Fat Loss Truths for 2015

Fat Loss Truths for 2015 from YellowTurtleFitness.com

A few months back, I was out around town, and met up with someone who knew me(and what I do for a living) from some of the local commerce websites.

She took the opportunity to ask a question that I hear all the time:

“Which exercises can I do so that I can eat whatever I want, but still lose weight?”

I responded with my usual – along the lines of, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”.
She seemed taken aback by this, and exclaimed, “I thought you were supposed to be encouraging!”. I then went on to explain that I’m all for encouragement and motivation, but will never lie, or make false promises, to someone who asks my advice.
We laughed about it, but this conversation really stuck with me since.

At the start of every new year, everyone is on their best behaviour… only to quickly be discouraged when they don’t get the results they think they will receive.

It’s not difficult to see why they would be so crestfallen; we are inundated daily with false promises, quick gimmicks, and headlines about weight loss miracles. It’s in our Facebook feeds, on the covers of magazines, in articles or telecasts written by supposedly legitimate news organizations, and on TV – often touted by celebrity doctors who are supposed to have our best interests at heart.

Many times, these falsehoods are even proclaimed by those in the fitness and nutrition industry, either out of a lack of legitimate education, poor research methods, or greed for your money.

Here, I want to simplify things for you – to lay out some facts to keep in mind as you navigate 2015 in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, or the body of your dreams.

“I want to lose weight”

This is the most common reason that someone comes to me for help. Many of those whom I connect with are very overweight, to the point where it affects their health. I also have worked with those who only want to lose a little weight(usually post-baby), or to become metabolically healthier.

There are many different factors that can affect weight loss, and results can be highly individual(a good reason to consult with a doctor, professional trainer, and/or nutrition coach), but these basic guidelines can be key to your success.

Your strategy:

Build lean muscle with resistance exercise, add moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise, and most importantly, watch what you eat.

The less you weigh, the more your food intake will make a difference in weight loss.
You don’t want to eat too little(which may permanently alter your metabolism for the worse), but eating too much will drastically slow or stop progress. A certified Nutritionist or Dietitian can help you figure out what, and how much, you should be eating to attain your goals.

Quality of calories does matter – and no, it is not as simple as the number of calories in v/s out.
When trying to reduce fat, aim for 90%(or better) of healthy, whole foods that are low in added sodium or added sugars.

That last sentence can help many people with that “last 10 lbs”. The average person tends to carry around 5-7 lbs of water bloat due to the quality of the food they’re eating.
This is why so many tend to be duped into thinking that detox diets and juice detoxes are causing them to lose fat quickly. It’s not fat they’re losing, and they could easily lose those same pounds by eating healthier on the whole.

This is why weight loss tends to slow down drastically after that first 5-7 lbs is gone.

It is also not unusual for someone who is severely obese to carry 15-20 lbs of that same water weight. If you’ve ever seen the first few episodes of any season of The Biggest Loser, you’ve seen that water weight loss in action. Ever seen someone on a low-carb diet get really excited on their first two weeks? It’s because they had a rush of water weight loss, due to eating fewer carbs(which hold on to some water). However, most of what they lost was probably not fat.
Water weight loss is nice, but it’s also the type of weight that will come right back, the second you eat a normal meal. If you want to lose fat, you need to eat balanced long-term.

If you are maintaining a loss, or are okay with fat loss being slower, aiming for healthy/whole foods 80% of the time is perfectly acceptable. You’ll lose weight, but it will be slow going. If you add in the aforementioned exercise, it will go faster.

“If Nutrition is most important, why should I bother exercising?”

There are many reasons I could give here, but this is paramount:
Exercising will make you healthier, no matter your size.

A morbidly obese person who exercises will be healthier than a morbidly obese person who never exercises. Ever hear of “skinny fat”? This is the term often used when someone is technically not overweight, but is still flabby, and/or metabolically unhealthy due to lack of exercise.
That resistance exercise I mentioned? You need it because body composition matters. There is a myriad of benefits to adding extra muscle, most notably that it helps you burn extra calories, makes your body look more toned when you DO lose weight, provides stability in old age, and goes a long way towards making you metabolically healthier. You don’t have to be Ahh-nold to get those benefits. Every bit of muscle that you add counts towards a healthier you.

(I have mentioned many of these things before, most notably here and here.)

Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercise should be part of your life. You don’t need to be over the top – you can start with something as simple as the act of walking your dog daily, and build from there. When you’re ready for the next step, consult with a professional trainer.

Make 2015 the year that you take control of your health using facts – not lies, half-truths, gimmicks, and pseudoscience. Things really are a lot simpler when you keep in mind these basic tenets.

I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season, and the best of luck in the coming year.


One Thing At A Time To Reach Your Goals

One Thing At A Time To Reach Your GoalsMany people make the mistake of trying to make too many changes at once.
Rather than attempt a complete lifestyle overhaul overnight, focus on one change at a time, big or small.

When only one new habit change is attempted per month, success rates can be as high as 80%.

However, when people are ambitious, and attempt more than one change simultaneously, their success rates drop to below 20% per habit.

By focusing on a single habit change, you have fewer distractions, and more available motivation and willpower to propel you towards success.

Be specific and realistic about the goal you choose, and write it down for best results.
If you need help establishing what is realistic, and need methods to get you there, consult a lifestyle coach or trainer that specializes in your needs.

Think excess weight is protecting you against Osteoporosis? Think again.

skelexercise It used to be thought that excess weight was mildly protective against Osteoporosis, like weight bearing exercise.

However, newer studies show that excess Visceral fat, as well as excess fat in the blood, liver, and muscles can be an indicator of excess fat in bone marrow – weakening bones, and making them more prone to fracture.

This does not just apply to the overweight. Whether you are visually “thin” or overweight, you can still have excess fat and poor placement of fat in your body.
Body composition appears to play the largest role.

From an article posted on Science Daily:

Fat in Organs and Blood May Increase Risk of Osteoporosis

July 16, 2013 — Excess fat around the belly has recently been identified as a risk factor for bone loss. Now, a new study has determined that excess liver and muscle fat also may be detrimental to bone.
The study, published online in the journal Radiology, found that obese people with higher levels of fat in their liver, muscle tissue and blood also have higher amounts of fat in their bone marrow, putting them at risk for osteoporosis.

“Obesity was once thought to be protective against bone loss,” said study lead author Miriam A. Bredella, M.D., a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “We have found that this is not true.”

While other studies have examined the relationship between visceral fat and bone mineral density, this study looked at fat inside bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside the bones of the body that produces stem cells.

“In our study, we focused on bone marrow fat because that is where our stem cells can develop into osteoblasts — the cells responsible for bone formation — or fat cells,” Dr. Bredella said. “We also wanted to look at the relationship between bone marrow fat and other fat components, such as those in the liver and muscle.”

Dr. Bredella and colleagues used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), a technique that allows for precise measurement of fat, to examine 106 men and women, ages 19 to 45 years, who were obese based on body mass index measurements, but otherwise healthy.

“MRS has no radiation, is quick to perform and can quantify the amount of fat within bone marrow, muscle and liver,” Dr. Bredella said.

The MRS results showed that people with more liver and muscle fat had higher levels of fat in their bone marrow, independent of body mass index, age and exercise status. HDL cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol that is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, was inversely associated with bone marrow fat content.

Higher levels of bone marrow fat put people at increased risk of fracture, according to Dr. Bredella.

“Bone marrow fat makes bones weak,” she said. “If you have a spine that’s filled with fat, it’s not going to be as strong.”

Triglycerides, the type of fat found in the blood, also had a positive correlation with bone marrow fat, possibly because they stimulate osteoclasts, a type of cell that breaks up bone tissue.

More research is needed to further illuminate the mechanism behind this differentiation of stem cells. Dr. Bredella noted that cell-signaling molecules called cytokines are known to promote the conversion of stem cells into fat.

“Obesity can shift stem cell lineage, resulting in more bone marrow fat,” she said.

While aesthetics are subjective, it’s good to keep in mind that there are risks for being over AND under ideal weight.
It’s already known that excess fat(and not enough fat!) can lead to hormonal issues, making a person more likely to develop depression, affecting their fertility, and causing a myriad of other issues in the body.

Ratio of muscle to fat, and the types of fat present, are part of the reason that metabolically healthy obesity and “skinny fat” exist. It’s best to strive for a good balance of muscle and fat, at any weight.

Your best course of action to keep yourself healthy(mentally, hormonally, physically) is to reduce body fat and add muscle. Adding muscle will naturally help reduce the amount of fat in the body, and eating whole, minimally processed foods will do a huge part in helping all of this along.

As always, there is no magic pill. Regular exercise and eating well is your best defense.

Yellow Turtle Fitness in October 2013 Natural Triad Magazine

October 2013 Natural Triad MagazinIn case you missed it:

Karen Lloyd, the NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist behind Yellow Turtle Fitness, has an article featured in the October 2013 edition of Natural Triad Magazine!

You can pick up a copy at grocery stores, newsstands, and natural food stores around the Triad of North Carolina, or you can find a downloadable version at Natural Triad Magazine’s Website.

Click here to directly access the October edition of Natural Triad Magazine.

Move To Master: Deep Swimmer’s Press

The Deep Swimmer’s Press is one of my favourites for many reasons, but the most important reason is that it’s a multi-tasker.

I love moves that help simplify your workout, so that you can work a maximum number of muscles in less time. The Deep Swimmer’s Press works your Deltoids(Shoulders) and Biceps in one awesome move!

Deep Swimmer’s Presses will give women shapely, firm(and strong!) upper arms and shoulders, and help men achieve the strong physique they desire. Strong shoulders look great on everyone, man or woman!

It is called a “Swimmer’s Press” because it somewhat mimics the motion of a freestyle swimming stroke.

This move is not difficult, but you should start with lighter weights, until you get it mastered, so that you don’t risk rotator cuff or tendon injury. Gradually increase the weight you use as your ability to execute the move increases, until you find a weight that is challenging, but enables you to keep good form.

You can hit all aspects of the deltoids by switching up your grip(under/over handed). You can engage more muscles, and encourage the development of balance, by using stability discs, Bosu, or sitting on a stability ball as you perform the exercise.

Be sure to stand with knees slightly bent(I prefer to have one foot forward as well), and do not rely on your back, or momentum, to propel the weights. If you need to do this, use a lower weight.

Start with dumbbells in hand,  bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders (as in a basic biceps curl).

Next, bring your elbows out to the sides, forearms angled up. Be sure to engage the muscles, so you don’t hurt your elbows. Then, press the dumbbells straight up, and bring everything back down, using the opposite motions.

A video is much more helpful than seeing it written it out. So watch this video before attempting:

MOVE TO MASTER: Dumbbell Arnold Press

This move targets your anterior and lateral deltoid(shoulder) muscles to prevent a “sloped” look.
For those who are pear shaped, this helps widen the shoulders, to make your body look more symmetrical.
For every body type, defined shoulders will make your waist appear smaller.
Well developed shoulders also help to make you appear more confident, especially when accompanied by good posture.

Please watch this video to see how to perform the Dumbbell Arnold Press correctly, with good form.