Mean Mister Ghrelin Attacks

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Have you ever had ghrelin attack you so hard that it felt like a punch to the gut, and the only way to relieve it was through eating? If you have ever struggled with obesity, you know that you have experienced this. When ghrelin attacks, it is enough to drive us insane until we begin chowing down on something delicious. I know this from my own personal experience with binge eating. Ghrelin is no joke, but it can be tamed.

What is Ghrelin?

Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that tells our brain it’s time to eat. This hormone is produced in the stomach and travels through your bloodstream to your brain where it tells you that it is time to eat. It’s what makes you feel hungry. The main function of ghrelin is to increase your appetite, consume more food, and to store those excess calories as fat.

Ghrelin affects your sleep/wake cycle, reward-seeking behavior, taste sensation and carbohydrate metabolism. When our stomach is empty, it produces and secretes ghrelin which enters the bloodstream and then travels to the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which governs your hormones and appetite. The more ghrelin you produce, the hungrier you get. Ghrelin attacks with a viciousness for some of us, but it can also be controlled with a bit of knowledge and effort on your part.

Managing Your Ghrelin

Ghrelin is an important hormone that does more than make us “HANGRY” when it attacks. Ghrelin also regulates glucose homeostasis by inhibiting insulin secretion and regulating gluconeogenesis/glycogenolysis. Ghrelin signaling decreases thermogenesis to regulate energy expenditure. Ghrelin improves the survival prognosis of myocardial infarction by reducing sympathetic nerve activity. Ghrelin prevents muscle atrophy by inducing muscle differentiation and fusion. Ghrelin also regulates bone formation and metabolism by modulating proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts. (1)

Obviously, ghrelin is important to our health, but it can also be detrimental when it gets out of control. When ghrelin attacks and you let it keep winning the battles, the result can be found with your obesity. So, how do we fight this war from within?

  1. Get proper sleep. Most people really need between seven to nine hours of good sleep. Anything less than seven hours increases our production of ghrelin while decreasing the hormone leptin which tells our brain that we are full. This is an important component of keeping our bodies in balance.
  2. Manage your stress. Chronic stress leads to overeating, poor food choices, increased alcohol consumption and impaired sleep. In a study from 2016, exposure to stress was shown to alter the ghrelin levels and alteration in ghrelin levels significantly affects neuro-endocrinological parameters; metabolism-related physiology, behavior and mood. (1) Make your world small by engaging in stress reducing activities like being outdoors, exercising, meditation, journaling, prayer, being creative and surrounding yourself with loving friends and family. These are all ways of decreasing stress and balancing ghrelin levels.
  3. Exercise. Regular physical activity improves overall hormonal balance, weight and a sense of wellness. Before beginning any new exercise routine, always be sure that you first have your doctor’s approval.
  4. Eat whole foods and quit eating foods with added sugars, and processed foods! Follow our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness and learn to eat  a proper balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, all within your caloric needs.  When you crash diet, or restrict your calories too much, ghrelin levels increase and poor food choices and cravings will increase.
    • Protein can slow gastric emptying and provides satiety. Adding protein to your meals helps with satiety by improving leptin sensitivity.
    • Consuming healthy fats can also decrease ghrelin levels. Healthy fats that contain omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, chia and flax seeds and nuts will boost leptin and keep ghrelin in check.
    • High fiber foods stretch your stomach and balance your hunger hormones.
    •  Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened drinks, which can impair ghrelin response after meals

When ghrelin attacks, don’t be a victim!

It is not uncommon to feel like the odds are stacked against us when it comes to achieving sustainable weight loss. But, it’s important for you to understand that we actually do have a great deal of control over our hormones, as they do respond in our favor to dietary, exercise and stress-related changes we make. Your aim when it comes to losing weight is to focus on setting up a healthy food environment that encourages nutrient-dense eating, managing stress, moving our bodies consistently and making smart food choices long-term.

How to Stop Food Cravings!

Does Cortisol Make You Fat?

Depressed woman
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Does cortisol make us fat, and if so, is there anything we can do about it?

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands found just above your kidneys. It is an important steroid hormone that belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids. The production and release of cortisol is regulated by your pituitary gland and the hypothalamus located in the brain.  When our stress levels rise,  the adrenal gland releases cortisol and adrenaline. This release triggers an increase in heart rate, and energy levels to prepare your body for stressful situations.  While this response is entirely normal, prolonged elevations of cortisol levels can bring about several negative effects in the body which include:.

  • weight gain
  • high blood pressure
  • fatigue
  • changes in mood
  • irritability
  • flushed face
  • thinning skin
  • difficulty concentrating
  • insulin resistance

Elevated levels of cortisol have been shown to lead to overeating, and of course we know what overeating leads to. Cortisol makes us fat simply because it triggers us to eat too much. Studies have found an association between a higher cortisol response and a higher amount of belly fat in men and women, but is there anything we can do to control this?

Make Your World Small!

Or in other words, do everything you can to reduce those things which cause you stress. Learn to take a moment to reframe in your mind why a situation is stressing you out. Ask yourself if the situation is truly having an effect on your life, or are you just annoyed more than anything. If a stressful situation is not actually affecting your well being, then learn to just let it go. Some circumstances are just beyond our control, they might not actually affect us. It is necessary to your health to not allow outside influences to bring you down. Life will always bring about stress, we cannot control this, but we can control how we react to it. By focusing on awareness of your mental and physical state, you can become an objective observer of your stressful thoughts, instead of a victim of them.

Get Your Sleep!

Chronic sleep issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or shift work have been associated with higher cortisol. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help to keep cortisol in a normal rhythm. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine 6 hours before bed, and staying off your cell phone right before bed are effective strategies to getting proper sleep. If you suffer from lack of sleep, give your doctor a visit. You might need to undergo a sleep study.

Exercise Your Body!

Always be sure you have your doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise routine.

Aim for 150–200 minutes of low- to moderate- intensity exercise each week. Exercising regularly can help you better manage stress and promote good health, which  has been shown to lower cortisol levels.

Maintain a Healthy Diet!

For better or worse, our nutrition has a direct effect on our cortisol levels. Research has shown a strong relationship between a healthy gut microbiome — all the microbes living in your gut — and improved mental health. Therefore, consuming foods to support a healthy gut may help reduce stress, anxiety, and improve your overall health.

Regular consumption of added-sugar results in elevated cortisol levels. Interestingly, a high sugar diet may also suppress cortisol release during stressful events, making it more difficult for your body to handle stressful situations.

Maintain Healthy Relationships!

Relationships with friends and family can lead to happiness and to stress. Spend time with those you love and learn to forgive and manage conflict for better emotional and physical health. If you know that an individual is toxic, get them out of your life as much as humanly possible. Do everything you can to not allow others to bring you down.

Have Fun and Laugh!

Laughing promotes the release of endorphins and suppresses stress hormones such as cortisol. It’s also linked with better mood, reduced stress and perceived pain, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system.

Does Cortisol Make Us Fat?

Yes, cortisol can make us fat, but we do not have to allow this. To keep cortisol from making us fat, it is incumbent that we learn to take control of our lives. We cannot always control what happens around us, but we can exercise control over how we react to circumstances.

For more about cortisol and stress eating, read this wonderful article by Brenda Sue!

Causes of Stress Eating and Possible Prevention

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Fruit and Vegetables to Feel Better!

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash vegetables and fruit

Experiments With Fruit and Vegetables

Those of you who have read very much of my writing know that I have run countless experiments related to health and fitness on myself throughout my life. That’s why writing here at David’s Way comes natural to me. I write a lot from personal experience. Since I have noticed specific outcomes from my experiments, when I see documented studies that support my experience, I am duty-bound to report this to our readers. In those cases, I have two separate sources of evidence of the validity of my topic, my experience and the documented research of others. I have noticed that I have much more energy and am in a better mood when I eat my veggies, fruits and berries.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Energy!

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In the three and a half years that I’ve been a strength trainer, I have found that sweet potatoes are the most effective “energy bar” for me. You can spend a lot of money on energy bars but sweet potatoes are cheap. I cook it in the microwave, let it cool just enough that it won’t burn me and slice it into bite size pieces. I carry those “energy shots” to my dungeon and as I approach my most difficult lifts, I begin to eat them. I chew them well to release the nutrients and without fail, I get a burst of energy. A one-cup serving of this nutrition superfood provides about 25 grams of complex carbohydrates and 3.1 grams of fiber. (1) They’re rich in manganese and Vitamin A. Manganese is considered a “helper” nutrient that helps to unlock the potential in other nutrients. Without these “helpers”, or cofactors, your food cannot provide everything that you need. Cofactors work like a key to unlock the hidden nutrition riches in our food. Since the carbs in sweet potatoes are complex, they can fuel a long workout by releasing their energy over time.

 

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Fruits and Vegetables for Minerals!

Bananas are also a good source of complex carbs, potassium and Vitamin B6, providing about 33% of this energy boosting nutrient. They contain about 450mg of potassium which is essential for energy. While bananas are higher than apples in naturally occurring sugars, they still have only about 12 grams as opposed to the 10 grams in the average apple. Bananas are known to give you a quick energy boost for exercise or everyday activities. Apples will also give you this boost so choose your favorite for a mid-afternoon snack when you might otherwise reach for sugar-laden junk foods for that mid-afternoon slump.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash
Photo by Bethany Randall on Unsplash

Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Fat!

Avocados are packed full of healthy fats that help you absorb the nutrients from other foods. About 80% of the carbohydrates in avocados exist as fiber. This superfood burns slowly and keeps you fueled for the long haul. Between the healthy fats and the fiber, they are sure to energize and satisfy. Just be careful with this superfood because they are high in calories. One avocado has about 300 calories! While serving sizes keep changing, at this time 1/3 of an avocado is considerd one serving, or 100 calories. The question is, will you eat only 1/3 of an avocado? I don’t, so I don’t eat them. That does not change the fact that they are full of energy sustaining complex carbs and healthy fats that curb the appetite.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Fatigue!

Green leafy vegetables are an excellent choice for an energy boost! They are packed with iron and Vitamin C that helps you absorb the iron. Fatigue is a symptom of iron deficiency. You need a doctor’s approval before taking an iron supplement, although they sell them without a prescription. The iron in foods is safe and convenient. I need iron in my diet and can tell if I’m not getting enough. Romaine lettuce also contains “helper” cofactors that help unlock the energy in other foods. My workouts are better when I’m eating romaine on a regular basis.

Photo by Melissa LeGette on Unsplash

Fruits and Vegetables for Circulation!

Beets contain natural nitrates which athletes use to improve blood flow. With improved blood flow comes more energy. I have a beet powder in my pantry. I don’t like the overly-done flavoring in the brand that I have but I believe that it’s intended to disguise the taste of the beets! Since I like beets, I will look for an unflavored version the next time I buy beet powder. Beets are also high in carbs, fiber and naturally occurring sugar for a sustained energy boost.

Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

When I first began lifting, I was so focused on protein that I neglected fruits and veggies at times. Now I understand that I can lift better with these energy bombs under my belt. I encourage you to experiment with different fruits and vegetables and see how they affect your energy levels throughout the day and in your workouts. While it is protein that builds, we have to have the energy to lift enough weight to do the job. It’s easy to try a piece of fruit but make sure that you explore vegetables for the rich powerhouse of energy and nutrition that they are. You just might find a new energy bar.

Cleveland Kraut Beet Red Review

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/energy-boosting-foods

 

 

Cherry Picking Weight Loss Advice

healthy vs unhealthy food choices
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If you want to successfully lose weight, you cannot cherry pick weight loss advice!

It confounds me sometimes how people will ask how to lose weight, then totally reject the advice they are given. If you knew how to lose weight, you wouldn’t be asking how to in the first place. You know this to be true. Additionally, people need to understand that losing weight in and of itself is not enough. They need to understand also how to keep those unwanted pounds off of their bodies permanently.

In my experience, I have had people get angry when I have told them to quit eating foods with added sugars, and processed foods. I’ve had people flat reject the idea of weighing, measuring and tracking their food intake. It is what it is, if these angry people ever come to understand that I am telling them what they need to hear, I am still there for them if they come back to me. However, I am never going to waiver on my advice, nor am I ever going to feel bad about angering would be weight losers with my advice.

You have to make a permanent change to your nutritional lifestyle if you want to be successful at weight loss. There are truths you are going to have to accept in what this lifelong endeavor requires of yourself. You have to make permanent changes my friends, it is as simple as that.

Calories in/Calories out

You are going to have to consume fewer calories than you expend in a day. It is as simple as that.  The laws of thermodynamics apply to everyone my friends. Our bodies use the calories we consume to fuel our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

There are three main bodily processes that burn calories:

  • Basic metabolism. Your body uses most of the calories you get from food to sustain basic functions, such as your heartbeat. 
  • Digestion. Around 10–15% of the calories you eat is used to power digestion. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and varies based on the foods you eat.
  • Physical activity. The leftover calories you get from your diet are meant to fuel your physical activity, including workouts and everyday tasks like walking, reading, and washing dishes. (1)

If the calories we consume equal our BMR needs, our weight remains stable. If the calories we consume are less than we need, we lose weight. When they are greater, our waist lines expands. There is no getting around this.

When we exceed the caloric needs of our BMR, those extra calories get stored as glycogen, or as fat, in our bodies for later use. Weight loss is always a matter of caloric deficit, no matter whether your calories come from carbs, fats, or protein.

It is only to your detriment if you reject this piece of weight loss advice.

Stop Eating Foods With Added Sugars!

Just get over it, what you want to eat is not helping you to have a healthy body. Any weight loss plan that tells you that it is alright to continue eating added sugars, are not there to help you. They are there to take your hard earned money instead. These weight loss businesses do not truly have your best interest at heart, and will tell you what you want to hear to draw you in. If you reject weight loss advice to give up added sugars, you might as well resign yourself to remaining fat if you refuse to change.

There is zero nutritional value to adding sugar to foods. Yes, sugar makes them taste delicious, while also making us feel good. But there is no health benefit to consuming it. In fact, the inverse is true in that sugar causes inflammation in the body which is the precursor for many modern chronic ailments and diseases.

In the Standard American Diet (SAD), the top sources of added sugars come from soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. And added sugars can also be found in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

Everyone loves sweetened foods, but the effects of added sugar consumption include higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. All of these conditions are directly linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Now, just how good were those cookies and cakes?

Additionally, when we consume added sugars, especially in sugary beverages, it contributes to our weight gain by tricking our bodies into turning off its appetite-control system. Because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods it becomes too easy for us to add even more empty calories to our diets. Find something else to drink other than sodas and anything else sugar sweetened. I know and understand this piece of weight loss advice is tough to hear, but you don’t need added sugars!

Added Sugars Spike Insulin/Insulin Spikes Body Fat!

When we eat too much sugar, it usually makes us feel poorly afterwards. This is a result of hypoglycemia. Or in simpler terms, your pancreas has pumped out insulin to get your blood sugar in order, and once the insulin has peaked, your blood sugar will drop off. Which makes you feel sickly. But, there is also more at play than this. Insulin causes us to also get fat when we constantly have high levels of blood sugar.

The weight loss advice we give at David’s Way to Health and Fitness comes from hours of study and research my friends. From our studies we know that our pancreas secretes insulin as a result of the carbohydrates in our diet. This occurs primarily to keep blood sugar under control. However, insulin also works to orchestrate the storage and use of fat and protein. Insulin ensures that our muscles get enough protein to complete whatever rebuilding and repair that may be necessary. Insulin also helps us to store enough fuel to function between meals.

Because one place we store fuel for later use is in our fat tissue, insulin is the regulator of fat metabolism. Insulin accomplishes this through two enzymes. The first is LPL, lipoprotein lipase.

LPL sticks out from the membranes of different cells and then pulls fat out of the bloodstream and into the cells. If the LPL is on a muscle cell, it pulls the fat into the muscle. If it is on fat cells, it simply makes the fat cell fatter.  How this happens is LPL breaks down triglycerides in the bloodstream to their component fatty acids., and these fatty acids flow into the cells.

 Being as insulin is the primary regulator of fat metabolism, it is also the primary regulator of LPL activity. Insulin activates LPL on fat cells, specifically the fat cells of our abdomens. The more insulin we secrete, the more active the LPL on our fat cells become.  The result of this is more fat gets pulled in from the bloodstream and placed into our fat cells for storage. Insulin also happens to suppress LPL activity on our muscle cells which ensures they do not have many fatty acids to burn for fuel. The result is fatty acids do not get released from fat cells when insulin levels are high. These fatty acids cannot get taken up by our muscle cells for fuel. They just end up back in our fat cells, if they even escape them to begin with.

The second enzyme insulin utilizes to regulate fat is Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HPL). This enzyme is even more critical to our storage of fat. Just as LPL works to make fat cells fatter, HSL works to make fat cells leaner. It does this by working inside of fat cells to break down triglycerides into their component fatty acids. This action allows fatty acids to escape fat cells into circulation in the bloodstream. The more active our HSL, the more fat we can set loose to be burned for fuel.

The problem is, insulin suppresses HSL which prevents triglycerides from being broken down within our fat cells. Insulin keeps the outflow of fatty acids from fat cells to a minimum. It actually does not take much insulin to cause this suppression, so just think how suppressed this becomes when you live on sugar. When insulin levels are elevated, even just a little bit, fat accumulates within our fat cells!

I often hear people speak of living their lives in balance while they are munching away at foods that will keep their insulin levels totally out of balance.  If you want your life to be in balance, your body must be in balance internally.

Insulin turns on a mechanism in fat cells to pump glucose, the same as it does in muscle cells. This action increases the amount of glucose our fat cells metabolize. This action in turn increases the amount of glycerol molecules floating around in the fat cells.  These glycerol molecules then become attached to fatty acids which becomes triglycerides. This means we can store more fat. To ensure we can store all of this fat, insulin works to create new fat cells just in case the ones we already have become full.

To add insult to injury, insulin signals liver cells not to burn fatty acids, but to repackage them into triglycerides, and then ship them back to our fat tissue. In short, everything insulin does increases the fat we store and decrease the fat we burn. Insulin works to make us fatter, therefore it is incumbent upon you to control your insulin through healthy dietary habits. You do this by not consuming foods with added sugars.

INSULIN LEVELS ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE CARBOHYDRATES WE EAT!

In closing, here is how that chain of events occur:

  1. You think about eating a meal that contains carbohydrates.
  2. You begin secreting insulin.
  3. The insulin signals the fat cells to shut down the release of fatty acids by inhibiting HSL, and taking up more fatty acids via LPL from the circulation.
  4. You start to get hungry, or hungrier.
  5. You begin eating.
  6. You secrete more insulin.
  7. The carbohydrates are digested and enter the circulation as glucose, causing blood sugar to rise.
  8. You secrete still more insulin.
  9. Fat from the diet is stored as triglycerides in the fat cells, as are some of the carbohydrates that are converted into fat in the liver.
  10. The fat cells get fatter, and so do you.
  11. The fat remains in the fat cells until the insulin level drops.

You can reject my weight loss advice. That is on you if you do. However, your feelings and opinion are not facts, and the simple truth is, your feelings and opinions are not going to get you down to a healthy body fat percentage or weight.

Weight Loss Tips for 2021!

 

References:

(1) Healthline.com

(2) Why We Get Fat, and What To Do About It, Gary Taubes

The Reason We get Fat

Fat man measuring his belly
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Besides the obvious answer of eating more calories than we consume, what is the reason we get fat? The truth is, we were designed to carry extra fat since our early ancestors lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle – evolution has never caught up to our modern lifestyles.

For thousands of years, our ancestors lived during times when food could be quite scarce. The modern phenomena of overabundance simply did not exist until quite recently in human history. Therefore,  our genes that control our eating behavior were shaped by those times. Our bodies are genetically designed to accumulate fat based on the days when we had to forage for food in the wild.  With an abundance of food today, we can’t ignore this fact. When we do, we experience hazards to both our health and our waistlines.

We can control how much fat we retain in our fat tissues!

To be successful with weight loss, and weight management, we have to know what biological factors regulate the amount of fat in our tissues. Ignorance might be bliss, but it also leads to obesity in this matter. It is imperative that we know how our diets affect our bodies, in order to know what we are doing right, or wrong. If we do not know what we are doing wrong, we will simply remain fat.

Obviously, we know that overeating and being sedentary lead to obesity, but there are more factors that get overlooked. There is a science to how fat tissue is regulated. To get lean, you must understand the science of how we regulate our fat tissue.

Simple Question

If being fat is unhealthy, why do we get that way? Is it a means to insulate our bodies from the cold? Or, is it because we need padding to protect our fragile structures from within? Those would be sound reasons, but why in the world do we get fat all over? Do we really need an abundance of fat around our waistline?

The reason we get fat now is because we have forgotten how to keep ourselves in balance with our needs. In times past, our body fat could be looked at as a savings account to be drawn from in times of need.  Our ancestors would consume more than they needed, and the excess calories were stored away as fat since there was a good chance you could find yourself undernourished. If you lived in a cabin and found yourself snowed in, then your fat was mobilized to provide your body with fuel. In modern times, this is not a worry, therefore it is now incumbent upon us to keep our fat at a healthy level all year round.

However, there is even more to the story than what you have read already. It has been known since the 1930’s that fat is continuously flowing out of our fat cells and circulating around the body to be used as fuel. If this fat does not get used as fuel, it simply returns back to the fat cells. This is a continuous process within the body whether we have recently eaten or not. The German biochemist, Ernst Wertheimer, put it this way: “Mobilization and deposition of fat go on continuously without regard to the nutritional state of the animal”.

During any given 24 hour period, fat from your fat cells provide a significant portion of the fuel that your cells burn for energy. Most nutritionists will say that carbohydrates are the preferred fuel for the body, but this is not entirely accurate.  This belief stems from the fact the body burns carbohydrates for fuel before burning fat. This is actually because your body needs to keep your blood sugar levels in check after you have eaten.  And when we consume a bunch of carbohydrates, there is a lot to be burned before getting to our fat. The carbohydrates actually require immediate action, therefore they get burned off first while the fat is sent to fat cells for storage. If your body does not keep up with the overwhelming rise in blood sugar by burning off the carbohydrates you have eaten, you will experience high blood sugar and insulin levels.

The role of insulin

Insulin is the most powerful hormone in the human body and plays more than one role. But it’s most critical role is to keep our blood sugar under control. As we eat carbohydrates, insulin signals the cells throughout the body to increase the rate at which they are pumping in glucose from the bloodstream.  Some of this glucose is burned for immediate energy, some of it gets stored for later use. Our muscle cells store glucose in the form of glycogen. Our liver cells store some glucose as glycogen, and convert the rest to fat to be stored in our fat cells.

When blood sugar decreases, insulin levels also decrease. In turn, fat gets released by fat tissues to continue giving us energy to function. Our bodies are uniquely designed for optimum performance. Some fat begins life as carbohydrates, other fat begins as fat in the diet.  However, no matter their origin, the fat in the cells is indistinguishable from whence it came.

The more time that passes after a meal, the more fat you will burn instead of glucose. This is especially true when you are sleeping at night. If not, you would find yourself needing to get up every few hours to raid the refrigerator. The fat flowing in from your fat cells keeps you fueled until you rise and get out of bed in the morning.

To simplify our thinking in regards to fat tissue, let’s think of it as a wallet. Like cash going into and out of a wallet, we are continuously doing the same with fat and our fat tissue.  The difference is, we actually end up storing more fat in our tissue than we do cash in our wallets. In a perfect world, our fat reserves would always be in perfect balance. We do not get fatter, nor leaner. Our bodies would always be at a perfect balance of body fat to lean muscle mass ratios. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

How does our body decide which fats will come and go?

If our fat flows in and out of cells all day, which ones get to flow, and which remain stored?

Fat in our body is in two different forms that serve different purposes.  Fat flows in and out of cells in the form of fatty acids which we burn for fuel. The fat we store is in the form of triglycerides which are composed of three fatty acids bound together by a molecule of glycerol.

Triglycerides are too big to flow through the membranes of fat cells, whereas fatty acids can easily flow out. Fatty acids flow in and out continuously and get used for fuel, while triglycerides remain stashed away for future use.  Triglycerides have to be constructed inside a fat cell from their component fatty acids. This happens when a fatty acid either flows into a fat cell, or gets created from glucose, and then gets bound with two other fatty acids and a glycogen molecule. Once this occurs, the triglyceride is now too large to be released by the fat cell.  Eventually, triglycerides will fall apart and then the fatty acids will be able to flow back out of the cell.

What happens when fatty acids keep getting into your fat cells?

Anything, and everything that drives fatty acids into fat cells increases the amount of fatty acids that will get bundled together as triglycerides. This is the reason you get fat. You have to eat in such a manner that you slow this process down. There are several hormones and enzymes that are also involved in this process, and when you disturb their balance through poor nutrition, you are setting yourself up to be fat.

The simple reason we get fat.

We get fat simply because carbohydrates make us so. Therefore it is up to you to be wise in your consumption of carbohydrates. Protein and fat do not make us fat!  Complex carbohydrates are not the problem so much as simple carbohydrates and sugars are.

Most people find success with weight loss on the diets they choose because they are cutting carbs whether they realize it or not. When we go on a diet, or begin a new exercise regimen, we usually eliminate carbohydrates simply because they are the easiest to reduce. When we eliminate added sugars from our diet, it is actually hard to eat enough to gain weight when your foods are all low calorie, and nutrient dense. There is never a reason for anyone to be hungry when losing weight, unless they are still consuming simple carbs and added sugars. And as long as you are still doing this, the processes you have just read about are still in play.

When restricted calorie diets fail you, as they do most people, the reason is you are also restricting foods that do not make you fat. It is a recipe for failure when you restrict the amount of protein and fat you consume.  These macronutrients have no effect on insulin and fat deposition, but they have everything to do with energy and the rebuilding of cells and tissues.

The reason we get fat and remain that way despite our dieting is usually because we do not know how our body operates. We starve our body of nutrients and energy, rather than simply targeting the fat tissues themselves. This kind of dieting only leads to failure every time it is tried.

You can, and should keep eating foods that are complex carbohydrates since they provide you with energy and fiber to keep your body healthy. What you need to dump, if you are serious about weight loss, is simple carbohydrates and foods with added sugars. These foods are calorie dense while providing little in the way of nutrition for the body. The smart thing that anyone serious about weight loss has to consider is they should let nothing pass their lips that does not provide benefit to the body.

Missing Small Details in the Big Picture

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How Long Will This Take?

Protein Deficiency

Photo by montatip lilitsanong on Unsplash protein

Protein Is Necessary to Life

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY LISTED HERE. NUTRITIONAL IMBALANCES CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING. WE CANNOT DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY MEDICAL CONDITION. OUR WORK IS MEANT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

I remember many years ago when liquid diets were the rage, people started dying from a lack of protein. While those liquid “meals” had enough calories, you were supposed to add whole foods to the plan. Of the many people who did not, some died. At first the deaths were a mystery but very soon the reason for those deaths became obvious. The ones who died were not getting  enough protein.

Many people think that if they limit their meat consumption they will lose weight. That may not be the case. Lean meat eaten in moderate quantities is not a hindrance to weight loss. Protein stokes the metabolism, reduces the appetite and  helps to regulate hormones all of which will help you lose weight.

Protein is a source of dopamine in our bodies. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that allows us to enjoy life. Although many people shy away from eating animal products nowadays, animal products are the richest source of protein. Meat, eggs, poultry and fish are excellent sources.

Some of the symptoms of protein deficiency are as follows:

  • Brittle hair, nails and dry skin. Since hair, skin and nails are composed largely of protein, a deficiency will show up here early.
  • Fatty Liver has become all too common. It’s common in obese individuals and alcoholics. Fatty Liver can result in liver failure.
  • Loss of muscle mass… In David’s article, Losing Muscle Mass as We Age he discusses this at length. It’s called sarcopenia and it’s accelerated by low protein intake. I have noticed my entire life that as most people age, they eat less protein! Don’t do that. Older non-athletes still need about 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes need 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Read Protein Supplements to for a comprehensive guide on protein sources.
  • Weak bones! Most of us are aware that a calcium deficiency will cause weak bones but are unaware of the link to protein. A study in postmenopausal women who had recently broken a hip showed that taking a mere 20 gram protein supplement every day for only 6 months slowed bone loss by 2.3%! (1)
  • Slow wound healing… If our bodies don’t have the building blocks to rebuild, we won’t heal. With longer healing time comes a higher risk of infection.
  • Hunger! If you don’t eat enough protein you will never be satisfied. You will keep eating to try to satisfy the need for protein. Protein satisfies and helps you to stop eating when you have reached your calorie allowance.
  • Weakness…one study showed that just one week of low protein intake could affect muscle mass. (2)
  • Getting sick frequently…your immune system  uses protein to make the antibodies that fight diseases of all kinds.
  • Depression…Amino acids that are found in protein are used to make dopamine and serotonin, your feel-good brain chemicals
  • Swelling…although this is seldom seen in developed countries, it can happen. I have known someone who lived almost exclusively on carbohydrates and she stayed swollen all over all the time. She also stayed sick. Protein is used to make albumin in our blood which helps to maintain a proper osmotic pressure to keep our fluid levels in good working order. When the albumin in our blood is off, we swell.

While these symptoms of protein deficiency are well known there are others. Too little protein affects every aspect of our lives. We are omnivores, meant to eat both plants and animals. If you are vegetarian or live some other lifestyle that avoids animal products, be sure to do your homework and get your protein. If you just don’t like meat, which is our richest protein source, the same thing applies to you. Don’t assume that you are getting enough. The results could be disastrous.

If you are trying to lose weight, or even control your weight, enough protein will make it much easier. You will feel and look better and find it much easier to control your appetite and be healthier doing it. Make a conscious effort to be accountable concerning your protein intake just as you are about getting enough water or counting your calories. You can get the free version of  My Fitness Pal and it counts your protein, carbs and fat right along with your calories. We use it every day. It’s easy to get enough protein when you make it a priority at every meal.

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-deficiency-symptoms

https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-not-enough-protein-signs

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Iced cola in glass
Freepik.com

Back in the 70’s, food and drink manufactures began adding high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to their products. In light of today’s obesity epidemic that is riding on the heels of HFCS, is this stuff bad for us, or not? Is it better, just as bad or worse for us than refined sugar. In this article, I will sort this out for you.

What is HFCS?

High-fructose corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made from corn. When corn starch is broken down into individual molecules, it becomes corn syrup, which is 100% glucose, or,  a simple sugar. To make HFCS, enzymes are added to convert some of this glucose into fructose, which is also called “fruit sugar” because it occurs naturally in fruits and berries.

HFCS has the same calories as other sugars we add to food and drink, yet it is cheaper than sugar, and has better flavor enhancement and a longer shelf life. It’s more stable and consistent, especially in acidic foods and drinks which is why food producers use it.

HFCS is a cheap ingredient. Processed food manufactures can achieve the same level of sweetness provided by table sugar or other fruit based sweeteners,  but only with less product. For instance, the content of a bottle of regular soda pop, the stuff containing HFCS is almost ten percent cheaper than a bottle of diet soda with artificial sweeteners and thirty percent cheaper than its “real sugar” counterpart. HFCS lowers the cost of sweetening foods and beverages. With lower costs we have increased consumption.

The Effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption

HFCS is also known technically as HFCS-55 and HFCS-45 according to their content of fructose. HFCS-55 is 55% fructose, while HFCS-45 is 45% fructose. The other percentage of sugar in both is simple glucose. Both are indistinguishable in taste from sucrose, they are just cheaper ingredients.

In America, our taste for sugar had been fairly consistent since the nineteen twenties. The national average for annual consumption of sweeteners such as sugar, honey, and syrups had remained at about 110 pounds per capita until it began to rise in the nineteen sixties, which was about the time for the first introduction of HFCS to the public. Consumption  then increased to an annual average of 124 pounds per person. By 2000, that average jumped to 150 pounds per year per person. Corn sweeteners, specifically HFCS constituted virtually every ounce of this increase.

To explain this increase in the use of sweeteners, we consumers did not compare the consumption of HFCS to eating sugar. HFCS-55 is chemically, almost identical to refined sugar, therefore the public perceived it as a healthy ingredient.  The thought was, because fructose was the predominate sugar in fruit, then it couldn’t be bad for us. After all, we all know that fruit is good for us, right? Another reason fructose was viewed as a healthier alternative to sucrose is that it does not elevate blood sugar and it has a low glycemic index.

We were deceived with Fructose!

HFCS was advertised as being a healthier alternative to sugar since it was healthy, or natural. Your cola was looked at as being healthier, yet it still contained the same amount of sugar, water and chemical flavoring.

Public health officials, by defining carbohydrates as good or bad, had effectively misdiagnosed the impact of fructose on the human body. The key to the problem between glucose and fructose is not with blood sugar, but with your liver. About 30 to 40% of glucose goes directly into the bloodstream where it is taken up by tissues and organs for energy. Fructose on the other hand, goes straight to the liver to be metabolized. The problem with this is it creates a metabolic load targeted directly on your liver. The liver responds by converting the fructose into triglycerides, and then sends it out to lipoproteins for storage. The more fructose we consume, the higher our triglyceride levels will be in our blood.

For several years, triglycerides were overlooked because it was thought that cholesterol was a bigger problem. Triglycerides were not thought of as a cardiovascular disease risk factor. All the attention was placed on cholesterol.

Fructose blocks both the metabolism of glucose in the liver, and the synthesis of glucose into glycogen. Glycogen is stored by the liver for use at a later time. As a result, the pancreas secretes more insulin to overcome this glucose traffic jam at the liver. When this is occurring, our muscles are induced to compensate by becoming more and more insulin resistant. Even though fructose is low on the glycemic index and has little effect on blood sugar or insulin, it still induces insulin resistance. It has also been known since the sixties that fructose elevates blood pressure more than glucose. This is known as fructose-induced hypertension.

The worst of both sugars.

Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are both effectively half glucose and half fructose. They are the worst of sugars for you. The fructose stimulates the liver to produce triglycerides, while the glucose stimulates insulin secretion. The glucose induced insulin secretion prompts the liver to create even more triglycerides than it would by fructose alone.

The effect of fructose on the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGE’s) is the haphazard glomming together of proteins in cells and tissues, which is not good. Most of the research on AGE accumulation in humans has focused on the influence of glucose. This is simply because glucose is the dominate sugar in the blood. However, glucose is actually the least reactive sugar. It is the least likely to attach itself without an enzyme to a nearby protein, which is the first step in the formation of AGE’s. Fructose is more reactive than in the blood stream than glucose, possibly ten times more effective than glucose at inducing the cross-linking of proteins that lead to the cellular junk of AGE’s. Fructose leads to the formation of AGE’s and cross -linked proteins that are more resistant to the body’s disposal mechanism than those created by glucose. As a result, we end up with an increase in the oxidation of LDL particles, which is a step leading to atherosclerosis.

Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception.  As a result of this, we have become  complacent. Through massive print and television advertising campaigns by the Corn Refiners Association have attempted to dispel the “myth” that HFCS is harmful. The assertion made by paid “medical and nutrition experts” is that HFCS is no different than cane sugar. It is a “natural” product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation.

Except for one problem. HFCS is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more.

Reference:

Good Calories Bad Calories, Gary Taubes

Copyright, 2007

Are “Natural” Sweeteners Better For You?

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Prediabetes

What Is It?

If your blood sugar is higher than normal but still below what is accepted as diabetic, you are considered to have prediabetes. It’s a holding tank of sorts, your last chance to turn your health around before becoming diabetic. Lifestyle changes can reverse this deadly chain of events. I never cease to be amazed at how nonchalantly people accept the cascade of prediabetic symptoms into the abyss of full-blown diabetes. In prediabetes, damage to your heart and kidneys could already be occurring. Make lifestyle changes now.

Although prediabetes requires a visit to your medical doctor for diagnosis, you may notice that you’re more tired than usual. You may produce more urine or have blurry vision. The scariest symptom of prediabetes is to have no symptoms at all.

There are factors that predispose you to prediabetes, so if you have these risk factors AND any of the above symptoms, get to a doctor fast.

Risk Factors

  • advancing age, especially over 45
  • waist larger than 40 inches for a man or over 35 inches for a woman
  • eating the Standard American Diet, a lot of red and processed meats, drinking sugar-sweetened drinks and not eating enough fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains and olive oil
  • you are African American, Native American, Latino or a Pacific Islander
  • have high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol
  • have polycystic ovary disease
  • had gestational diabetes
  • gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • don’t exercise
  • have poor sleep quality or don’t get enough sleep

If these traits apply to you, and if you have ever had an unusual blood sugar reading, have heart disease or have symptoms of insulin resistance, you must get tested for diabetes. Insulin resistance symptoms include darkened areas of skin, being more tired or hungrier than usual or having trouble concentrating.

Although no one wants to be diagnosed with this deadly disease, the sooner intervention and treatment are started, the less damage you will incur to your vital organs.

See your doctor today.

Diabetes, Obesity and Life Choices – David’s Way to Health and Fitness (davidsway.blog)

Weight Watchers and Heinz Connection

Skeptical young man
Freepik.com

Having been on the Weight Watchers program, I always had a lingering thought there was something amiss about their business model.  After learning more about the Weight Watchers and Heinz Connection, now I know why. When a diet company tells you that you can continue to eat the same foods that got you fat as long as you track it, do not trust them. Sure some people find success on Weight Watchers, but the former connection of Weight Watchers and Heinz was nefarious at best. Heinz owned Weight Watchers and was playing both ends against the center. There was no losing to their business strategy.

Heinz capitalized on what we do not know about food!

In the nineteen seventies, the CEO of Heinz, a fellow named Tony O’Reilly, took charge of our eating habits as no company ever had before. He capitalized on what consumers do not know about food. O’Reilly gave us a larger variety of foods and condiments, and also began providing us with foods that we had only been able to get from restaurants. Heinz advertising said they now allowed us to have fast food at home, “without the wait at a drive through window”.

In 1978, O’Reilly discovered another way to take advantage of a new market of people struggling with weight problems. With obesity beginning to surge, there came a market for weight loss products which carved the path for Heinz to enter the dieting business too.

Their first move was to acquire a company that made frozen meals that contained fewer calories than other conventional brands. There was only one problem with the business deal O’Reilly wanted to make. He was wanting to buy Foodways National, but they had a  customer so critical to their success, Foodways had granted them veto power over any change in ownership. That customer was no other than Weight Watchers. This was a huge opportunity for O’Reilly to nail down for Heinz. Weight Watchers reigned supreme in the dieting field.

Weight Watchers conducted meetings, sold advice and assistance to millions of people wanting to lose weight. They also sold prepared meals to support their diet plan. As it turned out, Weight Watchers had already been looking for a partnership with a company such as Heinz. O’Reilly thoroughly understood the potential for this partnership. Weight Watchers had a system catering to women, aged 25 to 55, which were also the prime demographic of shoppers in grocery stores.

Weight Watchers at that time boasted 27 million members and each of them were a ready made customer for ready made, low calorie meals. Were Heinz to buy both the lower-calorie food and the Weight Watchers programs, it would own the full spectrum of the eating habits of millions of people. The Weight Watchers and Heinz merger was a dream come true.

With the  Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, one parent company would now be making the foods that make us fat, and it would also be making foods that were supposed to make us thin. To sweeten this deal was the third market of people who moved between fat and thin. It was a win from all angles for Heinz. This deal was shrewder than if Phillip Morris, the cigarette manufacture also owned the market on nicotine patches. Or if an alcohol beverage manufacturer also owned AA.

In February 1978, Heinz bought Foodways for $50 million, and in May of that year, they also purchased Weight Watchers for $72 million. Heinz was now a full service stop for our disordered eating, no matter where we might be on our journey between failure and success with weight loss.

Heinz was unfamiliar with the dieting business, but…

Heinz was a wholesale producer of food and not of diet programs, but they caught on fast. They moved to remake Weight Watchers in their own image. Heinz realized that selling memberships was the same as retailing.

With the Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, came new marketing strategies. Heinz recruited marketing people from the fast food restaurants such as Burger King and Pizza Hut to manage Weight Watchers meetings. They also revamped the foods being sold. They handed this task over to their subsidiary Ore Ida who began work on making Weight Watcher meals more tasty and attractive. In 1983, Heinz introduced a new line of desserts which soon flopped. Their answer was to add more sweeteners, and a line up of thirteen items such as chocolate mousse, brownies, and strawberry cheesecake. The intent was to make these desserts very indulgent to the consumer.

With the Weight Watchers and Heinz merger, the sale of foods rose from $90 million in 1982 to more than $300 million in 1989, with total revenue hitting $1.1 billion. O’Reilly referred to the merger of Weight Watchers and Heinz as the “McDonaldization of the world”.

Unintended consequences were in order for Heinz.

In 1993, Heinz and Weight Watchers was charged by the FTC, along with four other diet business, for deceptive marketing.  The charge was that they were making unsubstantiated weight-loss claims and used claims from successful dieters without evidence their experience was typical for people using their programs. As a result of this lawsuit, Weight Watchers finally settled the case four years later, and agreed to provide more information on weight-loss results. They also agreed to include this concession in their ads” “For many dieters, weight loss is temporary”.

Annals of Internal Medicine

In 2005, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a review of the trials which had been done to measure the success of Weight Watchers and other diet businesses. It was found the studies were largely paid for by Weight Watchers and the other weight loss businesses in the suit themselves, which runs the risk of bias to say the least. What was found is that Weight Watchers only produced an average loss in body weight of just over five percent.

And it gets even worse, much of even that weight loss is fleeting at best. At the end of two years of study, participants had put back on enough weight that the net loss was barely three percent. In other words, a 200 pound woman could expect to get down to 189, and then bounce back to 194. For evidence to see how true this is, all one has to do is peruse the Weight Watchers social media forum Connect to see for themselves. Many of these people cycle on and off the program, hoping to one day find success.

As former Weight Watchers Chief Financial Officer, Richard Samber comparing Weight Watchers to playing the lottery stated in an interview with the BBC: “If you don’t win, you play it again. Maybe you will win the second time”. When asked how Weight Watchers remains in business despite a high failure rate of dieters, Samber stated: “It’s successful because the other 84% have to come back and do it again. That’s where your business comes from”.

Weight Watchers and Heinz did sort of part company in 2005.

Heinz sold Weight Watchers to Artal Luxembourg SA, a European group of private investors, for $735 million. From the website Industry Week , under the agreement, Heinz, whose products include Heinz ketchup, Ore-Ida frozen potatoes and Star-Kist tuna, will retain control of certain Weight Watchers brands, including frozen meals, desserts and breakfast items, and the UK-based Weight Watchers operation. Heinz CEO William R. Johnson said the services orientation of the weight-control business does not fit with the company’s long-term growth strategy, and that the disposal enables Heinz to focus on Weight Watchers foods and other global food businesses. However, the Pittsburgh-based Heinz said it will use $14 million of proceeds from the sale — in which the division’s management has been invited to take part — to retain a 6% stake in the operation.

The final take away point:

When a weight loss business is telling you that you can still eat the same foods you got fat with, while taking possession of your hard earned money, you need to seriously reconsider their deal. Most businesses have profit as their motive over that of your health and well being. I do not believe Weight Watchers is any better today for their consumers than when Heinz owned them. They say you can still eat anything you want while knowing that will only sabotage your efforts at weight loss.

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we always have been, and always will be free to our readers and followers. We believe your health is more important than profit. Give our methodology a try, you can find it by clicking this link. For even more of David’s Way, you can find us on Facebook. Check out Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way and give us a like and a follow. We truly do have your best interest at heart. With David’s Way, you are treated as a unique individual, and never as a profit margin.

Pull-Up Persistence Pays Off

 

one of Brenda Sue’s first pull-ups without resistance bands

Lifelong Pull-up Dream Fulfilled!

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE OR WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM!

All the way through Junior High and High School we had those damnable physical fitness tests EVERY YEAR. I did okay on everything except pull-ups. Running was not my best event but I could not do a single pull-up. When I would grasp the bar, it seemed that there was some sort of magic that was supposed to transpire that just did not happen for me. There seemed to be NO WAY to get my body UP THERE. To make matters worse, my best friend, a girl that grew up on a farm, could do them easily. I felt terrible. I was always pushed to excel in everything in school so I was not accustomed to failure.

Pull-ups were my waterloo in P.E. I could shoot the basketball, hit the softball, even run the bases pretty well but those pull-ups evaded me. I was a good enough guard in basketball that I made enemies. No one could get a basket if I guarded them. I was obnoxious. As a result of being unable to do a pull-up, I began to think of myself as non-athletic. My self-esteem plummeted. If I could not pass the basic physical fitness test standards set by the government then I couldn’t possibly be strong. Thoughts like that tormented me for years. I felt like a second class citizen.

After high school I went to college and P.E. was not required. I avoided it except for one semester, I took a purely running class and got in with some seriously athletic runners. It seemed that I barely survived that class intact. I thought I would die but at least I didn’t have to do a pull-up!

Do You Have A Pull-Up File?

As my life unfolded, pull-ups got filed away under “Can’t Do It” and I just forgot about them altogether for the most part. I absolutely cannot bear failure and it was always there looming in the background every time I saw someone doing them online or went to the gym. The significance of that exercise was profound. It seemed to be the great divider of the athletic and the rest of us. Every time I watched someone do them I was mesmerized.

About three and a half years ago I asked David to teach me how to do pull-ups. He told me to get some resistance bands and a pull-up station for my doorway and begin. At first I bought one band but pretty soon found out that was not enough. I wound up with three good bands that I used for three years. Shortly after beginning this quest, I began serious weight training.

I had been a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years and had recently began working for a major weight loss company that involved a lot of travel. Although I had been doing HIIT training and walking and some resistance training on a pulley system, I was missing workouts to travel and getting weak. The strength training came just in time. My sad little 35 pound squat began to climb and the 100# deadlift that I feared soon became a thing of the past. The Newbie Gains were good to me but… I still could not do an unassisted pull-up!

Strength Gains for Pull-ups

About three years into the weight training, David put me on the Doug Hepburn Powerlifting Program. In some ways, I thought I had died and gone to Hell. It was tough. The workouts in Hepburn are long and arduous. The psychological component of subjecting yourself to the intensity of that workout are significant. I was both proud and mortified at times. Although there are some harder programs, Hepburn is respectable in any arena. I worked that for about 6 months and David moved me into Bodybuilding. The weights are lighter in Bodybuilding but you do more reps so your workload is still pretty intense. It has to be intense to build muscle. I feared that I would lose some of my hard-earned gains but I trusted that David knew what he was doing.

Along with my regular lifts, I have accessory exercises that are meant to give me a balanced physique. Unless you make sure that every muscle is worked, you can wind up looking disproportionate. We have all seen the “Don’t Skip Leg Day” memes of the guys with massive biceps and no quads. The accessories help to round things out nicely. I thought that I could feel myself getting stronger in some ways. It seemed that some of my smaller muscles were working in a different way. I doubt that is the case because in Hepburn, they ALL work. It seems that I was feeling the hypertrophy that Bodybuilding gives us. I felt a new strength that seemed to emanate into my core from my sternum to my lower abdomen.

You Don’t Know Your Own Strength

I was still using all three resistance bands! A pull-up was something that I could not do! Only “those” people, you know, the genetic freaks that were born ripped and lean could do those things. There were months that I never even thought about taking bands off when I approached my pull-up station.

Then…last week after my Over Head Press, (that seemed very difficult when I began the workout), I was feeling strong. The endorphins were working. About midway of the Press workout, I began to feel like a weightlifter. When I went to my pull-up station, I got my bands and started to put my foot into them and stopped. I had played around with different numbers of bands recently but had not pulled all the way up successfully with less than two bands.

Something clicked in my head and I tossed them to the floor, grabbed the handles of the station, took some deep breaths, made my body as tight as I could get it, engaged my lats and PULLED…and I looked over the top of the bar! I almost cried! This was a dream come true that was 50 years in the making. Think about that…50 years. Your new workout hasn’t made you look like an IG model in 6 weeks? Please…

 

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash persistence

Pull Up and Get Going!

You will never get where you want to go until you begin your journey! There have been many times that I simply didn’t start a project because I dreaded the task. As a result, I would wallow in the misery of knowing that although I was not happy, I was not doing anything to change my situation. The snails in the picture above have a long, dangerous task ahead of them but they were not content where they were, so they got started. They would move slowly, climbing over rocks and hot pavement. They would run the risk of certain death as they ventured out into unknown territory. The journey would be hard and exhausting but as long as they kept moving, they would make it to their goal. I ask you, are you content where you find yourself today?

It is almost impossible to convey the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment that being able to do pull-ups has given me. I will be turning 65 this summer. Don’t tell me that you can’t build muscle or improve your life or your body at any time that you choose. Regardless of any “scientific data” or examples that you present, I will present you with my pull-ups and my deadlift. It all depends on what you want and how badly you want it.

I encounter people young enough to be my grandchildren every day that don’t believe that they are capable of getting strong and healthy. I have heard many women say things like “Oh, you know, I’m 50, (or 40, or even 30). So what? As the years pass, it simply means that we have to work harder. A young girl asked me incredulously, “You track every bite that you eat?!? That seems HARD!” My response was, “Not nearly as hard as being sick and in the doctor’s office all the time. THAT’S hard.”

I challenge you today. Choose your hard.

ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE OR WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM!