Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"A Calorie is Not a Calorie"

While I use my gym's food journal, I do subscribe to MyFitness Pal.  They send some great recipes and articles about weight loss and some great exercises for people at both beginning and intermediate levels of fitness.  Today's email said, "What are the two diet factors that cause weight gain?"  Since I still feel like I am new to this whole fitness journey (exercise and nutrition as a lifestyle), I always read those kind of eye catchers.


Essentially, the article, "2 Science-Backed Strategies to Avoid Long-Term Weight Gain" talks about the value of protein and how glycemic index (GI) affects your blood sugar.  I haven't talked about glycemic index here, but I did write a blog about protein and I felt it was worth revisiting.  You can read it here:  "Protein."

What I like about this article is that is summarizes the results of a longitudinal study, so it is science based. (It's not, "This is what I think, try it.")  What did they find?  They found two things:  

1)  Protein: nuts and nut butters, fish, yogurt and low-fat cheese result in weight loss, while consumption of red meats and processed meats result in weight gain.
2)  Refined Carbohydrates: white bread, sugar, soda (and even potatoes) have a high GI and result in weight gain. 

So, my friends, PLEASE NOTE:  they did NOT find that fat results in weight gain.  Essentially, a calorie is not a calorie.

Forgive me while I rant for a moment.  This is why I hate Weight Watchers so much.  Count your points, eat what you want as long as your points equal out in the end.  You don't have to learn to eat healthy, just count your points, lose your weight, reach your goal and then "have at it."  I know there are people out there who love Weight Watchers.  How many of you have gone on Weight Watchers and had success?  After you went off Weight Watchers, how did that turn out for you?  My point, exactly.  I used to say, with pride, "I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, I know how to eat."  Yeah, wrong.  Just like a calorie is not a calorie.  A point is not a point.  You need to learn how to eat, how what you eat affects your overall nutrition and adjust it accordingly.  It takes TIME.  It is a learning process.  

On that note, I want to challenge you to a couple of things.  

ONE:  please DON'T set a goal weight as your magic number to work towards.  This may seem contra-intuitive, but I think it can be destructive to do so.  Think more about how you feel physically and how you feel about the way you look.  Do you like the way you look naked in the mirror?  Do you have more energy?  Are you aching and in pain?  Can you honestly say you feel as good as you can?  Don't stop because you've lost 10, 20, or 30 lbs.  It's not a finish line.  It's a lifestyle.

Recently, several people have thanked me for helping to motivate them in their weight loss.  One said she lost 8 lbs.  Another had lost 50 lbs. and was able to thoroughly enjoy her summer.  "I've gained some of the weight back, but I'm not worried about it.  I'll get back on it."  This troubles me.  Fitness - exercise and nutrition should NOT be a goal to reach, only for you to turn around and go back to your old way of eating and living.

TWO:  Find someone to help you be accountable.  If I have a bad day nutritionally (which I do sometimes), I don't take a week off my nutrition plan and then say, "Oh, I gained 5 lbs., it's okay."  No, I say, "Come on, kid, you got this.  Back to the grind.  You are NOT going back to the way things were."  This is why I like having a personal trainer.  I see him every week and he asks me how I am doing.  While we only have weigh-ins once / month, I weigh myself at least every week (usually every day), so I tell him, "Dmitriy, I'm having a bad week.  This is what's going on."  And he helps me to adjust what I'm doing, to get back on program.  He keeps me accountable.  (Read about Dmitriy here:  Dmitriy Made It Happen.)  I'm not suggesting you hire a personal trainer.  (If you are interested in this, message me in the comment section below and I'll give you information about how to go about it.)  What I am suggesting is that you find someone to help you be accountable.  Use MyFitnessPal and connect with your friends on the app so you can cheer each other on with your progress.  

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

If there are enough people interested, I will start a Fitness group on Facebook and we can use this to help each other on the journey.  The group will be strictly for fitness - tips and strategies for nutrition and exercise.  Message me if this is something you'd like to do and I'll set it up.

Finally, I've written about this before, but exercise and nutrition is all about Commitment.  If you want to make a change in your life, ask yourself if you are committed to whatever it takes to be successful.  What's worse?  Sitting back, doing nothing, waiting for something to change, letting life go by and your existence to continue?  OR  Stepping out, taking steps to change, taking risks an seeing what happens.  Commitment means finding a way around your obstacles.  It means being determined to learn and improve, to be resilient.  


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Questions for you:
Are you interested in more information about personal training?
Would you be interested in joining a private Facebook Group about fitness (nutrition & exercise)?
Answer in the comments below.