Thursday, September 15, 2011
Have your weight-loss efforts hit a wall? These tips will help you figure out why you've hit a plateau, and what you can do to move past it.
By Dr. Natasha Turner ND Thu Aug 25 2011
When we change our diet, cut our calories and begin a fitness plan, we typically alter our energy expenditure by taking in fewer calories than we burn. At first, this imbalance helps fat loss because it makes the body tap into fat stores for fuel. Our body prefers balance, though, so it gradually adjusts to our changes by burning fewer calories in order to protect its fat reserves. This is usually when we stop seeing the same results, and hit a weight-loss plateau.
A weight-loss plateau may occur because:
- Your body simply needs a "rest" period to adapt to calorie reduction.
- Your current calorie intake may be in balance with your calorie expenditure.
- You have reduced your calorie intake by too much. Excess calorie cutting prompts your body to respond by slowing down your metabolism in order to conserve calories. You're also at risk of losing muscle with excessive caloric restriction.
- During weight loss, water is generated in the body as a normal part of fat metabolism. This process can lead to water-related weight gain.
- A hormonal imbalance is interfering with your body's ability to burn fat.
- For women, fluctuations of a few pounds may also be related to their menstrual cycle or water retention.
What can you do to break through a plateau?
The two most important steps in getting your weight loss moving again are altering your eating habits, and changing your exercise program to challenge your body and shake things up. You must also honestly evaluate your lifestyle and any negative symptoms you may be experiencing to determine why you've hit a plateau.
Here are a few ideas to help you power past a weight-loss stall:
1. Take tyrosine to boost your dopamine: Tyrosine is an amino acid – a building block of dopamine and thyroid hormones in the body - and a supplement available at most health-food stores. It takes four weeks to reach its full effectiveness; sometimes starting this at the beginning of a weight-loss program is a good idea since studies show levels of dopamine decrease after a few weeks. As a brain chemical, dopamine influences pleasure, alertness, learning, creativity, attention and concentration -- and naturally suppresses appetite and aids weight loss.
The trouble is, as you lose weight, dopamine (your fat-loss friend) tends to take a dip. It's just one of the ways your body works against you by attempting to maintain the status quo. But you can wake up your metabolism by supplementing with 1,000 mg of tyrosine each morning on an empty stomach. Since tyrosine increases the production of both dopamine and thyroid hormone, it could give you just the boost you need to push past your plateau.
2. Mix up your workout: Fire up your metabolism (and calorie expenditure) by increasing your activity level. This simple step can "reboot" your metabolism and restart your weight loss. For example, if you usually exercise for 20 minutes each day, try 25-30 minutes daily. If you are already exercising for a sufficient length of time, increase the intensity. Do 15-20 minutes of interval training instead of 30 minutes at a slower pace. Varying your workout routine can also help.
3. Try cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach: If you can manage it, try doing a 30-minute cardio workout (no longer!) first thing in the morning before breakfast. Why? In some cases, this technique may be just the trick your body needs to kick-start your metabolism.
4. Pump some iron: Remember, muscle is metabolically active tissue. Muscle mass determines our basal metabolic rate (i.e., the number of calories we burn daily while at rest). The more muscle we have, the more fat we can potentially burn, even while sitting around or sleeping. If your fat loss continues to stall, boost the intensity of your strength-training routine by increasing the amount of weight you lift. A personal trainer may be an excellent investment at this point, even for just a few sessions to get you back in gear.
5. Be sure to rest and recuperate: Recovery is an essential part of your exercise program. Proper rest allows your muscle fibres to grow and prevents the elevation of cortisol and other stress hormones that can happen when we over-train. Track your resting heart rate immediately after you wake up for about a week or two. An increase from one week to the next could be a sign of overtraining. Remember, excess cortisol tears down the muscle tissue you've worked so hard to gain, which will ultimately cause your metabolism to slow down.
6. Keep a food diary: If you feel your nutrition is off track but can't figure out where you're going wrong, try keeping a food journal. You may start to recognize dietary saboteurs, which can help you get back on track. Have a professional nutritionist or naturopathic doctor assess your diet if necessary.
7. Ensure your weight loss expectations are realistic: Safe weight loss is one to two pounds of fat per week. During the first few weeks of a weight-loss program, you may lose more than that, although most of it is water. After losing this initial weight, people tend to lose an average of one pound a week, which is still considered good progress (even a few pounds a month is good).
8. Drink plenty of water: As fat cells begin to shrink, they release toxins that need to be removed from our system by our liver, kidneys and digestive tract. If we don't take in enough water to support these processes, the toxins may interact with our hormones and cause increased fat storage or inability to burn fat. Water can also help make us feel full and regulate our appetite, as many of us mistake thirst for hunger. To calculate how much water you need, multiply your body weight by 0.55. Divide the result by eight to determine the number of cups you need to drink each day.
~ Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and her newest release, The Supercharged Hormone Diet, now available across Canada. She is also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
I know I'm late on posting this but for those of you who couldn't or didn't attend, you may find The Toronto Star coverage of the event interesting. It's quite long but I thought it was worth going through. Lots of good photos and nice messages:
And, for those of you who don't know who Jack Layton was, he was the leader of the federal NDPs (New Democratic Party) and the head of the Official Opposition in Canada's House of Parliament where the NDP was the Official Opposition party for the first time in Canada's history. And, I have been a strong NDPer for most of my voting life as my parents were. And, I'm very sad that he died because I believe that it's because of him that the NDP got so many votes in our recent federal election.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
4-1HEALTHYCYNDI posted this blog on her Spark Page & since I do blogs so rarely, I thought I'd post it too:
ABCs about Me:
A - available? Hm… that’s a loaded question. I’m always available to my friends, but not for romance… DH would frown on that.
B - birthday: May 12
C - chocolate: Lindor or Dove
D - drink you last had: ginger ale
E - easiest person to talk to: my sister
F - favorite song: Paradise City by Guns 'n Roses
G - gummy bears or gummy worms: Bears
H - happy: mostly
I - in love with: kind of a silly question isn't it? DH (Jake)
J - juggle: the kind where you throw things in the air? Not so much. Life, pretty well.
K - killed someone: not recently
L - longest car ride: from Hamilton, Ontario to Chicago or Hamilton to Sault Ste Marie (both about 10 hours)
M - milkshake flavor: vanilla
N - number of siblings: 4
O - one wish: no more pain
P - person you called last: Jake
Q – Quality or quantity? QUALITY!!!!
R - reason to smile: family
S - song you last sang: Come on Over by Shania Twain
T - time you woke up: today at 9:07 a.m.
U - underwear color: black
V - vegetable(s): squash - zucchini, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.
W - worst habit: lazy
X - X-rays you've had: right arm, chest, ankle
Y - yoyos are: a toy I never mastered
Z - zodiac sign: Taurus
Random questions about you:
Spell your name without vowels: Jnn
Your favorite number: 8
What color do you wear most? Blue
Least favorite color: brown
What are you listening to? my soap
Are you happy with your life right now? mostly
What was your favorite class in school? English
When do you start back at school/college? Probably never
Are you outgoing? Sometimes
Favorite pair of shoes: Lands End sandals
Can you tie a cherry stem with your mouths? Never really tried
Can you whistle? Yes
Cross your eyes? No
Walk with your toes curled? Why?… no
Do you believe there is life on other planets? Yes
do you believe in miracles? Yes
Do you believe in magic? Yes
Love at first sight? Yes
do you believe in Santa? I believe in the essence of Santa.
do you know how to swim? yes but I can't hold my breath
Do you like roller coasters? NO!!!
Do you think you could handle the stuff they eat on those reality shows? NO!!!
have you ever been on a plane? Lots of times
Have you ever asked someone out? Yes
Have you ever been asked out by someone? Yes
what is the temperature outside? 64 right now at 10:53 p.m..
what radio station do you listen to? Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), 107.1 (classic rock), 102.1 (new rock), 97.7 (rock) and 107.9 (classic rock)
what is the last restaurant you ate at? Thirsty Cactus
What is the last thing you bought? groceries
What was the last thing on TV you watched? PVRed - my soap; TV - the end of Monsters & Aliens
Who was the last person you took a picture of? Jake
Who did you last webcam with? I've never webcammed
who was the last person you said I love you to? Jake (DH)
Ever really cried your heart out? Yes
Ever cried yourself to sleep? Yes
Ever cried on your friend's shoulder? Not recently, but yes
Do you cry when you get an injury? Sometimes
Do certain songs make you cry? not cry but I do get choked up sometimes
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