Category Archives for Lose Fat

Don’t Be Fooled, Treadmills Are Miserable

The treadmill ruins the simplicity of running and packages the sport as a commodity.

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

 

You subject yourself to the soul-crushing boredom and repetition of chugging away on the treadmill 3-4 times a week, just like your doctor and your trainer told you to, but you’re not losing any weight – what’s up with that?

 

Guess what?  There’s good scientific evidence that you’ll never lose weight this way – here’s why:

Exercise Makes You Hungry

If you’re like most people, your diet and exercise regimen is a kind of metaphorical treadmill.  You’re simply chasing the calories you consume with exercise and then wolfing down extra calories to satisfy your post-workout hunger. Studies show that most people who chase calories with exercise and exercise with calories in this way end up consuming more than they burn, thus defeating the purpose of the whole enterprise.

Long sessions of slow cardio make you hungry, and hunger leads to overeating and bingeing.  Sounds pretty depressing, right?  What can you do to get off this metaphorical treadmill from hell?  First, get off the treadmill and out of the gym.  The commodification, mechanization and marketing of exercise is like packaged food – it’s designed for profit, not to help you lose weight.

New research shows that intensity is much more important than time when it comes to the benefits of exercise.  So find some activity you love – be creative – think tree-climbing, surfing, dancing, anything that involves whole-body multi-planar movements.  Now remove the repetition, guilt, and fear of failure that saps most people’s motivation.  You don’t have to do it every day, and you don’t have to do the same exercise every day.  Just try to get outside and move a few times a week.  As an added bonus, doing it in the morning sunshine will elevate your mood and help you sleep better.

 

Exercise Makes You Lazy

Behavioral Compensation” is the term scientists use to describe the phenomenon of laziness after a workout.  It’s impossible to get past the mathematics of this problem: roughly 80% of the calories you burn every day come from “NEAT” which is an acronym for non-exercise activity thermogenesis.  This 80% includes all the calories you burn when you’re not exercising.  It turns out that after you go to the gym you’re much more likely to take the elevator than bounce up the stairs, and at the end of the day you’ll probably find yourself laying on the sofa rather than taking an evening stroll.  The fact that so many more of your daily calories are burned during rest amplifies this problem – extra calories burned at the gym are easily erased by your post-workout lethargy.

 

You Burn Fewer and Fewer Calories

The scientific news gets even worse.  Metabolic compensation is the term used to describe the well-documented phenomenon of a decrease in your metabolic rate in response to weight loss.  This is the reason that most of the winners on the TV show The Biggest Loser ended up gaining the weight back in a follow-up study.  There is a way to beat this effect and again it involves multi-dimensional whole body holistic movements (anything that’s not mechanized) and intensity.  The more muscle fiber you activate in the time you spend exercising the greater the effect on your resting metabolic rate.

 

Repetition is Anti-Motivational

Boredom and repetition kill your motivation.  This is why the gym is such a toxic environment for fitness – every machine is designed around the concept of mechanized, repetitive, linear movement focused on the fevered enlargement of select body parts.  Psychological studies show that the best way to get and stay motivated is to continually challenge yourself with tasks which are not so easy that they’re boring but just hard enough that you need to focus your efforts and step outside your comfort zone.  Working hard to achieve these tasks will place you in a state of “flow” and give you a sense of mastery and purpose.  You will then be motivated to move on to the next challenge just beyond your comfort zone, which is the opposite of what repetitive treadmill workouts will do to your motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Cool, New Weight Loss Gadgets from CES 2017

From a bed that will practically rock you back to sleep to a device that could get your kids more active, here are 10 of the best health and weight-loss gadgets that debuted at CES.

Read the full article at: www.eatthis.com

Save your money on fitness trackers that don’t work, and invest in a sleep gadget.

Sleep the Weight Off

Hit the gym? or stay in bed? – Guess what? An hour of good quality sleep will do more to help you lose weight than an hour at the gym.  The reason is simple.  If you’re like most Americans you’re probably sleep-deprived.  Even if you spend 7+ hours in bed every night (which you probably don’t) you’re not getting all the restorative deep sleep your body needs.

Lack of sleep may be the primary reason you overeat because sleep regulates the hunger hormone ghrelin and the “I’m full” hormone leptin.  It also increases the stress hormone cortisol which stores more body fat and stimulates endocannabinoid production, which gives you the munchies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that sleep deprivation increases your risk of obesity.

Alcohol and Blue Light

The most common offenders when it comes to sleep deprivation are alcohol and blue light.  While alcohol seems to make you sleepy, it actually suppresses the deepest, most restful phase of sleep which is critical in hormonal regulation and appetite control.  The blue light emitted by LED devices like smartphones and televisions suppresses the natural rising wave of melatonin in your body as the sun goes down.  Melatonin, along with adenosine, which builds up throughout the day with physical activity, are important sleep-inducing signals.  So the worst thing you can do before bed is have a nightcap and stare at your iPhone.  The best thing you can do is dim the lights, have a cup of chamomile tea, and listen to an audiobook.

Gadgets That Work

There are lots of gadgets out there to help you sleep better, like a “smart bed” which debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.  It detects movement and actually adjusts to your sleep position to make you more comfortable.  It also lifts your head if you’re snoring.  By morning it has compiled all your movements and vital signs into an overall sleep score, so you can track your progress.

The Sleep Number 360

 

Light Therapy

Turning off the tech an hour before bedtime is the low-tech way to go, but if you’re a gadget freak like me, wake-up glasses and a smart sleep mask is the way to use chronotherapy to gain control of your body’s circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycle).  Both Ayo and Neuroon use light to adjust your sleep cycle, so if you work long hours or travel a lot, this may be the solution for you.

Ayo and Neuroon use light to adjust your sleep cycle

 

The Coolest Looking New Sleep Gadget

Sense is definitely the coolest looking new sleep gadget, and my favorite because you can totally geek out on the features and analytics.  It’s voice activated, emits ambient sounds to help you get to sleep and remain in deep sleep, and monitors your sleep and environment.  Waking up from the deepest phases of sleep can leave you feeling groggy, stuck in so-called “sleep inertia“.  Sense beats sleep inertia by waking you up during the lightest phase, so you feel energized and refreshed.  The analytics include detailed breakdowns of your sleep cycle and all kinds of dorky metrics you can follow such as as wake variance, with suggestions on how to improve them.

Geek out on the coolest looking sleep gadget

 

There’s even a pillow, called Dreampad, which converts sounds into vibrations, with some scientific evidence backing up its effectiveness.  Finally, the Nightingale, which intelligently cancels bedroom noise, is based on research showing that, especially in cities, noise is a significant factor in sleep deprivation.

Wearable Fitness Devices Don’t Seem to Make You Fitter

Fitbits and Apple Watches and the like may have their uses, but they don’t appear to be effective in weight loss.

Read the full article at: www.nytimes.com

 

This may sound bizarre, but a very well-designed scientific study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those who used a fitness tracker lost less weight than those who did not.  The reasons for this paradoxical finding were not clear, but it ought to give us all pause.  Would you willingly spend money on a device that is likely to confound your efforts to lose weight?

 

I for one am not surprised.  I can think of several possible reasons why fitness trackers don’t help, and may even hinder weight loss:

  • They are based on the old “calories in minus calories out” model of weight loss
  • They encourage slow cardio which makes you eat more, and they ignore your resting metabolism
  • They give you an excuse not to exercise with intensity, which is the key to boosting metabolism

The Debunked “Calories In Minus Calories Out” Weight Loss Model

If it were nothing more than a simple elementary school math problem, then anyone would be able to lose weight and keep it off.  Of course we all know this isn’t the world we live in. Modern research has shown that the role of metabolic adaptation, the effects of macronutrient types and ratios on fat storage, and the psychology of hunger all play confounding roles in this deceptively simple equation.

If you’re still counting calories and chasing them with exercise, then you’re focusing your time and energy on the wrong things.  Shifting your focus to hunger management and metabolic modulation with macronutrient ratios will get you the results you’re after much quicker without ever having to set foot in a gym or on a scale.

Slow Cardio Makes You Hungry

Fitness trackers just accumulate and sum the total of all calories you burn, and all activity calories are not equal.  You are likely to replace all the calories you burn doing slow cardio, because it makes you hungry and provides an easy rationalization for eating more.

One study showed that people increase their food intake after exercise.  This effect may be psychological – you think you’ve burned more calories than you have – or hunger-related, or a combination of both.  A review of studies found people generally overestimated how much energy exercise burned and ate more when they worked out.  Fitness trackers only make this problem worse because they can easily convince you that your step count for the day has earned you that extra slice of pizza or mochaccino, which will be just enough to put you into positive calorie balance, and thus weight gain territory, for the day.

The real beneficial effect of exercise is that it increases your resting metabolic rate, known by the scientific acronym “NEAT” (non exercise activity thermogenesis).  The majority of the calories you burn throughout the day, up to 80%, come from NEAT.  Even a brief burst of intense exercise, as short as one minute, can have an effect on your resting metabolism, which will increase your calorie burn all day – while sitting at your desk, driving, and even sleeping!  Fitness trackers discourage the type of exercise that has the greatest effect on NEAT, while encouraging slow cardio, which results in overeating.

Fitness Trackers as An Excuse

It’s the end of the day, you’re exhausted.  Your tracker has your step count over 10,000, so you figure you’re good, and head to the bar for happy hour.  Sound familiar?  If you’re using your activity tracker as an excuse to be lazy and avoid working out then it’s no wonder the study showed that people had a harder time losing weight with a tracker than without one.  The most intense form of exercise gives your metabolism the most powerful boost.  Also, maintaining that level of intensity as you get older is the primary way to halt or even reverse the effects of aging.

According to Ned Overend, the 59-year-old National Fat Bike Champion

“Training with an emphasis on high-intensity intervals has been my preferred method of preparing for races throughout my career. I’ve learned that by reducing volume, I’m more rested for high-intensity sessions, and by being rested I can push myself harder during the intervals.”

So if you’re using a fitness tracker as an excuse to avoid intense exercise, to eat more, or to skip workouts altogether, you’re probably  better off selling it on eBay and start losing weight the low-tech way with the rest of us.

 

 

Weight loss that works: A true story – Harvard Health Blog

This story combines science and a physician’s personal experience to shed light on the basics of how to really lose weight.

Read the full article at: www.health.harvard.edu

 

Pretty amazing that Harvard is still publishing articles suggesting that weight loss is all about counting calories and chasing them with exercise.  The astonishing growth in the numbers of obese and overweight Americans over the last 30 years is all the evidence necessary to prove beyond any doubt that this approach, which has been sold over and over to Americans in the form of the latest diet bestseller, doesn’t work.  If it did, those millions of books sold would translate into millions of pounds lost.

 

The new science of weight loss that actually works for the long term is about 3 ideas that have nothing to do with counting calories or “burning” them off.  These 3 concepts are so simple that you can discover them yourself, in your daily life, without having to buy any apps, books, videos, devices, or prepared food.  They are:

  1. Hunger Management
  2. Metabolism Change
  3. Mindless Eating

Hunger Management

Your Own Research Laboratory

You definitely don’t need to read a bunch of books or scientific studies to figure out a simple fact that we all know to be true from our own experience – some foods make you hungry and some fill you up.  This is easy enough to research in the laboratory of your own body.  Eat a bowl of steel-cut oats with coconut milk, coconut flakes, cinnamon and fresh or frozen berries for breakfast one day.  The next day eat cereal from a box or go to a drive-thru and order pancakes with maple syrup, or grab a sack of your favorite donuts or pastries.  Each day look at your watch when you first start feeling hungry, and then again when you’re so famished that you can think of nothing but food.  I notice that I salivate more when I first start feeling hungry and I get a hollowed-out achy feeling behind my eyes when I’m starving.  You’ll be amazed at how much longer the whole grains and healthy fats will keep you satisfied versus the flour and sugar of the processed breakfast foods.  The hunger spike will be less sudden and less intense, and your craving for sweets will be noticeably reduced.

Why Some Diets Seem to Work

Diets that seem to “work” don’t consist of magic ingredients or special timing, they simply replace some of your empty, hunger-stimulating calories (alcohol, sugar, refined carbs) with more wholesome, hunger-suppressing calories (whole grains, protein, healthy fats).  The result is less intense, less frequent hunger spikes with reduced sweet cravings.  You will naturally eat less throughout the day and you will be much less prone to overeat.  Try whole grains without added sugar for breakfast and 2 palm-sized portions of protein with lunch and dinner.  Anyone can do this right now and start losing weight immediately without counting a single calorie, setting foot in a gym or stepping onto a scale.

 

Metabolism Change

It’s a Scary Word

Metabolism is a scary word because most people believe (falsely) that they are destined to be fat forever because they can’t change their metabolism.  At the same time, most people don’t even know the meaning of the word.

What Does it Mean?

Metabolism is the way your body acquires, stores, and burns the energy you need to live, and there are some very simple steps you can take to modify and control it.  The simplest and most effective way is through the macronutrient ratio of your diet.  “Macronutrient” is another scary word that most people don’t understand – it simply means whether a food is a protein, carb, or fat (or combination).  New research shows that the macronutrient ratio of your diet is an important determinant of how your body stores fat.

How to Store Less Body Fat

if you are overweight or obese, it’s very likely that your diet consists of a lot sugar (anything that tastes sweet) or refined carbohydrates (anything that comes in a box, package, or bag).  These foods are mainly metabolized (broken down and stored as energy) in the liver, and they cause the buildup of the most harmful type of fat, known as “visceral” or deep belly fat.  Over time, your body stores more and more of the calories you eat as this deep fat, regardless of how many calories you count or try to reduce.  This is why simply cutting calories and eating only cake and ice cream won’t work – your body will just keep storing more fat.  On the other hand, if you replace some of your sugar and refined carbs with protein and healthy fats (see above) you will begin storing less body fat without counting or cutting a single calorie.

 

A Palm of Protein, A Fist of Veggies

The way to do this is by planning and preparing healthy meals in advance.  Every meal should have at least a palm-sized portion of protein and a fist-sized portion of veggies.  This is simple to eyeball when you’re preparing meals in bulk.  Reducing the ratio of sugar and refined carbs in your diet and replacing those calories with protein and healthy fats will control your hunger better and make you less prone to mindless snacking and overeating. 

 

Stop Chasing Calories With Exercise

Do you think you should exercise to burn calories?  Think again. Research shows that the calories burned by exercise are quickly replaced by more calories, but that doesn’t mean that exercise is useless for weight loss.  On the contrary, exercise can increase your resting metabolism, known by the scientific acronym “NEAT” (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which means you will burn more calories while sitting at your desk, driving your car, even while sleeping!  If you have a busy life you’re in luck – new research has revealed that tiny micro-workouts of as little as 1 minute of intense exercise a few times a week can give you the same benefit as suffering through hours of soul-crushing boredom at the gym.

 

Mindless Eating

Eating Over The Sink

Do you eat standing in front of an open fridge? Or over the kitchen sink?  Do you stuff the last few fries from the bottom of the bag into your mouth regardless of how soggy, greasy, and unappetizing they look?  Do you eat cookies, cereal, or ice cream out of the bags, boxes, or buckets they were packaged in?

 

These are all mindless eating practices and according to researcher Brian Wansink, we can all very easily reduce our calorie intake by 20-40% with a few simple practices that make us more mindful of what and how much we are eating.

 

Bag It Up

The first simple step is to buy some small sandwich-sized clear slider-zipper baggies.  The ones with the actual slider (not the ziplock type) work best because they are quick to open and close and you can always tell when they’re fully closed so your food stays fresher.  When you get home from shopping take all snack foods, including fruits and nuts out of their original packaging and divide them into the small baggies.  It doesn’t really matter how full you make them because research demonstrates that we eat less when we dispense food from smaller containers.  Also when you’re eating from a small baggie, the extra work and motivation required to get up and grab another one serves to inhibit bingeing on the whole box, which – let’s face it – we’ve all done.

What You See Is What You Eat

The Next step is to carefully position these baggies of snacks – healthy snacks like nuts and fruits in front of the shelf and at eye level, and put cookies and chocolates in the back and high up or low down.  When you store leftovers in the fridge, cover the healthy ones like tuna, veggies, and salads with clear plastic wrap and place them at eye level.  Cakes and pies get wrapped in foil and placed in the back.

Small Plate – Lose Weight

Instead of standing up and noshing in front of the fridge or over the sink, put your snack on a small plate and sit down to eat it, preferably with utensils.   Research also shows that you will eat less from a small plate, especially one whose color contrasts sharply to the food on it.

Hunger Game

We’ve all had the experience of eating until we are full, only to feel uncomfortably stuffed 20 minutes later.  This is because there is a 20-minute delay in communication between the stomach and the brain.  The way to overcome this obstacle is by teaching yourself the Japanese art of “Hara Hachi Bu” which means eating until you are 80% full.  This might sound difficult at first but here is a simple step-by-step:

 

  • Sit down to a meal when you’re hungry
  • Eat as slowly as possible (remember the 20-minute stomach-to-brain delay)
  • Notice when you are still enjoying the meal but the hunger is gone
  • Notice when you are just starting to feel stomach pressure (imagine another bite, will it make you feel better or worse?) this is the 80% full threshold
  • Notice when you are stuffed (another bite and you will explode)

Woo-Hoo!  You are now a Hara Hachi Bu Master!  You have established 3 thresholds: hunger-gone, stomach pressure, and stuffed.  It may take you 20 meals or so to get used to these sensations but try finding a sweet spot somewhere between hunger-gone and first stomach pressure.  This can translate into a weight loss of a pound a week or more, again without counting a single calorie or setting foot in a gym or on a scale.

 

What are you waiting for?  Get Started!

 

 

How To Crush Unhealthy Cravings in 3 Minutes – PsyBlog

This distraction enough to reduce common cravings by 24%.

Read the full article at: www.spring.org.uk

 

Counting calories and chasing them with exercise doesn’t work.  The only successful path to sustainable weight loss is hunger management.  That’s why calorie-free craving crushers are incredibly powerful psychological tools that you can put to use right away and start seeing immediate results.

This article reports that simply playing tetris for 3 minutes can actually reduce cravings by 24% – how awesome is that?

Professor Jackie Andrade, an author of the study, explained:

Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring. Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.

This theory, known as Elaborated Intrusion, postulates that imagery is central to craving.  Think about the last time you had a craving for a slice of pizza or pecan pie – you probably had an image in your mind of the sensation of that hot spicy melted cheese or those sweet crunchy pecans stimulating your tastebuds – the sweet and salty tastes, the smooth & crunchy mouth-feel.  It turns out that you can trick your brain with simulations of those images or even by blocking them out altogether.

Here are some more calorie-free craving crushers that really work:

Scientists at the University of London are developing a new high-tech brand of cutlery that could seriously curb your salty and sweet cravings.   Taste Buddy uses a low-level electrical current to stimulate the tongue’s taste buds — to fool people into thinking they are trying sweet or salty flavors, basically making vegetables taste like chocolate – or whatever you want them to taste like.

Read more about it at:

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.popsugar.com

www.digitaltrends.com

I love the idea of a spoon that stimulates taste receptors because it addresses the psychology of hunger which is the most commonly ignored weight loss obstacle.

There are other, simpler calorie-free ways to stimulate taste receptors and curb cravings.  My favorite ones are:

  • Textures – the smooth surface of frozen blueberries sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes has an incredible mouth feel that beats an ice cream sundae with sprinkles
  • Bubbles – club soda tingles in your mouth and the bubbly feel lingers all the way down to your belly and suppresses cravings much better than water – try adding a slice of fresh lemon
  • Temperature Contrasts – put an ice-cold frozen raspberry on a spoonful of piping hot whole grain oatmeal – it’s like bread pudding with a gumdrop on top
  • Spices – add cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder to your coffee
  • Aromas – try a sweetly scented candle
  • Extracts – I put almond or vanilla extract into my coffee grounds before brewing

 

 

12 Strategies for a Successful Meal Prep Day

One common strategy for saving money on food that shows up in a lot of frugality books and on many frugality websites is the idea of a “meal prep day,” sometimes simply called “meal prep Sunday” because people often use a Sunday to do it.

Read the full article at: lifehacker.com

Still Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise?

This is a great post about the financial and time-management advantages of a meal-prep day.  But the most significant benefit of prepping meals in advance is fitness and weight loss, because it gives you control over the factors that will help you lose weight much more efficiently than counting calories and chasing those calories with exercise:

  1. Hunger Management
  2. Macronutrient ratios that affect metabolism
  3. Mindless Eating

Still Eating Over The Sink?

If you’re like most Americans, you probably do at least some of the following:

  • Wait until you’re hungry to eat, then eat until you feel full
  • Have no idea what a macronutrient is and how they affect your hunger and metabolism
  • Eat at your desk, in your car, at the drive-through, or standing over a sink or in front of an open fridge or over a paper towel without utensils

If you could change those habits tomorrow it would have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight – so huge that you could skip counting calories and going to the gym altogether – seriously!

Palms of Protein, Fists of Veggies

The way to do this is by planning and preparing healthy meals in advance.  Every meal should include at least 2 palm-sized portions of protein and 2 fist-sized portions of veggies.  This is simple to eyeball when you’re preparing meals in bulk.  Reducing the ratio of sugar and refined carbs in your diet and replacing those calories with protein and healthy fats will control your hunger, make you less prone to mindless snacking and overeating, and actually change the way your body stores and burns fat, to your advantage.

Nobody Saves Fries For Later

One of the most neglected yet significant components of successful weight loss is our psychological response to hunger signals.  Think about it – how often do you wait until you are famished to start eating?  How often do you start shoveling food into your mouth, continuing until you can’t take another bite?

Advance meal-prep has built-in safeguards against all of this harmful behavior.  You are forced to make decisions about portion size and content in advance, and even if a portion leaves you feeling too full to finish it, storing leftovers for another meal is a natural part of the process, unlike the double-cheeseburger and super-size fries you just have to finish (have you ever put away half your fries for later? I didn’t think so).

Also, advance meal prep makes it easy to eat just until you are no longer hungry (instead of full), and put the rest of the food away until later.  This habit will inevitably lead to better planned portion control in the future.

Donut or Breakfast Burrito?

The author of this Lifehacker post gets a little crazy – I wouldn’t recommend trying to prepare 252 meals on your first shot.  he does, however, offer some excellent practical advice and I would add this crucial element: start small.  Try preparing your next meal in advance, then your next day’s meals, etc. until you work up to a week.  Why not start today?  I am certain that having a delicious breakfast burrito waiting for you when you wake up will work wonders in helping you resist that donut box in the break room at work tomorrow.  What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Eat Healthy and Stick to It

Healthy eating. It’s something everyone knows they should do, but few of us do as consistently as we would like. Here’s how to change that.

Read the full article at: jamesclear.com

Stop Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise

You don’t have to count calories or chase them with boring repetitive exercise to lose weight.  The latest scientific findings on eating habits offer amazingly simple strategies you can implement today with very little effort.

This is a great review by James Clear on the science of healthy eating.  He summarizes data from Brian Wansink’s excellent book, Mindless Eating, and the bestseller Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.

Eat 20% Less With No Effort

The most practical advice you can take away from these excellent science-based reviews is that you can easily set up environmental cues to reduce your caloric intake by 20% or more without ever feeling deprived.

“Can’t” vs. “Won’t”

The most interesting psychological finding is that when you tell yourself you “can’t” eat something, you crave it more.  The studies suggest swapping that limitation for a sense of control – say “I won’t eat that”.  This simple semantic shift from “can’t” to “won’t” gives you an identity-based goal, putting you in the position of choosing what you eat and establishing your self image as the type of person who chooses an apple over a donut.

Cheating

The reason cheating works so well has nothing to do with shocking your metabolism – its effects are purely psychological and they are incredibly powerful:

  • Cheating gives you permission to commit

The single biggest obstacle to eating healthy is the fear of long-term commitment: the idea that I might never order another pizza or eat another brownie sundae is absolutely terrifying.  If I start out with a commitment that allows for intermittent cheating I’ll immediately jump right over the biggest hurdle of any new habit: getting started.

  • Cheating makes you more mindful of your guilty pleasures.

When you establish a habit of eating healthy most of the time and planning the what and when and how of your cheat meal, you exponentially increase your enjoyment of it.  You not only enjoy it multiple times in your mind with anticipation, you also savor every bite and every tiny detail of the experience as you indulge.

  • Planned cheating neutralizes guilt and powerfully reinforces your sense of control.

As Clear points out, if you cheat with the intention of immediately returning to your baseline of healthy eating, you not only eliminate guilt over your indulgence but you also remind your brain that you are completely in control of your cravings and you are the one who decides when you want to enjoy that pizza or brownie sundae.  This can feel incredibly empowering.

What These Studies Miss

I’m amazed that with all the excellent scientific work done on mindless eating, Brian Wansink can write an entire book and James Clear can write an exhaustive review and they can still miss the most obvious obstacles to mindful eating that we all experience every day:

  • Eating over the sink
  • Eating with the refrigerator or cupboard open
  • Eating standing up
  • Eating food on a paper towel, or from a bag

Have you convinced  your brain that calories consumed in this way don’t really count?  For most of my life I did.

I’ve found that the simplest acts of all: putting food on a plate, closing the refrigerator door, and sitting down, establishes an astonishing level of mindfulness with no thought or effort required.

 

7 ‘Get Fit’ Tips to Avoid This Year

I know that you want to get healthy this year, because it’s the most popular New Year’s resolution. Plenty of people want to help you, too, with everything from diet tips to exercise suggestions. They’ll tell you to make some lifestyle changes, to download a new app, or even to buy a wearable fitness tracker (those probably don’t work, by the way). But with lots of advice floating around, there are bound to be bad suggestions—those rooted in confirmation bias, trendiness, and pretty much anything except scientific evidence.

Read the full article at: gizmodo.com

The #1 New Year’s resolution, to get healthy nearly doubled the runner-up of getting organized, and tripled the third place resolution of living life to the fullest.

Freezing off your fat, wearing a corset, taking pills, or  is not going to get you there, but you already know that.

There are 3 simple changes you can make right now that will have a dramatic impact on your overall health for the rest of your life.

Sleep

Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and this affects the function of every body system from the brain on down.  You probably aren’t aware that drinking alcohol and staring at LED screens deprives you of the good quality deep sleep that your body needs to recharge.  So lay off the booze, read a book made of paper before bedtime, and set that bedtime an hour earlier.  The impact on your physical and mental health will be surprising and dramatic.

Eat Till You’re No Longer Hungry

When do you stop eating?  When you’re full?  Eating till you’re full is killing you.  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to fully register the fullness signals coming from your belly and bloodstream.  So you can circumvent that delay by stopping when you’ve eaten enough to take the edge off the hunger.  I used to have such a fear of hunger that I would stuff myself at every meal – thinking who knows when I’ll see food again.  But once I started the habit of just topping off, that anxiety melted away, and I started losing fat without even thinking about it.

Establish Trust In Your Future Self

If exercise were a pill it would be a wonder drug.  It makes you young, lean, smart, healthy and extends your life.  The reason it’s so hard to start and stick with an exercise program is that you’ve seen yourself fail too many times, so you’ve lost trust in your future self.  The way to re-establish this trust is to commit to a tiny micro-habit and observe yourself sticking to it.  It can be a 10-minute walk, or even a single pushup.  It’s not the behavior that matters but the trust you establish in yourself by doing it consistently.  Starting small today will form the foundation of trust which will allow you to take on bigger challenges, one step at a time.

 

 

3 Simple Steps to Lose Fat Quick (hint: it’s not paleo or cardio)

Download the FREE ebook

No fancy-schmancy diet plans!  These 3 simple weight loss secrets that are rarely talked about will get you started losing fat today!

Weight loss studies almost never talk about them.   Every weight loss study focuses on selling the latest trendy diet plan – paleo, gluten-free, low carb, bulletproof etc.

You don’t need a diet book or video to figure out the glaringly obvious problem, and the solution is just as obvious.

30 % of our calories come from alcohol and added sugar – the worst possible sources for energy or nutrition.

We are chronically sleep deprived – which has been shown in study after study to cause hunger, overeating, weight gain, and fat storage.

5 of the top 6 sources of calories in the U.S. diet are:

  • cookies, cakes, and donuts
  • bread
  • soda
  • pizza
  • alcohol

The Ultimate Weight Loss Study

Here is the simplest design for a weight loss study – one group lives like typical Americans, consuming 30 percent of calories from alcohol and sugar, and being chronically sleep-deprived.  Group 2 skips happy hour and dessert, and goes to bed an hour earlier.  I am certain that group 2 would lose weight without any fancy expensive diet plan.

Will anybody ever do this study?  I doubt it.

How Sugar Makes You Fat

Sugar sneaks into everything.  Here are just a few of the dozens of super-secret stealth names for sugar

  • agave nectar
  • evaporated cane juice
  • brown rice syrup

Sneaky huh?  No matter what you call it, if it tastes sweet, it’s sugar.

Empty calories.  Except for alcohol, sugar is the worst choice you can make as a source of energy or nutrition.

Makes You Hungry.  The spike and crash of blood sugar and insulin make you hungrier sooner, so you consume more calories

Bulges your belly.  Fructose, the sweet chemical in sugar, becomes deep belly fat.

Causes heart disease.  That deep belly fat is associated with LDL and triglycerides, the bad cholesterol, and increases the risk of heart disease

Desensitizes your sweet-taste buds, so you crave more sweets, and eat even more calories.

How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat

If you sleep less, you eat more, and you don’t know when to stop.  Less than 6 hours of sleep makes your hunger hormones go all cattywampus – hunger signals go up, fullness signals turn off.

A single night of 4 hours of sleep induces insulin resistance – making you store more fat.

Sleep loss is stressful.  Stress hormone (cortisol) rises, causing you to eat more and store more fat.

Extra time to nosh.  Going to bed earlier gives you less time to snack at night.

Slows your metabolism.  Loss of deep (slow wave) sleep deprives your muscles of restorative energy – so your resting metabolism drops and you burn fewer calories.

How Alcohol Makes You Fat

Makes you eat stupid.  The prefrontal cortex is the executive office of the brain – where all the important decisions are made.  Alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex, shutting down the smart decision machine.  So you make poor food choices for immediate pleasure without considering the consequences.

Increases belly fat.  Alcohol, like sugar, is broken down in the liver, resulting in the accumulation of deep belly fat.

Reduces deep sleep.  Alcohol might seem to help you get to sleep – but it actually decreases the quality of sleep.  Suppression of restorative sleep causes all the fat-inducing effects listed above.

Nutritionally empty calories.  Alcohol is the worst choice for energy or nutrition, so you have to eat more calories to get the energy and nutrients your body needs.

Did you know?

sleep loss stimulates cannabinoid receptors, making you eat like a stoner with the munchies.

Cutting added sugar out of children’s diet measurably improved their health in only 10 days

Alcohol ranks 6th on the list of top 10 calorie sources for Americans, accounting for a whopping 16% of our calories.  The reason you don’t know this is that alcoholic beverages don’t have nutritional information labels.

How Exercise May Turn White Fat Into Brown

Exercise may aid in weight control and help to fend off diabetes by improving the ability of fat cells to burn calories.

Read the full article at: www.nytimes.com

There’s new evidence that exercise can help you burn more calories while you sleep.

Eat Fat & Exercise

There’s new scientific evidence every year that weight loss is much more than the simple matter of calories consumed, and that exercise is much more than calories burned.

Fat is Good

When it comes to hunger and metabolism, there is good evidence that eating healthy fats will help you manage your hunger better, and it will also change your metabolism so you actually store fat differently – you will store less deep belly fat.

The Fat That Burns Calories

This is almost too good to be true – there is actually a type of fat – brown fat – that is metabolically active.  That is to say, it burns calories.  Babies have a lot of this type of fat – its purpose is to generate heat to help regulate body temperature.

How to Get More Brown Fat

Scientists used to think that adults had very little brown fat, but there is new evidence that there may be a way to increase your stores of brown fat and guess what? it’s that wonder drug called exercise.

That’s right, there’s a hormone called irisin produced during exercise that can convert the typical lazy form of white fat into brown fat.  Regular exercise can stimulate your muscles to produce irisin.  If you increase your stores of brown fat, you will actually burn more calories at rest – even while you sleep.

The Wonder Drug

So exercise not only makes you happier, younger, smarter, and healthier – it also helps you burn more calories while you sleep.

 

 

 

10 Commandments of Fitness

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

Sleep More, Eat Fat, Push Limits

Of these 10 awesome commandments, the most important ones you can implement right now are focusing on sleep, eating fat, and ignoring your limits.

Sleep and Fat

That’s right – 2 of the simplest things you can do right away are getting more sleep and eating more fat.  Sleep plays a regulatory role in modulating your hunger, so when your hunger hormones are in good control you’re going to naturally consume fewer calories without any effort at all.

Adequate slow wave or deep sleep also controls the level of stress hormone in your body, which results in more fat burning during activity and less storage of deep belly fat.

Hunger, Not Calories, is the Key

Nutrition science is clear on the issue: fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does.  The simple reason is that sugar stimulates hunger, bingeing, and overeating, while fat suppresses hunger.  Healthy fats – the kind in almonds and avocados – not the kind in chips, cookies, and other packaged snacks, will satisfy your appetite quicker and keep you feeling full longer.  The net result is that you will consume fewer calories throughout the day.  Your hunger will not come on as strongly and when you do eat your “I’m full” signal will kick in quicker.  So between fat and sleep you can make a dramatic change in your calorie intake without counting a single calorie or weighing a morsel of food.

Pushing Limits

Pushing your limits doesn’t have to mean extra reps with more weight, or higher intensity cardio.  A better way to push the envelope is with new types of movements.

Low Variety, High Repetition

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

Activate Your Muscles, Don’t Shut Them Down

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

Use Your Whole Body

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Don’t Be One Of Those People

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

Micro-Variation and Adaptation

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

 

 

 

 

Does Working Out In the Cold Burn More Calories?

Here’s your cheat sheet for stoking the furnace during winter workouts

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

There’s even more scientific evidence accumulating that working out in the cold can help you burn more calories:

Brown Fat

Brown fat is a type of fat that helps us regulate body temperature, so it would make sense that its formation might be stimulated by cold temperatures.

Transforming Fat Cells

Just this year, a study published in Nature showed that regular exercise can produce a hormone that converts fat cells from the lazy kind to the kind that burns calories.

The formation of this metabolically active, so-called “brown fat”, is also stimulated by cold temperatures.

Coolout

In fact, The Joslin Diabetes Center has a special workout called the “Joslin Coolout” that uses cool temperatures to specifically activate brown fat.

This is the same reasoning that leads Tim Ferriss and other elite athletes to swear by ice baths.

Shivering

The effect of shivering on calorie burn is well known.  Shivering generates a lot of heat so its a major calorie-burner.  Most of these calories come from the depletion of muscle glycogen.  but since shivering is a sign of hypothermia, its not a good way to burn calories.

There is, however, another effect called “non-shivering thermogenesis” which may help you burn more calories in the cold.

No Sweat

I have noticed a psychological effect as well, when it takes some extra effort at the beginning just to get my muscles and joints warmed up.  Once I do get warmed up, I find myself motivated to work harder just to break a sweat, because doing so in the cold requires more effort and somehow feels a lot more rewarding.

 

 

The Wrong Eating Habits Can Hurt Your Brain, Not Just Your Waistline

A diet high in saturated fats and sugars can affect the parts of the brain that are important to memory. Diet-linked brain changes can also make people more likely to crave unhealthful food.

Read the full article at: www.npr.org

You Can’t Tell When You’re Full

Stop counting calories – here’s further scientific evidence that the effects of a bad diet extend far beyond the number of calories consumed – it actually impairs your memory and makes it difficult to determine when you are full.

Sugar Makes You Store More Fat, And Crave More Sugar

There is already conclusive evidence that a diet high in sugar and refined carbs has an effect on metabolism and hunger.  The result is you crave more sweet food, tend to overeat, and your body stores more fat (particularly deep belly fat) rather than burning it.

This metabolic effect stems from the fact that fructose (the chemical that makes sugar sweet) is metabolized in the liver and converted to deep belly fat.

A Bad Diet Also Changes Your Brain

Now there is new evidence that your diet can also change parts of your brain, making you crave more unhealthy food.

A study from The University of Cambridge revealed cognitive impairment in humans that had been demonstrated previously in rodents an American University study.  The brains of rats who were fed a bad diet underwent changes that impaired their ability to tell when they were full.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Pediatrics found obese children performed more poorly on memory tasks that test that same brain region  compared with kids who weren’t overweight.

The average

So Stop Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise

The average American diet gets 30% of its calories from added sugar and alcohol.  It’s the composition of this diet that leads you into a vicious cycle of hunger and fat storage.

Now scientists are also discovering that a bad diet has longer term effects on your brain that worsen these cravings not just in the short term, but changes your brain for a long-term effect, and turns off your “i’m full” signals.

3 Steps to Change Right Now

  1. Replace your morning donut or sugary boxed cereal with whole grain oats & berries.
  2. Eat a palm-sized portion of protein and a fist-sized portion of veggies with every meal.
  3. Store healthy snacks like almonds and berries in clear baggies or bowls at eye-level.  Move cookies and chips to opaque containers in the way-back.

 

A Brief History of Humankind’s Desperate Attempts to Stay Fit

Having trouble sticking to your exercise routine? Don’t feel bad. Just look at our long drawn-out relationship with exercise gear—from discus to Thighmaster to jBells.

Read the full article at: www.wsj.com

As the author states, “Machines are nothing, motivation is everything”.  But willpower is not a superpower.  Willpower is for people who haven’t made up their minds.  If you’ve already committed to getting fit. then it’s just a matter of sticking to the choices you’ve already made in advance.

In his blog post about mental toughness, Tim Ferriss quotes former Navy Seal Trainer Jocko Willink:

“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.”

He says it’s ok to start small.  If skipping that second martini and dessert is the plan then don’t think about it, just do it.  Even going to bed an hour earlier may take a significant amount of discipline.  So just make the plan & stick to it.

But why is it that so many people abandon their New Year’s resolution to get fit even before Valentine’s Day?

The answer is the monotony, the drudgery , the soul-crushing boredom and lame-ass results.  Gyms and fitness machines have constrained our movements into mechanized, repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range peripheral isolation moves that quickly cause you to lose motivation and just don’t give you the results you want to see in the mirror.

The author states what most of us are feeling:

“I’m looking for motivation that can beat the instant gratification of a peanut-butter cup. I want something that provides results before I throw in the towel.”

So the simple solution is to push slightly beyond your own limitations every day and the results you will experience will serve as a positive feedback motivation loop that will keep you motivated.  Get off the treadmill and instead of exercising like a machine start moving like  the human body was designed to move.

Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.  According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”

There are no ‘leg days’, ‘back days’, ‘arm days’, or recovery days, there are only whole-body days. You’ve got a whole body, right? so why not use it? Instead of mechanistically bulking up the same tiny bundle of mid-range isolated muscle fibers every day, why not stimulate the maximum number of fibers over the entire range of temporal-spatial dimensions available to you?  Why not let everything get more defined, stronger and more agile in balance with everything else?

Reject the limits that other people and the ‘exercise’ establishment have placed on you.  Stop exercising and start learning how to move.

 

The 4 Elements of Physical Energy and How to Master Them

“Manage your energy, not your time” says the famous quote from Tony Schwartz. Here’s how to do that, beginning with physical energy.

Read the full article at: blog.bufferapp.com

One Simple Yet Powerful Change

The most simple and powerful change you can make with respect to fitness has nothing to do with food or exercise.

Go to sleep an hour earlier.

Seriously, that’s it.  Here’s Why:

 

  1. Sleep is calorie-free energy,
  2. Adequate sleep regulates hunger
  3. Sleep deprivation slows your metabolism and increases stress hormones, causing you to store more fat

 

A number of studies have demonstrated that sleep regulates leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids, all of which modulate hunger signals.  There is also solid evidence that adequate deep sleep improves athletic performance.  Check out this infographic for a summary of these findings.

Hunger Management

The other powerful change you can make in managing your physical energy has to do with blood glucose levels.  Many articles and books make this sound much more complicated than it needs to be so here’s a simple, practical approach.

Carb Confusion

Carbohydrates are of 3 basic types:

  1. Sweets (anything that tastes sweet)
  2. Starches and refined carbs (bread, pasta, boxed cereal)
  3. Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice)

 

The first 2 cause your blood glucose and insulin levels to spike, which depletes your energy and makes you hungry sooner.  This cycle leads to overeating every day.  Whole grains, on the other hand, tend to keep your glucose and insulin levels more stable, which controls your hunger better.

 

Food labels can be confusing, so here is a simple test to determine if a food is whole grain – if the carbohydrate-to-fiber ratio is less than 10-to-1.  Don’t worry about the serving size, just divide the grams of carbs in a serving by the grams of fiber – if it’s less than 10, you’re good.

Mouth Feel and Belly Feel

I’ve become so used to the hearty texture of whole grains that refined grains have begun to feel insubstantial.  Try this experiment.  Prepare, side-by-side, a bowl of packaged instant oatmeal and a bowl of steel-cut oats.  Notice as you prepare them how the refined oats are light powdery flakes and the whole grain consists of firm gritty nuggets.

Now taste a spoonful of each.  Pay particular attention to how they each feel in your mouth and in your belly.  If you’re like me, the refined packaged oats will feel like mush in your mouth and pretty insubstantial in your belly.  The Whole grain oats have a gritty nugget-y mouth feel and they give you that feeling of fullness in your belly much sooner than the refined oatmeal.

That firm, gritty texture might feel different at first, but you will soon notice that it keeps your hunger in check all day.  And it’s the best way to start managing your hunger, and begin losing fat for good.

 

The Case Against Sugar Review – an Unsweetened Attack on Diet Myths

Gary Taubes’s latest assault on the ruinous effect of sugar on our lives and the promotion of fat-free diets is detailed and compelling

Read the full article at: www.theguardian.com

Sugar is Not Just Empty Calories

Even more important are its effects on hunger and metabolism.  Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which results in a   later sugar “crash” in which the hunger causes you to overeat.   This cycle continues as you satisfy that hunger with more sugar, causing another insulin spike.  Over time, these insulin spikes desensitize your body to insulin, which is a major cause of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Change The Way Your Body Stores Fat

The other important effect of sugar is on your metabolism and fat storage.  It’s not just that the calories in sugar are stored as fat, but rather that a diet high in sugar changes the way your body stores fat overall.  The net effect is that a greater proportion of ALL the calories you eat are stored as fat.

Heart Health

There is also an effect on the type and location of fat that is detrimental to your heart health.  Fructose, which is the chemical that makes sugar taste sweet, is metabolized in the liver, and this process results in the accumulation of visceral, or deep belly fat.  This type of fat is not only unsightly but it also raises your level of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and is a major risk factor for heart disease.

So Gary Taubes continues to fight the good fight, against the food industry who wants you to believe that all calories are equal.  They’re not.  Sugar is what’s making you fat.

 

One Simple Yet Powerful Change

Try this simple experiment on yourself for one week: replace your sweet cereal with whole grains like steel-cut oats with berries and coconut milk.  For a week make fruit the sweetest thing you eat all day.  You will notice 2 things right away.  Your cravings for sweets will disappear and body fat will start melting away effortlessly.

 

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