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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Losing inches but gaining weight?

I just started exercising, why am I gaining weight?

By Paige Waehner

Question: I just started exercising, why am I gaining weight?
If you've noticed your weight going up after starting an exercise program, try not to panic. It doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong, nor does it mean you're going in the wrong direction. There can be some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons you're gaining weight.
Your first step is to determine if what you're gaining is actually fat or muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, but it takes up less space. That means, if you gain muscle, your scale weight may go up even as you're slimming down. It's normal for many of us to lose inches, even if we're not losing weight. Rather than just using a scale, which isn't always the best way to measure progress, try other methods. One option is to get your body fat tested by a trainer at your gym. If that isn't an option, take measurements at different areas of the body on a regular basis. If you're losing inches, you're on the right track.
If you've measured yourself in different ways and realized you really are going in the wrong direction, take some time to go through the following possibilities - you may need to make some small changes in your diet to see better results.
1. Eating too many calories. It may seem obvious, but we sometimes eat more after starting an exercise program to compensate for burning those extra calories. Most of us think we're eating a healthy, low-calorie diet but, unless you're keeping a food diary, you don't know how many calories you're really eating. Most people are surprised when they start keeping a journal and adding up the calories--it almost always turns out to be more than they thought. Keep a food diary for at least a week or use an online tracking sight like Calorie Count to get a sense of what and how much you're eating. If it's too much, you can make changes in your diet to reduce your calories. And try to avoid the mindset that says you can eat whatever you want since you're doing all this great exercise. To lose weight, you still need to monitor your calories.
2. Not eating enough calories. It may seem counterintuitive, but eating too little can actually stall your efforts to lose fat. As Cathy Leman, a registered dietician and creator of NutriFit!says, "...if there is a severe restriction in calories, the body may counteract this reduction by slowing down its metabolism." Be sure you're eating enough calories to sustain your body if you've increased your activity.
3. Not giving your body time to respond. Just because you start exercising doesn't always mean your body will respond to that immediately. As Cathy Leman puts it, " some instances the body needs to sort of "recalibrate"' itself. Increased activity and new eating habits (taking in more or less calories) require the body to make adjustments." Cathy recommends that you give yourself several weeks or months for your body to respond to what you're doing.
4. Rule out any medical conditions. While not everyone suffers from thyroid problems, they can cause weight gain and make weight loss more challenging. You should also check with your doctor about any medications you're taking that could affect your body's ability to lose weight. If you feel your food intake is reasonable and you've given your body enough time to see results and haven't seen any (or are seeing unexplainable weight gain) see your doctor to rule any other causes.
5. You're gaining muscle faster than you're losing fat. If it seems that you're getting bigger after you've started a weight training routine, it may be because you aren't losing body fat as fast as you're building muscle, a common problem. Genetics can play a role; some people put on muscle more easily than others. If that's the case for you, don't stop training. Instead, you might simply adjust your program to make sure you're getting enough cardio exercise to promote weight loss and focus your strength training workouts on muscular endurance by keeping the reps between 12-16.
Whatever the cause of your weight gain, don't give up on exercise. It's not only your ticket to weight loss, it's also important for your health.

Long term Fat loss

The 2 Secrets To Long Term Fat Loss

By Scott Colby

I think this article will surprise you a bit. We’re going to share a couple of secrets to long term fat-loss, but the secrets really don’t have anything to do with diet and exercise. Surprised? I thought you might be. Check out this article from Fitness Expert Mitch Rothbardt to find out what these 2 secrets are.
The 2 Secrets To Long Term Fat Loss by Mitch Rothbardt
Who out there is trying to lose weight? Well, I can’t see your hands raised from all the way over here but I assume it’s a lot of you. We all know there’s a ton of information out there. I did a quick Google search and within the first three pages found sites that told me not to eat low fat, sites that told me to eat low fat, separate sites that told me both that I didn’t have to exercise and that I did have to exercise. It’s no wonder there’s so much confusion. 

Well, I’m going to save you lots of time. I’m going to let you in on the two most super important secrets about fat loss. Are you ready for the first one? Here it is: 

It doesn’t matter. 

That’s it. It doesn’t matter. Low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb. It doesn’t matter. “How can that be?” you ask. It doesn’t matter because of the second secret: 

There will be no sustainable weight loss unless you truly believe it’s possible and it’s who you are. 

What does that mean? In short, it means that you’ve got to have your mind right for anything to work long-term. We all know of someone who has lost a bunch of weight only to put it all back on and then some. In fact, studies have shown that over 80% people that have lost a bunch of weight gain it all back within two years and that number jumps to 95% if it’s considered a crash diet. 

Why is that? Why would someone go through all that work only to go back to what they did before? Here’s why: They never changed their self-belief. They never looked in the mirror and told themselves “I am a person who exercises and eats clean and healthy food.” Instead, they looked at things as a matter of will power and denial. They denied themselves a lot of food. They forced themselves to go to the gym. They eventually hit their goal, but because they never made the mental transition from “I am an overweight person who is now on a diet” to “I am a person who eats healthy and exercises” when they did hit their goal and didn’t need to be on a diet anymore their mental image only told them that “I am an overweight person who no longer needs to be on a diet.” 

What I’d like to do is share a few different ways you can help your self-image so that you can make your changes stick. 

1. Don’t deny yourself, reward yourself. OK, what do you think is a better approach: 

A. I can’t believe I can never eat pizza or ice cream again! This is going to be sooooo hard! 

B. If I can eat well this week and hit the gym three times I get to have pizza and ice cream on Saturday! 

Of course the answer is “B”. One of the most important ways to help our self-image is with the way we talk to ourselves. We need to make sure that we stay positive. In the first example it’s all about what we can’t do. In the second example it’s about what we can do. We have to remember that the changes we’re making are for our life and I know if someone told me I could never eat another Pyzanno’s mushroom, garlic, and meatball pizza again, I would tell them to take their diet and stick it. The changes we make have to be sustainable or they’re ultimately useless. 

Start with one change that you’re sure you can stick to and then add on to that each week or two. At the end of one or two months that could mean some very big changes that you’ve incorporated into your life. If you fall off the wagon a bit, don’t beat yourself up over it. Learn from it. Figure out what set you off and make adjustments so if that situation repeats itself you won’t fall into the same trap. Being better able to adapt to difficult situations is a very important skill and it’s a big factor in our self-confidence. 

2. Emphasize function over form. What do I mean by that? How we feel about ourselves is usually impacted more by what we can do rather than what we appear we can do. The cool thing about that, is by figuring out the things we’d like to do and training towards those ends, looking like we can do those things is a pretty nice bonus that goes along with it. In other words, if you want to look strong, train to be strong. If you want to look like you can run a marathon, train to run a marathon. 

You’re going to find that kind of training much more fulfilling in the long run and, better yet, who knows where it will take you. I have a client who came to me to lose weight and she soon realized that she loves lifting heavy weights. She’s now training for her first powerlifting meet. That never would have occurred to her if we only focused on the weight. (She also lost over 25 pounds.) 

3. Don’t make the “cardio” room the center of your exercise universe. There is nothing more transforming mentally than resistance training. Let me describe two situations: 

A. You finish a set of squats with a weight that you’ve never been able to lift before. You rack the bar, lean on it and take a few deep breaths as you realize that the extra weight on the bar represents tangible progress. 

B. You get off the treadmill after walking for 35 minutes. 

Which one of these situations do you think has a better chance of improving your self-image? The other benefit of this is that over the long term, resistance training will help you lose more weight due to the increase in metabolism that comes with more lean body. Those long, slow cardio sessions actually slow down your metabolism over time leading to one of the top causes of poor self-image: doing hours and hours of cardio only to experience little or no weight loss at all! 

4. Enjoy the process. This one is huge! Changing our bodies is not easy and don’t let anyone tell you it is. Our bodies still think that when winter comes we might not be able to find food for a few months. It thinks that, because in the whole history of man, this period, where we can get food pretty much whenever we want is a tiny little dot on a very long line. Basically, our bodies still think we have to kill a wooly mammoth for dinner. It doesn’t realize that we have a Safeway down the street, so from a strict survival standpoint that’s the most efficient thing our bodies can do. Right? Not changing is pretty easy. What this means for us is that after we come down a little from the excitement of starting a new program the reality is going to hit us that if we want to make substantial changes to our bodies, it’s going to take some time. 

For example, if you want to lose weight, a very solid goal is 1-2 pounds a week. That doesn’t seem like much but its 75-100 pounds a year. That’s pretty darn good! The problem is that many people don’t last a year. They’re too focused on the final result instead of trying to learn something along the way. They see that it’ll take time and they give up. No, it’s not easy but that’s the point! Try to enjoy the process and you’ll see that enjoyment leak into your life outside the gym. You’ll learn how to plan for a goal. You’ll learn how to sacrifice for something you want. You’ll learn that if you put the work in you’ll get something even better back! You’ll learn that you can do things you might not think you can do, and you’ll learn that even if you can’t, you get so much out of trying. 

You see, at the end of the day we are who we believe ourselves to be and we will behave in ways that reinforce that belief. If you think you’re unhealthy, then that is who will be looking back at you in the mirror each day and that person will have no reason not to order another piece of cake. It doesn’t matter anyway, right? Now I’m not saying that if you just think it, it will happen. This isn’t “The Secret”, after all. But if you first believe that you can change, then you will make changes and accomplish things that will earn you the right to improve your self-image. Then we can worry about whether we should go low carb or not.


By Jennifer Schaeffer

If you have attempted to slim down and lose fat, you may have gone the route of a low-calorie diet and a torturous exercise routine. Both of these factors lead to muscle loss and deterioration, not to fat loss. The Washington University Physicians state, "when we go on a diet, the body's ancient survival mechanisms kick in, refusing to use up valuable stored fat, making it more difficult to burn calories by lowering our metabolic rate and decreasing our energy level and requirements." The key to your fat-losing capabilities is keeping everything balanced--eating, exercise and sleep--and sticking to it.

Step 1

Avoid going on an extreme diet. Diets below 1,100 calories per day are considered extreme and leave you unsatisfied in more ways than one. The University at Buffalo in New York lists the following reasons what diets do not work "Dieting is for a limited time. Unrealistic goals are set. The dieter restricts food. The dieter does not learn a new lifestyle." Adopt and embrace a healthy lifestyle full of natural foods and daily exercise.

Step 2

Eat fat-burning foods. This means you must actually eat fat. Although it may sound like a contradiction, certified nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman states "good fat is essential for both permanent weight loss and overall health." Good fats can be found in avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds. The United States Department of Agriculture provides a chart for determining your total allowance of fat per day based on age and gender. But take note that the recommended percentage of fat of total calories in no more than 35 percent.

Step 3

Avoid eating anything in excess. A diet of excessive carbohydrates, fat or protein will all lead to weight gain and increase of body fat. The American Dietetic Association bluntly states "calories cause weight gain. Excess calories from carbohydrates are not any more fattening than calories from other sources." Keep your diet in proportion. A general proportion of 40 percent of your day's worth of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat is easy to remember and keeps macronutrients in proper proportion to one another.

Step 4

Strength train. The University of Maryland Medical Center states "exercise is a key way to do this. When you exercise regularly, you build stronger muscles. Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells throughout the day, even while you are resting. This helps boost your metabolism." In another article, UMMC also says "resistance (strength) training is excellent for reducing fat and building muscles. It should be performed two or three times a week." Performing cardio training alone will aid in burning calories and losing weight but doing this kind of repetitive exercise constantly breaks down your muscles.

Step 5

Make it a lifestyle. If you cannot see yourself pursuing any diet for a length of time, then it is not right for you. Make healthy food choices every day, exercise, and get your rest. The perfect diets are the ones you can pursue for the rest of your life.

Step 6

Keep a diet and exercise notebook. Keeping a notebook with you to record what you eat and when and how you exercise will aid in keeping you focused as well as ensure you are getting your day's worth of nutrients and calories.

Tips and Warnings

  • Start by tracking calories alone. This will get you used to looking at food labels. Then begin keeping track of carbohydrate, protein and fat amounts to ensure balanced nutrition.
  • Consult your doctor or physician before beginning any new diet or fitness regimen.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook


  • The University at Buffalo: Healthy Weight Loss and Management
  • Dr. Ann Louise: Diet Detox
  • Washington University Physicians: What's the Skinny on Fat?
  • The American Dietetic Association: Do Carbohydrates Cause Weight Gain?
  • The University of Maryland Medical Center: Exercise and Weight Loss

Plyometric Exercises for Everybody

Not too long ago, we ran a story about how to incorporate plyometric exercise into your fitness round-up, but warned that because of the explosive nature of plyo exercises, this one was probably best left to those that were in the upper fitness brackets (and free of any sprains, strains or other injuries!).
This post elicited feedback from Mark’s Daily Apple reader, Barry, who wrote:
I’ve been reading your site for almost a year and have adopted a Primal eating style. Before doing so I was out of control having ballooned to almost 350 lbs. I haven’t gone 100% Primal so the weight is coming off slowly. I am now down to 300. My goal weight is 200 lbs. For activity I have been walking and doing some light free weight activities. It is about all I can muster. I read your Primal Plyos posts with fascination and can’t wait until the day comes that I too can do beach sprints, but for now I am limited. What is a 300 lb person to do for exercise? Hint: I can’t jump or sprint like Grok.

Lower Body

Double Footed Criss-Cross: 
Trade in hops for double footed jumps and you’ll reduce the amount of strain on the knees and decrease your risk of injury.
Take two strips of athletic tape (or duct tape…but athletic tape won’t leave any sticky residue), and lay it out on the floor in a cross pattern. With both feet together, jump from side to side for 10-20 reps each side. Then, do double foot jumps from front to back for 10-20 reps. Finish up with double foot jumps in each quadrant for 10-20 jumps.
Cone Drills: 
While not technically a plyometric exercise in itself, this exercise will get you used to switching quickly between movements as well as improve coordination – both of which are important for safe plyometric workouts.
Stand, feet facing forward, and lay out 4 cones on the floor so that they form a semi circle in front of you. The goal here is to go through the cones (1-4) tapping alternative feet on the cones as you move through (so left foot taps cone 1, right taps cone 2, left taps cone 3, etc…). Start slow to gain familiarity with the cones placement and then pick up speed, being sure to tap the cones lightly so as to not move them or tip them over. Perform 10-15 reps, tapping cones 1-4 and then repeating 4-1.

Power Side Lunges: 

This side lunge variation, which keeps feet firmly planted on the floor, is great for those who want to tone their lower body without straining the knees or lower back.
Grab two cones (or tall water bottles) and stand with your feet spread far apart (shoot for three foot distance or more). Place each cone so that it stands up close to the outside, top of each foot. The goal here is to side lunge down – keeping knees facing forward at all times – to touch the cone and then push back up and go over and touch the other cone. As with all lunge and squat exercises, you want to make sure that the knee with the bend is not going over the front of the foot, so be sure to sit back as you are doing these lunges. Complete 10-20 reps on each side. Note: If getting down to touch the water bottles proves too hard, sub them out for a low bench or chair – what’s important here is the power you use to move from side to side as opposed to the height that you get down to!

Upper Body

Shoulder Shifter:
This easy plyo move not only tones the shoulder, back and abs, but also teaches excellent control.
Grab a weighted medicine ball (anywhere between 3 – 8 lbs should do) and stand with the ball in front of you, at hip height. Feet should be facing forward, roughly hip width apart and your knees should be slightly bent. On the first count, rapidly raise the ball, stopping when your hands reach shoulder height. Hold for one count. Return to initial position for one count. Repeat for 15-20 reps.
All Hail the Halo:
This plyo movement will teach your body how to move in somewhat unexpected directions (as well as provide a nice little ab and back workout!)
Take a weighted medicine ball (anywhere between 2 and 5 lbs will work) and stand with feet facing forward, hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise the medicine ball over your head. This is your starting position. Move the ball to form large circles over your head taking about 2 seconds for each rotation. Be sure that when you are doing this exercise, it is only your arms and shoulders that are moving and not your torso. Perform 10 rotations clockwise, pause, and then perform 10 circles counterclockwise.
Thrown Off:
A wonderful exercise for the entire body, this move will especially target the muscles in the arms, shoulder, chest and core.
Grab that weighted medicine ball one last time and stand with feet facing forward and hip width apart. Your starting position for this exercise is a subtle squat, so bend your knees and push your butt out until your legs are at about a 145 degree angle from the floor. Grip the ball with arms slightly bent and hold it at knee level. Power the ball up quickly, stopping with arms extended straight over your head and legs straight. Return to start position. Repeat for 10 reps. As in most exercises above, do more than one set if you can manage it.

Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey or temporarily sidelined due to an injury or illness, there are always always things you can do to stay active.
Working out in a pool, for example, is minimally jarring to the joints and bones, and provides an environment where you can test-drive various kicks, jumps, and other plyo moves with minimal safety risk (bar drowning of course!)
In addition, while we suggested plyometric exercise as an adjunct or simply an alternative to your regular workout routine, there are certainly many merits in “conventional” exercise. Early man, for example, walked all the time. In fact, he walked everywhere…for food, for shelter, maybe even for fun. To replicate this, just make sure you’re walking for a long time (at least an hour) and walking frequently. Is it the most entertaining activity in the world? Probably not. But if you’re nursing an injury or just starting out on your fitness journey, walking is easily one of the best ways to exercise (and it’s free!)
I guess what we’re trying to say is that as long as you’re moving, you’re doing great in our book – don’t get bogged down with visions of complicated box jumps and other extreme plyo moves. We promise, if you keep up the good work, that day will certainly come.

6 Ways to Burn Your Belly Fat Fast

by Jennifer Cohen

One of the most common questions I get is how to lose belly fat. Belly fat is actually the most dangerous type of fat – besides aesthetics, large waist lines are indicators of –disease-disease-disease.
It takes more than just crunches! We start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. That stress can even get WORSE with bad dieting; studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. So how do you shape up? Incorporate these 6 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly in no time flat!
1. Sleep
If you want to work late at night, think again. When your biorhythms are off, you end up eating more. When you’re tired you produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fat-building foods. Losing sleep can also alter your hormone production, affecting your cortisol levels that cause insulin sensitivity, prime reasons for belly fat! Getting about 7 hours of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for your body shaping goals.
2. Short bursts of exercises
1000 crunches a night may get you strong abdominal muscles, but with a full layer of fat on top, you will not get the results you really want. Instead of all those crunches, do exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and work your cardiovascular system. Try planking, where you hold yourself in a push-up position, resting your forearms on the ground. Try 3 or 4 sets of holding for 30 seconds each. Getting up and moving throughout the day by going for walks will also help.
3. Sugar is your Enemy
Fighting belly fat is 80% healthy diet. Reduce calories by filling yourself up with protein, vegetables, whole grains, and replacing bad habit snacks with good ones. For example, if you have a sugar craving, replace your calorie laden latte with a Muscle Milk lite, one of my favorites, because it has zero sugar and a ton of protein that will satiate while also torching my sugar craving! Another great trick is a sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee or oatmeal- the spice has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar. It also slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, which helps you feel fuller longer.
4. Vitamin C
When you’re under extreme stress, you secret more cortisol hormone. Vitamin C helps balance the cortisol spikes that happen to you under this stress. Besides being a good way to counteract a cold, Vitamin C is also essential for making carnitine, a compound used by the body to turn fat into fuel, making this vitamin your fat burning friend.
If you’re going through an emotional crisis, stress from work, or a bad eating splurge, increase your vitamin C – it’ll help counteract the negative side effects. Try bell peppers, kale or kiwi fruits. These have even more Vitamin C than the famous Orange!
5. Eat Fat

Yup, you heard me! It takes fat to burn fat. Like I said above, it’s sugar that gets you fat, not fat. Good fats include foods rich in Omega 3′s, like salmon, avocados & walnuts. These foods are full of nutrients that help keep you satiated throughout the day.
6. Slowing down your breath
This is a very simple method that you can use even when you’re in the midst of doing something else. Whenever you notice you’re feeling tense and uptight check and see how you’re breathing. Most people under stress either alternate holding their breath with short breaths, or take rapid shallow breaths. After you become aware of your own breathing, consciously relax your belly and slow down the breathing. This works best if you focus on slowing down the exhalation rather than your inhalation. With each exhalation you can say to yourself “slow down”. That is all there is to it- Simple but surprisingly effective!!!


By Mary Catherine Holcomb

Many fitness enthusiasts strive to achieve a round, hard butt. And it is a goal that is reachable if the right exercises are incorporated into daily workouts and done correctly. Some of the toughest exercises target the butt, but usually, the toughest exercises are the ones that work. Incorporating exercises like squats and lunges into an exercise routine will get you one step closer to that firm rear end.


Place a barbell across the top of your shoulders or complete the squats without any weights. Position your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not lean forward onto your toes and keep your back straight. Complete three sets of at least eight to 10 repetitions.

Dumbbell Lunges

Hold a pair of dumbbells by your side. Take a big step forward with one leg. Once the foot has landed, lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Switch legs and complete the same movement. That is one repetition. Complete three sets of at least eight to 10 repetitions. Do not let your knee go past your toes. Your knees and toes should be facing the same direction.

Plie Squat

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed outward. While leaning into your heels, bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure to squeeze your inner thighs and buttocks. Keep your toes on the floor. Complete at least eight to 10 repetitions for three sets.


Stand in front of a step or a bench and step onto the object with your right foot. Bring your left foot up to the bench. Next, lower your right foot and follow with your left foot. Switch legs and complete the same movement, but begin with your left foot. That is one repetition. Keep the movement controlled and soft. Complete at least 12 to 15 repetitions for three sets.

Does Seaweed Make You Lose Weight?

Seaweed can be green, red or brown in color. Aside from its potential weight loss effects, seaweed is also a great source of iodine (which the body needs for the normal metabolism of cells). People in Asia eat lots of seaweed, some almost on a daily basis. Seaweed could be one of the contributing factors to the overall slim figures (and longevity) of Asian people.
Does seaweed make you lose weight?
In a study using rats, brown seaweed was shown to be effective in reducing weight. Good examples of brown seaweed that you can eat are kelp and wakame. The key weight loss compound in seaweed appears to be fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin was shown to increase the production of a protein that burns fat.
Should I eat seaweed?
Seaweed is extremely low-calorie and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is a great source of iodine and can even help with weight loss. So yes, you should definitely try it out!
Where do I buy seaweed?
You can buy them at health food stores, Asian supermarkets, or probably the easiest way is online. At online stores, you can check out the reviews which are always helpful.
Which seaweed should I buy?
Kelp and wakame are probably the easiest forms of brown seaweed to buy and eat.
How do I cook seaweed?
For wakame, the easiest way to start eating them is to buy dried wakame and put them directly in soups, or make Asian-style salads. For kelp, the easiest way to eat them is to toast them in the oven, and eat them like chips. Note that some people may not stomach these kelp chips well. You may want to avoid getting wakame or kelp from Japan for the time being, since they may be contaminated with radiation.
If you are into cooking, you can experiment different ways of incorporating seaweed into your dishes.
Kelp supplements
If you are extremely busy like many people, you can also buy kelp supplements. The benefit of supplements is that you can consume sufficient amounts of seaweed without actually eating a whole bunch of them, which can be difficult sometimes.

Some metabolic and nutritional studies carried out on rats and mice at Hokkaido University indicate that fucoxanthin promotes fat burning within fat cells in white adipose tissue by increasing the expression of thermogenin.[1] A subsequent double-blind placebo-controlled human study of females with liver disease using supplementation with seaweed extract containing fucoxanthin in combination with pomegranate seed oil [2] showed in an average 4.9 kg (11 lb) weight loss in obese women over a 16-week period.[2]
  1. 1)^ Maeda, H; Hosokawa, M; Sashima, T; Funayama, K; Miyashita, K (2005). "Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 332 (2): 392–7. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.05.002PMID 15896707.
  2. 2)^ Abidov, M.; Ramazanov, Z.; Seifulla, R.; Grachev, S. (2010). "The effects of Xanthigen in the weight management of obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat". Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 12: 72.doi:10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01132.x.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Is whole body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness?


from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Whole body vibration can offer some fitness and health benefits, but it's not clear if it's as good for you as regular exercise.
With whole body vibration, you stand, sit or lie on a machine with a vibrating platform. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to your body, forcing your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second. You may feel as if you're exerting yourself when you do whole body vibration. You may find a whole body vibration machine at a local gym, or you can even buy one for home use.
Advocates say that as little as 15 minutes a day of whole body vibration three times a week can aid weight loss, burn fat, improve flexibility, enhance blood flow, build strength and decrease the stress hormone cortisol.
But comprehensive research about whole body vibration is lacking. It's not yet clear if whole body vibration provides the same range of health benefits as exercise you actively engage in, such as walking, biking or swimming. Some research does show that whole body vibration may help improve muscle strength and that it may help with weight loss when you also cut back on calories.
Whole body vibration also may have a role beyond sports and fitness. Some research shows that whole body vibration, when performed correctly and under medical supervision when needed, can:
  • Reduce back pain
  • Improve balance in older adults
  • Reduce bone loss
Still, if you want to lose weight and improve fitness, enjoy a healthy diet and include physical activity in your daily routine. If you choose whole body vibration, remember to do aerobic and strength training activities as well. And because whole body vibration can be harmful in some situations, check with your doctor before using it, especially if you're pregnant or have any health problems.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

How Protein Helps Weight Loss

Byron J. Richards

The amount of quality protein in your diet is the single most important calorie that influences your metabolic rate, favorably influencing weight loss. Quality protein also helps you sustain muscle during weight loss, improve muscle fitness, immunity, and antioxidant function, build HDL Cholesterol, and enhance insulin and leptin function – all of which contribute toward optimal weight management efforts over time.

How Much Protein Do I Need for Weight Loss?

A significant body of scientific evidence indicates that protein levels far higher than our government’s suggested levels of intake are optimal for weight loss1, as long as you simultaneously decrease carbohydrate intake. A minimal target amount is three-fourths of your ideal body weight in grams of protein per day, ranging up to three-fourths of your actual weight in grams of protein per day.
For example, if you should weigh 160 pounds but you currently weigh 200 pounds, then your goal for protein intake is in the range of 120 to 150 grams of protein per day. Since each gram of protein is four calories, this means 480 to 600 calories per day from protein. This is around 30 percent of your calories from protein (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). 
The FDA says you need 50 grams of protein per day (200 calories), based on a 2,000 calorie diet, or 10 percent of your calories from protein. The FDA bases its guidelines on only one aspect of protein need, nitrogen balance.  Nitrogen, found only in protein, is a fundamental molecule required for building body structure and DNA synthesis. 
The FDA’s goal is to make sure you have enough dietary protein so you don’t wither away. That’s nice, but nitrogen balance as the only criteria for protein intake ignores the role of protein as a signaling molecule2 in metabolism, especially in regard to how your muscles function. It ignores the amount of protein needed to preserve muscle during weight loss and facilitate fat burning.  In fact, the FDA gives no guidelines to explain how much quality protein you need for exercise, stress, blood sugar3 support, or to help stabilize muscle and blood sugar as you age4
The simple fact of the matter is: when you increase quality protein intake over the basic amount needed for nitrogen balance, then the branch chain amino acids like leucine, which are metabolized in your muscles (not in your liver as are other amino acids), directly and favorably benefit muscle function and health – including enhanced calorie burning by muscle that clearly supports healthy weight loss5.
The FDA also thinks you should have only 65 grams of fat (585 calories or 29 percent of your calories). Of this fat, the FDA wants to make sure you eat very little satisfying and energy producing saturated fat (20 grams, 180 calories), preferring that you get most of your fat from cholesterol-free, inflammation generating vegetable oils. You are supposed to round out this diet with 300 grams in carbohydrates (1200 calories), 60 percent of your calories. 
Attempting to follow FDA guidelines is a fast track to obesity, as you end up eating more food because this ratio of calories causes you to feel unsatisfied, thus you eat more trying to feel full.  Not only that, but new research also shows that eating this way damages your leptin controlled, appetite regulation center in your subconscious brain, literally killing important brain cells, so that you no longer properly get a full signal. 
My recommendations for weight loss, based on helping thousands of people lose weight, is to consume 30 percent protein (600 calories), 30 percent carbohydrates (600 calories), and 40 percent fat (800 calories). Do not snack and do not eat after dinner at night. Eat either two or three meals a day. 
The idea of a 2,000 calorie diet is for food labeling purposes.  Women may need 500 fewer calories and men may need slightly more, but the ratios should stay the same. The heavier your ideal weight and the more active you are, the more calories you can consume. Many Americans are eating 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day, often twice what they actually need. On top of that, a lot of the calories consumed are poor quality junk, adding insult to injury. 
When you reach an ideal weight you can gradually increase carbohydrates to 40 percent – even 50 percent if you are very active. If you are quite active then leave protein at 30 percent, and cut back on fat, if desired. If you are not highly active, yet are at an ideal weight, then eat 25 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates, and 35 percent fat.
On any diet, eat half your fat grams in saturated fat or you will not feel satisfied and you will have trouble sustaining energy between meals, which will cause you to be tired and eat more carbohydrates. Get two to six grams of omega-3 essential fatty acids per day (higher amounts for weight loss and cardio health), and try to consume most of the rest of your fat as omega-9 monounsaturated fat (like olive oil). 
These are the calorie basics for weight loss and weight maintenance. The following information explains why this works.

High Quality Protein for Weight Loss

Protein is made up of various amino acids. In terms of weight loss, scientists are finding that the most important amino acids are the branch chain amino acids, especially leucine. If you get your protein intake high enough, especially in proteins that are rich in leucine, a number of very interesting things happen that can activate a sluggish metabolism and result in weight loss.
One easy way to get a lot of leucine, without any fat, is to use high quality whey protein. Casein, a common dairy protein allergen, is not part of whey protein.  The finest whey proteins use advanced filtration technology to leave all the protein molecules intact. In this process saturated fat, cholesterol, and lactose are removed, yielding a very useful leucine rich food for metabolic enhancement.
The highest sources of leucine containing foods are animal and dairy.  Cottage cheese and red meat top the list; other sources include milk, cheese, eggs, pork, fish, chicken, legumes, peanuts, nuts, and seeds. If you avoid red meat and dairy products, it is harder to get leucine containing foods in higher amounts, though not impossible. Using whey protein makes it easy.  I always recommend individuals stay away from processed soy protein (like soy protein drinks), as it is anti-thyroid in higher amounts.
Eating two eggs for breakfast has been shown to boost weight loss by 65 percent, compared to the same amount of calories from carbohydrates, like a bagel.

How Protein Increases Metabolism

One of the key researchers in this area, Donald Layman, Ph.D.6, from the University of Illinois, has published many papers on the subject.  He has found that the high protein, leucine rich diet, in combination with lower carbohydrates (150 grams or 600 calories per day) is effective to support weight loss, blood sugar metabolism, and a variety of factors that have an impact on cardiovascular health.
His research points out that during weight loss our bodies can easily lose muscle mass (and bone for that matter). Leucine has a direct signaling effect on muscle that prevents muscle loss during weight loss. This means that on a high protein diet, the weight that is lost is mostly fat, not muscle. Whereas on a high carbohydrate weight loss diet, much more muscle is lost.
Leucine directly communicates to insulin, instructing it to work efficiently in muscle. This not only helps preserve muscle mass, but also helps muscles use glucose as fuel, in turn supporting healthy insulin function.
This high protein, leucine rich diet invariably lowers blood levels of triglycerides, which helps leptin7get into your brain easier so that you feel full on fewer calories.  Once leptin gets into your brain correctly, leptin resistance8 is reduced, and your metabolism gets a go signal.  Whey protein is especially helpful in improving your brain’s feeling of food satisfaction9.  Many bioactive peptides in whey regulate appetite, a benefit attainable only from consuming whey protein10 in higher amounts.
The important HDL Cholesterol needs adequate dietary protein in order to form its structure.  We now know that HDL proteins get “spent” as HDL works to help clear LDL cholesterol.  If you don’t have adequate protein you can’t make quality HDL at an optimal rate. A higher protein diet supports HDL formation while lowering triglycerides, a two-pronged benefit that not only helps weight management but also supports a healthier lipid profile for cardiovascular well-being.
Layman points out that having a high protein breakfast11 is needed to maximize these benefits of protein, which is consistent with rule #4 of the Leptin Diet: Eat a breakfast containing protein. 
In order to benefit from high protein for weight loss, the amount of carbohydrates must be reduced, which is rule #5 of the Leptin Diet®: Reduce the amount of carbohydrates eaten. This is because carbohydrates are easy-to-use fuels.  When you eat less, you encourage your body to break down stored fat. You prevent your body from converting muscle protein to fuel (blood sugar) by eating higher protein, thus preserving muscle mass.
Another great reason to eat a high protein breakfast is that it wakes up your liver and gives it something to do.  Your liver is the metabolic factory of your body. A high protein breakfast can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent for as long as 12 hours, the calorie burning equivalent of a three to five mile jog. Fats and carbohydrates are easy for your liver to use, increasing liver metabolism by only four percent, whereas protein must be taken apart and reassembled for use elsewhere in your body. This dynamic effect of protein has recently been shown to be the key in supporting your natural ability to burn fat at a faster rate12 when consuming a diet higher in protein.
All your body structures, many hormones, a lot of enzymes, and neurotransmitters all require special proteins that your liver must help make. Protein showing up at your liver is like 2-by-4-inch lumber and plywood showing up at a home construction job site.  If it isn’t there, not much will get done.
A higher protein diet also has a natural diuretic effect. Individuals with extra weight are often sluggish, and hold extra water. This not only makes their blood pressure go up, as their heart tries to push harder to move the stagnation, but the extra water in connective tissues also gets directly in the way of fat burning. When you eat a higher protein diet then an important blood protein called albumin will increase. As albumin increases, through osmotic force, it draws water back out of your connective tissues, thus helping you get rid of fluid retention. If you have too much inflammation13, then your kidneys may leak albumin into your urine, provoking fluid retention, weight problems, and significant cardiovascular risk.
A major problem of lower protein diets is just the opposite – the more carbohydrates overweight people eat, the more fluids they retain.  Further, higher carbohydrate meals stimulate too much leptin production, in turn provoking leptin resistance and inappropriate desire for more carbohydrates.  Too many carbohydrates cause your willpower to be in a constant wrestling match with out-of-balance leptin.  It is rather obvious from the amount of yo-yo dieting in our society that misguided leptin usually wins.  The best way to win the wrestling match is to not have it in the first place, meaning eat fewer carbohydrates.
When weight is lost on a higher carbohydrate diet it is much more likely that people will hit a plateau in a few months that they cannot get past, long before the goal weight is reached.  Successful ongoing weight loss is much easier, and much less prone to stubborn plateaus, when your basic diet is higher in quality protein.

More Whey Protein Facts

One reason unrelated to weight loss that I really like whey protein is that it helps your body make its most important antioxidant and immune support compound, glutathione.  Forty-five grams of whey protein per day has been shown to boost glutathione levels14 in immune cells by 24 percent over a two week period of intake, whereas 15 grams per day was not effective.  Further, many molecular weights of the proteins are in the immunoglobulin range15, meaning that your body can easily use them, if needed, to mount a more effective immune response.  Leucine, as a key signal for DNA protein synthesis, is important to the rate at which your body can manufacture immune cells16 in a time of need.
Whey protein has been extensively tested as an enhancement to athletic performance17, and has been shown to help build strength18
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a female insulin-resistance and leptin driven endocrine problem that results in obesity, facial hair growth, and acne. Researchers compared a lower calorie diet fortified with 60 grams of whey protein19 compared to 60 grams of carbohydrates. After a two month program the whey protein group lost on average six more pounds of fat, while dropping total cholesterol by 33 more points, compared to the carbohydrate group.
Another study of 95 men and 32 women used a 15 gram whey protein meal replacement for two meals a day for six months, and then switched to one meal replacement per day for six more months. While this amount of whey protein is significantly below what I would recommend to assist weight loss, the results of the trial were still quite good. During the first six months participants lost 20 pounds20 on average. In the next six months, on only 15 grams of whey protein per day, they kept their weight off and lost another two pounds. Further, many key parameters of cardiovascular health and leptin fitness were improved during the study, including decreases in total cholesterol,LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, while HDL Cholesterol increased.
Many people involved alternative health are under the false impression that a high protein diet is acid forming, and thus bad for bones.  Whey protein is actually good for bones21.  Forty grams of whey protein per day for six months increased bone mineral density in young women22 by a statistically significant 1.57 percent, and in postmenopausal women by a statistically significant 1.21 percent.  Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a higher protein diet, is never bad for bones.  In fact, research shows that low protein24 leads to bone loss.  Fruits and vegetables provide the alkaline mineral buffers so that protein can work in a healthy way, including the support of bone growth.  Protecting against bone loss during weight loss is very important; whey protein is an excellent food to have in your corner.
It is true that some people have lost muscle mass, are inactive, and may have significantly compromised health to the point they have some difficulty metabolizing higher amounts of protein (they tend to have difficulty eating almost anything). If you fall into this category, the way to metabolize more protein is to gradually increase your intake while you simultaneously improve your fitness. As you build strength, you will be far healthier, your pH will be better, and you will be able to get the benefits of eating a higher protein diet; for most people, it is simply a matter of increasing protein and reducing carbohydrates. 
Higher amounts of high quality, leucine rich protein are needed for fitness, healthy weight loss, and to maintain weight following a weight loss program. This is one of many important strategies to improve the function of leptin in your metabolism, which is the key to successful weight loss and keeping the weight off once you have lost it.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ High Protein as an Effective Tool for Weight Management  Am J Clin Nutr.   Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M.
  2. ^ Leucine Signals Muscles to Build and Repair  J Nutr.  Michael J. Rennie, Julien Bohé, Ken Smith, Henning Wackerhage and Paul Greenhaff.
  3. ^ Protein Helps Blood Sugar Regulation  J Nutr.   Layman DK, Baum JI.
  4. ^ Protein, Leucine, and Aging  J. Nutr.   Satoshi Fujita and Elena Volpi.
  5. ^ Higher Protein Boosts Muscle Metabolism and Weight Loss  J Am Coll Nutr.   Layman DK.
  6. ^ Leucine Unlocks Metabolic Door  J Nutr.   Layman DK, Walker DA.
  7. ^ High Protein Diets IMprove Your Brain’s Leptin Function  Am J Clin Nutr.  Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, Purnell JQ.
  8. ^ Whey Protein Improves Leptin and Insulin Function  Br J Nutr.   Pichon L, Potier M, Tome D, Mikogami T, Laplaize B, Martin-Rouas C, Fromentin G.
  9. ^ Whey Protein Reduces Appetite  Burton-Freeman BM.  Glycomacropeptide (GMP) is not critical to whey-induced satiety, but may have a unique role in energy intake regulation through cholecystokinin (CCK).
  10. ^ High Whey Protein Intake Reduces Appetite   J Am Coll Nutr.   Luhovyy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH.
  11. ^ Higher Protein Boosts Muscle Metabolism and Weight Loss  J Am Coll Nutr.   Layman DK.
  12. ^ Higher Protein Boosts Fat Burning  Nutrition & Dietetics  Marijka BATTERHAM, Rachael CAVANAGH, Arthur JENKINS, Linda TAPSELL, Guy PLASQUI and Peter CLIFTON. 
  13. ^ Albumin, Fluid Retention, and Cardiovascular Risk   J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich).   Bakris GL.
  14. ^ Whey Boosts Production of Key Glutathione Antioxidant  Int J Food Sci Nutr.  Zavorsky GS, Kubow S, Grey V, Riverin V, Lands LC.
  15. ^ Whey Protein for General Immune Support  Br J Nutr.   Pérez-Cano FJ, Marín-Gallén S, Castell M, Rodríguez-Palmero M, Rivero M, Franch A, Castellote C.
  16. ^ Leucine Helps Immunity  J. Nutr.  Phillip C. Calder.
  17. ^ Whey Protein Isolate Boosts Strength and Body Composition  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care.  Hayes A, Cribb PJ.
  18. ^ Whey Protein Improves Stength from Exercise Training  Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.   Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Carey MF, Hayes A.
  19. ^ Whey Protein Helps PCOS   Fertil Steril.  Kasim-Karakas SE, Almario RU, Cunningham W.
  20. ^ Modest Whey Protein Intake Supports Weight Loss  Am J Clin Nutr.   Keogh JB, Clifton P.
  21. ^ Whey Protein Helps Bones  Br J Nutr.   Kruger MC, Plimmer GG, Schollum LM, Haggarty N, Ram S, Palmano K
  22. ^ Whey Protein Helps Young Women Improve Bone Density  Osteoporos Int.   Uenishi K, Ishida H, Toba Y, Aoe S, Itabashi A, Takada Y.
  23. ^ Whey Protein Helps Postmenopausal Women Build New Bone  Osteoporos Int.   Aoe S, Koyama T, Toba Y, Itabashi A, Takada Y.
  24. ^ High Protein Diets Help Bones, Low Protein Diets Harm Bones   Eur J Nutr.  Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Kiel DP.