Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Just Not Bad

ORIGINAL CONTENT

It took me a year and a half to lose close to 40 lbs. It took an additional five years for me to give up on struggling to maintain an illusive number in exchange to pushing my body to do things beyond my own expectations three to five times a week. OrangeTheory Fitness is a workout regimen that has built-in goals called “Benchmarks.” These Benchmarks keeps me motivated and provide continuous new goals to work towards.

I remember when I ran 10.0 mph for 30 seconds, I thought to myself, ‘that’s not bad for an old lady.’ And then I remember when I continuously improved my 1-mile benchmark time from 9:43 to 7:42, again, I thought to myself with satisfaction, ‘that’s not bad for an old lady.’ And when I completed my first full Dri-Tri (2000m row followed by 300 bodyweight exercises and finished with a 5k) in 47:46, I thankfully did not finish last in my heat and again, I thought to myself, ‘that’s not bad for an old lady.’

Up until I saw the 1-mile benchmark results and was pleasantly surprised that I out ran others 5,10, 15 years my junior. I thought to myself, ‘that’s not bad for an old lady.’ When I finished my first full Dri-Tri, I was shocked that I came in first for my age group and completed the simulated triathlon under participants 5,10,15 years my junior. And still I diminished my accomplishments and thought quietly to myself, ‘that’s not bad for an old lady.’

I just completed installing a paver patio by myself and I came to conclusion that maybe I have been selling myself short and instead of saying ‘that’s not bad for an old lady‘ maybe it should be ‘just not bad.’

Healthy Byte: Saying Goodbye

ORIGINAL CONTENT:

It has been almost six years since I have reached my weight loss goal and maintained it. Maintenance has been challenging and complicated with the burdens of getting older.

Along with the natural aging process of added wrinkles and sprouting of salt in our pepper the physical evolution is both noticeable and impactful. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

One of the most striking effects of age is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function, termed sarcopenia [13]. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20striking,60%20%5B4%2C5%5D.

Some basic knowledge about muscle verses fat: #1 Muscles burns more calories than fat #2 Muscles weigh more than fat #3 We naturally lose muscles as we age

Therefore the true fountain of youth is to at a minimum, do enough strength training to mitigate the rate of natural muscle loss. Sounds simple enough but for someone who has been overweight and have been groomed to attribute success to set numbers, numbers on the scale and number of the BMI calculation, purposely engaging in an activity which would result in weight gain was very difficult task to embark upon.

But embarked I did … repeatedly … and failed. My vicious cycle of starting regular strength training, gain weight, panic, and quit continued through the majority of my weight maintenance. Until one day, a Facebook ad for a free class at OrangeTheory Fitness changed everything. OrangeTheory is HIIT training classes where every class has a session on the treadmill, rower, and strength training. It is the first time that I’ve stuck with regularly strength training for more than a few months. I absolutely adore the muscle definition on my shoulders and arms & every time I glanced at myself in the studio mirrors, I internally giggle a little.

HOWEVER, along with the muscles, my weight crept up … uncomfortably so. My old struggles with weight resurfaced and I continued to battle with a higher BMI and how the number on the scale was defining my alleged failure. I weigh myself on a weekly bases and if I had lost weight I was emotionally elated, relieved, empowered. But when I gained weight, I was defeated, depressed, and felt incredibly fat. It was heartbreaking to watch the numbers on the scale continue to climb even though I religiously attended OrangeTheory classes a minimum of four times a week.

This passed spring I completed my first full DriTri at OrangeTheory. DriTri is intended to simulate a triathlon with 2000 meters on the rower, a total of 300 body weight exercises on the floor, topped of with a 5K on the treads. I was stunned that I was not the last to finish in my heat, but more importantly I noticed that my overall finish time was better than some members 10 -20 years my junior! It was a testament to all the sweat equity I had invested for the last 4 years but it was also a validation that despite what the scale stated, I had no reason to feel defeated or be depressed about and I certainly was not fat.

And with that, I made the decision to forego the scale going forward. I have stopped my weekly weigh ins and as a matter of fact, I haven’t weigh myself for a little over a month now its quite liberating. I figured if I continue to eat responsibly and continue being physically active, the scale is a tool I no longer needed with my weight loss maintenance journey.

Healthy Byte: Day 3045

ORIGINAL CONTENT

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist or a trainer of any kind. The following is simply my opinion from what has been true for me on my weight loss / long-term maintenance journey. I have completed extensive research from credible sources, however, the information below is my interpretation of that information. So read with a grain of salt.

It has been 3,045 consecutive days since I have been logging my nutritional choices on MyFitnessPal which calculates to a little over 8 years of logging.

I read an article recently on Intermittent Fasting (“IF”) and it was an interesting read. Intermittent Fasting dictates the number of hours of fasting verses the number of hours of eating within a 24-hour period or week – depending on the version. The theory is that by prolonging the period of no food consumption, it forces the body to burn through the calories consumed during the last meal and begin burning fat. There are also research which shows that the period of fasting not only induces Human Growth Hormone levels which benefits fat loss and muscle gain, improves insulin levels, impact gene functions related to protection against disease, but also allows the body to initiate cellular repair because it is not burdened with processing food. Please see Healthline & Hopkins for additional details.

Over the years, I have had to continue to adjust both my nutritional and fitness plans in order to maintain – it’s just what it takes as we get older. I had followed the 80/20 Rule (eating on plan 80% of the time) for years but since I’ve hit the half-century milestone I noticed that the impact on regulating my weight was decreasing. So I transitioned to IF and found that 14:10 works best for me and my schedule. IF has made a noticeable difference in easing long-term weight management but it also has alleviated my angst in extensive meal planning.

Article Summary: The writer had been on 16:8 IF for years but was experimenting with a new version of IF called the “Warrior Diet.” The Warrior Diet consists of fasting for 20-hours and limiting eating to only 4-hours a day which I thought was utter madness. However as I read on, she explained that by only eating 4-hours a day, she was liberated to eat larger quantities and whatever she wanted which relieved a lot of the stress related to counting calories and feeling deprived. She also claimed that eating only 4-hours a day essentially eradicated the possibility of overeating which for her, helped reduced her sugar cravings and feeling bloated. The writer seemed to have success with the Warrior Diet after trying it for 2-weeks.

My Perspective: What stood out to me was her mention of bloating and admitted struggle with it. In reviewing a sample day of foods she consumed,

” … tofu kale salad … a bowl of roasted tofu, sweet potatoes, and red peppers … banana, raw almonds or cashews, black-bean burritos, avocado pasta with Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs and steamed broccoli, lentil soup and bread, or veggie burgers with roasted veggies. If I felt like it, I’d eat a little dessert after. Sometimes it was some trail mix and fresh fruit, and sometimes it was a vegan brownie sundae”

https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/warrior-diet-1-week-2-weeks-43966339

I can’t help but to think that perhaps she maybe is FODMAP intolerant.

As I had incrementally phased out nutrition-poor food options, for the first time in my life I made the decision to incorporate vegetables with each dinner meal. Not being a vegetable person, I defaulted to the four vegetables I didn’t mind eating – green beans, carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli. I was so proud of myself for eating lean protein and vegetables but after a few weeks, my waistline increased, I gained weight, had severe constipation, and was constantly uncomfortably bloated – sometimes so painful that all I could do was curl up in the fetal position until the pain passed. I was very upset, frustrated, and couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong.

Around the same time, one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with Celiac. Her unfortunate diagnosis gave me the idea that perhaps I had some form of gluten or carbohydrate sensitivity. After hours of research, I had concluded that I was FODMAP intolerant. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols and unlike Celiac, FODMAP intolerance is not an immune reaction but an intolerance to certain types of foods. High FODMAP foods are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly which can result in the large intestine retaining too much water causing sometime unbearable bloating. Please see Cleveland Clinic; Healthline; Hopkins for additional details.

And to my surprise, many healthy foods are also high-FODMAP foods. Foods like wheat, soft & silken tofu, legumes, lentils, fruits like apples, avocados, ripe banana, and vegetables like mushrooms, snow peas, onion, cauliflower, and broccoli. And sadly, FODMAP intolerance varies greatly from person-to-person, therefore there really is no one-list to definitively identify all high-FODMAP foods for all people. To further complicate things, each person can have a certain persona tolerance to certain high-FODMAP foods. For example, onion and broccoli are both a high-FODMAP foods, but I can consume a small amount with no ill-effects. So it is truly a matter of persistent trial & error with a lot of patience in determining what the trigger FODMAP foods are.

Given the sample of foods the writer listed, there’s a possibility that perhaps all the Warrior Diet accomplished was to reduce her consumption of high-FODMAP foods within her tolerance level like onions & broccoli are for me.

HEALTHY BYTE: Day 3020

That number signifies the number of consecutive days I have logged into MyFitnessPal. I have not missed logging my meals for a little over 8 years. MyFitnessPal was the game-changer which forever impacted the way I eat, what I eat, and how much I eat. To physically see the number of calories I consumed in ratio to my physical activities (or lack there of), it educated me and held me accountable for my choices.

It’s like balancing a check book but instead of money, the currency is calories. So for example, if I had 340 calories to spend, do I want to drink it away via a Starbucks Tall (12 fl oz) White Chocolate Mocha at 340 calories or would I rather eat a 4oz turkey sandwich on Brioche bread for about 270 calories? When put into those terms, I would always opt to eat my calories over drinking my calories. And its small incremental lifestyle changes like this which allowed me to lose close to 62 lbs and keep it off for almost 8 years – refusing to be a participant to the weight loss statistic of weight regain.

I often still struggle will the little things because the inner fat girl is never far behind. I distinctively remember being particularly excited in purchasing a brilliant orange red sweater from the Loft after stalking it to go on sale for months. When it finally arrived, I pulled it out of the packaging and instantly a wave of cold sweat poured over me, a knot developed in my stomach, and I felt fat. I held up the XS sweater and it looked so ridiculously small that I was convinced that I was too fat to fit in it – not that the sweater was too small but that I was too fat. I tossed it down on the bed and was disgusted with myself for having that extra slice pizza a week ago. It took a few days before I would gather enough nerve to try it on and it did fit me perfectly but instead of taking pride that fitting into an XS was the result of my hard work, I discounted it and chalked it up to luck. And to some, this all may sound utterly ridiculous because I didn’t have 100+ or 200+ lbs to lose, but losing almost 40% of my original body weight and keeping it off should be a celebration in it of itself.

Being in weight loss maintenance, I have had to continuously make slight adjustments to my nutrition with little effort. However, finding a regular physical activity to keep me active & motivated has been challenging because I am naturally lazy and a homebody. From hours of research, I know that losing muscle is a natural part of aging and since muscle burns more fat it means that it makes no difference what nutrition choices I make, unless I consciously counter the muscle loss, as I get older, I will continue to put on weight even if my food choices doesn’t change at all. Strength training has been an Achilles heel, my personal kryptonite. Intellectually, I understand the importance of strength training, that muscle weighs more than fat, and that non-scale victories should be my weight loss maintenance goal. But emotionally, its really difficult to let that number on the scale go – to let that number on the scale not trigger fear of getting fat. Every time I regularly strength trained (3 times a week) I gained weight. I would see a number on the scale that frightened me and I would quit. This vicious cycle continued until I found OrangeTheory Fitness . It is HIIT training which incorporates two forms of cardio and regular strength training. It is highly effective. It provides a wide range of goals for me to work towards. It has helped me develop nice muscle definition on my shoulders and my arms. But it is at the expense of my weight – or at least the weight I would prefer to be rather than what I currently am. I have to learn to redefine what thin should look like for me and it is an ongoing struggle but I see role models like Ernestine Shepherd that keeps me pushing forward through the fear.

Healthy Byte: 5:2; 16/8; 14/10

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BLOGGER NOTE:  Click HERE for additional details on intermittent fasting variation. Personally in my 6th year of weight-loss maintenance I have naturally adapted to eating intermittently 15/9. Fasting for 15-hours may sound like madness but considering the bulk of the time fasting is spent sleeping, it has come easily for me and worked well in my day-to-day.

Originally Posted HERE

Let’s be honest: The word “fasting” doesn’t exactly bring up delicious thoughts and positive vibes. For plenty of people, it probably conjures up images of starvation and deprivation and makes their stomach start growling.

Yet, intermittent fasting has so many folks going wild right now, raving about how the strict-and-scheduled eating plans helped them lose weight and improve their health. So there must be *some* good in the health and weight-loss fad, right?

Charlie Seltzer, MD, weight-loss physician and certified personal trainer, points out that what most people are doing nowadays isn’t “true” fasting (in other words, eating only one meal per day or nothing at all in a day’s period). Instead, they’re intermittent fasting (duh), meaning they’re taking an approach to eating that involves restricting calorie consumption to a certain window of time each day, like only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (so you fast for 16 hours, a.k.a. a 16:8 diet).

The logic behind periodic fasting as a weight-loss approach: “Since you need to have a calorie deficit to lose weight, eating within a window makes it easier to eat less and hit your designated calories,” Dr. Seltzer explains.

Intermittent fasting has some pros beyond weight loss, too, says Dr. Seltzer. It works with a lot of people’s lifestyles, allowing them to skip meals during the day when they’re busy or not super hungry and might otherwise just eat out of obligation. What’s more, following a 5:2 fasting schedule may even improve your heart health; fasting can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, according to Cleveland HeartLab.

“True fasting has a large variety of health benefits beyond those that occur with calorie restriction,” Dr. Seltzer adds. “It can cause something called cellular autophagy, where our cells eat themselves [to destroy damaged cells and make way for new, healthy ones].”

That said, intermittent fasting shouldn’t be attempted without some thought as to whether it’s really a good idea for your personality and lifestyle—and not just because it could be challenging to stick to, but because it could be downright bad for some groups of people.

Registered dietitian Barbie Boules of Barbie Boules Longevity Nutrition says the people who should not consider intermittent fasting are:
  • Folks with diabetes or other metabolic disorders
  • People taking medications that require food
  • Anyone with a history of disordered eating
  • Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive
  • Children and teenagers

But honestly, anyone who requires a consistent, healthy input of calories throughout the day to be healthy (physically *and* emotionally!) isn’t the ideal candidate to try intermittent fasting. If you’re unsure where you stand, it’s always wise to speak with a medical professional first.

Here are eight potential disadvantages, side effects, and straight-up warnings about intermittent fasting to keep in mind if you’re a healthy adult and thinking about trying it yourself.

1. You might feel way hungrier.

Surprise, surprise: Not eating for 16 hours a day could make you ravenously hungry, at least while you’re in an adjustment period.

In theory, says Dr. Seltzer, intense hunger shouldn’t happen while intermittent fasting using a plan such as the 16:8 method; if you’re fasting correctly by filling up on protein at the end of the day, you shouldn’t be hungry first thing in the morning. (Your appetite wouldn’t kick in until later on the following day.)

In other words, only eating within a short window is not a free pass to set up camp at the all-you-can-eat buffet for eight hours, which would defeat the purpose of fasting. And this can be a huge challenge for many people who are used to eating much more regularly and who may not be totally in tune with their body’s hunger cues.

2. It might make you feel sick or fatigued in the morning, especially if you work out first thing.

Committed to your 6 a.m. workout? Intermittent fasting might not be a great choice. “I think it’s a terrible idea to exercise on an empty stomach,” says Boules. “We benefit from a little glucose before and some protein after.”

And even if you’re not a morning exerciser, not eating until, say, noon when you’re used to waking up and having breakfast at 8 a.m. may leave your stomach churning. In turn, you may feel off, a little lightheaded, or nauseous as you get used to the new schedule.

3. Fasting diets are rigid and rule-based.

Both Dr. Seltzer and Boules describe intermittent fasting as very individualized, meaning it could work well for some people and turn into a total disaster for others depending on a number of lifestyle factors.

4. It doesn’t always play nice with other diets.

Boules says intermittent fasting is often combined with other restrictive diets, like keto, which can cause double-trouble if either of those approaches—or heaven forbid both—aren’t right for you.

Adopting a diet plan that means you can only eat lean protein and vegetables between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. every day doesn’t exactly set you up for winning any popularity contests with your friends and family (not to mention the mental fatigue that comes with jumping through meal-planning hoops on the regular), Boules points out.

But hey, your diet choices are your own, and if you are up for the challenge of navigating an intense and strict food routine and your personal life, that’s entirely your decision.

5. You may deal with low blood sugar.

This is why people with diabetes should steer clear of fasting. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia is a side effect of diabetes and insulin medication, but it can happen to non-diabetics, too (if you have thyroid disease, for example).

Other symptoms of mild to moderate hypoglycemia include headache, blurred vision, sweating, fatigue, and paleness, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

6. The research is minimal.

Look, we all know the internet is full of so-called health claims made by “experts” about the best diets. And while the field of research on intermittent fasting isn’t empty, Boules is hesitant to jump on the bandwagon based on what she’s seen so far.

“Despite a deluge of articles citing studies, solid evidence in support of intermittent fasting as a superior approach to eating just isn’t there yet,” she says.

What studies is Boules referring to? Well, most of the more compelling ones were actually performed on rodents. Human studies have not shown the same scope of evidence.

There also remains debate about whether the actual fasting is responsible for the health benefits, or if it’s simply the reduction in calories.

This isn’t to say that better, more conclusive research won’t ever become available, but as Boules said, we’ve got a ways to go before we understand everything about intermittent fasting.

7. It doesn’t help you create mindful eating habits.

While Boules admits that intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for curbing mindless late-night snacking, it can totally work against mindful eating, too. Rather than thinking about whether or not you’re truly hungry, you’re simply eating by the clock.

“I encourage my clients to [evaluate their hunger] on a daily basis and act accordingly,” she says. “Every day is different for sleep, exercise, stress, hormones, and schedule, which all affects appetite. It’s one of many reasons I don’t believe it’s healthy to apply ‘rules’ to your food philosophy.”

8. You can take it too far.

Even in dieting, moderation is key; no diet is sustainable if you’re unable to adapt it to your lifestyle as needed. For example, Dr. Seltzer reiterates that many athletes need a morning meal and see better results when they eat before training. Sticking to a strict intermittent fasting schedule in that example precludes that.

Ultimately, if you’re just not sure how to feel about intermittent fasting, don’t hesitate to hash it out with a pro, like an RD or doc you trust.

At the end of the day, if you’re a healthy adult, intermittent fasting probably won’t do damage (even if it turns out to not be a good fit for you personally). Dr. Seltzer and Boules both acknowledge the control it teaches, though they remain on the fence about whether the potential side effects outweigh the benefits.

“Please understand this will not work for everyone and is not required for good health,” Boules says. “While I’m watching the research and will own it if I’m proven wrong, I think it’s yet another example of a fad approach to wellness.”

Healthy Byte: Lose Weight AND Be Happy

NOTE: These exact list of things, like anything else won’t work for everyone. However, I think the general approach has a broad enough applicability to warrant consideration. If we can only implement on 1 thing to eliminate entirely that would bring us one step closer to being healthy in body, mind, & spirit, then this was worth the post.

Losing 70 pounds is tough. Keeping it off for more than a decade is even tougher. Trust me, I tried everything. Once I lost the weight, I thought I’d feel relieved and proud all the time, but what I didn’t expect were the feelings of panic and fear.

I was constantly afraid that I’d end up back where I started and keeping the weight off became an obsession. When I overindulged or wasn’t able to work out, my first thought was that I was going to gain the weight back. It was exhausting and nerve-racking.

But somehow I’ve managed to keep it off and eventually found a way to do it that’s effective, effortless and doesn’t mean living in fear. Here’s what I’ve learned about what it takes.

1. Workouts that I dread.

I used to assign value to workouts purely on the number of calories that they burn so I stuck to brutal, high-intensity workouts that sorta made me miserable and ultimately got me injured and left me feeling burned out. Then, it occurred to me that I’m more than just muscle and fat. So I started only doing workouts that felt good in my body and contributed to the overall well-being of my body, mind and spirit. Now, I actually look forward to my workouts, which means I’ve got no problem getting them in regularly.

2. Eliminating entire categories of food.

Legit food sensitivities and allergies aside, cutting out a whole classification of food is not sustainable, making it a one-way ticket to Frustration City. Our bodies were designed to take in quality fats, protein and carbs (in moderation of course) and each plays a vital role in proper bodily function. Now, over time, I’ve learned that there are certain foods that don’t make me feel the greatest — for example, gummy candies cause my skin to break out, cereal makes me gassy and fried foods make me sluggish — but will an order of fries, a few celebratory cocktails or a birthday cupcake (or two) derail my inner peace and send me into a downward spiral of self-loathing and guilt? Absolutely not. I don’t give food that much power over me anymore.

3. Thinking in terms of calories.

Calories get far too much attention considering that they only tell a small part of the story. So many other things have a direct effect on your body weight and overall health and well-being — for example, hydration, sleep and stress levels all affect how well your body’s internal processes work, including digestion and metabolism. When we focus on calories, we learn that low-calorie means better … but it doesn’t. Many of the most nutritious foods on the planet are calorie dense and many very low-calorie foods have little or no nutritional value. Remember that food is fuel, so quality and nutrition definitely matter.

4. Punishing myself for “slipping up.”

Workouts aren’t punishment and deprivation is cruel. Think of it this way: if your child or pet screwed up, is it okay to run them into the ground or withhold a meal from them? No. So why, oh why, it is okay for us to do it to ourselves?

5. Ignoring the need for recovery.

I used to wear my perpetual muscle soreness like a badge of honor and told myself that I had to work out every day in order to “earn” my calories for that day. Honestly, I wish I could get back all that time I wasted — it didn’t make me stronger, leaner or happier. Our bodies can self-heal, but only if we give them the time to do so. Pushing yourself to the limit every day may seem bad-ass, but it’s robbing your body of the chance to rebuild, adapt and grow stronger.

6. Choosing my workouts based on what I want to look like.

My current workout routine reflects how I want my body to function so that I can do all the things that make my life fun and enjoyable — like teaching yoga, running ultra marathons, playing with my 3-year-old niece and carrying all my groceries in one shot. Here’s the thing: I’ve been a size 18 and I’ve been a size 0 — and everything in between — and it didn’t change how I felt about myself. Losing 70 pounds didn’t make me any less self-conscious about my body. You know what did make a difference? Learning what my body is capable of and developing my strengths. The shape and size of my body don’t define me or affect my overall quality of life.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Tips from Long Term Maintainers

In the health world, we’re typically inundated with research on the best ways to lose weight, from nutrition advice to fitness tips. But what if we knew the secrets to never gaining it in the first place? What if we just focused on how to stay at a healthy weight?

Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, author of Slim by Design, and Yahoo Health Advisory Board Member, and his team of researchers at Cornell Food and Brand Lab are launching the Global Healthy Weight Registry in January to gather information and discover the secrets of people who have pretty much never gained weight (other than 5 to 10 pounds).

You can join the registry here.

Currently, the National Weight Control Registry, made up of people who had lost 30 pounds and kept it off for three years, provides a wealth of information on weight loss and what makes individuals successful with it long-term. But we don’t hear much about preventing weight gain in the first place, Camille Finn, manager of the Healthy Weight Registry, tells Yahoo Health.

“We need this registry so that we can share the secrets of people who have never been overweight,” Finn explains. “We hope to discover interesting tips and tricks from people who have always been a healthy weight and share those secrets to help others avoid gaining weight.”

So who’s eligible for the registry? Finn breaks it down: “The perfect candidate is someone 18 or older who has maintained a healthy body weight (healthy body mass index) throughout their adult life, and who has not worked with weight counselors or other health professionals regarding their weight in the past.”

If you think you qualify, the next step is to take a questionnaire, which asks a wide range of questions on topics such as what you eat for breakfast, food preferences, cooking secrets, and broader topics such as hobbies and your outlook on life. Once you’re accepted — you’ll be kept anonymous, don’t worry — you’ll be sent updates on new insights and related research papers Wansink’s team publishes. Your only other commitment will be to answer a new set of questions once a year.

‘If you are not eligible, we can still keep you up-to-date on some of our findings when you sign up as a Registry Friend on our website,” Finn explains.

Once the registry gets going, the team will crunch the data in search of commonalities among healthy weight people, says Finn. Then, they’ll share these insights with both the people in the registry and the general public, so that others can apply these tips and tricks to their own lives. “We’ll write academic articles on the results and develop infographics, posts, and tweets, and share them on the website and our social media so that we can help people stay slim.”

The team has created an infographic with some of their preliminary findings on “healthy weight” registrants, which includes some interesting stats: 63 percent eat veggies with dinner every night, 46 percent eat fruit at breakfast, 47 percent never diet, and over 50 percent exercise four or more days per week.

As the registry grows, more insights like these will be revealed and guide useful recommendations that other people can follow to help maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Day 1060

Healthy living shouldn’t always mean an either / or scenario.

The holidays – the time of joy, cheer, and weight gain. As we have all been repeatedly conditioned to believe, the holiday weight saboteur proves to be a formidable foe even to those who are most disciplined. Or does it?  

It occurred to me that there are many very popular myths out there which has been passed around for ages by traditionally reliable news outlets. But this is why I am prone to conduct my own research because many times it’s the only way to discern fact from fiction.

One of the most notorious is of course the weight the average person gains from the holidays. What is fact? What is fiction? Here, let’s take a look based on a published study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The Myth: Average person gains 7-10 lbs over the holiday season.

The Facts: The average person, based on year 2000 study published in the NEJM  indicates that the average weight gain between November to January is less than 1 pound! (Shocked?)

Interesting Findings to Keep in Mind:

  • Participants’ perceived weight gain was far greater than actual weight gain.
  • The more overweight a participant (based on BMI categories: Not Overweight; Overweight; or Obese) was at the beginning of the study the “greater likelihood of gaining … with increasing degree of overweight.” So if one was already overweight, their chances of gaining weight also increases. (Not new fact)
  • Two predictive factors for holiday weight gain should be no surprise – Perceived Hunger and Change in Activities Level. “Those who reported being much more active or much less hungry since their last visit had the greatest weight loss; conversely, those reporting being much less active or much more hungry since their last visit gained the most over the holiday interval.” (If we eat more and is less active … ahhm yea we’re going to gain weight / fat)

Study Conclusion Formal: “In contrast to the common perception that weight increases during the winter holiday season, the measured weight of the vast majority of subjects in this study changed little between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The subjects believed they had gained four times as much weight as their actual holiday weight gain of 0.37 kg. Fewer than 10 percent of subjects gained 2.3 kg or more, and more than half of all measurements of weight after the initial one were within 1 kg of the previous measurement. Thus, despite the fact that 85 percent of the study subjects made no effort to control their weight, large weight gains over the winter holiday season were not the norm. Unfortunately, we also found that the 0.18-kg average weight gain during the fall preholiday period and the 0.37-kg increase during the holiday season were largely maintained during the postholiday winter period from January to February or March, resulting in a net average weight gain of 0.48 kg. In subjects who completed one year of observation, the weight increased by an average of 0.32 kg during the holiday period and 0.62 kg over the entire year, suggesting that the period contributing most to yearly weight change is the six-week holiday period.”

Study Conclusion Cliff Notes:

  1. The average person do gain (< 1 lb) the most during the holidays but nowhere near (7-10 lbs) the widely perpetuated myth claims.
  2. If we maintain the healthy habits (eating & activities level) we do the rest of the year the forecasted holiday weight gain doom is one of the biggest fibs which continues to be  irresponsibly circulated.

My Personal Add-On: I’d almost add in the possibility of the placebo effect. If we are lead to believe that we will gain weight over the holidays than how many of us tend to unconsciously toss in the towel and just embrace what seem to be inevitable?

Holiday Eating Tip

Practicing 90/10 Rule for me is my ticket to mindfully indulge guilt free. It’s wonderful not to be bothered by the glaring red warnings which MFP dutifully affords me.

Do I indulge? Dang skippy!

Usually every November time frame the cult favorite McRib hits local McDonalds. And I am usually the first in line ordering 2 to 3 at a time. I load it with veggies to psychologically trying to make it more ‘healthy’ but I know it’s negligible. I enjoy the crap out of it while it’s here and once its gone I move on.

Day 1060 27Nov2015 MFP Overages

My Thanksgiving Overages – Multiple servings of Apple Pies w/Ice Cream adds up quickly. Thank goodness once its enjoyed it’s gone – no lingering leftover temptations to contend with. 🙂

Day 1060 28Nov2015 MFP Overages

ahhhhh the McRib!! 🙂 The “If every day were” like reminder is a great way to put indulgences into perspectives for me because it is not my ‘every day.’

My other holiday must-have is warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Nothing says holidays to me more than cold vanilla ice cream melting over a piping hot slice of apple pie! Instead of buying an entire pie & a gallon of ice cream, I opt to purchase an individual portion of apple pie and ice cream cup. I reap all the benefits of the indulgence but the portion is controlled for me – best of both worlds. And like the McRib, once it’s gone, it’s gone. No week-long leftovers to tempt me.

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So my tip is – indulge away. Control the portion when possible. Add in the healthy when possible. And log it all in and don’t be afraid of giving yourself permission to enjoy … as long as it is truly an occasional occurrence it will not have any long term detrimental effects on our quests for healthy living.

Other Myths Busted:

Freshman 15 

Holiday Fitness Myths 

Healthy Byte: Eating Healthy One Dupe at a Time

2015 10-23

Ban gluten. Say good-bye to sugar. Give up carbs. No matter what diet you pick, the problem remains the same: Eventually, it ends.

Research shows that the vast majority of people who diet to lose weight end up gaining back some or all of the weight they lost, typically within a few years. And most of us who try lifestyle changes like cutting carbs or sugar only do so for a set period of time.

We recently asked exercise scientist Philip Stanforth, executive director of the Fitness Institute of Texas and a professor of exercise science at the University of Texas, why that happens, and what people who want to lose weight and keep it off can do.

He says there is one key principle that should guide any decision to make a change about what you eat. And that’s “doing something you can maintain for the rest of your life.”

After the initial “dieting phase” of cutting calories, eating healthier food, and upping your workout regimen — experts recommend aiming to lose only a couple pounds a week by burning a few hundred more calories than you’re eating each day — you can start to make some small shifts back towards how you’d normally eat and workout, says Stanforth.

But overall, Stanforth says, “you still eat the same way [as you did when you started to eat healthier].”

Meaning that after you’ve lost a bit of weight, it’s normal to scale back a bit on your workouts and start to eat more calories each day. “But you still eat the same kinds of foods,” says Stanforth, because you’re in the mindset that, “this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of dieting information doesn’t reflect this view. And that’s a mistake, Stanforth says.

“You know we tend to say you go on a diet, but that also implies you’re going to go off of it. And that’s not how we should be looking at this. Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it’s the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference.”

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Day 960

Yes, that is the number of days I have obsessively logged every morsel which passed my lips and every mascara running session at the gym into MFP.

I recently celebrated my 2-year weight loss maintenance anniversary and I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount through many, many bouts with trial & error and just observations. I’d like to share this collective in hopes that it’d help others. So here goes nothing!

A recent MFP friend asked how do I stay motivated to stay active in maintenance. In my haste to publish my anniversary post I think I really missed the mark on addressing the question properly. What I initially stated was that regular exercise had simply became a mindless habit which is mostly true. However, in giving the question some additional thought, I feel that I can elaborate a bit more with more practical response. So I asked myself, ‘Self, when you are dog-tired & would much prefer to veg out in front of the computer, what does drive you to go to the gym?’ The answer is in two parts.

The first is that it is a habit for me because I absolutely thrive in routines and schedules. However, to say that is the sole driver is not 100% accurate. What keeps me going is that I continue to experience measurable progress towards my fitness goals. And this one is a bit of the chicken or the egg phenomena … let me explain.

My main mark of progress when I was losing weight, like many others, was the fickle frenemy the scale. No matter if it was 2 lbs or a mere fraction of a pound loss, every miniscule step closer to my goal, the more I was motivated to carry on with what I was doing. It is not that much different to be successful in maintenance. I shifted my focus from losing weight to fitness oriented ones, ie. gain muscle definition. Although I secretly dream of looking like this,

Day 960 JE

Photo of Jamie Eason: Former NFL cheerleader & Winner of the World’s Fittest Model Competition

I know that this is something I am unable to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s not a matter of whether I can physically accomplish it. Rather it’s a matter of being able to comply with the heavy demands necessary to achieve AND maintain which is something I am just not willing to invest the time & effort into for the-rest-of-my-life. So I opted to choose something which is more realistic for me and my lifestyle.

Enter the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Day 960 MO The First Lady’s toned shoulders and arms requires effort of course. But the ‘upkeep’ is a very sustainable amount of effort without becoming burdensome. So with a realistic goal set, an adjustment in exercise regimen, all it took was consistency and time (patience). The more muscle definition that I saw the more motivated I became. Everytime I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and see the budding toned legs, arms, or shoulders, my initial reaction was always ‘holy shit is that me?’ Immediately followed by ‘wow I never thought any part of me could ever look like that!’

So, that’s the chicken or the egg phenomena: I go to the gym and workout regularly because I am seeing positive results towards my fitness goals. And I am seeing positive results because I am going to the gym to workout regularly.

MFP Flex

6 mths Strength Training – still fairly doughy with bat wings & bra strap fat (Weights Exclusively)

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12 mths Strength Training – starting to see some definition in certain positions – the progress keeps me motivated to carry on – tweaks exercises to get the most bang for the workout buck (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

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18 mths Strength Training – muscle definition becoming more prominent – swapped out all my tshirts for tank tops & I always do my pushups in front of a mirror to check my body position but more importantly seeing my shoulder & arm muscles at work motivates me to really push myself to do ‘just one more’ (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

I mentioned previously how utterly ‘lost’ I felt initially in maintenance. The incremental progress during weight loss was suddenly POOF – gone. I felt as if my inner tube had been deflated leaving me in the middle of the ocean just floundering. Simply being intellectually aware that continued activity was ‘good for me’ was not enough of a motivator because to a certain extent, a part of me did have the ‘yay I’ve reached goal – I’ve crossed the proverbial finish line’ mentality. Embracing the reality that there is no finish line & that this is for the rest of my life sort of commitment, it was imperative that I set new goals to help me overcome a common transition pitfall from weight loss to maintenance.

Fitness goals doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or monumental in order to be effective. It can be a series of mini goals. ie. 2,000 steps in three months No matter what it is, it is a key factor to staying active in maintenance. Every now & again, when I hanker to skip the gym,  I ask myself, ‘is it really worth it?’ As one MFP friend very aptly described, muscle definition is a “herd-of-turtles-slow” process and so my answer 99% of the time is a resounding ‘NO.’ It’s just not worth it to me to undo all the time & effort already invested for one night of sitting on my duff at home for an extra hour or so. Hope this more in depth answer is helpful.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

Need a Plan:

The key is that you need a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals and that allows you to follow through. The world’s greatest plan won’t work if it’s not right for you.

Key Behaviors of Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers:

Several key behavior changes that occurred over the year of follow-up also distinguished maintainers from regainers. Not surprisingly, those who regained weight reported significant decreases in their physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint. Thus, a large part of weight regain may be attributable to an inability to maintain healthy eating and exercise behaviors over time. The findings also underscore the importance of maintaining behavior changes in the long-term maintenance of weight loss.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Bread … oh how I love thee! It’s my standard go-to for lunch because it is easy, quick, and perfect for a busy morning rushing two kids out the door for school. But when I decided to get healthy, I needed to tweak it so that it is the healthiest version of my standard go-to. Instead of trying to force myself to eat new strange ‘healthy’ foods (ie. lettuce wrap in lieu of bread), I stuck with what I loved and simply swapped out components in order to make it healthier. As you can see below, simply by changing the bread, I saved 80 calories per sandwich, reduced carbs, & total fat/sugar intake. Which may not seem like a lot but multiply that by a week (400 calories) or a year (22,400 calories), it adds up really quickly in my favor.

2015 8-21 Incre Tip

Per 2 Slices Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Enriched Whole Grain  White Sara Lee 45 Calorie & Delightful Whole Grain Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain Difference per Sandwich
Calories 150 90 70 80
Total Calories from Fat 14 10 5 9
Total Fat 1.4 1 1 .4
Carbs 28 19 19 9
Sugar 4 2 1 3

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