Most dieters want to lose weight quickly. The problem is that plan tends to backfire. You can lose weight fast or lose weight forever—but not lose weight fast and forever. Most dieters regain about two-thirds of their weight loss within a year and all of it within 3 to 5years.
If you have lost weight quickly, your body will fight for food as a response to having been starved. You’ll have to white-knuckle the situation for as long as you can (but you’ll unlikely win the war against extreme hunger).
If you have lost weight slowly, here are some tips to help you maintain that loss of undesired body fat:
--eat fewer fatty foods
--watch less TV
--have strong social support
--sleep more than 5 hours a day.
Chewing gum can help lean people consume fewer calories, but that is not the case for obese gum-chewers. (Perhaps the act of chewing increases their desire to eat?)
To stay on track, successful dieters should plan ahead by predicting everything that could possibly go wrong with their eating plan and develop strategies to deal with the unexpected. For example, if the waiter serves the salad soaked with dressing (the dressing is not served on the side, as requested), the dieter knows he or she can
If you are experiencing amenorrhea and are no longer getting regular menstrual periods, take note. This is abnormal and unhealthy!
Amenorrhea commonly happens in women who struggle to balance food and exercise. You are likely eating too few calories, as noted by feeling hungry all the time and thinking about food too much. You can achieve energy balance by exercising a little less (add a rest day) and by eating a little more (add a healthy snack or two).
Your goal is to consume about 15 calories per pound of body weight that you do not burn off with exercise. That means, if you weigh 100 pounds, you my need to eat ~1,500 calories to maintain your weight PLUS another 500 to 800 calories to replace the fuel you burned while training. That totals 2,000-2,300 calories for the entire day, a scary amount of food for some women.
The most important change required to resume menses includes matching your energy intake with your energy output, so you eat enough to support both exercise and normal body functions. Historically, doctors gave the birth control pill to women with amenorrhea; this forced menstrual bleeding. But taking the birth control pill is a “Band-Aid approach” and does not resolve the underlying problem.
I highly recommend you get a nutrition check-up with a sports dietitian as well as a medical check-up with your doctor or gynecologist. To find a sports dietitian in your area, use the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics referral networks at www.SCANdpg.org or www.eatright.org.
With the Boston Marathon right around the corner, thousands of runners are doing their last long training runs. This is the time to practice your fueling so you know what to eat during the marathon. Here are some tips from guest blogger Sarah Gold.
When exercising for more than 60-90 minutes,you want to consume easily digested carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable throughout your run. The following recommendations on what and when to eat during long runs and race day can keep you from hitting the wall.
How much to consume?
The amount of carbohydrates needed will vary from person to person (body size, speed, intensity, and training will all effect this), but aim for between 200 to 300 calories of carbohydrates per hour. This can be from a mix of sports drinks like Gatorade and food like Gu, candy, or dried fruit. Worry not about eating sugary candy. We're talking survival, not nutrition! You'll have plenty of time to consume quality calories after the run.
What to consume?
The goal is to consume food that is primarily made up of carbohydrates. When running for many hours, such as during the marathon, you will want to vary your food choices to keep you from getting tired of eating the same thing for 4+ hours. It’s easy to get through a half marathon relying only on Gu, candy, or dried fruit, but it’s difficult to keep that up for twice the time. You’re likely to get “sugared out,” meaning your taste buds or stomach may not tolerate the same food for that many hours. Varying both flavor and texture can help you get through the race without feeling like you can’t eat as much as your body needs. So, try out a few different options during your longer training runs to see what your stomach and GI tract tolerate and what gives your body the most energy.
Engineered vs. Real Food
The big advantage to engineered food such as Gu, Chomps, Sport Beans, and the like, is convenience. Most come in pre-packaged 100-calorie servings, and they are easy to carry with you. However, real food can work just as well, particularly for slower marathoners who will be pounding the pavement for more than four hours. Here are some common choices among runners:
- Raisins,dates, dried cranberries—or any dried fruit
- Swedish fish, jelly beans, gummy bears, or other chewy candy
M&Ms, mini candy bars, Whoppers
- Sugar cookies, energy bars, granola bars
- Peanut butter and jelly (or honey) wrap*
* If you choose foods that aren’t convenient to carry in your pocket, ask friends or family to stand along your race-day route at points when you know you will need fuel.
If you drink Gatorade or other sports drinks, remember that this contributes to your carbohydrate intake. Just pay attention to how much you are consuming so you can adjust your food intake. Diluted fruit juice can work well for some too.
When to consume?
Your breakfast will likely get you through the first hour to hour and a half of the race. So, most runners like to start consuming carbohydrates whether it’s from a sports drink or food beginning at 45 minutes to an hour into the race. But, pay attention to how you feel during your long training runs to figure out when is a good time for you to start fueling. Some runners choose to start slightly earlier or later. Earlier signs of hunger (or fuel needs) include thinking about food, reduced energy, mood change, or tired legs.
As noted above, plan to consumer 200 to 300 calories per hour.You can spread this out over 15-30 minute intervals, and mix it up between drinks and food.
Remember that it’s important to test this out during your long training runs to avoid any race-day surprises!
Each year, I present a workshop series on "Nutrition and Exercise: From Science to Practice” along with exercise physiologist William Evans. We invited members of AND, ACSM, NATA, NSCA, ACE, and NCHEC and offer 10 hours of CEUs.
The tentative dates and cities for our upcoming Friday-Saturday workshops are:
Sept 20-21, 2013 - New York City (or suburbs) October 4-5, 2013 - Boston (or suburbs) October 11 (one day only) - Providence (or suburbs)
January 24-25, 2014 - Philadelphia (or suburbs) February 7-8, 2014 - Pittsburgh (or suburbs)
We are currently looking for facilities that can offer a conference room. We need a room that holds about 100 to 125 people for Friday from 8:00 to 4:00 and Saturday from 7:00 to 2:00. If you have any interest in providing a site (a no cost to your facility) in trade for some free registrations, please contact me at email@example.com.This offers a nice PR opportunity to the host facility and is a win-win situation.
If you train for a marathon or triathlon, surely your body fat will melt away. Correct?
Wishful thinking. If you are an endurance athlete who complains, “For all the exercise I do, I should be pencil-thin,” take a look at your 24-hour energy expenditure. Do you put most of your energy into exercising, but then tend to be quite sedentary the rest of the day as you recover from your tough workouts?
A study with of male endurance athletes who reported a seemingly low calorie intake indicates they did less spontaneous activity than their peers in the non-exercise parts of their day. Yes, it's really easy after a long run to lounge around and eat bon-bons because you "deserve" them...
Even when you are marathon training, you need to keep taking the stairs instead of the elevators, and keep moving in non-exercise parts of your day. Again, if weight is an issue, you should eat according to your whole day's activity level, not according to how hard you trained for an hour or two that day.
This is the season when folks training for the Boston Marathon start to ramp up their runs. Having just talked this morning to a Team in Training group, I know that many runners have questions about how to best recover after runs that last longer than 12 miles. Hence,I am reposting this blog that a student of mine wrote last year at this time.
Boston Marathon Bound - Recovery foods
What to eat or drink after a long run is a hot topic among runners. What you do or don’t consume can effect how you feel later in the day, as well as at your next workout.
After a long run, your biggest priority should be to replace fluids lost from sweat. Hopefully you drank some water or sports drink on your run, but you will still need to replace some fluid. The best way to determine how much to drink is to weigh yourself before and after your run (without clothes). For every pound lost, drink at least 16 oz of water; better yet, 24 ounces. At this point, there is little need for sports drinks, as long as you’re planning to eat something shortly. Your next meal or snack will replenish the lost sodium and glucose. However, sports drinks can be a good option if your stomach isn’t ready for food. Chicken broth, cola, or gingerale are other popular options that may help settle a queasy stomach.
Remember to continue to drink fluids throughout the day to continue to stay hydrated. You can monitor your hydration by the color and amount of your urine. When properly hydrated your urine will be a pale yellow (unless you take supplements, in which case, the color may be brighter), and you will urinate every 2-3 hours.
In addition to properly hydrating, you will want to eat shortly after a long run to replenish your glycogen stores. Make sure this meal or snack is a mix of carbohydrates (to refuel) with a little protein (to repair). While many runners strive for a ratio of 4 to 1 or 3 to 1 carbohydrates to protein, the exact ratio isn’t mandatory. Just be sure you fill-up with more carbs than protein. That is, don't have just a protein shake!
Some easy to prepare carb-protein recovery meals include:
- Fruit smoothie made with yogurt or milk
- Turkey sandwich with a piece of fruit
- Yogurt with berries and granola
- Bowl of beany soup such a minestrone, with whole grain crackers and low fat cheese
- Oatmeal with milk, raisins, and slivered almonds
- Peanut butter (or other nut butter) and banana sandwich
- Vegetable omelet with toast
If you aren’t ready for a meal after your run, make a small snack such as a glass of chocolate milk, a bowl of cereal with milk, or an apple with peanut butter.
Rapidly refueling by eating immediately after a run is most important for people who will be running again in the next 4 to 6 hours. Most of us can simply eat within an hour after running and will recover well. Yet, a benefit to eating shortly after your run is to keep the cookie monster from showing up!
Even if your stomach doesn’t feel hungry post-run, your muscles want fuel. Feed them! Signs of hunger include irritability and fatigue. Eating even just a small snack post-run and then your meal a few hours later can keep you from becoming ravenous and overeating later in the day. You will also likely feel more energized and recover faster.
Being injured is one of the hardest parts of being an athlete. If and when you do get injured, you’ll likely wonder how to eat better to heal better. My motherly advice is: Don’t treat good nutrition like a fire engine!
Rather than shaping up your diet when you get injured,strive to maintain a high quality food intake every day. That way, you'll have a hefty bank account of vitamins and minerals stored in your liver, ready and waiting to be put into action. For example, a well-nourished athlete has enough vitamin C (important for healing) stored in the liver to last for about six weeks. The junk food junkie who gets a serious sports injury (think bike crash,skiing tumble, hockey blow) and ends up in the hospital has a big disadvantage. Eat smart every day!
The fear of gaining weight plagues most injured athletes.Here are two myths, debunked!
MYTH: Muscle turns into fat.
Wrong. If you are unable to exercise, your muscles will shrink, but they will not turn into fat. Have you ever seen the scrawny muscles on a person who has just had a cast removed when the broken bone has healed? Those muscles did not get fat!
MYTH: Lack of exercise means you'll get fat.
Wrong. If you overeat while you are injured (as can easily happen if you are bored or depressed), you can indeed easily get fat. I know of many frustrated athletes who have quickly gained weight because they continued to eat lumberjack portions. But if you eat mindfully, your body can regulate a proper intake. Before diving into meals and snacks, ask yourself, “How much of this fuel does my body actually need?” Eat for fuel, not entertainment.
When injured, some underweight athletes do gain to their genetic weight. For example, a 13-year-old gymnast perceived her body was “getting fat” while she recuperated from a knee injury. She was simply catching up and attaining the physique appropriate for her age and genetics.
Whatever you do, don't skimp on protein and calories when injured ... that will delay healing.
Why are thin people “fatter” than they used to be?
Why is morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes—and even sex reversalis fish species—becoming common?
…Is something pervading our environment that is making us fatter?
Traditionally, we look at overeating and underexercising as the main contributors to the obesity epidemic. Diet and exercise are deemed to be the solutions to the problem. Maybe we are overlooking other factors? Do we need to pay attention to new research on “obesogens”?
Obesogens are chemical compounds found in food, drugs, and industrial products (like plastics) that may alter metabolic processes and predispose some people to gain weight. These compounds may contribute to more and bigger fat cells. Exposure to these compounds in utero may explain (in part) why childhood obesity is on the rise, why even thin people are “fatter” than they used to be, and why morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes, and sex reversal in fish species is on the rise.
Clearly, we need to explore all possible factors that contribute to weight issues, not just diet and exercise. Some of these factors include looking at ways to reduce potential environmental obesogens that might be in plastics, canned goods, nonstick cookware, air fresheners, laundry products, and personal care products. Obesogens may be yet another reason to eat less processed foods, particularly those that come packaged in plastic or cans. The research is in its infancy, so stay tuned—and until we know more, start eating more foods that are minimally processed!
Restricting food intake to lose weight is the common approach to becoming leaner. Yet, research consistently tells us that reducing diets are often unsuccessful and contribute to weight gain in the long run, to say nothing of depression and disordered eating behaviors. A growing body of research suggests that intuitive eating is a healthier alternative to current strategies of dieting to lose weight.
Intuititve eating is a sustainable approach that focuses on trusting your body to tell you how much to eat so you will stopping eating when you are full. Intuitve eaters eat for physical, not emotional, reasons.This is how normal-weight people tend to eat.
We were all born with the ability to eat when hugnry and stop when content. Unfortunately, our society’s food environment and lifestyle easily derail intuitive eating behaviors. We are often too busy to eat when hunger arises or fail to have food available. Many dieters even keep food “out of the house” due to lack of trust regarding their ability to stop eating when they are full. Fatigue and stress, in addition to the denial and deprivation associated with dieting, further compound the drive to overeat.
As a society, we need to step away from encouraging both young people and adults to diet and instead focus on—
1. teaching them how to eat mindfully (i.e., to connect with body signals: Does my body need this food?),
2. improving the food environment (such as having salad, not French fires, be the default side dish on menus), and
3. making sleep more of a priority.
As an adult, you can take steps to reclaim this innate behavior and teach yourself how to eat intutively so you can better invest in your health and well-being.
For more information, enjoy reading Intuitive Eating by EvelynTribole and Elyse Resch.
Quinoa is becoming maintream among many health-conscious athletes, many of whom are vegetarians or vegans. They may choose to eat quinoa because it is said to be a protein-rich grain. (Technically speaking, quinoa is a seed, but we eat it as a grain-food.) Quinoa is also touted as containing all the essential amino acids.
But as you can see in the chart below, quinoa is not really a protein powerhouse. Be sure to eat it along with tofu, beans, yogurt or other protein-rich foods to reach the target of 20 to 30 grams protein per meal.
Quinoa is also expensive: $6 per pound, as compared to brown rice at $1.50 per pound.
Here's how some grains compare:
2 oz. dry
2 oz. dry
1/3 c dry
1/3 c dry
1/3 c dry
If you are a quinoa consumer, please let me know your reasons for choosing quinoa.
Edible seeds and nuts are not only nutritious but can add a nice crunch to yogurt, cereal, salads and casseroles. Most have a mild, and slightly nutty flavor. They are rich in polyunsaturated fats, fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E and magnesium—but they also add calories. Dieters beware—a few tablespoons here and there of nuts and seeds from the salad bar can add another 200 to 400 calories!
Flax is a source of health protective ALA omega-3 fats. You need to grind the seed or else it will passwhole through your digestive tract.
Chia, like flax, is a source of ALA omega-3 fats. ALA is not as effective as fish and animal sources of omega-3, but any omega-3 is better for your health than nothing. When soaked in water for 10 minutes, chia seeds create a gel that can be used as a thickener for smoothies and as an alternative to eggs and oils in some recipes.
Sunflower seeds have a pleasing taste when added to a salad, muffins, or cereal. Sunflower butter is a popular alternative to peanut butter, and is rich in healht-healthy polyunsaturated fats
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have a nutrient profile similar to other seeds.
Hemp contains all the essential amino acids, adding aboost to vegan diets.
Sesame seeds have a gentle flavor. They make a nice coating for sauteed or baked chicken breasts (in place of—or in addition to—bread crumbs).
Here is how their nutritional value compares. Note how the calories can add up quickly. They offer some protein, but for a vegan athlete who may need at least 60 to 90 grams of protein per day, they are not a strong protein source. The same goes for calcium and iron; nuts and seeds are a source of those nutrients, but generally not a strong source -- unless you happen to enjoy lots of sesame seeds (for calcium) and chia (for iron)!
NOTE: If you live near any of the workshop locations, please share this announcement with coaches, athletic trainers, personal trainers,dietitians, nutrition educators, and yes, serious athletes themselves.