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You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?

I mean, that number you see on there doesn’t define you (obviously)….you know that, RIGHT?

What you weigh does matter but only to a certain extent. Did you know that waist circumference can be a better indicator of your health risks?

Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).

Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?  The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases)?  

Yup – that apple!

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdominal cavity covering the liver, intestines, and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is.  It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.  

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood cholesterol, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

Apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than pear-shaped people do.

So as you can see, where  fat is stored can be more important than how much you weigh.

Am I an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape.  You can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.

For men the number is 40”. 

Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases.  Waist circumference is just one of them.

If you find yourself measuring at or around these numbers, please schedule an appointment to discuss with your physician. You can also find a specialized weight loss physician to help you via the ABOM website. These are physicians, such as myself, who have extra training and certification in weight-loss medicine.

Tips for helping reduce visceral fat:

  • Eat more fiber.  Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
  • Add more protein to your day.  Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
  • Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially sodas and juice (even 100% pure juice).
  • Move more.  Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up. Moving means getting up outta that chair at least every 45 minutes and walking around, stretching, marching in place, etc. Just MOVE.
  • Stress less. Seriously!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
  • Get more sleep.  Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

My book Weight Loss that Works: Secrets to Restoring Confidence and Reclaiming Your Body is now available via KINDLE! But, if you’d still prefer the PDF form for printing, you can find that here.

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4

1 lb brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/

You may have heard the term “macros” thrown around if you’ve been following anything relating to dieting or weight loss. If you aren’t familiar with what it actually means, it’s okay….you can admit it. We’re all friends here.

“Macros” is short for “macronutrients.”

I know, now you’re saying “oh….that TOTALLY clears it up for me!” (I can hear that sarcasm, young lady!)

Macronutrients

There are 3 macronutrients as part of our diet: Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates. A macronutrient-based plan, or a “macro plan”, is a food plan that is based on eating specific amounts of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. You may not realize it, but when you tried that low-carb diet last year….that was a macro-based plan. A low-fat diet is another macro-based plan. See? You know what this is and you’ve likely already tried it.

Where most people get lost is HOW to alter macronutrient intake so it results in weight loss, increased performance, increased muscle mass, etc. That’s right, how much of each macro you should eat depends on your goals – which adds another layer of complexity to the equation.

Down in one, up in another

The tricky part about coming up with a macronutrient food plan is knowing which of the three should be decreased and which of the three should be increased to compensate for the drop in calories. Stay with me here…I promise I’ll make this easy for you!

Let’s pretend you eat a 1200 calorie diet and that diet consists of equal parts fats, protein, carbs (33.3% for each). You decide you want to try that “crazy low-carb” diet that everyone is talking about. Your plan takes your carbohydrate intake from 33.33% of your calories down to 20% of your calories. You now have 20% carbohydrates, 33.3% fats, and 33.3% protein. If you add those up, it comes to only 86.6% of what you were eating before.

You can keep this lower intake if you wish, but now your total calories have dropped to 1040 because you reduced the percentage of carbohydrates you are eating. If you want to stick with a 1200 calorie diet, you’ll have to INCREASE the percentage of fats or protein (or both). But which…and how do you choose?

Macro Planning

Embarking on a macro-based eating plan is commonly done without a whole lot of thought. But, that’s exactly what needs to take place first – thought.

First – identify your goals. What are you wanting to accomplish with this new plan? Weight loss? Better marathon time? Heavier bench press? Pinpointing exactly what you are wanting to get out of the diet is essential to getting the macronutrient ratios right.

Second – establish your baseline intake. If you don’t know what you’re doing now, how do you know what changes to make? Perhaps you are already eating a low-carb diet. Perhaps you need to increase your protein. The only way to know these things is to keep track of your food intake over a few days.

Third – seek the help of professionals. Believe it or not, everyone needs something different. There are specialists who do just this this! Responsibly setting up your meal plan is essential for your success, regardless of your goals. Not only will professional guidance lead to better results, it can help save you time and money by cutting out all the guesswork.

Where to start….

If you do a Google search, you’ll find lots of plans that may be able to help you set up a macro-based route. You are bound to find some local, in-person help. But, you are also likely to find many online options. One such option that I recently came across is Macros Made Easy – a program by Krista Moreland.

I actually reached out to Krista recently to get a bit more information. It was so refreshing to find someone with the same passion that I have for this stuff! I know that sounds completely geeky – and it is. Point being….I don’t recommend a lot of things because I can’t always guarantee the intentions of people or programs. Actually, in 4 years, she’s only the second person I’ve ever sent people to. So, I couldn’t wait to share this with you. She has a real fire inside her for helping people get this set up AND helping them succeed. I was truly impressed. Now, while my own book discusses macro-based plans – it’s not as in-depth as Macros Made Easy. I go over them as an option, she implements! So, go meet this rock star of a coach!

My ebook Weight Loss that Works: Secrets to Restoring Confidence and Reclaiming Your Body is now available here! Coming in 2019….an intensive, online program!

Weight loss

If you’ve been thinking that you need to lose some weight, you’re not alone. Whether your motivation is due to pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or you’d like to feel more confident, there are many ways people try to lose weight.

Have you tried several weight loss programs before but ended up falling off the wagon? If you’ve been diagnosed with obesity, and haven’t had much success with diets before, you might consider following a customized weight loss program this time around.

A medically supervised program can be the difference between gaining the weight back and keeping it off forever. Below are six ways a medically supervised weight program can make all the difference.

1. Customized medical advice

With a medically supervised weight loss program, you’ll start your weight loss journey by having a certified medical professional evaluating your current medical condition, the food you eat, and your exercise routine. Your doctor will then create a comprehensive plan that’s targeted for your body’s specific needs.

Are you concerned that you’ll have to give up your favorite foods? Whether your doctor recommends a low calorie diet, a very low calorie diet, or otherwise, they should be able to assist you in making better use of your daily calorie allowance while including some of your favorite indulgences.

An additional benefit of a medically supervised weight loss program is that you’ll never have to guess if anything is detrimental to your health. Some standardized exercise routines may be too strenuous for your body, as well as some diet programs. Since everything is catered to your body’s needs, you won’t have to worry that you’re putting yourself at risk.

2. A diet plan suited to your needs

Instead of following video instructions or a bland diet manual, you’ll receive personalized advice that examines weight loss strategies that will help only you. This means that during the meal planning portion of your program, you’ll receive advice for including your favorite foods. You’ll also receive advice on healthy food preparation and strategies for making the most out of your time and daily calorie intake.

3. An exercise regimen designed for your needs

When establishing your personalized weight loss program, your physician will help you determine the best workout routine for your body. This will be based on your current abilities as well as your diet. Because your doctor will be familiar with any past injuries, joint concerns, and ability level, you can rest assured that you’ll begin to see results without feeling like you’re overdoing it.

4. Comprehensive medical assessment

One of the best things about a medically supervised weight loss program is that you don’t have to guess. In reality, you won’t be making decisions that could be harmful to your health because your physician will recommend everything. Before you start your program, your doctor will screen you for any pre-existing conditions you might not be aware of, such as pre-hypertension. You will then be given a dietary plan and workout regimen based on your current abilities and fitness level.

5. You’ll form healthy habits on your terms

When beginning any weight loss program, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Perhaps you found it difficult to eat certain foods in moderation before or you were too strict with your food selections. The fact remains that implementing any lifestyle change can become daunting, so having the support of a certified professional who has your best interest in mind will help.

6. Healthy results

The biggest payoff for your medically supervised weight loss program will be the results you can see and feel. Though some extreme plans may help you lose weight very quickly, you may end up gaining it back once you wean yourself off the program. When making a lifestyle change assisted by a weight loss professional, you’ll see the results in a healthy and timely manner.

 

Check out my new ebook that is sure to PREPARE you for your next diet!  Weight loss starts with your MIND…not with your BEHIND!

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