Tag Archives: weight loss

Health Guidebook

A few months ago, my manager asked me to set up a Health Challenge at work. Unfortunately, it took me so long to write the extremely detailed guidebook I created that we lost momentum and it never really took off.

Regardless, I don’t want all the work I put into creating this document to go to waste, so I’ve uploaded it here in the hopes that somebody will find it useful.  It lists each of the categories that we determined we would be tracking for the challenge as well as a little information about each one, then includes a section with advice on some of the challenges that my teammates said they struggle with when trying to live healthier lifestyles.

There’s even a table of contents, so there’s no need to read the entire thing. đŸ™‚ Just click on the link below!

Health Challenge – Guidebook

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Nutrition Myth: The Less You Eat, the Faster You’ll Lose Weight

I already wrote a post about how losing weight is only about consuming fewer calories than you burn in a day. So a lot of people will take that fact to its “logical” conclusion and think, “oh! That means if I barely eat, I’ll lose a ton of weight really quickly!” which is also recognizable in various fad/product diets such as the Special K Diet. This is really bad. DO NOT DO THIS.

These diets, which from here on out I’m going to accurately refer to as starvation diets, are common – especially among women. But they’re also only minimally effective, super bad for you, extremely difficult to follow, and ultimately counterproductive. Here’s why:

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Things I’ve Learned About Society’s Attitude Concerning Weight and Healthy Eating by Talking to People About My Weight Loss and Healthy Eating Experiences

Phew! That’s quite the title, I know. I tried to come up with a shorter way to get the same point across but it just wasn’t having the same effect, so super long title it is.

I find myself talking to people about how I’m eating healthier or how I’ve lost a good amount of weight fairly often. Part of this is because I’m nearly always thinking about food – either planning out what I’ll eat for the day, talking about things I want to eat, or talking about things I shouldn’t/won’t eat because I don’t have the calories for them – and part of it is because when I’m not talking about food I’m often talking about running instead, which then tends to naturally bring itself around to talking about weight loss.

Anyway, after spending all this time talking to people about these topics I’ve noticed that, most commonly, I get one of two responses. And if you think about those responses for long enough, it’s a fascinating look into how our society feels about weight and healthy food choices. So here are some of the most common responses I hear, and what I’ve extrapolated from them:

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When You Start to Feel Discouraged (Suddenly, Despite Progress)

I’ve referenced the fact that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight more than a few times on this blog. I use “significant” a bit loosely, because I’m very short and was never overweight in the first place, but what I’ve lost ultimately adds up to about 16% of my original body weight, so it’s no small matter. Anyway, clarifications aside, there has been a significant improvement in the way that I look and the way that I feel about myself this past year.

Most of the time, I feel awesome. It sound silly to say, but I will freely admit that I’ve spent a bit of time admiring my smaller stomach in the mirror, particularly once the two-pack I’m currently rocking started to show and I got a few new muscle lines I didn’t even know I could have. I feel more comfortable in my clothes – I started wearing tighter shirts and shorter shorts and dresses, and I didn’t think twice about it (when before I absolutely hated shorts because I felt like my legs were too fat).

However, it’s hard to feel good about the way that you look 100% of the time, particularly in today’s society, and I am no exception to that rule. Occasionally, even though I know with every bit of logic available to me that I am perfectly healthy bordering on fit, I still feel fat. And that can be really difficult to deal with when you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are.

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Nutrition Fiction: Low-Carb Diets Are Best (/Carbs Are Evil)

I have to start this post with a biology lesson. You probably already know that there are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These are our bodies’ sources of fuel, but they are not all treated equally.

The article I linked to above explains this quite well, and in more detail than I’m going to, but the short version is that carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source, largely because they are the easiest to break down. While your body can and will break fats and proteins down into energy, it takes longer than breaking down carbs and therefore, as a less efficient process, is not preferred by your body in most cases.

Fat contains the most energy potential per gram, so it is also commonly used by the body as a source of fuel – either in low intensity exercise where it has the time to break the fat down, or during endurance exercise in an attempt to preserve glycogen (sugar), which comes from carbs and is used by your body to create energy.

Finally, the least preferred source of fuel is protein. It is used in late stages of endurance exercise, when glycogen (sugar) runs really low and the body is forced to break protein into amino acids for fuel. However, this is not ideal because protein is much better used for other purposes – specifically muscle build and repair functions.

So that brings us to how low carb diets work.

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Helping People

Ok, I know, a ton of people say they’re passionate about helping people. And that’s awesome, because frankly people need a lot of help, but I’m taking this in a slightly different direction. Actually, “Helping People” probably wasn’t the best title for this post, but if I change it now I’ll have to erase this entire paragraph and start over again, so I’m sticking with it.

What I really mean is – I think I’ve discovered that I really enjoy sharing my knowledge, which will hopefully then ultimately help people. Or put less abstractly, now that I’ve learned so much about nutrition/weight loss, experienced so much of my own success, and watched my sister go through a really phenomenal beginning to the same process, I really just want to teach everyone everything I’ve learned.

In retrospect, starting a blog with the intention to share much of what I’ve learned (among other things) probably should have been a good hint that that’s the case.

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