Monday, March 23, 2009

Stop “Just” Counting Calories

Everyone I meet… everyone has the same question… I don’t eat much and am always hungry and yet I am not losing weight. Is there something wrong with me?

Yes… because most of the people I talk to or ask me this question have one problem in common. They count calories, but forget one important thing. When you count your calories, you have to also take into consideration what I call the “fill up factor”. What is the fill up factor? The fill up factor is how much a certain food will fill you up because the simple science is, the fuller you feel and for longer, the less you will consume. The faster you get hungry, the more you will eat.

Take Grapes and raisins for instance. If you were to gobble down 20 grapes, how full would you feel? How about if you swallowed 20 raisins. Would you feel anything? Even though each raisin has the same amount of calories as a grape (since they are essentially the same item) yet the fill up factor is almost non existant in raisins. So which one would you rather eat to fill up?
This is why junk food is considered to be such a potent calorie puncher. Each medium sized bag of twisties, cheezels or whatever it is you fancy, has about 500 calories. But eating the whole bag does little or nothing to fill you up. Which means you are more likely to eat something again soon. And when you do, you ring the calorie regsiter again. So stop fooling yourself by skipping lunch just to have a glass of Milo and a bun and think you had nothing and then tell yourself that you can have a big dinner since your lunch was small. The combination of Milo and a bun (I am guessing the bun will either have cheese, Mayo or both) which will roughly be about 400 calories. Eating a normal meal is about 500 plus calories. So which one do you think is better? Eating a little bit more, but you can be sure it will last a while, or something small which is just slightly less in calories but will leave you craving for more within the hour.

So stop being the ding dong that goes to restaurants, orders something small but which is high in fat and calories, and convince youself that you will be fine, since you still feel hungry after the meal. And hey, why not have a bit of dessert, since after all my main course was so small. Eat normally, but choose wisely. Choose things that will fill you up and keep you full but lower on the calorie scale and avoid foods that breakdown fast or just don’t fill you up but high on calories.

As usual, i look forward to hearing your comments on this.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are you resting enough?

Did you know an essential part of working out and seeing results is actually getting enough rest and letting your body recover from the workout. Many people who work out seem to forget that the body needs to rest. Just like how you need a rest after a hard day at the office, your body is no different. In fact I know a lot of enthusiasts who work out 7 times a week all because they want to see quick and fast results. So they feel if working out 4 times a week is good, then 7 times a week has to be much better right? Wrong. It doesn’t quite work that way. Here are 3 reasons why you should make it a point to get enough rest in between your workouts.

Reduce the risk of injury
If your body has not recovered fully from the previous workout and you push it again, you are at higher risk of experiencing injury which could put you out of commission for weeks or even months. So why do it? If you are one of those people who wants to get fast results, imagine what 4 weeks of not working out will do to your goals of losing weight or getting the fitness results you want. It will backtrack your goals.

People who work out all the time and don’t have any rest will be at higher risk for experiencing burnout. Burnout is a condition when you get sick and tired of working out and just want to quit. Although it is a psychological condition, believe me, the results and what it does to you is very real. I know many people who start out strong and then experience burnout… and getting them back into their routine is harder than getting someone who has never worked out to start working out. So make sure you get enough rest or you will be resting for a long long time after that. All work and no play will make you sick of anything quickly.

You will stop seeing results
I know people who workout hard 7 days a week and each work out going on for almost 2 hours. That is a quite a bit if you ask me. To top it up, they are on an extremely tight diet because they want to see rapid weight loss. After 2 or 3 months, they realize that they are not losing anymore weight. So what do they do? Make it 3 hours a day and eat even less… and still they don’t see results. Why? Because you have over worked your body to its max and pushed it too far and your body just gives up and doesn’t want to push itself anymore. I have personally guided friends and clients out of this rut by actually telling them to eat more and take a break. And just 2 weeks of eating healthier (in most cases more food) and working out less, they actually start to lose weight again. So trust me… more isn’t always better.

With all that being said, please also know that it doesn’t mean the more you rest the better it will be. So working out once a week and taking the other 6 days off doesn’t cut it as well. Just like everything else in life, it is a matter of striking the right balance between working out and getting enough rest. Below is my recommendation of how much you should workout and how much you should rest:

- Exercise 4 to 5 times a week
- Each session should be between 1 hour to 1.5 hours
- Every 4 or 5 months, take a whole 1 week off from working out… meaning absolutely no working out for 1 whole week.

Follow these 3 simple rules and you won’t have to worry about burnout, injury or not seeing any results. So take a look at your routine and make sure you get enough rest and a break in between your workouts.

As crazy as I am about working out, when it comes to the weekend, I am an absolute bum and trust me… I do very little physical activity over the weekend. So Monday to Friday is my workout days and Saturday and Sunday is when I rest relax and rejuvanate. So what is your routine like and are you getting enough rest. Look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Home Made Burgers

If you like eating burgers, I would like to share with everyone, my secret recipe to making home made burger patties. The advantage of home made patties… you know what’s going in and you get to control it. A lot of burgers out there are made up by grinding up left over parts, skin and fat. So this way, you get to enjoy almost the same taste, without all the heart clogging ingredients. Here’s what you need.

400 grams of lean minced meat of your choice (Chicken breast, buffalo, pork, beef)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 slices of White Bread
5 to 6 Wholemeal Cream Crackers (crushed to fine powder)
Corn Starch
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
*Ginger (crushed)
*Chilli Powder
½ teaspoon Fennel Seed powder (Jintan Putih)
*Few drops of Maggi Seasoning

All items with * need to be added according to your own taste.

1. Break up the white bread into small pieces and soak it into the milk. Let the bread soak up all the milk until you can stir it with a spoon and the bread completely disintegrates in the milk.
2. Mix all ingredients up (except Corn Starch). You can add more crushed whole meal crackers if you feel the mixture is still too wet. The consistency you are looking for is thick and when you can form a ball with the mixture and it holds it shape.
3. Once the mixture is right, sprinkle a bit of corn starch powder into the mixture. You need to add in roughly 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the mix. This is to ensure the whole thing holds when cooking and does not break apart.
4. Shape into patties and pan fry it.
5. You can also roll this mixture into a ball and make meat balls out of it.

Go ahead try it and see. If you have a better receipe, please share and I will be more than happy to try it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Which Fast Food is the worst?

So the results are in and KFC has been voted the most unhealthy Fast Food of all. I too voted for KFC, just because you have pockets of oil which squirt out of the chicken with every bite - so its no surprise that they won or rather lost, depending on how you look at it. You can almost feel a heart attack coming on everytime you are done eating it. As much as I think they are the worst, I too eat them from time to time. So I am not saying don’t eat KFC ever again… just eat it with moderation. But I try to avoid their fried chicken as I personally feel that that is the worst and there is no quality control on how unhealthy it is. Their burgers aren’t so bad and doesn’t make you feel like your arteries are getting clogged with every bite.

The second is McD’s followed by the pizza houses. I still think McDs is not too bad as you do have some healthy options, the portions are small and it isn’t as oil soaked as KFC. A healthy choice in McDs would be their Fillet-O-Fish, which actually uses 100% fish and you can actually see it. So if you ask me to make a healthy choice between 2 evils, I would rather choose McDs over KFC.

A&W received no votes which could either mean, people think they are healthy or nobody goes to them at all, so no one bothered voting for them. Besides their root beer float, I honestly think everything else there really sucks. Even their curly fries suck compared to McDs. If you are going to go unhealthy, it has to have taste or else what’s the point of eating it.

Pizza houses aren’t any better, but if you can stick to the thin crust and avoid telling them you want “extra cheese”, it actually cuts down the “unhealthy” factor drastically. Personally I love Domino’s thin crust and every once in awhile when I have no idea what to eat and stumble upon a discount coupon, I will pick it up and use it.

So which ones did you vote for as being the worst and why? Look forward to hearing your comments.