Category Archives: Health Tips

Beat that Weight Loss Plateau!

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Hitting a roadblock in your diet can be exasperating. You do well in the first few months–and then your progress stops. And all efforts you put into it are not translating onto the scale and you ask “I was doing so well! What happened?”

This Plateau Stage is a normal occurrence for all people following a weight loss program or certain diet plans. At this stage, the body’s weight loss progress stalls even though the person claims to be working out habitually and eating healthily. So what really happened? Let’s actually take some time to demystify this stage in the weight loss process.

lose-weight1.) Physics

Based on laws of physics, a friend that is, say 200 pounds  will require more energy for him to move compared to you at 180 pounds. This translates to your friend using up more calories when you both run at the same speed. And so given that you are getting lighter as your diet process moves along, it will actually take less calories for you to move compared to when you started your diet at a heavier weight,. You would then need to take longer or more intense runs to achieve the same calorie expended, at the beginning of your workout when you still weigh more.

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2.) Basal Metabolic Rate

The same principle applies to your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. BMR the rate at which our body uses calories to fuel our involuntary actions and while at rest, such as breathing, cell division, blood circulation, muscle contraction etc. In this case, a the person with more mass to move, the more calories is needed to help support these functions. As a person trims down, calories required for these also decreases.

3.) Water Weight

When a person from a sedentary lifestyle starts to improve his diet and workout, it will seem that weight loss will be rapid in the beginning. But sadly, at this stage, what you lose is not fat yet, it’s water. Since water is easier to get rid-off, it explains why people tend to lose weight fast at the start of their programs. Excess water in our body obviously reflects on the weighing scale, and the heavier our weight (excluding those who are heavy in muscle mass), the more water we will lose.

Now that this is cleared up. Let’s learn what’s the best way to lose weight at this stage and keep improving!

plateau

1.) Keep watching your food intake

Further into your diet, it’s a tendency to be complacent about your food intake.   After losing some weight, some already disregarded the importance of keeping track of their intake on their food diary. Upon reaching the plateau, composition of meals may no longer be strictly observed and therefore limiting the changes in the body. That’s why diet coaches insist that monitoring tasks must be done and checked, constantly. Apps and services such as those of HAPIcoach.com can provide a good tool to help monitor your food intake and have a personal nutritionist take a look at your meals while your at it. 

Another is for you to have an increased amounts of protein in your meals. According to a study done by Smart Foods Centre-School of Health Sciences, and CSIRO Human Nutrition, protein consumed in proper amount can increase your metabolism by about 30%, for 12 hours. But of course, protein intake must not go over to your total energy requirement in day, and must still be within desirable range of your total macronutrient intake.

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2.) Reevaluate your workout.

Do you feel that your workout has become leisurely? Afternoon runs feel like  a blissful afternoon stroll in the park? Rule of thumb: if it’s too easy, you’re probably not doing enough. When you reach this stage, increase the intensity or try a new routine. Also, try to include  strengthening routines to your workout to increase your muscle mass. More muscle mass translates to increased metabolism, and faster weight loss.

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3.) Rest. Sleep.

The importance of having enough rest and sleep is for you to give room to your body to do necessary muscle repairs. Workout is for stretching the muscles, protein is for filling the gaps from the stretch, and resting is for healing. Overtraining and ignoring rest days is counterproductive as it leads to muscle wasting instead. The weaker our muscles, the lesser the muscle mass. The lesser the muscle mass, the slower the metabolism. Keeping this in mind will help you get some shuteye and give your body a rest.

There you have it! To overcome the plateau stage, your body just basically needs some adjustments and your focus just needs to be realigned.  So keep at it and you’ll achieve your workout and weightloss goals. We’re excited, for you, too!

The HAPILABS Team

5 crazy ideas you should never believe about your diet

“I heard saturated fats are good for you now?”

“Sorry. I don’t eat carbs. I’m on a diet.”

“I can eat whatever I want. I go to the gym regularly.”

You probably have heard these lines before. Tempting to believe, right? Since many still tempted believe such lines and are guilty of thinking them time and again, we have decided to compile some commonly propagated myths and misconceptions about nutrition and weight-loss, and asked our diet coaches to give you the skinny on them. 

  1. Desserts are evil

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We have grown accustomed to always blaming carbohydrates and primarily, desserts to our weight-gain or slow weight-loss progress. What you should be doing is to check the quality and quantity of the dessert. Is it too sugary? Is it fatty? Is it too big for a portion? If you say yes to all, one good solution is simply to cut down the amount by a big portion. The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day (or about 100 calories), so keep this in mind and adjust your sweets accordingly. But if you still feel guilty but wanting to have something sweet,  try snacking on fruits. Fruits are the best replacements to our refined sugary desserts. These foods boast high amounts of dietary fiber, water, vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and are refreshing. So generally, desserts need not be antagonized. 

  1.   If you are working out, you can feast, anytime.

Athlete wearing chocolate chip cookies gold medals standing in front of blue sky background

A straightforward answer is NO. Sadly, the amount of calories that you burn in your workout pales in comparison to the amount of calories that you are getting in your food. For example, you can get 100 calories from half cup of plain rice. And if you want to burn that amount, you need to run half a mile in the treadmill. Sounds unfair? It is a common misconception to solely rely on your daily activities, regardless of intensity, when it comes to weight loss. According to nutrition coaches, 75% of your weight-loss goals will be coming from your food habits. So if you want to lose weight and eat healthier, better ask your handy HAPIcoach on your smartphone to help you improve your eating habits. 

  1.             Nope. No Fast food!

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Though the majority of fast food chains offer a fat laden, cholesterol filled menu items, it’s also fair to say that there are other establishments that offer healthy and well balanced meals. Some offer salads and light sandwiches with lean meats, for example. And in some instances, prepared in healthy manner. The key is to always evaluate the menu items. Does your order go with lean, unprocessed meats? How oily is it? Is there a salad in the menu? If so, is the dressing fatty? How about fruits? You can also do special requests as add extra lettuce and tomato and remove mayo from your McDonald’s burger and other items (most other fast foods can do this, too). Go for black coffee instead of adding sugar and creamer. And surprisingly, there are fast foods that offer healthy choices. You just need to be more discerning with the selection.  

  1.                   Snacking is bad for your diet

weigh scale and dessert

Snacking can be the reason why you don’t lose weight and gain more instead. Depending on both quality and quantity of the food, snacking can be a great approach  in your pursuit of a healthier weight. We are all aware that our bodies need fuel to supply energy to the everyday activities, and a snack, if it comes in a healthy portion, is a  good addition to your eating habit. Since you don’t deprive your body of food, snacking helps signal your body to keep burning energy instead of storing it thus, avoiding storage of fat, keeping your metabolism at constant speed. Also, this is a good approach to avoid hunger pangs, lest you overcompensate on your next meal.

  1. Water can make you gain weight

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Yes, but just for a few hours. But you will eventually expend the extra water that you don’t need. And for the record, water doesn’t have any calories, so no negative lasting impact on our weight can be expected. In fact, having sufficient amount of water is also an important key to weight-loss. Our body can recognize if we are not having enough water. When we don’t drink enough water, our bodies conserve what we have, in order to supply necessary fluids to keep our bodily processes going. Our body’s reaction to the lack of water supply is to retain water in our bodies, anticipating a shortage in supply. And this water retention reflects on our weight. Therefore, it is imperative that we drink water in sufficient amount.

 

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At this age of overwhelming information, everyone should learn to sort out facts from myths. Nonetheless, when it comes to your diet it is much better to ask your diet coach to get informed answers about your diet and food choices.

 By Registered Nutritionist HAPI Romer 

HAPILABS Team