Newsletter 7th Edition 1st October 2018
Is Fat Loss as simple as just counting calories?
Perhaps you have heard this statement many times “just cut your intake of food and do more exercise, you will definitely lose weight”......erm...well, yes and no. While there is certainly truth to the statement, unfortunately life is just not that simple anymore.
There are many factors embedded in modern lifestyle practices that seem to work against weight management. Especially in a fast paced city like Hong Kong where there seems to be an absence of a work-life balance, maintaining a healthy weight becomes much more difficult.
Physiological issues brought about by hormone imbalance seems to affect more of us now when compared to previous generations. The food we eat, the packaging we use, pollutants that we are exposed to on a day to day basis, all contain chemical traces that affect our body’s ability to function properly.
Hormones are like regulators for our bodies. In order to carry out functions such as fat burn, energy usage, cell repair, our bodies need hormones to tell them what to do. Chemicals have been released into our natural environment and into the food we eat for many years now and these chemicals, or “endocrine disruptors”, resemble hormones in our bodies which can disrupt or provoke the same reaction in our bodies that a natural hormone would do. Imagine if these endocrine disruptors turn off genes that keep you slim and turn on genes that stores fat and keeps you hungry? Scary isn’t it?
Weight loss no longer seems to be just influenced by exercise and careful eating. While it is hard to determine which chemicals causes what reaction, it is perhaps good for you to be a careful consumer when making purchasing decisions.
Rest and Sleep
To be honest, we hardly meet anybody who have reported getting at least 8 hours of sleep daily. In fact, we would be lucky if we achieve 7 hours of snooze time given our hectic lifestyle and fully packed schedule. While sleep is essential to our general wellbeing, getting enough sleep is also important when it comes to weight regulation.
According to studies conducted by the University of Chicago in 2004, there seems to be a direct relationship between sleeping only 4 hours a night to an increase of hormones that help us regulate hunger by 28%! So essentially what this means is that for a person who sleeps less than the needed 7 to 8 hours, he or she would feel lethargic during the day and would naturally reach for high energy or high sugar content food choices to keep them alert. With their hunger hormones out of whack at the same time, they would end up eating more than usual and as a result, gain the unwanted weight.
The morale of the story? Cut back on those late night outs and get as much sleep as you can, whenever possible.
In a highly stressed environment like Hong Kong, our bodies are constantly exposed to stressors. Overtime work, meeting sales targets, over achieving KPI’s in addition to the high cost of living are some of the factors that puts our bodies into constant flight or fight mode producing unnecessary amounts of stress hormones.
While stress hormones makes us more alert, more flexible, and protect us from imminent dangers, it also promotes the storage of fat tissue especially around our mid-section area where most of our vital organs are located. While it is our body’s natural reaction to produce stress hormones during times of stress, being in a state of constant stress will subject us to weight related issues such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and even cancer. Ask yourselves, are you under constant stress?
Every person’s approach to stress management is different. While some would hit the gym to manage their stress, others may resort to means such as meditation, food consumption and even alcohol consumption to take that edge off. What is important is to find a method that is healthy and sustainable for you.
While trainers are not nutritionist, they may very well point you in the right direction when it comes to proper food consumption. While choosing the right source of macro nutrients are important, it is not necessary for you to count every calorie you consume during each meal.
You may adhere to certain guidelines such as consuming high GI carbs, unsaturated fat, and high protein food sources during the bulking stages. If you decide to try any of the diets out in the market, make sure you consult first with a professional as there is never a one size fits all solution.
While we have stressed this over and over again, there are still people out there (especially you ladies) who feel that lifting weights will make you bigger than those bodybuilders you see at the Mr Universe competitions! Developing lean muscles is a CRITICAL process to maintaining a high basal metabolic rate which in turn, will help you in maintaining your ideal weight, especially when you age. Weight training also have numerous other benefits including maintaining bone density, and strength building. So if you have not already starting lifting, start today!