What’s More Important – Diet or Exercise?

I’m going with diet.

Yes, they’re both important. Blah blah blah. But I firmly believe that when it comes to weight loss, physical activity is secondary to food intake.

While it’s true that some people don’t move enough, it seems to me that many more people are reasonably active, and still experiencing issues with their weight.  Perhaps I am biased because this was my personal experience – always overweight, and yet always quite active. But in any event, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

The typical Western diet is calorie dense.

In general, food is primary because while we are designed to want to eat until we’re full, we are also designed to eat foods that had a much lower caloric density than the foods we typically encounter today. Admittedly, we were also designed to work a bit harder for those foods (a factor in favor of exercise, I suppose).

Still, typical Western foods are so calorific that even a large amount of exercise won’t offset poor eating habits. And to make things worse, the caloric density of these foods  is probably magnified by our general over-reliance on carbohydrates – the consumption of which tends to affect our metabolic state in favor of storage.

For some, exercise can increase appetite.

My advice to anyone, simply based on my own experience, would be to avoid starting caloric restriction and a workout regimen at the same time.

Of course, you have to know yourself. But in my experience, exercise increases my appetite noticeably. In fact, exercise has been shown to both increase or decrease your appetite depending on a number of factors.

In life, we expect clean and predictable answers. People will say “Oh you can never lose weight without exercising.” But that’s simply untrue, because the truth is much so much more complex than what some person put in a single news headline.

You can look at what scientific studies tell you, or you can sit down and mindfully examine your own life experience, incorporating what you pick up from the news as well. Our bodies and brains are unique, and in the end, what works for you depends on more factors than a scientific study can possible consider. You need to know yourself.

Consider – how did you get where you are now?

If you have a lot of weight to lose, maybe it’s time to consider this – what caused you to put on the weight in the first place? And be honest with yourself.

If you overeat often, you should probably deal with your eating habits before dealing with your physical activity. If you find it’s difficult to get full, then you want to begin opting for more veggies with every meal. Simply adding veggies may cause you to eat less of other more calorie dense foods. This was the case for me. Of course – I still exercise regularly for the health benefits.

On the other hand, if you’ve put on a pound or two each year slowly throughout the years with age – maybe you’ll do fine just adding enough activity to compensate for your slowing metabolism. Try it out, and see how it works for you.

unspecified-7201.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

Advertisements

14 Days of Probiotic Foods

We are beginning to understand a thing or two about what a healthy gut environment looks like. But that’s about it – a thing or two. So how can you use this limited information to improve your life?

We know of a few strains of bacteria that are probably “good” in general. And we don’t even know for a fact that they are “good” in and of themselves. It could simply be that the presence of these strains is a sign of a healthy gut, which is healthy for other (unrelated) reasons.

But we know at least this. For patients afflicted with C. Diff, fecal transplants save lives. And fecal transplants have shown some very interesting results in studies on humans and rats. So a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut is essential. We just don’t know exactly what a healthy gut looks like.

What does your gut look like? 

We also don’t know what your gut looks like. Partly because we don’t care, but mostly because you haven’t shit in a cup and sent it to us. And even if you did send us a cup full of feces, we wouldn’t look at it. We’d probably just call the police.

Even if we did know what your gut bugs looked like – what would we do with that information? Sure, we could see if you had an overgrowth of something terrible. Or a deficiency of good stuff. But is there an ideal to aspire to? Is it the same for everyone? Is it even the same at every stage of life? We simply don’t know.

So we’re working with limited information. Which is why incorporating probiotic foods is, in general, your best bet for a healthy gut.

Probiotic Supplements versus Fermented Foods

When you buy a probiotic supplement, you could be getting one strain of bacteria, or five strains or whatever. Sure, these strains have been studied – but the question is, do we even know enough about gut bugs to know what to look for? How likely is it that these supplements capture the bigger picture of what we want in the gut?

The other issue with supplements is that they only contain bacteria. And there is more to your microbiome than that. Even if you have the right gut bugs, they might thrive better when delivered along their perfect fuel.

Fermented foods, unlike supplements, are whole. Fermentation goes back a long way in human history. We have evolved with these foods, and they have evolved with us.

When we look at the diversity of fermented foods that we can eat, we realize that if we begin to regularly incorporate fermented foods into our diet, we can increase the chances that we are putting a variety of healthy bugs into our gut.

Beware of Yogurt

Yogurt is great. But many yogurts that purport to contain “healthy” bacteria also contain a ton of added sugar. It is very possible that too much sugar in the diet fuels an overgrowth of “unhealthy” bacteria. Plus, added sugar is generally a bad idea – especially for breakfast. There are better ways to shape up your gut.

Fermented Foods

Yogurt can be good, just pick something without added sugar. And given the overuse of antibiotics in modern society, you probably won’t get everything your gut needs from yogurt alone.

So try to include a variety of other probiotic foods and beverages into your diet. Including:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Pickled anything
  • Miso Soup
  • Tempeh
  • fresh sourdough breads (but watch out, for the same reason as yogurt)
  • Kombucha

14 Days of Probiotic Foods

I challenge you to incorporate at least one of the foods from the above list into your diet every day for the next 14 days. And try mixing it up if you can.

If you don’t regularly eat any of the foods on this list, it’s likely that increasing your intake will put you in the direction of a better, stronger, and more diverse gut microbiome. Especially if you have a long history with antibiotics, as most of us do.

After the 14 days is up, continue to regularly incorporate these foods into your diet. I am confident that as time marches on, we’ll learn so much more about the nature of our insides that this post will look silly. But until then, it’s the least we can do.

Happy Cultivating 🙂

unspecified-720.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

 

To Lose 30 Pounds, Aim for Eight.

 

Successful diet
“Yes! I ate a whole slice of pizza and only gained seven pounds”

So you want to lose 30 pounds, am I right? Or 40 or 50?

Well you can do that. And probably in time for Spring, too. Definitely in time for Summer. Wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing? Just stop for a moment and imagine how sassy you’ll feel. Just imagine how quickly you’ll abandon your loser husband and kids.

Losing enough weight to abandon your entire family is well within your reach. In fact, I wish I could just burst through this computer screen right now and squeeze your face until you feel within your soul just how possible this is for you.

All you need to do is forget your ultimate goal. Wipe it completely from your mind. Instead, just “aim for eight.”

It’s not magic, it’s logic.

Losing 30 pounds is hard. Losing 40 pounds is the absolute worst.  You just don’t need to embark on that kind of journey, because you’re probably not a murderer and therefore deserve some modicum of happiness in your life.

Losing 50 pounds is basically impossible. It’s so difficult that I’d rather get eaten by a shark. And yet I have lost 50 pounds, and more.

Great White Shark  breaching
I would rather be inside this thing

But losing 8 pounds?  That’s cake.  Most people can do it in less than a month just by making small changes.

Here is the idea.

This is important. You can’t “aim for eight” in order to lose 30. You need to forget the 30 completely. Forget it at a cellular level. It is NOT your goal. Not now, not ever. Your goal is eight.  It is always eight.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Because it’s not enough to simply forget your larger goal. You must actively banish it completely from your mind. It’s just not your goal, because your goal is to lose just eight pounds. Eight Eight Eight Eight Eight.  Lose 8 pounds and then reevaluate.  Chant it with me now “Eight Eight! Eight Eight! Eight and reevaluate!”

So – What is your sole mission on this earth?

To lose 8 pounds. And not starting tomorrow, not starting on Monday, starting right now. If you want to lose weight, then you start RIGHT NOW – the second you read this paragraph.

Your goal is now to lose 8 pounds. As quickly as you can, but in a healthy way.

What’s Next?

Once you lose eight pounds you have two rules:
1. You are PROHIBITED from losing more for a minimum of 1 or 2 weeks; and
2. You are PROHIBITED from gaining any weight back during this time. You hear me?

Not an an ounce. You are spending a minimum of one or two weeks maintaining your new sexy self.  But it’s even better if you spend more time maintaining. You can maintain your 8 pound loss for a month or more if you want.

Why? Because you reached your goal. And now you can let your body and mind rest as for as long as you need.

A Note on Natural Fluctuations During the Maintenance Period 

And now, excuse me as I contradict myself. Of course, natural fluctuations in weight happen – and for some women more than others.

And if you go from a strict eating regimen to a less strict regimen, you’ll probably gain some weight from water and glycogen.

Be reasonable, and be kind to yourself. But be mindful. You’ll know if you’re gaining ‘actual’ weight. Just try not to do it, but also not to lose. Because your body thinks it’s starving to death, and it wants a little break.

Re-evaluate 

Maintenance period over.

Congrats. You lost eight pounds, and you’ve maintained it. Or maybe you gained a pound or two back.

No big deal. It’s been one or two weeks, but maybe you want to maintain for longer.

Because what’s your new goal? You guessed it. Aim for 8. You can do it the same way you did the first 8, or maybe try something completely new. Who cares? Just do it.

Wait, hold on. I’m confused. How much weight am I trying to lose? 

Imagine a friend is curious about your diet. She asks you what your goal is. Do you say “Oh, well I just lost 8 pounds, and now I’d like to lose 20 more? ”

Hell no!

You say “Yep – I’m just trying to lose 8 pounds” And every time you lose 8, you win. Re-set. Game over.

What’s going to happen when you lose 8 pounds?

The first eight: You’re going to feel great. You’re going to feel as bright as the sun. You might go down one size. You’ll realize, “hey – it’s not so hard.” I could do this 3 more times.

The second eight: This is when you begin to feel like a new person. You’ve probably gone down one or two dress sizes.

Do this three times, and you’re down by 24 pounds. You won’t even realize how it happened so quickly.

Meanwhile, you’ll be establishing great habits. You won’t be stressing yourself. You won’t be setting insane expectations, and you won’t be simultaneously starving and working out at the gym. Instead, you’ll be giving your body what it wants and needs, because you’re only trying to lose a few pounds at most.

So aim for 8. I don’t care if you’re 20 pounds overweight, or 100 pounds overweight. Write it down today in lipstick on your bathroom mirror.

And when you reach that goal, you can re-evaluate.

Start today! Don’t wait until Monday! You can do it!!!

unspecified-7.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

How to be a Hippie and also a Skeptic

Funny hippie man holding a love heart and pointing up.

Is Detoxifying Real? 

I am a skeptic. So I understand why words like “toxin” and “liver” sound made-up and stupid.

But I’m also a hippie. So at least once a week, you can find me in a meditative trance, removing “toxins” from my “liver” by way of complete abstention from food. That’s right, I fast weekly. Fuck. You.

I Don’t Know What Toxins Are

What the hell are toxins? Where do they live?

I don’t like magical terminology because I love science. And in the name of science, I truly abhor catch-all words (like toxins). But that doesn’t mean that toxins aren’t real. In fact, I’m beginning to strongly suspect that livers might be real too.

Toxins may include, but are not limited to –> pesticides, traces of antibiotics, chlorine (from your drinking water), MSG, BPA, preservatives, pollutants from various plastics and emissions. Dear god, even glucose is toxic to your blood (why do you think your body is so good at clearing it?).

Some of these toxins live in your fat. When you lose weight, they are released into your blood. These are called “fat soluble.” Yikes.

Some toxins are stored in other places, like your left eye, or your right eye. Maybe this explains why you can’t look at your mother straight.

Some of the above listed compounds might not even be toxic. Who knows? But some probably are. And some might not be toxic to you, per se. They simply destroy your microbiome and cause your ass to leak blood at the most inconvenient times (a phenomenon we fitness bloggers refer to as “anal menstruation.”)

It drives me crazy when people dismiss detoxifying as pseudo-science.

I apologize, on behalf of the hippies, for failing to effectively articulate their filthy-hippie points of view.  Maybe they’re too busy chanting at a crystal.

But despite never showering, the hippies might be onto something. And the hippie within me feels it intuitively.

Your so-called “liver”

Your body detoxifies constantly. Through sweat, through breath – even through your incontinent bladder. Your body is a homeostasis MACHINE. And it cannot LIVE without constantly detoxifying. How can you not respect its amazing homeostatic powers?

This alleged “liver” of yours supposedly plays a role. Sure, whatever. Maybe Unicorns play a role too.

Imaginary or not, I don’t think that your so called “liver” is helped by a bed of rose petals, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, or whatever stupid thing you probably believe in. Namely, because all of those things are moronic.

…But perhaps, just perhaps, we should at least consider the possibility that this mythical organ might be helped by a short break from the never ending onslaught of FOOD FOOD FOOD and chemicals that you’ve stuffed down your gullet every 3-5 hours (as recommended by ‘professionals’) for the past 38 years of your  life.

Fasting and/or Just Not Taking in Toxins

Fasting is both ancient and new. Short fasts have shown health promise in so many ways. When there are problems with blood work, fasts often improve those problems.

I’m not going to cite specific studies here, because it’s so much easier to just make my claims without any support at all. But if you’d like to learn more – here are some great books that I love: “The Fast Diet” by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer and “Grain Brain” by Dr. Perlmutter. Dr. Joel Fuhrman also has great book on this topic, but it’s slightly dated.

If you don’t want to fast, you can detoxify in other ways. And in fact – fasting alone will never be enough.

You can simply reduce the amount of toxins you take in. And that’s real. Here is a story about a family who went fully organic for just two weeks.  The amount of pesticides in their blood plummeted. We still don’t know what effects, if any, this has on health. But I suspect that chemicals often have consequences. Why wouldn’t they?

Detoxifying Could Simply Mean Not Eating Weird Chemicals 

You don’t have to be a hippie to simply not eat weird chemicals.

Just try not to eat them, or at least to eat less of them. Chemicals go to the places where you put them. Why wouldn’t they? And even if your body is fantastic at getting rid of them, you don’t have to make it work so hard.

And while it is probably true that your liver is nothing but a myth perpetuated by the media, that doesn’t make it infallible. Everything degrades over time, even things that were invented in the cold sterile boardroom of some heartless corporation trying to sell you liver pills.

For more information on how you can avoid weird chemicals in your produce, check out EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists. These lists tell you which fruits and veggies are most likely (and least likely) to be contaminated with pesticides.

It’s nice to create a nice environment for the things you love, and it’s nice not to take chances with your hot body.  Treat your so-called liver with respect, and your so-called liver just might thank you by not killing you.

Peace. Love. Detox.

unspecified-7.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

Wine about Calories

wine.jpg
wine with a view

One glass of wine has about 120 calories.
Seven glasses a week has 840.

Over the course of a year, one glass per day adds up to 43,800 calories a year. From wine! Yay.

From a strict calories in-calories out perspective, that’s equivalent to about 12.5 pounds of fat per year, and that doesn’t even begin to include rum.

I weigh in the vicinity of 135 pounds (175 on a bad hair day). If I had started out at a lower weight, and if my wine had converted to fat with perfect efficiency over the past year, I’d be a little over 9% wine (7% on a bad hair day).

Of course I didn’t gain weight in the past year. And I don’t believe in a strict calories in-calories out approach. So what’s the relevance of this?

I don’t know – it’s just fun. Turns out I drink a lot of wine.

unspecified-7.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

Pretty Purple Smoothie à la Laura

 

IMG_6715.JPG
“drink me”

I love filling my various stomach chambers with freshly made smoothies. This delightful concoction is called the “Pretty Purple Smoothie à la Laura” because it’s pretty, it’s purple, and it was submitted to us by our friend Laura. Thanks betch.

Here’s the recipe:

  1. One cup liquid (almond milk, soy milk, water)
  2. One cup frozen blueberries
  3. 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  4. 1 cup kale
  5. Vanilla low fat greek yogurt
  6. A couple drops vanilla extract

Laura recommends freezing the berries yourself, but I suspect that Laura is a filthy liar who has never frozen a berry in her life.

IMG_6717.PNG
…more lies

I’ve never tried vanilla extract in my smoothies, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be amazing.

Thank you Laura!!

Enjoy 😀

unspecified-7.png

If you love Fat Girls Fitness, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
(We won’t spam you)

We’d love to hear about your progress.
Keep in touch with Fat Girls Fitness on Facebook 🙂

Chicken Soup for the Soul

IMG_20160119_195523.jpg

Last week I was on a chicken soup recipe mission because my Husband was sick and needed some good “Jewish Penicillin”. But there was just one little issue- neither of us like boiled chicken. It would be such a waste to get chicken for the purpose of flavor and then chucking it. I needed to find a way to not waste food.

I thought to myself, “why not use rotisserie chicken?” It totally worked and was so flavorful and I’ve made this concoction again for this week. This recipe was adapted  from here.

This recipe yields approx 6 servings so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • bag of carrots
  • bag of celery
  • 1.5 onions
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • whole rotisserie
  •  2 tbls oil or butter
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried oregano or Italian season (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • *noodles/rice optional*

Directions:

  • Bring broth and water to a simmer
  • While the broth and water are warming up, chop up a handful of carrots, half an onion and one celery stalk- throw it into the pot
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cover the pot partially. In the meantime, separate the skin and bones in one container and the meat in another
  • Place the skin, bones, and bay leaf in the pot, partially cover and simmer for another hour to release max amount of flavor
  • Chop up the rest of the chicken, carrots, onion, and celery. Put to the side
  • After the hour, grab a large bowl and a colander. Place colander over the bowl and pour mixture in. This will separate the broth from the skin and bone mixture
  • Take your chopped up veggies and oil and saute in the pot until soft
  • Pour broth back into the pot and place chopped chicken and parsley in and simmer for another 10-20 minutes
  • *Add noodles or rice when you are ready to serve

So much flavor and really easy to make. I hope you guys enjoy!

unspecified-811111.png