As you all know I am a food blogger but I am also a physician. Initially, starting this blog I thought that I will bring some of my spontaneous and delicious recipe ideas to all of you. However giving it some deeper thought health and food are greatly interdependent. My knowledge on metabolism has been helping many patients achieve their weight goals as well as improve their glycemic control. However, this blog is also a great medium for me to help many who are always disappointed with their unhealthy lifestyle and weight management skills. I may not know all of you but I would love to help you towards your journey towards fitness. In general, the American population has a hard time managing weight including medical personnel such as physicians and nurses. With the large variety of cuisines and availability of food it has become fairly difficult to resist temptations. This article is not stop you from eating but to show your how to change certain habits in your life.
This article will give a few tips on how to improve general health and start working your way towards fitness. I am specializing in weight management and metabolism and would like to provide help to many of my blog viewers. Please pass along this article and try to help as many people as you can who struggle with this daily!
The less I eat the less I weigh. Incorrect!
It is true that in the short run you will lose weight. Many women do this for a big upcoming event such as weddings. It may work for your big day but the weight returns with revenge. Many dieters end up being a higher weight than they were before. Yes, you have to decrease caloric intake to lose weight. This will not be an easy route but big caloric deprivation will only make you return to your original weight or higher. Choose healthier options such as green vegetables and lean proteins. Key is limiting your portions not starving!
Know your basal metabolic rate
Your body is involuntarily conducting many functions so that you remain alive. If you did not get out of bed all day, you would still be burning calories (a lot of them). If you do not have any idea of how much you burn daily (based on your height and weight), you will not know where to begin your weight loss journey. There are many online calculators which will tell your daily burn. However if you are a functioning human being you are burning a lot from from walking, working, singing, cleaning and all other activities of daily living. If you work out however your basal metabolic rate eventually will increase. The BMR calculator on myfitnesspal is especially useful. Know how much your body burns and then start either burning more or decrease your intake, or both!
Do not skip meals. Period.
If I had to run miles on how many of my patients tell me they skip meals I would be running my entire life into my afterlife. Stop skipping meals! Your body needs calories every 4-5 hours. Not only do you slow down your metabolism by skipping meals, your following meal is likely to be larger.
Dinner is your enemy.
I am not by any point telling you to skip dinner. However your metabolism is the slowest at the end of the day. Insulin resistance increase by the end of the day and even more at night. That means that you will likely not metabolize the glucose that you placed in your bloodstream as effectively. Night time workers especially suffer from this and gain a lot of weight from unhealthy eating during their shift. However, if they ate the same meal during the day their glycemic control and weight would be a lot better.
Bottom line: Eat an early dinner and make it your smallest meal of the day.
Everyone needs to exercise! Yes that includes your mom, dad and grandparents
To maintain a healthy body weight everyone needs to exercise. There is a stigma that only younger people go to the gym and mainly for aesthetics. However from a weight management perspective to maintain your weight for years to come, exercise should be a part of your daily life. Pick an exercise you enjoy and stick to it. Recent studies say to improve mortality you have to exercise 5 days a week for 1 hour daily. It seems a bit difficult for some. However if you get even 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week you are on your way to health. Remember this is a long term goal so be consistent rather than sporadic. Eventually, almost everyone has a tendency to gain weight as they age but exercise can surely stop or slow down that process. My favorite outdoor activity is hiking (as seen in the picture above from Canyonlands National Park). Not only does it invigorate my senses but also causes me to be highly active. Fitbit, Apple Watch and Garmin are some great fitness help especially when you start to compete with others. Find something that you love!
Does fat make you fat?
If you answered yes to that question then you are incorrect. Fat is important and decreases rapid absorption of carbohydrates. What does make you fat? Simple carbohydrates that you find in form of junk food. That includes candies, pasta, white rice, potatoes, white bread, cakes, croissants. The list goes on and on. Our goal should be to minimize simple carbohydrates and increase complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are found in whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes (surprisingly), whole wheat pasta and tortillas. Just remember brown is better. The reason behind that is that they are slow release carbohydrates so they do not raise your glucose levels right away. Make sure you limit the intake of even the slow release carbs because they are still calories and glucose.
Never eat a Carbohydrate alone
Always include a protein with your carbohydrate. If you eat potatoes, toast, pasta alone without a protein the likelihood of rapid increase in your blood glucose levels is high. Making small changes such as melting cheese on your toast, eating meat with your potato or fish with your pasta will make you eat less carbohydrates. In the long run you will prevent diabetes which unfortunately knowingly or unknowingly 50 % of the American population already has.
Eliminate juice, soda and any other sugary beverages
Do you really want to drink all your calories? We give orange juice to patients with low sugars. How come? It causes a rapid rise in glucose levels and they go from confused from the hypoglycemia to all perked up. Imagine the effect of orange juice on your body. Make healthier choices such as crystal light (no calories, no sugar) and you can still have a delicious beverage without the detrimental effects.
Think of soda as a deathly sugar water. You can damage your entire metabolism by daily intake of soda. Remove this from your diet completely! Diet soda is better than regular soda. However can still cause glucose intolerance in the long run so should be kept to a minimum. Overall, nothing is better than water.
It takes one day to bring down your metabolism. Say NO to Cheat Days!
Yes and that literally means one day! You were going on a great streak, eating healthy and exercising. Today you decided that you are allowed one cheat day so you decided to binge on the TGI Fridays appetizers and boom you are on your way down again. If on your fitness journey you are craving something unhealthy, you are allowed to moderately indulge. However you are not allowed to go binging because all your weeks and months of hard work can be reversed in one day. Try to always stay in moderation no matter what! Cheat Days are not for you!
Hope all these points helped change your perspective on some of your habits. Feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for any personalized questions about weight management and metabolism.