Food

5 Ways to Stick to Your Meal Plan

A certain level of dedication is required when striving to see fitness and nutrition results. In the case of nutrition this means committing to the process of meal prep, planning ahead for your week, designing a menu, making good choices at business meetings or long weekends at sporting events, and expecting the unexpected. Here are a few ways you to help you nail your MetPro nutrition plan.

1. Schedule a Meal Prep Day
Designating specific days for 1-3 hours of meal prep can save you hours cooking throughout the week. It also means you are not waiting until you are hungry to scramble to put together a meal.

Meal prep can be daunting at first, realizing what measurements are needed, knowing food combinations for each meal, etc. When you first begin meal prepping allow for extra time to make sure you are comfortable and accurate.

2. Design a Menu. Don’t Let Monotony Affect your Success!
Sometimes the options become overwhelming, or you are SO sick of chicken your eyeballs will fall out if you see it again. Designing a menu for the week makes you consider new combinations. For example sick of steamed broccoli and green beans at every meal? Try out a BBQ grilled bell pepper and zucchini blend?

3. Bring an Ice Chest
Remember: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Have a small ice chest along with you with pre-packed with your lunch and snacks! When the doctors appointment runs late or meetings at work take longer than expected you don’t miss a meal!  You live a busy life, don’t let unexpected events interfere with your meals!

4. Make Educated Choices
You have knowledge now. Even when you are eating off a menu, you have the tools to make decisions that will still support your efforts.  It is normal to want to still go out with your girlfriends, meet up with the guys after hoops, or attend weddings. The important thing to remember is you still can make good choices. Go for the vodka soda instead of the margarita; choose the grilled chicken and side of veggies instead of fish and chips.

5. Be Committed to your efforts
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of your choices and lifestyle. Giving into the peer pressure of drinks, appetizers, or tolerating comments like “oh she can’t eat that” is easy, staying committed to your efforts takes resolve.

Remember it is your life and you are making a responsible choice to live a healthy lifestyle. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Perhaps your commitment to your health and nutrition will inspire those around to make better choices as well.

7 Fall Food Essentials

 

Using foods in season are usually the healthiest way to shop for local fruits and vegetables. Harvest brings a bounty of crisp fruits, delicious roots, and vibrant squash. With fall flavor in full swing try fixing up a dish incorporating some of these ripe and plenty fruits and veggies!

1 Squash (winter/butternut)
• Harvest Season: October-February
• Health Benefits:  Omega-3 fatty acids source of vitamin A
• Try This: Cube squash, spray lightly with olive oil (try the
Misto). Season with cinnamon, minced ginger, salt, and pepper to desired taste. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes.

2 Sweet Potato
• Harvest Season: September-December
• Health Benefits: More nutritionally dense than a white potato. Good source of iron, vitamin A, and provides anti inflammatory benefits
• Try This: Oven roasted sweet potato wedges. Oven roasting will maintain more vitamins than boiling. Cut lengthwise, lightly spray with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until soft, turning occasionally.

3 Pomegranate
• Harvest Season: August-December
• Health Benefits: higher antioxidant levels than red wine, vitamin C, folate.
• Try This: Add to cottage cheese, salad, or oatmeal for a tart pop of flavor and crunchy texture **Check with your MetPro coach for recommended usage depending on your current nutritional phase.

4 Brussel Sprouts
• Harvest Season: September - March
• Health Benefits:  Source of folate, iron, and ½ C equals more than daily recommended intake of vitamin K. High content of glucosinolates, a phytonutrient responsible for a variety of cancer-protective substances.
• Try this: Balsamic Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Season 1.5lbs halved brussel sprouts with salt pepper and Misto with olive oil. Roast at 400° for 20-30 minutes, until tender and browned. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss.

5 Apples  
• Harvest Season: August - November
• Health Benefits: High in antioxidants and full of fiber.
• Try This: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.  Bring 4 cups water to boil. Stir in 1C. Steel Cut oats, 1 C. peeled and chopped granny smith apples. When oats thicken, reduce heat, continue to cook until desired consistency, about 25-30 minutes. Add cinnamon and serve! 

6 Pears
• Harvest Season: August-February
• Health Benefits: Vitamin C, copper, 4g fiber/serving
• Try This: A delicious spinach, pear, pecan salad makes a yummy afternoon snack. 

7 Tangerines
• Harvest Season: November-April
• Health Benefits:  Good source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
• Try This: Juice them with oil, vinegar, and ginger for a delicious dressing.


Don't see your favorite fall food on the list?

Let us know your favorite fall food!  How do you use it in your kitchen?

For Recipe Ideas Visit Our Recipe Page: http://wholebodyfit.net/blog/category/metpro-recipes

Dieting Through The Decades: The History Of Weight Loss

What we choose to eat isn't simply about filling our bellies; it's an expression of who we are, when we are, and often, what we value. "You are what you eat" now takes on new meaning in a world of carnivores, herbivores, "fat free" fanatics, raw food artists, junk food junkies, and juicing warriors. Food and diets are as much of our pop culture as music and entertainment. We're fascinated with what people are eating and what diets the celebrities are following.
Reality television routinely showcases people with outrageous food cravings and uncontrollable obsessions -- it's our new voyeuristic entertainment. Meanwhile, diet propaganda shockingly encourages young women to starve themselves while other venues promote guzzling beer and inhaling pizza as a man's rite of passage. 

As a species, the human race is getting fatter. Obesity rates increased 214 percent between 1950 and 2000. Two out of every 3 people in the U.S. were obese or overweight in 2010. Not surprisingly, bookstore shelves are lined with new diet books daily. How did we arrive at this point, and what diets have been the most persuasive on our culture? What can we learn from the missteps -- and smart moves -- of the past?
 
The '80s
Journey, Depeche Mode, Back to the Future, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Full House. Ah, the '80s, notorious for many things -- including the turning point for our waistlines. It was the perfect storm, personal computers became mainstream, Nintendo ushered in the golden age of gaming with the NES, and the original Star Wars trilogy was completed. What further reasons did we need to sit and stare at a screen? Meanwhile, the food industry ramped up the packaged snack selections. Obesity began reaching epidemic proportions, and the need for an honest solution to the problem became obvious. 
To cater to the demand for less fattening foods, manufacturers began making everything "reduced fat" or "fat free." This was in response to the philosophy that fats made you fat. Since fats are the most calorie dense macronutrients, their reduction became a common way of cutting calories.
The concept of restricting the food we eat has been around since humans have had a desire for slenderness, but the low-calorie trend began to really pick up steam in the '80s. These diets used different methods to get their participants to eat fewer calories: Some promoted pre-made, calorie-controlled meals; others implemented low-calorie snacks aimed at reducing appetite. Most promoted restriction of all types of fats. 
 
What we got right in the '80s: Reduced calorie diets result in weight loss when caloric intake is sufficiently lower then what the participant is accustomed to. In other words, if the participant typically eats 2,500 calories per day and the diet reduces them to 1,600, the dieter will lose weight, at least for a little while. However, if the dieter is already used to eating only 1,600 calories, reducing it marginally further to 1,400 calories will only result in minor weight loss -- if any. 
 
Where we went wrong: Low-calorie diets are based on a false premise that a person's metabolic rate, or number of calories they require, is fixed. In reality, the primary function of our metabolism is to keep us in stasis (status quo), or to adapt to our nutritional environment. This means if we eat less, our metabolism will gradually re-adjust to run slower, negating marginal reductions to our caloric intake. This is known as the "survival mechanic." If a person burned a set, unchanging number of calories based on genetics, even a small reduction in calories would result in unending weight loss. We know, of course, that this simply isn't so; we hit plateaus and stop losing sooner than we'd like. Despite the fact that our bodies try to thwart our best efforts, fat and caloric restriction remain a principle method of battling the effects of overfeeding ourselves in America.
 
The '90s:
Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Jurassic Park, PlayStation, Friends, and the Internet forever changed the landscape of our lives. Welcome to the '90s, also the era when we decided all carbohydrates were to be drug out back and shot.  After years of chowing down on every cookie, cracker, and crust that manufacturers slapped a "low-fat" label on, we decided we'd had enough. Fats were in, carbs were out, and we quit caring about calories. Low-carb diets all revolve around the single theme of cutting -- you guessed it -- carbs. 


More aggressive variations on this theme actually promote entering a state called ketosis. Ketosis is triggered by fasting, starvation, intense exercise, and yes, low-carbohydrate diets. Reducing carbs too much can leave you with mental fogginess and even cause irritability. In the absence of carbohydrates our bodies are forced to use alternative metabolic pathways to produce glycogen. The flip side is it can lead to greater metabolizing of fats.
 
What we got right in the '90s: In many ways, your body views fat (lipids) as a second -ate energy source and needs a little encouragement to use them. Fats are your body's preferred fuel source for sustained low energy output activities. But by the 90's these activities (the foremost being walking and manual chores) had been replaced with power steering and remote controls. Cutting carbohydrates was a means of tricking your body into using more fat for fuel during a greater variety of activities. If you don't have enough sugars (glycogen) available, well then, I suppose you can burn a little more fat. It's this encouragement of using fats for fuel that's earned low carbohydrate diets their iconic status in weight loss history.
 
Where we went wrong: While cutting carbohydrates did indeed lead to increased fat burning, being over aggressive also led to the depletion of fuels necessary for intense activity making exercise, a key ingredient in long term weight loss, difficult. Furthermore, going for bouts with little to no carbohydrates leaves the body in a "carb sensitive" state. This environment isn't dissimilar to that of athletes preparing to carb load before a race. By reducing their carb intake the body readies itself to store additional rations when they become available. I teach my clients that there is a difference between the carb cost and the calorie cost of a cheat. When it's carbs you've been cutting the cost is much higher; a couple dinner rolls and a glass of wine can easily result in waking up to 2-3 pounds of extra you in the morning even though they only amounted to a few hundred calories.
 
 
Dieting since 2000 and beyond:
Eminem, Black eyed Peas, iPhones, The Office, and Mark Zuckerberg changing the way we connect with people. Today as technology marches ever forward, the trend in nutrition is going backward to our beginnings. What we have is a melting pot of diets under the broad theme of "eating natural". Among their ranks are; raw food diets, paleo and gluten free, vegetarian and vegan, and organic food plans. They each promote a chemical free, minimally processed approach to eating, but the similarities end there. Many of their proponents are at each other's throats vying for the label of "the human's natural diet". 
Any such claims are hard to make stick since humans have populated nearly every inch of the globe with nutritional variances as diverse as the climates and terrain these cultures were born out of. Arctic settlers and coastal cultures have thrived off food from the sea, including organ meats and even whale blubber. Jungle tribes and tropical civilizations have flourished eating a mostly plant based diet. Farming cultures have been among the most enduring consuming a mixture of grains and animal products. Some of these diets conflict philosophically over what humans were originally designed to eat, but they wholeheartedly agree that processed foods laced with high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and artificial sweeteners aren't it.
What we're doing right: We're no longer in denial about the effects greasy--fried foods have on our bodies. And we know we probably can't get away with snacking on sweets and crackers every night. More recently we've learned to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid foods laced with harmful ingredients. Overall we're trying to eat foods more like our grandparents did.
 
Where we're still going wrong: We're still overweight and filling hospital rooms with people suffering from preventable disease. With improved lifestyle and nutrition many of our country's ills would fade away. Why are we not acting? What is the missing ingredient that will solve our problems? The answer may surprise you: based on what I see in my clients, I think the answer is time. Most people cite "not enough time" as the reason behind their poor eating habits. Our technology-driven society rewards those who move fast, multitask, and rush. In the future I believe the most effective nutrition plans will place emphasis on practical strategies, simple food prep, and offer its patrons compelling evidence that investing the time in procuring healthy foods is a worthwhile investment.  
 

-Angelo Poli SET SPN CFT

Paleo, Weight Watchers, Atkins: What diet is right for your body type?

Every month my clients ask me about one of the new nutritional trends. Last month everyone wanted to know about the HCG diet, this month it's Paleo. CrossFitters the world over swear by this diet yet most of the elite competitors by their own admission don't follow it strictly. Does that mean it's not right for you? Not necessarily. Having an understanding of what mechanics are involved in a nutritional model like The Paleo Diet is the key to knowing what's best for you. For the purpose of this discussion we'll review the steps needed to properly evaluate what your nutritional needs are. Then we'll consider the mechanics behind a few popular diets and see how they stack up.

One of my hobbies as a sports nutritionist is to follow trends in the nutrition field and observe as the public opinions of specific foods, even entire food groups shifts. It never ceases to amaze me how opinions thrash to and fro like waves in a storm being influenced by the media, advertising, and commercial stigma's. Remember when egg yolks were bad? Then yolks were good. Now the American Heart Association has settled on "Yolks are ok, but just in case no more then one per day". Really, that's no big deal when you consider that we're used to vilifying entire macronutients. It seems to go by decades. In the 80's yourleg warmers and sweat bands were kicked to the curb if you weren't low fat. In the 90's we packed up the carbohydrates. Breads, grains, and cereals were marched out back and shot. Even if they were allowed in the house they were hidden in the cupboards guests wouldn't see so you didn't have to explain yourself. On a related note laxative sales saw a noted increase those years. Today it's all about Gluten Free and Organic. Eat what you like so long as it comes naturally from mother earth and is sold to you by a cashier who smells of hemp seed and likely doesn't own a clothing iron.

So are all trends bad? No. In fact all of them have merit and benefits. The trouble is misapplication and extremes. Having a working understanding of the basic principles a diet is operating on can allow you to be a savvy dieter. With the mountain of opinions and endless stream of new diets entering the market it is definitely a "buyer beware" situation. My goal here isn't to promote or discourage any one method of dieting. Rather I want to arm you with knowledge that will allow you to make better informed decisions about your nutrition and health. Let me share with you my secret to making nutritional recommendations. Evaluation. Unless you evaluate your needs and goals you can only vaguely guess what nutrition plan is right for you. Here's an example of a full evaluative process:

1.) Determine your primary goal

Be a specialist not a generalist! I know, I know . You want to burn fat, build muscle, loose weight, increase your strength, shrink your waist, and grow 2 inches taller. Who doesn't? Your body responds best when focused attention is given to one primary goal at a time. Don't get me wrong, people can achieve multiple goals at the same time via diet and exercise but unless you prioritize your goals and have a clear defined focus, you'll never be able to maximize your results.

2.)Acknowledge your body type

-Are you a petite frame with longer arms and legs, prone to accumulating fat in your mid section more then legs? You're an Ectomorph. Can you wrap your thumb and middle finger around your wrist and easily touch your finger tips together, even overlap? Say it real slow... Ecto- morph. Does going more then 4 hours without food cause your alter ego to rear it's ugly head making your irritable, headachy, and ravenously craving carbs and sugar? Maybe your a different body type... just kidding. You're an Ectomorph.

- Did you have an athletic build in high school? Not to skinny or stocky, you know the Goldilocks zone. . just right. Mesomorph. You set some athletic records in high school, maybe even college, but now spend most of your time working late hours at the office crumpling pieces of paper to toss at the waste paper basket. Deep down you still think of yourself as a warrior and athlete. Yeah, you're a mesomorph. Food is good, but you'll gladly skip a meal to build an appetite for your favorite dinner. Mesomorph.

-You were bigger and stronger than all the kids in grade school. By high school you already began equating the word "metabolism" with various profanities. Endomorph. Gains in the weight room seem to come easy, as do gains at the buffet line. Everyone else seems almost delicate when compared to your sturdy bone structure and frame. You can wrap you thumb and middle finger around your wrist but most of you can barely touch. Endomorph.

Don't like your body type? Well, you'll have to take that up with your parents. Sorry, can't help you there. All I can do is give you a rough road map of how your body type "generally" responds to various nutritional activities. Each body type has their pre-disposed strengths and weakness, simply acknowledging them is a vital key in evaluating your nutritional needs. As for me, I'm an ectomorph. I live in perpetual irritation that my wife still has more developed calves then me. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I can drown my sorrows in a few extra carbs at night without paying too much penalty.  Now these are generalizations. Often people can have traits from more then one body type, however most people will quickly identify with one of the above somo (body types)

So what does your body type mean for you?

Ectomorph - Typically lower in body fat and often struggling to gain muscle. No matter how "clean" or "healthy" your diet, most ectomorphs will need more calories to make substantial muscle gains. Generally add in this order - assure that adequate (and possibly a little more) protein needs are met. Then begin liberally adding complex carbohydrates and a little healthy fat. If you still are not seeing gains, consider adding more fats as you will be too full to muscle down more and more carbohydrates. Fats will give you more caloric bang for your buck and as such remains the "end game" diet strategy for hard gainers by default.

Mesomorph - Change it up. Your body will respond to changes. Wanna build muscle? Fine. Do it for a while then switch it up. Get your body used to extra calories and carbs for recovery and then start scaling back and watch the body fat strip off. Or if you want to do it in reverse, cut back on your carbs or calories until you stop seeing changes in your body and then gradually increase both your food intake and training intensity and let your body build some muscle.

Endomorph - Your body doesn't play by the rules. Everyone tells you to eat this or take that to fuel your muscle and aid your recovery. Fuel the muscle starve the fat... right? Who cares about muscle. That's right you heard me. You've been building muscle since you were four years old!  Once all you fitness professionals finish gasping at the notion that I just suggested it's ok to allow your body to lose some precious muscle, consider this: Unless you plan on being a competitive powerlifter (even then strength is mostly neuromuscular) I can think of very few endomorphs that wouldn't sacrifice 10 pounds of muscle if it meant losing 25 pounds of fat. Even with restricted food intake, hitting the weights still seems to trigger muscular development. Use that to your advantage, but tune your nutrition more in favor of weight loss. You will likely have to be more diligent about monitoring your intake then the other body types, eating fewer calories and carbs than someone of similar height / weight but of a different body type. Be consistent and take full advantage of the benefits of aerobics.

3.) Evaluate your current diet. The only way to know where we're going is to know where we came from right? Keep a food log. I know, you're fed up and ready to start your new diet now. Don't. Most of you will ignore me because you have a friend who went on the ABC diet and got XYZ results so you think it's going to work the same for you. Wrong. The only way to know what diet approach will work best for you is to evaluate what your body is currently used to. If you aren't particularly savvy about nutrition and macronutrients use an online calculator. Over a few days of typical eating note your approximate calories and ratio's of carbs, protein, and fat. Based on that determine if you have the most room to adjust calories, carbohydrates, or a combination of both. Then make your choice what style of dieting best suits your needs. Don't forget to factor in your body type.

  So what diet options are out there? Basically there are 3 categories of diets. By decade popularity they are:

  • Natural and gluten free. The Paleo Diet is one of several that fit this genre. (current trend)
  • Carbohydrate restriction. The Atkins Diet is the popular grandfather to much of this genre. (Low carbohydrate diets have been popular from the late 90's through today)
  • Calorie restriction. Weight Watchers is still a leader pioneering this principle. (popular in the 80's and now promoted differently, but the same basic science)

 

The Paleo Diet

Restricts dairy and gluten. It allows liberal use of everything else provided it's "clean" or "unprocessed". Basically what we have here is a "Hippie's guide to digestive treatment" .... and a pretty darn good one too. There are two failings. Difficult adherence and non-specific attributes (I'll explain that shortly). We have a 20 - 20 - 60 scenario here. Twenty percent of the population are going to find this diet to be the holy grail of digestive relief leading to massive improvements in their quality of life. Twenty percent of the population are going to see no digestion change and quickly get fed up with shopping from the one shelf in the grocery store that's gluten free. Sixty percent of the population will see some marginal improvements and could go either way. How do I know this? I evaluate people's nutritional needs every day. For every 10 people who sit in my office roughly two of them will have obvious digestion issues, discomfort, and problems. Two of them will be those who eat a diet of rusty nails and dry wall yet amazingly feel fine. (We all know people like that.. .. and yes we hate them) Six of them will land somewhere in the middle. Naturopaths who believe gluten and dairy to be the devil itself will think me crazy for not believing everyone has intolerance's. Meanwhile, the bread and dairy industry will ask how entire civilizations have flourished on diets rich in milk and grains for millennia. I have no interest in getting in the middle of their feud. I just call it how I see it. 20 - 20 - 60.

Those of you die hard fans who eat and breath paleo don't need to send me mail defending why you feel paleo is nutritionally superior to other ways of eating. I've heard your arguments, acknowledge them, and am now attempting to provide clarity and perspective for the "average" consumer trying to select a diet. In fact to be perfectly blunt, I'm not interested in recommending people follow the best diet (insert gasping sound here). What I'm interested in is helping people select the "best diet" that they can actually convert into a "lifestyle", and those are two very different things. If I were to put pen to paper and be forced to recommend the "best" diet to save humanity, it would probably end up looking like some sort of fusion high protein vegan diet (nutritionists know why that's funny). Rather my goal is to provide people with tools to identify the diet that will work best for their circumstance while considering all factors including goals and lifestyle.

Alright already lets get to the point, will Paleo make me lose weight? And the answer is (drum roll),  ... maybe. That's where the non-specific attributes come in. The paleo diet really is dominantly a digestive health program. In a effort to eliminate processed foods, chemicals, and inflammatory properties, junk food has been eliminated. By default that is going to result in a drop in caloric intake for most people. That will equal weight loss. In an effort to restrict gluten, most of our favorite carbohydrate options have been removed.. pasta, breads, etc. Therefore it will likely result in a significant reduction in carbohydrates. For most that will mean weight loss. Then why do I say "maybe"? Because even though as a matter of happenstance it will somewhat accidentally result in lower carbs and calories, there are still several foods allowed on the diet that are excellent for gaining weight. For example: banana's, sweet potato's, and nuts are perfect examples of high glycemic carbs, low glycemic carbs, and fats ideal for packing on pounds. So losing weight on Paleo depends on how you do the Paleo diet. Lots of people dance when they hear salsa music, but that doesn't mean they all know how to salsa. The moral of the story is if you don't know how to dance, get off the floor. My recommendation, if you want to try Paleo, more power to you, but use a qualified nutritionist to help you structure your Paleo plan to meet your needs.

Paleo is more for athletes anyway right? Consider your body type! It depends on your needs. For example, a Paleo diet structured to emphasize meats and veggies with moderate low inclusion of low glycemic carbohydrates and very low inclusion of high glycemic carbohydrates (banana's, raisins etc), canbe quite well suited for an endomorphic body type looking to lose weight. On the other hand an ectomorphic competitive athlete attempting to limit themselves to the recovery that fruits and veggie can provide alone will leave them falling short of their athletic potential every time. Unless they've developed romantic feelings about pounding buckets of mashed sweet potato's with every meal, they're simply not going to recover optimally. But I'll live off fats. I love nuts. No. You won't. Sporting a high fat diet, low in carbs defies every scientific study done on sports nutrition and performance in the last 60 years. If you want to perform your best in the glycolitic pathway (looking at you CrossFitters) you'll need carbs.That is why elite CrossFitters are rarely "strict" Paleo by their own admission. While only theoretical, I'd bet that if a pole was taken of truly elite CrossFit athletes who follow some variation of the Paleo diet what we'd find is that those who are Endomorphic break their diet and "carb up" less often then those who are Ectomorphic needing ample carbs at that level of performance. Ironically, Rich Froning Jr. and Annie Thorisdottir, the 2011and 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Champions are both classic Mesomorphs - smack dab in the middle. Niether follow Paleo. Let the debates continue.

The Atkins diet

As some of us sports nutritionist call it "The Tyrannical Eradication of Carbohydrates from the Planet". So will I lose weight on it? Yup. So you see the battle us nutritionists have when convincing dieters to be moderate in their eating habits. It's a tricky one. People want instant gratification and if they see the scale dropping it's hard to convince them to do anything else. Carbohydrate restriction, especially when fairly severe, causes the body to metabolize a greater amount of lipids (among other energetic substrates) in the synthesis of ATP. Extremely low carb diets and exercise aren't good bed fellows.They're at each other's throats. Low carbs wants to take a nap while Exercise wants to hit the gym but needs a ride and Low carb isn't moving. Exercise keeps yelling "you'll never be healthy or fit without me!" Low carb just smirks"yeah but I can just lay around and still lose weight so why bother".

Ultimately most people will gain the weight back after following an extremely low carb diet. Here's why:
1.) Cutting all carbs does indeed make achieving any level of intensity while exercising difficult, therefore as a lifestyle change you're missing half the battle. Usually I spend my days managing people who think they can "just" exercise and get results... yeah, let me know how that works out. With the "low carbers" I find myself trying to convince them that a strict diet without exercise is just as bad. It's like they're all on a giant boat, "low carbers" on one side, "Exercisers" on the other. The Low carbers are laughing because there's a hole on the Exercisers side of the boat. Kind of short sighted.

2.) Difficult adherence, nearly impossible long term. Sure, I could spend a week or two living off bacon, cheese, and burgers wrapped in lettuce. Double double protein style at In-N-Out here I come. Course I'll need to buy stock in Metamucil and Exlax. Eventually I'll just need a bite of something loaded with carbs, and when I do...

3.) I'll wake up the next morning looking like I fell out of the "Fat Tree" and hit every branch on the way down. Good morning puffy face! You see several biological elements converge at the point of cheating on a low carb diet to make us instantaneously fat and filled with self loathing. After weeks of "low carbing it" your body is in full-on glycogen depletion mode. Athletes will purposely restrict a small amount of carbs just prior to carb loading. You have now achieved all the elements necessary to qualify for carb loading by having just one meal. The morning after... You wake feeling puffy taking notice that your rings are now stuck on your fat swollen fingers as you stagger to the scale. Looking down at your new number brings up feeling of guilt and remorse as you replay in your mind how it all happened. You walk away thoroughly depressed and console yourself with ....you guessed it. Carbs.

Notice that my reference is to extreme carbohydrate restriction. Moderate restriction is a completely different animal and can be applied to great benefit in many circumstances.

Weight Watchers

It's good old calorie restriction turned into a game with points. Significantly less structure than some recent diets. High emphasis on quick and easy identification of the lower calorie options across multiple venues via a "point" system. It may seem overly simple, but that's why it's been successful for many people for years. It's not overly cumbersome. In times past there hasn't been enough emphasis placed on making the right or healthiest choices with food. This diet has favored pure and simple identification of the lowest calorie option. From a nutritionists perspective that can be fraught with problems as selecting foods only based around calorie content can lead to a highly processed and nutritionally depleted diet. Individualization, adaptivity to unique needs, or athletic structuring is nearly absent. In recent times they have shifted to a more educational model promoting more balance and healthier selections. That is good, but a large percentage of their patrons are only exposed to a limited amount of the educational process, those who stay involved will likely do best.

Summary

The key lies in evaluating what your body's needs are based on your body type and previous nutritional history. Keep a food log, it will be enlightening. Research more about your body type and carefully consider your goal. Make sure the diet you're considering is compatible with your goal. If all else fails or you reach a plateau that you're unable to navigate, get help from a qualified nutritionist.

Angelo Poli SET SPN CFT

Is Late Night Eating Unhealthy?

Is unhealthy, and doing so will pack on pounds, no matter how healthy you eat. Other people believe that eating late is absolutely fine, as long as you stick to healthy foods and stay away from junk. Which is true?

Should you refrain from eating past a certain time, or does it matter how late you eat, so long as you eat healthy?

Does your metabolism really slow down after a certain time?

The answer to this debate depends mostly on what diet or mechanic you are using to lose weight. There are two basic mechanics that effect weight and body composition.

1. Calorie restriction

2. Macronutrient ratios (controlling the ratio of proteins, carbs, and fats) Low carbohydrate diets use this mechanic to force the body to burn more lipids for fuel.

Note: There are many other strategies aimed at controlling hormones, glycemic load, etc, that can be helpful. These additional strategies are often combined into a diet. The primary mechanic however remains the same.  Reduce calories or carbohydrates.

What happens to our metabolism at night?

When we sleep at night our bodies power down into a state of extremely low energy expenditure. At this point any left over fuel in the tank is more likely to be stored as body fat. Not all fuel is the same, however. Proteins, for example, are still used even while we sleep to repair tissue. If we have excess sugars at night time it's unlikely that we will be able to burn them off and therefore store some as unwanted body fat.

Pros & cons when deciding whether to include a food “cut off time” as part of your diet program:

Pro: In the short run it will seem as though you are losing more weight. This is mostly because your body will be in a “fasting” state for a longer period of time in a 24 hour cycle. You will wake with less intestinal bulk and feel mildly lighter and digestively “empty”.

Pro: If you are following a reduced carbohydrate program, it will ensure that you don’t unintentionally get carbohydrates late at night. Carbohydrates at night undermine the mechanic that triggers fat loss. This is especially the case when the diet is already built around that mechanic (low carbs).

Pro: Most Americans consume the bulk of their calories in the second half of the day. If your weight loss plan is built around calorie restriction, a cut off time for meals can help keep you within your targeted caloric intake.

Con: It’s a gimmick. No serious athletes should completely eliminate their intake at night. The same mechanic that causes us to lose more weight by going consecutive hours without food (fasting) causes us to plunge deeper into a catabolic state (feeding off our own muscles). This is counter-productive when trying to develop lean mass, recover from intense training, or improve athletic performance. 

Tip: There are three basic body types. Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph. Learn which one you are. Ectomorphs will be most negatively impacted by the above mentioned catabolic effects of fasting while Endomorphs will be the least effected.

Con: Many people are subject to blood sugar swings. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is more likely to effect someone aggressively dieting. Cutting off food too early in the day may impact you if you’re prone to low blood sugar.

Conclusion:

Based on the pros and cons it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s important to know your body type and understand the mechanics involved in the diet you’re following.

If you’re following a reduced carbohydrate diet, some people see benefits from allocating less carbs in the evening while still getting some proteins and fats.

When following a reduced calorie diet that doesn’t restrict carbohydrates you’ll still benefit by avoiding highly processed foods at night. It's a safe assumption that sugar before bed is undesirable for any diet.

I sincerely welcome any questions or comments,
Angelo Poli SET, SPN, CF