DRHOOK- Eat like Phelps, but exercise like him too
Michael Phelps eats like 12,000 calories a day! Holy Cow... literally the whole cow! I saw magazine pictures of his breakfast.
If I tried to eat as much as I saw, I would give birth to a baby pancake right there on the spot. But look at his body and how fast he swims. He needs those calories to perform... to live! One potato too little, he might have won only seven Gold Medals and not be on the cover of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. (They should show him eating a box of Corn Flakes... I mean the whole thing. He could do it!)
Unfortunately for most Americans, they aren't as physically active as Michael Phelps... or a tenth as active as Phelps... when he is asleep. So more than two-thirds of Americans pack on the pounds over the years.
What is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off?
I'm going to talk about the nuts and bolts of losing weight. And to my excitement, I'm going to have a sequel (like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Glitter... er, nix the last one) to talk about the psychosocial aspect to losing weight.
During my fellowship research on women and obesity, I read over and over the importance of self-monitoring. One thing to self-monitor is eating habits. Studies have shown folks who keep a food diary lose more weight, which makes sense. How else will a person know if he or she is eating too many calories, too many carbohydrates, too much fat, not enough protein without writing it down?
But you know what? Most people enjoy the flu more than logging every single thing that they eat and drink. I have tried and tried again to get folks to keep a food diary and even use free internet programs to do so. But they come back more empty handed that a "bad daughter-in-law" showing up with nothing but a bitter face. "But Dr. Hong, I don't want to know how many calories half a German chocolate cake has... and ¾ bottle of wine."
I thought about one of my best friends in college who kept a running diary. I made fun of him over this, "Dear Diary, today I felt like Flo Jo with my long luxurious hair fluttering behind me."
But to lose weight, more calories have to be burned off than consumed. So a diary of physical activity done, how long, how hard, can assist a person to know what their efforts mean. Also the frequency is vital to lose weight and keep the weight off. One study showed folks who successfully lost weight and kept it off did moderate exercise one hour a day (this included brisk walking).
Exercise everyday? Well, let's not call it exercise. Let's call it being physically active. Increased activity is important to keep the basal metabolic rate up, because the metabolism slows down when a person eats less. (Cruel world!) Yes, the metabolism slows down with eating less, so physical activity is essential.
Registered dieticians are excellent in providing nutritional education and meal planning. Many people don't know the difference between a carbohydrate and a simple sugar, so they need someone to spell it out. Most of us don't know what a true portion size is.
Case in point: A couple of my friends joined NutriSystem and cried the first week because they couldn't believe how "small" their meals were.
I eat faster than a vacuum cleaner sucking up dust bunnies. Slowing down, chewing, tasting the food, getting up in the middle of the meal, and drinking water between each bite slows things down and increases satiety.
Well, since we are going Green, eating less and walking or biking instead of driving makes sense. Good sales pitch, huh? More next week.
Dr. Hook cracks a joke or two, but he's a renowned physician with a local practice. Email him with your questions.