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Kevin: Welcome to the Healthy Mind Fit Body podcast, this is episode number 9 and this is Kevin.
Wes: And this is Wes and we are going to delve into number niner today. How have things been going on your end, Kevin?
Kevin: It’s going well, I’m kind of having a tough time adjusting to this whole clock changing thing with losing that extra hour at night.
Wes: It’s nice to have sunsets at five pm, right?
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, it’s like your day’s over before it starts.
Wes: Who knows, maybe there is a method to the madness, obviously it gets lighter earlier right, so for all those people who get up at the crack of you know what and have to go milk the chickens and gather the cow eggs, that’s very helpful.
Kevin: That is. And I’m sure the authorities have it all figured it out for us.
Wes: Exactly, just like they do in the room of nutrition right?
Kevin: Yeah, that’s why everybody’s on the right path and they’re at their perfect weight.
Wes: Not really actually, there was quite a few responses that we got to a survey we did earlier a few months ago about people’s weight loss challenges?
Kevin: Yeah, I actually sent out a survey to my other list, the Triswim Coach list and these are people that are pretty active doing triathlons and getting ready to do triathlons and things like that. So one of the questions I asked was open ended so I got some pretty good bunch of responses. It’s what are some of your challenges with fitness and getting down to the right weight for you?
And there was a lot of commonalities among the answers and there were a few things that I thought it would be interesting to go over on the podcast and talk about here and then also it would be nice to hear from some of you guys from the audience what your issues are, what you’re struggling with, what your challenges are in terms of losing weight.
Wes: Definitely we kind of want to personalize this and make sure we’re covering all the different facets of this issue and this challenge for people that needs to be covered.
Kevin: Yeah we want to make this a two-way street so we definitely want to encourage people getting back on our blog and putting in their feedback.
Wes: So there were quite a few themes I noticed in looking over these responses. One was portion control, like how do I determine at each meal how much to eat and does it really matter in terms of maintaining my optimum weight and losing the extra body fat that I have on me? Some diets are really strict about this because they’re obviously a diet, they have a certain plan you have to follow.
And they can restrict your eating to certain foods even down to the level of size of the portions that you eat. Now obviously there’s a big difference between eating a whole bunch piled on your plate and tiny little portions. And I think that reminds me of restaurants, if you go to some of the lower end restaurants you can get these gigantic portions right?
And as you go up the restaurant food chain to say like the really expensive French restaurants, then the portions get little tiny portions and pretty much leave hungry at those places.
Kevin: Yeah, you spend a fortune and you leave hungry, you have to go eat again.
Wes: Exactly. So where’s the beef? That was for a fast food chain but most fast food places you get pretty good sized portions. And unfortunately the macro nutrient constitution of those portions is all lopsided – the carbs, the protein ratio is 4, 5, 6 to 1 and so you’re getting a lot more of the carbs. And usually it’s not carbs from veggies and fruits, it’s carbs from breads and cereals, flour type substances.
Kevin: Yeah exactly, I remember it reminds me of a restaurant I used to go to when I lived in San Francisco who’s right down the street and it was really popular because in a city full of like really expensive restaurants, it was cheap and they give you huge portions. It was like I think they had the one pound burger and you got this huge plate of fries with that and it was all like for ten bucks, and crazy popular place because you’re basically doubling what you really need plus all the buns and the extra carbs you’re getting. And of course you’ve got to wash that down with a couple of beers so…
Wes: Yeah all those fries is probably the equivalent of what three chopped up potatoes, which is quite a bit of tubers to chow down at one meal.
Kevin: Yeah right.
Wes: So it’s interesting to look at how animals control their portion sizes. When you’re in the wild as a critter, I was listening to a podcast actually recently, the “Are We Alone” podcast talking about the search for extra terrestrial intelligence but they cover the gamut about human nature and species type studies and things like that.
But this researcher was talking about how chimpanzees eat in the wild, and I guess 2/3 – ¾ of other diets consist of fruits but they’re not like bananas, and oranges, and those kind of fruits that we eat. There’s these real fibrous bitter fruits and they’re not really calorie dense like the fruits that we have that we farmed from domestic agriculture. So most of the time chimps in the wild, I think a lot of the time at least just spent eating and then trying to digest what you eat because all this raw food…I know there’s a big raw foods movement to say that that’s preferable but raw food is harder to digest, it’s harder to extract the calories from and most of it just passes through, especially with humans.
Our guts have actually been modified over evolution to deal with cooked food rather than raw food. So these are facts that he presented, he’s got a book out about it but it was interesting that most time spent in the animal kingdom and if you look at horses and cows, they have their heads down grazing most of the day. So that’s a prescription for disaster for human beings because if we were to eat all day long we’re in big trouble given the types of foods that are presented for us.
Kevin: Exactly, because the problem with dogs, if you give a dog a bowl full of food it will finish it and if you keep filling it up they’ll just keep eating.
Wes: Yeah those auto dispensing food bowls that they have?
Kevin: Yeah, those don’t really work so well.
Wes: Yeah, they typically get overweight and a lot of people feed their cats and dogs too much and you can definitely see it in their waist line. So there’s a case where we’re trying to control the portions of the animal. But how do humans control their portions and not result in a bigger waistline?
Kevin: Well I tend to…I used to do the Zone, kind of the eyeball method, not exactly…I didn’t measure my portions in the 40/30/30 or whatever, but I kind of look at it like if I’ve got a good amount of protein, a good amount of fat, and then the carbs – usually I try to make those some kind of healthy carbs like vegetables, or fruit, or maybe a combination but just kind of balance it out.
I mean that to me is the most important because you’re slowing down…with the fat and the protein, you’re slowing down the absorption rate of the calories in your bloodstream. So how do you do it, how do you…do you actually measure it out or…?
Wes: I use a weight scale and some calipers typically. Sometimes I use the immersion in water to determine the displacement and I factor that in the equation. But seriously, the Zone diet promotes this idea that you need to measure everything in a meticulous fashion. But I think like you said, eyeballing the portions are really a great way to look at things. And I think naturally your body’s going to tell you what’s going to make you full.
And we’ve stressed on this show about the fact that carbs or basically the more you eat those, the more you have an addiction to carbs, it’s going to create this desire to eat more of them. And so you find yourself eating a whole bag of potato chips or my favorite is the crunchy cheetos, I ate a whole bag of those before lunch. No but seriously, you end up feeling bad after you eat all this because it is just creating more insulin secretion, your blood sugar fluctuates and you want more carbs because carbs digest within a couple of hours right whereas fats and proteins take longer.
And so if you have more of your energy coming from fat, you’re going to feel satiated and you’re not going to have to eat as much every meal. So it’s more like breaking your meals down into smaller portions throughout the day, snacking which is preferable to eating these huge meals at each breakfast, lunch, and dinner time right?
Kevin: Yeah exactly and snacking is so important here too because you don’t want to let yourself go and get crazy hungry like a lot of people do. You get working away and forget about eating and pretty soon you’re just starving and you eat like 3,000 calories in one sitting and you start ballooning up.
Wes: It’s a very noticeable process that happens with people, they do binge on food and everyone knows what it feels like to have eaten too much, right? It’s fun while it lasts but when you’re done you’re like I shouldn’t have eaten that much.
Kevin: Yeah every once in a while that happens to me, but I tend to have it under control. But when you were talking about the eating the Cheetos I just thought of something I wanted to bring up was, you know that show Da Ali G? He did one, he was talking about Pringles and their slogan was once you pop you can’t stop, it was like this can pops open, and he’s like, “No, this should be illegal!” He’s like, “You can’t stop, it’s addictive! It should be illegal!”
Wes: It’s like Pavlov’s dogs, the dinner bell, you just pop the Pringles can and away you go. But seriously, portion control is about self regulation so it definitely has a psychological aspects of the way we eat and what we promoted on HealthyMindFitBody.com in our book is a way of eating that is not this sort of torturous diet that you have to meticulously follow but rather a way of looking at food in a scientific but also a common sense way – that certain foods will result in harmful effects on your body in the long term and even short term.
I mean if you eat a really high carb meal or a huge carb dessert you’re going to feel pretty sleepy and out of it after you do that because it takes so much energy and insulin to digest that. But just looking at food in a new way where a lot of your portions are consisting of vegetables and some fruits but then you’re energy is coming from fats and not the trans fats but the good fats.
And then your protein is enough to maintain your muscular system, so how much protein does a person need? That’s another issue that delves into the portion aspects, and if you look at the palm of your hand you can judge roughly grams of protein. Like in the palm of your hand you can fit 20-30 grams of protein, like half a chicken breast, just those kinds of rules of thumb are good to use, and then everything else, just kind of falls into place when you do that sort of common sense method.
Kevin: Absolutely, that’s how I use that too, the palm of the hand. I mean that’s a pretty good way to estimate the protein.
Wes: Since I mention protein requirements, it’s important to try to determine how much protein does a person need because a lot of people say Americans are eating way too much protein but in fact that’s not the problem at all, the problem is that they’re eating way too many carbohydrates and that’s resulted in all the obesity and overweightedness that we see in our culture.
But the protein is really important to get enough protein for your muscle system and the lean body mass that you have. So if you strip your weight of all the fat which includes the fat in your neural system, you end up with your lean body mass, your bones, your muscles, and other connective tissue.
And what is the adequate amount of protein defueled at? I’ve seen various charts, Barry Sears has a good chart to calculate that too but depending on your size and how much activity you’re getting, at least 100 grams a day for most men and maybe a little less for women.
And I know in the weight lifting world they say, like in Muscle and Fitness Magazine they always said one gram of protein for every pound of body weight. But typically more realistically you’re looking at one gram per kilogram of body weight which is 2.2 pounds. So if you do the math, a 200 pound person which is a pretty hefty guy is going to need at least 100 grams of protein. And if they lift a lot of weights, then they’re going to need obviously more protein than that, so that’s just a good rule of thumb.
Kevin: There’s another answer in our survey, it’s one a few months ago that I did that I don’t think too many people answer like this but I think it does represent a way a lot of people think about weight loss and fitness and everything. They said their challenge is, I don’t like to run. I saw that and I’m thinking yeah, I know a lot of people don’t like to run. I happen to like to run but everybody’s different, everybody likes different things. It’s definitely not something that you have to do if you want to lose weight.
And exercise is really important but as we’ve talked about it shouldn’t be the number one thing you concentrate on in terms of getting down to your ideal weight. So I just wrote an article that actually touched on this and in that part of the article I said, just make workouts fun and interesting. The great thing about exercising is that there are so many healthy forms of it.
You don’t have to be stuck doing one thing. So instead of doing the traditional workout of running or getting on a treadmill, you can participate in a group sport. But if that’s not your thing, you could do yoga, if that’s not your thing just try putting in some headphones and listening to some music. I mean there’s all kinds of ways to make things fun and it doesn’t have to be all one thing.
Wes: Yeah the iPod is kind of the savior for various monotonous routines and exercise regimes. I mean it really can feed your brain as you’re working your body. I don’t really like to run unless there’s something big and scary chasing me. So I find other ways, different activities like volleyball, and running on the beach, sprinting type of exercises and also weight lifting and so forth.
But in order to maintain a healthy body, it’s really contingent on the types of foods that you’re eating and the way that you’re eating. And so exercise is an added bonus, it has all these other benefits but in terms of weight loss, if you’re running or you’re not running it really matters what sort of foods you’re eating in terms of being able to keep your weight at an optimal level and lose the extra pounds that you have that you want to lose.
So it’s almost as if someone says, “I don’t like to run,” could use that as an excuse for eating the foods that they’re eating which is resulted in an unhealthy sort of physique. So there is the psychological factor that comes into play once again there isn’t there?
Kevin: Definitely, and going back to the exercise. Last year I spent a couple months in Australia and I was walking every day for about two or three hours and when I was there I lost about eight pounds. And for me on my small frame that’s a ridiculous amount and it was partly because I was walking a lot but partly also because I hated the food so I wasn’t eating enough.
Wes: That’s a good way to practice portion control.
Kevin: Yeah I just go to a place that you can’t stand the food and you’re good to go, or just get the flu and just…yeah…that’s good times. But yeah, I mean walking can be a great exercise too, just moving your body is really good.
Wes: Your body was meant to move and we may have some new pictures on our home page. I know we’ve got two up on the main home page there of our mug shots so you can see faces to the podcast.
Kevin: Yeah pictures, upper right corner.
Wes: Indeed. We’d like to get your feedback about all the other different challenges that people are experiencing out there with weight loss and fitness and so forth. So just go to our website HealthyMindFitBody.com and you can comment in the show notes there. There’s a comment section where we post the episode of the show, and you can also go to iTunes, either search in iTunes or there’s a link on our home page also to go to the show there and you can rate and review the show, what you’re hearing.
Kevin: Yeah and we definitely want to hear your feedback so go ahead and comment on our blog and we’re going to take some of the comments and read them on the show next time. So give us your big issues, give us your main issues, tell us what you want to hear us talk about and we’ll cover it next time.
Wes: Absolutely. Okay well thanks for listening everyone and we’ll talk to you next week.
Kevin: Thanks everyone, talk to you next week!