FASTING SOLVE YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PLATEAU?
Lifestrong.com, 01/08/18; written by Dan Reardon)
There’s been a lot of buzz
around intermittent fasting (IF)
recently — but what does it really entail? Think about it like this: When you
get up in the morning, you eat breakfast.
You’re breaking your fast from the previous night.
While you’re sleeping,
technically, you’re fasting (unless you’re sleep eating). Conversely, while
you’re awake, you’re eating. Intermittent fasting
(IF) can be simply defined as going without food for a longer period of time
than sleep and consuming all of your calories within a specific window of time.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – Reducing calories (like you do with IF) has
been shown to increase the lifespan of cells in
the body. In animal models,
calorie restriction can actually enhance the longevity of the animals, and
limiting food intake might also fight off disease.
From the perspective of body
composition, one of the big selling points of IF is your body’s increase in
responsiveness to insulin. The hormone insulin is
released in response to food. It has the effect of causing the liver, muscle
and fat cells to store glucose. In a fasting state, blood glucose levels drop,
leading to a decrease in insulin production, which signals the body to start
burning stored energy.
There are many potential
benefits to intermittent fasting, including:
- Weight loss
- Improved mental state
- Increased energy
- Improved fat-burning
- Increased growth hormone production
- Lowered blood cholesterol
- Reduction of inflammation
- Improved cellular repair
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You? – As of right now, there’s no official test
to say whether you should or shouldn’t try intermittent fasting, but there are
some general guidelines. You should consider the impact on your lifestyle.
If your IF protocol conflicts
with family’s nutrition needs or your work schedule, it might be challenging to
commit to an IF schedule. Or let’s say you’re a performance-based athlete: You
should consider your nutritional needs, including recovery. Finally, if you’re
a woman, intermittent fasting might not be right for you due to hormonal
With any IF protocol, it’s a
good idea to talk to your doctor before starting. Will you benefit from IF?
Remember, just because your friend did it doesn’t mean it will work for you
Ultimately, the only sure way
to find out if intermittent fasting is right for you is to try it for yourself. There are a ton of variations on intermittent
fasting, and choosing which one is right for you is often a matter of trial and
error. To get you started, here are a few examples of IF protocols:
1. Breakfast Skipper (aka 16/8 Method)
- Fast for 16 hours, and then eat during an eight-hour window.
- This is a good protocol for those who are new to IF and would typically eat between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight.
- Women fast for 14 hours, while men fast for 16 hours.
- Similar to the Breakfast Skipper, but the slight decrease in fast length for women is to ensure you’re not messing up your hormones, as females can be more sensitive to signals of starvation.
3. Fast Diet (aka the 5:2 Diet)
- Eat for five days and significantly cut calories for for two days.
- This is a more advanced method of fasting in which you eat as you normally would for five days, and then reduce your calories significantly (600 calories for men and 500 calories for women) for two days.
- Eat one day, fast the next.
- With this diet, on the fasting days you should eat a fifth of your recommended daily caloric intake, and then consume a normal amount of calories on feasting days. This is a slightly easier protocol to follow than Fast Diet.
- Fast for 20 hours a day and eat one large meal at night
- This is a more challenging protocol to follow, as you’ll need to ensure you fit all of your important macro- and micronutrients into one meal a day.
There really are a limitless number
of variations on the intermittent fasting protocol, so if you’re considering
IF, start with one (say, breakfast skipper) and play around with what works
with your schedule and hunger levels.
The Impact of Metabolism and Genetics – As with
any nutrition plan, success is largely based on if the diet is right for you.
Two factors that play into this equation are your metabolism and genetics.
Suppose you have a fast
metabolism and you’re trying to build muscle. Focusing on your calorie intake
around exercise means you have lots of energy to work out, with additional
energy and amino acids to recover. If you’re a true “hard gainer” or
“skinny fat,” IF might help you achieve your goals — not to mention
the potential hormonal benefits.
If you have a slow metabolism
or you store energy easily, then eating all your calories in a short space of
time might make fat loss hard for you because you will hang onto energy even in
the fasting windows, so IF might not be a good protocol for you to follow.
SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING (From ACE Healthy Living Jan 16, 2019)
A key barrier to being physically active is an all-or-nothing mindset. Unless there is time for a full workout, why bother to start it at all? What is the point of eating carrots for dinner if I ate two cupcakes at work today? It’s Friday and I didn’t get one workout in this week—why bother doing one now? I have forgotten to drink water all day—well, I might as well have another soda. This type of thinking subconsciously drives disengagement in positive behaviors.
Although it doesn’t work with everything, the idea of “something is better than nothing” nicely applies to healthy behaviors. In other words, it is better to do something good—however small or seemingly insignificant—for your health and well-being than nothing at all.
Not convinced? Consider, for example, that a five-minute exercise interval performed once an hour may improve glucose and insulin levels in obese individuals better than one single longer session (Holmstrup et al., 2014).
Another study found that people who rode 10 minutes on a stationary bike had a sharper cognitive response to specific tests compared to individuals who read a magazine for the same amount of time (Samani and Heath, 2018). And immune function may be significantly enhanced with a 20-minute bout of exercise (Dimitrov, Huelton and Hong., 2017). As you can see from this small sample, the research confirming that something (in this case, a small amount of exercise) is better than nothing is encouraging.
Specifically, some movement is better than none. Standing is better than sitting. Walking or moving around is better than standing still. The same is true for other health behaviors that often feel challenging for some people. For example, drinking some water each day is better than drinking none. Eating some fruits and vegetables is better than eating none. Getting some sleep is better than getting none.
Here are some practical ideas for adding small doses of physical activity and movement into your daily life:
- Walk around your house while you are brushing your teeth.
- Every time the phone rings, go for a walk or do some wall-sits.
- Stand up once every 30 minutes and breathe deeply for 2 minutes while doing standing squats.
- Dance your way through household chores (it’s way more fun!).
- Convert your work station into a standing/active station.
- Make family time an active time.
- Anytime you have to wait for something, do squats or calf raises.
- Every time you have to use the restroom, do five push-ups (after might be best!).
- Perform standing lunges while fueling up your car.
- Go for a brisk 10-minute walk after dinner.
Adopting a few small healthy habits has the potential to progress into more healthy patterns over time and gives you the opportunity to experience what reaching your goal might feel like. Doing something rather than nothing also provides a sense of accomplishment, which initiates positive self-talk and self-empowerment.
YOU NEVER AGE OUT OF HAPPINESS AND HEALTH (from Guest Writer, Jason Lewis. Jason is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell to share his tips on senior fitness. His website is strongwell.org )
Happy, healthy seniors have one thing in common: they never give up on life. And thanks to modern medicine and advanced technology, seniors are aging healthier than ever.
Pay attention to your gut – You already know that you shouldn’t ignore your “gut” feelings. But new research suggests that your intestines have a bigger role in your health than previously thought. Researchers have found that the healthiest seniors are those with a diverse microbiota. Eating fermented foods, taking a probiotic supplement, and abstaining from antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, are all ways to improve gut health and the population of good bacteria in your gut’s microbiome.
Up your energy levels – There are several ways to improve your energy levels, such as getting enough sleep and eating foods that are high in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins. If you find that lifestyle changes aren’t enough, talk to your doctor about adding an energy supplement to your daily routine. Don’t just grab the first bottle off the shelf, however. Take the time to evaluate your actual needs and the options available.
Exercise for 30 minutes each day – According to Genesis Health + Fitness, 30 minutes is all it takes to change your life. Half an hour of exercise each day can help you lose weight, reduce stress, and lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Plus, exercising can help keep your memory sharp.
Avoid brittle bones – Osteoporosis is a condition that leaves you with bones that can break without warning, and you may have to limit physical activities. The Mayo Clinic explains, however, that physical activity is one way to keep your bones healthy. Getting enough calcium is also important. If you’re not a milk drinker, make a point to eat calcium-fortified foods, dark green leafy vegetables, and salmon.
Thwart loneliness – Senior loneliness is an epidemic that, according to the Washington Post, is just as harmful as being a lifelong smoker. While it’s perfectly normal to feel lonely sometimes, don’t be afraid to drag yourself out of the house to attend church, visit the senior center, or volunteer reading to children at your local elementary school.
Don’t let age get in the way of your well-being. By implementing small changes, such as keeping tabs on your gut health and social activities, you’ll make your health a priority all year long.
COMMON NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES IN THE US (ACE Healthy Living 8/26/18)
With a well-balanced diet, it is certainly possible for a healthy person to obtain all of the vitamins and minerals he or she needs from foods alone. There are circumstances, however, in which the foods we eat may not provide all of the important nutrients that our body needs, resulting in a nutrient deficiency. Here’s a quick rundown of five nutrient deficiencies that are more common than you might think.
Vitamin D: Calcium’s Best Buddy – When it comes to nutrient deficiencies, vitamin D is arguably the most common. A large majority (some reports estimate up to 95% of the U.S. population age 19 and older) does not meet recommended vitamin D intake levels. That is probably due to the fact that there aren’t a whole lot of naturally occurring food sources of vitamin D. Furthermore, the largest source of vitamin D—fortified dairy products like milk—tend to be foods that we eat less of as we grow older.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in helping bones absorb calcium. It is found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as certain types of mushrooms. Your body forms vitamin D naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight, but most of us don’t spend much time outside, so fortified dairy products such as milk and yogurt are going to be your best food sources of vitamin D. Adults aged 19-70 should aim to get 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. If foods don’t provide that amount, your healthcare provider may suggest a supplement.
Vitamin E: Get Yours from Foods Instead of Pills – Next up on the list of nutrients you may not be eating enough of is vitamin E. Like vitamin D, vitamin E is also a fat-soluble vitamin, but it is found in fatty foods such nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
About 94% of adults over age 19 eat less than the estimated average requirement for vitamin E. Due to potential health risks associated with large doses of vitamin E pills, however, widespread supplementation is not routinely recommended. Instead, shift your food intake to make sure you are eating a variety of healthful fats that will help you bump up your vitamin E levels from food-based sources to meet your needs.
Make Magnesium Matter More in Your Diet – Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic pathways in your body. It helps make proteins, controls blood sugar and blood pressure, bone health and is needed for making DNA, RNA and the antioxidant glutathione.
Despite its position of supreme importance in the body, more than 60% of adults older than 19 don’t meet the estimated average requirement for magnesium. One way you can increase your intake is to bump up your intake of dark green leafy vegetable and whole grains. Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals are also a good source of this important mineral.
Iron: This One’s for the Ladies – About 14-18% of Americans currently take a supplement containing iron; and iron supplement takers tend to be overwhelmingly female. That’s because women are at higher risk for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia due to biological factors such as menstruation and lower intakes of high heme-iron foods, such as meat, fish and poultry.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) states that those at high risk for insufficient iron intake include infants, young children, teenaged girls, pregnant women and premenopausal women. Animal foods such as meat, fish and poultry are good sources of the easily absorbed form of iron called heme iron.
Although plant foods contain iron, it is in the less readily absorbed non-heme iron form. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vegetarians is 1.8 times higher than for people who eat meat. If you’re concerned about iron status, check with your primary care provider who can test for deficiency and anemia before recommending you start a supplement.
Vitamin A is Important for More Than Just Your Eyes – Although vitamin A deficiency is not widespread in the North American population, slightly more than 50% percent of people still do not meet the estimated average requirement for this fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A is well known for the role it plays in vision, but it also impacts immune function, reproduction and your body’s cellular communication as well.
You can make sure you’re getting enough by consuming both preformed vitamin A (from animal foods, such as milk and eggs) and provitamin A, found in leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes and fruits. Increasing the variety of both the plant and animal foods you eat ensures you get adequate amounts of the all-important vitamin A.
WEIGHT LOSS RUNS IN THE FAMILY (IDEA Fit Tips August 2018)
It turns out that people who make an effort to shed a few pounds aren’t just in it for themselves; they may be helping their significant others trim down, too. Research published in the journal Obesity recounted a University of Connecticut study that monitored the weight loss progress of 130 people for 6 months—half of them on a structured Weight Watchers® program and the other half on a self-guided program combining education, healthy eating and exercise. The study discovered that about one-third of the volunteers’ cohabiting partners lost 3% or more of their initial body weight, even though they weren’t enrolled in the experiment.
The investigation also found that weight loss rates went hand in hand for couples: If one partner lost weight at a steady pace, the other one did, too. Likewise, if one partner struggled to lose weight, the other also had trouble scaling down.
Think of it as a ripple effect—when one half of a couple becomes dedicated to a healthier lifestyle, there is a good chance the other half will emulate the new eating and exercise habits. So, counseling a client on the importance of eating vegetables may very well put more kale on the partner’s plate, as well
NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN THE FREE WALKING CLINIC – Monday & Thurs. 5:30pm-6:30pm- Gillson Park
HUNGER AND ANGER = HANGER (from ACE Health eTips June 27, 2018)
Most of us have experienced the overwhelming grouchiness that takes over when we’ve gone too long without food. Turns out, there’s some science to explain why this happens. Here’s what you need to know and how you can help your clients cope when hanger strikes.
The official definition of hanger is “a feeling or showing of anger due to hunger.” As humans, we have the choice to listen to our hunger. Yet, in our busy and overbooked lives, we often choose to ignore this signal, waiting far too long to feed our empty stomachs. The body’s response to being ignored is to cause an emotional reaction (like anxiety and stress) to prompt a reaction. And the longer the body is deprived, the greater the emotional response.
It’s important to realize that the stomach and brain are connected to one another, and part of the communication is related to signals of hunger and satiety. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a correlation between hunger, feeling angry and having low blood sugar. Basically, when you’ve gone too long between meals, your blood sugar level drops, signaling the release of a cascade of hormones.
Ghrelin – Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach that stimulates feelings of hunger. It can also produce anxiety in the brain, which is where hanger starts. When you’re hungry, you’re more more irritable and more aware of your emotions because it reinforces the drive to seek food and to satisfy nutrition needs. A release of ghrelin causes you to be hungry and should be the motivation for you to begin seeking out food. When you eat, ghrelin disappears and so does the anxiety. However, if this hunger signal is ignored, it can cause a disruption of other hormones in your body.
Cortisol and Adrenaline – A low blood sugar level also triggers the release of stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. As these two hormones increase, the body goes into a fight-or-flight response. From there, the effects of hanger are expressed mentally, emotionally and physically.
When you’re hungry, your prefrontal cortex doesn’t function at a high capacity. This can affect personality, self-control, planning and even temporarily shut down long-term memory. Emotionally, your mind begins to feel anxiety and stress. This can lead you to lose patience and focus, or even act abnormally. Physically, your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration all increase.
Neuropeptide Y – If you continue to ignore the ghrelin and the spike in cortisol and adrenaline, your body will go into a panic mode and you will experience hanger in its full effects. At this point, the body releases neuropeptide Y, which has been found to make people behave more aggressively toward those around them. Additionally, this neuropeptide stimulates food intake with a preference for quickly digestible carbohydrates. Lastly, a release of neuropeptide Y increases your motivation to eat large amounts of food, while also delaying how long it takes for that food to make you feel satisfied. In a nutshell, hanger causes you to have a larger-than-normal appetite, especially for carbs, so you end up overeating.
Real-life Effects of Hanger
Example #1: One study that attracted attention a few years ago found that judges are less likely to set lenient sentences the closer it gets to lunch. Turns out, their hunger led to hanger, which impacted their decision-making skills.
Example #2: A classic study of married couples asked them to stick pins into “voodoo dolls” that represented their loved ones, to reflect how angry they felt toward them. They found that when people had lower blood sugar levels, the more pins they stuck into their dolls. Ouch!
HOW TO PREVENT HANGER
Be Mindful – Listen for clues. If you notice yourself getting more irritable, hunger may be the cause. Take a break and find a snack that contributes to healthy eating. Most people should not go more than four to five hours between meals. This type of healthy eating pattern will help relieve your hunger and balance out your blood sugar levels to prevent riding the emotional rollercoaster of hanger.
Be Prepared – Keep snacks on hand that are travel-friendly, so you have them readily available. A snack should contain a blend of carbs, proteins and fats. Whole-grain carbs that are high in fiber (5 grams or more per serving) raise serotonin levels to give your blood sugar a quick boost, while the fiber keeps your stomach full. Proteins and fats are digested more slowly to give you staying power and keep you feeling full for longer. By having your own stash of healthy and fresh foods within reach, you’ll be less tempted to indulge in less-healthy fare that lack the nutrition your body craves.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AND WEIGHT LOSS? (from IDEA Fitness Journal July 2018)
Apple cider vinegar has a cure-all reputation for helping with weight loss, cholesterol, diabetes, acne, digestive problems and other issues. The truth is somewhat less impressive, but apple cider vinegar does have proven health benefits.
Some small studies have found that vinegar can aid weight loss (Kondo et al. 2009). The vinegar may reduce food intake either by increasing satiety (Ostman et al. 2005) or by leaving people feeling nauseated (Darzi et al. 2014), which seems like a pretty miserable way to lose weight.
Vinegar has long been a folk remedy for diabetes, and recent science supports the association. Drinking about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal helps to control blood sugar in healthy adults as well as adults with diabetes (Johnston et al. 2013). The effect seems to happen because vinegar reduces the digestion of carbohydrates (Johnston et al. 2010).
Apple cider vinegar has impressive antibacterial and antifungal properties, including against pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli that cause foodborne illness (Yagnik, Serafin & Shah 2018). Vinegar has been used for centuries to clean wounds and disinfect surfaces.
One caution: Vinegar is quite acidic (about 5% acetic acid) and can irritate the skin, mouth and throat. It can also harm tooth enamel. If you drink it, dilute a tablespoon in at least a cup of water. Better yet, use vinegar as an ingredient in food: vinaigrettes for grain salads, green salads and other vegetables.
Unpasteurized vinegar still contains the “vinegar mother,” or the bacteria that converts wine into vinegar. Consider looking for unpasteurized brands, as those probiotic bacteria may have additional benefits.
WALKING CLINIC JUNE 18 – September 30
All are Welcome
This will be the fourth year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public. We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette. Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise. Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or Julie@pftl.net for more information. Let us know if you want to be put on our email list for the walking clinic, as walkers are notified when the class is cancelled.
BONE BASICS (from IDEAfit.com)
- Calcium, vitamin D, dairy and physical activity are critical to preserving and building bone mass.
- Bone mass peaks in the early 20s.
- BMD = bone mineral density (measured in T-score, a negative number because it quantifies bone loss).
- Osteopenia is the onset of bone loss (T-score -1 to -2.5).
- Osteoporosis is the most serious bone loss (T-score below -2.5).
- Walking has limited effect on bone health. However, if combined with impact and resistance training, walking can help maintain BMD in the hip region and in the lumbar and sacral spine (Karaguzel & Holick 2010). In people over 65, increasing daily steps by 25% has been associated with an increase in hip BMD (McMillan et al. 2017).
- Progressive resistance training helps to maintain and improve BMD.
- High-impact activities (jumping, hopping, skipping) help the most with bone growth.
- Posture and balance training are essential to fall prevention.
- Heavy resistance training is safe and improves bone, function and stature.
- Women over 50 have the highest risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
NOT ALL VITAMIN D IS CREATED EQUAL (excerpted from IDEAfit.com)
We live in a part of the world where getting enough Vitamin D from the sun is almost impossible, yet we need to keep our Vitamin D levels up throughout the year. After all, the sunshine vitamin is not only important for bone health but has also been tied to a lower risk for certain cancers, heart conditions and depression.
That said, where you get your vitamin D matters. Researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2017) that when study volunteers received 600 IU of vitamin D daily via fortified juice or biscuits for 3 months, vitamin D3—the form found in animal foods like fish and eggs, as well as some supplements—was nearly twice as effective at raising blood levels of the nutrient than was vitamin D2, a plant-based form typically used to fortify vegan foods like dairy-free milk and vegetarian-friendly supplements.
A separate study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015, discovered that after supplementation stopped, vitamin D levels declined less rapidly when participants had been taking D3 than when D2 was the supplement of choice.
DOES SLEEP HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT (from ACE Health eTips)
Sleep has the potential to help people lose weight, but not just any sleep will do. It’s important to get an adequate amount of deep sleep every night, as it is the most restorative, providing both mental and physical recovery benefits, which supports the weight-loss journey.
Most research indicates that less than 7 hours of sleep correlates with being heavier, gaining weight, risk of disease, cancer and struggling to lose weight. Other research suggests than 6.5 hours is a sweet spot and anything more increases inflammation, depression and mortality rates (Walker, 2017). Many experts believe that a range of six to eight hours or seven to nine hours is ideal for most people.
The right amount of sleep depends on each individual’s unique physiology. Devote time and attention toward finding what works for you, because it could make or break your weight-loss efforts. “Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective,” writes Matthew Walker, Ph.D., author of Why We Sleep.
How Sleep Influences Weight Loss
Sleep is the foundation needed to support exercise and healthy eating habits. When people don’t get enough sleep, it can become more challenging to control behavior and inhibitions. They might be more likely to seek pleasure in foods and replace exercise-related activities with those that offer a “quick fix” reward, such as surfing the Internet or watching television.
Lack of sleep strengthens the desire for rewards, which usually leads to unhealthy eating. More specifically, leptin (which decreases hunger), ghrelin (which increases hunger) and endocannabinoids (which are linked to snack cravings) are hormones that regulate appetite. When sleep volume is low, these hormones stimulate a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods.
Without enough sleep, the body is essentially in a state of duress, which can lead to eating more calories to deal with the “threat” it perceives. Also, the more time spent awake, the more time there is to consume snacks.
Another hormone, cortisol, ideally spikes in the morning, providing energy for the day, and reduces at night, encouraging sleep. When sleep habits are poor and stress is high, cortisol levels remain elevated, which may inhibit weight loss and disrupt sleep. A cycle of stress and sleep disruption results. Stress affects sleep and sleep affects stress, which once again makes it challenging to implement even the most well-designed program for weight loss.
Getting enough sleep and rising at a consistent time every day supports hormones to regulate appetite and food choices. Take small steps toward better sleep and be gentle with yourself. In other words, don’t let stressing about not getting enough sleep add more stress. You don’t need to (and probably cannot) fix your sleep habits overnight. Progress slowly.
ENJOY YOURSELF THIS SUMMER – NOW THAT IT IS FINALLY HERE!