Slice Up A Post Workout Meal

5 04 2013

After a tough workout, you deserve to enjoy a slice of pie; pizza pie that is. Try out my fresh spin to this delightfully healthy margarita pizza and tell me what you think.
Doug's Margarita Pizza

Ingredients:
1 bag – fresh pizza dough
1 cup – flour
1 – fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
3 – plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup – fresh basil leaves, rinsed
1/2 cup – tomato sauce
1 cup – shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbls – extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp – garlic powder (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread flour on counter top. Roll out dough to desired thickness and shape.
2. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese around the pizza. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the cheese and using a ladle, spread sauce to cover the cheese.
3. Lay the basil leaves on top of the sauce  to cover the pizza. Next, arrange the tomatoes to layer the pizza. Finish off the pizza with fresh mozzarella slices.
4. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic powder together. Then using a brush, brush on oil mixture along the edge of the crust.
5. Place in the oven on a pizza pan or pizza stone for 18 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.





Wrong Way? No, Just Different

13 03 2013

Not Always Wrong, Just Different

If you’ve had an experience where you thought you were doing something, like eating a certain food or dressing a certain way, but then saw people doing it another way and thought you were actually doing it wrong, don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, sometimes a different way might not be the wrong way, but exactly the former; just a different way. Who says that a turkey burger can’t be a breakfast item or that everyone should drive a BMW? Societal norms influence us to think that we all have the same needs. On the contrary, we all need to pay attention to our individual needs to maintain good health.

In 2007, Wesley Shultz et al conducted a field experiment testing whether normative messaging (telling people to practice a certain behavior based on what others are doing) would have mixed success rates in behavior change. They saw that when told to use more energy saving products because a specific number of others were doing it, the number of people converting to energy conservatives increased. Yes, energy conservation is ideal and we would all want to promote this type of habit, but the mere fact that it only took one little message stating that more people were practicing one certain behavior to have the minority feel like they were wrong and change their lifestyle is fascinating. A key point to this case is that in order to see a shift in the masses, the group must be  a minority, hence, the difficulty of getting our overweight country to get back down to a healthy weight (69.2% of adults in US overweight/obese). Yet again, why should we be like everyone else?

When dealing with exercise, we must look at performing a task with blinders on. Not one person is alike and thus not one specific regimen will work for everyone.  The National Academy of  Sports Medicine has a training model that is different than that of the American Council on Exercise. Is one of them wrong and the other right? Absolutely not, because both will reach the same result in the end, although both use different pathways. The same goes when I am asked which one is better for getting toned arms, free weights or machines? Both are two different modalities that lead to the right direction to get lean arms.

The right answer to improving your health is not to follow the yellow brick road that everyone else has followed, but to lay each stone in front of you and test the ground supporting it to determine if it will work for you. So the next time you’re scratching your head wondering if the person next to you is doing it right and you should follow suit, ask yourself if you are still improving your health with what you’re currently doing. If so, then embrace the difference and continue to tread through the unbeaten path to success.

References: 

American Council on Exercise: IFT Model
CDC Faststats: Overweight and obesity http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm
National Academy of Sports Medicine: OPT Model
Shultz, P. W. et al. The Constructive, Destructive, and Reconstructive Power of Social Norms. Psychological Science, 18(5) 429-434. 2007 





The Seven Deadly Sins – Part 4

24 05 2012

In my last installment of the series, I provide some important and interesting statistics about tobacco use and overeating. Don’t try any of this at home.

Tobacco – According to the CDC, the last statistics published in 2010 in regards to smoking in teens and adults showed a steady decline beginning in 1965. The study showed that in 2010 adult smokers had dropped 29.3% (19.3% current) compared to the 1965 percentage. However, tobacco has no health benefits. Smoke it or chew it and you’re still putting your health at risk. Any questions?

Overeating – Sometimes we get so hungry that we begin to gorge. When we finally put our forks down, we hear our stomach yell back at us and it feels like that last slice of cake is trying to bust through our belly button. However, for some, this agonizing feeling never occurs. Place food in front of them and they will be happy to make it disappear. We give these people nicknames: “Black Bole,” “The Disposal,” “Trash Compactor,” “The Abyss,” and even “The Terminator.” Yet despite their names, these individuals all have a health condition called “overeating” or “binge-eating.” Overeating is a very common occurrence. We all have had a second or third helping at one time or another. If you didn’t, you might have piled your plate larger than the recommended portion size and thus still managed to overeat. Overeating becomes a serious problem when someone begins to frequently binge and then finds trouble stoping. The MayoClinc writes, “when you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating.” The causes of this disorder include, family history, biological factors, long-term dieting, and psychological issues. A study by Dr. Diann Ackard and her colleagues, looked at the relationship of overeating among 4746 adolescents. The study reported that girls (17.3%) were more likely to engage in overeating than boys (7.8%). The study also showed a significant relationship between binge-eating and low self-esteem and body satisfaction. The study also associated overeating with a higher risk of suicide.

Overeating is a serious disorder and preventative measures and remedies can be taken to help reduce the chance of binge-eating. If you or someone you know is binge-eating, speak with a doctor hear about treatment plans. Seeking additional guidance from a counselor or psychologist may be needed. If you or someone you know is overeating, try the following to help slow down your rate of consumption:

  • Eat slower
  • Put the fork down between bites
  • Consume more fiber
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
  • Consume the right nutritients
  • Don’t stock up your fridge or pantry
  • DON’T DIET!

Eating can be fun, but when we begin to indulge in the greater commodities of life, we begin to lust over that of which we consume to much. These seven addictions can be fatal when consumed beyond their limits, but within limits, they can be a “non-sinful” bliss. Be mindful of what you consume (not just foods either) and know when a piece of Mrs. Jones’ homemade double chocolate, rum cake becomes a guilty pleasure. 

References

CDC – Smoking & Tobacco Use 

MayoClinic – Binge-Eating Disorder

Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics – Overeating Among Adolescents: Prevalence and Associations With Weight-Related Characteristics and Psychological Health





The Seven Deadly Sins – Part 3

17 05 2012

If we could only drink water for the rest of our lives, we might actually live a little longer. But where’s the taste in that? So man created two special substances to add to water (besides loads of sugar and artificial flavoring) to make our beverages more enjoyable and practically irresistible. Take a sip of the next two addictions.

Caffeine – Need energy? In the past, our only options were Gatorade, coffee, tea, and Coke. Now-a-days, you find people downing a Red Bull, Rock Star, Amp, Monster, or even a little potion commonly known as 5 Hour Energy Drink. And this is after a Venti dark roast coffee from StarBucks in the morning. Turn to the fitness scene and you have caffeine in many of the common sport-enhancement supplements.  Caffeine is most consumed psychostimulant substance in the world. The benefits of caffeine are heightened mental awareness and increased energy. I must note that according to reports, caffeine is not addictive, however, there is evidence that people react similarly to caffeine as they would to other psychostimulant drugs such as, cocaine. And even though caffeine is not a leading contributor to US mortality, many drinks containing caffeine also include large quantities of sugar. Other health risks associated with caffeine  include, increased heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, osteoporosis, and tremors. News reports back in 2010 (CNN) investigated the connection of energy drinks consumed with alcohol, and the related hospitalization and deaths among college students. The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs states that moderate consumption of caffeine (three 8 oz. cups of coffee (about 250 milligrams of caffeine) per day and 5 servings of caffeinated soft drinks or tea per day) pose no negative effects on a person’s health. Also, those who consume caffeinated drinks probably aren’t drinking enough water.

Alcohol – Have wine, don’t have wine, have only red wine; wait, liquor’s good too? In the early 2000’s research began to introduce alcohol as a health-promoting substance. Going back in history, we know that alcohol was used as medicine to treat different ailments. However, now we’re told that having a glass of red wine a day can promote heart health. So everyone goes out, orders a glass of wine, and smiles knowing that they just fought off heart disease. Not so much. Studies that produced findings associating red wine with the reduced risk for heart disease might be basing their conclusions on the wrong component, reports the American Heart Association. Many of the health benefits from red wine comes from the flavonoids and antioxidants that can be found from red grapes and grape juice. So, instead of ordering a glass  of wine (which is normally more than the daily recommended) the next time you dine out, shoot over to the kids menu and order a fresh glass of grape juice. In case you think that goblet you have in your cupboard is a healthy serving, the AHA states that one drink is the following;  one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits. Due to body weight, height, and frame size, the limitations for men are 2 drinks a day, while women are 1 drink a day.  Have a good time, but do it responsibly. Period.

References:

MedlinePlus – Caffeine

Zancheta, R., Possi, A., Planeta, C., and Marin, M. (2012). Repeated administration of caffeine induces either sensitization or tolerance of locomotor stimulation depending on the environmental context. Pharmacological Reports 1734-1140(63), 70-77

American Heart Association – Alcohol and Heart Disease





The Seven Deadly Sins – Part 1

13 05 2012

One time or another we’ve all been there. The trip to Taco Bell or the late night pantry run. An impulse fires off in our brain that craves a certain substance and we’re suddenly controlled by that impulse to search out and conquer. Once we start consuming, we just can’t let it go. We know where we stashed the Double Chocolate Heath Bar Crunch ice cream from the night before and it’s still going to be there when we look. And sometimes, you regret that urge that came over you. You tell yourself that you can’t do it again. However, days or even a month pass and suddenly that craving strikes again. How do you handle it this time?

In just the last few days, I have heard and seen on several news broadcasting outlets the damaging impact that obesity has created within the US.  Since an article on the cost of obesity was published in Reuters last week, there has been numerous reports following up on how people are getting so big. I can’t blame media for capturing this epidemic, however, why is it only surfacing now? According to an article that came out in this week’s publication of NewsWeek, obesity in America can be traced back to the 1930’s.  As I read Gary Taubes’ article in NewsWeek and Sharon Begley’s in Reuters, I begin to connect the dots. We are now seeing more coverage on obesity because the cost isn’t just affecting the obese. It’s now also affecting tax payers and the actual government (due to the health care reform) because of the amount of money we need to spend to help out those who are overweight and obese. A quick price figure to get a scope on the problem: it costs $190 BILLION in excess medical spending a year to provide services for those overweight and obese. Now what do you think the medical services does to help leverage this cost? You got it, everyone (even the non-obese) pays for it with higher insurance premiums. Find out more about the cost of America’s waist line by clicking on this article, As America’s Waistline Expands, Costs Soar, and read what else is going on as we become the world’s real Big brother.

However, we can’t judge our health based solely on our waistlines. Let’s face it, there are some other substances that we can’t stay away from that are also affecting our health. The question is, why are we slowly (maybe quickly for some) jeopardizing our bodies for that brief moment of pleasure? I refer to these pleasures as the Seven Deadly Sins, I mean Addictions. Studies have shown that the following, when exceeding normal amounts, can cause detrimental effects to our health.

7 Deadly Addictions

  • Sugar
  • Fat
  • Salt
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Overeating 

Many of these addictions have contributed to the top causes of mortality in America. And, these addictions are catching on around the world too. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America, with 599,413 deaths per year. Cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke are the other three causes that make up the top four in America. What and how much we consume is all linked to the increase in mortality in our country. Understanding how these addictions impact our health and lives can help prevent further increases of adult mortality in the future (not to mention for children). In this four part series, I will touch on each addiction. Hopefully by the end, the information will allow you to yield to temptation and further your success in a healthy life.

Sugar – “Oh how sweet it is to be loved by you,” to quote James Taylor. You can’t resist it and it’s everywhere. I call it a love-hate relationship. We love it when it goes in, we hate it when it sticks around–around our love handles. Walk down any aisle of a supermarket and you’ll find a form of it in the ingredients of any container or bottle. And don’t be fooled, pure cane sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and even carbohydrates are still sugars. (I’ll speak more about carbs in another article.) NewsWeeks’ columnist Gary Taubes pounces on the idea that this is the real factor that is causing most of the world to be overweight. He has a valid point too.  The majority of Americans still consume too much of this granulated crystal even with the vast awareness of obesity. In the past decade, our  world has consumed more sugar and processed foods than every before, thanks to the convenience of the fast food industry explosion. China, one of the healthiest countries in the world has slowly lost footing for the top rank as their childhood obesity rates jumped by 25% in the last decade. One article states that the influx of fast food chains in Shanghai has caused many children and adults to convert to lower quality of eating. Too much sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, and ultimately heart disease. Don’t forget the adverse effects that come with these diseases, which include, orthopedic problems (swollen ankles, knee pains, and back pains), sleep apnea, and lots of medication. Reduce the intake of sugar by consuming foods without added sugar and stick with fresh produce to get the sugars that will keep you going throughout the day.

References:

CDC – Leading Causes of Death

The Sydney Morning Herald – China’s Spoilt Generation Takes Obesity to New Level 






The Sham Diet

8 05 2012

It’s Thursday and my client is warming up on the treadmill before our training session. I review my notes and memorize the workout she needs to do today. Functional movements and weight loss are her goals, which in my line of work, are the goals for the majority of my clients. She comes to meet me and we begin our workout.

We’re working hard and we discuss her progress. Then she comments about her nutrition. “I’m so tied up with guests and dining out, but next week everyone will be gone and I’ll be able to start my diet.” I lift my eyebrow and give her my typical quizzical stare. “You know how it is. You don’t want to offend anyone by not eating what they serve,” she responds. “How convenient,” I think to myself.

How would you like to lose five to ten pounds a week without changing your diet. In addition, you never have to worry about where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re eating. I have the diet for you and you don’t have to pay too much for it. Just stay on my diet plan and I’ll have you seeing results in 30 days and you’ll feel better than ever. All you need to do is eat whatever you want and only exercise for 30 minutes s day. If you don’t have time to get in that exercise, don’t worry, you can take a little break and start back up when the time’s right for you. Just take one super pill a day to keep you on track while you take a little vacation and you’ll be fine.  Tell your friends about this brand new diet called, The Sham Diet.

What does South Beach, Atkins, Low carb, Nutrisystem, WeightWatchers, smoothies, cabbage, and even the Sham Diet all have in common? A lot, but one thing’s for sure; They’re all convenient. They give you the ability to start, stop, and start again whenever you want.  As Americans, we all want convenience in every aspect of our lives. From Netflix subscriptions to reading the NY Times on a Kindle, we want to be able to know that when we’re satisfied, we can take a little break and then come back to it at any time. These diets also boast big results within a short time frame. We love the quick fixes. We want to do as little as possible and still expect the same results. Remember the time when you actually had to vacuum the house yourself? Now we just turn on little Roomba and relax on a couch with a diet Coke. Diets have followed the same suit and has become outrageously unpractical, but people will do anything to reach their goals to look better for beach season or a long awaited cruise. Some might even take up my diet in hopes that it will work. Lose those few extra pounds to make it through the summer then we’re back to Wendy’s for a late night Frosty.

All the diets, including the Sham Diet have one flaw; they don’t work if you fall outside of their guidelines. Even the Sham diet that says that you can still lose weight just by taking a pill can give you false hope if you skip a dose. The other problem that my client ran into is believing that the only way to lose weight was to follow a fad diet. Whatever the product, all fads expect you to do one thing; follow their advice. We believe that we can’t look good unless we are decked out with the latest fashion fad, or we aren’t doing something right if we don’t own a smart phone. What happened to washing your car by hand? Too time consuming, however it might keep your car looking newer than the car wash (how many times have you gone through the car wash and come out on the other side with bugs still plastered to your front bumper?).

So, let’s stop with the excuses and the whining when you’re not seeing your mid-section get any smaller. Be accountable for what you’re putting into your body as well as what you’re doing to burn off what you ate.  Stop making up excuses for not eating well yesterday or this weekend. Know that you’re going to fall off track once in a while and have the honesty and courage to admit that you did it. Then fix the problem by working a little hard to put yourself back on track, and continue improving your health. There is nothing convenient about your health. Your body doesn’t wait for you to come back from vacation or the weekend to start processing what you eat. If you eat it, you’re going to have to burn it. Yes, you have to move to burn anything that you eat. If you eat a lot, you have to move a lot. This also will take time. You didn’t put on your weight overnight. It takes half the time to put on weight as it does to lose weight. If you know you’re going to eat poorly because you have an unavoidable situation, give yourself options. Either eat a smaller portion, get a little more physical activity in the days leading up, or do both! It’s that simple ladies and gentlemen. Don’t fall for the shams and believe that you have to follow a specific restriction diet. Count everything you eat; don’t lie just to satisfy yourself. Your body will still know that it had a burger and a beer over the weekend. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll start tomorrow. Start yesterday.

References:
Weight-Control Information Network
WebMD – Weight Loss Myths




D.R. Doesn’t Stand For Dietitian

18 04 2012

There are times when I hear a member give nutritional advice to another member based upon what has worked for her. This upsets me because I know that even though the member has lost weight and wants this other person to lose weight too, the tips she suggests doesn’t work long-term. Getting the right nutritional advice for weight loss should come from someone who specializes in this area, such as a Licensed (LD) or Registered Dietitian (RD). I know this sounds common sense, but I’ll let you in on a secret, not many people see a dietitian when it comes to weight management. Even when the studies show that incorporating a registered dietitian into a weight loss program increases success rates, we steer clear from making an appointment with one. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) conducted a multi-year study in 2010 to research the benefits of adding a RD to a health promotion program for weight loss. The results showed programs with a RD had participants losing at least 5% of their current body weight.  Yet we feel like we know enough through what we read and hear from books, media, friends, and other professionals, that we go on these crazy “instant diets” only to succumb in the end to hunger and eventually weight gain.

The worst of all is that you justify the misfortunes of gaining back all your weight by telling yourself that you did it once and it was easy, so you’ll go back on the same diet and start back on phase one. The other option that I’ve seen is that it didn’t work and this shouldn’t have happened because the books were written by doctors, fitness professionals, or celebrities.  Then we go out and pick up another book off the shelf because some top-rated talk show host told you to buy it. This leads to more depression when you find out that the next “quick fix” book leads to another quick turn-around and the weight is back on.

I just received the latest issue (April 16, 2012) of Newsweek in the mail and on the cover was Dr. Phil (Click on photo to read the article). Now, I want to know how many people think that because he has the title “Dr.” in front of his name it suddenly makes him a physician or registered dietitian? The article is now one of my favorites because it exposes what celebrity talk-show hosts will do to get something sold. The whole article describes how Dr. Phil McGraw used his show to promote not just one, but two diet books that his son published. The craziness of it all is that Dr. Phil opposes diets! In a show back in 2010, he states, “Do you know that people that go on diets gain more weight during the year than people who don’t?” This is coming from a person who suddenly flips the switch later that year to promote extensively (the article claims that Dr. Phil pushed the book in 17 episodes and mentioned the book  27 times in one episode!) a diet book that claims to lose 10 to 15 pounds in just 17 days. This just doesn’t seem like a person who you’d want giving you nutritional advice.

Now I need to give Dr. Phil some credit, he is not a M.D., but he is a Ph.D psychologist who too had troubles with weight. He’s worked his magic by understanding how the human mind works and finding ways to profit from his knowledge. After leaving the clinical psychology gig, he hit a gold mine representing Oprah in a court case when he cofounded Courtroom Sciences, Inc. He was able to network with Oprah to become “one of the wealthiest and most powerful figures on television” describes Forbes magazine. So he’s able to get his own television show and get people to listen to him and suddenly everyone’s trying to lose weight quickly. That’s how it goes with all quick fix diets. Just read about your fad diets like Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers or watch the commercials for Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and any other infomercials on Saturday mornings. You’ll lose weight in a jiffy, but what they don’t tell you is how quickly those pounds come back.

Weight management is really about keeping your calories in balance. Calories in verses calories out. If you eat more than you burn off; weight gain. Eat less than you burn off; weight loss. Very simple idea, but so many people have a problem with this concept (hence the 33% of Americans who are overweight). One reason is because people don’t want to wait for the results. They want everything quick. Just ask yourself, “how long did it take you to get to your current weight?” Most likely it didn’t happen overnight. Therefore, the only way to lose weight long-term is the slow method. Losing one to two pounds a week by having a deficit of 3500 cal/wk is the only healthy and known long-term plan for weight loss. Know what you’re eating so you can stay one step ahead. This is where a dietitian or nutritionist can help to teach you which foods you should eat to maintain the energy level you need without stacking on the extra calories. Even your general physician will not be able to tell you what to eat and will refer you to a dietitian. The other component to this equation is the physical activity. I do not require people to join a gym to obtain their cardiovascular exercise. However a facility that provides resistance training will help keep your muscle strength while you lose the weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 45 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise to lose weight. Studies have shown that exercising five to six days a week at 60 to 80 minutes a day leads to scientifically significant results. Biking, walking, running, kayaking, hiking, and playing sports can all count for cardiovascular exercise.  Combine exercise with a well-balanced meal and you’ll be shedding those pounds for good in no time.

References:
ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed. (2010), Weight Management
American Dietetic Association, ADA Foundation 2010 Annual Report, p. 4

Wingert, P. & Roston, A. (2012). All in the Family. Newsweek, 28-33