Very Low Calorie Diets Do Not Work In The Long Run

Have you heard of the new hCG diet?  The hormone hCG is actually the hormone that the body makes during pregnancy.  The hCG diet is an extremely low calorie diet (500 calories per day for 8 weeks) while taking hCG, either by getting a shot or by taking a homeopathic product, such as oral drops, pellets, or sprays, which you can buy at health food stores.   The Bernstein diet is also a very low calorie diet (700-900 calories per day) and they give you B-12 injections.  There are tons of diets that supply less than 1000 calories per day but are they good for you?

I am not personally a fan of very low calorie diets (VLCD) as I don’t believe that eating so little calories is successful in the long run.  Statistics show that people who follow a very low calorie diet put their weight back on quickly because they go back to eating more calories once (if) they achieve their weight loss goals, and once you start eating more calories, the body wants to store the extra calories simply because it needs it for daily body functions and doesn’t know if you are going to starve yourself again.   The body is quite brilliant and resourceful.

We all have what’s called a basal metabolic rate (BMR).  The BMR is the amount of calories the body burns AT REST just to operate our bodies.  This would include respiration, digestion, elimination etc.  My BMR is 2,200 calories due to my weight, amount of muscle and water is in my body.  If I eat only 800 calories (or less) then my body is in a deficit of 1,400 calories.  This deficit will greatly upset my body as it needs energy to function.  This is actually very dangerous to your body because you will not get all the nutrients that you need thus having nutritional deficiencies which will cause a plethora of other health issues.

Look at the “fight or flight” response.  When you are facing a life threatening situation you can either run or you can fight.  When this happens, some factors come to play.  Your pupils dilate (so you can see better), the blood is shunted to your muscles (so you can run) AND your body stores fat because it simply doesn’t know how long you are going to run or fight for.  This is an automatic response of the body, which is also why it is difficult for you to lose weight if you are stressed (physically or emotionally).

The same thing happens when you ‘starve’ yourself.  Your body will store fat the minute you start eating again because it is simply trying to protect itself for the future.  It’s quite amazing really and at the same time, quite frustrating.

Bottom line…don’t starve yourself.  It’s not healthy and you will most likely put your weight back on at some point.  It’s simply not feasible to eat less than 1000 calories every day forever.  Be realistic.  Make healthier lifestyle changes including following a healthy low carb diet and walking or some exercise.  I wish I had that magic weight loss pill but if I did, I would be somewhere in the Caribbean drinking Mai Tai’s on the beach…



Exercise – That 4-Letter Word

Exercise…the four letter word!

How come exercise isn’t a four letter word??? Most of us hate to exercise but we know it is an important factor if you want to lose weight. Working out stimulates the growth of metabolic tissues, meaning that it increases your metabolism. Losing weight with exercise means you will burn more fat. The number on the scale may not seem as impressive at first, but that’s because muscle weighs more than fat and it takes up less space than fat does so you look smaller and your clothes fit better. You don’t have to join a gym if this isn’t something you like. The key is to find something that fits into your lifestyle. Walk with a friend, join a bowling league or volleyball team. Get some DVD’s and exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Walk up and down the stairs. Do sit ups in front of the TV. Get some dumbbells and work out while watching TV. Where there is a will there is a way. The key is to find something you can maintain, and just get started

Some of the advantages of exercise include:

  • Weight loss and increased muscle (which increases metabolism)
  • Increased energy
  • Reduces stress and enhances mood
  • Reduces risk of heart disease including cholesterol and blood pressure and makes the heart muscle stronger
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Strengthens digestive system
  • Better health overall

IF YOU COULD GET ALL OF THESE BENEFITS (and I only named a few) IN ONE PILL…WOULD YOU TAKE IT?  Of course you would.  We want the benefits of exercise without having to do it.  Start slow, set goals and as Nike would day, Just Do It!  Have fun with it.  It shouldn’t be too hard or boring.  Find a buddy who will exercise with you.

What to look for in a weight loss supplement

In order to lose weight, there are a few factors to consider that a good weight loss supplement will address:

  1. Stress: You need to address stress. When you are stressed (mentally or physically) your body goes into the ‘fight or flight’ response.  When this happens your body immediately stores fat.  It is our coping mechanism.  Your body doesn’t know how long you’re going to fight or run so it needs to store energy for the long term.
  2. Appetite Control: Many of us ‘live to eat’ when we should ‘eat to live’.  We are addicted to food and are surrounded with fast food and junk food.  We need to get our appetites under control.
  3. Blood Sugar: It is imperative to keep our blood sugars balanced. When our blood sugar is out of whack and insulin levels are high, your body compensates by storing fat.
  4. Boost Metabolism: You will lose more weight and much faster if you increase your metabolism.  Putting more wood on your fire will help you burn more fat, even at rest.
  5. Maintain or Gain Muscle: Muscle is metabolically active so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.  Many low calorie diets do not allow you to eat enough protein which causes muscle loss.  Try having a protein shake in the morning or as a mid afternoon snack.

When looking for a weight loss supplement, if you can get something that has all of these factors in it…go for it!  Let me know if you need some help!

Garcenia Cambogia for Weight Loss?

What Is Garcenia Cambogia and How Will It Help Me Lose Weight?

Garcenia Cambogia is a tropical fruit also known as Malabar Tamarind.  It has been a popular weight loss supplement and for good reason…it works for a lot of people!  I have had so many people come into our stores raving about this supplement and saying that they are losing weight.  I’ve also read some reviews on line that show it doesn’t help but isn’t this the case with everything?  I’ve read negative reviews on pretty much everything that comes in a supplement.  Not everything works for everybody.  You just have to try it and see how it works for you.

But how does it work?

The active ingredient in Garcenia is Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), which is in a lot of weight loss supplements listed under HCA. An extract from the fruit rind is where they get the HCA from.  Garcenia blocks the body’s ability to make fat and helps to boost fat-burning.  Garcenia appears to block an enzyme called Citrate Lyase which your body uses to make fat.  It also raises levels of the brain chemical serotonin which may make you less hungry and helps to reduce appetite.  It has also been shown to reduce stress levels (cortisol) which is very important for weight loss because if you’re stressed you store fat, you don’t burn it.

Other Health Benefits

Some studies show that Garcenia controls blood sugar by making it easier for your body to use glucose so it is recommended for people with insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes.   Some research also shows that Garcenia can improve cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides and LDL and raise HDL levels.

Garcenia also helps to improve exercise performance, helps with joint pain,  helps to empty the bowels and parasite cleansing.

What Do I Look For When Buying Garcenia Cambogia

  • Look for one that it 100% pure
  • It must show % of HCA on the label. The higher the HCA the better.  You should look for one that is 80% – 95% HCA
  • It should be 1,500 mg
  • It should not contain any artificial ingredients (fillers, binders, colors etc)

Can I Use The Fruit in Recipes?

The Garcenia fruit looks a little like a baby pumpkin and is between a yellow and green color.  The flavor of the fruit is slightly sweet and slightly sour.  It tastes like a cross between an orange and a pumpkin.  The fruit is native to Southeast Asia, India, Indonesia and regions of Central and Western Africa.  It is actually used in a lot of dishes in these countries, such as chutneys and sauces.  It is also used in stews an soups as it helps to thicken the broth.  Garcenia is very rich in fiber so using it for cooking helps to enhance the consistency of food as well as the flavor.  Indians use the rind of the fruit as a flavoring in curry.  It adds a little sour flavor which they believe may help to activate your body’s digestion.

If you want to add Garcenia to your daily regime for weight loss, you will have to take it in supplement form as the HCA from the rind is concentrated and high dose and you could not eat enough fruit to get the amount in supplements.  However you can certainly add this fruit/rind in some recipes for additional help in weight loss.  The problem is finding this fruit in the grocery stores.  Perhaps some Asian or Indian food stores carry it but you would have to call them ahead of time so you are not traveling around the city.  If anyone can find it, please let me know and I will share with everyone!

How Does Stress Affect Weight Loss and Health?

Firstly, let it be known that 70% of all doctor’s visits are stress related.  Stress contributes to 7 of the top 10 killers in North America.  These would include heart disease, cancer and diabetes just to name a few.  Additionally, stress causes poor sleep which in turn is a major stress on your body.   Cortisol is our stress hormone which is released when your body perceives a stressor.  Cortisol is not all bad…it is the hormone of energy and alertness and adapts to stress.  It’s when we get too much cortisol that becomes a major problem.

Cortisol is our fight or flight hormone.  If you were chased by a predator, you either fought it or you ran like a bat out of hell.  Physiologically multiple things happen when your cortisol levels are activated.  Blood is shunted away from your gut and pushed into the muscles (so you can run faster).  Your pupils dilate (so you can see where you are running) and most importantly, you store fat!  Your body doesn’t know how long you will have to run for so it stores fat for future energy.  So bottom line, when you are stressed you will not lose weight because your body becomes very efficient at storing fat!

Today, stress (emotional or physical) is almost constant and this can cause a number of issues when it comes to weight loss and health, especially when combined with easy access to unhealthy foods.  Cortisol makes cells less responsive to incoming signals.  For example; Type II Diabetes is a disease where sufficient insulin is produced, but your body’s cells can’t read the insulin signal.  We call this insulin resistance.  When insulin remains high as in this case, your body will NOT release fat from its fat cells which traps the fat you have into their cells.

Many good weight loss supplements will add ingredients to address cortisol as well as added fat burners.