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21 September 2006 @ 09:32 am
Taken from the ever informative e-diets. Okay, the article doesn't say "eviscerate". That's all me.

I've long held that "energy bars" are just glorified candy. They're market anything high calorie as an "energy" product. Because calories ARE energy. And where does unused energy go? Right to the ass!

Fruit juice. Don't get me started on that sham. As I understand it, we take OJ for granted, but there was a huge marketing campaign in 1950's america to push orange juice to boost the sales of oranges in california and florida. It relied heavily on the liquid health angle, buying lots of newspaper and magazine space with illustrations of virile men, blonde, white toothed women, and towheaded kids. Ever since it's existed without question.

Fruit juice is not a total lie. It may have some vitamins in it, but it's a lot ALOT of sugar and calories that don't quell hunger in the slightest, may actually perk up hunger. You'd have to walk about 10 miles to burn off the average glass of fruit juice, and who DOES that, anyway? No one I know. To make matters worse, people often overestimate how far they've walked. They'll walk a block and say they've walked a mile. Scale can be misleading, especially when you're on foot.

Much better to eat a piece of fruit. Way more filling, you get more of the vitamins and minerals and the fiber and often for way less calories than the juice.

Protein powder. That's where we differ slightly. Depending on lifestyle, you may not be getting enough protein. Most women on average consume 25-50% of their daily recommended protein. And even though the varieties of protein and food options for vegetarians are more numerous (and yummy) than ever-- its still more thought and effort than most people are willing to put into a meal. Yesterday I ate a whole bag of edemame because I realized how behind I was. (and I was hungry). Protein keeps your stomach feeling fuller longer. And for women who claim to constantly feel hungry or snack-prone, protein may be the missing link. Protein powder is a wonderful band-aid to the situation. A very good substitute and go-to when time is limited. As long as people understand that its not more than that, its all good.

It is useful to know how much protein you need. Mypyramid.com is helpful. Though keep in mind, even the mighty protein must bow to the rules of your body. Consume too much protein and even that will be converted into sugar in your system. And any sugar not used right away will eventually turn into fat. Yeah, it sucks, but the metabolism is a miserly, stingy bitch.

Red Meat. I've already gone into that again and again. The article fails to mention the nitrates and hormones that go into beef nowadays.

"Energy Drinks" As a teenager, my dad was sympathetic to my (often erratic) desire to be more athletic. Better stronger, faster than I was, etc. So he'd get me things like gatorade to help me. Well, that never helped. A ten minute walk burned off 25 calories. While a bottle of gatorade has 2.5 servings with 50 calories each. So I was burning 25 calories, but consuming 125 calories. In retrospect I not only cringe at the weight gain when I expected loss (o the joys of ignorance) I also cringe at how much money went down the drain.
Anything labeled "Energy" drink gives energy via calories. Either that or caffeine. There are a few that offer energy because of the vitamins a drink contains. Contrary to popular belief, vitamins do NOT give energy. In the long term it might feel like it, because certain vitamins make the body more efficient at processing and using its own energy. But they do not give energy. That's a huge pet peeve of mine. It shocks me how many people spout that nonsense as if it's gospel. Yes, energy comes from vitamins! And you can get pregnant by kissing!
A few vitals to understand about fat Read more...Collapse )

There are lots of ways to guesstimate one's own body fat%. But most are simply that. Guesses and estimations. Once someone knows their ballpark number and decides they need to lower that number, there are some basics to understand.

I'm gonna spout some truism-generalities:
You want to burn fat through exercise!
The first say... 15-30 minutes of exercise (depending on how HARD you exercise) burn your simple fuel. Sugars are loaded in your muscles like the body's store of "petty cash and change." When I tell people this, they go "Oh, shit. I'm just burning off sugar in that first 30 minute chunk? I want to burn FAT!! Why even bother now??!"Read more...Collapse )

Fat Cells
Let's attack the star of this blog rambling! Fat cells. Contrary to popular belief, fat cells don't really disappear when you "burn fat".Read more...Collapse )
To attack the other side of the problem, of course they say to cut down on sugars and simple carbs, like sweets, and anything processed. There's a saying that your body will end up looking like what it eats. Doughy food? Doughy body. Unhealthy cuts of meat? Yeah. Lean protein however, and coupled with exercise, the body will come to resemble that. Yeah, it's a fuzzy truism, but still a truism. And while I dislike and distrust things that smack of fitness wivestale, this one particular wivestale stands up better than others. Think soy protein, lean fish, skinless chicken, lots of fiber and veggies. No white flour.

Of course, there are always those people who cry "Nonsense! To lose weight, you only have to restrict calories. It doesn't matter what you eat, as long as you eat less than you normally do!"

Read more...Collapse )

Which may still work, if the person's metabolism doesn't adjust (or worse, decline). I don't mean that one should never have doughnets. Just the effectiveness. It's like digging a trench with a spoon vs. a shovel. The spoon will get the job done, but its so self-defeatingly hard that the task dooms itself.
26 August 2006 @ 02:02 am
I'm assuming that the health benefits (and weight loss benefits) of eating breakfast are common knowledge now.

Once a doctor (on some pbs program) said to be a healthy weight, and be healthy in general, you should "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like the middle class, and dinner like a pauper. Eating a big dinner at night is what the sumo do."

While the effects of eating at night on the metabolism is somewhat debateable, the first part is 300billion% true.
26 August 2006 @ 01:05 am
I've touched upon this every once in a while, and I'll give the dead topic yet another poke with a sharp stick.

My latest method of padding is the way I enjoy ice cream. In a lot of ways it's neither a blessing or curse to be lactose intolerant. I don't really like the taste of ice cream (or any fatty/oily/thick textured food). Though if I were ever to develope a taste for it, I'd have a reason to keep it in check.

Even so, when I do want a bite of ice cream, I want it to look a reasonable serving size. (half a bowl, or a small salad bowl's worth). A couple table spoons of ice cream and a large handful of frozen bagged berries (assorted). I get the taste of ice-cream with the bulk, beauty and nutrition of berries. You can buy frozen berries cheaper than fresh, and often has more nutriment intact. It's also cheaper. Freezing fresh fruit works great too, especially if you find you've bought too much to use right away.

the same method could work for just about anything. Add half a serving of vegetables to fatty or meaty dishes. Once my dad (very kindly) made me a batch of tuna salad for a week's worth of lunches to put in sandwiches. It was mostly mayonnaise (yuck!), Tuna, and just a little bit of celery. But if you change the ratio and use mostly celery, it still tastes just as... uh... tuna-y as before. Chopped many large stocks of celery to fine pieces, added it in, and no one noticed.

Fruit juice. That's gotta be a HUGE load of sugar and mostly empty calories. Spritzer water or soda water added in to bulk it up works wonderfully.

And unflavored yogurt comes in handy. Looking at dishes I've had, I've thought: "Does this really need that fucking assload of cheese? Is the cheese the flavor in the meal, or the bulk? This dish can still use cheese for flavoring, but what's a good substitute for volume?"

I come across a lot of people who refuse to try new things, especially if they might turn out to be beneficial. IMHO, it smells fear-driven/self-loathing driven. Either that, or its old fashioned conditioning that something is meant to just-be-ONE-way. One woman I met insisted that she had to have regular soda all the time. Not even the diet kind. the over 130 calorie a can soda. That's about 400 calories a day give or take, just drinking calories. Can't you drink diet, or tea-- or god forbid water? "No. I HAVE to drink soda."

I tried to tell her how long it takes to burn 400 calories and not doing the strenuous cardio to do so meant she was putting on one pound approximately a pound every 10 days. Her metabolism must've been on a knife's edge. If she stops just a few things in her daily routine. Say she gives up walking to her car, washing dishes, and makes someone else vacume the rugs. That very well could be a possibility. Instead of doing an hour of cardio and resistance training, she could drop 400 calories just by drinking something else. ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE. But no. She HAD to have a soda so much that she couldn't even try to try to think of other possibilities

drink water. Just try it once.
"I can't."
AAAAAAH. I call bullshit.

If nothing else, I find that padding, or nutritional redistributing priortizes one's tastes.

Before losing weight or trying to diet, the thing that seems daunting are all the things to give up. One might think : "I love sweet things too much. But I can't give up buttery. Or salty. Or starchy. I NEED it all." Which isn't entirely true. It's not so much giving somethng up, as re-examining it, and using it judiciously. But I'm getting off track again.

Tastes DO change over time. Either through personality, situation, or experiencing new foods, cooking methods and spices. Either through the 'redistributing" or my older tastebuds sense food differently. I see nothing wrong with giving that natural progression a nudge. So try things out. Do you like sweet or tart more? Do you like crisp or soft? If you find that one taste is winning out against others, say you thought you liked sweet but are learning that you like tart more-- focus on that. All the other tastes that seemed so important start to get fuzzier and recede a bit.
Many are suchunfocused eaters that we not only don't know what we really like, we might confuse that with liking everything.

Think of that thing people do where they ask you what books you'd take to a deserted island if you could only take one-- or ten, whatever it happens to be. You could like a hundred books. But what books do you love to read over and over? And not the books you think you should like. I probably have `to give away my girl card since I've found I don't like chocolate as much as I like artificial lemon flavoring.

At a party, what food is your Robinson Caruso? What part of the meat platter is your dickens? And if a dessert section has chocolate, vanilla, cookie treats, ice cream and jello, if the cookies are your shakespear, take a bit of that and enjoy it and it alone.

I was gonna say more and make this less babbly and random, but it's late.
23 August 2006 @ 04:46 pm
I know a kind, lovely, giving, beautiful woman (Let's call her June)who underwent gastric bypass (from before I started to know her). She needed the surgery. She wasn't just chubby or rotund or volupuous, or even fat. The woman was obese. The surgery did wonders, because she knew it for what it was. An important first step for the morbidly obese. A kickstart and nothing more. So of course she eats right and exercises everyday She lives each day conscious about how each choice is either beneficial or hurtful for her health for now and longterm. And of course I give her huge amounts of respect for exercising during her pregnancy. Not just for her health and the health of the fetus, but to promote easier childbirth.

She's done everything the smart way, knowing full well that gastric bypass does NOT give her free rein on every food imaginable. Knowing that exercise is now more important than ever. And so it angers me pains me that she recieves the kind of reactions that she does. People who've seen her "before" picture marvel at the difference which is understandable and I hope flattering to her. But people who know she's had the surgery are quick to disillusion the people who compliment said "before" picture.

"It doesn't count. She had that gastric bypass surgery."

The outright bitterness and envy in their voices pisses me off. Especially since the people who say that the loudest are often the heaviest.

If I had more courage, I'd stick up for her and say: "Lady, people who've had the surgery NEED the surgery. It's not a proceedure to be considered lightly, sensationalizded cases aside. Even so, it's a dangerous proceedure and the patient STILL has to change their lifestyle and make healthy choices daily. Gastric Bypass patients OFTEN gain the all the weight back, plus some. June is an inspiration because while she could use her pregnancy as an excuse to be barefoot doing nothing but eat and eat and eat.she eats right and exercises everyday, She's maintained her weight loss for years now, and that's the hardest part. You've lived for decades complaining that weight loss is hard? You've been led for years to believe that THAT is the struggle? Listen up bitch. Maintaining weight loss is the real struggle. Anyone can lose weight. All diets work, that's the fucking easy part. Maintaining</i> weight loss is the point we all seem to forget despite our doctors strangling themselves in frustratin because of rising obesity rates. Somehow June clawed herself out of her own hole and stopped being a negative statistic. And she has nothing and no one to to thank for that but herself."

end speech, bow and curtain.

That's exactly what I'd say if I had the guts.
31 May 2006 @ 09:18 pm
"You are not different"

From Bodyrecomposition.com.
Probably the best and most *sensible* website about fat, weight loss, and body composition around. I hate weight loss myths, wivestales, and trendy buzz words associated with fitness and health. I call bullcrap on weight loss ignorance. This is a website after my own heart.
26 May 2006 @ 11:00 am
As the one or two people who follow this blog know: If there's a cheaper way to do something, I'm there.I'm constantly analyzing everyday objects and experimenting. Any alternative to a gym or exercise equipment is a good thing. Especially considering that most exercise machines take up bigass loads of room and cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

I did relent and buy hand weights and a stability ball. The 3lb. hand weights under 4 bucks each, and the stability ball was under 17 bucks on sale at target. Another good investment is a mat to exercise and stretch on. But a good carpet works nicely as well if it's smooth and has rubber on the bottom. Try to invest in the simple little basics and try to use them as many ways, and in as many opportunities as possible.

To rehash my workout on the cheap tips. The gallon of water you buy-- perfect for adding resistance to squats. You feel more of the benefit in your glutes and quads, and a nice isometric pose for your arms and upper body. An added bonus is that it helps keep your more symmetrical in your movements. Check yourself by looking at the jug and see if you're favoring one side over the other and adjust.

It's something most people buy and have around anyway. Why not make use of something that normally takes up space in your kitchen? When you've used up the water, you could either recycle the plastic jug or fill it with sand or dirt. And this may sound backwards, but getting down on the floor to clean the floor is great for your biceps, triceps, trapezious, rhomboid muscles and abs. You may find that it really revs the heartrate, so if you need to stop, rest for 30 seconds and continue. I feel the floor is actually cleaner than if I had used a mop.

Couches and heavy furniture are great for doing modified cruches, lunges and pushups on. If you don't have either of those, a park bench or ledge works nicely. I do bicep curls when carrying grocery bags and in line, I do calf raises. (calf-raises: stand as normal, raise to tip-toes, lower heels towards the ground without letting them *touch* the ground, lather rinse, repeat) Who the fuck cares if people are watching? They'll just assume you're bored, and it makes the lines seem to go faster. Cans of soup make adequate hand weights.

New tip: Exercise this one with a bit of caution.
The poor man's rowing machine.
Works arms, back, chest, abs and quads.

Provided you have a stability ball and weights, you can do this at home.
What you'll need.

any sort of ledge or sturdy footrest ranging between 7inches to a foot high.
Handweights. (2lbs-5lbs)
Stability ball.

Sit on the stability ball with your feet resting on the footrest, roughly shoulder width apart. With handweights lean so that your back is at a 120 degree angle. Sit forward again at 90 degree angle. Pump your arms in time with your torso as you would on a rowing machine. Your hips, legs and feet aren't doing anything, except being stable and balanced. Unlike the rowing machine, where your legs are pumping, it's your abs creating most of the movement.

Before you attempt this, you should first get yourself accustomed to sitting and balancing on a stability ball.

To shift the focus from your main abs to your obliques is a fairly simple modification of the same premise. Its a fairly advanced move, so after your get comfortble on the ball, and *after* you're comfortable with the poor man's rowing, give it a try:

Hold the two handweights together and twist your torso from side to side. Twist only at the waist. Try not to move your hips. Your hips, ass and feet are planted. Imagine they're anchored. If you're barefoot, you might get a better "grip" on the footrest:
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As your twist your torso from side to side, keep your head centered with your fists.

If you don't think you can do it, don't. Just spend time sitting on the ball. That alone will increase your balance and ab strength. I've gotten rid of my chair at the computer desk altogether and I sit on the ball as I check email and whatnot.

To get more bang out of your buck, especially if you have limited time, try to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Your metabolic rate will increase, not only during the exercise, but overall. Only fitness competitors do silly exercises that isolate just ONE muscle at a time.
22 May 2006 @ 02:06 pm
I joined Curves after several unsuccessful months at the gym with a trainer. Not only was the commute a hassle, her workours were so focused on weight-lifting, I just wasn't losing anything with no emphasis on cardio or nutrition. She didn't even weigh or measure me. Ever.

Anyway, Curves is a lot more feminine, no mirrors, no dress code, and it's constant motion, easy, but I'm definitely working harder than I was before. And it being about 2 minutes away really helps me feel good about going any time of the day, as many times as I like. I get weighed and measured a second time on the 12th.

As far as diet, I try to stick with eating about every 3 hours in small meals. It keeps me from gourging myself. I don't do well on the weekend, which I need to work on.

Salads are becoming a staple, by choice. As long as it's baby leaf lettuce, and there's something crunchy in it, it's good.

I found a good lunch recipe that's really easy, and really good:

Pineapple Cream Cheese Sandwhich

Hoagie roll
Low fat/Fat free Cream cheese
Pineapple slices
Handful of dried fruit
Thin sliced ribbons of carrots

Simple. Spread the cream cheese on both sides of the roll. (You can buy pineapple cream cheese if you like). Distrubute pineapple slices. Shake dried fruit onto both sides of the roll. Lay strips of carrot on top. Eat, enjoy.

It's very sweet, and great if you're like me, and love crunchy stuff. This could probably be done on a bagel too.

Ive been good about making dinner, but I still havent cooked chicken or anything, Im nervous it'll be undercooked, or terrible.
18 May 2006 @ 10:11 pm
How much should you really weigh? Whether it's old news or eye-opening, I think most people should at least err on the side of self-awareness. Not knowing one's weight (and by that I mean their range of weight) is like not knowing one's shoe size or cholesterol. The fact that many people don't know their own cholesterol is appalling.

Anyway folks, here's the link.

My own thoughts about the number on the scale are mixed. For one thing, I do think knowing the range of weight is important, and as basic as anything else. I do make the distinction between knowing your weight and weighing yourself everyday.

On the other hand, weight and numbers are themselves somewhat unreliable. There's "false fat", which is usually water weight. Most people carry an average of 2-7 pounds of retained water due to diet. Even exercise can swell the muscles with water like a sponge (the body's effort to ease healing after strenuous activity). A person can weigh a few pounds lighter or heavier within the same day. What's more, scales lose their accuracy over time (unless they're regularly tuned).

NONE of this has bearing on health and fitness.

A much more reliable measure would be, well-- measuring. And fat percentage. As a whole I find weight scales about as old fashioned as the idea of "spot reducing".

But numbers are what people like. It's human nature to cling to numeric milestones. I myself am trying to shift away from the scale as a measure of health. But the numbers I'm seeking are for minutes, not pounds. Ten years ago my fastest mile was in the 8:30 range. Last week, it was just shy of 10 minutes and when it was done, I felt like an elephant was dancing on my chest. This week was slightly easier, so the elephant was going at a slower tempo. My goal isn't specific. It'd be nice to run like I did in high school. Better even, to beat that time. Maybe I'll settle for the 9:40 as long as I'm not deathly winded at the end of the run.

You can use numbers constructively or not. As soon as I was aware of it, I chose not to. Easier said, I know. But its a work in progress. "Work in progress" have become my three favorite words.
A link to a good article. Usually articles stress just one or 2 of the points. In this one, they're all neatly summarized.

Which brings me to a pet peeve with fitness articles. Many of them are overly winded and drive only one point home. Which conveys the wrong idea to someone who doesn't know anything about fitness/health/nutrition. There's a shorthand among experts who forget that many don't know the basics and don't come to the same conclusions they do. So you get a lot of "Well I heard that I just had to drink more water and the fat would drop off."
"No, I'm Just going to do cardio."

And then they wonder why their efforts don't work. Or why their results aren't what they expected.