Exercise to a Slimmer You? I Think Not!

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And now science is backing me up…

An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight.  It sounds faintly heretical, if not downright facetious. And it’s a scientific discovery that most health professionals are, naturally, keen to downplay. After all, exercise is still good for us. It’s just that, in defiance of decades of New Year resolutions, it’s unlikely to make us slim.

Your weight is determined by the number of calories you eat each day minus what your body uses. Everything you eat contains calories, and everything you do uses calories, including sleeping, breathing, and digesting food. Any physical activity in addition to what you normally do will burn those extra calories.

Balancing the number of calories you expend through exercise and physical activity with the calories you eat will help you achieve your desired weight. The key to successful weight loss and improved overall health is making physical activity a part of your daily routine. But beware of the law of compensation.  Too many of us believe that we can reward ourselves with a delicious goody after putting in time at the gym.  This backfires on us all the time as most of those “goodies” are over the daily caloric allotment needed to help us slim down or keep us from gaining weight.no_dessert

Getting in top shape is not necessarily about a restrictive diet or endless workouts. Yes, it’s important to eat right and train smart, but in reality, it’s about consistency and attention to detail. In addition, the body has very different metabolic needs at different times of day and under differing circumstances.

Here’s a breakdown of what is going on in the body throughout the day, what it needs at that time, and what food combinations will address those needs so fat-loss and muscle-building efforts are optimized.

BREAKFAST

Metabolic State

The body is in a fasted state after up to 12 hours without food. This being the case:

• Carbohydrate energy reserves (glycogen) are low.

• Muscles are in a mild catabolic (muscle-wasting) state.

• Fat stores are also slowly being mobilized and burned.

Metabolic Goals

• Halt muscle catabolism.

• Support ongoing fat metabolism.

• Replenish glycogen reserves.

Nutrient Composition

This will be one of the most important meals of the day. Many of the calories will go toward replacing glycogen reserves and halting the catabolic activities in the body.

• Protein: Use a fast-acting protein that will be absorbed easily and quickly, providing available amino acids.

• Carbs: Try a mix of simple and complex carbs.

• Fat: It is important to get a good dose of essential fatty acids (EFAs—mono- and polyunsaturated fats) in this meal. You can use flax seed oil or canola oil to cook in or add to any of your other foods. Having some walnuts, soy nuts, or sunflower seeds can boost essential fatty acid intake.

healthy meal 2

Sample Meal

Scrambled eggs (2-3 eggs) and one cup slow-cooked, whole-grain oatmeal topped with 1-2 walnuts, sliced strawberries, and berries.

On the run? Try a protein smoothie made with EAS® Lean 15™ protein powder. Blend 2 scoops with skim milk or water, frozen berries, or a banana, and some ice cubes.

Morning Snack

Metabolic State

At this point, the body will be rebounding a bit from its muscle-building breakfast.

Blood sugar levels are probably trailing off.

Hunger is increasing.

Metabolic Goals

Provide muscles with enough energy and sufficient protein to keep them out of catabolism.

Support a moderate and even blood sugar level.

Nutrient Composition

This is a small, balanced snack that focuses on providing enough fuel to keep muscles fed and blood sugar well-balanced.

Protein: Try a mixed protein source that will provide some quick amino acids and additional ones over 2 to 3 hours. Milk is a good choice, as it contains both casein and whey. Or, try a balanced meal-replacement shake providing a mixture of proteins, preferably casein and whey.

Carbs: Focus on getting a moderate amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates The meal-replacement powder and milk will provide the carbs you need.

Sample Meal

EAS Lean 15 protein powder blended with skim milk or water, some ice cubes and a frozen banana

LUNCH

 Metabolic State

The body should be pretty well in equilibrium by now; however:

• The mid-morning snack may have worn off.

• Sustained energy may be needed for afternoon activities.

Metabolic Goals

• Provide muscles with enough energy and sufficient protein to keep them out of catabolism.

• Continue to support a moderate and even blood sugar level.

Nutrient Composition

This is the second largest meal of the day.

•Protein: Try a mixed protein source with more emphasis on the fast-acting proteins such as chicken, fish, whey, or egg. Wilting muscles need to be fed a solid dose of amino acids. But you also want to have some protein to carry over until your next snack.

•Carbs: Focus on low-glycemic carbs, without a whole lot of sugar.

•Fat: This is another opportunity to get in a good dose of EFAs. If you eat fish at this meal, you will naturally get some EFAs. If not, add EFA-rich foods, just like at breakfast.

healthy meal3

Sample Meal

A skinless, grilled chicken breast; ½-1cup cooked brown rice (amount varies depending on overall energy requirements; ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese topped with berries.

Afternoon Snack

 Metabolic State

At this time in the afternoon, there is a good chance the body is experiencing an energy slump. This will be the result of a combination of the following:

• Blood sugar levels have gotten a bit low in a rebound response to the calorie dose at lunch.

• Muscles are likely to be slightly catabolic.

Metabolic Goals

• Ease blood sugar levels back up.

• Halt muscle catabolism.

Nutrient Composition

This is a small, balanced snack that focuses on providing enough fuel to keep muscles fed and get blood sugar back on track.

• Protein: Use a fairly slow-acting protein. Casein is a good choice because of its slow rate of digestion. There are many nutrition bars that are casein-based (eg, milk protein concentrate) that would work well.

• Carbs: Focus on carbs that will mildly elevate your blood sugar. Look for a nutrition bar with low sugar content.

Sample Meal

EAS® AdvantEDGE® Medifast™ nutrition bar

DINNER

 Metabolic State

This meal is important, since it is the last food the body will get for the next 12 hours or so. Here’s what’s happening, and will be happening overnight, in the body:

• Overnight your body will be mostly anabolic (muscle-building) up until about midnight to 2 am. Then it typically turns catabolic, burning glycogen, muscle, and fat.

Metabolic Goals

• Turn muscles from catabolic to anabolic.

• Sustain the overnight anabolic state as long as possible.

• Help your body focus on using fat for energy versus muscle protein or glycogen during the later catabolic stage of sleep.

healthy meal

Nutrient Composition

This is when it pays to keep the carbs low and pack in the protein. Also include a moderate dose of fat in this meal.

• Protein: You want to focus on slow-acting protein because in order to help fuel muscles all night, you want a protein that will release amino acids into your bloodstream throughout the night. Three good choices for the slow-acting protein are lean red meat, fish,  and casein.

• Carbs: Focus on fiber-rich, low-sugar sources of carbohydrates

• Fat: Add good sources of fat to this meal. Examples of these fats include canola oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Sample Meal

Lean sirloin steak; spinach salad topped with diced tomatoes and mushrooms and balsamic dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar); half a baked sweet potato topped with a tablespoon of lowfat cottage cheese.

BE SMART

Eat wisely and often, watching your caloric intake and GI index selections. Some foods are healthier than others and that means you can have a larger (but not too large) portion. Exercise daily but be moderate.  A 30 minute brisk walk is more effective than a 90 minutes weight lifting session. And don’t forget that 7-8 hours of sleep and plenty of water during your day, round out the weight loss equation.

You CAN lose weight, just not through hard exercise!

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About leisatwatkins

In May 2011, I hit an all time low in my life and an all time high in my weight. I was 199 pounds and the idea of hitting 200 scared me. I had tried every known diet, HCG, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, the grapefruit diet. I'd even tried Phen-phen when I was younger and Dexatrim before that. While I'd lose a little weight, I would always gain it back and then more. I knew the yo-yo dieting was not healthy for my body and it was definitely wreaking havoc on my mental wellness. I didn't know what to do and I was looking into taking drastic surgical measures to lose weight. That's when a friend of mine told me his story about losing over 200 pounds without pills, surgery, or starving himself. Not only did he lose the weight, but he kept it off. What did I have to lose? I asked him to share the secret with me. Now, only six short months later, I weigh 140 lbs and am working on losing 5 more. That will put me back to my weight that I was in HS, college, and before I had children. And I've done it with my friend's help as my Health Coach, without starving or even exercising, although I love to walk everyday. I haven't felt hungry at all in this process. How many "diets" can say that? I feel fantastic! I've felt great since the first week on this program. Let me be very clear about this. This is NOT a diet. This is not something you do for a little while, lose the weight, then go back to your old eating habits. This program is a life changing plan to help you eat healthier, make food choices that are tailored to your body, and bring you to a state of optimal physical health. If like me, you are tired of diets that don't work, then let me show you a life style plan that does.

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