Decisions, Decisions

Inspiration Nutrition Weightloss

 

 

Did you know we make over 200 food related decisions a day? Many of them are automatic and we just do not realize how these decisions can affect our weight. However, adding one to two pounds of extra weight a year can eventually lead to issues we have to deal with. So, what food decisions do you make?

There was a study conducted of a demographically-matched student sample of 133 Parisians and 145 Chicagoans to determine what cues people used to stop eating. In this study, the research showed those in Paris had three main reasons they were finished with their meals: 1) they wanted to save room for dessert, 2) the food no longer tasted good, and 3) the consumer started feeling full. Now go back and read those three cues again. Aside from sounding strange in our culture (I mean really, does the last bite really not taste as good as the first or are my taste buds just “well developed”) each of these cues are internal. These French eaters are relying on themselves to determine when they are finished, and even the last one, “started feeling full” is not “so stuffed I cannot sit down.” It is merely being satisfied, which may be why these eaters tend to weigh less than we, as Americans, do.

The three main cues found during this study that determined when the American eaters were finished were: 1) their TV show was over, 2) they’ve eaten the amount most think is normal (the plate is empty), and 3) they’ve run out of their beverage. I’ve also heard of an additional study where the eater is done eating when the people around them are finished. Each of these cues are external: something outside of themselves telling them when they are finished eating. For us, eating is a means to an end and the short length of time spent eating a meal, especially alone, is an indicator of that. But we eat with our eyes first, meaning we decide exactly how much we are going to eat by how much we dish onto our plates or into our bowls and even if there are internal cues telling us we are satisfied, if we took it, we tend to eat it.

According to Dr. Brian Wansink, Food Psychologist, Researcher and Author of Mindless Eating and Slim by Design, in our culture our stomach has three settings: starving, could eat more, and stuffed. So, how do we overcome the fact that we just haven’t really paid attention to those internal cues the French seem to innately notice? Let’s just deal with the external cues and how we can make better decisions:

  1. Make Mealtimes Special: No TV while eating. Maybe play some relaxing music instead. Make your living spaces a “No Food Zone” and eat at the table. This can help you to eat less food because the focus will be on the food and the people with whom you are eating.
  2. The Plate: First eat on a plate no larger than 10″. For me, a food segregationist (no food touching), that can be quite a task, but you definitely take less food. Second, dish 80% less than you think you would eat. Studies show your body doesn’t recognize the caloric deficit and over the course of a year, you could potentially lose up to 10 pounds doing just that.
  3. People: If you eat with a slow eater, pace with that eater. The slower you eat, the faster your brain catches up with the signals your stomach is sending saying “I’m satisfied.” If you eat with a fast eater, count how many times you chew your food. Perhaps 20 times per bite can pace your eating. An important piece is to never serve the food from the table. The fast eater will take more food because everybody else is still eating. The slow eater may take more because they saw others take more and are now justified.

We may not be able to stop ourselves with internal cues like “the food no longer tastes good” but we can do something about the cues we do use and begin to pay attention to those feelings of satisfaction.

Eating is only part of the equation. It is also important to round it out and exercise is a key factor in doing so.  If you would like help reaching your weight loss or fitness goals and want to see if one of our personal training programs is a good fit for you, please fill out the following form for a free fitness consultation.

Is Physical Activity All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Fitness Success Weightloss

 

Fitness Doctor

We’ve all heard the benefits of working out, but is it all “they” say it is? Really, there may be less flab and perhaps more muscle mass (under the flab depending on eating habits), but can exercise really provide the massive amounts of physical and emotional benefits? Let’s take a look at a few of the claims to decide:

  1. Weight Maintenance: Most of us have heard that in order to lose weight it is a simple question of burning more calories than you are taking in. It is true that exercise increases calories out, therefore, whether you are attempting to lose weight or maintain your current size, working out is an important piece to that puzzle. Keep in mind the calories we burn do not necessarily directly correlate to weight lost. Often times, especially when beginning a new workout regiment, there may be a gain in weight due to muscle gain or water retention, so do not become discouraged and give up. The CDC has a great website on physical activity and burning calories that is very beneficial you can find here.
  2. Improved Health: Regular physical activity actually lowers a person’s blood pressure, which in turn reduces strain on the heart and increases good (HDL) cholesterol. All of this works together to decrease your chance for heart disease. So far so good! It also helps to keep your blood glucose on target, lowering your risk for pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes (additional info found here). I’m impressed! Studies also suggest weight-bearing exercise helps to maintain bone density which can become an issue over time. The list goes on and on! I’m sold!
  3. Mental Well-Being: Have you ever heard of endorphins? Well, physical activity helps to bump of the production of these “feel good” neurotransmitters. Studies show working out can be as effective as medication for some people who suffer from anxiety and depression. If that isn’t enough, it also helps us to overcome stress. Feeling fatigued? That’s right! Exercise helps us to feel more energized as well! ACE has a great article related to the energy benefits.

So, what it comes down to is this: YES, exercise is exactly what they say it is in relation to how it benefits our bodies! Get started with your daily routine today here!

Winter Weight…What?

Fitness Inspiration Weightloss

Having trouble losing that winter weight? There are many habits we get into that help contribute to the gain: comfort foods and high calorie coffee drinks that warm us up from the inside, darker days that make it hard to get up early for that morning workout and even harder to stop by the gym on the way home. Let’s be real: we just don’t tend to move as much and eat as healthy as we do when the sun it out and it doesn’t seem so bleak and depressing. So, let’s focus on how we can get back on track!

Have you ever kept a food diary or tracked your food consumption? Studies show that people who write down their food intake tend to lose up to twice as much weight as they would by just trying to be more conscientious. There are many benefits to doing so.

The first and most obvious is having to commit to paper (or these days a screen whether it be your phone, tablet or computer) everything that passes your lips. That’s right, EVERYTHING! It really makes one think twice about popping that extra cookie into one’s mouth just because it’s there, doesn’t it?

The second benefit is that it helps you to be more aware of not just the amount of food you eat, but the types of foods you eat. How many veggies are you getting throughout the day? Fruits? How much protein? How much do you actually need? There are many apps and websites that can help with that information as it is not “one size fits all” but tracking your food certainly give you a picture of how you are eating on a daily basis. Speaking of pictures, I’ve attached one of MyPlate that is a simplistic guideline by the US Government that can help:

myplate_grayscale

 

Here are a few questions to consider once you’ve decided to track your food:

  1. What might get in the way and make it challenging?
  2. What do you think might make it easier?
  3. How many days a week is it reasonable to assume you could be successful?

Weight loss is said to be 80% eating habits and 20% exercise. These habits need to be a lifestyle, not just something temporary. Tracking your food can help your awareness so that the habit of tracking does not have to be permanent. Give it a try and see how you like it! There are apps, websites and successful weight-loss programs out there that have mastered this practice and can help you to journal your way to making that winter weight a thing of the past.

Remember, 20% of weight loss is exercise. That is something that cannot be ignored to be successful. Some find it the easier of the healthy habits to begin. Summer is right around the corner! Get started here!