Archive for the ‘eating’ Category

Men vs. Women

Posted: September 30, 2009 in eating
This can be fat-loss food.

This can be fat-loss food.

When it comes to fat loss, I noticed that the men usually have no problem sticking to it — yes, 4 out of the 4 men who have been consulting with me have lost fat, 18 lbs being the smallest weight loss.

But the women seem to have a harder time. First of all, I noticed that women have a hard time letting go of things like pastries, cake, and sweets. They sneak a bite, and defensively tell me later “it was only a bit!!! It can’t hurt!!!” Well, it can if you’re doing it often enough.

Second, women seem to be afraid of eating protein. Protein is essential if you want to get lean. It won’t make your muscles large and bulky, it will prevent you from losing the muscle mass you already have. And why do you need to retain muscle mass, you ask? Because you burn more calories the more muscle you have. Yes, people — it works a zillion times better than Butterfly Abs!

One of the ladies asked me if she could compromise — like if she stuck to the program only half the time, therefore getting only half the results. She imagined she’d be happy with that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t say “I’ll only eat half this doughnut since I’m on a diet.” Commit to an entire month of all-out effort, and you’ll see infinitely better results than being half-baked for two months.

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The Perfect Diet

Posted: September 2, 2009 in eating
Tags: ,
Those aren't really her jeans. They belong to her wrestler boyfriend.

Those aren't really her jeans. They belong to her wrestler boyfriend.

“What’s the most effective diet?” That question gets asked a lot. It’s like the quest for the Holy Grail — the search for the diet which will make you slim, trim, and beautiful forever. I know of some people who seem to have tried it all, from Atkins to the Zone. Yet they continue on their search for THE diet. So is there something ineffective about the diets they’ve tried before? No.

The most effective diet is one that you can stick to for the rest of your life. If the diet you are about to embark on requires you to eat nothing but bananas, think about it: are you willing to eat that way the rest of your life? True, you may lose a few pounds during the first few days (provided your willpower doesn’t break and you don’t end up stuffing yourself with sugary food). But rest assured that those pounds will come back as soon as you resume your old eating habits.

Some people think that dieting is a matter of putting all-out effort into losing weight as fast as possible, then resuming their old eating habits once they’ve hit their goals, or when they give up, whichever comes first. Hint: it’s usually the latter.

First of all, this mentality of losing a lot of weight in the shortest time possible is harmful. Sure, the ads all glamorize it (“I lost 10 lbs in one week!”). But they’re out to sell something, remember? Detergent commercials promise you sparkling, pristine white sheets that will make your family love and appreciate you even more, but we don’t seriously expect that to happen. Why should fat-loss ads be any different?

Diets should be sustainable. In training and eating for fat loss, consistency is key. So am I saying that you need to say goodbye to much-loved friends like chocolate and chips forever? A lot of people may say that a life like that isn’t worth living. I will ignore the melodrama, and say that no, you do not have to give these things up permanently. But you will not be able to eat them every single day, and in those quantities.

And not the same diet works for everyone. Just because your friend’s friend lost weight eating nothing but fish doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. I’m not saying that people’s bodies react differently to fish. I’m saying that people’s preferences for food are different, and your friend’s friend may have been able to stick to the diet because she liked fish. If you, on the other hand, don’t enjoy eating our finned friends, you’re going to have a terrible time sticking to the diet. Again, it’s consistency, not the diet per se. The sooner you stop jumping from diet to diet in search for The Diet to End All Diets, the sooner you’ll be on track to permanent fat loss.

“I Have No Choice!”

Posted: August 31, 2009 in eating
Tags: ,
You had no choice but to eat the freebie? What were you doing standing in line in the first place?

You had no choice but to eat the freebie? What were you doing standing in line in the first place?

Last week, a particular person expressed a desire for fat loss to me, so I recommended cutting out all soda, sugar, and high-GI carbs for two weeks. I got this text today: “I was forced to drink a regular soda and eat pasta! What should I do now?”

First of all, no one can ever force you to put anything down your throat, unless perhaps you were in Guantanamo Bay and undergoing some novel form of torture.

This isn’t unusual, though, as I get a lot of “I had no choice” excuses:
“I had no choice but to eat fastfood because I wasn’t able to cook at home.”
“I had no choice but to eat pasta because my mom cooked it and she’ll get mad if I don’t eat it.”
“I had no choice but to eat the chocolate cake because our guest brought it to our house.”

Well, hey, if you have no choice but to do that, you have no choice but to stay fat. You could accept it, and start calling yourself chunky4ever_345 on the net, or you could stop making excuses and honestly commit to a sensible diet. If it entails locking your mom up in her room for the next 6 months so she can’t be offended by you not eating her food, I suggest soundproofing her room first. Of course, there are more diplomatic ways to go about it, but hey, she’s your mom, you figure it out.

In fat loss, we often are our own worst enemies. See, we have ultimate control over what we put in our mouths. Granted, sometimes we don’t know better — like some people genuinely think that eating crackers and drinking sugar-free iced tea all day is the way to fat loss. A little proper Googling, reading, and critical thinking will cure that, though. Once you know better, you have no excuse.

So did I tell Ms.Pasta-and-Soda to go cry and comfort herself with a tub of ice cream since she wrecked her dieting efforts anyway? Of course not. Although adherence to a diet cannot be a half-assed effort, you can’t expect yourself to be able to do it 100%, ALL the time, especially if you’ve never really been on a serious diet. We’re humans living in the age of readily available food, after all. I told her that I hoped she didn’t polish off the entire tray, and to get right back on track.

The next time you think that you have no choice but to eat that tasty, nutritionally-void morsel, think about your real choices. To stay fat, or to suck it in (not literally), and start eating right.

sexiness in a bottle? that's what they want you to think.

sexiness in a bottle? that's what they want you to think.

“I wish I could wake up tomorrow and find that all my fat has disappeared.” I used to wish that a lot, about ten years ago. If there was only a way to get the excess fat off my body overnight, I would’ve jumped on it. The thought of waking up one morning and discovering that i was suddenly slim and beautiful was irresistable. While some people dream of bigger things, I used to dream of thinner thighs.

I don’t know how many people share the mentality that I used to have — that fat loss was kind of like randomly digging around in the garden, and accidentally stumbling upon Yamashita’s treasure. And when I did make an effort to lose weight and it didn’t work, I’d be filled with a quiet desperation, and start justifying it with things like “well, chunkiness really runs in our family.” Of course, the diets I used to embark on were stupid (spaghetti and cheese all day everyday, with soda in the afternoon — hey, no meat!), and my family isn’t all that chunky, but I swear I didn’t know better. About the diet, I mean, not my relatives.

So yes, it’s not enough to want to lose fat. It’s not enough to have to have the willpower. You have to know what to do, and do it the right way.

As I was cleaning my closet out yesterday, I found some chinese diet pills that I was taking about five years ago. By then, I had already lost some fat, but found it slowly creeping back, not unlike a monster from a B-horror movie. Anyway. Did those diet pills work? Yes, I lost some weight. But I looked like total crap, i had bad breath, and got sick often. “That’s a small price to pay for losing weight,” you might say. And that’s what I thought too, when I first started taking those pills. Little did I know that I’d have to pay for it in the long run.

I didn’t get something dramatic like kidney or liver or heart failure, but taking those pills, and effectively putting myself on a starvation diet, messed my metabolism up real good. Later on, just one pill a day wasn’t effective enough, since my weight loss stalled. I had to increase the dosage. Then when I got to a weight that seemed reasonable, I’d stop the pills. Then the weight would come back with the vengeance of a wife who discovered her husband been’s screwing around. With another man. Yeah.

 How messed up was my metabolism? I wasn’t losing weight even if I was eating less than a thousand calories a day. Of course, I was still eating stupid things (and I thought that calories in vs. calories out was all I needed to care about). I was also doing cardio for about an hour a day. And I still couldn’t find that leanness, that rock star body I was looking for. I began to wonder, “is this really how I have to eat for the rest of my life if I want to be slim?” That’s when I really became interested in knowing the why’s of fat loss.

It took me years to build back the muscle mass that I lost from all the yo-yo dieting, and re-educating myself on how to eat properly. A bag of chips and a soda is NOT a proper meal, even if it comes within your set caloric limits. Neither is a salad and a big chocolate doughnut.

What am I saying?  Don’t sacrifice good, long-term results for something quick and easy. The cabbage soup diet might not sound easy, but because you only have to endure it for a few days, it falls under the quick-and-easy category. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, you’re gonna have to work at it for the rest of your life. It sounds discouraging, I know. But it’s the truth. Fat loss is one instance in which ignorance is certainly not bliss.

think this'll help your fat loss? probably not.

think this'll help your fat loss? probably not.

I was at the grocery yesterday, standing in line. I noticed that boxes of “supposedly-healthy-cereals-that-make-you-lose-weight” were conspicuously displayed near the check-out counters. First of all, I am suspicious of anything that comes in a box and declares itself as being “healthy” for you. If a company has to spend so much on advertisement and packaging to convince the public that their food is healthy (because lord knows those things taste awful), there’s some overcompensation going on there.

And then there’s the deluge of drinks supposedly fortified with L-Carnitine, to aid your fat loss. Of course, you have to realize that they mean you’ll lose weight in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise. Actually, you could do away with the sugary drink,  just keep the proper eating habits and exercise, and you’d still lose fat. But what happens? People — ladies in particular, I notice — drink several bottles a day, in conjunction with crackers. Just because something is labeled with the word “fit” doesn’t mean it will help you lose fat. Seriously. That is a lesson I had to learn the hard way, but am thankful that I did learn eventually.

There is no magic drink, or magic biscuits, that will help you slim down. But it also doesn’t have to be as painful as people make it out to be. When someone says “fat loss,” what usually comes to mind is depriving yourself of ALL good food, eating a really low number of calories, and usually exercising for hours at a time per day. The average person does not have to subject him/herself to that kind of torture just to lose a few pounds. In fact, I’d argue that it’s counterproductive. But that’s usually what the media depicts, so it’s become ingrained in our collective consciousness that fat loss = pain and deprivation.

I used to think that the most important element in losing weight was willpower. Not anymore. Critical thinking is more important.  The next time someone *cough*advertising*cough* tells you that you need (insert product name here) to lose weight, don’t rush out to buy a box. Remember that they’re usually out to make a profit, and that the models in the ads most likely have never used their products. Understanding exactly what goes into your mouth — and why — is the first step towards true fat loss.