Tag Archives: diet

The Fitbit Aria scale is the honest friend you need if you are worried about your weight. Here’s why.

I am a huge fan of the Fitbit Aria scale, even when it is brutally honest about my weight situation. It prevents me from deceiving myself about how I am doing. And it encourages me if I’m making even a bit of progress.

The Aria scale measures both your weight and your body fat percentage to the fraction of a pound.  (It also gives you your BMI, but I don’t care about that). That little bit of accuracy helps. I found when I was dieting, sometimes knowing that my weight went down by a fraction of a percentage helped me get through the day. (Motivation often turns on small points like this.) Likewise, right now with the pandemic I see my weight going up by a fraction of a pound every week. So I am trying to get it to go down by a fraction of a pound every week. A half pound every week adds up to 25 pounds in a year.

Having both those numbers prevent you from fooling yourself. If you go on a low carb diet, your weight may drop suddenly, but your body fat percentage may go up alot. (In the past mine did). That tells me that I am not really losing fat or even muscle that quickly. It’s likely water. Over time I did lose weight, but that initial weight loss isn’t what I thought.

The flip side of that is I have noticed my body fat percentage has gone up during the pandemic even though my body weight has stabilized. Makes sense: my physical effort has really gone down hill during the pandemic, and so my muscles have decreased. Sadly. That’s very different from situations I have had in the pre pandemic times when I was working out and my weight was staying the same but my body fat was decreasing. That was good: I was replacing fat with muscle.

Since I also have a fitbit for tracking my activity, all of those numbers sync up in the Fitbit app, which makes it easier for me to track the relationship between my activity and my weight.

I can also use it to track my mental state too. I can tell when I have had stressful times in my life because I either stop eating and suddenly lose weight fast, or I start eating a lot and gain weight fast. I might think I am doing fine, but the numbers say otherwise.

It’s not perfect (what is?).  I tend to weigh myself the first thing every morning. If  eat a carb heavy meal the night before, my weight will be up. If I stop eating early in the evening, my weight will go down. I don’t worry about it though: I am mostly focused on the trends.

I have gone through two of these scales now and if this one dies, I will certainly get another one. I find it too easy to deceive myself about my weight: the Aria scale is the brutally honest friend I need to stay on track.

 

Nine more links to help you with intermittent fasting

In 2019 I posted about five links to help you with intermittent fasting. Well since the pandemic, I’ve heard from a number of people who are interesting in the idea, because let’s face it, not many of us have slimmed down during the Indoor Times. If this is you, take a look:

  1. The science behind intermittent fasting — and how you can make it work for you
  2. How to Manage One’s Moods -The School of Life Articles | Formally The Book of Life
  3. Intermittent Fasting For Beginners: Should You Skip Breakfast? | Nerd Fitness
  4. Read This Before You Try Any of These Intermittent Fasting Diets
  5. Foods to Eat While Intermittent Fasting: The Full Breakdown
  6. The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – The New York Times
  7. Intermittent Fasting May Aid Weight Loss – The New York Times
  8. How Good a Diet Is Intermittent Fasting? – Scientific American
  9. The science behind intermittent fasting — and how you can make it work for you |

(Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash)

 

The problem with the Mediterranean diet sadly, is…


It can be expensive for people living in parts of the world to follow it because of the way food is priced, according to this. Key quote:

The results indicate that it’s not enough to follow the Mediterranean diet simply by changing the quantities you’re eating of certain foods. The foods need to be of a high quality, too, and you need to eat a diverse range of them.

Both of those things are harder to do on a budget. Fresh produce and fish are often only available at higher costs and in certain areas (this disparity leads to the food desert phenomenon), which makes them harder for low-income people to access and afford.

Everything is harder when you are poorer, including eating healthy.

(Image Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash)

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How to eat healthy on a budget.

An oldy but a goody from Vox: I asked the experts how to eat healthy on a budget. Here’s what they told me. – Vox

It’s common sense, but like much in the pandemic times, I suspect a lot of common sense has fallen by the side. If you want to get back to eating healthier, consider reading that.

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Darebee has great meal plans too (if you feel the need to get off the all you can eat pandemic merry go round)

 

The pandemic working from home has been hard, and for some of us, eating has been a source of joy. However, I am feeling the need to eat better and maybe even shed a few pounds. For help, I am turning to one of my favorite sites for this: Darebee.

I love DareBee.com for it’s fitness routines and the great posters they provide.  They have made getting in some exercise a breeze. But they have other things to help you get fit and live better too. One section of the site is dedicated to Meal Planning. You can find lots of great items there, including ones to help you transition to a vegetarian meal routine

If you feel like eating better, consider checking this out.

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Is warning people about how much exercise it takes to work off a meal a good idea?

According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…

Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.

That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.

I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.

No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.

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The case against the Keto Diet

There are a million or so cookbooks for the Keto Diet. If you’ve been tempted to buy one and try it, read this first: What is the Keto Diet—And Does It Work? (Spoiler: Nope) | Chatelaine. 

Sounds like a poor idea. Judge for yourself.

How to get in shape, in two steps

There are only two steps to get in shape: 1) lose weight 2) exercise. Of course, those can be big steps. You need help to take both. These 15 links can provide you with some of the help you need.

1. Lose Weight

  1. Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
  3. Michael Pollan’s Simple Rules for Eating
  4. Scarsdale Diet – Moms Who Think
  5. Becoming Strong & Healthy as a Vegan : zen habits
  6. How Chef Nate Appleman Lost 85 Pounds with Really Good Food | Healthyish | Bon Appetit
  7. How I Lost 75 Pounds in 120 Days – Medium
  8. My Personal Fat-Loss Plan : zen habits

2. Exercise

  1. What Keeps Me Running | Runner’s World
  2. How Running and Meditation Help the Depressed — Science of Us
  3. The Beginners Guide to Orangetheory Fitness | MyFitnessPal
  4. How to Build Your Own Workout Routine | Nerd Fitness
  5. Total Body Training With Only A Pair Of Dumbbells.
  6. The 14 best beginner’s exercises to do at home – Men’s Health
  7. Beginner Body Weight Workout – Build Muscle, Burn Fat | Nerd Fitness

Thinking of getting fit this summer? You need my fitness link pack

Are you thinking of getting fit this summer? Or do you like to read about people getting fit while you drink your favorite cocktail and sit under the shade? Either way, here’s a bunch of interesting links you’ll want to read

Runner’s World | What Will It Take to Run A 2-Hour Marathon: fascinating. Right now men are closing in on this number, but this article shows how hard it will be to achieve that time. Even people who don’t run marathons will find this worth a look.
Weight loss and habit forming — Let’s not pretend we have it all figured out — Medium. For those of you struggling with their weight, this will be of some comfort.
Your Body is All You Need: The World’s Oldest Training Method (and a 1% Workout) | Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you think you need fancy equipment to get fit? Think again and listen to Arnold.
Take off that Fitbit. Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight. – The Washington Post. Not just for fitbit users, but anyone trying to lose weight. You need to cut back on eating to make gains (though with enough exercise over time, you can lose that way too).
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Eats About 821 Pounds Of Cod Per Year | FiveThirtyEight. On the other hand, here is an extreme example of what massive amounts of exercise can do to your diet. The Rock eats alot. ALOT. See for yourself.
The Rise of the Spornosexual. Finally, this post is a good one on anyone who wants to go from blah to fit. (The image above is from this piece.) It’s a spartan life to get that way, but it is within the range of the possible for anyone dedicated. Like you, perhaps?  (And yes, they use a bunch of tricks to make the After photo look fitter than the Before photo, but still, the dude is fitter.)

 

Veganish: for bacon loving vegan wannabes, a possible option

You may want to become a vegetarian or vegan but you may also be reluctant to give up eating things like bacon or fish. If you are experiencing this dilemma, then this question might appeal to you:

“The most effective question we can ask is not how can we increase the amount of vegetarians and vegans,” he says, “but rather, how can we reduce the amount of meat consumed?”

If this appeals to you, then I recommend this article: Love Bacon AND Animals? ‘Reducetarianism’ May Be For You. Still interested? Then I also recommend this book by Mark Bittman: VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good.

The last and only advice you need on how to eat

I think these rules are about the best thing I have seen on how to eat: Simple Rules for Healthy Eating – NYTimes.com.

To make it even simpler, I would boil them down to:

1) Eat less processed food, and more food you make yourself from raw ingredients

2) Eat a variety of ingredients in moderation

3) If you have to drink something, drink water

I recommend you read the NYTimes piece, though. Really good.

New dietary guidelines and the science behind them

The NYtimes has a good piece on new dietary guidelines and why they are changing from what you were used to: Behind New Dietary Guidelines, Better Science – NYTimes.com. You will likely be surprised by some or all of it.

Some people have very serious and specific dietary needs, and if that is the case, consulting your doctor is the best thing to do. For others, the best advice may be the most common sensical, which is to eat a wide variety of food in moderation.

If you think being vegan will limit you in your attemps to build muscle and compete in sports…

Then you need read this article. If that doesn’t convince you, then head on over to this site to see just how great you can get on a vegan diet.

If anything, being vegan may help you, depending on your current diet and other factors that may be limiting your ability to improve.