Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Posts tagged ‘Calorie’


I am all about eating. So this is great news! It turns out that people who eat a larger physical amount of food actually do better at weight management than others. How can that possibly be true?

Well, the truth is a little more specific. Let me rephrase that: those who manage to eat a large volume of food for the same amount of calories are better at keeping their weight under control. I am talking about Volumetrics.

Energy Density is the amount of calories provided in your diet in comparison to the amount of food you eat. So for example, you can eat ¼ cup raisins or 1 2/3 cups of grapes for the same amount of calories. but there surely is a difference in volume. 1/4 cup raisins is for the birds, if you ask me. 1 2/3 cups of grapes, well, that counts for something.

The grapes are lower in energy density (ED) because of their water content. The foods lowest in ED give you the least number of calories per spoonful–so you can eat a lot more of them for the same amount of calories, and feel more satisfied.

Improved weight control is clearly not only associated with lower calorie intake but also with an increased volume of food consumption! And all the fiber, vitamins and all that good stuff is in the lower ED group of foods, so you obviously will feel better just because of the types of foods that you focus on eating.  In other words, increasing your intake of health-supportive foods like fruits and vegetables is not only a way to optimize your nourishment, it will also optimize your food volume with better weight management as a likely result.

Here are a few ways to add volume to your food : (1) Add fruit in your breakfast cereals (2) Add grapes and sliced apples to chicken salad, or tomatoes, radishes and bell peppers to tuna salad (3) Top broiled fish/chicken with salsa (4) Add veggies to your sandwiches (5) Increase the veggie portion in stir-fries, pizza, soups and stews (7) include tossed green salad with dinner (8) Add fruits and vegetables to dishes you like (9) Put vegetables and fruits on skewers at barbecues


(1) VERY LOW ENERGY DENSE FOODS (0 to 0.6 calories per gram): water, lettuce, tomato, strawberry, broccoli, salsa, grapefruit, cantaloupe, skim milk, winter squash, applesauce, carrots, orange, vegetarian chili, fat free plain yogurt, blueberries, apples

(2) LOW ENERGY DENSE FOODS  (0.6 to 1.5 calories per gram): tofu, whole milk, oatmeal prepared with water, fat free cottage cheese, grapes, black beans, green peas, corn on the cob, orange roughy, banana, fat free sour cream, vanilla pudding, cheerios, tuna packed in water, veal chop, extra lean ham, turkey breast, whole wheat spaghetti

(3) MEDIUM ENERGY DENSE FOODS (1.5 to 4 calories per gram): hard boiled egg, chicken breast, hummus, pork chop center loin, pumpkin pie, dried apricots, whole wheat bread, English muffin, part skim mozzarella, raisins, Swiss cheese, hard pretzels, air-popped popcorn, plain rice cakes, baked whole wheat tortilla chips

(4) HIGH ENERGY DENSE FOODS (4.0 to 9.0 calories per gram): regular tortilla chips, M&M’s, bacon, roasted peanuts, peanut butter, dry roasted pecans, butter, oil


Frustrated about not losing weight or inches?

You’re eating the right kinds of fats and carbs and exercising more than you used to. And you are just getting frustrated because the number on the scale just won’t bulge. Man, do I know how that feels… Here are some things that may be derailing you… and you may not like them all, but you know me–I’ll tell it like it is.

Physical Factors

1. You don’t have enough muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Fat and muscle tissues consume calories all day long whether you’re running, reading or sleeping. No matter what you’re doing, muscle rips through more calories than fat.  That’s why men burn calories a lot faster than women; they have more muscle.  Start lifting weights. You don’t have to get huge, but building and maintaining muscle week after week, year after year makes a difference in the long run.

2. Genetics: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
s does play a part in how we look.  If for example both parents are obese, you are much more likely to be obese.  BUT you are still not doomed!  It’s just going to be tougher by 10% to 50%; and you may never be a size 2; but who needs to be a size 2?

3. You’re getting older.
A sluggish metabolism is a common aging problem. And it doesn’t help that we sit in traffic, sit at work for hours in front of a computer and lay on the couch when we get home.  With all this inactivity, we gradually lose muscle and increase body fat, resulting in a metabolic slump. Not unbeatable, though! Lift weights!  But don’t underestimate the power of just moving. maybe you faithfully walk on your treadmill for an hour each day or go to your yoga class, but what are you doing the other 23 hours?  It’s a no-brainer: Folding laundry, walking to a co-worker’s desk and cooking dinner burn more calories than watching TV, emailing your co-worker or driving to the pizza place. Actually, research shows that thin people fidget and move (called non-exercise activity) more than overweight people. Antsy behavior might actually burn as much as 350 more calories per day – the equivalent of two small doughnuts; so get up to change the channel!

4. The problem is in your medicine cabinet.
A host of drugs that treat diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, inflammatory disease and more affect weight regulation. Some will make you hungrier and others stimulate your body to store fat. And if a drug affects the brain, there’s a good chance it affects weight.  Ask your health care provider if there’s an alternate drug or a lower dose that could work, but don’t change your medications without discussing it first.




Self Sabotage

1. You underestimate your portions and calories.

Yep, I do that a lot.  But don’t feel bad: even dietitians underestimate calories – and by huge amounts!  It’s interesting that one study found that women and overweight people miscalculate more than others. Other studies suggest that the greatest underestimating occurs when the meals are the largest, and that it really doesn’t have anything to do with how fat someone is.  it might be smart to go back to measuring your food for a few days. Then plug in your food choices in a nutritional tracker software program, like Fitday or Lose it! And don’t forget to read food labels for serving size and calories.

2. You eat mindlessly or when distracted.
Do you eat dinner in front of the TV? Do you stop eating when you’re full or are you done when the show is over? For most of us, distractions lead to more and more mouthfuls of pasta or potatoes. If you’re munching from a bag of pretzels or a box of crackers, you realistically don’t keep track of how much you’ve eaten.  Make it a house rule to eat from a dish. Always. No bags, cartons or fistfuls. Put it in a dish, sit down and savor the taste as you eat – without distraction. That means that if you’re going to grab the crust of your daughter’s grilled cheese sandwich, you have to put it on a plate first… Yikes!

3. You deprive yourself.
Your list of can’t-have foods is so long that you feel frustrated all the time. In fact, you’ve been so strict with yourself, you can’t remember the last time you ate something you liked! You will wind up giving in, scarfing down real bad stuff and you will regret it and be mad at yourself, which will make you eat even more bad stuff! Sounds familiar? I’ve been there. Do me a favor and don’t set yourself up for feeling deprived. Take the focus away from that list of bad foods and emphasize those that are good for you.

4. You’re usually good, but…
You always watch your portions and you start each day with a healthful breakfast, and you eat only baked chicken, not fried. Always that is, unless you’re on vacation or dining out. Unless you’re  celebrating a birthday. Unless you’re sharing an anniversary. Unless you’re honoring your son’s first home run. One of those might be ok, but when they add up… yep, you know what I mean! Consistency is key to dropping pounds. Researchers involved with the National Weight Control Registry found that those who eat similarly day after day are more likely to maintain weight loss than others.  Start making small changes you can live with. Find ways to celebrate that don’t involve high-calorie eating (like a manicure) or take half of that restaurant meal home to celebrate again tomorrow.


5. You overestimate your calorie burn.
Gym machines are notorious for overestimating the calories burned by exercisers, and we can so  easily out-eat our workouts. Your 30-minute power walk might burn 200 calories, but that won’t make up for your after-exercise power smoothie.  Exercise is an important tool in controlling your weight and maintaining good health, but stop rewarding your good work with food.  A large bagel with cream cheese has about 430 calories—you need to do aerobic dancing for 63 minutes to cover that!

And when all is said and done, if you do everything right and the weight still hangs on, you might have a hormonal issue that should be looked at. Or maybe, just maybe, you are just right just the way you are… it might be your body telling you that.

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Smart Exercising, Part 1

Get more out of your life and your workouts!


Whether you exercise because you love or because you hate your body, because you want to lose weight, look good or simply feel good and get the most out of your life,  here are some smart ways to maximize your workouts and your health!

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

While non-exercise activity thermogenesis sounds like some bizarre metabolic process in the body, its meaning is actually very simple: spontaneous activity. Every time you stand up and move, you’re involved in spontaneous activity and you know what else? You’re also burning calories. We haven’t paid much attention to NEAT until recently because none of us realized how much non-activity contributed to our weight problems. Now, researchers know that simple movement is one of the keys to losing weight. People are so focused on structured exercise and target heart rate zones they forget that general activity can be a huge contributor to weight loss. Want to know how much of a difference you could make if you moved around more? In one study,  20 self-proclaimed couch potatoes were studied to determine how different activity levels contributed to different levels of weight. One group of volunteers (5 men and 5 women) had an average BMI of 23 (lean), while the other 10 men and women had an average BMI of 33 (mildly obese). The obese group sat for 164 minutes longer each day than the lean group. The lean people were upright for 153 minutes longer than the obese people. The lean group burned an average of 350 extra calories each day (36 lbs a year) by walking and standing more throughout the day. Though neither group did any structured exercise, the lean group burned extra calories just by moving around more – no sweating required. This proves that the advice you’ve heard a million times (e.g., take the stairs, walk around more) really does make a difference and can contribute to your weight loss just as much as structured exercise, albeit more slowly.




 To maximize the calories you burn with NEAT, you simply need to move around more:  Stand up every chance you get, walk everywhere. Pace when you’re on the phone, visit your co-workers instead of emailing them or use a pedometer and see how many steps you can get in each day.  When at the mall, make three laps around the mall before you can buy anything.  When you park the car, make a complete circuit around the parking lot before entering the building.  When carrying groceries, bring the bags in one bag at a time.  If you’re stuck sitting for long periods of time, change position, shift in your seat or even do some isometric exercises – squeeze your hands together, contract your abs or squeeze your glutes.  Hide the remote control and get up to change the channel.  Sit on an exercise ball and roll around while you watch TV or work at the computer.




Add More Muscle

We all know muscle is more metabolically active than fat but there’s some confusion over just how many calories a pound of muscle actually burns. Having more muscle can have a lasting impact on both weight loss and health. If you look at the fact that most people will gain about 2-5 lbs of muscle from strength training, and that each pound will burn about 15 calories per day, that’s 30-75 extra calories burned each day. That may not seem like a big deal, but 75 calories adds up to almost 8 lbs a year. Not too shabby, right? And don’t forget, lifting weights also strengthens the bones and connective tissue, helps protect you from injury and, of course, helps prevent weight gain and loss of functionality that can occur from loss of muscle mass as we age.  Just like NEAT, adding more muscle makes a big impact when you look at the big picture. You just need to make sure you’re lifting regularly and challenging yourself.

How often you train your muscles depends on your goals and the type of workouts you’re doing. If you’re focusing on fitness and weight loss, try to get 2-3 sessions a week for each muscle group and make sure you take a day or two of rest between workouts to allow your muscles to recover.

Challenge your muscles!  This may seem obvious, often we don’t lift enough weight  to overload their muscles, which is necessary for building lean muscle tissue. Choose a weight that you can ONLY lift for the desired number of reps – the last rep should be difficult, but not impossible.

The most effective strength moves involve multiple muscles and multiple joints. These compound movements (e.g., squats, lunges, pushups, etc.) allow you to lift more weight and burn more calories because you’re using the large muscles of the body.

The body will always adapt to what you’re doing but you can avoid that and continue progressing by changing different elements of your workouts. You can do this by changing your method of training, or by changing your exercises, reps, sets and/or type of resistance.

Whatever program or schedule you choose, work hard and really challenge your muscles to get the most out of your workouts.


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