ODD WEIGHT LOSS NOTES
LIQUIDATE YOUR GUT: Turns out chicken soup isn’t just good for your soul; it’s good for your abs. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that snacking on soup can help speed weight loss. The study tracked 147 mean and women who followed reduced-calorie diets for a year. Those who ate one serving of soup twice a day lost 50 percent more weight than those who ate healthful but carbohydrate-heavy snacks, such as baked chips or crackers. Creamy clam chowder doesn’t count, says lead researcher Barbara Rolls, Ph. D. You want broth based soups. Try the chicken noodle or vegetable beef varieties of Campbell’s microwavable Soup at Hand; each contains less than 100 calories.
WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS: Weight loss plateaus have many causes. Let’s assume you’ve ruled out undereating (which triggers fat storage) and excessive stress (which releases cortisol, inhibiting fat loss). Your metabolism could just need a workout of its own. One intriguing plateau buster comes from a 2004 University of Colorado study, which linked increased “energy flux,” or the amount of calories your body processes in a day, to increased metabolism. Working out harder and eating more- while keeping your overall balance the same- could improve your ability to break down food.
CAN YOUR HABIT: So much for no-cal colas. Drinking diet soda may actually raise your risk of becoming fat. This counterintuitive finding comes courtesy of a recent study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where researchers compare regular and diet cola consumption with weight changes in 1,200 Texans over an 8 year period. They discovered that people who drank at least one diet cola every day had a 55 percent chance of becoming overweight anyway- a 22 percent lead over regular soda drinkers. Switching to diet from regular isn’t enough to keep the fat off without diet modifications, says study author Sharon Fowler, M. P. H., and it’s certainly not license to wolf down more than you would otherwise.
CHILD’S PLAY: Here’s a great twofer; be a good dad and get a good workout. Playing with your kids can be as beneficial as certain workouts, according to a new study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Just 20 minutes of playing soccer and dodge ball raised adults’ heartbeats to 88 percent of their maximum and burned 160 calories, researchers found; half an hour burned 240 calories- about the same as a moderate bike ride. The games were more than enough “to produce training effects and benefits from physical activity,” says study coauthor Phillip Watts, Ph. D. of Northern Michigan University.
NUKE YOUR GUT: It could be the coolest diet ever. Researchers at the University of Illinois recently found that frozen dinners may help speed weight loss. When scientists placed two groups of men on a 1,700 calorie diet for 8 weeks, they found that those who ate one serving packaged meals for lunch and dinner lost 45 percent more weight than men who made their own meals. “People tend to think a healthy portion is larger than it really is, which probably explains the difference between groups,” says lead author Sandy Hannum, M.S., R.D. The biggest losers at Uncle Ben’s bowls, which typically contain 350 – 400 calories per package. Want more variety? Check products labels for frozen entrees that have a similar number of calories and at least 20 grams of protein.
PUT THE SODA DOWN: White bread used to be America’s main source of energy, but a study at Tufts University found that soda and other sweetened drinks are now the main culprits. In preliminary research, two-thirds of study respondents admitted to getting more calories from sweet drinks that from anything else. We’ve been saying it for years, and we’ll say it again: switch to water and watch your waistline shrink.
THE SON ALSO RISES: Kids grow up too fast but with boys, that growth is often on the horizontal plane. Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to become overweight and six times more likely to develop high blood pressure as they age, according to a 12 year Harvard medical school study of 314 children. “It’s possible [boys are] more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as watching television and drinking sugary beverages,” explains Allison Field, Sc. D., the study author. So what can a dad do? First, keep your tone light, “promote activity as a fun thing to do or as a general health issue, like brushing your teeth, rather than a weight control behavior,” Field says. Then rein him in on the concentrated calories, whether the sources are obvious (soda and cookies) or healthy (fruit juice and peanut butter).
SURVIVE THE LATE NIGHT: You want to eat something to reduce a nighttime low blood sugar wave, but spicy or high fat foods can make it harder to fall asleep. Go for healthy, appetite-curbing oatmeal, an apple and cheese, or a thin turkey sandwich. If it’s sweets you crave, try a yogurt parfait, cereal with a little sugar on top, or berries with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
CRACKING THE COLOR CODE: The pigment of produce can provide you with information about its nutritional value. Check out how each of the five different color categories of fruits and vegetables can benefit your health. Then mix and match for a total of five servings every day. One serving equals 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked.
BLUES AND PURPLES
– Blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums, raisins, eggplant.
GREENS – Kiwi,
honeydew, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, cabbage.
Pears, bananas, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, garlic.
REDS – Watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, tomatoes, radishes, red apples. BENEFITS: Help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and improve bloodflow to the heart.
YELLOWS AND ORANGES
– oranges, grapefruit, peaches, cantaloupe, mangoes, pineapple, squash,
SIX PACK SCIENCE: There’s an old saying: Abs are made in the kitchen- meaning, your diet plays a greater role in burning belly fat than your workout does. And a new study from Brazil supports that notion. In a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trails, researchers determined that diet controls about 75 percent of weight loss. Of course, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t an important part of the fat-burning formula. But if you want the fastest results, working out isn’t enough; a smart eating plan is the foundation of the most effective gut-busting programs.
POUND ADVICE: Take a load off; you’ll feel better. Scientists at Wake Forest University found that for every pound of weight you lose, you alleviate the pressure on your knees by 4 pounds. In addition to reducing joint pain, weight loss may also improve range of motion and reduce the demand on nearby muscles to provide stability, says Stephen Messier, Ph. D., the study author. If knee troubles are keeping you from exercising in the first place, try rowing instead of running. Or walk on an inclined treadmill; it allows you to exert your highest effort without forcing you to break into a joint-pounding job.
YOU’VE BEEN SERVED: The more food on your plate, the more you’ll eat, regardless of hunger. Penn State researchers recently carried out a sneaky study, replacing a restaurant’s standard serving of baked pasta with one nearly 50 percent larger. When customers were surveyed about both serving sizes, they rated each “appropriate.” They also polished off the plus-sized portion, netting an extra 172 calories.
CHEATERS PROSPER: For long-term success, be unfaithful to your diet once a week. Cheat on your spouse? Not cool. Your employer? Bad idea. Your taxes? Not worth it. But cheating on your diet is a good idea. For guys trying to lose a decent amount of weight- anywhere from 10 pounds up- a structured diet plan is crucial. But it also makes sense, once a week, to forget that meal plan and just eat what you want. The key is planning your cheat meal for the week- whether it’s Saturday night out, during a game, or whenever. They key to controlling your cravings is to satisfy them every once and a while. If you can make it through 6 days of eating what you’re supposed to eat, you reward yourself and know that 6 days of good eating is a regimen you can stick to over the long term.
And there’s another reason to cheat: it actually helps change your body. A successful diet plan is about how you eat most of the time, not how you eat all of the time. In fact, a high-calorie day of eating can rev up your metabolism. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate twice as many calories in a day as they normally did increased their metabolism by 9 percent in the 24-hour period that followed.
NEVER MISS A MONDAY: Always work out on Mondays. “Exercising on the first day of the work week sparks a chain reaction in your workout program,” says Jim Annesi, Ph. D., author of Enhancing Exercise Motivation. You’ll be stabling a behavior pattern. Since our minds are wired to keep a chain reaction going, your Monday workout sets the tone for the week.
MEASURE YOUR WAIST: “One of the reasons that men don’t recognize their weight problems is that they develop ‘low-rider’ syndrome,” says Louis Aronne, M.D., F.A.C.P, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program in New York City. “Their belts seem to keep sliding down below their bellies. So their gut is 50 inches, but they don’t think things are that bad because their pant size is still 38.” For real waist management, he says, measure across your hipbones, around your love handles, and over your belly button.
I’M NOT LOSING ANY WEIGHT even though I only eat around 1,800 calories a day. What gives? If you take in too few calories, you become less efficient burning them. Your basic metabolic rate- the number of calories you need just to live- is determined by your size, lean mass, and amount of exercise, as well as how often you eat. If you go below your basal level, your metabolism slows as your body saves calories for essential functions like breathing. To calculate your bare minimum calorie needs, figure your height in inches and subtract 60. Multiply that by 6 and add 106, then multiply by 10 for a rough estimate. Never consume less than this figure. And add calories to compenstate for any exercise you do.
Tips taken from Men's Health and other sources.
This site was last updated 08/20/06