4 things that will make us fat in 2016 - Juice Daily
Georgia, the writer, in good form. Photo: Robert Saponja

4 things that will make us fat in 2016

With the obsession on health and fitness, it’s not surprising that the whole debate over what works has actually led to more people gaining weight. Are you concentrating on the right things or has your obsession led to more weight gain? Here are the surprising contributors:

1. Over-exercising

Problem: Yes, exercise can actually become an addiction. Most of society is so trained to believe that exercise is a great thing (and it is), and that more is better. But, like all things in life, too much of a good thing, is simply not good.

This one is close to home for me. After trying out over 1000 classes in the last year (I started a fitness business called Bodypass), and sometimes doing three to four workouts a day, I can tell you that my body rebelled. I started getting niggling injuries, I found I was getting anxious, my mental state was pretty beige on the weekend and my clothes started getting a bit tighter.

Your body needs at least one to two rest days a week at a minimum and if you are really burnt out, you may need a few weeks to a month off. Don’t fret and run for the hills (especially run!), taking time off will not make you gain weight, lose all your cardiovascular fitness or decrease your muscle mass. If anything, it will re-energise you, balance you, give the body time to recalibrate and heighten your enjoyment of exercise when you are doing it.

Signs you are over-exercising: When you exercise too much, your body can interpret it as a stressor, sending out stress hormones like cortisol that make sleeping difficult. Overtraining can make some people more tired than normal. Sleep is the time when the body and brain repairs itself, so if you’re pushing it too hard, your body might be telling you that it needs more rest that you’re giving it.
Your workout leaves you exhausted. If you finish your workout feeling like you need to go back to bed you are probably pushing yourself too hard or too long.

You get sick frequently or can’t seem to recover. When you over-exercise you put added pressure on your body and immune system so you are more susceptible to getting sick, or it takes you longer to recover.
You feel unmotivated and/or “blue.” It seems ironic since exercise has been shown to boost feel-good endorphins, but overtraining has been linked to a decrease in energy and mood.

These days I try to stick to four or five workouts a week for optimum energy levels.

2. Sugar

Problem: Oh sugar, we all know you’re the devil these days but unfortunately, sneaky as you are, you still seem to be finding your way on to our plates far too much. David Gillespie, author of best seller book, Sweet Poison, claims sugar, is responsible for Australia’s growing rates of obesity.

He argues that when we eat the fructose component of sugar – unlike when we eat any other forms of energy – our bodies do not release the three major appetite hormones that tell us we are full: insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Instead it goes straight to the liver where it often stays – converted into fat.

Solution: David recommends you eat about 10 grams of fructose a day – an amount provided by a couple of pieces of fruit.

”However, the average Australian male is actually consuming 60 to 75 grams of fructose every day,” he says. ”A fair proportion of this is embedded in what we would regard as our ‘normal’ food.”

Jump on a quit sugar program such as The Sweet Poison Quit Plan and aim to kick the habit for at least two weeks. The goal isn’t too big and by the time two weeks roles around you’ll be feeling so good, you’ll want to keep going.

Lack of sleep

Problem: The sleep-diet connection is regular feature for diet books and magazine articles. Maybe you have even heard about the sleep diet, which suggests you can lose weight while you sleep. And it’s true, sort of.

“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in the US.

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.

Solution: On average, experts agree we need about seven hours of quality sleep per night. Try going to bed even half an hour earlier, that will help as a start. If you have trouble sleeping, try a yin yoga class to unwind at the end of the day.

Cardio vs weight training

Problem: Ask anyone about his or her fitness and training goals and they will tell you that when they want to lose fat, they start doing more cardio. When they want to build muscle, well naturally, they weight train. Seems to make sense. Cardio burns off calories; weight training makes you gain weight. Falling for this common misconception is one of the biggest mistakes you could make and will stop you from reaching your fitness and body goals.

Aerobic activity is great for your heart and lungs but as a tool for getting leaner, aerobic exercise by itself is not the best strategy.

To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat. Stay in a calorie-deprived state long enough, and your body begins to burn through its own tissues for fuel. You can make that number drop through aerobic exercise and calorie restriction. But what most bathroom scales won’t tell you is how much of the weight you lose is in the form of fat, and how much of it is muscle. And losing muscle mass can sabotage your weight-loss efforts in the end.

Solution: Muscle contraction is a primary engine of fat loss. The more muscle mass you have to contract, the more calories you can burn. In addition, strength-training workouts that take large muscle groups to a state of burn will increase the release of hormones that aid in reducing body fat. Gaining lean muscle mass is a key piece to fat loss.

The best way to do that is resistance and strength training, which will help you hold on to your muscle tissue while you lose fat. In turn, this extra muscle keeps your metabolism humming, even as restricted food intake threatens to slow it down. Essentially, if you weight train, your body will burn through energy even while resting, so you can afford to eat a little more. Long term, this is how to keep the weight off. And who doesn’t want to do that?



Georgia van Tiel

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Georgia van Tiel

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Georgia is one of the original founders of Bodypass and has over 12 years experience as an Exercise Scientist. Fit, healthy and an inspiration to everyone she meets, George has that lovely knack of being able to spread cheer while she imparts her impressive knowledge.

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