Posts Tagged ‘weight gain’

How to Shed a Few (Pounds) in a Hurry

August 10, 2019

Andrew Siegel MD  8/10/2019

It’s unfortunate how easy it is to put on a quick 5-10 pounds, especially as we get older.  Often, all it takes is a one-week vacation and a major fall off the wagon, the aftermath of which a bulging mid-section, tight pants and feeling somewhat disgusted with yourself.  The good news is that the situation can be remedied in a few weeks in a smart, reliable, non-gimmicky and safe way. It comes down to what and how much you put into your body, when you do so, how active you are, and  quantity and quality of sleep.

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Thank you, kissccO for image above

 

Eating

It’s pretty obvious that to drop those added pounds, you need to reduce caloric intake: if caloric intake is less than caloric expenditure, fat will be burned away as fuel for the functions of the body.  The key is to stay satisfied and stave off hunger or else the effort will not work because our human species does not fare well with deprivation.

Foods that have a higher fiber content fill you up and take more time to digest —think apples versus apple juice—and also require time and effort to chew and consume, which allows the necessary time for ghrelin (the hormone that promotes hunger) to decline. High fiber foods also effectively fuel the all-important bacterial content of your gut that plays so many roles, including helping to maintain a healthy weight.

In the famous words of Michael Pollen: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  Food translates to real, natural, wholesome and unprocessed nourishment (as opposed to processed, refined, unhealthy, sugar and fat-laden fast foods); not too much means in moderation; and mostly plants emphasizes eating foods grown in the soil– whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. (with animal sources in moderation).

Pretty straight-forward stuff.

Now here’s an idea: Instead of eating that big hunk of blueberry pie, have a generous handful of blueberries, truly in the superfood category, and for that matter, the official state fruit of New Jersey.  They are the essence of the pie minus all the unhealthy stuff.  Additionally, they have the most antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable, are convenient to munch on with no slicing, stems or pits, and are low in carbs, calories and fat.  Rich in soluble fiber, they are also a great natural source of Vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Win, win, win.

Timing of Eating

Intermittent fasting seems to be the latest weight loss craze. Orthodox diehards will typically eat only during an 8-hour window of time, often 11am-7pm and fast the remaining 16 hours.  There are many variations on this theme.

What’s the premise?  Short-term fasting leads to metabolic changes that facilitate fat burning, including reduced secretion of the hormone insulin.

Fat stores are not static, but are dynamic with continuous mobilization (as fatty acids) and deposition (as triglycerides), the basis of weight loss and weight gain, respectively.  Insulin is the principal regulator of fat metabolism, controlling how fuel is “partitioned” in our body—if we are “storers” or “burners” of energy.  After a meal, insulin is released to get energy into our cells and when we go without food, as happens when we are asleep or fasting, insulin levels decrease and fat is released to be used as fuel. Insulin levels are determined primarily in response to carb intake in order to keep our blood sugar regulated. Everything insulin does promotes fat storage and decreases fat burning—this is why diabetics on insulin therapy get fat. The bottom line is that low levels of insulin are the key to fat burning and this can be facilitated with short-term fasting.

You don’t need to be extreme with this; setting sensible boundaries in timing of eating can be quite helpful to the cause.  The best suggestion is not eating after dinner, giving up the dysfunctional habit of unnecessary and mindless snacking when relaxing in the evening, often in front of the television. Needless calories later in the evening, at a time of inactivity and minimal caloric expenditure are clearly not good for the weight loss process.  Again, the key to fat burning is low insulin levels, prompted by not eating from dinner to breakfast.  If you must indulge, have a high-fiber, high-water content, filling and healthy snack such as an apple.

Exercise

Exercise is awesome in so many respects, but remember that it is extremely difficult to out-exercise eating and so easy to out-eat exercising.  Nonetheless, exercise and remaining active are vital and strongly contribute to the calories consumed minus the calories burned formula. Reducing caloric intake has the most leverage in terms of weight loss (and looking good in clothes) whereas increasing caloric expenditure through exercise (especially resistance types) gives one the most bang for looking good naked.

In particular, high intensity interval training—short bursts of intensive cardio—promotes weight loss because of the persistent expenditure of calories after completing exercising and because it makes the body more efficient in burning fat.

Sleep

Say what? What does sleep have to do with gaining and losing weight?  The answer is “quite a lot.”  A good night’s sleep will help you with your quest to drop a few pounds and the corollary is that poor quality and quantity of sleep are going to thwart your mission.

Why is this the case?  Sleep disruption results in decreased levels of leptin (a chemical appetite suppressant), increased ghrelin levels (a chemical appetite stimulant), increased corticosteroids (stress hormones) and increased glucose levels (higher amounts of sugar in the bloodstream). So, sleep deprivation commonly gives rise to increased appetite, increased caloric intake and the disassociated “zombie” state lends itself to dysfunctional eating patterns and consumption of unhealthy foods, and as such, weight gain is a predictable consequence. Compounding the issue, a fatigued state impairs one’s ability to exercise properly, if at all.  The bottom line is that sleep deprivation often results in a significant increase in intake of food, with more calories derived from unhealthy sugars, fats and salts as one attempts to “eat themselves awake.”

For more info…

Alcohol

The problem with alcohol is twofold–the consumption of liquid carbs (bad in general because of a rapid insulin spike from the fiber-free, pre-digested carbs, resulting in calories being stored as fat) and the central dis-inhibitory effect that can unhinge your resolve to eat right, avoid after-dinner eating and to pursue an exercise program.  So, it is advisable during your effort to drop a few to minimize alcohol consumption and replace it with plenty of good old water or seltzer.

Hydration

It is important to stay well hydrated for many reasons, one reason of which is that thirst can be confused with hunger, and you may be eating to quench your thirst, clearly not good for the cause. Staying hydrated will also fill you up, the logic behind eating grapes vs. raisins as a matter of satiety.

Bottom Line: To drop a few pounds eat higher quality, real foods including those that are fiber-rich, keep your portions moderate, and minimize after-dinner “reflex” eating.  Step up the exercise, particularly high intensity interval training and resistance workouts. Minimize alcohol consumption to help you stay on the wagon and hydrate vigorously with water to avoid “eating to quench your thirst.” Sleep well to avoid “eating yourself awake.” Before you know it those 5-10 pounds will be history.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

For more information on the psychology behind eating and weight gain, consult Dr. Siegel’s book on the topic: PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families