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New Year’s resolution for weight loss

 

New Year is here!

 

That means it’s New Year’s resolution time. For most people, it’s about losing weight.

Being overweight is a challenging issue facing a lot of Canadians. Some have been facing obesity for their entire adult life.

 

New Year’s resolution for weight loss – a reality check

There is a small percentage of who are people successful at losing weight for the New Year’s resolution.

For most, the weight doesn’t drop off easily. The weight would drop off a little and then climb back up again. This up-down cycle would repeat itself over and over again. So, revisiting the lose weight New Year’s resolution is no new affair for many. Most are at a loss as to why their weight won’t drop off! The only thing to do is keep trying with another diet and hope for the best.

There’s no secret formula or magic potion to trim the waistline. Fundamentally, it’s about optimizing the body’s energy balance and hormonal balance. However, the biggest challenge is overhauling eating behaviours and instituting regular exercise routine as part of a healthy lifestyle.

One question to ask: should you be focused on hitting the weight loss number on the scale or should you lose weight to feel healthier regardless of the number on the scale?

new-years-resolution-for-weight-loss

Sugar is everywhere!

In our North American grab-and-go fast-paced lifestyle, sugar is prevalent in almost every food item.

vegetable-soup-with-added-sugarTherefore, we should pay more attention to sugar intake. It is in almost 80% of food items on the supermarket shelves. Believe it or not, there are 3 grams of sugar in one 150 ml (2/3 cup) serving of Campbell’s vegetable soup. So in a 900 ml carton, there are 18 grams of sugar in the form of dextrose in the vegetable soup.

Beverages like fruit juices, sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade) contain dangerously high amounts of sugar.

Remove as much as possible sugar from your diet especially simple sugar, refined sugar. Eat good quality complex carbs. Why? Starch of complex carbs breaks down into sugar gradually. The slow and gradual release of sugar into body system prevent blood sugar spikes. The flood of sugar in short duration causes the release to store energy from sugar.

According to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the daily recommended intake of sugar is 12 teaspoons.

Wean off the high sugar content foods and be aware of hidden sugar in foods. Did you know, a glass orange juice has the same amount of sugar as in a can of cola soft drink (about 10 teaspoons of sugar)?

Food companies don’t always put the word “sugar” on the ingredient lists of their food products. Instead,  different names for sugar are listed on the ingredient lists  – 61 different names for sugar.

What are the different names of sugar used on food labels?   Read more …

Refined carbs – what are they?

Refined carbs are white flour in pizza dough, muffins, bagel, cookies, bread. Any whole grain that has been refined through food processing is considered “refined”. There are different levels of grain refinery process. Fine ground grains are more refined than coarse grains. Why are refined carbs not as healthy? The body’s digestive system converts refined carbs to sugar.

How is natural food beneficial?

Natural whole grains are full of nutrients that are invaluable to the body. However, natural foods are unusable to the body. The body’s digestive system need to work hard to extract nutrients and calories and convert them to energy. Digesting food in the body takes time and therefore nutrients and calories are released slowly to the body. Naturally, the body has checks and balances to regulate energy balances.

The food industry processing has helped with partial digestion of the natural food ~ partial artificial digestion on manufacturing line. This creates a problem for energy balance in the body – a disruption in the body’s energy checks and balances. Since the partial artificial digestion breaks down food – some of the invaluable nutrients are washed away before the food enters the body. The body now absorbs the “whatever is left of the nutrients” from processed foods faster into the bloodstream and use it for energy and nourish the various parts of the body. The issue is now, the body has too much of “nutrients” and calories which it cannot use in a short time. So, the body keep them in a storable form – storing them as fat.

Eat more wholesome foods – more whole grains, in its least processed form, fresh meat from the butcherie not from freeze-dried TV dinners, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and shellfish. Drink less fruit juice, instead, eat fiber-rich fruits. Fiber slows down the sugar absorption into the bloodstream.

Choose foods with a high ratio of nutrient to calorie.

Healthy eating habits – lifestyle change

You probably have tried or heard of someone you know tried many different diet programs but none had helped with weight loss. Jumping into a diet program to lose weight is not a permanent healthy solution to weight loss. The diet program is not customized for you. That means you muster all your willpower to fight off cravings.

Willpower is not always around to help you. When you’re tired or frustrated, willpower wanes. Willpower cannot always help you fight primal instincts. Human bodies are wired for self-preservation. Restricting some nutrients can trigger cravings and eventually drives you to eat whatever foods that you are deprived of.

Coaxing your habit changes

Rather, change to healthy eating habits. It will take time and few or more than a few attempts before you become better at it. Failure to stick to healthier eating for the first few attempts is not the end of the world. Life goes on! The worst thing is to give up!

Each time you fail, you and your body learn a new way to cope with the “new” environment. You are gradually coaxing your body to follow wishes of your logical, adult mind. The key is not to overwhelm yourself.

For example: if you want to limit sugar in your nutrition routine, it may be a better idea to start off by gradually reducing sugar – instead of 3 teaspoons of sugar in your morning coffee, take it with only 2 teaspoons for first 2 months, then limit it to one teaspoon for the following 2 months. If 2 months is too short for the body to adjust, extend it to 3 months. You don’t want to wake up in the morning and the face sugar as the enemy.

Portion control is important. The key is to have fully satisfying meals. Don’t deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. Otherwise, you will have cravings and keep running back to the fridge to snack.

Instead of just simply putting food into your mouth mindlessly, here are some tips on how to add barriers to overfeeding:

  1. use small plates – serving size appears bigger on small plates
  2. don’t eat out the package – you’ll overeat when you eat out the package. If you have a big bag of chocolate cookies, you’re more likely to finish off the entire bag
  3. focus and savor the flavor of food
  4. don’t snack when you’re not hungry – if you’re bored, go rinse your mouth with mouthwash, go clean the toilet
  5. wait 20 minutes after eating 1st meal serving before going for 2nd serving. Allow time for the food to go into your gut then transmit the “I have food” signal to the brain

Food portions served in restaurants today are bigger than portion sizes served 20 years ago. We are conditioned to seeing larger portion sizes today.   Read more …

 

A lifestyle of regular exercise for weight loss

The other equation to losing weight is regular exercise.

If you exercise without watching what and how much you eat, you most likely will not lose weight. If you are relying on the daily one hour of exercise to burn off the fat, you’re pretty much out of luck. In order to lose the fat, your body needs to be in caloric deficit. What this means is that your body’s caloric intake must be lower than caloric expenditure. Although you do burn the calories during exercise, you will most likely eat to replenish what you have burned during exercise because you will be more hungry. There’s not much of caloric deficit.

The silver lining in this is, exercise improves health in many ways and creates internal body environments that are conducive to weight loss and builds muscles.

Benefits of regular exercise

  1. increase insulin sensitivity – exercise helps to drain the energy from the cells. When the insulin biofeedback mechanism is restored, the entire body hormonal system is no longer in insulin resistant mode. This means the body is no longer in fat storage mode.   Insulin resistance – read more how cells become insulin resistant …
  2. relieves stress – stress is related to emotional eating
  3. increase muscle density – muscle tissue is the most metabolically inefficient tissue. More muscles translate to higher resting metabolism i.e. your body will burn more calories while you are resting when you are awake.
  4. preserve muscle mass – as you age, you will lose muscle mass. Exercise will help to preserve muscle mass and help you to control weight better
  5. increase joint strength – allows you to enjoy moving in your body more effectively. You will be less resistant to exercising.

Walking around with the excess weight is no fun especially when your joints ache. You know it’s time to take action when you can hardly climb a flight of stairs to your own bedroom without running out of breath. Does this mean you should rule out physical activities? Of course not. The less physical training you do, the worse your body will deteriorate.

Start workout regimen with low-intensity exercise selection. Gradually as your joints become stronger and as the weight begin to drop off, your hip and knee aches will lessen. You will be able to move more freely and enjoy physical activities more.

As you become physically fitter, your self-esteem will grow. In Miranda Burrell’s case, she lost more than 40 lbs in 3 months. Her perspective in life changed drastically in a positive manner. She gained a whole lot of self-esteem and confidence and went on to obtain an honours degree in Sociology from York University.  Miranda Burrell’s weight loss story – read more about her successful weight loss journey.

Weight-loss-before-after-pic

Miranda-Burrell-before-after-pic

 

 

Take action now!

 

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I work out and eat well but can’t lose weight

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I work out and eat well but can’t lose weight!  What can I do? Well, some information in this piece will help.

  1. Eliminate added sugar from your diet: The first thing you need to do is to stay away from too much sugar and processed foods. Also, you need to remove fruit juice or soft drinks from your fridge. If you need a sugar fix, eat fruits. Make it a point to know the amount of sugar you are eating especially hidden sugar in foods.
  2. Eat healthy balanced diet. A good balance of protein, healthy fats, carbs, fiber – from natural sources and water will benefit your health.
  3. Exercise regularly: Ensure you are physically active. This will help to burn off excess fat.
  4. Practice portion control: Don’t overeat. It is best to wait 15-20 minutes before going for another portion. Remember that you cannot out-exercise what you eat.
  5. Sweet treats are only for special occasions.

However, what if you’re already limiting your calories, and exercising regularly but, did not lose any weight? Perhaps, you thought that you’d hit a wall. So, you are now considering abandoning the “working out, eat healthy and lose weight” bandwagon completely? But before getting off the wagon completely, try to heed the advice above.

It’s not willpower, it’s about reachable goals and be informed!
It’s not laziness – it’s lethargy!

Read further: You’ll appreciate and understand the reasons why you are not losing weight.

Table of Contents:

Hidden Sugar in Food

Eat your fruits vs. drinking your fruits

High sugar diet is actually high-fat diet

Food industry politics

Sugar is addictive

More sugar – more metabolic syndrome

Why is too much sugar damaging to our health?

Hunger, satiety impulses – insulin, leptin, ghrelin

Fructose and insulin signaling

Insulin resistance

Low energy and insulin resistant

What causes insulin resistance?

Leptin resistance

What causes leptin resistance?

Low-carb high-fat diet

Cholesterol in high-fat diet

Exercise – the important element in any plans to lose weight


An effective weight loss program consists of 2 key components – clean well-balanced nutrition plan and an effective exercise regimen.

Most people are unaware of that excess sugar can dampen weight loss goals and may send us 2 steps backward. More so, if there is hidden sugar in the food that is chosen.

Remember, you cannot out-exercise bad diet choices!

Over consumption of too much sugar is one of the main reasons for obesity. Lack of physical activity is the other.

Our North American diet has way too much sugar! There is too much sugar in almost every food item on your supermarket shelves. Scientific studies have informed us about the detriments of excess sugar consumption to our health. The result is obesity. Obesity is a pandemic that is sweeping across the globe. StatsCan data, as reported in Maclean’s article titled Death by Sugar, revealed that Canadians consume 110 grams of sugar daily. That’s equivalent to 26 teaspoons of sugar daily.

On average Canadians consume about 88 lbs of sugar a year – that’s 20 bags of sugar yearly.

Hidden-sugar-in-granola-bar

The numbers are higher for children and teens. Children and teens consume more – quantities ranging from 103 lbs to 138 lbs! (50 to 70 bags of sugar). Most of the sugar intake are in the form sugar-added beverages (soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks).

Hidden sugar in food

If you look at the nutrition label on a bottle of orange juice at your local supermarket, you will see that it contains almost as much sugar as the same serving of Coke.

sugar-content-in-orange-juice-equals-can-of-coke

Also, most of the processed foods which are branded as healthy are laden or laced with sugar. About 80% of food items on supermarket shelves such as cereals, yogurt, salad dressing, ketchup, cream cheese, bread, etc. contain sugar.

 

A meal that you think is healthy – hamburger with a side of salad with vinaigrette dressing and a glass of orange juice – hold the fries. To an unsuspecting family, it’s 100% healthy. However, there are hidden sugar in the food. Let’s look at the level of sugar in the following meal:

vinaigrette salad dressing – 2 grams ( 2 tablespoons serving)

ketchup – 1 gram (1 tablespoon serving)

hamburger meat – 0 grams

1 glass of orange juice (8 oz.) – 24 grams

1 the hamburger bun (2 slices) – 2 grams

Now, let’s do the calculation. The total sugar intake in the meal is 29 grams (7 teaspoons of sugar), that’s already 60% of the recommended daily intake of 12 teaspoons in just one meal.

Be aware of the hidden sugar in your diet!

If you see dextrose on the ingredients list of the packaged food, know it’s a hidden sugar. Food labeling provides you sugar content information in many different names, and you’ll be surprised with the nouns used. There are 61 different names of sugar:

Agave nectar Barbados sugar Barley malt
Barley malt syrup Beet sugar Brown sugar
Buttered syrup Cane juice Cane juice crystals
Cane sugar Caramel Carob syrup
Castor sugar Coconut palm sugar Coconut sugar
Confectioner’s sugar Corn sweetener Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids Date sugar Dehydrated cane juice
Demerara sugar Dextrin Dextrose
Evaporated cane juice Evaporated cane juice Free-flowing brown sugars
Fructose Fruit juice Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose Glucose solids Golden sugar
Golden syrup Grape sugar HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
Honey Icing sugar Invert sugar
Malt syrup Maltodextrin Maltol
Maltose Mannose Maple syrup
Molasses Muscovado Palm sugar
Panocha Powdered sugar Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup Rice syrup Saccharose
Sorghum Syrup Sucrose Sugar (granulated)
Sweet Sorghum Syrup Treacle
Turbinado sugar Yellow sugar

Source: Hidden in Plain Sight: Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged food, http://www.sugarscience.org/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.WBthzfkrLIU

Eat your fruits vs. drinking your fruits

Fruits are healthy choices for natural sugar, water, and fiber. But, does this means that orange juice is natural and healthy. By no means! It’s not the same. Most orange juices have too much sugar. The only way you will know there’s no added sugar in your juice is when your local restaurant provides freshly squeezed orange juice without adding sugar. However, you are still missing one nutrient – fiber!

Fiber in fruits slows down the metabolism of sugar. Our body has to break down the fiber to access the sugar in fresh fruit. Nature has already pre-programmed a fail-safe switch in our body to regulate blood sugar levels so that there will be no blood sugar spikes, and fat storage will not be triggered.

Additionally, it is harder to overeat fruits because the fiber is filling.

High sugar diet is actually high-fat diet.

Years ago your doctor would have told you to lose the fat in your diet if you want to lose weight.

Science has shown that constant over-indulgence in sugar leads to fat accumulation, especially in the waist. Unused sugar converts to fat in the body. Scientists have long known the data from research on sugar science, as early as 1861 by William Banting and later Dr. Adkins in 1972.

The low-fat high-carb mantra was propagated by sugar lobbyists to protect their sugar and corn industries.

Food industry politics

McGovern Report’s low-fat high-carb diet

Why did this happen? It was all about food politics.

In 1965, the sugar industry defended itself by influencing scientists to manipulate scientific evidence about the negative effects of excess sugar intake to health. Coincidentally, heart disease was rampant back then. There were cases when American men would drop dead due to heart attacks. At the heels of several cases of US senators dying in office of heart attacks, the first set of dietary guidelines for Americans was created under the McGovern Report.

During that time some of the scientific community linked foods with saturated fat such as eggs, meat to the rise in LDL cholesterol levels. Then, there was limited data and a lot of complexities that scientists did not understand yet. Scientists who challenged the McGovern Report’s stance were ignored.

In 1976 the first American official dietary guideline recommended reducing dietary fats intake for health.

Side Note: In addition, smoking was a prevalent habit amongst Americans. As a way to protect the tobacco industry, the major cigarette companies launched public relations diversion campaigns to confuse the public and cast doubts on medical research methodologies that linked severe health issues to smoking. It was many years later that tobacco was officially recognized as the cause of heart disease and lung cancer.

As recent as Sep 2016, University of California scientists discovered internal documents that suggest the sugar industry had paid Harvard scientists to shift blame to fat. The sugar industry used the same tactical diversion campaigns used by the tobacco industry back in the 1950s to confuse the public and sponsored some medical researches to invalidate the credibility of other unfavorable research.

Here’s the UCSF researchers’ revelation as published in JAMA

Every chef will tell you that food without fat tastes like cardboard. For palatability reasons, the food industry added sugar to all processed foods. So if we remove fat from food, we have to add sugar so that the food tastes good!

Today, there are a lot of conflicting information about healthy nutrition and how to lose weight. Although more news and publications are admonishing the ills of too much sugar, some people are failing to change their diets. They are addicted to the substance.

Sugar is addictive

Yes, sugar is addictive! When we eat food with high amounts of sugar, it triggers the release of massive amounts of dopamine. Dopamine binds to dopamine receptors in the reward centers of the brain. The effect is pleasurable feeling.

When we frequently feed ourselves high sugar diet, it lowers the number of dopamine receptors in our brain. This is known as down regulate. So, the pleasure feeling will be blunted. The brain will signal us to eat more high sugar diet to gain the same level of pleasurable feeling.

So adults’ palates, who around 30 years ago were kids growing up in the low-fat high-carb era, are now hooked on foods with added sugar – They are addicted to sugar.

More sugar – more metabolic syndrome

Too much sugar in the form of refined sugar and refined carbs are to be blamed for the rise of metabolic syndrome.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the chance of getting heart disease, diabetes, hypertension/high blood pressure.

The 5 metabolic risk factors of excess sugar intake are:

  1. A large waistline – Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
  2. High triglyceride level – Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.
  3. Low HDL cholesterol level or good cholesterol – HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.
  4. High blood pressure or hypertension – If blood pressure rises and stays high over long periods of time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup – causing heart attack and stroke.
  5. High fasting blood sugar. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

Currently, scientists are conducting further research to study possible links of too much sugar consumption to cancer, Alzheimer’s, aging.

Why is too much sugar damaging to our health?

Here’s why too much sugar is unhealthy.

Table sugar or sucrose that you put in your morning coffee is made up 2 simple sugars: glucose and fructose.

Glucose is a simple sugar which useful to our body. Every cell in our body including, our brain needs glucose to survive. Our body metabolizes glucose for energy. Our body converts excess sugar to non-toxic form called glycogen. Glycogen is then stored in the liver and muscles. When all the glycogen storage sites are filled up, remaining excess glucose are stored away as fat in the fat tissues (adipose tissues).

Fructose is another simple sugar that is present in our foods. It is also found naturally in fruits. Unlike glucose, fructose can be metabolized only by the liver. Fructose does not convert to glycogen. Any excess fructose is converted directly to fat storage – so, more fat is made from fructose. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, fructose metabolism produces uric acid (which causes gout and hypertension), VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein – a form of cholesterol associated with plaque buildup), triglyceride – storage form of free fatty acids.

Hunger, satiety impulses – insulin, leptin, ghrelin

There are hormones in our body that regulate energy balance. It will give feedback to the brain to signal hunger or satiety.

Insulin hormone has 2 types of energy balance controls:

  1. It signals the body to absorb glucose into muscles, liver and convert into energy or store excess glucose.
  2. It signals the brain (hypothalamus) to curb appetite.

When blood glucose concentration rises, it triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin then causes muscles, liver, and fat tissues to take up glucose from the bloodstream and converts any unused glucose into glycogen for storage. When glycogen stores are completely filled up, the liver converts the remaining excess glucose into fat for storage.

Insulin is one part of the mechanism that regulates our body’s energy balance. The presence of insulin tells our brain to curb appetite when we are well-fed.

Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain to curb your appetite while ghrelin is a hormone that drives us to eat. When we are full, our body releases leptin. When we need food, ghrelin hormone will relay a HUNGRY message to our brain, so we will eat.

Why does high carb diets or processed foods make one crave for more carbs?

Fructose and insulin signaling

Fructose does not trigger insulin feedback. So, it does not signal the brain to stop consume food. So we will continue to eat even though we have enough body fat in our body.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells are no longer sensitive to effects of insulin. So, cells in our body are unable to absorb or uptake glucose, lipids (fats), amino acids (protein). Since high blood glucose concentration in the bloodstream is toxic, through the biofeedback loop, our body will signal our pancreas to secrete insulin.

The chronic elevated blood glucose exhausts the pancreas’ insulin production capacity. When the pancreas is unable to supply insulin effectively, the result is type Ⅱ diabetes – one of the metabolic syndrome diseases.

Low energy and insulin resistant

As insulin promotes fat storage, the body is not releasing energy, so you will always experience low energy when you are expriencing insulin resistant. You’ll always feel tired and lethargic!

What causes insulin resistance?

The most prevalent root cause of insulin resistance is a cluster of lifestyle factors – lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet i.e. high sugar content, processed food in North American diet, and portion control.

At the cellular level, according to Dr. Stephan Guyenet, insulin resistance is a protective mechanism. When we chronically overfeed ourselves with food – carbs, fats, protein; the cell will try to protect itself from having excess energy. So, the cell desensitizes its insulin receptors to inhibit glucose uptake in muscles, and glucose, fat, protein uptake in the liver.

Leptin resistance

Leptin resistance is a condition in which the brain’s hypothalamus is no longer sensitive to leptin signaling. So when the leptin “I am full” signal doesn’t reach the brain, you’ll feel hungry although you know you’re overeating. Inhibited leptin signals the primal body responses – to eat, lower metabolism, conserve energy, and store fat.

What causes leptin resistance?

The definite cause of leptin resistance is still unknown. However, according to Dr. Richard Johnson, University of Colorado, fructose impedes leptin signaling – leptin resistance (video interview: discussion about leptin resistance and low energy – from 46:55 to 51:18).

What about fruits containing fructose? Are they good for health?

Fructose found in fruits are healthier choice compared to fructose found in high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Robert Lustig stated that the fibre in fruits slows down the release of fructose into the bloodstream. You most likely will not overeat fruits because the fibre will fill you up.  In addition, fruits have many beneficial nutrients that offset the negative effects of fructose.

People who are obese and want to lose weight should be careful with eating fruits with high fructose content. Strawberries, blueberries, are some of the fruits with low fructose content. Avoid drinking fruit juices and eating dried fruits too.

Eat fructose with fiber.

Why food industry use fructose and high fructose corn syrup?

The simple answer is: It’s sweet and cheap!

Fructose is sweet. Food companies add fructose in processed foods to raise food palatability. Fructose is one of the sweetest sugars. It is 1.6 to 1.7 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose.

Fructose in processed foods and soft drinks are derived from high fructose corn syrup HFCS. Like the table sugar or sucrose, HFCS has 2 simple sugars: glucose and fructose. HFCS is 1 to 1.2 times the sweetness factor of sugar (sucrose).

Sucrose has a chemical bond that connects both the glucose and fructose molecules. However, enzymes in our body break that chemical bond. It’s worthy of note that the glucose and fructose not connected in HFCS. So, the simple sugars in HFCS are readily absorbed into our bloodstream without any further enzymatic processing – higher tendencies for fat storage.

HFCS is the preferred ingredient in food due to its low cost (because corn is a subsidized and tariff protected commodity in the US ∼ US is Canada’s biggest trading partner).

The 2 most common forms of HFCS used commercially in food and beverage industries are HFCS42 (42% fructose content) and HFCS55 (55% fructose content).

HFCS42 is used mainly in cereals, baked goods, some beverages while HFCS55 is found in soft drinks.

Other benefits of HFCS to food processors are: it prolongs shelf life, feeds yeasts which aids in the dough rising in baked goods, browns easy with heat – great browning agent, stabilizes and thickens processed foods.

Too much sugar in our diet is contributing to our weight gain. The excess sugars are converted to fat in our body. Most of the fat gained in the belly region is visceral fat. Since sugar is addictive, it is difficult to abstain from sugar. Also, most of us are unaware that, there are added sugar in most processed foods such as canned soup, TV dinners, salad dressing, bread, condiments, flavored yogurt, chocolate milk, iodized salt (sugar stabilizes iodide compound in salt), etc. Besides, fruit juices, sports drinks, and the like have as much sugar content as soft drinks. Most of us are unaware that we usually exceed our sugar recommended daily intake. The often confusing nutritional label also makes it difficult for most of us to track our sugar intake.

 

 

Low-carb high-fat diet

Weight loss experts are now prescribing high-fat low-carb diet and regular exercise in order to lose weight.

Some may say eat fat to lose weight, but don’t fat and cholesterol block arteries cause heart attacks?

Turkish-get-up-exercise-great-weight-loss-exercise

 

Weight-loss-before-after-pic

Miranda-Burrell-before-after-pic

It is not surprising that low carb high fat diet has seen many successful results in helping people lose weight –  see Miranda Burrell’s weight loss story

Fat cannot be easily converted back to sugar. When sugar converts to fat, it is not reversible.

Carbs/Glucose is a more preferred source of energy. Our body can break down carbs/glucose easier and faster compared to breaking down fat. In the presence of carbs, the body will not metabolize stored fat.

Only when carbs supplies run out, our body will tap into fat storage for energy via ketosis.

Moreover, high-fat diet is more satisfying and feel fuller faster.

 

Cholesterol in high-fat diet

The truth is cholesterol is important to health. Cholesterol is essential in repairing damaged cells. Our body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, and it helps our body to synthesize vitamin D. On the other hand, low cholesterol affects proper functions of the brain. It is associated with depression, aggressive behavior, and suicidal tendencies. Bile salts are also made from cholesterol. Bile is critical to digestive process and absorption of dietary fats.

High-density lipoprotein HDL and low-density lipoprotein LDL are transporters of cholesterol.

The bad press about LDL causing plaque buildup in arteries is symptomatic. According to Dr. Axe,  the real cause is the free radicals that cause inflammation in our bodies. Our body’s protective mechanism to attack is inflammation. As the tissue reddens and swells, it supplies more fluids and blood to the inflamed area. This is when tissue begins to repair itself.

LDL are the soldiers of tissue or cell repairs. Their involvement in the cell repairs process is crucial. When free radicals attack the cells in the blood vessel, the blood vessel becomes inflamed. The blood vessel’s wall will thicken while the body’s natural inflammatory response will constrict blood flow. LDL also rushes and binds to the inflamed area to facilitate cell repairs and block off further attacks. All these – the swelling of blood vessels and binding of LDL – is what is known to us as plaque. Further free radical attacks can potentially cause clotting in the blood vessels.

This means we need to reduce the levels of free radicals and oxidative stress elements in our body. What are the sources of the cause? Sources of free radicals are processed foods, refined sugar, pasteurized dairy, oxidized cholesterol in foods, alcohol, smoking, and stress.

The “good cholesterol” high-density lipoprotein HDL such as omega-3 transports the cholesterol to and from the liver.

The sources of fats should come natural. Fats as such animal fats, nuts, eggs, milk fats i.e. butter, cheese, fish, seafood are all natural. You should avoid fats from processed foods i.e. margarine, processed canola hydrogenated oil, etc.

Therefore, the low-carb, high-fat, high protein diet is preferred for fat burning and help to lose weight.

 

Exercise – the important element in any plans to lose weight

Exercise is important in any plans to lose weight. Exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity and leptin sensitivity (video presentation: from 24:58 to 26:03) plus increase muscle mass. When your body have more muscle mass, the muscles needs more energy for its sustenance. Exercise also helps in reducing chances of sustaining injuries as it increases bone density, improves joint stability strength and better flexibility.

Stress relief is another benefit of exercise. Since stress is linked to weight gain and emotional eating, lifting weights, participating in boot camp and kickboxing classes will definitely help you release bunched up stress in your body.

So, if you are wondering why you are not losing weight although you have been exercising, we hope you are now enlightened with the information presented in this blog. Take it with you and craft a new healthy diet and exercise plan that is sensible and sustainable. Minimize sugar intake, replace the sugar with fats and exercise regularly.

Cut out the sugar, control your portions, and exercise regularly. Above all, take note of hidden sugar in processed foods.

 

Personal Trainer Toronto provides in-home personal training to clients in Toronto and GTA neighborhoods. Contact us now to find a personal trainer near you.

 

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References:

  1. Skerret, Patrick J., Is fructose bad for you? Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School APRIL 26, 2011, available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-fructose-bad-for-you-201104262425
  2. The McGovern Report, FatHead youtube video channel, Nov. 2007, available at: https://youtu.be/xbFQc2kxm9c?list=PL1F21EC227A640CC5
  3. Norris Jeffrey, Sugar Is a Poison, Says UCSF Obesity Expert, UCSF News Center, University of California San Francisco, June 2009, available at: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2009/06/8187/obesity-and-metabolic-syndrome-driven-fructose-sugar-diet
  4. Lustig, Robert, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, University of California Television (UCTV) YouTube channel,  July 2009 available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&t=96s
  5. Lustig, Robert, Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0, University of California Television (UCTV) YouTube channel, Oct 2013,  available at: https://youtu.be/ceFyF9px20Y
  6. Johnson, Richard J., et. al., Sugar, Uric Acid, and the Etiology of Diabetes and Obesity, articles from American Diabetes Association, Oct. 2013,  available at: http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/62/10/3307
  7. Interview with Dr. Richard Johnson by Dr Mercola, Dr. Mercola YouTube channel, July 2012, available at: https://youtu.be/3W2zSN0JOa8
  8. Fed Up 2014, YouTube channel, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y647tNm8nTI
  9. BAILEY, Melissa, Sugar industry secretly paid for favorable Harvard research, Health, STAT, Sep 2016, available at: https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/12/sugar-industry-harvard-research/
  10. Axe, Joshua, Low Cholesterol Levels Are Worse Than High? Dr Axe.com, available at: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/draxe.com/low-cholesterol-levels-are-worse-than-high/
  11. Diamond, David, How Bad Science and Big Business Created the Obesity Epidemic, USF College of Arts and Sciences YouTube channel, May 2011, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vr-c8GeT34
  12. Nordqvist, Christian, Inflammation Causes, Symptoms and Treatment: MNT, Sept 2015, available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php
  13. Guyenet, Stephan, What Causes Leptin Resistance? — Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D. (AHS14): Ancestry Health Symposium lectures, Aug 2014, available at: https://youtu.be/WMdSHNnRbEs
  14. Guyenet, Stephan, What Causes Insulin Resistance? Part I, Whole Health Source: Nutrition and Nutrition and Health Science, Jan 2102, available at: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.ca/2011/11/what-causes-insulin-resistance-part-i.html

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Personal Trainer Toronto at Community based Police Dinner

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Scarborough, ON Sep 27, 2016

Representation of Personal Trainer Toronto at Community based Police Dinner

Several members of Bamboo Kung Fu and Kin Sze, President of Personal Trainer Toronto participated in the Community based Police Dinner. They attended the 25th Community based Police Dinner held at Casa DeLuz Banquet Hall (located in Woodside Square).  The organizers are community policing liaison committees from the 42 division. They are volunteers who are community leaders, members of the business community and residents in the 42 division jurisdiction.

 

photo-with-Toronto-Police-Chief-Mark-Saunders

Photo of Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders with attendees of the 25th Community based Policing dinner.

 

Honoured guests who were in attendance are Toronto’s Chief of Police Mark Saunders, Ward 41 City Councillor Chin Lee and City of Markham’s Ward 2 Councillor Alan Ho.

 

personal-trainer-toronto-at-community-based-police

Community based Policing

Community policing is about local community members working together with local police. The goal is to foster community-police partnerships to resolve local policing issues. By keeping an open communication with each other, the community and police are more effective in resolving community issues and crime prevention. Ultimately, this adds to community safety and peace of mind for the residents and businesses in the community.  It is a win-win relationship for both the local community and police.

 

Personal Trainer Toronto – Scarborough located in 42nd division

The Personal Trainer Toronto location at 3400 Midland Avenue, Unit 3, Scarborough is situated in the jurisdiction area of 42 division police.

Over the years, Personal Trainer Toronto and Bamboo Kung Fu have been working and supporting the 42nd division Community Police Liaison Committees’ efforts. Our supports have been through participation in the annual community picnic, various functions, and events. The goal is to promote relationships between members of the community and police.

 

Personal Trainer Toronto provides in-home personal training in Toronto and GTA. Our personal fitness trainer are conveniently located in multiple locations:

downtown Toronto,    North York,    near Etobicoke,    East York near the Beaches neighbourhood.

Contact us now to book a FREE trial in-home personal training session with one of our nearby personal trainers.

 

book-free-trial-personal-trainer-toronto

 


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Why you can lose weight on chocolate candy bar diet?

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Why you can lose weight on chocolate bar diet alone?

“Yes, …but, I don’t recommend it…. Prof. Mark Taub’s Twinkie diet experiment proved it can be done (for weight loss)….” ~ Miranda Burrell

 

lose-weight-diet-chocolate-vs-balanced-diet

 

According to Miranda Burrell, “If you have the willpower to limit the amount of chocolate candy you eat, yes, then you can lose weight on the chocolate diet alone. But, I don’t recommend it.  Chocolate candy bar lacks the necessary nutrients that we need.”

 

Miranda’s weight loss journey

Weight-loss-before-after-pic

Miranda is a mother of 2 boys and she is a weight loss success story. When her 13-year marriage ended, she decided to tackle her physical health. Then, she tipped the weigh scale at 215 lbs.

She started by making small changes in her lifestyle. She became more active and started to exercise more –  mostly walking more at first, then went to the gym to exercise, going to yoga classes and began to eat healthier.

After participating in the weight loss program for mothers offered through a TV show, she lost 30 lbs in 4 months. As her physical health improved, so did her mental and emotional health.

Miranda Burrell – weight loss success story: http://www.personaltrainertoronto.com/personal-trainer-toronto/trainer-profile/miranda-burrell-weight-loss-success/>> read about her weight loss journey.

Control your Portions

Portion control was a big one!” when  asked about how much she ate while on her weight loss plan. “I started using a smaller plate,” she added. The smaller plate helped Miranda limit her food portions. It made the servings appear bigger although it is less.

Prof. Mark Taub’s Twinkie diet experiment proved that portion control is one of the biggest elements of any successful weight loss plan.” she said.

Prof.  Haub is a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University. He conducted a 10-week experiment (http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article36718608.html) in which he ate one sugary Twinkie roll every three hours, in place of meals for 10 weeks.  Restricting himself to only under 1800 calories daily, he lost 27 lbs at week #10. His body mass index (BMI) dropped from unhealthy 28.8 to normal 24.9, and he weighed 178 lbs.

Educate yourself on food portion awareness!  

If you reduce 500 calories a day, in 7 days you’ll burn off 1 pound of fat! 

It sounds simple! Or is it?

According to Miranda Burrell, “…you need to have a plan to lose weight….”

Weight loss is calorie deficit – calories burnt (out) is more than calories consumed (in).

Calories are energy contain in food that you eat. Your body needs calories (energy) to keep functioning. Your body uses energy so your heart beats, breathe, digest food, moves hormones within your body, keeps your brain activities going, etc.

If you perform any physical activity, your body will burn more calories.  When you eat fewer calories than your body needs, you will lose weight. By restricting the calories, you are forcing your body to draw energy from the fat stored in your body.

For example: if your body burns 2500 calories daily and you limit food intake to 2000 calories, your caloric deficit is 500 calories each day. So, the caloric deficit in a week: 500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories – that’s equivalent  to 1 lb. of fat.

showing-turkish-get-up-great-weight-loss-exercise

Miranda’s top 7 tips to help you to lose weight

1) Eat protein, fats and veggies

Our diet don’t have enough of veggies. Balanced the intake of protein, fats, with more vegetables.  Eat a variety of multi-coloured vegetables. Vegetables are sources of vitamins, minerals, plentiful in antioxidants, fibre. Vegetables have lower calories but will keep you feeling full longer with the addition of fibre – good for gut bacteria.

2) More whole grain diet

Eliminate white starchy food such as bread, pasta, rice….”more yams vs potatoes.” Whole grain takes a longer time to digest than processed white starchy foods. So, calories from whole grains are released  much slower into your body.

Well-balanced meals should include a meat, whole grains, fish, eggs, milk, nuts. fruits. Any foods that originated, grown or raised from the earth are healthier.  Nature has already preplanned your nutritional intake. They are the source of all the necessary nutrients that your body needs: sugar/carbs, fats, protein, minerals, vitamins, water.

3) Eliminate alcohol

Alcohol adds calories to your diet.

4) Eat smaller portions but eat more often

Eat enough calories to fuel your body for about 2-3 hours. Feeding yourself too much in one seating will cause the body to store additional calories as fat.

5) Stay close to people who supports your efforts to lose weight

Social and emotional positive reinforcements are important. Stay around people who encourages you. Stay with people who has good eating habits, and enjoys being active. In Miranda’s case, being on the Marilyn Denis TV show helps a lot.

6) Workout, diet plan in daily routine structure

Having a structured diet plan, exercise regimen, that is customized to your lifestyle helps.  The structured routine will help track your progress and keeps you focused.

7) When you’re ready, try to fit into smaller clothes

Seeing yourself successfully fit into smaller sized clothes will motivate you to stay on course towards your weight loss goals.  These small successes are crucial in keeping you on course!

Check out more weight loss tips >> http://www.personaltrainertoronto.com/services/fitness-training/in-home-personal-training/fat-burner/fat-burner/#lose-body-fat-fast-tips << for more effective ways to lose weight.

The key to successful weight loss is limit portion sizes, increase physical activity level. Gradual progressions to healthy lifestyle changes are easier to maintain. Any drastic changes towards healthy lifestyle habits including diet habits will only served to back fire on your weight loss goals.   Like the saying goes: Rome wasn’t built in one day.”

Contact a personal trainer near you

Personal Trainer Toronto’s in-home personal trainers are located conveniently near you. Contact now to find our personal trainer near you.

book-free-trial-personal-trainer-toronto

 

 


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Healthy eating during holiday season? Happy Holidays

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Are you going to attempt the idea of healthy eating during the holiday season? I don’t think so! Your Aunt Polly may want to kick you off the dinner table!

 

Dec 24, … Dec 25, … Dec 31, … Jan 1 …. fill up on as many pound cakes as you wish. 2 weeks of binging is not going to kill you! Don’t stress if you cannot stay on the healthy eating plan …. Jan 2 is not too far away for New Years resolution and get back on the health and fitness wagon.

 
Trying-healthy-eating-during-holiday-season
 
You go home to your mom’s for the festive holiday season. Then your Aunt Polly comes over and dishes you mountain loads of her favourite meat pies, servings after servings of chocolate mousse, pound cakes. Then your uncle comes over to you with a large can of Stiegl Bier …. there goes your healthy eating plans for the holiday season! Don’t Stress! 2 weeks of not limiting calories won’t kill you. Maybe your body needs to feel how it feels like to load on carbs.

You probably will increase your cortisol levels if you try to stick to your healthy eating plans.

However, you do want to avoid processed food:

  1. Soda pop, sugary diet juices,
  2. Chips, pretzels,
  3. Fast food
  4. Canned foods i.e. canned soup, processed pizza,

 

The foods items are laden with manufactured trans-fat, artificial flavour enhancers, sugar especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS),

Your aunt’s meat pie, your mom’s oxtail stew, your dad’s barbeque meat are most nutrient dense and gives you more satiety. High carbs or not, they are no artificial flavouring, no HFCS, no colouring, no artificial trans-fat. It’s real food. Although it is not your exact idea of healthy eating plan, the home cooked meals may not be too far from your healthy eating plans.

In between meals, take a leisurely stroll around the block or into the woods and connect with nature. Calm down the nerves from everyday lives during the holiday season. Before you know it, it’s Jan 2 and then the craziness of life starts again.

Enjoy and appreciate, reflect life. After all, this is what living healthy lives is all about. Good quality healthy lives.

 

Happy Holidays! See you in 2016

 


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Workout Plans for Women-2 great tips to workout success

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Workout-plans-for-women-girl-doing-deadlifts

Workout plans for women need to consider some key physiological differences between women and men.

 

Besides, good quality nutrition, the workout plans need to focus on reducing knee injury. The training program also needs to take advantage of the hormonal phases.

 

Points to consider in workout plans for women:

Every exercising female should be aware of the following points. It is also important for men to know the differences for the benefit of their female partners, family members or friends. Every exercise selection in any workout plans for women should consider the following points.

 

1) Knee injuries are 8 – 10 more common in women than men

  • Women, proportionately, have wider hips than men. This creates a sharper angle between the calf and the thigh, placing more stress on the knees.
  • Women’s kneecaps are also at higher risk of dislocation. The groove that the kneecaps ride on is shallower than men’s, offering less stability.
  • Women’s cyclical hormonal changes affect the structural integrity of the joints. Increased estrogen cause laxity in ligaments and tendons, again, compromising the joints stability.
  • Women’s knees tend to collapse inwards when landing from jumps or cutting motions in physical activities. This creates greater potential for ligament tear namely, the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
  • Women’s natural side to side hip swaying, swings the body to balance the entire body on one leg on a flat fixed foot and low knee bend contribute to the higher risk of knee injury.

The control of trunk muscles affects knee instability and injury. The brain-and-nervous system subconsciously signals the trunk muscles to act.

Jump landings or unanticipated cutting movements need accurate sensory and rapid muscle responses to reposition the body. Women’s lesser neuromuscular control of trunk muscles decreases the robustness of the knee joint integrity. Researchers at Oregon State University discovered that men’s nerve impulses control are similar to individuals trained for explosive muscle usage i.e. like a sprinter while the women’s nerve impulses control are less explosive likened to that of an endurance-trained athlete, i.e. a marathon runner.

2) Hormonal cycle – re-jigging the workout plans for women

The menstrual cycle has a huge effect on women’s metabolic state. On some days, she will be a superstar performer and a week later she has low energy and lack of motivation. For better-personalized workout plans for women, it will take into consideration the hormonal changes.

Each month, a premenopausal woman’s body goes through a cycle of hormonal changes. The menstrual cycle consists of, in chronological order, follicular, ovulation and luteal phases. The first day of discharge marks the beginning of the follicular phase.

At each phase of the menstrual cycle, the body produces different amounts of estrogen, progesterone hormones. The relative estrogen-progesterone balance is the body’s fat or sugar fuel selector.

Timing workouts around hormones:

For women not on hormone replacement therapy, birth control pill the following applies

Follicular Phase Training: This is when women should get into anaerobic type training. During early to mid-follicular phase (day 1- 14), estrogen levels rise gradually. It peaks at about ovulation phase, while progesterone levels remain unchanged. Body temperature remains normal. The body is able to better handle oxygen debt type activities. As the phase proceeds further, estrogen level increases. The workout program can shift to heavier weight training or higher intensity resistance training.  The high estrogen level increases joint laxity. Joints will be less stable and prone to injury.

For safety, it is imperative to be aware of this point when designing any workout plans for women.

 

Luteal Phase Training: During this phase, the women’s body tend to burn more fat during exercise. Also, be prepared to deal low energy, lack of motivation, giving in to cravings.  Since fat burning is the preferred, it is optimal to back off on heavy weight training intensities. The workout plans for women can shift more towards low to medium intensity workouts or strength training.

Takeaway: 

  • Workout plans for women need to focus on: strengthening trunk controlling muscles, glutes muscles for better hip stability, improve knee joint strength especially the teardrop muscle near the knees (VMO – vastus medialis oblique).
  • The program also need to teach women to bend their knees to absorb the impact while landing from jumps or the shear of cutting motions in physical activities, whether related to sports or everyday daily living activities.
  • Workout plans for women should plan to allow for fluctuations of energy and attitude towards exercise on that day. Understanding the menstrual cycle phases can ease frustrations for both trainee and trainer.

 

Personal Trainer’s Toronto-workout plan for women

At Personal Trainer Toronto, we personalized each of the workout plans for women. We have some of the best personal trainers in Toronto who are knowledgeable in training female clients and can provide in home personal training to various areas in Toronto and Greater Toronto Area to help you.

 

For more information on personal training especially in designing workout plans for women, please contact us via

email: info@personaltrainertoronto.com

 

tel: 416-412-3930

 

References:

1) Clark, Shannon,The Hormone Cycle and Female Lifters, T-Nation blog, Nov 19, 2014, available at: https://www.t-nation.com/training/hormone-cycle-and-female-lifters

2) Hewett TE, Why women have an increased risk of ACL injury, AAOS Now November 2010 Issue, available at: http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/nov10/research3.asp

3) Kraemer WJ, Mazzetti SA, Nindl BC, Gotshalk LA, Volek JS, Bush JA, Marx JO, Dohi K, Gómez AL, Miles M, Fleck SJ, Newton RU, Häkkinen K., Effect of resistance training on women’s strength/power and occupational performances, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jun;33(6):1011-25, available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11404668

4) Wu, Betty N., O’Sullivan, Anthony J., Sex Differences in Energy Metabolism Need to Be Considered with Lifestyle Modifications in Humans, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 391809, 6 pages, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/391809, 3 May 2011, available at: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2011/391809/

5) Oregon State University, Study explains why women are more prone to knee injuries than men, Medical Research News: Women’s Health News, Apr. 18, 2012,  available at: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120418/Study-explains-why-women-are-more-prone-to-knee-injuries-than-men.aspx

 


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Why sitting causes lower back pain

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The CBC reported that “Sitting is the new smoking” and it says a study finds exercise could make Canada $7.5B stronger. The workplace culture of sitting is the new epidemic that causes diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer. Long periods of sitting weaken the muscles in our bodies and can potentially increase risks of lower back pain, sciatica, various joint disorders like knees pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, ankle pain etc. Not to mention, the inactivity will lead to unhealthy weight gain. The “sitting disease” is one of the causes of diabetes and heart diseases.

 

businesswoman-lower-back-pain-from-sitting-long-hours-on-chair

Long working hours and health. Young businesswoman with lower back pain sitting long hours on chair

 

Sitting disease – one of the lower back pain causes

At a young age, we are exposed to the sitting culture. When we are old enough to attend kindergarten we are drawn into sitting so we can learn. As we reach closer to adulthood, we have accumulated many hours of sitting, at our desks whether, at work, school or home. We sit hunched in front of the computers at work or school, we sit to watch TV, play video games, we sit in a car when we commute. The constant sitting in our lives is detrimental to our health.

 

  • type 2 diabetes and heart diseases

18 studies on nearly 800,000 participants by researchers at University of Leicester and Loughborough University, concluded that “sedentary time…” (including sitting) “… is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality…”.  The studies led by Dr. Emma Wilmot also suggested that “even if an individual meets typical physical activity guidelines, their health may still be compromised if they sit for long periods of time throughout the day“. The increase risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are two-fold. The studies recommended limiting time spent on sitting to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.

 

  • Lower back pain, sciatica risks from sitting too much

Long periods of sitting is the main cause of the majority of lower back disorders in North America. The prevalence of lower back disorders such as sciatica or sciatic nerve impingement, herniated disc, strain on lower back, etc are costly to workforce efficiency.  An article in Wall Street Journal states that the lower back pain from sitting on chairs costs the American economy $70 billion a year.

According to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the health of lower back is affected by the following properties in the muscles: flexibility or “stretchiness”, strength and aerobic endurance.  The best way to decrease the lower back pain is to make sure that the muscles are working at their best. Any insufficiencies in the previously mentioned attributes will trigger your muscles’ pain sensation mechanism telling you that something is wrong.

 

Flexibility:

Muscles, tendons, ligaments have natural elastic properties to function properly. When we are younger our muscles, tendons, ligaments are more elastic than when we are older.  Toddlers, children, teenagers don’t usually have chronic back pain issues (although that may change as our teenagers are more interested in their video games). Inevitably as we age, our tissues become less elastic and so older people are less flexible than teenagers. Read about how flexibility slows aging

Those of us who already have poor flexibility and do not exercise often are more at risk of developing back pain. When we stretched our short, tightened muscles, the pain receptors within the muscles naturally respond to let us know that something is not right.

The long hours of sitting has kept our muscles in a fixed position, shortened its range of motion. Sitting has also weakened our muscles, tendons.  Multiply the daily sitting routine by many years. By then, our muscles will become adapted to the sitting posture. If sitting is an Olympic sport, we will be some of the best athletes in the event.

Fortunately, the inflexibility issue is reversible through regular exercise, engaging in various stretching movements including lower back stretches through flexibility therapy, reduce long periods of sitting by taking frequent short breaks from sitting.

 

It is easier to achieve sufficient flexibility at a younger age than when we are older. When we are older, we have to deal with the issues and challenges of natural aging process.

Nevertheless, it is not too late to reverse the negative effects of inflexibility. As they say, Better Late Than Never!

 

Strength:

Long periods of sitting, year in, year out without regular exercise has led to many cases of weakened core and hip muscles. Our muscles have adapted to the new sedentary environment and become de-conditioned. As our muscles further de-condition itself, we lack the glute activation to hold up our bodies when we need to stand up on our feet, our weakened core muscles no longer have the capacity to support our upper torso when we bend over the sink to brush our teeth. It is a vicious cycle, when our bodies’ structural integrity is compromised, we naturally will rely on other parts of the body and the joints that are playing assisting supporting roles now have to put up more effort and end up being the main body part to hold up the entire bodyweight.  Over long term in addition to lower back pain, the weakness will result in knee pains and ankle pains as well.

The weight gain due to inactivity, from too much sitting, also put the additional load to the joints. The joints have to carry the extra weight. The already weakened joints are more prone to strain or injury that can result from unexpected sudden movements.

 

Endurance:

If our cardiovascular or aerobic endurance and muscular endurance are lacking, we are unlikely to continue to work out to address the flexibility and strength issues. As we age, our cardiovascular endurance capacity declines.

 

 

Recommendation: We need to take a holistic approach to addressing the lower back pain issues. It is not enough to focus only on building strength. We also need to develop flexibility and muscular endurance.

For the athlete in you, the well-timed engagements of flexibility and strength are the key to superb athletic performance. Dr. Stuart McGill, spine biomechanics professor at University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, dubbed the correctly timed combination engagements of flexibility, strength in the core ~ Superstiffness.  The Superstiffness concept is what a lot of the elite athletes use. Baseball players engage their core via Superstiffness to swing their bats to score home runs, golf players drive the balls over 150 yards, mixed martial arts athletes swing their hips to deliver roundhouse kicks, etc.  Activity of daily living (ADL) is the scale down version of high level athletic performance. Being active and being mobile is key to lower back pain prevention.

 

baseball-bat-swing-home-run-need-hip-mobility

Hitting home runs is a test of hip mobility

 

Conclusion

The rise of lower back pain issues is due to mainly to our sedentary lifestyle. Compared to our ancestors, we move less now and live in a time period of over-abundance. Unfortunately, evolution of human body has not caught up with the rate of modernization that has eliminated famine, more diseases, which our human body capacity is designed for. The majority of the causes of lower back pain ailments are due to long periods of sitting.  Dubbed “sitting is the new smoking”,  lack of movement during long periods of sitting has weakened the skeletal supporting muscles and kept certain muscles in our bodies shortened while caused other muscles to lengthen. In order to address the root cause of the lower back pain issues, we need to maintain our back flexibility, strength and overall aerobic endurance and muscular endurance.  The approach to lower back pain remedial program design should be holistic.

 

In home personal training with Personal Trainer Toronto

Appropriate health professionals should be consulted to address lower back pain issues. The Personal Trainer Toronto trainers can customize a program with lower back stretches, appropriate back exercises to help you regain your flexibility, strength and endurance to counter the culture of long periods of sitting. Personal Trainer Toronto’s trainers provide in home personal training. The trainers will bring personal training to you whether you are in downtown Toronto, North York, the Beaches neighborhood, Etobicoke. The trainers can help train you for weight loss, build muscles, increase body tone, encourage you to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

 

Please contact Personal Trainer Toronto at email: info@personaltrainertoronto.com

 

Tel: 416-412-3930

 

References:

  1. Sedentary living is the ‘new smoking’ and we’re paying for it, study says, CBC News report, Oct 24, 2014, 9:33 PM ET, available on http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sedentary-living-is-the-new-smoking-and-we-re-paying-for-it-study-says-1.2811872
  2. E. G. Wilmot, , C. L. Edwardson, , F. A. Achana, M. J. Davies, T. Gorely, L. J. Gray, K. Khunti, T. Yates, S. J. H. Biddle, Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis, , Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 2895-2905, Available on: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2012/october/new-study-finds-that-sitting-for-protracted-periods-increases-the-risk-of-diabetes-heart-disease-and-death
  3. McGill, Stuart, Super Stiffness,  available on:  http://www.backfitpro.com/pdf/Enhancing_back_performance_with_super_stiffness.pdf

 

Images:

  1. Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees) swinging baseball bat, photo by: Michelle Maria (www.wanderingsearching.com), available on: https://pixabay.com/en/alex-rodriguez-yankees-baseball-762074/

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Why Training Outdoors Boosts Your Mood

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Physical training outdoors is great for improving physical fitness and gives mental boosts.

Working out in any environment whether, in the gym, in your home living room, or out in nearby parks has many benefits. You can improve physical fitness, and it is an excellent way to reduce stress.

You can get even more out from the workout when training outdoors in the parks, forest, on the beach.  Working out right beside nature, shrubbery, running on the beach under the sun is low cost and mentally stimulating.

Physical Benefits of Training Outdoors

Physically More Challenging

 

training-outdoors-centennial-park-Etobicoke

 

When you run on a trail outdoors, you will encounter uneven terrain. You may be running on dirt or on grass, or if you are running along the beach, you will be trying to run on loose sand. You have to negotiate all the different angles the uneven ground poses to your body. By doing so, you challenge your entire body in as many different possible angles as possible. Over the long term, your body becomes stronger, physically literate. Your body will be more agile and able to adapt to new environments.  When you run on the treadmill, you can basically switch off your brain and run straight ahead on either level flat surface or on grade.

Exercise becomes more interesting when you are training outdoors. You will see different scenery, you may have to jump over a dead tree stump, avoid a the puddle of water, or maybe run as fast as your dog. You definitely, won’t switch off your brain while training outdoors.

Other than physical fitness, training outdoors enhances mental health.

 

Mental benefits of Training Outdoors

We are all hard wired to nature. Evolution needs many, many more centuries to catch up to our fast-changing society and environment. We are all primal creatures living in a sophisticated society. Our lifestyles have drastically changed only about two hundred years ago. We, as the primal beings, were outside doing physical things, not indoors, lifting weights or running on a treadmill.

Training outdoors rejuvenates, boosts your mental capacity.  You will reduce tension, alleviate depression, less confusion, anger, and stress. Your energy level will increase, have clearer mind and you will be able to focus better and function better.

There is growing evidence that supports the positive impact of human contact with nature. Being around nature enhances mood and improves energy. The David Suzuki Foundation’s 30 X 30 challenge discovered that their participants are happier and have more positive attitudes. They also report reduced feelings of stress, negativity and have fewer occurrences of sleep disturbances. The challenge also reported that workplace participants felt more productive at their jobs.

One of the key ingredients of the mental benefits of training outdoors is the dose of sunlight on your skin.

 

Hard-wired to Nature 

 

This is how human is hard-wired to nature.

When you stand in the sun, your skin gets energy from the sun. The sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV)  ray triggers an enzyme underneath the skin to produce vitamin D. In the research publication “Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism” by Dr. Patrick and Dr. Ames shows that Vitamin D is a key ingredient in serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that enhances your mood and curbs negative feelings such as depression, anger, stress.

Vitamin D is needed in the body to regulate calcium and phosphorus. Chronic low levels of vitamin D can result in poor bone and teeth health. Vitamin D also has a protective effect over some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes.

Thus, exposing your skin to UV rays for short durations can help you get Vitamin D from the sun. Yet, too much UV exposure can increase chances of skin cancer.

So how much sun exposure is enough.  According to Canadian Dermatology Association’s news release “The debate about vitamin D and sun exposure”, most Canadians receive enough sun exposure in their day to day activities during the months of spring through fall. During the long winter months, the recommended method of acquiring vitamin D is by consuming food rich in vitamin D or vitamin D supplements.

Ways-to-get-vitamin-D-infographics

 

Conclusion

In other words, increased level of vitamin D will cause higher levels of serotonin production. This translates into positive feeling of happiness, better focus, more energy, better mood. Training outdoors not only challenges your body physically.  It also enhances your mental capacity and stimulates your senses. You will get more out from exercising outdoors than exercising indoors.

 

There are many selection of bodyweight exercises or kickboxing exercises that can be done outdoors in the park or at the beach.

 

In home personal training at Toronto neighbourhoods

 ~ Etobicoke, North York, downtown Toronto, the Beaches

Personal Trainer Toronto provides in home personal training.  Our personal trainers at the following locations are experienced in prescribing exercises appropriate to your fitness level:

Personal Trainer-downtown Toronto,

Personal Trainer Etobicoke,

Personal Trainer North York

Personal Trainer Mississauga

 

For more information on personal training, please click here to get to contact us page.

Email: info@personaltrainertoronto.com,

Tel: 416-412-3930.


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Functional Training

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Functional Training

Functional training – the buzz word that has been hovering in the physical training and gym realms.

Functional-training-with-martial-arts-cross-training

What is Functional Training?

Functional Training is a physical training approach to train movements of activities of daily living, or occupational activities.

In functional training programs, the exercise prescribed mimic movements of daily living activities e.g. carrying groceries, climbing stairs, play with your child, able to squat down to pick up something off the ground, so that daily activities that we sometimes take for granted, can be done with ease and injury free.

The training approach is used for  improving occupational health. Those of us who sit for 8 hours daily (way too much!) in front of the computers at the office will benefit from functional training.  The exercises prescribed in functional training programs strengthen core, improve hip and shoulder health, reduce imbalances due to overuse thus preventing repetitive stress disorders (RSD). Learn more about RSD at
http://ergonomics.about.com/od/repetitivestressinjuries/f/whatisrstressd.htm

Majority of us are kept in a seated hunched over our computers position. Therefore, most functional training programs are designed to
1) strengthen core, 2) increase stability strength, 3) restore  balance of the muscular structures in the body especially the shoulder joints and hip joints.

From the muscular structure  perspective, anyone whose muscles are well balanced in the chest (front), upper back (back) and shoulders will have better posture and less joint aches. In the long term, the joint arthritis-free lifespan is longer. We can achieved this by improving range of motion of chest muscles, working equally on increasing strength in upper back muscles so that it can pull the tighter chest muscles, resulting from prolong duration of hunching over the computers, back into the upright posture.

Similarly, the hip joint health can be improve by ensuring the strength of muscles in the front of hip are equal to back of hip. Weaknesses and imbalances in these muscles will result in multiple joint issues thus affecting the quality of life.

Having a functional training program to improve strength, maintain balance and mobility will minimize injury occurrences.

One good way to strike a musculoskeletal structural balance is to do cross-training: kickboxing, yoga, martial arts, Olympic weightlifting, dancing, baseball, basketball, football.

Personal Trainer Toronto Contact Info

Find out more our training programs.

Contact now for a complimentary personalized FREE trial session

 


Client Testimonials

.... Kin also provides a wide range of fun and creative activities to keep my interest and introduce me to various forms of strength and cardio training. I have been able to significantly improve my strength, flexibility and confidence through training with Kin. ..... We would highly recommend Kin's personal training and stretching services to anyone looking to improve their health, strength and flexibility. He is a joy to work with.
Read More...

Wafaa Hasan, Ph.D & Dr. Omar Dessouki (Orthopaedic Surgeon) Toronto, ON

Contact Info

Etobicoke, East York, Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Scarborough

416-412-3930

info@personaltrainertoronto.com

www.personaltrainertoronto.com