Annnnnd were back again folks with part deux of our adventure on discovering why you might not like what you see in the mirror.
So without further ado, we continue with #s 6-7.
6) Stop Jogging, Start Sprinting!
I’ve covered this topic in depth here and here. To put it simply, steady state cardio is absolutely excellent for strengthening the heart’s function itself (higher cardiac output through improved stroke volume (when progressed over time)) improving blood circulation throughout the body via angiogenesis (the making of new capillaries), blood vessel distensibility (ability to expand and contract), and too many other mechanisms to mention. What it doesn’t do a whole lot for is improving the ol’ BMR (basal metabolic rate). In other words, steady state cardio doesn’t do as great a job as sprinting or other high intensity cardio work in regards to jacking up adrenalin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other hormones in the body that help create a leaner physique.
(note: sprinting and other forms of high intensity conditioning may not be appropriate for all individuals. Training experience, prior health conditions, movement quality, energy systems development all are variables to consider)
7) Boozing Counts as Calories, and Often Leads to Cravings
This should come as no surprise to people. Not really talking about moderate drinking here…I’m talking excessive drinking. First off, let’s define “excessive”. The Center for Disease Control defines excessive, or “binge” drinking as drinking in excess of 4-5 drinks, or accumulating a .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) level in your blood in one sitting (2 hour period). Sorry to break the news to all the boozehounds out there, but that’s it! Now, lets talk about alcohol serving sizes and calorie content. In a nutshell, it all depends on what you drink. Here’s a helpful chart:
In addition, consider this: it has been shown that ethanol excites neurons in our hypothalamus, which is our main control area for eating. If and/or when you do drink, don’t you feel yourself getting hungrier the more alcohol you consume? How many times have you unloaded on a box of pizza after a night of boozing? Maybe chips and queso? How about Ben and Jerry’s? How about all of the above?
I know when I go out to my favorite Mexican restaurants, there’s no way I’m not having a margarita or two. Once I make this choice, 10 times out of 10 I’ll be asking the server for more chips and salsa. No questions asked. Even though I consider myself a pretty well-rounded fitness professional, I know my tendencies; If alcohol is involved, chips are getting crushed, end of story.
Don’t feel ashamed of yourself if you do this too, it’s a matter of recognizing the source of the problem; if you’re trying to lose weight, and it’s challenging to turn down food, why even tempt yourself by initiating this vicious cycle by ordering a drink? Create an environment of success for yourself and just stick with water, tea, or some other low calorie unsweetened drink. Or, sometimes the environment for success is to not put yourself in the environment of temptation at all. Everyone has to make decisions, and decisions lead to outcomes, whether positive or negative. How will you decide?
Or, you could try approaching the situation more optimistically: Go out and do your business this week when your downtown, out to eat, etc., and log a baseline number of how many drinks you had, and then keep track of the quantity of food you consumed as well. Then, try to make an honest attempt to reduce the number of drinks you consume, progressively weaning yourself off, over the course of the next 4 weeks. Continue to also log how much food you consumed each surpassing week afterwards while you attempt to reduce the amount of alcoholic drinks you consume. I bet you’ll find the total quantity of food you consume will drop in proportion to the amount of drinks/week that you stop consuming from the original baseline week.
Stay tuned as we wrap up 10 reasons why you might be struggling with your weight loss endeavors.
Have a great one folks!