Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Health Junkie: INSANITY ?

The Health Junkie: INSANITY ?


    It has occurred to me recently that the reason why so many people are overweight is because either they don't mind being overweight ... or they don't believe they are; either way it's still denial - ( not the river in Egypt). Look in the mirror, this isn't about your inner beauty, this is about your health.
     Everyone wants to eat the things they shouldn't, it's normal. Even the most disciplined focused individuals still like chips or pizza or cookies. I find that for those who are trying to lose weight or wish too, seem to assume that the healthy, fit individuals are different to them and do not have the same desires or weaknesses as them. We've all heard the line before ... 'Its easy for you to eat well/ to exercise everyday/ to not drink/to run up mountains/ to avoid croissants' etc etc. ... NO IT ISN'T.
Its just as hard for those who are in great shape as it is for everyone else. Where does this idea spring from that fit, lean, healthy people are blessed with superhuman powers of discipline and control, they are not.
     So firstly - Are you fat? Yes, dear reader, I mean you, are you happy with the way you look and feel? If the answer is 'Yes' then good for you and have a nice day.
If the answer is 'No', then what do you do? Well we don't start by assuming its easy for everyone else and much harder for you because we have now established that this isn't the case, so no excuses there, it's hard for everyone.
    I am about 7.9% Body fat ... do I like chocolate? yep, do I like chips? yep, ice cream? yep, pizza? yep , do I feel like exercising on a cold, wet day? nope. I think you get the message.
Some nutritionists advocate changing one thing at a time and then slowly moving on to the next  and then slowly bit by bit you begin to change your bad habits for good ones. This sounds reasonable and entirely plausible but I'm not sure it works all the time or with everyone. Most of my clients, once they start to eat correctly and exercise regularly want change as soon as possible, not 9 months down the road.
   I believe in changing quite a few things immediately to get you kick started on the road to a better body composition. I personally feel that most people are perfectly capable of making quite a few adjustments to their diet and exercise regimes.
 Whether you are a Vegan, Paleo, Vegetarian juicer or a grass fed meat eating new age free range tree hugging hippy; one thing is universally acknowledge by all - Processed food is bad and natural unprocessed food is good. And so this is your start point.
But what does it mean?
Simply put, if you can kill it, pluck it, grow it, milk it, gather it, pick it or fish it then its good and if it comes in a packet, a box or a can then its bad. The least amount of processes involved to get it from the land or sea to your mouth is what we are after.
  I was talking to someone today who is overweight and she just could not believe that she could eat more than she does right now and lose body fat, increase lean muscle mass, drop several dress sizes and completely change her figure. Lean healthy eating does not mean dieting, eating less and nibbling on a stick of celery all day. Balance is key but I'm afraid too many people are very imbalanced when it come to food choices. If you eat a super clean diet all week and then binge drink alcohol at the weekends then you are wasting your time because you just cancelled out all your gains... sorry, its just the way it is, no point dressing it up to make you feel good.
If you go for a one hour jog and then eat a pastry, then you just consumed more than you just burnt off.
      You can eat a plethora of foods but you need discipline when it comes to the naughty stuff. I'm not saying don't eat something naughty now and again, just don't do it all the time. If 95% of what you eat is healthy and nutritious then you can afford to cheat once a week, (just for one meal only, not all day).

 The good and the bad
    I find it inconceivable that people don't know what is good and bad but for the record here's some obvious ones :-
Coca cola and other sodas, fruit juices and smoothies, alcohol, are all No's.
Pizza, fries, pasta, puddings, pastries, bread, waffles, biscuits, crisps, ice cream, syrup, are all No's.
Vegetables, beans, salad, green drinks, fish oil, nuts (a few), are all Yes's.
For the Non Vegans, meat, poultry, fish are all Yes's.
Then there are the maybe's, a little fruit, some potatoes eg sweet potatoes, quinoa, a little brown rice, oats (a little), some 80% dark chocolate, half a Greek yoghurt.
Different countries recommend different portions of fruit and veg a day. Personally I agree with the Aussie's - 5 veg and 2 fruit per day minimum. If you aim for this quota  then you can't go too far wrong but really it isn't rocket science, common sense should tell you what's right and wrong, although I believe it was Voltaire who said 'the only problem with common sense is that its not that common'.

   Read food labels
 Trying to avoid excess sugar is another big NO, the difficulty here is that the food industry is very sneaky and they hide it by not calling it sugar. If something says 'low sugar' or 'low fat' or 'diet anything' then I guarantee its really bad because you are being duped.
If it has 'ose' on the end such as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, glucose ...its sugar or if it says modified starch or modified maze or modified anything that's sugar too and usually a lot of other things that you don't want in your body. 'Modified' is a word used to hide dodgy ingredients.
This is why most nutritionists keep it simple by saying 'don't eat processed food' that way its harder to get caught out.
And a point about anyone giving advice on nutrition... A famous health guru once said 'If the person who is lecturing you does not look good in their underwear, ignore them'. If this sounds a little weird, think about it.
A final point about carbs, they are not the Devil and eating them won't kill you in fact we all need carbohydrates to survive its just that the overweight brigade eat an awful lot of the wrong ones. Spending a little time educating ourselves on healthy food choices will prove hugely worthwhile.

  Exercise - a note of caution
   I'm sure you all know this by now but just in case you've missed some of my blogs. I just did a 2 hour trail run of 16 k's climbing and descending about 3000 feet over very nasty, rocky ground.  I ate only one gel and afterwards because I needed some replacement food quick, and was in the middle of nowhere, had a chocolate milk, (and even though this is not the ideal post endurance food it does have a good balance of carbs, fat and protein).
Did I lose any weight? nope. Even though the gel and chocolate milk helped to replenish my glycogen stores, they were the same calories in total that I had just used up on my 2 hour run. Exercise will not burn anywhere close to what you eat ... only by eating correctly will you lose fat.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Monday, March 3, 2014

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