How to Strengthen Your Appetite Control
Fiber helps with appetite control.Various factors determine how satisfying foods are, and you can use them to help you control your appetite.
What makes a food or a meal filling? You might assume that satisfying your appetite depends – more or less – on how much food you eat. And, that might also explain why so many people feel that in order to keep their appetite in check, they simply have to get used to eating less food.
Don’t get me wrong, portion control is definitely an important factor in controlling your food intake. But there are other factors at play, too. The composition of the food – the amount offat, carbohydrate and protein it has – determines, in part, how satiating a food is; texture plays a role, too. And even before a food passes your lips or enters your stomach, the sight and smell of food, and any of your past experiences with that food, sends signals to your brain that can influence how much you eat.
Factors that can influence how much you eat:
Anticipating that the food will fill you up. When you are about to eat something, the sight and smell of the food signals the body that nutrients are on the way. These cues, sent from your senses to your brain, prepare your body for the process of digestion and absorption, but something else happens: your brain anticipates that the food is going to satisfy you, too. The influences of your senses of sight and smell really do matter – it’s been shown, for instance, that a bowl of soup is perceived as more filling when it is consumed normally than if the same volume of soup is delivered in a way that bypasses your sensory organs (say, through a tube going directly into the stomach). So, before you take a bite, take a moment to appreciate the color and aroma of your food and remind yourself of how satisfying your meal is going to be.
The satiating power of protein. Protein is more satiating than carbohydrate, which tends to be more satiating than fat. These satiating effects of protein are primarily physiologic (through influences on, among other things, hormones in your digestive tract that signal fullness) but there are sensory influences – the taste and texture of protein-rich foods tend to promote a feeling of fullness, too.
Fiber is filling. Fiber helps with appetite control in a number of ways. First, fiber makes foods more bulky: high-fiber foods, like vegetables and fruits, take up a fair amount of room in your stomach so they fill you up, but at a relatively low calorie cost. Fiber also takes a while to digest, so it slows the rate at which foods leave your stomach. And, soluble fibers (found in foods like apples, barley, beans and oats) thicken up once they hit your stomach – and that can also contribute to a feeling of fullness.
Texture matters, too. In general, liquids that are thick and viscous are perceived as being more filling than watery fluids, even if the calorie counts are the same. This is another example of how the sensory property of a food affects expectations of quenching hunger – thicker liquids tend to signal more nutrients than watery fluids that are more likely associated with quenching your thirst. And there are studies to support this: smoothies that are thickened with a bit of calorie-free cellulose, for example, are rated as more filling than thinner ones, even though both contain the same amount of protein and other nutrients, as well as calories.1 Another study found that simply whipping more air into a smoothie, which doubled the volume, led study subjects to report less hunger at their next meal, which resulted in the intake of 12% fewer calories at their next meal.2
The hungrier you are, the more you’re likely to eat. Most people are aware of this – if you wait until you’re ravenous, you’re probably going to overeat once you get the chance. One reason for this is that as your hunger level rises, you become much more sensitive to salty and sweet tastes3, probably because these two flavors tend to signal that a food is edible (compared to say, a bitter taste). Food manufacturers must know this…is it any wonder that so many of our snack foods – the ones we dive into when we’re famished – are loaded down with salt and sugar?
1Mattes RD and Rothacker D. Physiol & Behav, 74:551, 2001
2Rolls BJ et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 72:361, 2000
3Zverev YP. BMC Neuroscience, 5:5, 2004
Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.
Weight vs. Muscle Mass: What’s More Important for Weight Loss?
our weight has a lot to do with how much fat and muscle mass you have in your body. Rather than getting hung up on a perfect number, let’s make sense of it all.
I was at the store last week when a woman asked me about my weight. I was caught off-guard when her response was ‘Wow, that’s so heavy for someone your size.’ My quick response was ‘muscle mass weighs more than fat,’ but I quickly had to clarify because that’s also incorrect. A pound of muscle weighs exactly the same as a pound of fat, however muscle takes up less space in your body compared to fat. Meaning that although I look small, I weigh much more than she expected to hear. My body composition is such that I’m made up of a lot of lean muscle mass and a relatively low body fat percentage.
I had to ask myself why I suddenly got so sensitive about the number on the scale when asked about it. I wondered if other people felt the same way when questioned about their weight. It seems to me that we’re heavily influenced by what others, including the media, think. They seem to convince us that weighing less is somehow better for us. This implies that the less you weigh, the healthier you are, but it’s just not true. Health and well-being can’t be measured simply by looking at a number on the scale.
This prompted me to ask some of my friends about their relationship with the scale. My hunch was correct—women tend to feel happier when the number on the scale is lower. Several women also admitted that even when they are at their “healthy goal weight,” they’re happy to continue losing. Men on the other hand seemed less concerned with their weight and more concerned with how they felt. Many admitted that they used how tight their belt was as a gauge to determine if a weight loss plan was working.
Asking people about their weight and how they felt about it prompted me to set the record straight. Weight is simply a number, and alone, it doesn’t mean much.
Concentrating on building your muscle mass can actually be incredibly helpful for a number of reasons. Working towards a good muscle mass ratio reduces the power of the scale, helps you build your strength and means you’re likely to be fit rather than simply slim. For many people, realizing their objective is feeling healthy and looking good helps them embrace exercise in their lives – and I always think it’s better for people to have fun with fitness than to deny themselves with a restrictive diet.
Avoid the weight scale blues
Getting discouraged is something we all want avoid on our journey to a healthy, active life. Negative thoughts can be very discouraging. I’ve also learned that when someone constantly check the number on the scale, it can prompt them to keep changing their approach before their body has even had a chance to respond or adapt to their new healthy habits.
Don’t quit on your health journey
Quitting because you don’t like the number you see on the scale should never be an option. It’s a matter of knowing your body. It’s important to take a positive approach to learning your body. If you monitor your results and don’t solely rely on the weight scale, it’ll boost your motivation to keep going.
Make lifestyle changes, not quick fixes
Maintaining a healthy body composition requires a total lifestyle focus. This includes balanced nutrition, regular physical activity (endurance, strength, flexibility) and stress management. Keep all three in mind as you choose your health goals. It’s important to understand that exercise can’t be used as a substitute for a poor diet. It takes a lot of physical activity to burn enough calories to make a difference with weight loss. And, cookies are not a good choice for stress management! Find time to balance your life, as it’s essential to help keep you on track.
The goal of exercising when you’re trying to change your body composition is to decrease the loss of muscle that’s often associated with weight loss. You don’t want to lose healthy muscle mass. Performing muscle-building exercises and consuming a balanced protein-rich diet can help you accomplish this task.
Striving to reduce your body fat, improve your muscle density, trim your waist and improve your overall appearance and sense of well being is a much better goal than aiming for a number on the scale. Try my fun muscle-building exercise routine that you can do while your kids are at the playground!
Playground muscle-building routine
If you have children, this fun routine can be done on the playground. You can encourage your children or friends to join you!
Perform a 10-minute warm up of your choice. Walking and stretching is a great way to get your blood flowing.
– 8 pull-ups on the monkey bars
– 12 squats
– 8 push-ups using a park bench
– Run for 30 seconds
– Go across the monkey bars two times.
– 15 squat jumps, jumping forward as far as you can with each squat jump
– 12 triceps dips using a park bench
– Jog for 60 seconds
Rest for 1-2 minutes after each round. Aim to perform three sets total.
Have fun completing this muscle-building workout and strive to keep your energy and spirits high as you work towards achieving your personal goals. Keep in mind that a healthy body is not all about the number you see on the weight scale.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education atHerbalife.
Training Mistakes: Fix It Right, Not Quick
As you focus on your body composition goals, it’s important to avoid common training mistakes that can set you back.
The approach of summer is often a wonderful motivator to get people up, off the couch, and more disciplined with their nutrition plan. However, quite often the fact that the clock is ticking will make people start to cut corners with both their diet and training regimen.Quick fixes may seem like a good idea when you are short on time and want to see changes, but in the long term, cutting corners will set you back with your goals and negatively impact your health. Here are a few common mistakes that you can avoid with suggestions on what you can do instead:
Related Article: How to Achieve Better Gym Performance
Avoid single body part challenges: I see these types of challenges online all the time, but unfortunately, many will have you overworking one specific muscle group putting you at a high risk of injury. Doing squats every day is bad for your hips and knee joints. Doing sit-ups every day means that you stop using the muscle fibers in your abs and instead start using your lower back, which creates imbalances. Doing push-ups every day can cause micro tears in the shoulder complex. I can list many more examples that are a bad idea for your long-term muscle and joint health. I believe it’s best to avoid a challenge that focuses on one specific part of the body.
Do: Participate in fun challenges that involve multiple exercises and are set with a moderate number of repetitions and adequate rest. In order for your body to get the benefits associated with repetitive exercise, the reps and rest time must be taken into consideration and both have to make sense. Most of our muscles work in pairs and therefore all strength training should be balanced. If you are trying to add more exercise into your day, consider doing a short bodyweight circuit. One day, the focus can be lower body and the next day, upper body. Try to avoid overusing one specific muscle group on a daily basis.
Avoid lengthy gym sessions: Training in the gym for hours on end may not get you better results, because more is not always better. Spending an hour on the treadmill at a pace that is not challenging, or lifting incredibly lightweights for long amounts of time, will have little effect on your fitness level or overall strength. Not to mention the stress caused by devoting so much time to the gym and getting little in the way of results.
Do: Go to the gym with the approach of quality over quantity. Think about what your goal is and train specifically in a way that will encourage desired adaptation in the body. If gaining strength and building muscle is your goal, you must choose weights that challenge you. Choose a weight that you can lift 8-12 times before reaching fatigue. Rest, then repeat for 3 sets. Consider doing HIIT training for a cardio and strength combination, or work in a circuit to maximize your time in the gym.
Don’t crash diet: The approach of the summer brings light to the many crazy crash diets that deprive your body of essential nutrients. Drastically cutting your calories, especially as you start to exercise more, can make you feel tired and prevent you from training at your best. The weight that is lost from a deprivation style crash diet is often not sustainable long term because you can lose lean muscle mass in addition to fat.
Do: Start making more conscious and healthy choices, and control your portion size. The goal should be to provide your body with the right balance of nutrients to support your energy output and recovery needs. As your exercise duration or intensity increases, make sure that you are eating enough protein, consuming enough water and getting a good balance of carbohydrates to get the most out of your training sessions.
Getting in shape is a process, one that takes both time and dedication. Quick fixes often don’t last for long and my favorite saying is, “Get fit and healthy for a lifetime, not just for the six weeks of summer.” When you make living a healthily part of your everyday lifestyle, reaching your goals may take a little longer, but the results will last.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.
Women, Hormonal Changes and Exercise
If your hormonal cycle is making you feel like you want to avoid exercise and just eat cookies instead, let me share with you how exercise may actually help you to feel better.
As women, we go through so manyhormonal changes in our lifetime. As a woman who has experienced the ups and downs of hormonal changes, I have learned that staying positive and living a healthy, active lifestyle can help me to cope with the rollercoaster ride that is being a woman.
The benefits of being physically active go far beyond the physical. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good. It also causes you to sweat and improve circulation, which gives your skin a youthful postexercise glow. Although we can’t stop the aging process, building lean muscle mass helps to counteract nature’s plan, allowing you to feel strong and toned as you age. With all of these benefits, why is it that so many women just can’t seem to get motivated to exercise?
I believe it’s because the hormonal shift and lack of energy that comes with the female monthly cycle. It’s very real and we all experience it in different ways. The bloating and general irritable mood, however, seem to be pretty standard for all of us.
My dedication to following a regular exercise routine has been my saving grace. It has helped me to boost my mood, reduce water retention and increase my energy levels. Whether you’re pre-menstrual, dealing with the postpregnancy hormone shift, are premenopausal or in full-blown menopause, make an effort to commit yourself to being active.
Here are some practical tips to help keep you away from the cookie jar and up off the couch.
Consistency is key.
As your body is going through changes, having a set time of day that you focus on yourself is important. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes doing something that you enjoy. Exercising at the same time each day helps to create a sense of routine, which can mentally give you a boost and make you feel accomplished. Having control of something during a time when physical changes seem so out of your control is essential.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
Walking is a fantastic form of cardiovascular exercise for people of all ages. You can add in a challenge by walking up hill or perform some lunges along the way to strengthen your legs. When you are suffering from hot flashes, performing high-intensity workouts may make you feel worse so a low-intensity routine is best. When you have cramps, the last thing you need is to make yourself feel worse, so listen to your body and do only what feels right.
Meet up with a friend.
Consider exercising with a friend, or treat yourself to a personal training session or fitness class each month. As women, we naturally feel better when we have a support system around us. The added sense of accountability that comes from meeting someone for a workout will help you to keep focused.
Keep healthy snacks handy.
I know that you may want to eat a pint of ice cream, indulge in potato chips or worse, visit a fast food restaurant to help improve your mood. However, chances are you will feel way worse afterward and gain excess weight in the process. Eating and binging during your cycle is something that so many women do, and it sometimes feels unavoidable. The professional in me wants to tell you to avoid all unhealthy calorie options and eat onlynutrient-dense snacks, but the real woman in me says try to find a balance. I personally try to fill up on healthy fruits, veggies and protein. I also ensure I am well hydrated. Only then, if I am really craving a sweet or salty treat, do I indulge. At that point chances are I will only need a small amount to feel satisfied and won’t totally overdo it.
I have been through a lot, from difficult and unpredictable cycles, infertility struggles, pregnancy, post-pregnancy hormones, and a major surgery that has caused my hormones to be out of sync. But, my stable and consistent approach toward nutrition and exercise has allowed me to keep my body composition and my sanity intact. I hope that you find a way to navigate your way through life’s changes in a healthy and active way.
Regardless of what challenges you are going through in your life, fitness, focus and friendship can pretty much get you through it all, so stay active and help others stay active, too.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Senior Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.
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Men – Tackle Your Trouble Spots
Men – here’s how you can get in shape, tackle your trouble spots and tailor your healthy, active lifestyle plan just for you.
When we think about body confidence and the struggles associated with getting in shape or losing weight, women tend to come to mind. However, in reality, men struggle to maintain optimum body composition just as much as women.
Our body composition, shape, weight and overall sense of well-being are determined by a variety of factors, including hormone levels, heredity, age and socioeconomic circumstances. However, by improving your personal activity level and diet, you can promote positive physical and emotional changes in the body.
It goes without saying that men and women have very different physiques. The male body tends to adapt to change more rapidly than the female body, especially when it comes to weight loss, weight gain and building lean muscle mass. This is mainly due to differences with our metabolism and hormones. Women often complain that when starting a diet plan with their spouse, their husband seems to get faster results.
Men, like women, have trouble spots in the body that cause concern and distress. Most of the time, these trouble zones have to do with storage of unwanted, excess body fat, or lack of muscle mass and tone. Sometimes the concern is due to aesthetic reasons and other times it may be health-related.
Here are the top two male-trouble spots that I most frequently get asked about, along with some tips to help you improve your overall body confidence and shape.
Large pectoral muscles seem to be the symbol of male virility in all of the magazines, so it’s not surprising that when men do not have the chest that they desire, it can lead to a lack of confidence.
Too small: Getting results can take time, but with dedication and careful planning, it’s possible to pump up your pecs. If you have a lack of muscle mass in the chest area, dedicating yourself to performing a strength-based routine that focuses on both the muscles of the chest and back, in combination with a muscle gaining diet plan, is the best approach to build up your pecs.
Excess fat/lack of muscle tone: Unfortunately we don’t get to choose where our body stores excess fat, and for many men, especially with age, they find that the chest becomes a problem area. Controlling your calorie intake, in combination with a good exercise plan, can help you with your overall body fat reduction goals. To rebuild your muscle tone in the chest area, consider performing resistance exercises, such as push-ups. As you get stronger, progress to lifting weights. Quite often, using your own body weight as your resistance is enough to stimulate change.
Men of all ages can possess excess abdominal fat, but quite often this is a problem found with middle-aged men. Carrying excess fat in the abdominal area is linked to high levels of stress, as well as poor diet and lack of exercise. The waist circumference measurement is increasingly being recognized as an important tool for assessing an individual’s health risks associated with being overweight. People who carry their weight centrally may be particularly at risk for developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes. There is a big difference between having a small amount of excess fat covering your midsection and having an amount that is considered a health risk. Always remember to check with your doctor to learn whether you are at risk.
Fluffy midsection: If you just have a little extra body fat around the middle and you are hoping to show off your six-pack in time for summer, adding in some bouts of HIIT training to your current routine may be very helpful in getting you lean. You can lose the fat even faster if you focus on your pre- and post-workout nutrition. When you are trying to lean out and lower your body fat percentage, timing your daily carbohydrate intake, as well as ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of protein with each meal, will help you to accomplish your goals.
Health risk: If your waist circumference measurement falls within the following range, it’s important that you follow an exercise routine and diet plan that is prescribed by a doctor.
Men: > 40 in (> 102 cm)
Women: > 35 in (> 88 cm)
Reduce your stress level: Stress is often associated with overeating and inactivity, both of which can lead to weight gain. The stress hormone cortisol can make you prone to storing fat in your abdomen, so it’s essential that if your mid-section is your trouble spot, that you find ways to alleviate your stress throughout the day.
Your focus should always be on your overall health and achieving a healthy body composition. You can’t spot-reduce fat from one specific area with exercise, but if you have a well-balanced diet and a comprehensive fitness plan that includes some targeted exercises, you will move one step closer to achieving your body confidence goals each day.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes there are medical reasons as to why someone has issues with certain areas of the body. If you believe your individual trouble spots are not related to lifestyle, diet or activity level, you should consider seeking medical advice for a solution.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Senior Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.