Archive for April, 2010

Why Belly Fat Is Killing Your Sex Life

Couple eating a appleSex is the single most avoided subject between male and female. If you have experienced a decrease in your sexual appetite, you already know why you do not want to talk about it. When you are overweight, the subject is even usually a bit more dicey…….because you are not the only one involved.

She “may also” not be very happy about the weight you need to lose.When she has stopped being “grabby” in the bedroom, you know that you need to get “saddled up” and do something about this problem.  But first, here are the straight facts as to why your belly fat is costing you good lovin’.

The good news is, that is not your fault. There is some medical science behind why you just do not have it in you. The culprit is the belly fat. Not you. Have you ever  noticed that Viagra is one of the top rated drugs on the market?  Well, while Viagra is topping the charts, it is no coincidence that obesity, as a disease, has never been so prevalent in all of human history.  From an article by Truestar Health there are  a number of factors working against your mojo:

  1. Higher estrogen level – belly fat actually increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.  That means that you are actually getting more of the female hormone estrogen than the testosterone that you need to drive your prowess in the bedroom. And the more estrogen, the more abdominal fat will accumulate…the snow ball effect ensues.
  2. Lower testosterone level – leads to increases of the pot belly and other body fat, such as love handles. Of course, the lower the testosterone, the lower the love drive.
  3. Stress - causes high cortisol levels which in turn causes loss of muscle mass, decreases bone density and drives libido way down.

What To Do About Your Sex

OK, so at least now you know now, why Mr. D has not been showing up lately. Like I said, it isn’t your fault. But now, though, it’s simply a matter of caring better for yourself. Let me tell you what to do about this.

Start a strength training program. Pec’s, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abdomen, and back. The beauty of strength training is that it is the engine that drives weight loss. Why? When you work major muscle groups in weight training, your body is burning calories for you while you sleep.

Remember that when you lift, you are tearing down muscles. The calories in your body are in turn used to repair these muscles. Thus more calories are being burned continuously on your behalf. This repair work goes on around the clock.  The immediate benefit though is that strength training reduces stress and thus cortisol. This helps build libido straight away.

Once the cortisol level is managed you are on the path to reducing belly fat and correcting your hormones. The whole process starts immediately when you start your strength training. If you do not have the cash or time to go to a gymn, start doing push-ups, sit-ups leg lifts right now. If you want your sex back enough, you will get very creative. So start today.

Weekend Warrior Challenge – May 2010

braveheartI am going to make this short and sweet, because I have work to get done. I am again going to accept the weight loss Weekend Warrior Challenge from Brandon up there in sunny Alaska. Brandon has accepted my proposal for this month’s theme of “Bravehart.” This is a monthly challenge to achieve certain weight loss and fitness goals by stating specific accomplishments.

I am posting this early in the week, because I am actually one of the few WWC  participants that needs to get prepared for the challenge. Because my challenge, before the challenge, is to get to my weight to a level of exactly 2 years ago – 200 pounds - by the end of this week: Friday specifically. I am currently at 202 pounds. It may not sound like much, but for every level of weight loss attained, the game to lose more is slightly, well…. different.

Once I have achieved the 200 pound mark  (which I will),  I will further achieve the following goals this weekend:weekend warrior challenge

  1. 5 Strength Training workouts this week (Sunday to Saturday) – currently at 1 workout as of Tuesday morning
  2. Walk a total of 24 miles (Sunday to Saturday) – currently have completed 8 miles as of Tuesday morning
  3. Hold average calorie intake below daily calorie budget of 2,000 calories.

That ought to keep the belly fat and love handles at bay. I know that the word “average” in #3 above sounds weasel-like, but in fact, it is going to be my long term play to remain forever manly-looking and eat what the hell I like. Any questions?

The Secret To Safely Losing Weight

fat male on weight loss scale I have heard it so many times now. Guys usually tell me one of the following three things. They say, “Frank, I need to lose weight quickly because”:

1. “I am standing up in a wedding”

2. “I want to take my shirt off at the beach this summer”

3.”I am going to  a reunion with old friend”

The BIG question that they always want an answer for is “how much weight can I lose in 2 months?” Weight loss takes time, but can be done quickly if and when you you really want to get results. Usually, we male of the gender want results fast.

The answer is in two parts. The first answer is it depends on how bad you want to lose weight. Weight loss does not happen because you hate being fat, or because it is annoying. It happens because you are committed to losing weight. When you decide that you will do anything to get your health, energy and manhood back, only then will you lose weight.

The second part of the answer is how much fat can you safely lose? Using the Fat Loss Formula you can lose as much weight as you want. But be careful. Sustainable weight loss is healthy weight loss. Using the Fat Loss Formula and the information from WebMD , you can safely lose 3 pounds per week. The good news is that the fatter you are, the faster the weight comes off. You may be very happy to see the weight coming off you immediately when you put the Fat Loss Formula to work for you.

To lose weight you need to:

1. Keep a daily food journal and assess accurately the calories for each item. Take a look at an example of my weight loss  journal for ideas. My clients use the very same version.

2. Eat less calories than your body needs. Check out this BMR calculator to help you figure out how many calories your body needs. Also check out this excellent Wiki How article on calculating your body calorie needs.

3. Drink 3 liters of water everyday. I drink 2 – 12 ounce glasses prior to every meal and 1 – 12 ounce glass before eating anything else.

4. Get some type of exercise everyday. At least do a 20 minute walk.

Do not use diet pills. They are either ineffective or have dangerous sides effects. Even if you did lose weight using pills, it is very likely that you will gain it back since your habits will sneak back into your lifestyle.

Can I Lose Weight Without Eating Vegetables?

Woman Holding Fruit and Vegetable - Do not Need to eat for weight lossI have a big family. Both my parents grew up on dairy farms in northern Wisconsin. And as you may know, farming families tend to be big, because they need a lot of people to work the farm.  And yet, you may find it very strange that there is a large segment of my family that hates eating vegetables.

Then I realized, how many men I talk to that really do not like the taste of vegetables. I often hear questions like, “to lose weight, do I have to eat vegetables?” Everyone does not like vegetables. When the typical weight loss guru talks to people that desperately want to lose weight, nearly the first thing that these “experts” are going to say, is “eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.” That is poor advice to someone who considers vegetables about as tasty as castor oil.

The good news is that you can lose weight without eating vegetables. Remember the Fat Loss Formula?  The Fat Loss Formula guarantees that if you eat less calories than your body needs, you will enjoy weight loss. You will burn belly fat. The Fat Loss Formula does not say anything about what type of food. It is all about the number of calories you eat.

Let me explain to you why they keep telling you to eat fruits and vegetables. In an article called “Can eating fruits and vegetables help people to manage their weight?” by the CDC,  the explanation is very simple. (By the way, you don’t have to read this report since I already have).  Here is why fruits and vegetables help with weight loss. Fruits and vegetables have a very low calorie density. That means that for a given volume of food, as measured in cups, milliliters, or tablespoons (not weight), there are relatively fewer calories in fruits and vegetables.

Your body feels satisfied when you are full, right? Your desire for food gets shut down when your stomach signals that it has reached its volume limit. That means, when you eat and give your stomach a big volume of food, your brain tells you that you are not hungry anymore. And further, if this food contains less calories in volume (than the meals you have been eating), you win. You will lose weight.  It is that simple.

There are a few types of food that will typically give you less calories for a given volume of food. In an article entitled “How to Lose Weight If You Dislike Vegetables? ” by Katarina Fitzpatrick, she gives a lot of suggestions for what you can do, if you dislike vegetables.

  • Substitute vegetables high in potassium with fruits that are also high in potassium. Many people feel better taking potassium during weight-loss programs to help with fatigue or weakness. Instead of eating broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes and potatoes, substitute oranges, bananas, apples and dried apricots.
  • Increase water consumption to help you feel full longer, boost your energy levels and increase your metabolism by eating fruits that are also high in water content. Instead of eating vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, lettuce and tomatoes, try eating cherries, melon, grapes, pineapple, mango and papaya.
  • Add more legumes (meaning beans) into your diet. Legumes contain high amounts of fiber, as well as protein, to help you feel full longer. These include lima, kidney, garbanzo and pinto beans, as well as lentils and edamame.

My recommendation is to eat more protein – hard boiled eggs, chicken, fish, lean meat. A lean hamburger without the bun is also a reasonable option. There is nothing wrong with eating meat, and makes you feel full with not a large calorie load.

So right now, think about your next meal. Rather than passing up vegetables or fruit and eating a high calorie density meal (like burger, fries and milk shake), decide what alternative to that meal you will eat when that craving for junk food happens. Let me know what you decide to eat in the comments below.

The Secret About Weight Loss and Exercise

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 by hormones in your system, to keep 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.

My Freaking Bathroom Scale is Broken!

Male Weight Loss Guy on ScaleA lot of guys talk out loud to their bathroom scales. And these are usually some very emotionally-powered words. Actually they’re four-lettered male-preferred words. Apparently there are a lot of broken scales out there. Every day us weight loss candidates have some really practical problems with their bathroom scales:

1.  The bathroom scale only goes up to 300 pounds and they weigh more than that. A lot of men are force to go to the doctor’s office, just to get weighed because they are literally off the scales.

2. They get on the scale and their weight changes by about 5 pounds from the day before. Not necessarily in the good direction. How can a scale possibly give you such wacky information two days in a row? What the hell?

The fact is that every scale is wrong.

The only thing that you can count on for a bathroom scale is that it tells you how much your weight is changing in general over a longer period of time. There are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the most accurate reading on your bathroom sclae though. Do these things every time you get on the scale:

  1. Decide how often you want to weigh yourself. You don’t need to weigh yourself anymore than once per week. Weighing yourself often is pure punishment because of the bad news you get. Then, don’t do it. Once a week is enough. You know you are heavy, you don’t need to “align with reality” any more than you want. Be nice to yourself.
  2. Weigh yourself at the same time of the day, on the days that you have chosen to weigh yourself.
  3. Wear the same thing everyday when you get on the scale. It does not matter what you wear…just make it easy to get on the scale as part of your schedule.  Weighing first thing in the morning is the easiest because you are usually in the bathroom at the same time every day.
  4. Stand on the scale with feet spread slightly so that the outer edges of your feet are at the edge of the scale platform. Do this so that you are well balanced and stable.
  5. Have your toes lined up with the edge of the scale platform closest to the dial or digital readout. You do this so that you have your feet in the same place every time.
  6. Head forward and arms relaxed at your side. Obviously you have to look down at the scale to read it. You do not want to effect the reading by your motion or weight shifting from looking all over the place.

Honestly, your scale is wrong. Every scale is wrong. The belly fat is the target, not your weight. You’re just using the scale like the speedometer on your car. You want to see whether you’re “speeding”  or not.  You want to know how your food program and exercsie program is working for you. Do what you can to get the best reading by controlling yourself.

Lose Weight By Eating Fast Food

Couple eating burgers in convertible. Fast food and losing weight is not a problem for male or female.I love fast food. I like to eat healthy stuff,  but I love fast food. I live in the fast food “cradle of civilization” here in Chicago. We have Chicago-style hot dogs, great pizza, long stretches of suburban avenues dedicated to mom and pop and major franchise fast food drive-up places. On top of that, we have “take-out” of any kind of ethnic and American food you can imagine. It is no wonder that we not only live in the bread basket of the worldwide, but we look like it too.

I really think that is unrealistic to expect to lose weight and never eat the food you love. It is just not going to happen. When someone tells you to start out a “diet” by cutting out everything you love to eat, run in the opposite direction. Because they are telling you to do something that they could not even do. You love to eat fast food and so do they. Be realistic.

One of the foods I crave are shakes. I play music professionally and after closing another club at 1 am, all the gear is packed in the SUV and I am heading home, there is nothing more satisfying than getting an extra huge vanilla malt from Steak and Shake. (Oh, and by the way, I occasionally accompany that with a single steak-burger and those killer fries – lots of them).  It is particularly outstanding when it is summer, the soft summer breezes are blowing in the open car window and it is just me, the shake and the steering wheel on the way home.

So how do you lose weight by eating fast food?  Fast food is nothing but more calories. There is nothing evil in fast food. There are probably a lot of things that you do not need in fast food, but there is nothing but abundance in  fast food. Although fast food typically has more calories per bite than other foods, it is just calories. Here are 3 things to do to lose weight and eat fast food:

  1. Keep track of your daily calories. You need to know how many calories you are getting in total everyday. Take a look at my article on keeping track of calories. You will see how I list all of the food I eat and how to assess calories to that food. It is not really that hard. Although I use a spreadsheet to do it, you can use a piece of paper to do the same thing.
  2. Find out how much food your body needs. This might seem like a stupidly simple thing to say. But it actually is that simple. You need to get your body into “calorie deficit mode.” See the Fat Loss Formula for the basics of what I am referring to. Use a BMR (basal metabolism rate) calculator to figure out how many calories per day your specific type of body needs (based on age, weight, height, gender).
  3. Eat less calories than your body needs. Eat 400 or 500 calories less than your body needs from the BMR calculator in step #2 above, to get your body burning fat for you. When I know I am going to be playing a job at a club, I will eat lower calorie foods or less food, earlier in the day, to allow me to have that shake I will want on the way home.

You have got better things to think about than worrying about burning fat. Get the body to do your dirty work. When you know that you are going to have fast food, budget for it. Seriously.

Give yourself the fast food that you need!  Well maybe you do not need it, but you deserve it. What I have just told you should ease your mind about eating so that you can lose the weight, have what you want, so that you can get on to the things that are important to you – like having fun with your friends and/or your family.  Life is full of too much great stuff to spend thinking about losing weight. I hope you agree.

Don’t Drink Water and You Will Get Fatter!

Fat Butt Guy Floating In The AirOK, I won’t bore you and tell you again that you need to drink more water per day. You already know this. Weight loss and drinking water are absolutely related.  Perhaps knowing the scientific reasons for drinking more water will help you decide to drink more water, but probably not.

BUT, if I were to to tell that when you drink more water, that your body will burn its own fat, would you finally decide to drink more water? Let me give you the facts. I will also give you an exact plan that you can use to drink the water you need.

Everyone has an established habit about drinking water. When I was a boy, my Dad used to love to go fishing.  My Dad is and was a minimalist. He would go out with the absolute minimum amount of equipment because sometimes he would need to walk through the woods for a mile or so to find a secluded fishing spot.

Water, was not on my Dad’s list of things to carry a mile. We would be out for the whole day with nothing to drink, at all, all day. I was very thirsty, but I refused to complain, because I learned early that that is not what men do. So I grew up, as water-independent, as a desert camel.

Maybe you have reasons for how much water you drink. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink 3 liters of water per day. The Mayo Clinic shows that about 80% of your water intake comes from water and other beverages, and 20 % from foods. Foods like tomatoes, watermelons and other succulent fruits and vegetables are nearly 90% water.

To know why you need to drink more water to burn fat, you need to know these three facts that will change your mind:

  • Fat Metabolism Slows Without Water - being even 1 percent dehydrated can cause a significant drop in your metabolism, which can also interfere with weight loss. Just so you know, metabolism is measured in how many calories your body will burn for you per hour.  From an article on water’s effect on fat metabolism :  very simply, your liver is the organ that metabolizes (or burns) fat. Fat is burned in the liver into usable energy for the body. This is the process of burning fat and is the major process for losing weight. When you don’t drink enough water, it is actually your kidneys that can’t do their job due to the lack of water. OK, now your kidneys are the organs  that  filter waste products from your blood and they require a lot of water to work properly. When you are low on water (dehydrated) the kidneys slow down and the liver has to pick up the slack to filter out the waste. This means that the liver now has to do the kidney’s job of ridding  your body of toxins and is now too busy to metabolize fat, thus fat metabolism slows down and you lose less weight. So when you are low on water, you aren’t burning as much fat!
  • Don’t Get Any Fatter Now, By Drinking More Water Now – from Dr. Melina Jampolis , Physician Nutrition Specialist she states that published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, people who drank water before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal. This may not seem like much, but if you ate 75 fewer calories at lunch and dinner for the next year, you could lose about 14½ pounds! Drink water before a meal and you won’t gain more fat.
  • Drinking water burns calories immediately - Wendy Bumgardner a certified marathon coach, states that  drinking water burns calories within one hour. She states that for every 1 liter of water you can burn about 50 calories (which is about 5 M&M’s, plain, not peanut). This is not many calories, but is based on the fact the stomach needs to warm the water and uses about those many calories. This is also backed by findings of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December, 2003. The big finding is that for men, the calories burned comes from stored fat.

Based on these huge findings, here is what to do with water to get your body into a fat burning machine. Just do these two things:

  1. Drink 2 – 12oz glasses of water before every meal and drink 1 – 12oz  glass of water between any smaller meal or snack. As I advise my clients, if you are at a restaurant, do not even order food before you drink two glasses of water. If you follow this one routine before you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, you will have drunk nearly 3 liters of water per day. I do this every day and it is a habit that I have gotten accustomed to really quickly.
  2. Watch Yourself! - do you frequently have headaches? You might need more water. Check your urine. Do you urinate very little.  If your urine is smelly or yellow, you might be low on water. Is your skin dry? Is your mouth dry? These are more signs of dehydration. Watch how you feel and look. Adjust the water in step #1 up to more water if these or other symptoms are frequent.

OK, right now, just drink a glass of water, and then think about what I just told you. Based on statistical facts, if you’re reading this, you probably need to drop some weight. And further that if you are fat, by scientific fact, you are not using water to lose your weight for you. How many times do you need to be told to drink more water? Please follow someone’s advice. I hope that this article has finally lit a fire under your ass, to make a change that will allow your body to lose weight itself.

Won’t that be nice?

Weight Loss Challenge – April 2010

Weekend Warrior ChallengeWell, it was Weekend Warriors Challenge again this past weekend. Even though Easter in my part of world often has included chocolate bunnies and eggs, baskets and too many pastel colors, this year was none of that. I am glad to say that the desire for sweets is easily handled at my house. My son has type 2 diabetes and years ago, we learned how to curb the glucose parade.

He is 20 years old now and is in control of his own eating.  Luckily his father also almost knows how to control his eating. The April 2010 challenge was challenging. But I did not rise to the challenge. I sort of coasted well through it. I sort of let my eating, drink and exercise inclinations “seek their own level.” The result?

Challenge #1 – Eat Less Than 2,000 Calories.

I was 2 for 3 this weekend. I ate 2,103 calories Friday, 2, 310 Saturday and 1,989 calories on Sunday. The biggest offense in this category was that I drank wine. I drank Cabernet on a night out on Saturday to the tune of 4 glasses. In my prior article on drinking beer and losing weight on friday, I guess I did not mention wine much. Oops.

Challenge #2 – Walk 4 Miles Each Day This Weekend

Big win. The weather was beautiful this weekend and I also avoided whatever rain there was. I have transitioned from a runner to a walker in this last year due to arthro on the left knee. It is amazing how much I really enjoy walking. I bring  my IC recorder and either 1) listen to podcasts of spiritual stuff or 2) write articles by dictation into the mic. Very relaxing and creative.

Challenge #3 – Drink A Gallon Of Water Everyday

I am not sure why I set this goal. Obviously by that last sentence, you can tell I blew this one. I did drink about 60 oz of water everyday. I think I need to investigate the truth about how much water I need. I will write a well-researched article on this.

As you can tell, I am happy with my results even though on paper, I blew it.  I am OK with that because I know how to lose weight. I had dropped over 20 pounds since February 1, 2010. I had a goal of 200 pounds by March 31, 2010. I reached 203 pounds by April 2, 2010. No problem. Today, it is back to healthy habits, and feeling great.

Here’s a list of everyone who’s signed up for this weekend’s challenge:

Can You Lose Weight and Drink Beer?

Fat Guy Slim Woman Toast Beer JuiceIf you’re like me, I often wonder whether drinking beer is inconsistent with losing weight. I really like beer. I especially like the strongest styles from around the world. I’ve been all over the world and have drank the best – Belgian, German, English Scottish,  and even Malaysian (Tiger Stout) to name just a few.

I also used to make my own beer at home. I made all kinds of beers – Belgium abbey style ales, German lagers, India Pale Ales, stouts and dozens of other styles. I think the best beer that I’ve ever made was one similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but made about twice as strong. Like jet fuel!

Anyhow, as you can see I like beer. The kinds of beer I drink are very high in calories, because they’re usually higher in alcohol. So, the question is, can you drink beer and lose weight? The answer is yes and no. Rather than give you a bunch of useless data, let me get you the facts. Here they are from Go Ask Alice at Columbia University:

  1. Calories - all alcoholic beverages have a lot of calories. These calories are just like all other calories. A typical 12 oz light beer has about 105 calories and a regular beer about 150 calories. If you eat or drink more calories than your body needs, you will get fat. See the Fat Loss Formula for information.
  2. Fat Burning Function is Suspended! - that’s right. Normally your liver is metabolizing your stored fat. So before you drink alcohol your body is trying its best to burn the belly fat that is already there.  But, when you have alcohol in your body, the liver’s first job is to use up the calories in the alcohol now in your bloodstream.  So alcohol’s presence in your body stops your fat from being burnt immediately. Wo!
  3. Alcohol Increases The Appetite – alcohol also stimulates appetite in many people. This may also hinder your weight loss effort even more. Have you ever noticed that you get hungry when you are having a beer? Pretzels and nuts on bars seem to go hand-in-hand with beer drinking. Most bars like to put out big dishes of this salty stuff, because you will in turn drink more beer. A vicious cycle, I have enjoyed.

So, as you can see from these facts, losing weight and drinking a lot of beer doesn’t make sense. Having a beer here and there is not going to hurt anything. You still need to list all of your calories for the day….and the beer you drink must show up on that list like everything you eat or drink.

Will I stop drinking beer? Hell no. But fact number 2 above, has taught me now that even if I am drinking a beer with less calories, I am putting my weight loss on hold, until my liver can get back on its feet again after processing the drink. Just thinking that you are drinking light beer is now not just about the calories it doesn’t have.  I hate light beer anyhow.

I hope that this article was useful to you. Please let me know if you learned something or if you have anything else to add.

On a separate subject, this weekend I will again be participating in the Week Warrior Challenge to hold to three weight loss goals. Here are my three goals for the weekend;

  1. Eat less than 2,000 calories per, day every day this weekend
  2. Walk 4 miles each day this weekend (completed 20 miles this week already)
  3. Drink 1 gallon of water every day

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