Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Get Fat (Part 1)

Despite all the hype, it boils down to two things – energy in (food) and/or energy out (activity).
Read the daily presses and you’ll think the world is full of plots to make us fat. But, there are two mechanisms through which increases in body weight occur. These are either an increase in energy intake (EI) or food and/or a decrease in energy expenditure (EE), which is activity level, metabolic rate and heat loss.

Other factors such as drugs, genetics, age, gender, etc., can only have an impact through either or both of these mechanisms. Within each of these influences of course, there is a range of factors which can lead to weight gain (and therefore help influence weight loss).

Today, we will look at Energy Intake and the factors there that can help you get fat/gain weight!

Energy Intake

1. Too much fat (Do you want fries with that??)

2. Too much total energy (Supersize me!)

3. Too high energy density (high calorie foods - need I say more??)

4. Too many high Glycemic Index (GI) foods (high carbohydrate foods with low fibre)

5. Too little variety (the Brown Rice Diet anyone???)

6. Excessive hunger (too long between meals or related to 12)

7. Night eating (Well, I was good all day...)

8. Binge eating (I am sooo depressed...my pants don't fit!)

9. ‘Restrained’ eating (starve in public and pig out at home)

10. Social/holiday eating (It’s Christmas, my Birthday, my dog’s Birthday...)

11. Habitual eating (I always eat when I watch TV...)

12. Irregular eating (starve all day and then eat all night?)

13. Lack of awareness of eating ( one for the pot...one for the cook...)

14. Food intake and alcohol (this one speaks for itself!)

15. The ‘eye-mouth’ gap (I see, therefore I eat)

16. The ‘exception’ rule (Oh...this one doesn’t count...)

Any of or all of these can be reasons you may find you are gaining weight.  Food for thought?

Next time we will look at the role of Energy Expenditure.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Portion Sizes and Serving Sizes?

Did you know that less than 5% of the total population can gauge serving sizes correctly? Knowing serving sizes and understanding how much you should be eating is vital to not only losing weight but maintain weight as well.

People have a tendency to overestimate the recommended serving size and consequently may eat more than what the body really needs. So what is a serving size or portion size anyway? Health professionals use "serving size" to refer to the amount recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or Canadian Food Guide for each food group.

It is often difficult to calculate food quantities and serving portions. If the food comes pre-packaged, the label will tell you the quantity of a single serving of food, along with how many servings are in the package. When cooking from scratch, the quantity of a single serving is harder to determine. Knowing serving sizes for foods can actually prevent you from gaining weight. Since you can't carry measuring tools with you everywhere, how can you figure out serving sizes? The following chart can help you...just print it off and stick in your bag, tape it to the inside of a cupboard or stick it on the fridge. No more guesswork! You can now visually estimate a serving size for a lot of commonly eaten foods.

Food Item Per Serving - Everyday Object
3 oz Meat, Chicken (after cooking) =
Deck of Cards or Palm of Child’s Hand

5 oz Meat, Chicken (after cooking) = 2 Decks of Cards or Palm of Adult Hand

3 oz Fish = Regular-Sized Cheque Book

½ cup Starchy Foods (such as rice, ice cream, mashed potatoes and other grains) = 1/2 Baseball (not to be confused with a softball!)

Potato = Computer Mouse or Size of Small Fist

1 Medium Fruit = Normal Fist or Baseball

1 oz Cheese = 4 Stacked Dice or Small Matchbox

Salad Dressing, Mayonnaise, Butter,

Margarine, Oil, Peanut Butter = Tip of Thumb, 1 Dice or ½ Ping Pong Ball

1 slice of Bread = Cassette Tape

Bagel = Hockey Puck

1 Pancake = CD/DVD

1 cup Dry Cereal = Normal Fist or Baseball

1 cup Vegetables = Normal Fist or Baseball

Nuts, Raisins, Pretzels = Amount held in Cupped Hand

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ab Exercises for a Tight Tummy

As promised (my Birthday present to you!)...here are some tummy exercises to help you get that tight belly you want and improving your posture as well! Your new firm abs will help you to stand taller and straighter and are great if you have back issues as well. Often back problems are directly related to weak abdominals. So, go to it!!

Exercise Routine for a Strong and Firm Tummy

1. Perform 1 - 2 exercises from Group A, B and C. Complete both exercises in Group D.
2. Complete 1 – 2 sets per exercise.
3. Perform 10 – 15 repetitions for each set.
4. Maintain a smooth lifting pace, using a 2-1-3-0 cadence (two seconds on the way up, one second hold, three seconds on the way down and immediately repeat with no rest at the bottom). 5. Take a day off abdominal training every couple of days to rest. Muscles grow while they rest.
6. Perform 2 – 4 sessions per week.
Important Note: Beginners should refrain from using the dumbbells or leg weights!

Group A Exercises - Upper Abs
Weighted Crunches – Hold D/B on shoulders with hands alongside neck. Lie with knees bent and slowly curl forward until shoulders leave the floor.
Weighted Sit-Ups – Lying on back with knees bent, arms out to sides, D/B off the floor. Slowly curl spine forward and lift into a full sit-up position.
Legs-Up Weighted Crunch – Lie on back with legs lifted straight in the air. Arms by your side with d/b off the floor. Slowly curl up reaching with the D/B to reach your highest crunch position.

Group B Exercises – Lower Abs
Weighted Leg Pull-Ins – Sit on the floor with your legs lifted and lean back, hands on the floor behind you. With D/B between feet or ankle weights, pull thighs and knees into chest and back out again.
Weighted Reverse Sit-Ups - With D/B between feet or ankle weights, lie on your back with knees bent. Pull your legs up and over your abs so that lower back comes off the floor.
Ab Flutter Kicks – Lie on back with feet off the floor. Raise one leg to 45 degrees off the floor and then lower. Repeat with the other leg.
Group C Exercises – Abs and Side (Oblique) Combo
Weighted Bicycles – Hold D/B on shoulders with hands alongside neck. Keep one leg straight while the other knee is moving towards the opposite elbow. As it moves back, bring the other knee while the leg moves back to parallel with the floor. Can use weights on ankles.
Knee-to-Elbow Sit-Ups – Hold one D/B on shoulder with opposite foot on knee and opposite arm lying on floor. Reach weighted side towards opposite knee. Complete repetitions on one side then change sides.

Group D Exercises – Sides/Obliques
D/B Side Bends – Stand with feet apart and a D/B in each hand down by sides. Bend from waist all the way to the right, then straighten up and bend all the way to the left. Keep hips fixed and use your sides to straighten yourself up.
D/B Twists – Stand erect with D/B in each hand directly in front of chest. Keeping the spine straight, rotate as far as possible to the left and back around to the right. Move in a controlled fashion. *** If you have back issues, you may want to avoid twisting or twist 1/4 of the way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Over 40 Female Belly Fat and Love Handles

As a professional fitness trainer - I am always the person everybody wants to talk to at family gatherings, parties, events, etc. And as you might guess, the question that so many women over 40 ask more often than not is:

"Gail, how can I lose my pooch (grabbing that stubborn belly fat) and lose my love handles (grabbing that waist fat) so I can get a flat and toned stomach like yours?"

This question is quickly followed by, "Are there any special exercises to get rid of stomach fat or special exercises for love handles?"

Here is my answer - "Your actions have to be in line with your true desires and goals. If you really want to have no extra fat on your stomach then your daily habits must be in line with what you are trying to achieve."

It doesn't matter whether you want to lose love handles, reduce belly fat or lose weight in general, the real secret is admitting to yourself whether or not your desires are real or just superficial. In other words, are you just "kicking tires" or do you really want to lose the stubborn belly fat and get rid of love handles?

Mine used to be somewhat superficial and my weight fluctuated all year. I didn't like it one bit and I was always blaming some outside factor on why I couldn't keep myself at my ideal body fat all year round. Then, about 4 years ago I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself, 'Gail, who is in control of you? And, what do you really want to look like and how do you want to feel, both physically and mentally?'

I grabbed a piece of paper and started to write. It didn't take me long to answer these questions!

This is something I strongly advise you to do as well. Only of course, if you are serious about achieving higher levels of physical fitness and improved health. If you want to lose tummy fat and love handles and to be a certain way - then start living your life in accordance with your goals!

Are there any exercises to get rid of the pooch and love handles? There are lots of exercises to help tone up that area, but if you continue to eat badly (not in line with your goals) the belly fat and the love handles will stay!!

Stay tuned...tomorrow I will send a special workout routine featuring some good tummy exercises to help tone and tighten that belly!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Want Results...and I Want Them Now!!!

How many times have you looked at other women over 40 who look fit and foxy and wished you had what they had? Do you want to know how they did it? What the magic formula is???

There is no magic formula, there is no weight loss pill, there are no special foods. What I can tell you is, there IS a quick and effective way to lose weight, get fit and still enjoy healthy and delicious foods (and even indulge in those foods you feel you can’t live without!!!).

The way to lose weight quickly and get fit fast lies in having a Plan! No just any old plan, either! A Plan designed especially for us gals who weren’t born yesterday...who may be over 40, over 50, over 60! I see so many plans out there designed for young Moms, for 20 and 30 year old males and females...not specifically for women who are past all that!

A Plan for women who:

1. work hard holding down full-time jobs (where a good portion of their day is spent sitting) that get home at night knowing they should be heading out to a gym, but the thought of a gym full of 20 and 30 year olds in lycra is far from appealing!

2. are exasperated at thinking about creating a complicated and healthy meal, so they run to nearest phone and ordering from the nearest Take-Out outlet!

3. know they have to entertain or go out for a business lunch the next day, so the “new diet” you had planned to start goes out the window!

4. feel they never have the time to do everything they want...let alone EXERCISE!!!

5. hope they won't look as bad as they feel after another bad night sleep because of hot flashes, aching joints, worrying about the project you have to get done or why you can’t lose weight!

Help is on the way! I am dedicated to posting helpful tips, exercises and recipes and addressing those needs and concerns of that special group of over 40 women...the ones who weren’t born yesterday!!