Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do Fat Burners Work?





One of the most potently advertised drugs in the supplement industry is fat burners. The reason they are is because they are so appealing to people. They are advertised as a miracle pill that will allow you to eat whatever you want and not gain weight. This however is simply not true.

So what do fat burners actually do? There are thousands of different fat burner out there but the majority of them are almost exactly the same and they all do basically the same thing. The two main effects that fat burners have are that they will give you energy and suppress your appetite. Most fat burners are stimulants which will give you energy. When you have more energy you are more likely to be active and therefore burning more calories throughout the day which leads to weight loss.

Most fat burners also suppress appetite, so you don’t eat as much throughout the day, which also decreases the amount of calories you take in. So you see that the combination of expelling more energy and taking in less calories would ultimately lead to weight loss.

Some fat burners also liberate lipid oxidation in the body ( promotes the body to use its fat stores for energy ). So when you are using energy more of those calories are coming from fat. But do any fat burners just expel fat from the body? Absolutely not.


So we’ve covered how fat burners affect the body. Do they work?  Yes, some fat burners actually do work but most, in my opinion, don’t. The problem with a lot of fat burners is that tolerance can be built to the stimulants and other substances they are made from. When tolerance builds up they will either stop working or you will need to up the dosage. This obviously is not safe and this is how overdosing occurs.

In my opinion fat burners can be extremely dangerous if they are used incorrectly. But in all honestly, some do work and can be safe. Staying current with supplements in the bodybuilding industry I can say there are in fact a few fat burners that do work very well, however they need to be combined with an impeccable diet and exercise routine to take a full effect. Even so, any fat burner is dangerous if dosed improperly or taken for an extended period of time.



One thing that I want to point out is that a main ingredient in most fat burners is caffeine, so if you want similar effect from the stimulant aspect of a fat burner, drink a few cups of coffee.

 
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.
 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sleep and Weight Loss




Around 2/3 of population of the United States is over weight, and the percentage of people who don’t get enough sleep is most likely more. Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to losing weight and overall health in general for many reasons.

Sleep does many things when it comes to weight loss. A good nights sleep increases the hormone leptin within our body which tells us that we are full. Sleep also decreases the hormone ghrelin which tells us we are hungry. Furthermore, sleep reduces cortisol levels in our body which signals fat storage and muscle breakdown. The combination of these 3 hormones play a major role in what you will eat throughout the day.


Sleep also affects ones energy levels throughout the day. If sleep is not adequate, then energy is low. Low energy can lead to the conscious AND unconscious decision to be less active which means less calories have been burned throughout the day. Low energy can also lead to hunger, cravings, and over eating because your body is looking for a place to get energy.

Feel free to drink coffee to increase energy levels however drink it black. The amount of calories that can add up due to sugar, creamers, milk, etc, is ridiculously high. Try to avoid caffeine later in the day if you believe it keeps you up later into the night.



Between 7-8 hours is usually the recommended amount of sleep for an individual but most people only get 5-6 hours.

 
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.
 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Let's Get Outside!

It's the weekend.  It's time to get outside and enjoy yourself.  Do something fun.





It doesn't matter what you do, just try to get outside for a little while.  Have a fun day!

Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to exercise and eat before and after a planned cheat meal





The word planned is key to this post as the circumstances change slightly if the cheat meal is un-planned.


Everyone has a cheat meal once in a while but that doesn’t mean that it needs to hurt your results. There are many ways to limit the impact of a cheat meal or even eliminate it all together. Through a combination of a few tricks it is possible to make that cheat meal not even matter at the end the day.

Here’s what I suggest and what I personally do if I know I'll be going out for a special occasion or indulging in something that’s not on the healthy foods list.

1) Depending on how big the cheat is you  - exercise harder and longer the day of, before, or after the cheat meal. If you want to ( and I suggest this ) don’t just do one, but do two of those options to significantly compensate for that meal.  Another similar option is to work out 1-2 more times that week than you normally would.


2) Change what you eat the day of, before, or after the cheat meal. Once again, depending on the size of the cheat meal you will want to just do one or a combination of the 3 ( a piece of cake would call for a one day change where as a plate of fettuccini alfredo and breadsticks from olive garden would call for 2 days ). Consciously eat lighter on these days. Try to keep an eye on what you eat and eat mainly vegetables and lean protein. This will be both very filling and very low in calories and will reward you when you step on the scale at the end of the week.

With these two tips I have successfully been able to enjoy my favorite foods from time to time and maintain or even lose weight at the end of the week.



My most recent cheat as a reference of what to do- My birthday was March 4 and I knew I was going to be allowing myself to enjoy some food. Since I am already in a substantial caloric deficit for the week, as I am trying to again lose a little weight, I felt it was only necessary to do a small 2 day compensation.   I ate my normal breakfast and went to work out about an hour before I started eating my lunchtime cheat meal.
(I worked out on a Sunday which I usually do not)  I did high intensity cardio to make my body really need nutrients so when I ate sushi (my cheat meal) 20 minutes after my workout, my body was able to utilize the fast acting carbs instead of getting stored as fat.



3 hours later I had a piece of chicken.  About 2 hours after that I ate my cake ( this was the first piece of cake I had had since my previous birthday. )   I ate easily 10 oz of vanilla cake with butter cream frosting and vanilla mousse in the middle ( most likely 800-1000 calories).



 Then for the rest of the night I ate only lean protein. The next day my abs were gone and I was bloated from the carbs. I ate 350 calories less than I normally would have ( from carbs ) and that’s the only change I made for day 2. I stepped on the scale 2 days later and I lost over 1 pound that week.
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Post at Behind Closed Drawers

Today I'm being featured over at "Behind Closed Drawers."  Andrea was looking for bloggers to share their stories of inspiration, and I hope I qualify.  My journey from overweight, unhappy teenager to healthy and happy young man with a new purpose in my life, is a true testament to will power and determination.




I am now in my 2nd semester of college,  with my eye on a career in Nutrition and Fitness, and an emphasis on overweight adolescents and teens.  I hope that my journey, straightforward language, and  exercise and nutrition tips will help inspire other people to lose weight and change their diets to healthy eating for life.

Please take the time to stop over at Behind Closed Drawers and read about other people who have inspiring stories to share.  Thanks Andrea!
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.
 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to recover from an unexpected cheat meal





If you’re human you’re going to cheat on your diet at some point it happens to everyone. Having a cheat meal can boost your moral and have you feeling better physically but it will usually come with guilt as well. If you have a cheat meal this is an easy way to make the repercussions far less severe or non existent.

1) If you unrepentantly fall off the diet and have that big plate of pasta with alfredo sauce and bread sticks and fried calamari, go light for the rest of the day. Don’t not eat because that will have you feeling terrible and possibly make you want to binge. Try only eating lean protein for the rest of the day and maybe a very small portion of complex carbs if you really need them for satiety. Eat slowly so your body can tell when its getting full and stop eating. Doing this will cut down the calories of the day and produce less spill over.

2) go to the gym the day of the cheat if possible. This will burn off some of those extra calories and leave you feeling far less guilty for eating something bad.

3) the day after the cheat is where you can shine. That cheat is going to have you motivated to go to the gym to work it off so really try to get in there. Try doing a little more than usual if you can but if not that’s fine. I don’t want you associating the gym with being miserable. For the day after the cheat also go lighter on food than usual. Have a normal breakfast but cut down your lunch and dinner. Eyeball what you think would be a couple hundred calories less than what you would normally eat and this will help cancle out the extra calories from the day before.

Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not All Foods are Created Equal



The logic in the minds of most people is that there is no difference between eating 500 calories of cake and 500 calories of steak or 500 calories of vegetables. However the body will break these foods down in different ways, thus producing a different rate of satiety. In short, the cake will fill you up less and for the least amount of time, the steak will fill you up more and for a longer period of time, and most people would likely find it challenging to eat 500 calories of vegetables in one sitting.





To begin I’ll start with the thermogenic effect of food. When food is consumed it takes the body a certain amount of time to break it down to utilize its nutrients. The time it takes is different for every kind of food and the longer it takes, the longer you will feel full.  This is not even taking into consideration insulin spikes from sugary foods.

Eating complex carbohydrates and fibrous carbs, your body can burn between 10-25% of the calories consumed just breaking it down. For lean protein it can actually be up to 30%, so if you ate 500 calories of lean meat, up to 150 of those calories could be burned off just during digestion!  Then the digestion of fat only burns off about 5% of calories but healthy fats can actually have a huge effect on good satiety ( this is a little harder to explain because it is controversial.) 

Sugary and simple carbs, and unhealthy fats will fill you up less and can leave you feeling hungry very soon after consumption, which I why I suggest lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy EFA’s ( essential fatty acids.)

So now that we know how different foods are broken down and how our bodies digest them lets look at the satiety effect of foods..... Next time you go for a croissant for breakfast remember this, the satiety effect of it is only 47 where oatmeal is 209!  White bread has a rating of 100 while white potatoes have a rating of 323.  Bananas are at 118 while apples are 197. Simply put by choosing different foods you can eat the same amount of calories but stay fuller for much longer and eat less which will lead to weight loss. 

For an entire list of these foods please visit http://www.mendosa.com/satiety.htm.

Tony's Tip:  Try making at least one conscious healthy choice change per meal and you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make the switch.
Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why I believe counting calories can accelerate weight loss



Everyone knows that as long as you eat less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.  However many people have no idea where to start when it comes to counting calories.  The easiest way to start doing this is to go to Google and search calorie calculator.  Many websites will come up and the most reliable are the top few results.  Go to the website and type in your stats and it will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your weight.  Your results will not be 100% accurate but they will be close.  Take this number and subtract 100-1000 calories (although never go below 1500 calories as this can be dangerous to your health).  




Now that we know how to calculate how many calories you need, we will talk about how many of which macro nutrients you need.  I suggest eating 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass you have. You can find your LBM by multiplying your weight by your body fat % and then subtracting that number from your overall weight. 

For example I weight 150 lbs and I am 10% body fat so I would multiply 150 x 10% and get 15 ( this is how many lbs of fat I have on my body) then subtract 15 from 150 to get 135.  So I need 135g of protein everyday ( remember there are 4 calories per g of protein).  
The reason I say you should eat this amount of protein is to save your muscle from being broken down while eating at a caloric deficit. 

Next you need to eat at least 20% of your calories from fat because your body needs fat for functions and hormone production.  So if I need to eat 2000 calories to lose weight I would multiply 2000 x 20% and get 400 calories and since there are 9 calories per g of fat I would need to eat 45g of fat a day.  So if I need 135g of protein a day and 45g of fat that equals 940 calories of my 2000 calories. 


NOW IS EVERYONE READY FOR THIS? YOU CAN EAT BASICALLY WHATEVER YOU WANT TO FILL UP THE REST OF YOUR CALORIES AND STILL LOSE WEIGHT!  So if I wanted to eat cake for my remaining 1060 calories I would still lose weight because I would be burning more calories than I am consuming.  And say that I am burning 2500 calories a day, I would still lose 1lb a week.

This is why I think counting calories is an amazing thing because as long as you eat the necessary amount of protein and fat a day, you can eat whatever else you want and will still lose weight.  Now I am not honestly promoting that you would eat cake for 1000 calories of your intake a day but this does mean that you can have your cake and eat it too by maybe eating 300 calories a day from cake but getting the rest of your calories from protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. I have been counting calories for over a year and I can perfectly control my weight whether I want to lose it, maintain it, or gain it.


Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.

 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trail Mix: Healthy or Not?


Many companies produce and distribute trail mix and label it as healthy because it contains fruit and nuts.  However, when I see these products and look at the nutritional labels it’s a complete joke to me.  The fruits have been sweetened with sugar and dipped in oils in order to make it stick.  This is possibly the worst combination there can be.  The added sugar is going to spike blood glucose and all the un-needed fat from the oil is going to end up right in your midsection.  The nuts have also been salted and more often than not, also dipped in oil. 

Many companies took healthy foods and turned them into a nightmare to anyone who cannot control their portions.  Lets face it - who stops at one serving of trail mix; just about no one.  The typical person will finish off half a bag in no time, and this is going to equate to hundreds of calories ( most of those from the added sugar and oils which weren’t needed in the first place).  Lets go back to portion control.  The added sugars are going to make you hungrier and make you crave the mix even more.  The saltiness of the nuts will also have this affect on many people.  The combination of these two things are a disaster.

To sum up- Added sugar + salt = more hunger.  Added sugar + un-needed oils = increased, unnecessary calories. Add those two together and you no longer have a healthy product.


Because of this common trend among companies I have created my own trail mix which contains all natural products and will keep you full and satisfied.  If you have been reading my posts since the beginning you know I mentioned that fats do not keep you full;  this is true regarding the loads of bad fats that you see in fast food and other products ( especially when these fats are combined with simple carbs, i.e. a hamburger bun).  However, healthy naturally occurring fats such as in egg yolks, lean cuts of meat, and nuts will leave you feeling full for a long time.

I went to the store and picked up pistachios, edamame, sunflower kernels, and walnuts;  all of these either had no salt or were lightly salted and contained no un-needed oils.







 I also bought raisins, dried apricots, and prunes, none of which had added sugar or oils. 






I added one serving of each fruit product into a bag and 1 oz of each nut....




You don't have to use these exact ingredients.  Feel free to mix and match as you wish - just try to stay away from those bad additives which I listed.

After you've made your bag, calculate your calories and divide that number by 200 to get X amount of servings, each being 200 calories.  This is for portion control.  Here's what a mixed bag looks like....


This combination of products gives you salty, sweet, crunchy, and soft;  healthy fats which will keep you full, fruits for some carbs which will give you energy, and a large variety of micro nutrients which will keep your moral high and body healthy.

As an nutrition and food science major, I would greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to tell their friends about my blog entries or even feature one of them on your blog.  My wish is to help young adults to stay healthy and avoid all the mistakes I made as teen when it came to unhealthy eating, so getting my name out there would greatly help.

Tony isn't a licensed nutritionist yet, so he can't give anyone advice on what  to do.  Please consult your doctor for his professional opinion on a diet/nutrition program that will work for you.

Tony's blog is a journal of his experiences and what has worked for him.   He lists general guidelines and suggestions only.  He is NOT a professional.