Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How To Motivate Yourself to Exercise?

motivated to exerciseIf you've following this blog and have read my "About Me" page, you'll know that I'm a big believer in addressing the root causes of my weight gain, instead of just dieting and exercise.

I've successfully addressed my root cause of overeating, and feel like I can now control my eating habits. But I still have trouble taking control of my exercise regimen. That is, I still have trouble getting myself motivated.

I've established "rules" for myself where I have to exercise, but there's no one other than myself to enforce those rules. How do you get motivated to enforce rules upon yourself?

There have been times, however, where I actually felt motivated to exercise. That is, I actually wanted to exercise. I assumed that if I continued to exercise, and lose weight, build muscle, I would feel more energetic, and feel ever more motivated to continue.

But it didn't happen that way. There are days when I feel like exercising, and days when I don't. It seems the days that I don't are increasing.

When I do exercise it's largely running through the neighborhood. I do have some hand weights and leg weights I used, and I do some sit-ups, crunches, and push-ups. But should I get a membership to a gym? Will that actually get me excited to exercise?

What do you do to get yourself motivated?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Acai Berry Weight Loss Myth

acai berry weight loss mythDo acai berries really help you lose weight? Can acai berries help you burn fat more quickly?

The short answer is no.

There is no weight loss magic with acai berries. It's all a myth to get you to buy up acai berry pills, acai berry drink mixes, etc. However, acai berries are still healthy to eat, full of antioxidants, you just won't lose any weight with them.

So how come there so many acai berry products on the market now? It's because of hype. Back in 2008, Oprah Winfrey and her show's physician, Dr. Mehmet Oz, talked about the acai berry, but never said it had weight loss properties, nor did she ever endorse acai berries. Yet several companies selling acai berries used Winfrey as a spokesperson, and that's how acai berry bandwagon took off.

Since then, Oprah Winfrey has sued some 40 companies for falsely using her name as an endorsement.

But the damage has been done. Now we have major brands like V8 Juice and Haagen Dazs, selling acai berry flavored products. We have ads all over the Internet, such as that "1 weird trick to lose belly fat", that tries to sell you acai berry pills.

Let's look at some facts...

  • 100gm of acai berries, which is about 3.5 ounces, contains 533 calories.

  • 100 gm of strawberries, on the other hand, contains 32 calories.

  • Acai berries are about 90% seed, 10% pulp.

  • You cannot buy fresh acai berries, only powdered acai. Acai berries are very fatty, about 50% of the berry is fat, and goes rancid within a day after picking.

  • Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, and are still a very healthy fruit to eat.

  • But so are strawberries, still rich in antioxidants, but far less costly, and readily available at any grocery store.

Acai Berry, 100gm powder servingStrawberries, 100gm fresh fruit
Source: Wikipedia, USDA Nutrient Database

Acai berries do contain a lot of fiber, and fiber will help burn extra calories in that your digestive system will expend energy trying to break down fiber. But you're also gaining a lot of calories eating acai berry. You're better off spending your money on strawberries, you'll still get a lot of antioxidants, but you won't gain much in calories.

And strawberries won't cost you as much money as acai berry pills.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Calories Burned in a Heart Beat

calories burned heart beatHow many calories are burned in a single heart beat?

From what data I could find from doing various Google searches, and based on my math, it appears the answer is 0.01 calories per beat.

This is based on data suggesting that a person weighing 150 pounds will burn about 500 calories sleeping in an eight hour period. I subtracted 100 calories from that due to muscles used in breathing, and rolling our bodies around in bed. Then I multiplied the remaining 400 calories by 3 to arrive at a full 24 hour period (1,200 calories).

I divided 1,200 calories by 103,680, which is how many times our heart beats in a day. That's for a healthy human being in a resting state, and is based on the accepted medical average of 72 beats per minute.

Hence, a normal healthy heart in a resting state should burn 1,036 calories per day. Or you could can round that number down to an even 1,000.

The formula I used for calculating how many calories burned in a heart beat...

Calories burned = calories burned by heart in 24 hour period / (pulse rate * 1,440)
  • "calories burned by heart in 24 hour period" is based on a resting state, and varies on a person's weight. A person weighing 150 pounds will typically burn 500 calories sleeping in an eight hour period. But about 20% of those calories (100) are consumed by breathing and moving around in bed. Hence For a 300 pound person, simply double those calories. For a 225 pound person, increase those calories by 1/2.

  • "pulse rate" for a normal healthy person is 72 beats per minute. Take your own pulse by touch or by monitor, and enter your figure here.

  • "1,440" is the number of minutes in a 24 hour period.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Discipline In Sticking to a Diet

discipline in healthy dietingThis morning I posted an article on Beef Jerky Diet about how tough it is to stay the course on my weight loss efforts driven simply by a desire to stay healthy.

I compared myself with that of vegans, who have an ideology and a stable of vegan friends to help them stick to their lifestyle. I mentioned that I'm of the belief that even vegans still desire the smell and look of a rack of BBQ ribs simply because Mother Nature herself planted these triggers deep down inside of us, and is something we cannot rid ourselves of. But vegans seem to use their ideology and friends to convince themselves that eating meat is sinful.

It's like a religion.

But as for myself, I have no religion. I simply have a desire to stay healthy, and that desire is often trumped by another desire, to indulge myself with BBQ ribs, ice cream, beer, and everything else.

When you have two desires pitted against each other, and no ideology and no group of friends to pull you along, how do you make one desire win out over the other?

I think it starts with discipline in our childhood years.

Parents need to teach discipline to their kids. I don't mean by hitting them, but by placing value on good habits. Teaching them the value of work and reward, the value of being fit and trim, eating healthy, spending their time outdoors instead of indoors.

That's needed to build a foundation in people, and maybe that's what we're missing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Debunking the Junk Food Diet

Hostess TwinkiesThe "junk food diet" is in the news recently, started by a professor of nutrition to prove a point that you can lose weight on the worse kinds of foods, but at what cost to your health?

Mark Haub, who teaches at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., told he has lost 27 pounds in two months eating approximately 1,800 calories a day – and those calories came from foods like snack cakes, candy bars and even potato chips – basically anything he could get from a vending machine.

Source: Fox News

I wrote earlier that an average person weighing 150 pounds, and doing no exercise at all, will burn about 2,000 calories a day.

A 300 pound person will burn double those calories, about 4,000 calories a day, doing no exercise at all.

So obviously, if Mark Haub limits his diet to 1,800 calories, he's going to lose weight guaranteed no matter what he eats.

But some of that weight loss will come at the cost of muscle mass. Anytime, you limit your intake of foods, you also limit your intake of potassium. Potassium is what our cells are made of. Without it, our body cannot regenerate new cells. Hence what it does is rob muscle tissue for potassium to grow new cells for vital organs.

Unless of course, you eat lots of potato chips. Then you'll get plenty of potassium.

Still, eating lots of potato chips denies your body of other badly needed vitamins and minerals. Overall, you have to eat a balanced diet, take a vitamin supplement if you have to, and exercise. Exercise forces your body to retain muscle mass, and burn off fat instead.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Celery & Salsa Instead of Tortilla Chips

celeryI love salsa! For me, the hotter the better. And because I love salsa, I find myself eating a lot of tortilla chips.

And the important to consider there, is that I've been tortilla chips because I love salsa. That is, it's not that I love chips & salsa, I just love salsa. So, why I am eating the tortilla chips?

Enter celery.

Both celery and tortilla chips have little flavor of their own. The two are almost eaten with some kind of condiment. Chips usually go with salsa, while celery usually goes with ranch dressing or cream cheese.

But celery goes really well with salsa.

Lately, I've stopped buying tortilla chips in favor of celery. I started out buying whole stalks, but now I just get the packaged celery that's pre-cut and packed in water. It costs more to buy it that way, but it's more convenient for snacking.

Here's a comparison between celery and tortilla chips...

Typical Snacking (20 dips into salsa)
Tortilla Chips: 20 chips
Celery: 3 full size stalks, leaves cut off

20 Tortilla Chips: 490
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 30

20 Tortilla Chips: 1gm
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 3gm

20 Tortilla Chips: 46gm
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 6gm

20 Tortilla Chips: 10gm
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 0.3gm

20 Tortilla Chips: 171mg
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 499mg

20 Tortilla Chips: 599mg
3 Full Size Celery Stalks: 154mg

Most salsa contains between 5-7 calories per tablespoon. Each time I dip a tortilla chip or celery into salsa, I'm getting about 3/4 of a tablespoon. With 20 dips in a typical snacking episode, that's about 100 calories.

So if you add the tortilla chips, you're taking in about 600 calories. With celery, it's about 130 calories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How To Lose a Pooch Belly

visceral fat pooch bellyThe pooch belly is caused by excess visceral fat. Losing a pooch belly means simply to burn off that fat.

Visceral fat is the fat surrounding your internal organs. It's deep inside your body cavity, and over the years your body slowly adds more and more visceral fat. It's not to be confused with subcutaneous fat, which is the fat between your skin and muscle.

Women tend to accumulate visceral fat in their lower abdomen, hence creating the pooch belly. Men tend to carry it more evenly throughout their abdomen, giving them that bloated look.

The only way to burn off visceral fat is through intense physical activity, on a continuous basis. Moderate activity can prevent visceral fat from growing, but only intense activity will reduce it.

Visceral fat is the energy your body hoards as its last resort, so it's not going to utilize it unless it absolutely has to. You have to convince your body that in order to survive, you must use expend a lot of muscular activity, only then will it burn that fat and grow muscle tissue.

Intense physical activity would be jogging/running for 15-20 miles a week. It could be heavy weight lifting three to four times a week. It could be intense aerobic exercises four to five times a week.

A pooch belly is not just an embarrassing part of your physique, but it's dangerous to your health. It's full of hormones that eventually causes diabetes and cancer as you get older.

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