Last week I only lost 3 pounds. It looks like I have encountered another weight loss plateau. Plateaus are very common in weight loss strategies as you probably already know. Plateaus are more common but not exclusive to people who use calorie restriction as the only means to weight loss. There are only so many calories you can reduce in a single day. A plan that includes both diet (in many cases not calorie reduction but changes in diet) and physical activity is much more effective for weight reduction. However, even with these programs people may encounter weight loss plateaus. What can you do to overcome such weight loss plateau?
First, let’s talk about why the combination of diet and exercise in a weight loss program is more effective than just a calorie restriction plan. If you’re using only calorie restriction for weight loss you will definitely come to a weight loss plateau, as you can only go to a certain level (calorie reduction) beyond which can be unhealthy and even dangerous. The other thing is that to do it properly a calorie restriction diet must be done over a long period of time with a weight loss goal of 3-10 pounds per month (often this can be accomplished simply by making more sensible food choices). Why? Well, crash diets for instance are designed for the short term and will work for many people but have only temporary results. This is because the person will eventually return to previous eating habits and gain back all the weight that was lost in the first place. The other problem with this extreme type of dieting is twofold: 1. When the person loses weight she also loses valuable muscle mass. And what type of body mass burns most calories? You guessed it: muscle mass! 2. Unfavorable body composition: when the diet is over and the person gains back the weight the muscle mass that was lost does not return. It is replaced with fat mass. As a result the person is at a bigger disadvantage now than she was before the crash diet began.
So you can see why it is wiser to follow a weight loss program that includes good nutrition and sufficient physical activity. In my case, what I have do now is work on my physical activity component. Up to the present I have concentrated on cardiovascular exercise but at a fairly low resistance levels combined with weight training. I will stay with the same strength training routine but I need to turn the cardio up a notch. As I said in the previous post I use the stationary cycle to warm up and then continue with the treadmill, combining walking and jogging. The cycling part will stay the same – 15 minutes at a pre-set program which includes a warm-up session and then automatically and randomly increases resistance. The treadmill session is 45 minutes long and consists of brisk walking and adding a 1 minute jogging interval every 5 minutes. What I will do is simply increase the jogging duration from 1 minute to two and a half minutes. Let’s see if we can climb over this plateau. Talk to you next week!
By John Tiniakos
Categories: NL Natural Weight Loss Program
Sunday, May 12, 2013
As I said earlier, I had just started going to the gym after a long layoff. My workout is about an hour and a half long – give or take - and consists of 45 minutes cardio and 20-30 minutes strength training.
First I start with the stationary cycle for the warm-up and then I slowly increase resistance for a total of 15 minutes. I choose one of the pre-set programs that are available on the bike’s computer. Then I go on to stretching for 15-20 minutes. Immediately following that is the treadmill. This consists of mostly brisk walking with a few bursts of jogging in between lasting for about a minute each – every 5 minutes.
Here I like to do 2 body parts each time. I do 3 exercises per body part – 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise. The object is to do a different workout each time you go to the gym. You want to sort of surprise your muscles by changing your routine as opposed to doing the same exercises and training the same groups of body parts each time. The main body parts are back muscles, chest, shoulders, stomach, arms (biceps, triceps and forearms) and legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves). You’ll notice that because of the time I’ve allotted to weight training I have to really rush through the workout. You don’t want to rest too much between sets and exercises; you want to keep the muscles working.
I made a few changes to my diet but not huge changes like drastic calorie reduction, meal replacement plans, etc. I am not necessarily eating less now but let’s say I’m eating healthier - keep in mind that the introduction of physical activity to my schedule increases calorie expenditure. Basically I did a mental inventory of what my meals consisted of. I realized I was eating too many bad carbs and often combining bad carbs in meals. Instead of combining 2 or more carbs per meal (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta), I went strictly with 1 carb per meal and added a vegetable. I also switched white rice to brown rice, chose yams instead of potatoes and included whole grain bread and pasta with meals – no white flour products. I also realized that I was having too many snacks. I switched 2 of my snacks to liquid form. For example after the gym I would take a low calorie protein shake or drink. I know I shouldn’t be eating late night snacks at all, but for now I changed them to consist of only fresh fruit or fruit juice (low in sugar).So over the last 2 weeks I lost another 8 pounds for a total of 19 pounds so far. From now on it will get increasingly difficult to lose weight at this rate but I must continue in my quest.
By John Tiniakos
Categories: Diet Plan
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The other day I was in an Oriental market and I came across a refrigerated area that contained mainly beverages. The soy milk was on special and I decided to buy some. Although I had known all about the health benefits of soy milk I hadn’t used it for a few years. I had just casually forgotten about it. And since I am back on a weight loss campaign, (yes again, because as you may have guessed I have been slacking off for the past few months and the weight has begun to sneak back into my abdomen area, which was brought to my attention by my ex-girlfriend – I’ll explain later) I realized that soy milk can be very useful for this precise purpose - weight loss.A few months ago I had met a whole new group of friends, well actually three. How we met was purely a coincidence. At the time I was going through a depressing stage because I had broken up with my girlfriend (ok she broke up with me but don’t tell anyone). I was working long hours - I immersed myself into my work so that I could forget her. And at night I was finding it very difficult to sleep. So I’ll tell you about the night that I met these 3 people who are now close friends who are actually 3 women. That night I remember being exhausted and was driving down a dark boulevard. I was so tired that I began to nod off. And the next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital and being all bandaged up.
Without getting into all the details I was involved in a 4 car collision, I had received a concussion and was knocked unconscious. The drivers of the other 3 cars involved were unharmed and they had taken me to the hospital because the emergency forces were slow to respond. Of the 3 women one was a nurse so she knew what she was doing. Up until that point all four of us were strangers. But for whatever reason they all stayed that night, beside me, until I regained consciousness. And then they continued visiting me at the hospital over the next few days and we sort of developed a bond which eventually turned into a good friendship (just platonic in case you were wondering).Anyway not to bore you with more of this story, we began spending time visiting each other’s homes, going to dinner and other social functions but mostly dinners. We were trying all kinds of restaurants from Chinese to Italian to Middle Eastern, you name it. We all love to eat you see, but the only one that was showing evidence of that is yours truly. Yes, I was beginning to get overweight again; while my three friends were as thin as models (I hate them). And so I had to break the bad news to them: from this point on I couldn’t see them as often as before because it was back to the gym for me and back to proper nutrition.
So when I began my weight loss regimen which included physical activity 6 days a week and proper dieting (I’ll get in to that in more depth in later blogs), which meant shopping for healthier food choices, I ran into soy milk. I was using soy milk years ago but had totally forgotten about it until recently. Many people may not know this but soy milk in your diet will help you lose weight. By that I mean substituting soy milk for cow’s milk and other beverages in you daily diet can significantly reduce fat and cholesterol intake. In fact soy milk is a plant source (soy beans) beverage and does not contain any cholesterol. Personally I still use skim milk with my coffee (2 coffees a day) because I find soy milk alters its taste although some people actually prefer it in their coffee over milk.Cow’s milk versus Soy milk
In 8 ounce servings, skim milk contains about 20 more calories than soy milk. It doesn’t sound like much but when you take it over a period of weeks and even months that would amount to a significant calorie reduction by choosing soy milk. To be fair, on one front both milks contain calcium which has been shown to induce weight loss in certain studies – but you have to look at the total fat issue. Also, soy milk contains no cholesterol. In fact, soy milk contains soy protein which has been proven to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).Now exercise and strength training enthusiasts will tell you that cow’s milk is much more beneficial because it contains casein and whey protein which are important in muscle building. You may begin to wonder if milk would be a better choice here when you look at the following reasoning. Cow’s milk contains muscle building proteins that help to grow muscle, especially after a strength training workout. And we know that muscle burns more calories than body fat. Therefore a body that contains a higher muscle to fat ratio will burn more calories. So why not choose regular milk over soy? Well, let’s just say, First things first. People who are significantly overweight need to focus more on diet and cardiovascular exercise as means for weight loss. As they begin to significantly reduce body fat levels then the program can be altered to include or to increase weight training exercises. This is why I would suggest soy milk over cow’s milk at least in the early stages of weight loss until the weight loss target is reached. At that point we would concentrate on weight loss maintenance which is a whole new ball game.
We also have to look at the tremendous health benefits of soy milk as they cannot be avoided. Firstly soy milk is a good milk substitute for people who are lactose intolerant as it does not contain lactose. Various studies have shown that soy beans (used to produce soy milk) can favorably alter blood cholesterol and may reduce high blood pressure. Other studies have shown that soy can fight against cardiovascular disease and several forms of cancer including lung, endometrial and prostate cancers. Soy has been used in the treatment of constipation and diarrhea, and much more.I lost 11 pounds in one week by drinking soy milk without food reduction or even exercising at the gym! Let me explain. Before I started working out again, that is following my revelation to my three friends, I wanted to see how much weight I could lose in one week simply by using soy milk for most of daily beverage intake. That is, I simply drank soy milk instead of soda, milk and wine with my meals. The only other beverage I drank was plain water. That`s it. This was during the first week of my diet (although I hate using the word diet, because it pertains to something temporary). Keep in mind that during this first week I did not exercise or change the types of foods or the food portions of my meals. That’s right; I lost a total of 11 pounds in one week with soy milk. Not bad at all…35 more pounds to go.
By John TiniakosNL Natural Weight Loss Program
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Today I will give you a recipe for bok choy that I have made up myself through cooking authentic chinese dishes and then adding my own twist to them. Although this recipe may be similar to actual recipes made in China (it has that oriental flavor), I have not followed or copied any Chinese recipe for bok choy per se. You judge for yourself. I had a dinner party last week and let’s just say that the bok choy was the main topic of discussion during most of the dinner. In fact 2 women friends would not leave unless I gave them the recipe first.
Bok choy is rich in calcium and contains vitamins A and C and as well as beta carotene and iron. Let’s look at the health benefits here. Vitamin A and beta carotene (the body converts beta carotene to vitamin A or retinol which is essential for vision) are strong antioxidants that fight against many forms of cancer and heart disease. Without getting into a lengthy scientific discussion, antioxidants fight free radicals which can harm the body. Free radicals are molecules or atoms that have unpaired electrons which are unstable and may be formed when coming in contact with oxygen or a process called oxidation. These free radicals have been shown to be implicated in the development of various types of cancers and heart diseases in humans. So you can see now how Antioxidants as the name suggests can fight against these dangerous free radicals and help to maintain health.Alright enough of this scientific mambo jumbo you say. Let’s get right into the recipe. You’ll see that it’s really quite simple. You don’t have to add many spices to bok choy because it is naturally delicious. First let’s list the ingredients.
2 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
1 1/4 pounds fresh bok choy2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and ground black pepper
Slice the bottoms off the bok choy and then slice it lengthwise into strips. Or slice them in half if you like.
In a wok (medium heat) add the olive oil. When hot, add the garlic and ginger. Stir for a couple of minutes until it starts to change color. Then add the bok choy, soy sauce and honey and cook while tossing frequently for 2-3 minutes until they are slightly wilted. Then add the sesame oil and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the leaves are wilted and the stacks still crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve while hot.Spice up you dinner! This vegetable dish can be added to a Chinese or any other traditional meal as well. It is gluten free and the kids will enjoy it because it`s very tasty. It is high in fiber and nutrition and could be a great addition to a healthy weight loss diet. Enjoy!
By John Tiniakos
Author of the NL Natural Weight Loss Program
Categories: Diet Plan
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Firstly, I’d like to say a big hello to everyone out there that was patient enough to read my blogs over the years. I haven’t been around for a while as you may have noticed. It’s great to be back blogging again.Today’s blog is a little off the topic of weight loss. The reason being, I think this is a very important health topic that needs to be addressed, as there is a lot of confusion surrounding it. I’m talking about the health condition known as shingles. I’m sure a lot of people out there cringe at the sound of that illness, especially those that have suffered from it at some point in their lives.
The occurrence of shingles is rare among children and is more prevalent in adults. Shingles is a more severe form of chicken pox and occurs in people that may have already had chicken pox earlier in life. Let’s first talk about what shingles is and what are the actual symptoms.These are the symptoms of shingles according to web MD:
-Pain or a bruised feeling – usually on one side of your face or body -- often along with a fever, chills, headache, or upset stomach.
-Tingling, itching, or prickling skin and an inflamed, red skin rash several days later.-A group or long strip of small, fluid-filled blisters.
-Deep burning, searing, aching, or stabbing pain, which may occur once in a while or last a long time.My mother in fact contracted shingles a couple of weeks ago and the affected area is on the right side of her head. She had flu like symptoms and a severe migraine-type headache that just wouldn’t go away and later blisters appeared. She then went to her family doctor who identified it as shingles and gave her a prescription for anti-viral medication.
Instead of her condition improving it steadily got worse, the biggest problem being the chronic headache. We went back to the doctor and she said that there was not much more she could offer but suggested we try alternative medicine. I had heard of a practitioner in Chinese medicine that had a good reputation and although my mother was skeptical she agreed to go as her condition was worsening.We went to see him the next day and he suggested that acupuncture would be a very important part of the treatment. Then the treatment began: He began inserting the needles into various parts of her body while she was lying down on her back and was then told to relax for 10-15 minutes or so with the needles in place. When that was over, he gave her some cream to apply to the affected area (head). I believe this cream or ointment was called Capsaicin which is contains red pepper extract which is believed to contain properties that relive lingering pain from shingles. He also gave her a bottle of Chinese herb pills that he said will also help relieve the pain.
On the way home from the practitioner’s clinic my mother said that the pain began to sooth immediately after the acupuncture was applied and that she felt much better at that time. A few hours later she said that the headache was still there but was significantly decreased as was the case immediately following the treatment. That was yesterday as I am writing this post now. Today she said that her condition has further improved and there are fairly long periods during which she feels no pain at all. A follow-up treatment was made for tomorrow but she says that if her condition continues to improve she may choose to cancel the appointment (at the practitioner’s request by the way).At this point we can somewhat conclude that a combination of Western and Eastern medicine may be a better all-around treatment for shingles if of course using the results from one person is sufficient evidence to use it as a generalization. At any rate, it certainly cannot be ignored or judged as insignificant evidence.
Well, I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow and what my mother decides to do. I’ll keep you posted.
By John Tiniakos
Categories: Diet Plan