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.
Whatever the reason be it getting busy or forgetting to eat, skipping meals has been a topic of debate whether is good or bad. The bottom line is that the brain’s main fuel is glucose, and not giving the body food is also not giving the brain food. Eating isn’t just about the stomach.
Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals doesn’t equate to weight loss. Most of the time, when a person does not eat for an extended period of time, they end of overindulging later. Hunger levels rise and binging can happen. Overeating out of extreme hunger can easily happen. Blood sugar can also start to drop. This leads to feeling tired and the body is communicating that it wants to shut down until re-fueled. When blood sugar drops, mood also tends to drop. Becoming irritable is common. Sometimes when you finally reach the point that you have to eating something, you ravenously take whatever is available and this might not lead to the best choices. Grabbing what you find first might temporarily solve the problem but can catch up with you later on the waistline.
Skipping meals might seem save like saving calories, but most time overeating ends up happening and more harm then good takes place. Not eating means no fuel in the tank and this means less energy. Less energy usually means less motivation, causing performance to suffer. Skipping meals can lower metabolic rate, which is not conducive to weight loss efforts. Blood sugar and insulin responses also change. Some people start to feel really fatigued and even dizzy.
Weight loss is a tricky game. Food is something we have to think about all the time. All the choices and the free will to have them makes temptation and taste-buds a troublesome combination. Not every day has to be centered around food, but the topic is addressed on a daily basis. The key is finding a healthy relationship with food, planning ahead, and knowing what triggers and environments lead to poor decisions. If we are what we eat, then we certainly don’t want to eat nothing. Our bodies deserve premium fuel, so don’t leave the tank empty and expect great performance. You can only go so far for so long before skipping meals just doesn’t seem to be beneficial in the end. Eat for your nourishment and for your health, not because you are bored, stressed, or just because it is there.
One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How much cardio should I be doing??” We are told we need to exercise and cardiovascular activities are the first item we refer to doing. There are a multitude of benefits when doing cardiovascular activity, but sometimes you might be doing more harm than good if you are doing too much. Just because you run ten miles per day doesn’t mean the weight will melt right off (even though one would assume this). So let’s take a look at the cardio overload affect and see what happens to the body when this occurs.
There are a number of indications your body will show as signs that you are doing too much cardio. Every BODY is different. Here is what we are supposed to be doing:
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise spread over three to five days a week. Or do 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic exercise spread over three days a week. These minimum recommendations outlined in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans decrease your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/145445-recommended-amount-of-cardio-exercise/). It’s easy to think that the longer I run on the treadmill, the more calories I’m burning, so the more weight I will lose. Wrong!!!!!Cardio doesn’t have the same after math effects that strength training has for us. Meaning, “Unfortunately, the positive fat-burning effects of cardio exercise are short-lived. Once you stop exercising, your body’s metabolism quickly returns to its normal state. If cardio is your go-to exercise then you are forced to do more and more in order to see ongoing weight-loss results. This becomes problematic because increased cardio training can lead to decreased muscle mass. If your body loses even the slightest bit of muscle, your resting metabolic rate (i.e. how many calories you burn when you’re NOT exercising) dips even further. Your body will begin to shed fat even more slowly…unless you do even more cardio” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-smith2/4-indicators-that-youre-doing-too-much-cardio_b_9321966.html). And cardio is hard on our joints so having to pound the treadmill longer and longer to see results becomes strenuous on both the body and mind. Plus, one can burn through muscle so although we might be getting smaller and seeing the scale drop, we are not re shaping the body appropriately. It’s similar to the effect of not working out after a surgery or injury. The scale might actually go down, due in part to muscle atrophy.
Training smarter, not harder is the appropriate expression here. The cardio myth goes like this, “There is this horrible misperception in our society about fat loss. A lot of people think that if you starve yourself and do two or three hours of cardio each day, the fat is just going to melt off. Actually, performing too much cardio will put your body in a catabolic state and burn hard-earned muscle. The loss of muscle will not only reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. If your metabolism slows down too much, you’ll have a tough time burning fat” (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-ripped-dude-how-much-cardio-is-too-much.html).
Personally, I can run for hours (literally). But I have learned, especially while training for my competitions, that at some point I’m actually not doing myself any favors. Mentally, I love the clarity of just running and going until I just have to stop. Physically, I don’t want to burn through muscle. There is no science that says how much is too much, but realistically anything over 60 minutes is probably more counterproductive than good. Females love their cardio, but ladies, we have to use strength training to re-shape our bodies and ward off osteoporosis.
When I meet a client and they ask me why they haven’t seen results when they do the Elliptical or jog every day, well, we know that the cardio myth has come into play. It might be breath of fresh air to hear that you don’t have to run for hours on end to see results. Rather, use cardio in combination with strength training to achieve optimal results. Every BODY is different, and we learn on our fitness journeys what methods work best for us. Don’t be fooled I won’t write you a pass for P.E. that says you don’t have to run the mile haha, but I will tell you that don’t have to run 5 miles every day to achieve your fitness goals.
A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables is great for overall health and can even help weight loss. However, this food plan is all about the choices that fall under these categories. Muffins are part of the mistake that can cause weight gain. The average medium sized muffin contains about 430 calories, 18 grams of fat, and close to 60 carbohydrates. This doesn’t include the possible 35 grams of sugar. No wonder they taste so good. For breakfast, as a snack, with tea or coffee, a muffin is a tasty, satisfying food that many approve of. The problem is that a muffin isn’t a nutritionally sound option. Then we to consider the giant muffins from Costco, the ones that taste good from Souplantation (although sadly gone), the one’s the vending machine has, and then there’s always 7-11. They taught and tease use because they are a grab and go food. They’re easy and filling.
Just because a muffin has some blueberries, is gluten-free, or made from scratch, doesn’t mean the waistline isn’t going to suffer. Even if just half, only 200 calories, those calories could have better been served with 3 eggs and a banana or ½ cup of oatmeal. More bang for the caloric content, but we don’t always make decisions based on that rationale. Often times a muffin isn’t the main meal either, although could count up to be this.
Muffins date back to the 18th century coming from either the British or Europeans. It is similar to a raised flat bread, shaped like a cupcake. Some even call it a healthy “cupcake”. The main ingredients are flour, vegetable oil, and of course sugar. Flavors range from chocolate to bran and all the types of fruits in between. It is typically eaten for breakfast and enjoyed a mid-morning snack or for brunch.
Let’s take a look at one of Costco’s chocolate muffins just for shock value. This muffin has 690 calories, which if a person is at a 2,000 calorie intake per day, that’s about 35% right there. This makes up 79 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of fat. Then there are only 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. All that considered, that is a lot for one muffin and a lot for just one item. There are other types like banana nut or poppy seed, but these still come in the 600 calorie range. A muffin is therefore an occasional food choice, not one to have with breakfast on a daily basis. As good as they are, there are not good for the body long-term. We all know the derogatory term that can be used for the shape of a persons’ stomach ☹