Weight Loss Wars

 

I used to weigh myself every Sunday morning without exception. This was a weekly task written in my agenda that I could not skip. At that moment, I felt like I was about to wage war with myself. My ”Once-A-Week-Ritual” was creating unnecessary stress, pressure and I became fixated on my mass. For me, it wasn’t a numerical reflection of my relationship with gravity, no sir, this was a measure of my worth as a person.

That number on the scale determined my self-esteem for the next week. My entire mood became dependant on that number. If the scale went down, I was pleased (but it was never enough). If went up, my day was instantly ruined – I had failed.

Then one day, it clicked :

This number doesn’t define who I am.

It doesn’t need to dictate my value as a human being.

I rather set myself on fire than hop on that scale again to be honest so I wrote an e-mail to my coach telling him I had enough of this restrictive dieting lifestyle and that it interfered with my emotional wellbeing and happiness.

 

Why

Why do we value thinness, leanness, slenderness, slimness?

Why do we believe it’s a symbol of beauty and associate it with being successful, happy and disciplined?

Does our culture pressure us with medias to determine our self-worth by our appearance?

Has our society become obsessed with the idea of losing weight?

I feel like if our society wasn’t so hyper focused on weight, nobody would care. Being ”Fat” wouldn’t be seen as an insult or something to be ashamed of.

Fat Shaming vs Fat Acceptance

We live in an a time where obesity has become a major problem. But is obesity considered a disease ? A disability ? Is it okay to be overweight ? Is our thin obsessed culture feeding this epidemic and damaging our healthcare further ?

There are negative comments everywhere about overweight people . While some of these comments come from mean-spirited people, others think fat shaming will motivate overweight folks to lose weight.

Some individuals (like John Bourque, see youtube link below) think that being overweight is  lacking discipline and that fat shaming can be constructive and motivate obese individual to take responsibility of their health.

You’d think that only fit people engage in fat shaming, but you’d be wrong. Overweight people play a part, too. Fat people criticize others who are fat. Even worse, fat people stigmatize themselves.9731697_orig

I personally think this type of shaming makes people feel beyond shameful excluding them completely for the world of health and wellbeing.

It triggers overeating and leads to poor body image. People aren’t motivated to take great care of their bodies if they hate them right ?

 

It’s impossible to feel good about yourself if you’re constantly practicing self-destructive behaviors, I agree.

 

BUT, perfectly normal, healthy individuals are labeled plus sized or unhealthy simply because they don’t match society’s definition of health & beauty.

 

War against obesity

The word success and failure often describe folk that battle weight loss but losing weight isn’t as predictable and progressive at you might have been led to believe.

People will use 3 common strategies to lose pounds:

  1. Specific macronutrient based diets
  2. Counting/Restricting calories
  3. Increasing calorie expenditure by exercising

Usually the vicious cycle of weight loss looks a lot like this

Cycle

Barriers to Weight Loss

There is a lot of factor that can interrupt a weight loss journey.

  • Stress, Anxiety or Depression
  • Overeating/Lack of portion control
  • Yo-yo dieting or Crash diets that leads to a reduced metabolic rate
  • Negative self-image
  • Leptin resistance
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Pain
  • Financial issues
  • Time

While obstacles can often seem to stand between an individual and their desire to lose weight, they’re often there to allow us to demonstrate how badly we truly want to achieve those goals.

A better way of looking at it

I say: Try to be a little better tomorrow than you were today.

Try changing your behavior in a healthy way.

Independent of weight loss, eat whole food and increase your amount of daily exercise.weight

It’s healthy whether you lose weight or maintain it. Make these choices in consistent ways in opposed to crash diets or exercise plan where the primary purpose is to lose weight. Don’t focus solely on the scale. Remove that unrealistic goal of looking like a fitness model and that self-judgement based on whether or not you are able to lose weight.

Focus on being healthy.

The Way I see It

My perceptive is to live the healthiest life that you can ENJOY over time.

After all, isn’t life about maximizing your enjoyment while at the same time maximizing your health ?

Persistent effort and adherence over time is goal to weight loss. You need to devote substantial time in your day to exercise and maintain a caloric deficit.

 

But at the end, if you don’t like yourself fat, guess what, you won’t like yourself thin either.

 

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Is Breakfast Really Your Most Important Meal

To eat breakfast or to not eat breakfast – That is the real question.

Breakfast – There are those who can’t start their day without it and there are others (like me) who are grossed out by the thought of any type of food passing their lips before lunch (with the exception of coffee of course)

 

Once upon a time, a popular nutrition author named Adelle David told people to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor and her advice stuck.

But what does scientific research say?

Should we indeed have our biggest meal at breakfast or skip it all together like I do?

Skipping breakfast, a popular form of intermittent fasting, is a practice that I believe, SOME people can benefit from. I have discovered that what I eat (or what I don’t eat) in the mornings has an enormous impact on how I think and feel for the rest of the day.

But when I try to explain it to others I get the same reactions:

  1. That is so unhealthy, aren’t you starving? (No)
  2. Nutrition guidelines recommend that we eat breakfast! (Canada’s existing healthy eating guidelines are also ‘’one-size-fits-all, has ambiguous serving sizes and is painfully outdated)
  3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (Depends on the context)
  4. You’ll miss out on micronutrients (Nah, I just eat my fiber and vitamins later in the day)
  5. You’ll ruin your blood sugar levels, you’ll have no energy and your mood will get affected (I adapt)

There are few truths that may have contributed to breakfast receiving this lofty titles but, after close examination, they might not have the weight of evidence you might expect …

Does skipping breakfast make you eat more?

Skipping breakfast causes the brain to react more to tasty foods (high in sugar, fats and sodium) hence you tend to eat more at lunchtime BUT most studies show that skipping breakfast results in lower total energy intake over the course of the day.

 

In other words, skip breakfast, skip the calories.

Despite greater hunger in the morning and some compensation during lunch, the effect of skipping breakfast doesn’t seem great enough to make people overshoot and eat two boxes of cookies, a jar of peanut butter, a large combo at Wendy’s and a small village later on during the day.

Doesn’t breakfast ‘kick start’ your metabolism?

Biology 101 : When you eat, your body needs energy to digest and store what you just ingested. This is called thermogenisis. So, yes, breakfast does kick-start your metabolism.

 

But there is a major problem with pinning all of your hopes on this “jump start”.

For normal people, thermogenesis count for only 10% of the calories you burn on a regular basis. So to conclude, your basal metabolic rate and the amount of physical activity you do has way more impact on the amount of calories your burn in a day.

Skipping breakfast can make some individuals feel less energetic so they might reduce their levels of physical activity without consciously realising it and gain weight – I say drink more caffeine.

Does skipping breakfast make you gain weight?

We’ve all heard it before: Skipping breakfast is associated with obesity.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that skipping breakfast CAUSES the weight gain.

Several randomized trials (where people are randomly assigned to a certain behaviour, such as eating breakfast or skipping breakfast) have NOT found any evidence suggesting that skipping breakfast causes weight gain.

Correlation doesn’t imply causation.

So, should you eat breakfast?

Public wisdom suggests that, yes, you should eat breakfast.

But the current state of scientific evidence means that, unfortunately, the simple answer is: I don’t know.

It depends.

Whether you are a religious breakfast consumer or a skipper, keep in mind that both sides might have some merits and the answer is probably not as simple as you’ve been led to believe.

Benefits of eating Breakfast

Benefits of skipping Breakfast

  • Small metabolism boost
  • Can improve weight loss by reducing caloric intake
  • Prevents overeating at your next meal
  • Reduces overall inflammation
  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol
  • Improve digestive health
  • Feel more energized
  • Reduces blood glucose levels
  • Promotes physical activity
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Enhances memory and attention span
  • Increase HGH level
  • Enhance mood
  • Enhanced immunity

How to Become A Morning Person

It’s 4:19 am, i am currently sitting at the table sipping on my wonderful first cup of coffee and I can say, without a doubt, that this is the time of the day where I am more creative, productive, engaged and energized.

I’m not just a morning person, I spring out of bed at a time even roosters wouldn’t think of opening they’re eyes. No alarm needed BUT I do require some form of caffeine to start off my day.

This is my “me” time.

Waking up early gives me time to think and reflect before other people or engagements start requiring my time and attention.
But isn’t it hard to get out of bed this early ? Don’t I crave that extra hour of sleep ? This is where ,us, early risers have the competitive advantage. We begin tackling our day while others hit the snooze button ; no e-mail, messages or text notifications, no one to interrupt our lovely moment of peace and quiet.

Not convinced ?

Here is a list of 5 scientifically proven health advantage of being a morning person :

1. You might weight less and exercising more consistently : The timing of your exposure to light can influence your weight, according to Northwestern University research. People who got most of their light exposure for the day in the morning had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who got most of their light later in the day. This was independent of how active people were or how many calories they ate.

Also, early birds are less likely to be derailed by an unexpected work deadline or a sluggish commute, people who exercise in the morning seem to maintain more consistent workout routines than those who break a sweat at other times of the day. “In terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer with the American Council.

2. Safer drivers : Spanish researchers asked night owls to drive at 8 a.m., not surprisingly they performed worse and paid less attention than when they did the same driving simulation at 8 p.m.
When early birds did the same experiment, they performed consistently well during both times of day. Why? Morning people tend to exhibit more detail-oriented, conscientious traits that may serve them well even when they’re driving at night.

3. Pro activity and better grades : Harvard biologist Christoph Randler surveyed undergrad students a few years ago, he found morning people were more likely to agree with statements that reflect a go-getter mentality, such as “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen,” Harvard Business Review reported.

A 2013 study of students at five German high schools found that night owls had lower grades than morning people, even after researchers accounted for their cognitive abilities, conscientiousness, and motivation to do well in school. Even in college, when students may have more control over their class schedules (sleeping in instead of attending that 8 am biology class for example), early birds still triumph.

4. Happier and better mental health: When University of Toronto researchers surveyed more than 700 adults on their sleeping habits, mood and health, they found that morning people (7 am or earlier to be specific) had up to a 25 percent increase in feelings of happiness, cheerfulness, and alertness.

5. You might sleep better : A massive study conducted by 23andMe also found that only about 20% of self-identified morning people suffered from insomnia, compared to nearly 40% of night owls.

Simple strategies and habits to help you get out of bed early

1. Set an alarm, then set that alarm far away
Getting out of bed is often the hardest part about waking up in the morning. Having your alarm clock next your bed makes it easier to press the snooze button and sleep longer.

2. Wake up a pleasant alarm sound or vibration not the sound of sirens

The type of alarm sound you choose has an effect on your mood. Try a sounds that gradually wake you up (many apps. has this feature) to wake up more naturally from your sleep cycle.

I use “percussion” with gradual increased volume on my Samsung.

It might seem a little strange, but if you want to wake up without the horrifying sound of bells (because every morning should begin with a mini heart attack) then one of the best ways to do it is with vibrations. I use my Fitbit.

Oh, and just a side note : Don’t wake up to your favorite song, you’ll end up despising it after 2-4 mornings…

3. Have something to looking forward to

For me it’s that first cup of coffee. I swear that sweet black nectar of the gods touches my soul and i feel like i can handle anything. Set your coffee maker to a specific hour and let that freshly ground heavenly smell wake you up.
You could also make breakfast to look forward to the night before.

4. Take advantage of the many benefits of exercising early in the morning
– It enhances your metabolism
– Cultivates Consistency (no interruption in the wee hours)
– Improves your physical and mental energy all day (focus)
– Enhances your personal discipline (and bragging rights)

Fill two needs with one deed : Invite a Friend, having someone relying on you will guarantee accountability. “If you know a friend is waiting for you at the gym or won’t pound the pavement without you, it’s tough to bail,” says Thomas Plante, PhD, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, who has completed multiple studies on the power of exercise partners.

5. Go to bed early ; what a shocker this one is….
6. Change your mindset ; What you repeat to yourself becomes reality. So stop complaining that you hate mornings.
Still can’t get out of bed ?

I believe the key to productivity is being truthful with yourself. Some people circadian systems are just backwards. Those individual are what science calls “evening people” or “Larks” (something involving a single nucleotide near a gene called “period 1”).

No matter what they do they’ll feel tired early in the evening and then won’t get tired until very late at night. So instead of trying to be something you’re not go ahead and sleep in.

I won’t judge and on behalf of all morning people, please excuse our noise while you’re try to sleep in.

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