be quite honest, if the “one size fits all” philosophy worked, we’d be seeing a better improvement in the overall health of our population.

 

With all of that said I can give you a general rule of thumb when it comes to creating your meals.  My reading is leading me to believe that perhaps portion control is really the key to losing weight and keeping it off (for those that do not want to measure their food).  What I mean by that is: picture your plate, now divide it down the middle so that you now have two halves. Half of your plate should be full of fresh vegetables (preferably leafy green). Divide the second half into to two equal parts.  In one of those halves you would have a lean protein source (eggs, fish, lean meat, poultry), and the remaining space would be filled with carbs (starchy – brown rice, whole-grain breads, etc.).  Does that make sense?

 

The second general rule of thumb is: if you tend to start your day “high” in carbs, be sure to taper your intake of starchy carbs throughout the day.  The thinking behind this is that you give your body the rest of the day to burn off the starches you’ve taken in during the early hours of the day.

 

Remember, one size fits all does not work.  Find out how your body works by getting a body composition analysis and that information along with your “typical” week of activity, should help put you right on target and ready for summer swimsuit season!

 

As always, please let me know if this information was helpful.

I usually like to spend these posts sharing ways for you to combat pain and discomfort. Because honestly, it seems like most everyone I speak to is experiencing some type of pain or discomfort in their body. But today I was approached by a couple that asked a very interesting question, “Does stress really affects a person’s ability to lose weight?”

 

By all means, YES, stress does play an important roll in how effectively you lose weight.

 

RING! RING! RING! The alarm clock sounds and jolts you out of your peaceful sleep. The day has begun.  If you’re like most of my clients you whiz through the day stressed out from the moment we wake up.  It’s no wonder over 60% of the population is considered overweight.  So what do you do in a world full of growing commitments, bills, challenging relationships, and constant temptations of processed food?  And why do you crave that processed food anyway?

 

Let’s keep this simple, when you are under stress it is difficult for anyone to commit to a healthy eating plan. You begin your day in a whirl-wind just to get on the road and on your way to work, not to mention all the stress of dealing with traffic.  Once you are at work having to deal with the stresses of deadlines, annoying co-workers and demanding bosses; this is on top of the responsibilities you already have at home.  It’s enough to make anyone just want to indulge.

 

When you are stressed your body releases a chemical called “Cortisol” (known as the “stress-hormone”) into the bloodstream.


  • Cortisol levels rise in response to a perceived stress; real or imagined.
  • An increase in Cortisol means a decrease in Serotonin (think of a see-saw).
  • Serotonin is the hormone responsible for relaxed and content feelings and, no surprise, is one of the significant hormones that assist in helping us fall asleep at night. 

     

    Eating can often be a distraction, because if you’re focused on food, for however long that lasts, you’re not dwelling on the problem that is causing you stress. 

     

    The funny thing is that when you’re stressed (remember the see saw)

 
  • you may typically crave carbohydrate-rich foods, which when consumed, create feelings of relaxation and contentedness. In fact;

  • when you stuff yourself or binge on large amounts of carbohydrates you may notice a “sugar high”;

  • In fact, this stressful lifestyle is encouraging you to eat high sugar foods to regain that pleasant feeling of calm.  Sound familiar?

 
I want to make it VERY clear here that including exercise as a part of changing your physique doesn’t mean you have to join a gym! 
 


What it does mean is that you need to include physical activity into your daily or at worst weekly schedule.  Unfortunately everyone seems to be looking for the quick fix.  In this age of almost immediate gratification, few seem willing to take on the challenge of giving their body what it needs. . . . .  EXERCISE!  A good weight loss plan is built around the client.  That’s why when I create programs for my clients I am sure to ask them what types of physical activities they enjoy doing and then include those types in their weight loss program to assure success – and that doesn’t always mean going to a gym.  (Please contact me so I can help you find out what works for you to be successful in your weight loss goals.)

 

“SO WHAT DO I DO?” YOU ASK.

Great question.  In Part 2, I discuss the different types of stress that affects us all, and ways to manage that stress so it doesn’t get the best of you or your waistline.