Archive for the ‘body fat’ Category

Can You Lose Weight and Drink Beer?

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

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

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 Truth About Loose Skin

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Fat Man Pondering Loose Skin At MidnightIf you could push a button and immediately have the body of a Greek god, with rippling muscles and 8% body fat, you would probably gladly pay a pile of money. Just imagine looking in the mirror at your bare, solid,  glistening abdomen and not being able to look away. The feeling of male invincibility would be intoxicating. Well it can happen. But it just  isn’t going to happen at the push of a button. But there is one other thing about this that may be on your mind about this weight loss.

The Fear of Loose Skin

I have talked with a lot of guys about looking iconic and they can really picture this. The one thing that they start worrying about when they picture this and that is…..loose skin. Fat guys picture that their skin is  filled up like a big balloon blown up by pounds and pounds of fat. Then they think that when they lose weight, that the fat is going to go out of their body and leave a limp, outstretched bag of flailing skin on their emaciated frame. Some of this could be true if you do not watch how you loose weight. But this is of course a lot of exaggeration, but some cautions are called for here.

The Body Fat Facts

Right now, you have a certain body fat content. If you weigh 250 pounds and your body fat percentage is 30% , that means that you have 75 pounds of fat and 175 pounds lean body mass (muscle, bones, organs,  fluids).  At the beginning of a weight loss program, men lose weight anyway they can. Here is the rub.  Loose skin is not just skin, but actually quite a bit of fat.  Here is how this happens.

When you start losing weight, often, this weight loss comes at the expense of both muscle loss and fat loss. When you finally reach your goal weight, if you do not pay attention to fat loss and building muscle mass, you may end up with a baggy belly. What happens is that you lose muscle mass as a result of your hard-earned eating habits.

For each pound of fat, there is about 3,500 calories stored, whereas each pound of muscle contains only about 600 calories. According to Ron Brown over at Body Fat Guide, when you fast 60% of the weight loss comes from muscle and 40% comes from fat! Ouch!  So it is really easy to start chewing up muscle mass when you start drastically cutting calories without any exercise. Not recommended. In addition, muscle is largely composed of fluid which can be lost very easily.

Here is a little saying that I created that makes all this easy to remember: “Fat is meant to be stored, muscle is meant to be used.”  Here is how you avoid losing the muscle mass but lose weight at the same time.

What To Do

Dieting and exercise need to go hand in hand. I used to think that exercise was the only way to weight loss. I never had to worry about loose skin because if I lost some weight, my lean body mass was always very high. Many men think that exercise is the only way to lose fat. However, if you do not exercise or have not exercised much, you will need to really pay attention to what I am going to tell you.

Stay on a weight loss path. Eat a daily caloric intake below the energy balance levels for your age. Very simply, eat less than your body needs in calories per day. See “How Much Food Does Your Body Need?” Make sure that you eat the right kinds of food – proteins, vegetables, fruits, and at least 80 oz of water per day. If you are still eating foods with a lot of white bread, white sugar, soda, sweets or fast food, you have not been listening.  I wonder when will you ever learn?

Start or continue a strength training program to build or maintain your muscle mass. Muscle mass will be built if you do some sort of strength program. Take a look at my Strength Training Program for ideas.  There is no wrong answer for strength training when you are starting off….just do something. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You will put on muscle mass and that is good.

Start Right Now

Do this simple 2 step plan everyday. And just like learning to drive a car, starting a good habit and keeping it rolling is the whole answer. Try doing these two things everyday:

  1. Keep track of your daily calories and make sure that you eat less than the calories that your body needs. Use a daily calorie log and really keep track of everything you eat. I use a free web resource called Physics Diet. I am going to create a video about how to use this thing soon. Even if you are not yet eating less than you need, keep track of the calories anyway. Writing down all of the things that you are eating now, is a great way to become aware of how much you really are eating.
  2. Do strength training 3 to 5 times per week. This does not need to hurt. Just start doing some push-ups and sit-ups on the floor every day. It won’t take you very long. 15 minutes of this work will really pay off. You don’t need to like it, you just need to do it. You can advance to a gym when you feel comfortable doing so. If you are already going to a gym, exercise all the major muscles of your body so that you get the most muscle build overall.

You are going to be proud of the new powerhouse that is growing under that fat cover. You may not see it, but when you do the above two things every day, you will lose weight and KNOW you will look great.

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.