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Archive for the ‘eating’ Category

The Secret About Weight Loss and Exercise

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Working Too Hard at Male weight lossIn the last 32 years, I’ve worked hard to lose weight, only to learn early this year that weight loss isn’t really about exercise at all. Seriously, I’ve jogged literally thousand of miles and sweated on gleaming exercise equipment on 5 separate continents. I thought all of this time, that exercise was the disposal system for my calorie extravagances. The answer is, I was wrong. The male belief that we need to “burn off” excess calories to drop the belly fat, is absolutely wrong.

Sure, you’re going to burn some calories and some fat while you exercise. No doubt about it. But weight loss (specifically, fat loss) is going to happen for the most part when you aren’t exercising. Your body’s going to do it on its own without your direct involvement.

Yesterday the New York Times published an article that confirms what I know is the real truth about weight loss. A quote from this article states it all, “In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss.” There are a lot of reasons for this. Among them are:

  1. You may end up consuming more calories when your exercise. If you feel (either psychologically, physiologically or otherwise)  you need to eat more or drink energy or protein drinks because of your new exercise regime, you are adding weight
  2. Your body wants to maintain its current situation. Its hormones and processes will adjust themselves to keep things as they are. Specifically your appetite may be adjusted your appetite at its current level.
  3. Only moderate exercise is needed by the body.

But strength training is a great way to keep weight off once you do lose weight. Your metabolism rate (number of calories your body burns per day) is effected by your lean body mass. Lean body mass is your body weight minus all the fat. The higher your lean body mass, the more likely you will burn more calories simply by doing nothing. So, you always want to do exercises that build your muscle mass. Muscle mass is like a big flywheel that burns calories on your behalf. But just remember, do not expect an immediate calorie burn from strength training. This simply is not going to happen.

Unless your body has less fuel than it needs, your body will maintain “business as usual.” Plain and simple – You need to put your body in a calorie deficit. You need to consume less calories than your body needs every day. It must be a habit.

All these years, the reason I stayed in pretty good shape was because of the eating habits that I adopted many years ago – balance and moderation. It was not about exercise at all. Luckily I know now that the answer is really about eating less calories than I need per day.

Weight Loss is About Energy

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I listened to a podcast today that was recorded many months ago. I listen to the Everything is Energy podcast when I go out for my 4 mile walk 5 times a week. I walk through a beautiful forest along the Fox river here in northern Illinois. I have been walking or jogging this trail for nearly 20 years and I never get tired of it.

On this particular podcast was a guy name Stu Zimmerman from Inner Espresso.  He talked about how money is like water. When it’s moving it is powerful. When it’s stagnant, it sort of gets sick and stagnant and “self-pollutes.” Suddenly I thought, “that that’s just like energy in your body.” When you eat something and the body does not process it into action, or heat or thought, it sort of gets stored as belly fat. Belly fat is like self-made body pollution from stored energy.

Belly fat and his side kick (the love handles)  is the stuff that we avoid for obvious reasons:

  • Causes heart attack
  • Causes type II diabetes
  • Drains your energy
  • Looks horrible on us.

You know the feeling of belly fat. You cannot bend over without feeling you are going to pass out or you just plain cannot tie your shoes. You can’t play with your kids in the yard or even get down on the floor with them, because of your gut. You would never consider taking off your shirt at the pool or beach. You always wear a hoodie or jacket with sweat pants, because it’s the only thing that can house your bulk.

Here’s why looking at fat like stored energy is really powerful. Although the body can store fat, the body was really mostly designed to process energy. Energy stored as fat is just a side business of the body. One of my bosses from years ago in my corporate days,  had a poster hung on his wall that stated “A ship is safe in a harbor, but that is not what ships are made for.” Same thing for body fat.

Here are simple steps to use in maximizing the energy that you put into your body as the next bite you will take:

  1. First – visualize the fat already stored in your body as stored energy.
  2. Second – Realize that when you take the next bite, you are already putting more fuel into your “fuel tank” that is way full. It’s more than full. As a matter of fact, you have created several auxiliary tanks to store all of your fuel.
  3. Decide to forego that next bite or snack and draw down on your fat reserves starting right now to reverse the direction of the weight gain.

It’s that simple. Every time that you put your body into a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. What’s a calorie deficit? It’s when you are using more fuel than you take in everyday. It’s simply a numbers game.

Try this right now. Total up the calories you ate today. Make a list right now of everything you ate today and how many calories are in them.  If the total calories you have eaten, or will eat, exceeds the calories burned for a guy your age, you will gain more fat. If it’s less, you will starting burning up fat, right now.

So now go do it.

Does Eating Really Satisfy You?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Grumble Mouthed Fat GuyI remember when I was in grade school, my 6th grade teacher asked the open-ended question “what did we like most about school?”  The answer blurted out by the ever loud-mouthed guy sitting in the back of the class was “lunch!” That was probably more of a truthful answer than I think the teacher-dude had considered.

But, now I wonder whether the answer has really changed that much that I am older and supposedly smarter.  Up to a few months ago, I had adopted some daily habits that had high calorie meals, snacks and drinks built-in. It is often difficult to find out how these habits snuck into a formerly healthy eating habit.

Weight loss means fat loss. Runaway male eating habits are most likely where I had fallen off the wagon. When I was eating on auto-pilot is where I was packing on the fat on my belly, love handles and under my chin. Yuch! The dumbest part of this whole thing is that I was not really enjoying what I was eating either. An extra slice of cheese, another beer, a handful of cookies were just fleeting pleasures that were not that enjoyable.

When I recognized that this fat is heavily linked to heart attack, diabetes and hypertension makes this situation even more scary. Eating myself into dis-health is just plain stupid. I realized that this had to stop, because I saw this weight gain as sort of permanent. Even after 30 years of healthy living, I had lost control of my weight. I had to make a change.

The medical facts are that obesity is not linked to either eating too much fat or carbohydrates (see “Food preferences and body weight control” France Bellisle – 1995). It is not linked to food choices. Obesity has been shown to be more prevalent among lower socio-economic strata, yet look around at your well-educated friends and you will see many fat guys and gals.

Here is What To Do

Here are a few simple things to do to make sure that you are getting satisfaction out of what you eat. Think about your level of satisfaction of your food. I’ll bet it is more about habit than satisfaction. Addiction is sort of an emotional attachment to a habit. See if these things are true for you:

1. Do you see your typical day as consisting of a few “high satisfaction” moments or peaks of eating? If you do, it is addiction or at least heavy habits. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, snack or drink. But there is a lot of life going on between those peaks to be enjoyed. Food is just part of it.

2. Have you given up on losing weight? The question is have you given up on paying attention to what you eat, because you think you are a lost cause or not worthy of taking care of yourself. Or are you so attached to eating that your body is ballooning out of control? In this case, my guess is that you are not enjoying food enough. Sounds crazy, but fat guys are not the people that enjoy the food too much, but rather are hooked on the taste rather than savoring it.

3. Do you secretly fear going into a gym because you are terrified of someone seeing a pathetic fat guy? This is a real fear. Most likely the other people are way too involved with themselves and aren’t really paying attention to you. When you get home from this emotional ordeal, either food is a reward or a refuge. Don’t let exercise become an ordeal that you need to recover from. Food as a reward is also not a winning deal.

Here is a healthy definition of food that should help you decide whether you are running off the rails:

Food -  fuel that has been made tasty by nature.

Don’t stockpile fuel!

The Four Letter Word – Diet

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Ice Cream or Apple? - The Male Weight Loss QuestionLet me guess. Your gut reaction to the word DIET makes you sick, just thinking about it. It sounds like something women do, right? Maybe it is an aspect unique to being a man, maybe not. We don’t like diets. So let’s just agree openly, that there’s no uglier aspect of losing weight than THE DIET.

Is Food Your Payoff?

After you work all day, exercise, pay bills, take care of friends and family, you are probably looking for some type of payoff.  Food is probably the payoff and is your bad habit. Where I live in the Chicago area, we have great food – Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, beef and sausage sandwiches and fries. These are some of the great cultural advantages of living here. Unfortunately, they’re all calorie monsters too.

Need To Get Your Belly Fat Handled

The gut, belly fat or love handles are the tell-tale signs of a guy that is eating “his share” and more. To lose weight, any one of the above  foods are very high in calories, and should be avoided. But to avoid heart attack, diabetes or high blood pressure, it is absolutely necessary to eliminate the fat on your waist. It is worth the effort to just simply gain back your energy and youthful vitality that comes from losing the gut.

Just Say No To Diet

What I am telling you in this article, is rather than drastic dieting,  start making only small changes. Your friends do not need to know what you are doing. And that is why this strategy works. Small habits stick. These are small changes that you can make once per week that will start taking you in the proper direction to reducing your bulk. Here are some examples of what I have done. I am living proof that these small improvements can change your life. But are you ready to be what you desire for yourself?

What To Do

  • Drink 2 glasses of water before each meal – you need the water (about 80 oz per day) and the water before the meal will cut down on appetite during any meal. While at work or out of the house, bring a large bottle of water with you and drink it before you eat lunch.
  • Some type of vegetable or fruit at each meal – and potatoes don’t count. I have learned how to eat raw carrots as a lunchtime snack. I also eat some type of fruit that I like – oranges, grapes, or an apple. Would this have been food I would have preferred? Well no, but it is really amazing how you can become accustomed to eating something that you know is improving your life with every bite.
  • Protein at every meal – protein is digested more slowly and requires more body energy to digest (up to 30% of the calories ingested are used to digest proteins). So eat some type of eggs, lean meat, chicken or fish. Boiled eggs are a good way of getting proteins when away from home.

Make Changes Slowly

Begin only one of these habits every two weeks. Do not start them all at the once. Start drinking the water one week and allow that habit to settle in before you even think of working on one of the other two changes. Be easy on yourself. It has taken a long time to acquire your current habits and it takes some time to establish new habits. Eventually, your habits would look something like the following:

How To Do It

If you just do these three things and make them a habit everyday, you will lose belly fat. Guaranteed. So how do you put this into practice? Here is a plan to follow:

Morning

After you wake up, drink one glass of water before you do anything (before shower, shave, exercise). It may seem like a lot of work the first time you do this, but once you get into the habit of it, drinking one glass of water is really easy. Just before you eat breakfast, drink another glass of water. Have your fruit – bananas, blueberries, strawberries, orange, apple. Put them on your cereal if you like.

Lunch

Drink one glass of water or 1/2 liter from a bottle before you break for lunch (before you leave your desk, office, factory, shop). When you actually sit down to eat, drink one more glass of water. Eat a  vegetable – salad, raw carrots or celery along with your main choice of protein. For protein, have a boiled egg or some other type of lean (un-fried) meat, chicken or fish. Eat an orange or some grapes as a dessert.

Dinner

Drink one glass of water or 1/2 liter from your water bottle when you get home, or right when you get in the car. Just before you eat, drink another glass of water. Eat a vegetable that you like – beans, spinach, salad. Use spices if you like to make them taste better. Spices do not have calories. Meat, fish or chicken is a very satisfying dinner main course and it is good for you, for the reasons I mentioned above.

The most important thing is that this food tastes good. Get over the fact that you can only be satisfied with fries, pizza, beer and chips. Eating this unhealthy stuff tastes good but is only a habit, and it is just a habit that you can change. And most of all, do not call the above changes a DIET.

Weekend Warrior Challenge – Results Are In

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Weekend Warrior ChallengeThe results are in from the Weekend Warrior Challenge. This challenge is about achieving specific fitness and health goals during the time of the week that are usually the weakest for me – the Weekend. This is usually when the baddest habits show themselves as a sort of reward for the best habits of the week. Odd isn’t it?

Here were my goals and the results:

  • Walk 20 miles during the week – completed the 20th mile by 10:30 am on a sunny Saturday morning. I walk 4 miles either outside (my preferred method) or on the treadmill depending on the weather. Last week I walked 12 miles outside and 8 miles inside. The legs are strong!
  • 5 Strength Workouts during the week - completed all 5. This consists of 2 alternating routines that I have been doing for many years.
  • Eat less than 2,000 Calories Per Day – done.  This was the biggie for me. I usually stay pretty close to the refrigerator on the weekend -  looking for a little calorie-lovin’  on the weekends. But I stuck to the plan. Being hungry a lot sucks and I am getting tired of the look of the  baby carrot bag.

Here are all the other people from around the world that have also done the Challenge for the weekend. I am thinking that we need to do this every weekend. Thanks to all of these people for making this as much as fun as I could have by not enjoying myself.

Belly Fat Male Weight LossGet your free E-Book on how to lose belly fat now – Click the book image to your left – provide your name and e-mail address and you will be reading this book in minutes – FREE.

The Only Weight Loss Law

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Weight loss is eating less food than you need. It is that simple. Don’t make it complicated. You may think you need to work out hard at the gymn, lifting more weights, doing more crunches, and more pain and more sweat. That is the male mindset. We think that doing more work is the only way to lose weight. This is the fat loss formula.

You and I are are not wired to naturally think that eating the right amounts will really amount to losing weight. It really is not our fault.  I am not saying that you should not exercise. I am saying that exercise is in a supporting role in losing belly fat. Eating right is the main act.

Don’t Like Laws?

I am living proof that this works. If you eat less than your body needs, you have to lose weight. It is a LAW. It is the only LAW about weight loss. Ask me how I know……

Nearly one month ago, I got serious about losing the gut. I lost more than 10 pounds after changing what I eat.  I had been lifting weights and running my whole life. I always stayed very fit.  Here is a short story that proves my point.

About two years ago, all of a sudden, I gained 25 pounds. I thought at the time that I had been given defective advice from a chiropractor. I decided to try out a chiropractor to get adjusted and keep my posture in check. Nothing serious.

I was told by my chiro-professional that I should use the fitness ball to do sit-ups or crunches (whatever you like to call them). Over a period of weeks, my belly grew. I thought that my belly grew because I had put on too much “muscle.”

The fact was that my eating had gotten out of hand. I was dating a woman that is till the most sleek and svelte figure of any woman I had ever dated. She seemed to eat without concern for her shape. I thought, well, if that is good enough for her, that is good enough for me.

We ended up eating huge late night snacks (wine, cheese, bread, cookies) when we got home. I never had to think about eating right. This period of time coincided exactly with the time that I had started doing the new fitness ball exercises. So I naturally blamed the exercise, rather than the food.

So about one month ago, I got really tired of the gut. I kept my workout routine that I have been doing for years. But instead of following my instinct of cranking up the workout routine, I decided to count up everything that I ate. I was stunned to see all of the calories that I was eating in one day.

Suddenly I decided to start cutting out stuff that really was not even that enjoyable (extra pieces of cheese, a beer here and there, etc.). Pretty soon after a week or two, I had shaved my eating program down to fighting size. The fact is that I do need to watch what I eat. This last month, I changed my weekday diet to the following:

Breakfast

1-1/2 Cups Bran Flakes

1/2 Cup Milk

2 Glass Water

Coffee w/ 2% milk

Lunch

Carrots – one fistful

2 Oranges

Dinner

Spinach Salad with eggs, green onions, blue cheese dressing

1 Orange

2 Glass Water

Why does this menu succeed in helping get rid of the belly fat? It does one thing and one thing only (sounding like Brad Pitt from “Inglorious Basterds”) – it puts my body in a calorie deficit.  What’s so good about that? My body will start cutting into fat reserves if it needs more energy. The body uses fat and I lose my gut. Compare this program to what I was eating a month ago.

The above menu consists of 1,414 calories and that is less calories than I will burn in one day. That means, the body starts using the stored fat if it needs more.  So, I let my body lose its own fat, rather than me trying to sweat it off at the gym.

So, long story short…….on February 8, 2010,  I weighed 220 pounds. Yesterday my weight was 209 pounds. Need I say more? Note to self:  following LAWS gets results.

Belly Fat Male Weight LossGet your free E-Book on how to lose belly fat now in 5 easy steps – Click the book image to your left – provide your name and e-mail address and you will be reading this book in minutes – FREE

Take The Weekend Warrior Challenge

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Frank_HeadshotIf you think that you eat and drink  too much or exercise too little on the weekend, you aren’t the only one. Worldwide, there are many fat men (and women) hanging their heads at the end of the weekend, after marathon eating bouts. This is especially apt for those of us living in the frozen north where snow still covers the ground. We frequently eat for sport here. Some guys even know in advance, despite their quixotic weight-reduced vision for themselves, that they will be heavier at the end of the weekend.

Here is a chance to kick that lame habit. This coming weekend, I am participating in a world wide event called the “Weekend Warrior Challenge.” The weekend is the time of the week, when habits soften and discipline wains. The goal of the challenge is to band together and encourage each other to maintain strong habits.

As part of this event, each of us are creating 2 or 3 measurable and specific fitness or health goals that we will adhere to this weekend. For example, here are mine:

  1. Maintain calorie intake below 2,000 calories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  2. Complete 5 complete gym work outs this week (already at 1 on Monday)
  3. Walk a total of 20 miles this week

Since I keep my daily calories well  below 2,000 calories during the week, I am just extending that practice to the weekend. Since I am an active male, my calorie requirements are between 2,400 and 2,600 calories per day. So you can see the above food intake keeps me at a calorie deficit. So my goals this weekend are to complete a week long goal of exercise, and maintain low food intake that I had already started earlier in the week – actually Sunday.

The details for the event are at Weekend Warrior Challenge . This event is just a bunch of nice people helping each other out and having some fun. Check it out and see if this works for you.  Everyone is welcomed.

Belly Fat Male Weight Loss

Get your free E-Book on how to lose belly fat now in 5 easy steps – Click the book image to your left – provide your name and e-mail address and you will be reading this book in minutes – FREE.

Beef Stew Recipe

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Weight loss for the male - meI was celebrating a really great week of eating and exercising right. It was Friday. I decided that I deserved a little treat. Since most of my weight loss diet consists now of vegetables, fruit and low calorie stuff, I really wanted MEAT! Since lean meat is not going to break any of my re-established habits, I thought, why not?

Although I am straying far from my Catholic roots of no-meat-on-Friday-during-Lent, I got out the crockpot and made my favorite beef stew recipe, which is below. This is really simple to make although it can be messy, if you are clumsy in the kitchen.

Put the tomatoes and water in the crockpot and turn it on (or dutch oven if you cook on stovetop). Just slightly brown the meat in a pan (add a little oil if you like). I do not use oil, because whatever fat is in the meat, is enough to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. Use some of the juice left from cooking the meat and sautee the onions and garlic. Don’t brown the garlic – it’ll lose its taste.

Dice the potatoes into cubes 3/4″ on a side. Add everything into the pot.  Now, cook the shit out of it. Really, I cook this until the meat is really tender – about 6 hours or more in the crockpot.  I did not use the red wine this time, but if I did, I would use one cup (no, two cups) instead of an equal amount of the water.

3 lbs Lean Stewing Beef – pounds
5 Potatoes
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
1 Can Kidney Beans
2 Can Crushed Tomatoes – 28 oz can
1.75 tsp Chili Powder teaspoon
3 tbsp Salt – tablespoon
1 tbsp Oregano tablespoon
1 Onion – medium
0.25 tspn Black Pepper – teaspoon
1 bulb Garlic
1 cup Celery 1 cup sliced
3 cups Water
1 cup Red Wine Optional

For each 2 cup serving (one bowl) of this stew, it comes to about 248 calories. My teenage sons love this recipe and always ask for it. Normally, we would eat this with hunks of crusty French bread torn from two big loaves in the center of the table. Those guys can eat, believe me. 4 Large male mammals can put away a gallon of this stuff in one sitting. Well, not this week (due to calorie restrictions) and I was eating alone.

So, why am I writing this?

Well, as the evening progressed, I decided to have a beer with my bowl of stew – Weihenstephan Korbinian. This is a calorie monster beer – 340 calories per 1/2 liter. As I drank my beer and ate my stew, I decided to have another bowl of stew. Then another. Then another beer and one last bowl of beef stew.

1,672 calories later, I realized that I had fallen off the wagon. I did not feel too good about this, but I wrote it off to a personal weekend celebration.

Now it is Monday morning. I still realize that rules are rules and it is back to the rigor of the program. Yesterday (Sunday) I ate very lean, so I know that today and the rest of the week will be a success.

The moral of the story is, weight loss does not just happen, it is planned. One sloppy day per week, is not going to kill you, but can you do it?  I know I can, but I will continue to be more careful from now on.

Belly Fat Male Weight Loss

Get your free E-Book on how to lose belly fat now – Click the book image to your left – provide your name and e-mail address and you will be reading this book in minutes – FREE.

Weight Loss – Win The Inner Superbowl

Monday, February 8th, 2010
Fat Guy Slim Woman Toasting The Superbowl

Fat Guy Slim Woman Toasting The Superbowl

Last night after watching Superbowl XLIV (Saints – Colts), I decided to watch a movie that I had seen before – Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto.” For some reason, I could not remember the story line, but I do remember liking the action and the tone of that flick. Additionally, the DVD/TV that we watched, did not have a remote so we could not turn on  the subtitles, so all we could do was watch it and listen to the music.  But today, suddenly I remembered the Will Durant quote, that Gibson had included after the opening credits to the movie. It states “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

I thought about it today, because gaining weight is really the external aspect of your internal condition. Think about it, when you’ve got  a strong inner game playing, everything is a breeze.  When you’re in the zone, you feel powerful and able to do anything. Trying to manage all of the outer aspects of weight loss is great. The strongest place to play though, is in managing what goes on inside your mind.

Take overeating as an example. You may have been one of the guys that consumed 4,000+ calories during the Superbowl. My guess is, if you did over-consume during the game, it wasn’t because you were hungry. It was probably because you were having fun and you had your buddies or family as company, and you weren’t thinking about the results of partaking in this annual pagan feast known as the Superbowl.

Having fun makes a lot of sense to me. But, if this is only one day of the entire “eating-for-fun season,”  then you do have an eating problem. If you are reading this though, there is hope. Not because of what I have written, but because you are aware of the changes you already need to make.

During the next football, basketball, or hockey game with your people around, pay attention to everything you eat and drink. I promise that when you start watching all the things you eat and drink, you will automatically start saying “no” more often. This is what I call the “winning at the inner Superbowl game,”  that will change your shape and how you feel. Weight loss happens one day at a time.

By the way, I’m glad the Saints won, New Orleans deserves to have their  spirits raised. I hope you agree.

Belly Fat Male Weight Loss

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Men and Women Weight Loss is Different

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Gentlemen, we are unique. Successful weight loss for the male body  is easier than what is advised for women.  Our bodies need different types of exercise and different types of food than women’s bodies. Men’s bodies are designed to be active – as the natural provider and defenders that we have always been. Learning to pay attention to diet differences can help you to lose weight. Check this out as the best male weight loss plan….

Women’s bodies are designed uniquely to bear children. Womens’ bodies generally carry a greater percent of body fat than men’s bodies because of the need to support the systems needed to make babies. So women will much more easily gain excess weight than guys, given the exact same diet and exercise regimen.

So we have a slight advantage. Yet, we still gain weight also. One other difference that we can take advantage of is our preference for proteins. As you may have noticed,women have a stronger tendency to crave carbohydrates (candy and cake). You should utilize this preference and eat proteins whenever possible. There are a couple reasons for this:

  • Proteins carry less calories (than do an equivalent amount of carbohydrates) that need to be processed by your body.
  • You tend to feel much fuller when you eat an equivalent amount of protein as opposed to carbohydrates.

So, follow your natural instinct to choose protein as part of your overall nutritionally rich diet. Start by converting some of your carbohydrate-rich habits (potato chips,cookies, football food) into a diet that has a percentage of protein.It is nature’s way of helping you with losing man weight.

Belly Fat Male Weight Loss

Get your free E-Book on how to lose belly fat now – Click the book image to your left – provide your name and e-mail address and you will be reading this book in minutes – FREE.