The Weekly Burn
Chances are if you’re trying to lose weight you’ve come across a lot of expert advice and rules. These include rules around how often you should eat, what you should eat, how often you should work out and when. One “rule” that seems to be getting a lot of play these days is, “don’t eat at night.” I think it stems from the trend of intermittent fasting. Regardless of where this rule originated, I wanted to give my own expert advice on it.
To put it plainly, contrary to what you may have heard, the simple act of eating at night will not make you fat. Your body is not on a timer and can’t tell what time it is when you feed it. Your body will not store more fat if you eat at night. When you eat, whether it’s in the morning, at noon or at night, will not influence whether you lose or gain weight – at least not on its own.
What is more important about the timing of your meals is whether it triggers behavioral patterns in your eating that could negatively affect your weight loss goals.
I read some interesting stats recently. Did you know that most Americans double their drinking during the holidays? The average American drinks 100% more alcohol than they typically do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. About 69% of people are more likely to overindulge during the holidays than any other time of year.
If you’re trying to lose weight you may be wondering whether you have to wave off drinking all together this holiday season. Good news. The answer is no. It is possible to drink alcohol and still lose weight. In fact, there have been many studies analyzing this that found you can drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol and not gain weight. It’s important to note, however, that a moderate amount of alcohol is one drink a day for women and no more than two a day for men. The picture above illustrates what is considered one drink for wine, distilled spirits and beer.
The way your body breaks down alcohol is very unique. Since your body cannot store alcohol, it moves it quickly through your system. Your metabolism burns the majority of calories in alcohol through the thermic effect of food (TEF).
I recently read a study that showed that as the seasons change and fall sets in, the average person will consume 200 additional calories a day mostly from carbohydrates. Some say this is linked to the biological pull our ancestors felt in advance of the winter when food was scarce and famine was a real possibility. It could also be attributed to fall and winter meals being larger. Or maybe it’s that the pressure of bathing suit season is off.
While 200 calories may not seem like much, this time of year is also when people’s activity level tends to dip. The combination of increased calories and less physical activity can result in 4-5 extra pounds by the time spring rolls around. Here are some ways to not fall into the seasonal change rut.
- Enjoy fall flavors by loading up on nutritious and high fiber fruits and vegetables like apples, squash, beets, carrots, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Use them generously in soups and stews or roasted in the oven.
- Get outside and enjoy the fall weather. The fall is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities that are tougher in the summer heat.
If you’ve ever worked out at Synergy, you’ve probably heard one of our trainers say, “stand up straight,” or “put your shoulders back.” That’s because posture is so important when you’re working out. Proper posture and alignment helps reduce the stress and strain you put on your tendons, joints and ligaments and lowers the chances you’ll get hurt. But, good posture is just as important once you leave the gym – maybe even more so.
Did you know that improving your posture can improve your quality of life? It may sound hokey but it’s true.
Several studies have shown that we gain a lot when we work on posture. You can tell a lot about how a person is feeling based on how they carry themselves. For example, slouched shoulders and a drooped head usually indicate sadness. Researchers have found that you can change the way you feel just by changing the way you stand. Forcing yourself to stand up straight and pushing your shoulders back changes your skeletal alignment. One study showed that doing this for 1-2 minutes can actually increase the cortisone and testosterone levels in your body, making you feel more energetic and confident.
In case you needed another reason to maintain a diet of healthy and nutritious foods, a study released recently shows that bad diet choices lead to more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor, including smoking and obesity. To me, this means that as a population we are literally killing ourselves with the food choices we make! That’s scary!
According to the Global Burden of Disease study, the problem is not only that people around the globe are eating too many unhealthy foods; it’s also that people aren’t eating enough nutritious options. In 2017, there were 11 million deaths in 195 countries from health issues attributable to dietary factors (those issues include heart attack and cancer). And, if you’re thinking the numbers are skewed based on third world countries where food options are low, in terms of lowest diet-related death rates, the United States ranked 43rd, below countries like Rwanda and Nigeria.
“This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world,” says study author Ashkan Afshin of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Healthy Summer BBQ Tips
Nothing says summer like a cookout and the smell of a flaming hot grill. But if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, a weekend BBQ can be more of a test of your will power than a chance to relax and enjoy time with friends. That’s because most traditional BBQ foods are loaded with calories, fat, sodium and sugar. So, should you stay away? Of course not! Here are some strategies to help you enjoy without completely throwing your nutrition off track.
- Don’t deprive yourself completely. If there’s a food that you really love, by all means have it. But, focus on portion control. Choose one favorite to savor and enjoy in moderation.
- Bring something healthy. Volunteer to bring a dish and prepare something healthy. That way you’ll know if all else fails, you have at least one healthy option to fall back on.
- Choose a lean protein. Grilled chicken or turkey are great high protein options and you can enjoy more without all the saturated fat of a burger or a steak.
- Load up on vegetables. It’s always a good idea to fill half your plate with vegetables.
5 To Dos for Optimal Health
Eat Breakfast – It really is the most important meal of the day according to most nutritionists. One study showed that women who ate a big breakfast lost 21% of their body weight after 8 months vs. 4.5% for women on a low-carb diet whose breakfast was their smallest meal of the day. What’s more – the women who ate a hearty breakfast continued to lose weight over time while the low-carb group started gaining at 4 months.
Do Your Strength Training – When it comes to working out, strength training will get you the most bang for your buck. Strength training reduces body fat, increases lean muscle and spurs your body to burn calories more efficiently. It raises your resting metabolism so you’ll burn calories during your workout and continue to burn more all day long. And, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Get More Calcium & Vitamin D – Both are essential for strong bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women in their 40s get 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D every day from foods like fortified milk or salmon,
We get asked a lot about diet trends, the latest “health foods” and quick fix plans to help you lose weight. Here’s our best nutrition and diet advice.
- Don’t do crash diets! Don’t get sucked into whatever weight loss diet is popular for the moment. Just eat a little of everything. Don’t cut out anything unless you have an allergy/digestive issue with it.
- Carbs are not evil. Our bodies need them for energy and many other daily functions. Just focus on eating the cleaner carbs (whole grains, beans, fruit, etc).
- If your stomach handles dairy well, have some of it, just not large portions.
- If you overdo it with something, just reset and go back to eating healthy and balanced. Don’t punish yourself by not eating or mentally tear yourself apart. Just move on and get back on track.
- Enjoy food (and drink) and keep your portion sizes in check. Don’t eat until you’re stuffed – eat slowly so that it registers when you’re comfortably full. This will train your body and will eventually become habitual.
- Limit white sugar, white flour, fried foods,
5 Tips for Your Healthiest Summer Ever
Stay hydrated – When the summer heat sets in, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. So, never leave home without your water. If you’re out in the sun and being active outside, you’ll want to add an extra serving or two to your daily intake.
Eat fresh foods – There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season during the summer. Hit your local farmers’ market for a great selection of fresh and locally farmed foods and add them to each meal.
Enjoy the outdoors – After being cooped up all winter, nothing feels better than being outside in nature. Take advantage of the warm weather to be active outside. Walking, running, biking, hiking, kayaking, rollerblading, swimming…the opportunities are endless!
Wear sunscreen – It is so important to protect your skin when you’re out in the sun. Try to limit direct sun exposure during peak hours of 10:00 – 3:00 when the sun produces the strongest UV rays. Apply plenty of sunscreen BEFORE you go outside.
Week 6 Assignment: Replace Processed Foods with Whole Foods!
Wow! It’s hard to believe we’re in the last week of our 6 Week Fat Loss Challenge. Although this week’s assignment comes last in the challenge, it is top in importance. Our advice at Synergy has always been to minimize eating foods that come in a box, a bag or a can. Heavily processed foods almost always contain added sugars, high amounts of sodium and unhealthy fats and other additives and preservatives that are just plain bad for you.
If your diet is high in processed foods, it can be hard to make the switch. So, this week’s assignment is to start by replacing one processed food in your daily diet with a serving of veggies. For example, if you typically have a protein bar as a snack mid-day, replace it with a serving of carrots and hummus. Have steamed or grilled vegetables with your burger or steak instead of fries. Instead of snacking on a bag of chips try roasted chick peas or edamame. The more processed food to whole food swaps you can make, the better! Shoot for 3-4 servings of vegetables every day.