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Calories Count

Calories Count PT Gym Blog

With this first PT Gym Blog post for 2011 and the launch of this year’s ‘I Lost It at the Club’ 8 week weight loss challenge I thought it appropriate to review the first and most important requirement for weight loss. As a matter of fact, this is the only proven way to lose weight and no substantial scientific evidence exists to disprove it. Controlling your weight comes down to one thing – managing calories. You must create a calorie deficit to lose weight. A calorie deficit means you’re burning more fuel than you’re taking in. This forces your body to use stored fuel (body fat). You have to eat/drink less or move more or ideally a combination of both. Even if you don’t count calories, calories do count.

Read more: Calories Count

The Magic Pill

Magic Pill PT Gym

Is injecting yourself with human pregnancy hormone a good idea? HCG is the ‘newest’ dieting craze. The HCG diet combines daily injections with a very low-calorie diet (500 calories per day).

The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) may be measured in the blood or urine. Most commonly, this is done as a pregnancy test. HCG signals the hypothalamus (area of the brain that affects metabolism) to mobilize fat stores. In pregnancy, this helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, fueling the fetus. As a diet aid, it is also marketed in sublingual (under the tongue) form. No scientific tests of sublingual HCG have been published.

In the world of performance enhancing drugs, HCG is used in combination with various anabolic steroid cycles. It is commonly used during and after cycles to maintain and restore testicular size as well as normal testosterone production. As a result, HCG is included in some sports’ illegal drug lists.

Are you surprised that anyone eating only 500 to 800 calories per day as this diet prescribes would lose substantial weight? 500 calories per day is not enough calories to support normal brain function. Your body will compensate by using stores of glycogen, some fat, and protein (muscle). Regardless what rogue diet marketers claim, this lowers your resting metabolism.

Why do we actually hate exercise so much and are so irrationally inpatient that 1 to 2 pounds of fat loss a week (50 to 100 lbs a year) that can be obtained through healthy lifestyle changes is too slow and unacceptable? We fall prey to claims of fad diets and scams that promise to have us lose 1 to 3 pounds per day.

The HCG diet is not really new. One of the advantages to being in the fitness business for over 30 years, is that I have witnessed literally hundreds of fads  come and go. I remember when the old Atkins was new in the 70s before the New Atkins of today. I also remember doctors prescribing injections to their obese patients with a ‘wonder drug’. When I ran the Hickory Health Club  in NC (1978-1982), I remember a young member that told me his father was a ‘fat’ doctor. I told him to tell him to come see me  and I’d help him lose that fat. He just laughed and I didn’t understand what was so funny.

At one time, HCG was the most widespread obesity medication administered in the United States. Some doctors liked it because it assured them of a steady clientele. Patients had to come in once a week for an injection.

Negative studies and government action virtually eliminated the use of HGC injections for weight control until recently. The 2007 book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About, by Kevin Trudeau, claims that “an absolute cure for obesity was discovered almost fifty years ago  but was suppressed  by  medical establishments throughout the world.” In October 2007, the Federal Trade Commission charged Trudeau with misrepresenting its contents in infomercials.

Studies have been conducted by  many credible medical journals disputing claims made by HCG diet marketers.  The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported, “There was no statistically significant difference between those receiving HCG vs. placebo.

We all wish there were an easy way. But there is no magic pill for losing weight. Eating a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and getting plenty of exercise is a scientifically proven formula for weight control.

A Sad Irony

Scale PT Gym Blog

Isn’t it ironic that two of the world’s biggest health concerns and societal problems are obesity and hunger?  It is estimated that over one billion people on our planet are undernourished. In contrast, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), well over one billion are also overweight. Over 300 million of those are listed as obese. That means nearly one third of the world’s population is either starving or overfed!

Worldwide over 6 million people die annually from starvation. Just in America, nearly 400,000 die annually from obesity related diseases and spend over $36 billion in medical costs trying to cure our gluttonous, sedentary woes.

Unfortunately we can’t save the world, but we do have control to not add to the grim statistics. So put down the doughnut and start moving!

It’s Just Baby Fat

Baby Fat PT Gym Blog

It is amazing how many excuses we find for not losing weight (bodyfat). Some examples are “I’m just big bone” or “I’m retaining water”, or “my metabolism has slowed down as I’ve gotten older”, or “it’s heredity, everyone in my family is overweight”. I think one on the best ones I heard was from a prospective client who said she was trying to lose her baby fat. When I asked how old her baby was, she sheepishly replied 12 years old!

The Weight Loss ‘Secret’

Body weight is determined by the balance between the energy you take in (everything you consume) and the energy you expend (metabolism, daily lifestyle activities and exercise).  In order for you to lose weight, you must create an energy deficit. This energy deficit can be created by either:

  • Eating fewer calories
  • Moving more

The Weight Loss Equation

1 pound of fat = 3500 calories

To lose 1 pound a week, you must eat 500 fewer calories a day, burn 500 extra calories by increasing your physical activity each day, or ideally do a combination of both reducing intake and increasing activity.

Any excuses?