Tuesday, April 13, 2010
What may ultimately save your remaining sanity is investing in a "Body Fat" scale, surely you can guess why?
Pick any day here on Spark, the titles of blog after blog after blog after blog read something like this:
"Yippie, I lost 2lbs!!!"
"Oh no, I gained 3 lbs---Help, Help, HELP!!!"
"The scale is FINALLY moving, Yea!!!"
"I'm so depressed!! The scale is moving in the WRONG direction!!!"
Yes, we all know that when it comes to losing weight, losing "body fat" is the tried and true way to do it---both for long term health benefits and long term success in keeping the weight off. Definitely on this point, I should be preaching to the choir, right?
But no, no, a thousand times NO----it's NOT true that "....there's no way for you to know if you are gaining muscle, or losing muscle, or gaining fat, or gaining water weight, etc. etc. etc.". If I see one more person post that in a blog, I'm gonna have a breakdown and go somewhere and eat a box of Girl Scout cookies myself!!!!
Sparkers, a good "Body Fat" scale will give you this exact information ---- A reading on a) your percentage of body fat, b) your lean muscle mass, and c) how well hydrated you are keeping yourself. Using such a scale will let you see exactly the results of your nutritional and fitness plans, allowing you to track LOSSES in body fat, GAINS in lean muscle mass and your maintaining CONSISTENT hydration levels, celebrating all those successes with renewed vigor!
Imagine being able to feel GOOD about sticking to your sorely needed strength training program while seeing an INCREASE on the scale of 1/2 lb of lean muscle mass?
Imagine being able to see your "body fat percentage" decreasing consistently and slowly over a period of time, while the "pounds" number jumps around like a Mexican Jumping Bean (and it doesn't bother you)?
Imagine being able to determine exactly how much of that 7lbs you gained during your weekend chocolate binge was actually, in fact, water weight?
And all this can be yours for a mere $29 or less!!! (Guess work not included)
The more you know! Pass it On!
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." - Lao Tzu
"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still" - Lao Tzu
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates (which make up the majority of most of our diets), your body converts the carbohydrates into simple sugars. These sugars enter the blood, becoming "blood sugar." Your pancreas then releases insulin to stimulate the cells to take in the blood sugar and store it as an energy reserve, returning blood sugar levels to a normal level.
Carbohydrates can be "simple," high-glycemic carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, sugar, white flour and cakes, or "complex" lower-glycemic carbohydrates, like vegetables and whole grains.
Current theory claims that sugars and starches are far easily broken down than in our more prehistoric past, and today, many of us simply do not need and cannot process the amounts of carbohydrates that are considered "normal" by current dietary standards. For an estimated 25% of the population, eating what appears to be a "normal amount" of carbohydrates in fact raises blood sugar to excessive levels. The pancreas responds by increasing the secretion of insulin to the level where it will drive down blood sugar. For this group, consistently eating too many carbohydrates -- but remember, what is too many for this group is not necessarily too many for the average person -- creates a situation called "insulin resistance."
Insulin resistance means that cells have become less responsive to the effects of insulin. So your body has to produce more and more insulin in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The insulin can also remain in your blood in higher concentrations. This is known as hyperinsulinemia.
In addition to those who seem to have a lowered need for carbohydrates, some people simply eat too many carbohydrates. Today's low-fat diets emphasize more and more pasta, bagels, Snackwells, and sugary fat-free products, and most of these are high-glycemic carbohydrates. Basic over-consumption of high-glycemic foods carbohydrates can also trigger insulin resistance and overweight.
If you are insulin resistant, eating carbohydrates can make you crave more carbohydrates. You'll gain weight more easily, and have difficulty losing it. It is estimated that 25 percent of the general population -- and 75 percent of overweight people -- are insulin resistant.
High insulin levels can stimulate your appetite, making you feel even hungrier than normal for carbohydrate rich food, while lowering the amount of sugar your body burns as energy, and making your cells even better at storing fat, and even worse at removing fat.
When you're creating this excess insulin, it also prevents your body from using its stored fat for energy. Hence, your insulin response to excess carbos causes you to gain weight, or you cannot lose weight.
The weight problems are not the worst aspect of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may set up a whole syndrome of other serious health problems. For example, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, which tend to go together, are often precursors of diabetes. And insulin resistance is also associated with a substantially increased risk of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Monday, February 18, 2008
It's started out simple enough ... celebrating Valentine's Day on a date with my daughters ... they do look forward to that every year.
So they usually get to pick where they want to eat ... then they get whatever they want ... dinner, dessert ... run of the house. Ha! I even let them get something to drink BESIDES water (which is the norm). So I was anticipating Outback, Red Lobster or Olive Garden … maybe Carrabba’s. At any of these places, I have my healthy choice already picked.
Picking them up from daycare, I reminded them of the plan ... they could pick dinner and it was MY treat ... but, of course, they had to AGREE among themselves where to go, I was NOT going to take sides. So they whispered amongst themselves while I sliced through traffic ... every now and then telling them I needed a destination to DRIVE to ... finally, they had a decision: Their choice was to have a blanket party at home ... have a picnic on the floor, watch a movie and have ... JUNK FOOD for dinner ... plus root beer floats for dessert.
Now, normal "junk food" dinner for us would be me making them shrimp pasta with a few veggies, maybe spinach or yellow corn ... me having a cucumber & tomato salad for dinner (w/ vinegar and black pepper) and fruit for dessert ... watermelon .... oranges, etc. So I told them it was fine … I was happy to not have to tackle the couple’s crowd at the restaurants … you know the 90min wait time for a table?
Then they “clarified” their request ... "We mean that you will sit on the floor and eat WITH US daddy ... and watch the movie". Again I told them it would be fine ... but they clarified FURTHER, "we mean that you will eat the SAME FOOD that we do ... and have dessert", that's when it hit me!!! So now I became interested in the MENU, having already committed to the date.
They wanted ... chili cheese dogs and Cheetos for dinner WITH soda ... then for dessert root beer floats. Wow!!! They looked at me with eager anticipation ... they reminded me that they came to an AGREEMENT themselves.
So I told them cool ... but we would have to stop by the store to get this garbage (I didn't call it garbage) since we don't keep this foolishness in the house. Usually they HATE going to the grocery store (I guess from all the 'put that back' that they hear?) ... but this time they were eager to go.
So we got to the grocery store ... picked up a hand basket ... they wanted a ride around cart, but we only needed a few items. "But it's OUR Valentine's Day?!?" they whined. Fine!!!!
First stop ... fresh fruit and produce, like always ... I picked up 2 bowls of cut watermelon, 3 cucumbers, 4 tomatoes, and 12 navel oranges ... they looked at me with suspicion ... "Daddy, you're not having THAT for dinner!!!"
"I know", I replied, "this is for tomorrow"
They both gave me the Yeah-Right look that only a 7-9 year old can muster.
Next stop ... snacks aisle ... I told them to just pick out their own snacks, whatever they want. Double picked Bugles (instead of SunChips) and Trouble picked Cheetos (instead of plain popcorn) ... arrrgggggh I thought to myself, but okay, it's THEIR night.
Trying to leave that aisle, they reminded me IN TANDEM that we were not done ... we needed soda. I prayed for strength ... and then told them to have at it, get whatever they wanted. I wondered to myself if I had become one of THOSE parents??? Naw, I thought.... we still have our Wendy's/McDonald's nights ... just few and far in-between.
They surveyed the aisle ... back and forth slowly ... had a mini-conference amongst themselves ... and asked if they had to pick the same soda? "Hey, get your OWN soda ... let's go all out tonight!!!"
So ... Double picked up ... surprisingly Diet A&W Root Beer ... hummm, and Trouble picked up ... more surprisingly, Caffeine Free Diet Coke. I admit I was a little impressed.
We whipped over to the "canned meat" aisle for some chili in a can, I didn't even look at the label, my mind thinking about the sodium content. We kept it pushing over to the hot dogs, opted for the all beef bun length wonder meat ... again thoughts of fat and sodium danced in my head. They even got a pass on picking up some Lunchables for school the next day I was in such a good mood. Finally over to the bread section ... "No whole wheat buns daddy ... cool?". I just nodded seeing that they know all my tricks … they picked up some Wonder Bread white hot dog buns, “Now THESE are REAL hot dog buns, daddy!”. I would save the discussion of processed grains for another battle.
Finally we cut back through the frozen foods section ... I told them to go ahead and get some ice cream ... and just ONE container this time. They raced ahead like a pack of jack rabbits down to the END of the aisle ... and I was a tad confused. I kept walking, watching both of them come to a halt ... staring into the ice cream case in a trance. Catching up to them ... I tried to figure out what was the hold up ...
"Dude … just hurry up and pick some ice cream ...", I said with a snap.
"Wait a second ... !!!", Double told me. I felt decidedly scolded.
She stood there another 20-30 seconds staring into the ice cream case ... then said "Ohhh, there it is!!!"
On the bottom shelf, she had found what she was looking for ... Bryer's No Sugar Added Extra Creamy Vanilla ... looking back at me (with a big smile on my face) ... she asked "What?!?!?", with the cold-snap that only a 9-year old can muster.
"Nothing ... I was just thinking that you're a great kid", I told her.
Of course, she didn't hear me as she choke-slammed the ice cream into the cart (barely missing the hot dog buns) and raced to get in line.
Getting home, they asked if they could cook dinner FOR ME ... cute. Sure, go ahead ... and they proceeded to divide up the “cooking tasks”. Who would do the chili ... who would do the hot dogs ... who would do the buns ... the bugles ... the Cheetos ... ??? Okay, this was turning into a big deal, but they worked it out on their own.
They setup the picnic blanket on the floor and Double checked the status on TiVo ... they had Hannah Montana and Suite Life of Zack and Cody that we could watch while eating. Now if the hot dogs didn't turn my stomach ... I'm sure the shows would.
Dinner was ready and I got to place my order ... just a handful of Cheetos, 2 chili dogs with NO cheese ... add ketchup and mustard ... and Crystal Light to drink (I snuck that one past them).
We sat down ... said our grace ... and got ready to eat ... and I noticed ... both of them were ... looking at me, staring at me ... grinning. "Go ahead daddy ... Eat!!!", said Trouble.
I looked at my plate ... two chili dogs and what must have been 6 kid-sized handfuls of Cheetos ... at least 1500 calories staring back at me with a smirk.
Looking back at my girls grinning at me, I couldn't resist. "What?!?!?", I snapped at them trying to imitate a 9-year old.
They looked at each other ... then back at me, "We just want to SEE if you're really gonna eat that???", Double said.
"Ain't this some bs ....", I thought to myself as I smiled. But I told them, "Hey you guys picked the dinner, of course I'm gonna eat it".
"But you usually only eat healthy food ... ???", again Double being the smart one.
So I put on my thinking caps for a second, seeing that this was a moment for teaching/mentoring...
"Sweetie, I eat all kinds of foods. It's not so important to eat ONLY healthy foods all the time, that's not any fun, is it. It's more important to always pay attention to WHAT you are eating ... and limit junk food to just every now and then ... and of course to exercise every day. Now there used to be a time when I would eat FOUR or FIVE of these chili dogs ... but I don't do that anymore", their eyes got wide with the thought of FIVE chili dogs. "So, yeah I'm gonna eat this ... but it's not like my head is gonna explode or anything … sorry".
"... and daddy, you can have a cucumber if you really want one", said Trouble. I told her I was sure that what I had would be enough, but thanks for thinking about me.
So, we sat there and had our fill of chili dogs and Cheetos. They fixed their root beer floats ... once scoop of ice cream and half a can of soda each ... and they had a good ole time. They even gave me a pass on the dessert, letting me have a bowl of watermelon instead of ice cream, yeah! And hey, even Hannah Montana is not a bad as I though.
Of course, you know … 2AM had me nursing TWO tummy aches … with Fletcher's, ha!
“ … guess we shouldn’t have had those chili dog’s for dinner, huh daddy … ???”, Double asked me as I sent them back to lay down.
“… it was probably all that ice cream we ate, ya know”, Trouble told her sister as she dragged herself back into the bed.
“Just go to bed you two … we’ll all feel better in the morning”, ha!
"He who controls others may be powerful ... but he who has mastered himself is mightier still" - Lao Tzu
Monday, February 11, 2008
So we officially placed our bets this morning at the gym ...
Some of the old time regulars and myself, we hate this time of year, i.e. between New Year's Day and Valentine's Day, that infamous 6-weeks!!!
Why? We lose all our equipment!!!
You see ... between 6am and 8am, the Cybex Total Body machine in the middle of the last row (on the left), that's MY machine ... something about that machine, I just love it. This other guy, he has the treadmill on the row in front of me, all the way to the right. Another guy, he has the Cybex Total Body on the same row as me, but all the way to the left end, etc.
Every year, January 1st, every gym on this end of the galaxy recruits a new flock of eager newbies vowing New Year's resolutions ... and none of these NEW people know the established ownership rules of the gym. So, we have to give up our machines to the new people ... so bright eyed and full of vigor ... in their color coordinated NEW workout gear ... new SHOES even!!!
But (like the health clubs) we've noticed a YEARLY trend ... the first box of Valentine's Day chocolates that hits this bunch square in the gut ... seems to NUKE the will ... the drive ... the motivation right out of them. Sure, they survived other culinary events during this 6-weeks ... but with Valentine's Day coming right on the heels of the nefarious Super Bowl Binge-Fest ... well, both of those pack a powerful one-TWO punch that just gets in your head.
Some will fall off all together .. never to be see again.
Others will try to hang in there ... more or less being the walking wounded ... for another 1-2 weeks.
The last flock, they will actually kick things UP a bit before bowing out ... sort of a last bit of sound and fury ... signifying nothing.
In the end, usually by April Fool's Day, only the true fools will be left ... i.e. the health and fitness NUTS like the rest of us ... those who have actually made all this craziness a "lifestyle", not a diet??? I mean, who really DOES actually ENJOY working out and sweating, honestly??? And what person really does eat enough brocolli, spinach, carrots and veggies in general to appreciate FRUIT as TRULY God's CANDY???
Oh yeah, back to the betting right? So, we placed our bets this morning on who's who and what's what ... who's gonna make the cut and who's gonna bust a gut. Not really much in it for me though, I got MY machine back right after the Super Bowl (must have been the hot wings, beer and pizza they never recovered from).
So to everyone ... Enjoy Candy Week ... See you at the party April 1st?
"He who controls others may be powerful ... but he who has mastered himself is mightier still" - Lao Tzu
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Hey, if you're gonna win a Super Bowl ... knock off an UNBEATABLE undefeated team, da ha!
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