John Spencer Ellis (Author, TV Show Host, Trainer and CEO, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association) gives expert video advice on: How do I keep off the weight off once I've lost it?; Why is exercise better than dieting alone?; Will my appetite increase if I exercise? and more...
What are "calories"?
What is a calorie? Everyone wants to know what that actually is. It's a unit of measurement, and it is the amount of energy that it takes to raise one kilogram of water one degree Centigrade at sea level. It's actually what's called a KCal, a kilocalorie. So it's actually 1 calories. But we just call it a calorie, because if you saw four zeros added onto the end of every caloric measurement you saw on a food package, I think we'd freak out. So, it's actually a kilocalorie, and everyone just calls it a calorie. It's the same thing, just so you know. We need to be aware of the calories, and the number of calories to an extent, but really it's what comprises the calories that matters. All fats are not the same, all carbohydrates are not the same, and proteins are also unique.
Is it important to "count" my calories?
Depending on which dietary program, nutritional weight loss program, counselling group you belong to, they'll all have varying degrees of what they determine to be important as far as counting calories. I agree it's important and only to an extent. If you are so consumed with counting calories, you're certainly not enjoying the process of eating and being human. What's important is that you learn what is an exchange of food which is a given amount, not a serving size but exchange is what the American Dietetic Association uses to determine the quantity of food, you know, like you have two exchanges of protein and one exchange of a carbohydrate, for example. But the calories only matter so much. Once you understand and you can see somehting, like you're at a restaurant or you see something on a menu or you see a plate in front of you over at a friend's house, you say, OK that has approximately x number of calories which would mean that that's one exchange and once you learn that, it takes a couple of weeks to learn it, and then I can just look at something I can tell you exactly what the nutritional content is and the amount of calories. And everyone should take a little bit of time, figure out what it is and then just remember and put it in the back of your mind and enjoy food and don't be so consumed with it. People who are overly consumed with counting calories and staying within that really strict caloric requirement end up driving themselves a little crazy and, in the long run, I don't know if they are really that much better off when it comes to managing their weight.
What is a "yo-yo dieter"?
A yo-yo dieter is someone who has a weight that fluctuates up and down with his or her cyclical pattern of being involved in a fad diet. It can go from overindulging, to starvation, to eliminating different food groups, to exercising an excessive amount, to not exercising at all, to eating very healthy, and then eating very poorly. Aside from just not creating a balance and symmetry in your body it send a confusing message to your body. It doesn't know if it should speed up or slow down or the suchlike. When you really drastically reduce your caloric intake in one of those starvation modes, your body goes into hibernation and it slows down the metabolism. If you don't eat enough protein during that phase, your body starts to emaciate itself. It needs to get protein from somewhere, so it gets it from your muscle which is made up predominantly of protein. Then, your muscle shrinks, and then because of that your metabolism slows down. Thenthe cycle continues and unfortunately it gets worse and worse and worse. A yo-yo diet is no way to go.
How do I keep off the weight off once I've lost it?
To keep off the weight you just lost, you need to continue to do the same thing that you have just completed. It's consistency in your approach. Time, after time, after time you should be doing the same thing but altering the programme to where your body and your mind don't get bored. For example, if you are cycling and that is the way that you have achieved some of your results, you are going to continue to cycle. However, you may climb a hill one day, you may do sprints one day, or you may go for a leisurely ride. You may go twice the duration but half the speed. It's still consistency in the approach while adding variety to eliminate mental and physical boredom.
Why is exercise better than dieting alone?
Exercise is better than dieting alone for many reasons. First of all, dieting, what are the first three letters? Die! Your body thinks it's dying. We need to modify our food intake and develop a lifestyle plan that works, rather than going on diets. Diets never work and they never will. Exercise is important because strength training, resistance training, and weight training will help boost your metabolism throughout the day. Cardiovascular training helps you burn more calories during the exercise itself but not necessarily after the exercise is over. So, we have to exercise in addition to modifying our food intake. Due to the fact that we'll be able to increase our metabolism, it's very likely that you'll actually be able to eat more food, and still get even better results, if you're on a consistent, diligent exercise program at the same time that you're modifying your food intake. It has to be paired together. There's no possible way you can achieve your overall optimal results if you only diet or only modify your food intake.
Will my appetite increase if I exercise?
Your appetite may increase if you exercise. Sometimes, just following exercise the appetite may be suppressed simply because your mental state is in another place, and the blood is distributed in other parts of you body following the exercise section. However, as a general rule, if your appetite is increasing because you're exercising that's a good thing. That means your metabolism is increasing. If your appetite does increase following exercise you can safely have something that has a higher sugar content within 15 minutes of finishing the exercise, perhaps a half a cookie, for example. Use moderation and it would be okay. However, soon after that you need to have a balanced meal of proteins, fats, carbs, and fibre. That little treat just brings your blood sugar back up but it's going to crash back down if you don't eat something balanced soon after.