Exercise: Not Too Much, Not Too Little

Making the decision to change your health habits is easy. Most of us do it over and over, but COMMITTING to the health habits, well that’s the struggle, isn’t it?

This week we talked about exercise–the rewards of exercise, as well as the challenges to exercise. If losing weight and keeping it off is your goal, you’ll have to make peace with exercise. This means you must do some soul searching to discover which types of activities you will benefit from and stick with. Exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight.

In my professional opinion, exercise is overplayed as a method to lose weight.  Exercise truly has remarkable health benefits, but the bulk of attention initially should be given to nutrition, habits and behavior change strategies.

My simple formula for weight loss is this:

  • Cut calories–the exact number can be determined using predictive equations, but we take it a step further and use the Korr Reevue Metabolic analyzer to determine your exact kilocalorie needs for weight loss (or maintenance if that’s your goal).
  • Use a simple meal plan, either using whole foods, meal replacements, or a mixture of both. Short term nutrition goals for weight loss are specific and a structured plan helps. Ironically, less variety and options helps.
  • Moderate intensity exercise with an emphasis on building or maintaining lean muscle tissue.
  • Dig deep and identify what your TRUE goals are regarding weight loss. Weight loss requires a tremendous amount of persistent effort and it’s crucial to get clear about WHY you want it. It’s ok to be flexible and adapt goals along the way.
  • Build support. You may need to limit time spent with some people, and you certainly need to find new health buddies to support and encourage your health behaviors.
  • Commit to meeting with your health coach on a regular basis, and especially long-term
  • Understand that weight loss isn’t about a diet. It’s about a thorough lifestyle change that affects body, soul, mind and spirit.

Moderate exercise is my recommendation during the calorie cutting phase. Denying oneself of pleasurable food does not come naturally to most Americans and so the initial focus is on adjusting the nutrition for that individual. Cutting calories is essential for weight loss, but this doesn’t mean a person has to be starved.  There’s a proper way to cut calories that ensures the person feels satisfied.  Much fine-tuning is required to provide a personalized approach to weight loss.  Remember:  no one diet is right for every person.

At some point in the weight loss journey, a person will start to plateau. This is the proper time to consider increasing exercise intensity, or amount, or both. A trainer or a supportive fitness environment can help tremendously at this stage, but I recommend they continue to follow up with their nutrition coach.  At this stage, we may do metabolic testing again to ensure their calorie needs are on target. Monthly body composition testing ensures the person is losing fat, and not precious muscle.

Exercise is key in maintaining a healthy weight, but exercise should not be used in a disordered way to make up for lack of appropriate nutrition. I love the many facets of nutrition, but when it comes to weight loss, the number one challenge for people is to eat the appropriate amount of calories for their needs. The proper formula for weight loss will vary some with each client, but practice, patience and the right support is key.  Nutrition and Exercise should compliment each other and there should be an element of balance for both. This does not mean that exercise should always be easy, but it means the person should balance nutrition with the proper amount and type of exercise, while also managing stress and getting adequate sleep. Do these 4 things well and success is yours!

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Nutrition Solutions

Meal Planning IS the Magic Bullet


Health-solutions-upstate-genteic testing-metabolic

This week was ALL ABOUT MEAL PLANNING.  We talked about food, strategies, time management and we wrapped it up with a visit at Trader Joe’s.  The thing about meal planning is that it’s not “sexy.”  It doesn’t get enough attention for the fact that IT IS THE BEST WAY TO ENSURE WEIGHT LOSS.  Sure it’s ok to eat out every once in a while, but most Americans are completely reliant on fast-food and convenience foods.  A fast-food diet kills, slowly but surely.  Rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity (which is a disease by the way) have all soared over the last few decades.  I don’t think anyone chooses to be overweight, but if they go with the flow, the choice will be made for them.  We always say in class:  If you are going to commit to a healthy lifestyle, you will be going counter culture.  Nowhere is that more true than here in the southern part of the States.

What’s the secret to meal planning?  The secret is that there is no secret.  You just do it.  MEAL. PLAN. EVERY. DAY.  But there are a few tricks to save you time. Eventually, you will get to the point where meal prep is just another chore like bathing or brushing your teeth (Am I inspiring you yet!)  There’s nothing too fancy about meal planning, but you know you have to do it.  Not brushing your teeth for a week is not an option, really.  You have to get to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and you decide to do something about it.  Please let meal planning be the one thing that you commit to.

Here’s some tips:

  • Limit Variety During The Week To Save Time And Money. This means the core of what you eat everyday remains the same, but you can make changes to the seasonings or sides.  Core items in my diet include eggs, egg whites, Wild Alaska Salmon, Cod, Chunk Light Tuna and Tempeh.  To this protein base, I add vegetables and I usually stick to spinach, kale, riced Cauliflower and Green Beans.  Occasionally I have ½ of a baked sweet potato or homemade keto bread.  Snacks include low-fat plain yogurt, berries and a nut butter, a poached egg or a protein bar.  Weekends are fairly similar, but I may have something a little more savory for dinner.
  • Prep And Cook In Bulk On The Weekends. (or your least busy day). If Sunday is your meal prep day, then you’ll have to make sure your grocery shopping is done by the day before.  For me, this means I have to put the frozen fish in the refrigerator on Friday or Saturday in order for it to be thawed.
  • Have The Right Tools For The Right Job. You’ll need make sure your kitchen tools are easily accessible.  Tools that I use each week include a vegetable steamer, a toaster oven, an iron skillet, a large skillet, a baking stone, a Nutribullet and of course, a coffee maker.  Everything I use is stored strategically close to my cooking area.  In addition to cookware, an often neglected aspect of meal prep is Tupperware and a large insulated lunch bag.  Remember, you’ll be cooking anywhere from 2-5 servings to last you throughout the week and most of your meals won’t be eaten at home.  You’ll have to find a system that works for you.  For me this means I cook on Sundays and Tuesday evenings since I work Monday through Thursday.
  • Know your grocery store and get in and get out. Stick to your grocery list and try to avoid impulse purchases.  If you can limit variety, then your grocery shopping experience will be quick and easy because you’ll be eating the same core foods each week.  This recommendation is not a popular one, but unless you have extra time to plan, purchase and prepare a new menu each week, it’s really your best option.  The number one reason people don’t prepare their own meals is because of perceived lack of time.

Some final pointers—

The core of a healthy eating plan is one that emphasizes whole foods in their mostly natural state.  It should be low in added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat.  Feel free to go sugar-free, but don’t replace it with artificial sweeteners,  It’s worth mentioning that your meal plan should also be calorically balanced with the appropriate macro and micronutrients for your individual needs.  Eating healthy and losing weight are not necessarily the same strategies.  One common mistake people make is that they commit to eating healthy, but they still eat too much.  This is tough for Americans. We were raised in the “clean your plate club.”

Don’t have time to cook?  No problem. Let our Chef James prepare your meals.  Click here to order chef meals prepared daily.  Order them just the way you like.  We’re the only company locally that has meals created by a dietitian and a chef.  That means our meals are perfectly portions in calories and macro balanced.

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