Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Today Show Joy Bauer’s Lecture at the Food and Nutrition Conference

November 7th, 2010

The annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), sponsored by the American Dietetics association is in Boston this weekend. It is quite the who’s who in the nutrition world. Today, Joy Bauer, the Today show dietitian spoke about her “Joy Fit Club.” Every other Monday, she inducts someone into the club who lost over 100 pounds strictly with food and exercise.

Here are the 10 strategies that Joy Bauer has found consistently worked for

the Joy Fit Club Members:

1. Get Your Head in the Game

Everyone knows we should eat less and move more. With each of her clients, Joy makes them come up with a significant and enduring source of motivation. She also insists everyone does positive self talk each morning about their progress.

2. Track Progress

We at PhotoCalorie are excited to hear this! Those who have lost 100+ pounds weigh themselves regularly.

Cartoon From Joy's Talk

They also graph their progress, measure inches lost, log exercise, and keep a food journal. She said food journals are important for 4 reasons: 1. makes you accountable, 2. teaches you about calories, 3. the people who are successful with weight loss are really knowledgable about calories, 4. when you splurge, the act of writing it down seems to make it less daunting.

3. Exercise Daily

Walking counts. It is free and easy. Joy profiled one of her clients, Jon, a 430 pound guy. Started walking from his house to his mailbox. He slowly increased the distance he walked each day. Now he walks 3 miles each day, and has lost 230 pounds!

4. Eliminate Extras

Joy gave an example of a client who needed to lose 40 lbs. Did everything she was supposed to, but after 2 weeks, only lost 0.25 pounds. Frustrated, she returned to Joy and ask what she should do next. Joy recommended she carry around a ziplock bag, and each time you are about to eat something extra, put it in the bag instead.

The next week, she brought the bag to Joy. It was filled with all kinds of things: french fries, Hershey’s kisses, and granola bars. It added up to 1000s of calories, and helped her lose that extra weight.

5. Support Network is Key

People who try to lose weight alone  usually are not as successful. Parents, wives, friends, and kids should all be involved if possible.

6. Lose liquid calories

The U.S. ranks #1 in sugary beverage consumption. If you only change one thing in your diet, this should be it.

7. Become comfortable in the kitchen

Learn 5 simple recipes that you can make in 10 minutes or less

8. Avoid trigger foods

Once you start you just can’t stop. Some people are very sensitive to this. If this is you, don’t tempt yourself with a taste.

9. Forgive slip ups

No one has gained weight from an extra cookie, or slice of chocolate cake. In Joy’s experience the majority of success stories had slip ups and just shook them off. Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself occasionally.

10. Set short & long term goals

For many people trying to lose weight, setting only a long term goal can be very overwhelming, making people feel hopeless. People should also set short term goals, such as: lose 2 pounds this week, or walk 30 minutes each day this month.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joy after her talk. Just as nice and charismatic as she is on the Today show.

A summary of other talks, such as Jeff Taylor, founder of to come!

Conference, Exercise, Nutrition and Weight Loss

Eating Carbs Before a Workout Dramatically Decreases How Much Fat You Burn

February 1st, 2010

Ever wondered what to eat before heading to the gym for your daily workout? The answer to this question depends on what your goal is as well as who you ask. Looking to run the next Boston marathon? You should probably eat a balanced meal, high in complex carbs, to try to build up your stored glycogen. But for the rest of us, does it even matter what we eat?

Before we answer this question, we must first review some basic physiology. Let’s look at carbohydrate metabolism. When a person eats carbs, whether they drink a Coke or eat some brown rice, the starches and sugars are broken down into glucose, eventually increasing the glucose present in your blood. Cells all over the body can use this glucose for energy and nutrition. Shortly after this spike, your pancreas notices this change in blood sugar and releases a hormone called insulin, which essentially causes the liver, muscle and fat tissue to take up the glucose, and brings the blood sugar back to healthy levels. The speed with which this happens is based on the glycemic index of the food, which measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar. Coke would cause a larger, more immediate rise in blood sugar, leading to a speedier release of insulin. Brown rice on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index. The glucose would enter the blood stream at a slower rate, leading to a more gradual release of insulin. Protein also leads to an increase in insulin, but to a much smaller extent.

When insulin is released, the body goes into storage mode. Glucose from the blood is being stored in your fat cells, your liver cells, and your muscle cells. This is precisely the opposite of what you want to happen in your fat cells while you are exercising. Ideally our fat cells will release their stored energy into the blood stream as fatty acids and glycerol. The fat cells  would shrink in size, causing us to shrink in size as well.

In an article published last month, German researchers tested this hypothesis. They looked at the effect of exercise during a fasting state and 30 minutes after a carbohydrate-rich or protein-rich meal. During each scenario, the researchers measured the blood glycerol and insulin levels in each subject. As illustrated in the figure below, when the subjects ate bread 30 minutes before exercising, their insulin spiked, inhibiting the fat cells from being broken down and used as energy (the line with solid squares). When they ate pork 30 minutes in advance (line with empty triangles), there was also an insulin spike, but a much smaller one.

The researchers explained the results saying fat cells being broken down during exercise is “virtually abolished by a small carbohydrate-rich meal when ingested shortly before exercise.” In summary, to burn the most fat during moderate intensity exercise, try not to eat anything a few hours before you head to the gym, but if you do eat, stay away from those Cheetos!

You can use PhotoCalorie to help monitor this. If you exercise around the same time every day, check out your journal to see if you have been eating carbs right before your workouts, as they can decrease how much fat you burn while you are exercising, and may lead to less weight loss overall. Hope this helps you lose weight more efficiently!


Does exercising help you lose weight?

December 4th, 2009

What a ridiculous, naive question that is. Does exercise help you lose weight? Common sense tells us it does, but the scientific literature seems to have difficulty confirming this. Gretchen Reynolds of the New York times’ well blog wrote an article about this exact question.

The first study she cites is one published in the British journal of sports medicine . For 12 weeks 58 sedentary overweight/obese subjects underwent supervised aerobic exercise at 70% of their max heart rate 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. They were instructed to not decrease their food intake.

Since a pound of fat contains about 3500 calories, these people should all lose about 8.5 pounds (12 weeks *5 days a week * 500 calories burnt per day = 30,000 / 3500 calories per pound). At the end of the study the mean loss in body weight was 3.3kg, or 7.2 pounds, which is almost what we predicted. But this value is misleading. After the results were compiled, the researchers divided the subjects into 2 groups: responders and nonresponders. The nonresponders (45% of all the subjects) only lost an average of 0.9kg or 1.98 pounds, including some who gained weight. Therefore, and I quote, “based on body weight alone, exercise could be regarded as ineffective and futile for the non-responders (and even counterproductive for the weight gainers).”

exercise graphAs you can see, for some of these people the exercise program worked beautifully. But for 46% of them, they lost less than 2 pounds, and 17% gained weight burning 500 calories a day.

Since each exercise session was monitored and measured, the results can not be blamed on poor adherence.

But they can be blamed on the diet. Throughout this entire paper, they only mention diet once, and all it says is “Subjects were instructed to not restrict their energy intake during the study.” No self reporting. Nothing. These results would be so much more intriguing if we knew they were eating similar amounts. Maybe the “non-responders” simply ate a lot more than the responders.

The New York times reported this study as support for the idea that exercise does not help you lose weight, which, according to a plethora of studies, may not be as ridiculous as it sounds. However in my opinion this study provides no evidence one way or the other.

Despite not losing weight, the non-responders did improve their blood pressure and reported a more positive mood throughout the study.