Archive for April, 2009

A few handy reference guides

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

The Five Meals a Day Plan (pdf)

Five Ways to Burn More Calories (pdf)

Better Opens When You Dine Out (pdf)

From Amy

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Dear April,
So it’s been one week and I can’t believe how much I’ve gotten out of Boot Camp! Though I had about the slowest time on the mile today, the important thing is that I can run more than 20 feet without being winded! I took your advice from your emails and went to the grocery and bought the things you suggested (OK, one box of popsicles – a weakness). I have more energy and stamina. I feel less and less that I need to “rest” on a regular basis (usually on Saturdays I don’t get out of bed). I thought “rest” was key to my well being. It’s not. It’s exercise. Getting up at 4am and going to bed at 8 has been a great change. In the morning I do all the housework that I procrastinate about. I get more out of my day.

I’ve tried to exercise before (gym membership), but I am not self-motivated in that department. In fact, I’ve always said I’d rather dig a ditch than go to aerobics. Your program suits my needs perfectly. I need structure. You and your staff are wonderful working with me, and motivating me. I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t think that would happen ever in my life.

So, Kudos to you! See you Monday.

Easiest and Most Delicious Salsa Recipe – ever!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Shared by our instructor Erin Repac:

Below is a recipe for salsa that my family makes all the time; I got it from my mom who does Weight Watchers. You can eat it with chips in moderation, of course, but it also goes great with eggs, sandwiches, salads, meat, chicken, etc…

  • 2 cans Del Monte Dices Jalepeno Tomatoes (or you can use Zesty Mild flavor)
  • 2 garlic cloves (or more, if you love garlic like I do!)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop the onion in quarters and then add the ingredients in order listed above into a blender or food processor.

This makes enough to store for about a week or two in a sealed container; it tastes THE BEST 2-3 days after you make it (this gives time for the flavors to blend).


“How to Motivate Yourself”

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Great chapter from the book The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. Definitely worth reading! Download it here (pdf).

"How to Motivate Yourself"

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Great chapter from the book The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. Definitely worth reading! Download it here (pdf).

Answers to questions like…does pasta make me fat?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Every time you turn around it seems like someone’s offering diet advice. From People Magazine to friends or family. Take it from someone who’s lost 40 pounds & kept it off (ME!) that there’s no quick, easy or magical way to lose weight. It takes exercise & burning more calories than you consume! (we’ll talk about the “mental” battle next time)

Following are some very simple answers to questions that come up quite frequently from WoW! Boot Campers….

Do carbohydrates make you overweight?
If you eat more calories than you expend in energy, then anything can be stored as fat – protein, fat, or carbohydrate.

Will eating fat make me overweight?
As with the myth that carbohydrates make you fat, the answer is the same. Calories ingested and absorbed above expenditure contribute to increasing fat stores. However, there is some evidence that would suggest it is easier to get fat when consuming a high-fat diet. It seems the human body has a difficult time regulating food intake on high-fat diets, making it is easier to accidentally eat excess calories. Also, because fat provides a lot of calories for a small volume (nine calories/g vs. four calories/g for protein and carbs) you may have a harder time feeling satisfied with the smaller food volume a high-fat diet would provide.

Will eating past 7 p.m., especially carbohydrates, result in weight gain?
The body does not have an enzyme with a watch that after 7 p.m. preferentially stores items, especially carbohydrate, as fat. All of us have a certain number of calories we can consume without gaining weight. If you happen to change your daily schedule and end up eating a final meal or snack later in the evening without changing your calories, you are in no danger of accumulating weight as a result of that minor alteration. Ideally, however, you would spread your allotted number of calories throughout the day to prevent hunger and wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can sap your energy levels.

What is insulin’s role in storing fat?
Humans, as periodic eaters, need insulin to survive. Following a meal, insulin is secreted, with its job being the storage of energy (glucose, amino acids) in the liver, muscle, and adipose tissue (fat). We will always eat more at a meal than can immediately be used for energy, making this storage necessary. As the hours after a meal go by, this stored energy is released to fuel the continuous needs and activity of the body.

The predominant fuel source for the human body during normal daily activities is fat. As insulin levels diminish after a meal (within an hour), another hormone, Glucagon, is secreted. It signals the body to begin releasing stored energy (glycogen from the liver and fatty acids from adipose tissue) into the blood stream to fuel the body’s energy needs, even though no new energy is coming in (from food). The cycle is repeated with every meal.

Whether you increase or decrease the size of your fat stores day to day depends upon the relationship of calories consumed and absorbed versus energy expended on metabolism and daily activity. If you were in a caloric deficit at the end of the day, then more fat would have come out for energy than went in for storage, so your fat stores would be decreased. However, if you were in caloric excess, then more would have gone in than went out, so your fat stores would increase. As you can see, insulin is only a mechanism for fat storage. It needs material to work with to cause fat stores to increase and stay that way. That material is the calories we eat.

Do protein drinks build muscle?
No. Appropriate exercise and adequate nutrition build muscle.

Should you cut all fat from your diet?
No. Dietary fat calories should never dip below 10 percent of total caloric intake. Dietary fat can add to palatability and satiety. Dietary fat carries our necessary fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

So, dietary fat isn’t bad for you?
Some fats are actually good for you, in moderation. Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, found in some fish, can assist in lowering cholesterol as well as other positive physiological and psychological responses.

So, high-fat diets pose no peril?
Diets high in saturated fats generally raise cholesterol levels and leads to overeating. Total fat intake should not exceed 30 percent of the total caloric intake.

Can high-fat diets assist in weight loss?
Remember, you lose fat when you consume fewer calories than you burn, regardless of whether they are fat, protein, or carbohydrate calories. However, diets that contain more than 30 percent fat generally slow metabolism and lead to overeating.
A very small portion of the population appears to feel and function better on a higher-fat diet (above 25%) while pursuing weight loss. This is due to bio-individuality and the satiating power of fats for this group. Most people would not benefit from a high-fat diet.

Does fruit or fructose make you fat?
No, excess calories make you fat. Fructose is the sweetener of choice for fat loss because it does not elicit a strong insulin response. It is expensive, so most companies do not like to use it.

Does wheat make you fat?
No. Wheat does not make anyone fat, excess calories do. Wheat may cause bloating in a small percentage of people who are allergic to it.

Is it true that when attempting to lose fat, you shouldn’t eat fruit, wheat products, and/or dairy products?
No. Fruit and dairy products lack the substance or bulk of complex foods, so they don’t contribute to satiety when calories are extremely low. But calories are calories.

If insulin resistance causes weight gain, then is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet recommended?
No. Weight gain from high-fat diets usually leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to other health problems such as coronary artery disease. The scientific recommendation for almost all insulin-resistant individuals, genetic or acquired, is a low-fat diet, moderate amounts of protein, high in complex carbohydrates, and exercise. Insulin resistant individuals gain weight like anyone else – when they eat more calories than they burn. Insulin resistance may depress satiety signals, leading one to overeat.

Does pasta make you fat?
No, pasta is a carbohydrate. Excess calories make you fat.

Why does switching from a high-protein diet to a high-carbohydrate diet cause some people to feel bloated initially?
Each part of stored glucose (as glycogen) contains 2.7 parts water. With a high-protein diet, glycogen stores are consistently low and therefore water content is low, which decreases the cells’ efficiency. The bloated feeling will eventually normalize when the body recovers to a properly hydrated state. The gain is water in the muscle cells (good), not fat.

Great Work!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

“We all have the extraordinary coded within us waiting to be released.”
-Jean Houston


Fear not the place of deep comfort – “the flow zone” – and discomfort.

To eat or not to eat, that is the question!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

an article by our instructor Stephanie Loftin.

We all talk about our metabolism every now and then, but how much do you know about yours? Do you blame your weight gain (or for some we generally consider “the lucky ones”, weight loss) on your metabolism?

Let’s take a look at what metabolism is and figure out how it applies to you:

Metabolism is affected by many variables and invariables. We’ll start with what we can’t change.

  1. Our gender. Men have a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate—the rate at which our bodies burn calories doing activities necessary for living, such as breathing, sleeping, etc.) that is 10 to 15 percent higher than that of women. This lucky fact is directly related to number 1 below!
  2. Age. Sorry to say it, but yes, our BMR does slow down with age, and we can’t change our age. The cells in our bodies are more active the younger we are, so BMR is faster.
  3. Genetics. You have probably already blamed your mom or dad or a grandparent for this one. No further information needed!

So what can we do to increase our BMR? What can we change?

  1. Lean muscle mass. Men naturally have less fat than women.  We all must have essential fat for our bodies to function. Women are made to need more than men. However, unless we are already an elite athlete, most of us can stand to lose fat and gain muscle. Lean muscle mass burns calories faster, thus increasing your BMR.
  2. Eat BREAKFAST! Your metabolism slows down while you sleep. Eating when you wake up gets it going again. A lot of you say it makes you feel sick to eat first thing in the morning. If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to teach your body to accept this change. Please see your Fitness Journal for great, healthy, metabolism-boosting ideas for breakfast—before boot camp and for the days you don’t go to boot camp.
  3. Eat SMALL meals throughout the day. I eat 3 times before lunch on the days I teach boot camp. I don’t eat a lot, but I put food in my body before 5:30 class, after 5:30 class and after 8:30 class. Generally I have a small lunch and afternoon snack before a healthy dinner at night. If my lunch is out with friends, I skip the afternoon snack.
  4. You’ve heard this before, but it is true: you cannot starve yourself into weight loss (okay, you can, but it will result in death or putting it all back on and then some when you begin to eat again). Your body needs those calories to live—if you fail to feed yourself, your body starts to hang onto fat and convert the calories you are eating to fat to keep for later use. As much as we want to have control over as bodies, sometimes they have a mind of their own!
  5. Exercise! No explanation needed, but I’ll give a short one anyway: Cardio burns the calories faster than the weight-lifting BUT the weight-lifting is important to increase that muscle mass that helps burn those calories faster. See how it all fits into the weight-loss plan?
  6. Drink water. Please. Lots of reasons—too many to list, but all important.

You can make choices that affect your metabolism! So the answer to the title question is: “to eat”, but you have to make the right choices about what and when. If you no longer have your Fitness Journal and are unsure about what to eat in the mornings, please ask your instructor. We are here for you!

Stephanie Loftin


Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I’m almost finished with Jennette Fulda’s book: Half-Assed a weight-loss memoir.  I love this excerpt:

Jennette’s talking to an overweight middle aged woman….

“How do you stay motivated?”  Carol asked.

I should have just told her to screw motivation.  If I waited for motivation to do the dishes, I’d have plates stacked on my counter so high that I couldn’t open the microwave.  Which I currently did.  I was never motivated to do my dishes.  Yet I turned on the faucet and poured out some dish soap anyway.  It wasn’t because I wanted to have fun with bubbles; it was because I had to.  I couldn’t bring myself to eat off paper plates.

People waited for motivation to find them, but they needed to go out and find motivation.  It’s doubtful that you would get to the bottom of that pint of ice cream and find the message “You need to lose weight” written on the bottom.

This was all easier said than done, of course.  It’s hard to get unstuck, but it takes even longer to pull your feet out of the gum left on the sidewalk if you wait for someone else to come along with Goo Gone.  You just have to do it, even though you don’t want to.  If you saw diet and exercise as optional, you were screwed.  It was nonnegotiable. (p 223)


Spot Reducing

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Spot Reducing: can I lose weight just in one spot? (ie. butt, arms and face etc)

Spot reduction is simply the idea that if you work a specific muscle group you will decrease the amount of fat in that area. The most common example of this is people focus on abdominal exercises in an effort to lose weight in their stomach area.

In reality, there is no such thing as spot reduction. You will never attain a flat stomach just by performing abdominal exercises. The reason for this is simple: a muscle does not own the fat that surrounds it. Sit-ups, for example, will definitely strengthen your abdominal muscles, but sit-ups alone will not get rid of the layer of fat that is covering the muscles. To lose fat anywhere on your body you need to burn calories by following a program that involves both cardiovascular training and weight training. In doing so, you will decrease fat stores throughout your entire body, including the problem areas.

You may notice that you sometimes lose fat in some areas more quickly than in others; this is simply due to a genetic selective pattern rather than a particular type of exercise. It is a well known fact that men tend to gain weight in their abdominal region, whereas women tend to gain weight in their gluteal region.

If fat was mobilized, or used from the stores near the exercising muscle, then you would expect both men and women to lose weight in the same areas when following a similar program. However, losing weight in the gluteal region is much more difficult for women than it is for men.

Another common myth is that muscle gained during a strength training program will turn to fat once you stop strength training. Again, muscle and fat are two different tissues which are completely independent of each other. If you stop weight training, your muscles will shrink because the stimulus to increase or maintain their size is no longer there; but by no means can they, or will they, turn into fat.

If you feel your body is becoming less toned or, for lack of a better word, more “soft” it is simply because your proportion of fat to muscle has changed. Fat, although you may not have gained any more of it, is now dominant simply because you have lost muscle. Another possible reason for the change is a common problem that exists with many people, primarily athletes. The problem is that they stop exercising, but maintain their eating habits, and thus slowly begin to put on weight. If you had been exercising but stopped, be sure to make dietary changes to compensate for the decrease in daily energy expenditure.