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Fat & Figuring It Out Podcast Food & Nutrition Uncategorized

Build a Healthier Super Bowl Party Plate

The Super Bowl is one of the greatest days of the year, whether you’re actually watching the football game or just grazing the buffet of football game bites. However, with appetizers and fried food galore at your fingertips, it’s quite easy to go a little bit overboard without even realizing it. During the span of a typical four-hour game, most Americans will consume an average of 2,400 calories and 121 grams of fat. If you factor in your pre-game and post-game festivities, you are looking at a serious marathon of eating and drinking.

Avoid Mindless Eating

Woman Driving Car and Eating

CREDIT: PHOTO: JORDAN SIEMENS / GETTY

We know, that’s much easier said than done, but it truly is a great goal to have when the apps keep on coming. Make it a point to put all your food on a plate before you eat it, and then walk away and sit at a table. This way you’ll be able to have an idea of exactly how much you’re consuming. If the game gets tense and you’re feeling a little anxious, reach for some veggies to munch on or maybe a piece of gum. If you park yourself in front of the chip bowl, it will be no surprise that you’re probably going to be munching on way more than you realize.

Don’t Drink All Your Calories

Grapefruit Beergaritas

CREDIT: PHOTO: GREG DUPREE

What’s a game of football without an ice cold beer? If you want a brew to sip on while you watch, then you definitely should have that. We recommend sticking to one to two beers, because with increased alcohol consumption comes poor food decisions down the road. If you like the fizz of beer but don’t want the calories, reach for sparkling water with a splash of fresh fruit juice. Whatever you do, don’t reach for the soft drinks. Sodas are packed with calories and sugar, and we’re trying to save room for all the snacks, right?

CREDIT: ANN TAYLOR-PITTMAN

The Magic Is in the Dip

Jalapeño Popper Bean Dip

CREDIT: PHOTO: GREG DUPREE

It’s easy to tell yourself that a dip is a harmless appetizer, but with all the calories and fat packed into just one scoop, you’d be surprised at the havoc they can wreak on your healthy-eating goals. Opt for protein-packed, clean dips like hummus, fresh salsa, tzatziki, or jalapeno popper bean dip. As much as we love a good cheese or ranch dip, the calories add up faster than with a healthier alternative.

Go For Smaller Portions

Portion Cues

CREDIT: PHOTO: IMAGE SOURCE / GETTY

Most Super Bowl spreads are jam-packed with finger foods like dips, wings, nachos, and chips, so it’s important to scale back on portions if you’re hoping to help yourself to a variety of fix-ins. That’s why we think sliders are a great option over a full-size burger. When it comes to dips, a spoonful or two will let you enjoy the flavors without piling up the calories. And those delicious jalapeno poppers that are definitely the best part of a football party? Stick to one or two, and then fill your plate with more veggies.

All in all, the day should be about hanging out with quarantined family and over a good football game. It’s inevitable that you’re going to throw back some salty snacks and munchies during any sporting event, so there’s no need to get too hung up on calories. So grab a beer and make a plate of your essential game day snacks, because half-time is about to start and you don’t want to miss it.

Source: https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/how-to-eat-healthy-during-super-bowl-party

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fitness Holiday Fast Track Uncategorized

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LOSE MUSCLE?

While not ideal, many of us have to pause our workout routines from time to time. Whether you’re stressed, sick, injured, going on a holiday vacation or just need a break, there are plenty of reasons to take time off from exercise.

But, no matter how badly you need the break, you may worry about losing all your hard-earned muscle before you’re ready to start training again.

72 HOURS …

If you don’t train at all, you may start losing muscle mass after 72 hours, says Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. Even your heart, which is also a muscle, will show a decrease in the amount of blood it can pump per beat after 72 hours off from exercise.

You’ll notice the effects on your heart a lot sooner than your biceps or quads. “If you work out on Monday and miss three days, returning to a workout on Friday, you will feel a bit more breathless than typical, because less oxygenated blood is being sent out from the heart per beat,” Olson says. “It’s not training-breaking, but it can be noticeable.”

Although you start losing muscle mass after 72 hours, you probably won’t notice any losses until you’ve gone 3–4 weeks without training. One small study found that trained men could take three weeks off from exercise without any noticeable muscle loss.

FACTORS RELATED TO LOSING MUSCLE MASS

However, there are a few factors that determine how quickly you lose muscle mass, including:

HOW LONG (AND CONSISTENTLY) YOU’VE BEEN TRAINING

The longer you’ve been lifting, and the more muscle you have, the better off you’ll be if you decide — or have — to pause your routine. “If you’re fit with developed muscles, you will still have a baseline of muscle that others will not have after a period of inactivity,” Olson says.

YOUR DIET

Adequate protein, in particular, is key for building and maintaining muscle mass. If you skimp on it, your body won’t have enough amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to keep up with the constant breakdown and rebuilding of cells (muscle, red blood, hormones, etc.) that goes on all day, every day. Eventually, your body pulls from your muscle stores to get the amino acids it needs to keep your other cells and tissues functioning. The result? Muscle loss.

For example, in one stud, sedentary to moderately active elderly women who ate a low-protein diet (1.47 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day) lost roughly 14% of their muscle mass after nine weeks. (However, it’s worth noting this amount of protein falls within the range of 1.2–2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day recommended for older adults.)

So, even if you’re not training, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein to prevent muscle loss.

Protein needs vary from one person to the next, but as a general guideline, the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests active people aim for an overall daily protein intake between 1.4–2 grams per kilogram of body weight (older adults may need to aim for the higher end of the spectrum). To put that in numbers, a 150-pound active person needs roughly 95–136 grams of protein per day.

YOUR CHRONOLOGICAL AGE

Many age-related changes can make it harder to build and hold onto muscle. One of those changes relates to the nervous system.

As we age, we begin to lose motor neurons. Studies suggest there’s a drastic decrease between ages 60–70. Motor neurons transmit impulses from the spinal cord that tell our muscles to contract. When you lose motor neurons, it becomes harder to recruit muscle fibers, Olson says. If you can’t recruit muscle fibers, the fibers won’t break down and rebuild to grow back bigger and stronger.

Strength training can help reverse these changes to the nervous system — and other age-related changes — but once you stop training, the benefits gradually disappear.

YOUR SEX

Males have a slight advantage when it comes to muscle. “Men have more natural testosterone, which is anabolic to muscle tissue development and maintenance,” Olson says. (Anabolic refers to the process of building larger molecules out of smaller molecules, like building protein out of amino acids.)

THE BOTTOM LINE

How quickly you’ll lose muscle once you stop training depends on different factors, but in general, you’ll notice losses in 3–4 weeks.

If you have to cut back on exercise for whatever reason, and you don’t want to lose any hard-earned muscle, you may be able to get away with doing only two strength workouts per week, according to Olson. Target every major muscle group (back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves), and do at least 1–2 sets of 8–12 reps per exercise.

But even if you can’t — or don’t want to — train for a few weeks, you won’t have to go back to square one once you restart your routine. So long as you’ve been training consistently up until your break, you should be able to rebuild muscle and strength fairly quickly.

 Source: BY LAUREN BEDOSKY OCTOBER 7, 2020 

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4 Common Weight-Loss Pitfalls That Lead to Weight Gain

4 Common Weight-Loss Pitfalls That Lead to Weight Gain

Congratulations: You worked hard to hit your goal weight and you made it.

However, maintaining weight loss might be harder than you think. Research presented at The Endocrine Society’s annual conference found just 14% of those who lost moderate amounts of weight (defined as 10–15% of their original body mass index) maintained their weight loss; among those who lost less than 10% of their original BMI, only 23% maintained their weight loss.

Instead of letting months (or years) of hard work disappear in a haze of skipped workouts and sweet-tasting rewards, beware of these common pitfalls that could cause you to regain weight:

FOLLOWING A FAD DIET

The promise of quick weight loss might make it seem worthwhile to consume nothing but low-calorie shakes or cabbage soup. Chelsea Cross, RD, a dietitian with Dietetic Directions warns you might lose a lot of weight on a fad diet but dramatic calorie restriction is impossible to maintain long-term.

“Any plan that restricts a large food group simply because it’s off limits or too high in calories … is not something that can be stuck to,” Cross says. “You’ll eventually eat those forbidden foods and, because of the deprivation, will overeat them.”

Instead of adopting a fad diet or prioritizing quick weight loss, Cross suggests setting realistic weight-loss goals; eating a balanced diet that includes all of the food groups; and focusing on changing your lifestyle, not just your diet. These strategies, she says, help you achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss.

SKIPPING WORKOUTS

Whether you showed up for boot camp at the crack of dawn, squeezed in a run on your lunch hour or invested in a personal trainer to keep you motivated, the hard work paid off.

Once you hit your weight-loss goal, you might think you deserve a break from those high-intensity sweat sessions, but skipping workouts is a bad idea. Taking a two-week break from your exercise routine significantly reduces cardiovascular fitness and lean muscle mass, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Anthony J. Wall, MS, a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise, notes that skipping workouts may make it harder to get back into an exercise routine.

STICKING TO THE SAME WORKOUT PROGRAM

Running the same 3-mile route or choosing the same settings on the elliptical trainer might have helped you shed unwanted pounds, but continuing with the same workout is going to make it difficult to maintain your weight loss. After you lose weight, you need to switch up your workouts, says Wall.

“When you follow a consistent exercise program, your body gets more efficient and you stop [burning as many calories],” he explains. “You have to take the intensity up a notch if you want to maintain your weight loss.”

Changing the number of repetitions in your strength-training program, adding high-intensity interval training to your cardio workout or checking out new classes like Pilates and aerial yoga instead of showing up for the same Zumba class each week ensures you don’t see the weight you lost start creeping back on.4

HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING

If you struggle with sleeplessness, it might be harder to maintain weight loss. Sleeping less than six hours per night was associated with higher rates of obesity; and additional research found shorter amounts of sleep were linked to larger waistlines.

“Insufficient sleep can disrupt hormonal levels that are responsible for feelings of hunger and fullness,” explains Natalie Dautovich, PhD, National Sleep Foundation Environmental Scholar and assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The more time you spend awake, the more opportunities you have to eat — and you’re more apt to reach for high-calorie snack foods than fruits and vegetables when you’re exhausted, Dautovich says.

To maintain weight loss, aim for 7–9 hours of sleep per night. You can increase the odds of getting a good night’s rest by sticking to regular sleep/wake times and going to bed in a cool, dark environment.

Keeping the number on the scale from creeping up takes some work, but the effort will be worth it when your favorite jeans continue to fit like a glove.

Source:  BY JODI HELMER 

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fitness Fitness on a Budget Uncategorized

The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

It’s every weight loss enthusiast’s dream to zap belly fat but, far from pure vanity, there’s actually a reason why having a lot of fat in the abdominal region can be dangerous. Fat is stored all over our body, but how does an expanding waistline grow your risk for chronic illness?

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Your body’s fat impacts your health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of our bodies (think arms, legs, buttocks) are considered “subcutaneous fat,” belly fat is more likely to be “visceral.”

PINCHABLE VERSUS PRESSABLE

“Subcutaneous fat” is the pinchable, squishy fat right between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm, cushions you against shock, and stores extra calories. “Visceral fat” stores calories too, but isn’t as pinchable because it is located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep within the belly region, which is what makes it firm (rather than squishy) when you press it.

PROXIMITY

Fat doesn’t just store calories—it’s a living tissue capable of producing and releasing hormones that affect your other organs. Because visceral fat sits near our organs, its release of these chemicals is poorly situated. Having more visceral fat can raise your LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Visceral fat can also make you less sensitive to insulin, which increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

TELLING BAD BELLY FAT APART

Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral from subcutaneous fat short of an expensive CT scan, but it’s important for you to get a rough idea of what your visceral stores are. Here are a few tricks to figure out where your belly stands:

You’re probably wondering, “What does fruit have to do with it?” These two fruits give a quick visual of where most of your fat is stored on the body. Pears tend to store fat in the lower extremities (hips, thighs, buttocks) as subcutaneous fat while apples tend to store fat in the upper region (belly, chest) as visceral fat. It takes a quick inspection, but this is an imperfect way to tell these two fats apart.

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC)

Feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as the top of your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this point. Remember to relax and don’t suck in your gut (be honest!). Take 2-3 measurements and figure out the average. Men should have a WC of less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women should have a WC of less than 35 inches (89 cm).

WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO

The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) takes the circumference of your waist (see above) and divides it by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your butt and measure that circumference. Then use this formula:
WHR = (Waist circumference) / (Hip circumference).
Men should have a WHR of less than 1 while women should have a WHR of less than 0.8.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY HISTORY

If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider.



BANISHING VISCERAL FAT

If you fall in the normal range for WC and WHR, that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.

Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Go beyond weight tracking. You can track your waist, hip and even neck circumference in the app. Use this feature to see how your measurements change over time as you lose weight.
  • Sweat for 30-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises, such as running, biking, rowing, swimming, that elevate your heart rate. As your body uses fat to fuel exercise, it’ll start using up your visceral stores.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with calories set for gradual weight loss (e.g. about 1-2 pounds per week). Cut way back on added sugars and alcohol since these nutrients will more likely end up as visceral fat.
  • Sleep more, stress less. It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.

SOURCE: BY TRINH LE, MPH, RD