Month: August 2013

The Importance of Muscle Tone in Women

Keeping a good muscle tone and retaining your muscle mass is a major issue with weight loss in women. Particularly with starvation or calorie-restrictive diets what most women find is that they lose muscle mass in addition to fat and water. You may think that muscle mass is more important for men than it is for women and you’d be wrong – muscle tone is much more important for women. This is partly because women have much less muscle to start with – once you start losing even a small percentage of it, you get the ‘flabby’ or ‘skinny-fat’ look we certainly don’t want!
How to fix this?
One way is to keep your protein intake high. Many women who try to restrict calories in order to lose weight (which we do not advocate) naturally lower their protein intake and focus on eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Unfortunately, the protein content of those foods is very low, which is a major reason why most vegetarians are slim and skinny. Put calorie restriction on top of that and you’ll find that you start to lose muscle mass instead of fat.
Meat and eggs are your friend here – if you are a vegetarian you can also try increasing your lentils/other beans intake in order to eat more protein. However, I would strongly advice that you include at least 50 grams of protein in your diet in order to keep good muscle tone.
Muscle tone is responsible for looking good and having a sexy body in women. Once you start losing muscle mass AND fat the results may not be as pretty as you expect. Fortunately, this can be easily reversed by increasing your protein intake and reducing carbs.
Stay fit,
Angie

Adding Fiber to High Glycemic Index Carbs to Achieve a 'Slow Release'

Fiber does one major thing in the body – it slows down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates, which basically reduces insulin spikes. And we all know that you can’t lose much weight if your insulin is getting spiked thorough the day. Lack of fiber is a major component of a bad diet – the standard American diet is a good example. Although whole grain breads to have some fiber, it really isn’t enough. Vegetables, fruit and beans are the best sources of fiber.
Combining fiber-rich foods with carbohydrates to achieve a ‘slow release’
The easiest way to gain weight is to eat high GI carbohydrates like white rice and bread in the absence of fiber and fat. This immediately spikes your insulin and forces your body to store the excess sugar in your blood. Adding fat and fiber to high glycemic index carbs on the other hand will slow down their release in the bloodstream and keep your blood sugar stable. This is extremely simple and easy to do and most people do it to a degree. The more fiber and healthy fats you include with your carbohydrates, the slower the release and the less the stress on your pancreas.
Stay fit,
Angie

Burning Calories vs. Losing Weight

What? Is there a difference between the two? Absolutely – burning calories is simply well… burning calories. It does not automatically equal weight loss. If the calories that you are burning come from tissue fat – you will be losing weight. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Let’s look at caloric expenditure vs weight loss and do a quick calculation:
1000g of fat = 2,2 pounds = Roughly 9000 calories
This means that in order to lose 2 pounds of body fat, you would have to burn 9000 calories. For women, this is the typical caloric requirement for about 5 days. So, not eating anything for 5 days would burn you 2,2 pounds of fat. You can see why calorie-restriction diets fail. Not to mention that your metabolism would greatly slow down after 20+ hours of starvation, leading to even slower fat burn. After starving, your body will do its best to store any excess calorie you eat in order to prevent you from dying of starvation in the future. This is much more applicable to women, as we all know intermittent fasting does work well for men.
So, there you go – trying to ‘burn calories’ is not an effective weight loss strategy. On the other hand, manipulating your metabolism and hormonal environment, by simply tweaking your diet a bit can get you much faster fat loss. By limiting calories, you are trying to ‘force’ your body to resort to burning body fat. However, there is an easier way! How to enable your body to burn body fat is different for men and women and in this article we will focus on men.
Men benefit greatly from intermittent fasting – having an 8 hour (or less) eating window and not eating the rest of the day. This is because they lack the ‘rebound’ effect women suffer from when fasting – in other words, men can fast, burn some fat and then NOT put it back on when they start eating again.