In 2014, the FDA approved the prescription weight loss drug, Contrave. With the recent New Year and weight loss adds running like crazy on TV, this drug surfaced in a commercial and caught my attention. So the trainer in me had to research it and here I will share my findings.
Here is what the website claims: “By adding CONTRAVE to your weight-loss plan for a full year, you could lose 2-4x more weight than with diet and exercise alone.2” (https://contrave.com/?gclid=CjwKEAiA-rfDBRDeyOybg8jd2U4SJAAoE5XqurpFCSvG4W9EmOm9N4CSlQwh727qtplFOX-aX-saZhoCt-3w_wcB).
To sum it up, Contrave can be prescribed to obese or overweight adults with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. Medically speaking, “Contrave combines two drugs already on the market: bupropion
(Wellbutrin), an antidepressant
, and naltrexone
, an anti-addiction
l thoughts that are linked with antidepressant
s” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#1). Wellbutrin is a popular antidepressant, which means those who take it for psychological purposes must not suffer from the weight gain side effects some of these medications can cause.
So what does it do?? Well, “‘It takes away hunge
r and the cravings for food,’ says John Foreyt, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. He was a researcher on a clinical trial studying Contrave” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#1).
I do like that the drug is recommended with diet and exercise. It can also not be prescribed to someone with an eating disorder. But then I questions how long does someone take this pill and what happens when you stop. It isn’t an isolated phenomenon, and success does depend on what you eat and your activity. Results vary but, “On average, people lose 5% to 10% of their starting weight, according to clinical trials and experts” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#2).
So I guess this means if you were 200 pounds, you might drop to 180.
Bottom line, we know there is no magic pill on our fitness journeys.
Food provides us the fuel to exercise. We need energy to be able to perform at our best. Nutrition plays a critical role in our fitness journey. Clients often ask when is the best time to eat….before or after the workout?? There are several factors to consider when deciding which approach is best for you, because of course there is no straight answer to this question. Feeling totally full before a jog is never a good idea. On the other hand, feeling ravenous before a jog might make you more irritable then motivated to sweat.
Carbohydrates are probably the most controversial nutritional fitness topic, but they are the main source of energy for our bodies. We need them in order to sustain a quality workout, but that doesn’t mean we should have a plate of spaghetti or baked potatoes at free will. In summary, “You want every gram of carbohydrate you consume to be utilized as an immediate fuel source or to restore glycogen levels—you don’t want it to be stored as fat. Don’t eat more carbs than you need and don’t worry about spreading them evenly throughout the day. You can eat the majority of your carbs around your workout” (
Ideally, we are eating our snacks or meals every 2-3 hours, so if we were to workout 2 hours after having a snack, we wouldn’t need to eat again before the workout. On the other hand, if you have not eaten for several hours, then a snack before the workout is in order. For example, if the last time you ate was dinner and you are a morning workout person, a light snack would help energy levels to be able to sustain your workout. This snack should be 100-200 calories, and should have a small amount of carbohydrates and protein. For me, a rice cake with almond butter does the trick. When lifting weights, the body usually requires more energy so certainly have a snack at least 2 hours prior is necessary. A protein shake or 1/2 Quest bar are my go-to lifting snacks. Fast absorbing protein, particularly Whey sources, are best because they contain higher levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).
After a workout, there is a 60 minute time window that our muscles are vulnerable and ready to absorb nutritional components, which means, “They absorb carbohydrates readily to replace lost glycogen, energy stored in your muscles, as well as amino acids found in protein to help repair tissue you break down while working out” (
http://www.livestrong.com/article/399834-is-it-better-to-eat-before-or-after-a-workout-to-lose-weight/). When our muscles repair, they grow. More muscle means a higher metabolism.
Set yourself up for optimal results by meal planning and having snacks available to help you strategize your approach. Don’t go all day at work without eating for several hours then head to the gym with no fuel. My approach is to eat half my snack before and half after. So I might drink half my protein shake before or during, then the other half after. Or I might eat half my Quest bar before then the other half after. That way, my body has fuel before and is also receiving the BCAAs and protein after for muscle repair.
We are all too familiar with that feeling of being stuffed. For some it’s a rare occasion, but for others each meal can present the chance to eat and eat until overeating strikes again. We might do this at the end of a long day. It’s a holiday so why not? Or maybe when home alone all inhibition lets loose. Then we feel frustrated with ourselves for letting this stomachache happen….once again. The truth is that right out of the gate we are nurtured with food. We eat to live, but somewhere along the lines living to eat can become the lifestyle. We have an emotional connection to food outside of just nutritional purposes.
Yet, the act of eating can get out of control. It can become a coping mechanism for negative emotions. Some people think about food all the time. We might laugh and joke after eating large quantities at Thanksgiving, but some people feel ashamed and guilty after far too many of their meals. For some people, overeating can just be a mindless habit. The duration of the movie requires snacking and then pretty soon the box is gone and the entire liter of soda.
Some people who overeat might have an actual eating disorder such as binge eating disorder (BED). This is characterized by eating large quantities of food in a short period of time. A person with BED might do this at least once per week for the course of 3 months or longer. Eating is associated with feelings of stress, loneliness, and then guilt and regret after eating so much. To be clear, not all people who overeating have binge eating disorder. For some people it’s just a love of food, while others might suffer from negative body image. Sometime dieting gone astray can lead to overeating. Feelings of deprivation lead to a desire for foods that were off limits and the more the better. The foods that were forbidden become more and more attractive.
The composition of foods can make them addictive in nature. High fat, high sugar, and high salt foods taste to please us. The brain senses the euphoric feeling much like drug use. Then the person become dependent of these foods as they crave their comfort and satisfaction. The difference is that no one can cut food “cold-turkey”. We are faced with eating each and every single day, more than once. The act of eating can become an addiction too.
If there’s strong ties to deep emotional problems and food seems to be the solution, then seeking help is important. A person needs to determine their triggers, especially those that transpire negative body image. A counselor can certainly help. Food should also not be constantly deprived or labeled as “good” or “bad”. Tuning into hunger cues is important. Understanding the why of the overeating leads to a better solution. A change of scenery can help change the environment you put yourself in during eating. Don’t be on autopilot and let the habit carry on and on. There is a lot more to life then chewing, but we have to find a healthy relationship with food in order to be healthy mentally and physically.
“Science of Fasting” (2016), Sylvie Gilman, Thierry de Lestrade
Life expectancy is increasing, but that also means that the number of diseases and illnesses are increasing too. This requires medical attention, which plays into the money-making industry of Western medicine. In the fitness industry, clients ask about fasting for weight loss, but after watching, “Science of Fasting” (2016), this deprivation of food is actually a therapeutic approach to healing.
Russia’s public health system actually recognizes fasting. It is covered by healthcare. The documentary highlighted one of the Russian clinics where residents come to stay for a supervised program. This is not a DIY (do it yourself) process, which is a popular approach when it comes to internet searched detoxes, cleanses, juicing trials, or fasts. Here, fasting can take place up to a period of 3 weeks, and it’s all about WATER…. just water. The hunger sensation does disappear after a few days. The body is detoxing and living off its reserves. The body at first undergoes a “crisis” period as the impacted organism feeds on itself. So let’s say an alcoholic is trying to reverse liver damage, there could be possible pain the few days in the area. To help with this, patients are given body wraps, colonics and are recommended to exercise.
Of course this process is scary, because no one can tell how one’s body will react to food deprivation. But the body learns to tap into other energy sources. Our main source of energy is glucose and once the body has used this, it then taps into its energy reserves souring from proteins and fats. Now the body is using ketones for fuel. Over the years, nearly 10,000 patients have been treated and 2/3 have experienced successful results.
A physician in Moscow was the first to bring fasting to the medical board for review in 1973. As a physiatrist, he had a patient who refused to eat. So he just let him not eat. By the 15th day, the patient had a better attitude and felt recovered from his mental illness symptoms. Fasting has been shown to improve and reverse symptoms of depression, phobias, obsessions, anxiety, and schizophrenia. At first, not many doctors or the medical world were open to this idea because being hungry has a negative connotation. But this doctor, Nicoliath (possible misspelling), from Moscow has helped over 8,000 people with asthma, arthritis, and eczema.
Fasting stresses the body. It then has to auto regulate itself. Faced with starvation, hormones start to act and tap into the reserves. For example, this process on a person with asthma would target the black histamine cells in the lungs, cleaning out this area through the fasting detoxification of this organ.
Fasting hasn’t undergone a great amount of research because the pharmaceutical companies are not encouraging this. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, that equates to dollar signs for many years of medication. Studies have been done on penguins and rats, proving that these species can live off their reserves for nearly 4 months. This means that fasting is an adaption that body can undergo.
The concept of fasting ties into many weight loss strategies like the ketosis diet. The body is using other sources for fuel. It is important that this is of course a temporary, short lived approached. I was intrigued by the medical findings and thought of the effects of fasting the body of meat and dairy have which reduce inflammation. Consult a doctor and be sure to have professional supervision if this is something you are considering. To learn more, I would highly recommend watching the moving, “Science of Fasting”.
Mouth open wide, a loud sigh, and the face stretched to its capacity. We yawn involuntarily, but why do we seem to do it so much during exercise?? I just thought I was boring you.
When we are tired we yawn, so naturally as the body becomes fatigued from exercise, we then start to yawn. According to Livestrong.com (2013), yawning helps to cool down the brain during exercise. Furthermore, in order to cool down our body temperature, our initial reaction is to sweat. If sweating isn’t enough to cool us down, we then start to yawn which, “increases blood flow and heart rate and enables the intake of cool air, all of which may help regulate your brain’s temperature” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/424772-why-do-you-yawn-when-you-exercise/). Yawing brings in oxygen which then can be brought to the blood. During exercise our blood flow is increased, so we require more oxygen to the blood during activity. You will also be happy to know that the abdominal muscles are used during yawing.
The body is undergoing a behavioral change when we workout, so exercise takes us from a normal to more awake state, which then causes yawing. There are other theories as well that might align with why we yawn at the studio or in a gym setting. According to an article by Melanie Radzicki McManus, “Our bodies induce yawning to draw in more oxygen or remove a buildup of carbon dioxide. This theory helps explain why we yawn in groups. Larger groups produce more carbon dioxide, which means our bodies would act to draw in more oxygen and get rid of the excess carbon dioxide” (http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/question5721.htm).I constantly yawn while exercising, and I was always taught that it’s not polite to yawn in class or when someone is speaking to me. So after learning this information, I will no longer take it personal that you yawn during the workouts. After all, your face and abdominal muscles are being used. I shouldn’t get upset anyways, since this is an involuntary action….but when you yawn, I yawn. It’s a chain reaction that’s contagious.
Well, it’s 8PM, I’m yawning from being tired at this point, so that’s a wrap. Plus, I feel like my English teacher clients would note how many times I used the word “yawn” in this Blog and have re-read this multiple times to try to fix that. See you next workout, and maybe I’ll start tracking your yawn count in your files J