The “F” Word

Let’s talk about the F word. No, not the 4 letter one that you say when you stub your toe, hit traffic on your way to an event you were supposed to be early for, or when your favorite team loses the SuperBowl. Sorry about that Denver Bronco fans. I’m talking about the three-letter one, as in F-A-T. Oh, that F word.

What is fat? Fat is just energy for use by the body. So if I eat a bacon-avocado double cheeseburger, which will be loaded with fat, I will  be consuming plenty of energy.

bacon burger

And here’s where shit goes crazy. If you don’t use the burger above, that looks like it easily goes over 1,000 calories, for energy by moving, it will be stored as fat on your body for future use. Your body doesn’t know that you live in a time where food is everywhere and available all da time? It probably still thinks you’re a hunter gatherer, so it stores energy on your body as fat, for times of little or no food. I believe this is called scarcity.

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Look at the bear above. He will fatten up on salmon because he will go with no food for months during his hibernation. But we are not bears, despite the fact that I have eaten like one on several occasions. We do not hibernate either, as much as some of us would like too. And we absolutely do not need to fatten up, for health purposes.

And for all you vegetarians out there, please know that you can gain weight without eating meat. Anyone who consumes pasta, bread, cookies, home-made fruit juices, and sodas, and doesn’t burn those calories/energy off through movement, will also gain weight in the form of fat.

Now that does not mean that a calorie is just a calorie either. A slice of your favorite pie and a piece of chicken do not have the same effect on your body. Chicken is loaded with amino acids for muscle repair and most pies are loaded with sugar. If a calorie is just a calorie, then why can diabetics eat certain foods but are advised to reduce or eliminate others? Different foods effect our bodies in different ways.

But no matter the food, whether carbohydrate, protein, or fat, if your body does not use it as energy, it unfortunately will not poop it out. It will be stored as fat on your body. Any of you who own pets know this is also true with them. Give your pet too much food and not enough exercise, and he will gain weight. By the way, if you take super care of your dog, do the same for yourself too. You and your dog will be grateful.

Lean Boxer.

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And not so lean Boxer.

Bichon maltais blanc assis & coquin sur fond blanc

The not so lean Boxer above does not have a thyroid issue either. Do dogs even have thyroid glands? Wait, just Googled it. They do have thyroid glands.

So if you are trying to lose weight, try to view the excess weight on your body as excess energy and not the defeating F word. That excess energy is waiting to be burned off. The best way to do that is to reduce your calories so your body can feed itself with its own fat, and to move, so it can further feed itself the energy it needs to accomplish your exercise activity of choice.

When people say “We need to burn the fat off” what they are really saying is “We need to move and reduce our calorie intake so that our bodies can feed on its own fat like a hibernating bear in Alaska”.

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I know we all have different reasons for consuming food. One of the worst reasons is for the hell of it. Our body needs food for the same reasons animals do, to survive. Nature hardwired us that way. What nature didn’t do is equip us with a mechanism that lets us know when we are full and should stop eating. That would be great, wouldn’t it? If while you were eating pizza and chicken wings slathered in some dipping sauce, and you reached your calorie allotment for the day a big DING! sound would go off in your brain telling you that you are full and you should stop eating. And there’s not even an app for that. There are apps to help you track your calorie intake, but only you can tell you when to stop eating.

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To Snack or Not To Snack?

What is a snack? I have no idea. Is a PB&J sandwich a snack? Are 3 Oreo cookies a snack? Is a slice a pizza a snack? If it is not, is half a slice a pizza a snack? It probably is because it contains about 150 calories. I found this chart of healthy snacks on the internet.

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Personally, I would never pick pickles as a snack. Eating pickles only, and by choice, is something you might do because your pregnant. I snack on almonds, yogurt, a piece of fruit, or crackers. Sometimes I will have a chicken salad sandwich as a snack, but half way through devouring it I wonder if it’s a meal more than a snack.

If you are trying to lose weight, in my opinion, your snacks should contain no more than 200 calories. Keep in mind that a snack still has calories. And in order to lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit through exercise and calorie reduction. Having snacks might create a challenge.

You should be able to go about 4 hours between meals. So if you eat something at 8 am, and you know you will eat again at 12 pm, tough it out. Make it to 12 pm without a snack. You won’t starve. Remember, you’re trying to lose weight. And don’t worry, that whole “If you cut your calories too much, or you go too long between meals, you will go into starvation mode” takes a whole lot of calorie cutting to accomplish.

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But if you do have lunch at 12 or 1 pm and you know you won’t eat again until 6 or 7 pm, you might want to have a snack handy so your blood sugar levels don’t plummet, and then you get home and eat like if you played in the Super-Bowl on Sunday, when you really just work behind a desk.

Please do not get offended, my hard-working desk workers. I’m just looking out for you. I believe people who sleep 7 to 8 hours a night, drive to work, sit behind a desk for another 8 hours, drive back home, and then deal with family commitments, children, and entertain themselves with television or some computer gadget until bedtime, five days a week, have a tough hill to climb when it comes to weight loss. That’s a whole lot of inactivity I just wrote about. And if you throw in some weekend social outings that revolve around food and drink, that’s a double whammy!

But this post is not about movement, it’s about food, and specifically snacks. If you can cut out 200 calories worth of snacks a day, that is 1000 calories a week (Monday-Friday). That is about 52,000 calories per year! 52k calories is about 14 pounds of fat, gained or lost, depending on if you increase or reduce your calories by 200 a day, five days a week. If you don’t get the point yet let me find a better way to describe how many calories 52,000 is. THAT’S A SHIT LOAD OF CALORIES! Excuse the curse, but I think it was necessary.

From now on, when you’re about to have a snack, ask yourself “Am I having this snack because I have to, or because it is available and convenient?” Also, try to figure out how many calories your snack has by reading the label, or going to one of those calorie counting websites, there’s a kazillion of them now, and inputting your snack of choice to find out its calorie content. By the way, kazillion is word, and so is bazillion. But Brazilian is a person from Brazil, and not a number. My favorite word that is a word, but is not a word, but kinda is, is Whatchamacallit. It has about 225 calories per bar. It’s almost low enough in calories to be a snack! You better not!

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Cutting back on snacks (excess calories) here and there, throughout the day, is the best and easiest thing you can do to aid weight loss. So next time you walk by that candy dish or candy machine at work, show some discipline and keep on walking. I know you have discipline. If you don’t believe me, write down all the things that you have accomplished in your life that required some form of discipline. You will be surprised at all the things you have accomplished that you forget to give yourself credit for.

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Funny Fitness

Happy Monday and July 1st to everyone. For many of you, this is a short week because of 4th of July, so I hope you have a big cheesy smile on your face. Is it just me, or doesn’t this year seem like it is flying by? I swear it feels like we went from the Christmas Holidays, to Spring, and then BAM!!!, summer is here. Someone please slow down the sand grains in the hour-glass, because I like my life and I don’t want it to zoom by.

Sands of Time

Speaking of summer being here, how about those temperatures out west? Holy hot tamale Batman, muy caliente. In Las Vegas it got up to 115 degrees yesterday! It’s so hot in Vegas that the low was 90 last night. That’s nothing though, because in Death Valley the low was 97 last night. Oh what the hell, let’s just call the low an even 100 degrees. Yes, you read that right, the low was 100.  If the low was 100, just guess what the high was yesterday in Death Valley, California? Good guess, but you guessed wrong. The high was 127 “burn my ass up” degrees! It has been reported on twitter, and in case you didn’t know everything on twitter is true, that people in hell reading “The Daily Devil Press”, while eating Habanero peppers whole, have been saying “God Damn it’s hot in Death Valley”. By the way, if you’re in hell you can say “God Damn”. What do you have to lose?

How hot is it in Death Valley? It is so hot that people are sitting in saunas and taking Bikram yoga just to cool off.

heat wave

As your health and exercise consultant, I am constantly telling you to exercise outside because the fresh air, movement, and sun is good for your health. Well, I have a new rule for you. Unless you are a Mohave desert lizard, training for a marathon in hell, or planning to move to the sun when you retire, do not exercise outdoors if it’s over 90 degrees. My personal “exercise outside” heat limit is 100 degrees, because I am extreme like that. And I am not a Mohave desert  lizard, although I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

I went to an Oriole’s game last week on one of those days when it was in the 90’s during the day here in Silver Spring, Maryland. I think a lady beat me to the punch about not exercising when it is hot outside.

It was an evening game, so the temperature had cooled to the 70’s. My wife and I got some seats out in left field right next to the Oriole’s bullpen. For those of you who don’t know what a bullpen is, it is a pen where they keep a bunch of live bulls during the game. When fans get drunk and belligerent, because alcohol gives them courage and imaginary muscles, they get arrested and then forced to ride a live wild bull in front of all the fans. If they can’t stay on the bull for more than 8 seconds, like a real rodeo cowboy, they go to jail until they sober up. I am just kidding of course. A bullpen is where pitchers warm up before they come in to pitch during a game. I have no idea why they really call it a “bullpen”. Someone please enlighten me. The Oriole’s bullpen is pictured below. And as you can see, there are no bulls in the vicinity. The stadium does sell Angus burgers though.

orioles bullpen

While we were sitting watching the game, a lady no more than 10 feet away to our left, in the same row as us, was doing some exercise movements. I couldn’t quite figure out what she was doing. My wife figured our why this lady was standing and exercising throughout the whole game. My wife is so smart. I busted out my i-phone and got some film of the exercising lady for you to analyze.

If any pitcher in the bullpen stood up to warm up, she stood up along with him and mimicked his movements as best as she could, all game l-o-o-o-o-o-n-n-g-g-g-g-g.

She was a hardcore fan too. I think “fanatic” is the term. The Oriole team colors are orange and black. Her toenails were orange. Her pants were orange. Her fingernails were orange. Even her phone cover was black and orange. Yes, I am observant. Observant is just a nicer way of saying nosy. Just like “I am running some errands” is code for “mind your own business”, when you ask someone what they are up to and they give you the “errands” response. They obviously don’t want to tell you what they are doing because if they did, they would. Guess what I am doing later today with my wife? We are running some errands. haha

 

Exercise and Fitness Mythbuster Alert!

Hello everyone. Today, let’s do some myth busting in regards to weight loss and fitness.

Myth #1: Women shouldn’t lift weights because they will get bulky or musclebound. This is false.

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The truth is that women should lift weights because it boosts metabolism which will aid fat loss, obviously strengthens muscles, burns calories, strengthens bones by increasing their density, helps depression, helps coordination, and helps adds muscle tone.

Ladies, do you have any idea how hard it is to gain muscle by weight lifting? It is very, very difficult. If becoming musclebound was just as simple as going to the gym and pumping some iron, there would be buff men everywhere. Look around ladies, buff men that look like real life action figures is not the norm, at least not where I live.

The main reason that men are physically stronger than women is testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that has many functions. One of those functions is building muscle, and that is why every year male professional athletes get busted for illegal testosterone use. The average man naturally has 10 to 20 times the testosterone levels of the average woman. Ladies, if you start taking testosterone to equal or exceed the testosterone levels found naturally in men, aka anabolic steroids, and lifting heavy weights and eating like a professional wrestler, you might look like this:

buff female

Or this…

buff woman

I do not have any proof that the ladies above took any testosterone, but it’s even difficult for a man to be as muscular and vascular as these ladies are.

Ladies, do not be afraid to lift weights. I promise you, you will not get buff.

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Myth #2: If you stop lifting weights, the muscle you gained will turn into fat. This is a popular myth spread by those gym goers who stay in the cardio section and are allergic to weights. It is 100% false.

Just like gold cannot turn into silver, and steel can’t turn into cotton, muscle absolutely cannot turn into fat. And for those men out there who like to “bulk up” and gain fat because they swear they are going to turn the fat into muscle by summer time, that is impossible too.

Muscles on the human body are a group of tissues that require energy in the form of glucose to work, for the most part, and protein to rebuild. Muscles are very active on the human body, even when you are not moving.

muscle chart

Fat is stored energy on the human body that is ready to be used by the body. Fat is very inactive on the human body.

Myth #3: Sit-ups, crunches, and all other types of abdominal exercises will trim the waistline. This is false.

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This does not mean that abdominal exercises won’t make your core stronger, if done correctly, they will. But the main way to trim your waistline is by losing fat, which equals losing weight.

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The young lady above lost mucho weight, and as a result her waist shrank a great deal.

The inverse is also true. If a man has six-pack abs and he starts drinking beer and eating fast food almost every night, he will gain weight. The weight will be gained in the form of fat and increase his waistline size in the process, even if he does tons of ab exercises.

There you have it. Three myths blown up by Healthy Homeboy.

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How to KILL Your Food Cravings

One of the questions I get quite often about dieting is how to deal with food cravings.  You know what I am talking about, it’s late at night, your are watching tv, and BAM … you get hungry.  What do you do?  Here’s my solution.  It works for food cravings and other things in life.