We had it all wrong (part 2) : Nutrition, Fitness, and Lifestyle

Cathy's BLOG

We had it all wrong (part 2)

by Cathy Gold on 12/19/17

So we left off talking about food choices.  What we thought was a healthy diet made us gain unwanted body fat.  And the foods they told us to avoid are actually GOOD for us!  Go back and re-read that from last week if you missed it.  There's some great stuff there!  For today, I want to stay on the topic of what we got wrong... there's just so much!  

Calorie balance matters.  You’ve all heard it.  Eat less, exercise more.  Calories in, calories out.  How’s that working for ya?  Once again, we were wrong!  Scientists have learned that while calories are important, there’s a whole lot more going on.  Your metabolism, and hence your ability to gain or lose weight, is largely dependent on a complex system of hormones that are greatly influenced by your food choices.  So, while 6 Snickers bars may have the same daily calories as a well balanced diet, your body will not respond in the same way.  Similarly, under-eating, regardless of the source of those calories, will lead to lasting metabolic damage that’s super tough to reverse.  Whole sources of natural foods, while avoiding processed and packaged foods, with adequate energy for your day, is the way to go.

Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are genetic.  While it’s true that a very small portion of individuals have genetic factors affecting their heath, the vast majority do not. It becomes a crutch, an excuse.  The fact is, the thing we inherit the most is an unhealthy lifestyle.  We tend to eat what our parents ate, and the value of lifestyle factors such as routine exercise, sleep patterns, and stress are learned at a young age.  By addressing diet and other lifestyle factors, the risks that “run in your family” disappear for the most part. You have a lot more control of your health than we once thought.

Cardio is good for weight loss.  We all have a runner friend who’s thin as a rail and runs 10 miles a day.  We’ve grown up hearing about “cardio” - running, aerobics, spin classes - is the key to dropping unwanted weight.  There’s a billion dollar industry in marketing home cardio exercise equipment.  So why aren’t we losing?  The fact is, long bouts of cardio training is excellent for your heart and overall health.  But for weight loss, it just doesn’t do the job.  We know now that shorter bursts of higher intensity exercise forces our body to reach into those fat stores for fuel, and boosts your metabolism for hours after your workout session.  

Now, don't get discouraged or blow me off.  I hear it all the time!  People think that diet and exercise advice is always changing so they don't even listen. On the one hand, they're right! But it's not because of fads or snap judgements.  In this case, nutrition and exercise science are very young fields of research, but they're booming!  So we're learning more and more all the time.  Food and fitness advice used to be given based on "theory" or what so-called experts thought made sense.  Now, however, any good trainer/coach is going to base suggestions on sound scientific evidence.  And that's what this is.  You'll never hear me promote anything that hasn't been pretty intensely studied and shown to be true.  Does that mean nothing will ever change? Of course not - because we in the field are learning more about the body every day.  But I promise always to only give you the best advice and keep you up to date without all the confusion of mass media or profit-based hype.  

Til next time.... 

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