Archive for August, 2011

Freelance eating can make us fat


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Freelance eating, mindless eating or seefood diet or whatever you want to call it can make people who have “sluggish metabolism” get fat. If you are reading this blog, you can probably name a few people around you who can eat as much as they want yet they stay lean. If so, you are probably asserting that these people simply have fast metabolisms that’s why they don’t gain any weight regardless of how much they eat. Outside the world of people who dieted down to get lean, those people whom we label as fast metabolism-type are simply good intuitive eaters. They stay lean not because they have fast metabolisms but because their bodies are more efficient than ours on handling calories. What does it mean? When these people overeat today as we can see, they are more likely to eat less later on the day/ next day to compensate the huge amount of calories that they ingested. Another reason why they stay lean is because let’s say, they ate a huge portion of high-calorie meal, their bodies are making them move spontaneously to burn off those excess calories. You will probably argue with me that these people really does have fast metabolisms but think about it, you only get to see these people eat once/ twice a day. You are not monitoring how much foods they are really eating on a 24/7 basis. If and when you will only watch these people’s behavior if how their body respond/ react to their environment, you’d be convinced that they really don’t have a fast metabolism as you’ve always thought. While it’s true that we all have varying metabolic rate at rest, this rate of metabolism hype is getting too much attention which diverts our attention to a more important matter which is in our control and I am talking about diet and physical activities including exercise. You can whine all day and envy these people with fast metabolisms but you will still never acquire these people’s same physiology. They are born like that but it doesn’t mean that we(us who gets easily fat) are doomed to fatness because we can adapt(not mimic) to these people techniques why and how they stay lean.

I’m the type of person who is very observant to my environment including the people’s behavior around me. In the context of eating behavior, according to my observation, many people’s body weight highly fluctuates as a result of poorly structured diet or diet that has no structure at all. I’m actually referring to eating pattern itself. It doesn’t matter whether you are tracking your calorie intake or if you are following a specific diet but if your diet(both the amount and types of food that you eat) are beyond your control, you can still get fat easily. In our modern world environment, foods are easily accessible while the demand for physical activities are becoming less and less due to automation/ modern technology and as a result, we either eat more calories than we need or we burn less calories in total or both. In real world scenario, you probably have a sedentary job wherein the people around you likes to eat. A combination of an inactive job plus freelance eating can be a disaster in the making.

Due to the modern fast-phased environment, it was such a hassle for many of us to worry about how much and what we eat. For example, while I’m at work, some of my coworkers are bringing their own food while some are living on a fast food diet everyday. I’m not saying that one or the other is necessarily better because depending on the type of the food that you habitually bring to work and the total amount of calories that you consume on an everyday basis, these factors can later on result into accumulation of surplus calories. As far as my coworkers who are living on fast foods everyday, fast foods are not automatically bad either. It’s just they are not really paying attention to what they are ordering out. Fast foods are known for being calorie-dense foods but there are many lower calorie variety that we can order instead. These people doesn’t even log or remember all the foods that they have eaten yet they tend to wonder why they were not losing any weight but they they tend to have an amnesia about those high calorie foods that they sneaked in their diet. Even high calorie foods are not evil either but if this excess calories left unused on an everyday basis instead of being used/ burned for energy, we get fat. See, there is really no diet structure. I always emphasize the importance of awareness and adaptation to our environment. There are many ways to become aware: buy a diet book that suits your liking, consider calorie counting, seek a nutritionist, etc. Without awareness, we cannot adapt to our environment. Any diet regardless of what it is needs structure because that is how we get manage our weight effectively.

Guesstimating the amount of calories that we eat or burn doesn’t work. In fact, we get fat as a result of underestimation of the total calories that we eat on an everyday/ weekly basis and we tend to overestimate the amount of calories that we burn or both. Focus on the things that can do something about then find a way how to apply it in your everyday life. Small changes can yield huge results. Just do it consistently.

This is probably the only documentary around that is worth watching regarding weight management:

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Sony PSP and it’s games that are worth playing


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I have owned several handheld consoles since I was a kid. I had the Nintendo Game & Watch, Tiger handheld games, the original Nintendo Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Sega Game Gear, Sony PSP 1000(the very first PSP) and a Sony PSP Go. This may be a late review since PSP has been around for several years but I think PSP is actually one of the greatest console ever made because it has a near-PS2 quality in my pocket. If you don’t own a PSP, this is the best time now to buy a PSP because of it’s new lowered price as of this moment:

PSP 3000 = $129

PSP Go = $199

There is a rumor that since the new PSP Vita is coming out soon, Sony will discontinue the production of the PSP Go so if you are planning to buy a Go instead of the 3000 version, this is the right time to buy. In fact, we always go to a local Walmart, Target and Gamestop and I really don’t see any PSP Gos in the shelves so your best bet is to buy it online either EBay or Sony direct. I personally prefer the PSP Go over the PSP 3000 because of it’s sleek design, portability and memory capacity(built in 16gb) plus you can buy a separate M2 memory card which is unfortunately a very costly one. However, I was lucky to buy a couple of 4gb M2 cards from the Sony Style store which I got for $14 each. Of course, upon buying a new PSP, you must weigh the pros and cons of each system(PSP 3000 vs. PSP Go). In my experience, since I own both, UMDs tend to break easily and they’re simply bulky to carry around with but the screen is much bigger than the screen of the PSP Go. I think the placement of it’s analog stick is also more convenient compared to the PSP Go’s which was located in the middle. There are actually more games that are available through the UMDs only than digital copy. Although the PSP Go has a huge memory capacity, it’s games can only be bought from the official Sony PSN store which can be downloaded directly to the PSP Go, to the computer or to the PS3. In my experience, downloading games takes forever depending on the size of the game. My Internet speed here at home was 13.5 mb per second and it still takes about an hour and a half to download a file that is more than 1gb in size. In terms of portability which is the true purpose of the PSP, the Go would instantly trump the 3000 because the Go is only as big as an IPhone. In my observation, the PSP Go also has a faster loading times than the 3000 because it uses a digital copy versus reading a CD-ROM(UMD) disc. As far as the disadvantages are concerned, the PSP Go has a more limited game library than the 3000. Not all the games are available through PSN. If you’re also a previous phat PSP owner, there’s no way you can convert your UMD games into digital copy which means you need to buy them again.

As far as the games, I will enumerate all the games that are in my opinion worth-playing/ worth-owning. Of course, these are based on my personal taste and the only game genre that I will not include are puzzle games and sports:

1.) Grand theft auto: Liberty City Stories

2.) Grand theft auto: Vice city stories

3.) Syphon Filter Logan’s Shadow

4.) Metal Gear Solid: Peace walker

5.) Ys Seven

6.) Persona 3 Portable

7.) God of War: Ghost of Sparta

8.) Dante’s Inferno PSP

9.) Valkyria Chronicles 2

10.) Megaman X Maverick Hunter

11.) Guilty Gear Judgement

12.) Sims 2

13.) Little Big Planet

14.) X-men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse (not available on Go)

15.) Kingdom Paradise

16.) Obscure: The Aftermath

17.) Silent Hill: Origins

18.) Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles

19.) Sega Genesis Collection

20.) Unbound Saga

21.) Untold Legends: Brotherhood

22.) Gran Turismo

23.) Fat Princess

24.) Monster Hunter Portable 3

25.) Twisted Metal: Head on

26.) Socom: Fireteam Bravo 3

Another cool feature of PSP is it’s ability to play PSONE games. Here are some great timeless titles that are available via PSN for downloads:

1.) Resident Evil 1

2.) Resident Evil 2

3.) Resident Evil 3

4.) Dino Crisis 2

5.) Final Fantasy VII

6.) Final Fantasy VIII

7.) Xenogears

8.) Vagrant Story

9.) Threads of Fate

10.) Fighting Force

11.) Parasite Eve 2

There are probably many more good games that I failed to mention but these are simply my favorites.

Diet Religion: Not so sacred after all


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To some people, diet is like a religion. Every time that I hear/ see people spreading the gospel of their diet, my initial reaction was to just nod and chuckle to myself. When I say diet gospel, there are many people out there who likes to cherry-pick studies and data which are supporting their diet beliefs while ditching the reliable scientific evidence that antagonizes their claims. It’s pretty much comparable to a religion. To these people, there is only one “true way of dieting” LOL! These people are often committing the sin of logical(brogical fallacies) fallacies. Most of the time, these are the same folks who practices absolutism which can be really dangerous if we follow their advice if taken out of context.

There are so many diets around these days and honestly, all diets work! All diets work is an absolute statement because I didn’t define the context of application. That’s what most religious dieters will tell you about their diet religion, it works! They will quote experts, studies and authorities(appeal to authority fallacy) which supports their beliefs while ignoring validated evidence that antagonizes their beliefs. So, how do we know the truth? The truth is, there is no single diet that will work for everyone at all given situations. The religious diet zealots will often tell you that their “True diet(TM)” improved their health, improved their body composition, improved their energy levels blah blah blah simply by avoiding this and not eating that. There is no good and bad foods, only good and bad diets applied in the right context of application.

There is actually an invisible war taking place between diet zealots these days. A battle between low-carb/ high fat diet zealots vs. low-fat/ high carb diet zealots, avoid this vs. eat this type of diets, etc. Who is correct? These people are actually not doing most of us any favor because they only add confusion to the already confused public of whom to believe. Choosing the best diet includes proper assessment in order for us to choose the most appropriate diet designed according to a specific scenario. That is the key on finding the “optimal diet.”
One of the reasons why many dieters fail to comply to their diet is because they are using an incorrect diet. What makes their diet incorrect is because their diet is inappropriate to them due to adherence issue or not suitable to a given situation. Just like what I have discussed in this blog: https://jeanpauloman.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/non-linear-lifestyle-needs-non-linear-calories/, our everyday lives consists of changes. Change is a universal law of nature. It is the only constant thing in the universe. When it comes to successful dieting, a diet should compliment our lifestyle, not the other around.

That’s why it can be really helpful to familiarize ourselves about different kinds of successful diets. This way, we can weigh each of it’s own pros and cons. There is no such thing as a perfect diet but there will always be the most appropriate diet than can be applied on a given scenario. As far as health markers are concerned, almost all diets that is capable of producing calorie deficit therefore weight/ fat loss in the long run, it can drastically improve one’s health and well-being. It was even proven by Professor Haub’s experiment wherein he only ate Twinkies while supplying his diet with adequate protein, some vegetables and of course, applying calorie deficit through calorie restriction.

In the end, a successful diet is something that can be maintained for a long time without depriving ourselves from both essential nutrients as well as the foods that we like to eat.

No brainer diet: Managing weight without the hassle


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While this blog isn’t really about a specific diet but rather a layout and an overview of what the easiest and simplest ways of managing weight as simple as possible would be like. One of the reasons why many people fail to keep the weight off that they’ve lost while dieting is because they fail to adapt to establish a new dietary habit. Successful weight management is a result of lifestyle changes and not due to the type of diet per se. Some people may call this technique as “clean eating” but regardless of what they want to call it, clean eating is not necessarily bad and it surely has it’s place on dieting world but it really doesn’t offer any magical effects except for convenience. This especially applies to people who prefers not to track their calorie intake anyway just like what I named the title of this blog. People who have no clue on how to begin a diet may also benefit on this type of eating regimen since it is very easy to follow due to minimal dietary modifications.

If you are reading this blog, some of you may have read some diets and diet tips from fitness magazines, diet books, and alike. I’m sure that these references must have told you to eat certain types of foods to lose weight/ fat while avoiding specific type of foods but what they are not telling us is this technique simply makes us restrict calories in disguise. While there is really no one type of food that is fattening, there are some foods that we can easily overeat without realizing it. Since the goal of this strategy is to simplify the effort applied, in this context, “clean eating” can be beneficial to most people. The strategies that I will enumerate below are results of my personal experience, my observation among the people around me and my observation based on the people around the fitness community.

1.) Eat lean protein instead of fatty cuts of meat

Good sources of lean protein are skinless chicken breast or skinless chicken thigh, pork chops(visible fat trimmed), sirloin and tenderloin steak, tilapia fish, mahi-mahi, shrimps, crabs, eggs, low-fat dairy such as fat-free milk/ low fat milk, low fat cheese, beans, legumes, oysters, mussels, snails, frog meat, bison meat, etc. By switching to lean meats instead of eating fatty cuts of meats, you can save a lot of calories without noticing it.

2.) Eat more whole foods

Whole foods are foods that we found in nature/ natural form. These foods are minimally processed therefore, the degree refinement of these foods are very little to none. If you are buying canned fruits/ pickled fruits, switch to fresh/ frozen fruits and vegetables. Most pickled fruits contain added sugar/ syrup in it adding unnecessary empty calories. By eating whole foods, since these foods are minimally processed, the fiber content is normally higher also because the bran part is still intact. Fiber limits the total calories our body can absorb thus it makes us feel full longer. When we choose to eat whole foods over highly processed counterparts, we also automatically improve our protein-to-carbohydrates ratio since whole foods contains trace amounts of tag along protein. A good example of this is by switching white rice into brown rice, switching white bread into whole wheat bread, switching to plain oatmeal instead of sweetened/ flavored oatmeal, switching from sugary cereals into high fiber ones and many more. In case you are wondering if carrot cake can be considered a whole food just because it has real carrots in it, the answer is no!

3.) Minimize fast foods

Fast foods are not automatically fattening but just like what I’ve said above, there are some types of foods that can be easily overeaten because it’s actual volume does not match it’s calorie content. If you are the type who eats nothing but fast foods(this apply to people who doesn’t cook), consider calorie tracking. If you prefer not to track calories then limit your consumption of fast foods into 1-2 meals a week. Some people call it as their cheat day(s) but I prefer to call it free meal(s) because it is more appropriate. Eating one or two meals that are not included in your diet won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts. In fact, it may create a boost on diet adherence.

4.) Increase NEAT

If you’re one of those people who always find excuses not to do regular exercise(although having a regular exercise is optimal), at least, try to be more physically active. I dedicated a 3-part blog(maximizing calorie burn) wherein I tackled every common NEAT activities that we do everyday and it’s potential calorie burn at my body weight. If you weigh less than me, you’d burn less doing specific type of activities. If you weigh more than me, you can burn more calories doing certain types of NEAT activities.

5.) Skip fat-burning supplements

Do yourself a favor and please refrain from using useless supplements. Think of this way, a successful weight management plan is a result of lifestyle modifications; therefore, you cannot take pills forever. Some of these pills may work due to placebo effect or it suppresses your appetite but save your money to buy more whole foods.

6.) No need to go organic

One of the most overhyped food products these days are organic foods. The most recent studies have shown mixed inconclusive results whether organic foods are actually healthier than conventional foods. If you can afford to eat organic or if you simply prefer the taste of organic than conventional then go for it. Other than that, it yields the same results. A well-balanced diet will trump an organic foods only diet.

7.) Eat free meals 1-2 times a week

Psychologically speaking, eating free meals can actually aid diet adherence in the long-term because any diet that is so restrictive will set anyone for failure even the most dedicated person. Consider it as a treat/ reward rather than your fiend. Breaking your diet occasionally will not ruin your diet as long as you will not overdo it. Tip: if you have a special occasion to attend next week for example, then time your free meal around that day.

8.) Natural Sugar still contains the same amount of calories as a regular sugar

There is a big misconception that brown sugar is “healthier” than white sugar. Although brown sugar(less refined version) contains trace minerals that are present in it that are missing in the white/ refined counterpart, it still contains the same calorie content. Don’t be afraid to use sugar substitutes such as aspartame or sucralose(splenda, sweet n’ low, stevia, etc). Unless you have a rare genetic disease that is called Phynylketunuria, avoid products that contains aspartame.

9.) Cook at home as much as possible

Cooking at home can put you in control of everything that you put in your mouth. Since we are living in an obesogenic environment, the humble onion can pack as much as 400 calories if eaten as an onion rings from a restaurant. Cooking at home is also a good way to maximize nutrient quality of meals while minimizing the calorie content. Sure, it takes more time to cook but think of it’s long-term benefits.

10.) Don’t drink your calories

Nuff said except milk. Whilst, there’s nothing wrong on drinking any beverage that contains calories, you can easily consume too many calories simply by drinking it. It doesn’t matter if the fruit juice is made from 100% real fruit juice but the point is it still has calories. I would rather eat my calories from real foods instead of drinking it.

Just like what I have said, I have no intention of claiming that this is the best type of dieting. In this context which I specified above, many people do not need complicated dieting tactics. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes can definitely yield huge results.

Zipping hunger while losing weight


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One of the most common problem(s) of a dieter is getting hungry on a diet. In fact, this is the same reason why many people fail to adhere to their diet because in our modern world where foods are abundant, food temptations is very high and nobody wants to be hungry. Most of us already know that if we eat less calories, we lose weight. Mind you, the volume of the foods that we eat is not equal to the calorie content of foods. What I mean is even if you are eating “a little bit” by volume, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what you are eating is low in calories. For example:

2 cups of rice has about = 400 calories

while

2 tbsp. of an olive oil contains = 240 calories

And not everyone is tracking their calorie intake; even if they do, some people are miscalculating their real food intake. This rule also tends to get violated especially if the bulk of your diet is coming from fast foods and other highly processed stuff. I’m not saying that fast foods and processed foods must be avoided but they should be consumed in moderation because these type of foods can be sneaky. For example, a 10-pc. McNuggets from McDonald’s has 460 calories. The volume of the nuggets may not be “much,” but it’s calorie content is high.

Anyway, aside from decreasing total calorie intake, another thing that matters in the context of controlling hunger while on a calorie deficit is by looking at what we eat on a diet. There’s a strong relationship between how much we eat and what we eat when dieting down to lose weight. After figuring out if how many calories we are supposed to eat to create a calorie deficit then we decide on what to eat on a diet. I will enumerate some pointers below that will aid a dieter to curb hunger while dieting.

1.)Maintain a high protein intake

Protein is the most satiating nutrient. Concentrate on eating the leanest cuts of meat such as skinless chicken breast, skinless chicken thighs, fish fillets, beef and pork anything with the
-loin in the end, or simply trim the visible fats in the meat not because fat automatically makes us fat but simply to slash down as many calories possible. As far as the dose is concerned, 1 gram of protein per pound of target body weight is standard dosage for men seeking improvements on their body composition. For women, it can be anywhere between 0.9-1.0 gram of protein per pound of target body weight. Since protein has virtually no storage in our body, the dosage that I mentioned above can be increased if hunger still aboard. If this is the case, just make sure that you allow room for other calories from both fats and carbohydrates to get adequate nutrients.

2.) Increase dietary fiber intake

While some people cannot tolerate a higher fiber intake, the RDI(Recommended Daily Intake) for dietary fiber is somewhere between 25-35 grams of fiber a day. Fiber expands itself once it reaches the stomach creating a sensation that you are full. A good simple way of increasing fiber intake without putting too much attention to it is by getting the bulk of your carbohydrates calories from whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There is a strong debate on what is the optimal amount of whole grains one must consumed and the answer is simply it depends. The more physically active you are, the more you can getaway eating more calories.

3.) Eat some fats

While the primary fate of dietary fat is to get deposited as fat, if we eat less calories than we need and as long as the distribution of our macronutrient proportion(how much protein/ fats/ carbohydrates) is setup correctly, fats can keep us feel full longer by delaying gastric emptying. In the small intestines, fat molecules stimulate the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a small-intestine hormone, into the bloodstream. The CCK in the blood triggers the pancreas to release digestive enzymes that can break down lipids.

4.) Caffeinated beverages

Caffeinated coffee, tea, diet soda, etc. contains varying amounts of caffeine which can create short-term appetite suppressing effects. Keep in mind that that moderation is the key.
In general, one serving of coffee ranges from 80–100 milligrams, for a single shot (30 milliliters) of arabica-variety espresso, to approximately 100–125 milligrams for a cup (120 milliliters) of drip coffee. The lethal dose has been estimated between 150-200mg/kg of body weight. A dose that results in 100mg/kg is considered lethal which would require the equivalent of 100-200 cups of coffee. 10-12 cups of coffee can lead to blood levels that surpass doping imposed by the IOC.

5.) Maintain a regular sleeping pattern as much as possible.

Just like what I have discussed in my blog about how shift work alters our appetite, behavior and other physiological responses, disrupted circadian rhythm can alter appetite so if you are sleeping on an irregular basis, your appetite is more likely to get affected also.

6.) Consider Intermittent fasting eating pattern.

There is nothing special about intermittent fasting when it comes to weight loss except convenience although anecdotally speaking, if you are one of those people who can tolerate this eating pattern, when eating window is limited, the amount of calories ingested will also be restricted subconsciously as long as you are keeping yourself wise in your food selection.

7.) Keep yourself busy.

Behaviorally speaking, when we are bored, stressed or depressed, we tend to divert our attention to foods that’s why it’s important to determine whether our hunger is really a result of physical hunger or a result of emotional/ psychological hunger which often results to mindless eating.

8.) Regular exercise

Although, the effects of exercise on appetite based on studies showed mixed results which also depends on the type of exercise conducted, anecdotally speaking, weight training sessions based on my personal experience tend to suppress my appetite. Normally, high calorie expenditure exercise activity such as endurance running, cycling or swimming tends to increase appetite in return to compensate the calories that has been lost. I’m not saying that these exercise should be avoided but again, moderation is the key. Unless you’re an endurance athlete, personally, I only use extra curricular cardiovascular activities during fat loss such as low intensity jogging as a complimentary activity to burn extra calories for 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week.

9.) Brush your teeth before eating.

You don’t need a special toothpaste to reap the appetite-suppressing effect. A regular mint flavored Colgate will do the trick.

10.) Spice it up.

By adding spices to your foods such as red pepper can decrease appetite and increase the ratio of sympathetic: parasympathetic activity meaning it can make you awake therefore it may increase the potential of doing more physical activities.

11.) Eat fruits

Any healthy diet should include fruits anyway. Fructose, which is the most abundant type of sugar found in fruits can refill hepatic(liver) glycogen which sends feeling of fullness to the brain.

12.) Promote a feeling of excitement

This may be anecdotal but whenever I feel excitement i.e. a happy event is going to happen or you’re buying a new stuff that you wanted, it can create an acute appetite suppression effect. So, if you can somewhat mimic that feeling, you can take advantage of it’s positive effect on appetite.

13.) Consider IIFYM

The psychosomatic boost of eating the foods we love to eat is often underrated.

14.) Adore your hard earned abs in the mirror.

Just like what I’ve written here, by staring at our hard earned flat stomach or rippling abs, it may create a psychological appetite suppression especially if you are being tempted to eat a high calorie food that you can’t afford to include within your calorie budget. It is surely nice to eat delicious foods but the feeling of having visible abs is so much nicer!

15.) Consider vinegar supplementation

Research have shown that vinegar supplementation with high acidity can promote satiation at a greater extent. In real world scenario, instead of taking vinegar shots, I personally use vinegar as a dip to some of my meals like a BBQ meal eaten with rice and the spicy vinegar.

15.) Adopt my recipes

Eating high volume, tasty foods that we normally eat eliminates that feeling of dieting thus it increases adherence to the diet.

There might be some more strategies that can be used to suppress hunger while dieting down. For the time being, use the tips that I enumerated above. I will add some more tips if I come across with some more techniques. Awareness and adaptation to our environment are very powerful tools that are in our disposal to combat obesity.

Share and enjoy.

Shift work and higher body fatness: Behavioral perspective


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Numerous studies have shown that people who work on rotational-shift basis and night shift workers often have higher BMI(body mass index) compared to those workers who work during the day i.e. 7am-3pm shifts/ 9am-5pm shifts. Some examples of the jobs which includes rotational-shift work are nurses, policemen, military, call center workers, factory workers, and other businesses that runs on a 24-hour cycle to maintain production. Just like what I wrote in my blog about obesity, I described how industrialization affects our health and body composition. The importance of this topic in my opinion is severely underrated because shift work is now a growing part of many people’s lifestyle especially with the current economic crisis many of us were facing right now, it leaves some of us not too many choices but to deal with it.

According to research and based on my personal observation because I’m a shift worker myself (in fact my situation is a bit more complicated because I work on a non-linear or rotational-shift work on a weekly basis being an orderly in a hospital setting environment), there are many factors that affects shift workers health and body composition due to interruption of hormonal status, social interaction disturbance and behavior. As a shift worker myself, that gave me an opportunity to oversee and observe about what’s going on in the free-living world vs. controlled laboratory experiments. My purpose of writing this blog is to tackle the shift worker’s behavior since there are many people who works on this basis yet they are not aware of these changes that alters their eating behavior and how shift work can affect a shift worker’s behavior towards exercise and physical activities. As a living proof, staying lean doing a shift work is possible but it may take extra amount of effort to do so.

Diet wise, consider intermittent fasting. Not because it has some magical effects on fat loss but it makes your fat loss journey/ weight management more convenient in the context of not worrying about eating thus in my experience, after adapting to IFing eating pattern, appetite will be suppressed and I can feel being more energetic than constantly nibbling on foods. As a night shift worker, I need to stay up all night because of the demand of my job. If you can’t adapt to IFing(Intermittent fasting) type of eating pattern, find a habitual eating pattern that will work at your own convinience. Although in my experience/ observation, it’s also beneficial to give our digestive system some break on digesting foods especially when working nightshifts. Another benefit is that during our day off, our eating pattern doesn’t get interrupted because a person doing a conventional work schedule eats during daytime so our primary goal as a shift worker is to normalize our eating pattern/ lifestyle as much as possible. There are some days that we may have a tiny party at work so there’d be temptations to eat. Personally speaking, breaking our fast once in a while(about once a month) wouldn’t hurt as long as we keep our food intake in moderation. When I say moderation, I’m talking about trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

It is also important to take note that social eating can play a big part why shift workers tend to have higher BMI than daytime workers because in my observation, since the workload is sometimes less during the night, we tend to have more time eating to socialize(eating even we’re not really hungry). I’m not saying that socialization with our coworkers is automatically bad for weight management but we can still keep our relationship with them even if we skip our eating relationship. If you’re afraid to skip a meal, think about this: one of the purpose of our body fat is to serve as a stored energy when food is unavailable. How cool is that performing your work tasks using body fat as an energy source. 🙂

Boredom can also be another factor. When we are bored, we tend to focus our attention towards food. Think again, are you really hungry or do you just want to do something out of boredom? My suggestion is to do something productive during your free time be it reading a book, do your work in advance, etc.

Staying physically active

Backpedalling to boredom, one of a good way to become productive in the context of weight management productivity is to do some NEAT during your free time at work: do some walking. Do this on a habitual basis and in the long run, the calorie burn adds up which can be beneficial in terms of calorie expenditure.

In my experience/ observation, shift work can also alter our behavior towards being physically active so you may have to break that comfort zone to stay fit doing this kind of work environment. Even when you’re feeling lazy, stay active, work harder and you’ll burn more calories subconsciously.
Since one effect of impaired circadian rhythm is fluctuations in our hormonal environment, shift work can also affect our behavior towards exercise. It can make us feel demotivated not to do a regular exercise plan. While it’s okay to choose sleep/ rest sometimes over exercise, do not do this on a habitual basis. One of our greatest tool to stay lean doing a shift work is a regular exercise. It helps to create a personal motivation to stick to our exercise routine thus maintaining a stable relationship with exercise can lower our stress levels.

While there are also hormonal factors that affects a shift workers body composition, our behavior is something that is in our control that’s why it’s very important for us to become aware and learn to adapt to our present environment.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784228/

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/85-93.htm

http://ijahsp.nova.edu/articles/Vol8Num3/pdf/feldman.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20357041

Outrunning a bad diet


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There is a popular saying that “You cannot outrun a bad diet.” While there might be some truth to this statement, it is an example of an absolute statement because a “bad diet” could mean a lot of things. So, can we outrun a bad diet? I say, it just depends how we define a bad diet. In this context, I will define a bad diet as a diet that consists of high calorie foods such as fast foods and “junk foods.” I’m not saying that eating fast foods and junk foods will make a diet bad but a diet can be considered as a bad diet if and when a person consumes more calories than he needs or if and when he burns less calories than he should to maintain the energy balance. Obesity is a risk factor itself on increasing the probability of acquiring different disease due to the complications it may bring.

Let’s face it, we feel some kind of guilt every time we eat something that isn’t supposed to be included in our diet when we are trying to lose weight. Be it ice cream, pizza, hamburger, cakes or what have you. The common notion of spending more time in the gym to burn those calories is incorrect. This is where the “You can’t outrun a bad diet” came from because just like what I have shown in my mini experiment which I wrote in my blog: Just when you thought you trained hard enough, the caloric burn of an hour and a half weight training isn’t that much. On the other hand, cardiovascular workouts such as running and swimming(high calorie expenditure activities) can later on lead to elevation on appetite to compensate the energy that has been lost. In that sense, we really can’t outrun a bad diet. Now, just like what I have shown in my mini experiments which I wrote in this blog: Maximizing calorie burn, I enumerated in the 3-part series if how NEAT activities are severely underrated in terms of potential calorie burn. For the average people, it makes more sense to rely on NEAT activities to increase calorie expenditure instead of staying in the gym for a longer period of time.

I conducted a mini experiment the other day which I did a power walking(brisk walking) at the speed of I would say 4-5 mph, and at the body weight of 130 lbs., the results are as follow:

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For a 30-min walk at the distance of 3 miles, I burned 141 calories. My point is if you are planning to eat/ you ate a high calorie meal, compensate it by increasing your NEAT activity. That is how you outrun a bad diet. Just like everything else in the universe, we(humans) follow the law of thermodynamics. We just don’t have to keep on decreasing our food intake to make our weight more manageable. For example, you ate a 500 calorie worth meal in a restaurant, do a power walk few hours after that. It is the perception of many of us that validates the saying “you can’t outrun a diet” because many of us still believes that we only burns tremendous amount of calories if they spend more time in the gym.

You can spend an hour or two in the gym everyday but you still have 22-23 remaining hours in the day to worry about. Always look at the big picture.