Archive for December, 2011

The importance of social support on maintaining fitness success


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No man is an island.

You may have the best diet and the best training plan according to the context of your lifestyle but you may be missing one of the most underrated aspects of successful long-term weight management — the social support. A social support network is made up of friends, family and peers. A social support network is different from a support group, which is generally a structured meeting run by a mental health professional. Although both can play an important role in times of stress, a social support network is something you can develop when you’re not under stress, providing the comfort of knowing that your friends are there for you if you need them.

You don’t need to formalize your support network with regular meetings or an official leader. A coffee break with a friend at work, a quick chat with a neighbor, joining a forum where common interests are discussed, a phone call to your sister or friend, even a visit to church are all ways to develop and foster lasting relationships with the people close to you. In the context of fitness social support, they can be your coworkers/ friends who are also passionate about dieting/ training stuff, or they can also be your Facebook friends or you can simply join a fitness forum where you can ask questions, fetch new information or even listen and learn from other forum posters.

Benefits of a social support network

Numerous studies have demonstrated that having a network of supportive relationships contributes to psychological well-being. When you have a social support network, you benefit in the following ways:

Sense of belonging

Spending time with people helps ward off loneliness. Whether it’s other new moms, dog lovers, fishing buddies or siblings, just knowing you’re not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.

Increased sense of self-worth

Having people who call you a friend reinforces the idea that you’re a good person to be around.

Feeling of security

Your social network gives you access to information, advice, guidance and other types of assistance should you need them. It’s comforting to know that you have people you can turn to in time of need.

Source of motivation

Your fitness friends can provide extrinsic motivation. Humans are naturally social creatures. We thrive to compete or cooperate with each other. By having a fitness social support group, you automatically create an uplifting environment which in return helps you become more accountable on sticking to your fitness goal.

The person/ people we spend our time the most can greatly affect our behavior which in this context can be how much we eat, what we eat, whether we feel motivated or demotivated to do some exercise so choose them wisely. Personally, I don’t choose my friends simply because they tell me things that I wanted to hear. I don’t mind my friends slapping my butt(well, at least not literally) occasionally if I need to improve something. Your social surrounding can either make or break your fitness goal.

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Cyber resolution


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This is probably one of my most inane blog post but I just wanted to write this anyway. I’m not normally a fan of new year’s resolution because I believe that change can happen anytime or anywhere if we really want something to happen. For many years, I’ve always gotten myself involved with various Internet fitness debates online but then I realized lately that there’s really no beneficial factors that can be acquired from it except from wasting valuable time, energy and getting ad hominem attacks.

Besides, I have noticed that many fitness debaters online were just simply seeking affirmations to their beliefs rather than information. I mean, I’m not selling anything so I don’t have to engage myself in any conflict just like other folks who takes their diet/ training stuff like a religion. Most of the time, people who likes to argue online are those who are selling something be it a diet stuff, a training program and other fitness products. They become too sensitive regarding certain topic just because they’re afraid that it might affect their credibility in the market.

Anyway, from now on, I’ll just let people believe what they wanted to believe. I will still participate on some fitness talks when I have a free time thus; this will make me more productive doing other important stuff in my life.

Signing out.

We simply adapted that’s why we’re fatter


I posted in my Facebook wall yesterday that obesity has no one single treatment because it is a multifactorial condition that is ultimately attributable to the accumulation of an unused energy surplus over time (which is governed by behavioral, hormonal, & genetic factors) and itโ€™s not attributable to any particular type of food. Yeah, I know that we’ve always believed that there are “fattening foods” but actually, we simply like practicing the logical fallacy called correlation does not imply causation.

Just in case you’re not aware of the energy balance law, any excess unused calories that is not turned into building new muscle cells will turn into fat. Obesity is a result of accumulation of unused surplus calories overtime. I’ve mentioned above that both hormonal and genetic factors may also be factors but the primary predictor whether a person will gain or will not gain weight is the law of thermodynamics. Although in the goal of body recomposition be it fat loss or muscle mass gain, the law of thermodynamics doesn’t define it’s subcomponents whether our ingested calories will turn into heat as energy, be deposited in the muscle cells or be deposited as fat. These are the three fates of calories, nothing else. From fat loss perspective, one has to lose weight in order to lose fat while preserving muscle tissues. This is the ideal way to lose weight in the form of excess body fat.

Since there’s not much we can do about our genetic component, I was talking about the thrifty gene hypothesis , it simply means that people who are carrying these genes may have a harder time losing fat than the others but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doomed to be fat for the rest of their lives. While hormones can also affect a person’s body composition(the ratio of fat mass vs. lean body mass), hormones can only be a contributing factor in terms of calorie partitioning or where the calories go due to lifestyle ,some drugs and some metabolic disorders.

In my opinion, the majority of people gets fat these days is due to adaptation to the modern environment.

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What do I mean by environmental adaptation? We are living in a society where foods are easily accessible and abundant while the modern technology is progressively decreasing/ eliminating manual labor jobs thus add our sedentary lifestyle on top of that cos we love watching tv and surfing the net ๐Ÿ™‚ In other words, our modern environment is highly obesogenic. It is so easy to get fat in our modern world society if we lack proper awareness on how to modify controllable elements that will help us manage our weight more effectively.

This leaves the majority of us to focus more on behavioral modifications that we can change to prevent getting fat or too fat in the first place. Prevention is always better than cure. Obesity can cause several complications in the long run making fat loss much harder to do hence it can also increase a person’s biological set point. Our body is always in favor of higher body fat ness than leanness for survival status of the specie.

I have said numerous times in almost all of my blog posts that the possible best start to combat obesity is through awareness and adaptation. You might be wondering how come I said we get fat because of adaptation to the environment? Awareness and adaptation simply means becoming aware how our body works and how our body responds to the environment we are living at which also includes becoming aware of the foods that we eat, the amount most especially and the time of consumption for optimal results. Of course, our intake needs to be balanced out by the energy-out equation that’s why we need to keep ourselves physically active by doing regular exercise and through increasing our NEAT. There’s not much we can do to reverse our environment because modernization moves only one way —> going forward. I have heard of some experts suggesting that desk jobs must be banned and processed foods must be eliminated. Well, this is not going to happen; besides, while this may sound good in order to minimize the hassle, those two factors are only associated obesity epidemic and not necessarily the exact cause of obesity because again, obesity is a result of accumulation of surplus unused calories overtime. These fitness experts are oversimplifying the reason why we get fat. We can never single out data in isolation without defining every bit of the context of scenario.

The adaptation part is where and how we applied our awareness in our lifestyle. Remember, your environment will not change for us but we can always change to modify our behavior on how we respond to our given environment. Most people do not need complicated diets because minor eating habit changes can yield huge results.