Tuesday, November 30, 2010

too much time, not enough activity

as i've reported in the past, sedentary behavior, of which we are all guilty in the modern society of advanced economies, is killing us. (disclosure: while you sit and read this, i'm typing it standing up at my new upright computer desk. it feels good to be standing.) i'm not going to dwell any further on it other than to say this is the future of exercise prescription: stop sitting. so long as we can impose that institutionally, as in school or work sites, we might be able redirect the downward spiral of health, and the upward spiral of healthcare costs, in our country. if i had the power, i'd outlaw TV; that would improve kids' grades, all our health, and our political discourse. but i don't, so here's my blog today:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just a pint full of water makes the calories go down, the calories go dooown

i read this in another place and now in the ny times, of a study, and other supporting studies, that showed overwt folks told to drink 2 cups of water before meals lost more wt over a 3 month period than did the controls. there are many reasons this may be true: water fills the gut, telling the brain not to eat so much; carbs, when they meet water, expand, puff up, stretching the gut, which then tells the brain it's full; and that much water - for those who've had to prep for a colonoscopy - is damned uncomfortable and makes you sloshy inside. whatever the reason, it seems to work: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/health/16really.html?ref=health

now, there are many good, tried and true ways to cut calories and lose wt. unfortunately, as i've written before, cutting wt is hard to sustain. eating breakfast; exercising at least one hr/day; eating mostly fresh produce - fruits and veggies, and whole grains; eating lots of low fat protein - all these, esp combined almost surely guarantees wt loss. but there's more to wt loss than meets the scale. there's emotion.

many people gain wt for any number of reasons but most if not all fail to lose it for one of three main reasons (my opinion): unwillingness to sacrifice what they deem lifestyle joys; inability to make the choices necessary because of socio-cultural environment; or inability to allow themselves the power to fend off forces outside themselves that impel them to behave against their better, more knowledgeable selves. it's the latter i want to address here.

we all have our emotional baggage. for some -the overwt/obese - some of that baggage is body-shape dependent. having suffered the slings and arrows of some emotional charge, be it parental, familial, schooling, or whatnot, many o/o are damaged goods. they feel bad about themselves, feel less than attractive, less than healthy - and therefore less than what they would like to be. so food, or shall i say, eating, is a refuge of first resort. in other words, even before you can go to the store yourself let alone make enough money to find other 'drugs' - be they real drugs or gambling, or sex, or whatever else people might use to satisfy some inner longing - there's always some food nearby.

for others, it may not be body dependent; it could be self-esteem dependent. that is, for whatever reason, again, these folks use food - excess amounts or the wrong kind - for self medication.

when such people look in the mirror, they simply don't like the person they see. we all tend to look at ourselves the way we think others look at us. we can often justify things by glancing at the wall behind our desk at our diplomas, awards, etc, or maybe at our grandparents' pictures if they somehow bring honor and status to our name if not our selves. but in the end, the mirror of society still pierces the armor and the sadness or the anger manifest in self-destructive food consumption.

now, before you go off the handle here, let me state the obvious. not all o/o people are sad, angry, or low-self-esteemed. it's only in the past 50 yrs that thin took precedence over zaftig - meaty. there's always been chunky, fat, blubbery, etc but today it's so prevalent and so much a national shame and drain, it's no wonder there's so much written and studied about o/o. but the truth is, not everyone can be, nor should be, lean let alone thin. studies have shown that the elderly need to have extra pounds on them in case they get a debilitating disease like cancer. nonetheless, there are many folks out there who neither live in their body's image nor feel any shame about their bodies because they truly have known love from the important people in their lives, and truly love themselves non-narcissistically.

however, 25 yrs in the business of training people, many of whom have at some point discussed their excess wt and even tried over and over again to tame it, has taught me that there's some major emotional distress at not being lean. even if the wt has not contributed to illness or risk of illness, even if the wt does not make them look bad in clothing, even if their signif other does not change the way he/she feels as a result of wt - still, it bugs them so. and when it does, i try to veer them off from their shame and give them sound advice about how they can manage their wt for health, not appearance. as such, drinking two glasses of water, tho it is not that difficult to incorporate, seems to me a drastic alternative to the many other, more healthful ways to cut calories. and not necessarily healthier.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

protein for cardio

in blogs past i've discussed the value of protein for muscle building and muscle training. but there's now a movement afoot to add protein to drinks otherwise reserved for aerobic athletes. based on a few studies that have shown benefits, one needs to look at the quality of these to determine veracity and validity. this ny times piece refers to an article that does and that tests the possibility of adding protein to a beverage for cyclers. the findings are interesting. the conclusion, tho still not yet confirmed, is not unreasonable. but before i take a stand on it, let me say, i'm not a nutritionist, a dietician, nor a biochemist. but i try to look at sports science objectively. as such, i will say this: for most if not all cardio athletes consuming appropriate amounts of calories relative to their athletic and basic needs, adding more protein to a drink WHILE riding or running is not helpful and could be detrimental. since it takes more energy for the body to break it down, and while running or biking you want to spare your energy for your legs, it makes little sense to pay extra for a less-than-pleasant tasting drink that, for the most part, provides the calories you need to keep from bonking. gatorade may be coming out with a product and others will follow, but save protein supplementation for afterwards and for the weight training.

read on: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/do-protein-sports-drinks-improve-performance/?ref=health