Dr Wendi's Health

Category Archives: Weight loss

bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises are often underestimated as a valuable way to workout but they are very effective for building strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, coordination, and flexibility. You can do a few bodyweight exercises every day in a very short period of time and gain all the same health benefits as going to a gym!  Make it a high intensity workout and burn more fat.  To make a workout high intensity you can set a time limit, such as 1 minute and see how many of something you can do.  For example, let’s suppose you can do 10 push-ups, instead of just doing 10, see how many you can do in 1 minute and take rest in between every couple reps.  Or see how long it takes you to do 30 push-ups.  It is more fun and challenging if you set some goals and even more fun if you challenge others in…

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building muscle

In order to build skeletal muscle there needs to be an overall increase in synthesis and a decrease breakdown.  Resistance training causes muscles to breakdown and then rebuild if there is enough protein for the rebuilding process to occur.  The main nutritional factors that stimulate muscle protein synthesis are: Amino acids from eating protein – particularly leucine, a branched chain amino acid that signals protein synthesis Amount and timing of nutrient intake – consuming protein within1-2 hours of exercise is important so that building blocks (amino acids) are available for protein synthesis, and consuming the required total amount per day ensures that synthesis always outweighs breakdown Co-ingestion of nutrients – carbohydrates help to reduce the amount of protein breakdown Creatine is clearly effective for increasing muscle mass in combination with resistance training Some terminology DRIs – Daily Reference Intakes RDA – Recommended Dietary Allowance – the minimum amount of protein…

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body fat

In healthy people, about 80-90% of our fat is located underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, and about 6-20% is found surrounding abdominal organs, called visceral fat.  Having excess visceral fat, aka belly fat, is more highly associated with cardiovascular disease than excess subcutaneous fat in other regions of the body. In other words, it is healthier to be a pear-shape than an apple-shape.  The distribution of our body fat can be a more significant indicator of heart disease than overall body fat percentage.  Gender and genetic factors contribute approximately 50% to body fat distribution but hormones play a very significant role.  You can actually get an idea of hormones that might be elevated or decreased by where you store extra fat. Hormones have a major influence on body fat distribution.  Overall, the hormones that have the biggest impact on how we burn or where we store fat are cortisol,…

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sitting kills

The following is a list of things we commonly associate with aging, but are these natural processes that are inevitable?  No.  They are actually caused by not moving enough.  If you include at least 30 min of moderate exercise 3-5 times per week, with at least one session being some weight-bearing exercises and 1 session being higher intensity so that you get out of breath, then you can very significantly reduce ALL of the issues listed below. It is also important to move around frequently during every single day.  If you work at a desk and sit a lot, it would be highly beneficial to get up and walk around for a few minutes every 30 min, and stretch a few muscles while you’re at it.  A really interesting book on this topic is called Sitting kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos who was a NASA scientist that studied the…

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fasting vs starving

A very common argument against intermittent fasting is that you are starving your body and this will lead to a slower metabolism and weight gain in the long run.  Intermittent fasting will not cause your body to think it is starving if you are following one of the standard intermittent fasting methods (see below). In fact, humans can easily tolerate 48 hours without food once in a while with no ill-effects on metabolism. It is healthy to give your liver, insulin receptors, fat cells, and digestive tract a break from eating each day because it will give those tissues time to regenerate and repair…..things it can’t do when it has to digest food and store nutrients. A few methods of intermittent fasting: 16 hours – each day, eat during an 8 hour window 24 hours – once per week, from dinner one day until dinner the next day 2:5 –…

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macronutrient ratios

One thing that has been shown over and over about nutrition research is that people have difficulty accurately estimating how many calories they consume, and how much protein, fat, and carbs they consume.  It is one factor that makes retrospective nutrition research studies very difficult to interpret.   There are many different types of diets that either minimize one of the macronutrients, like low fat, or low carb, keto, paleo, Atkin’s, low protein, vegan, or diets that advocate moderate ratios of macros such as the mediterranean diet, the zone, or low glycemic index, or diets that limit specific foods such as FODMAP.  Whichever kind of diet you may be experimenting with, or if you are trying to gain weight, gain muscle, or simply maintain the body weight you have, it is always beneficial to have a good idea of what you are eating.   I find that some nutrient calculator websites are…

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lose weight eat less

What kind of diet works best? Low fat diet? Low carb diet? Do total calories matter? The most popular theory right now is that carbs increase weight gain because carbs stimulate insulin, which is a hormone that causes our liver to convert carbs into fat, so reducing carbs will help you lose weight. But, there are populations of people that eat high carb diets and are still lean and not over weight, example, Japanese populations eat a lot of rice, which is a refined carbohydrate, it is high on the glycemic index, yet these populations are not over weight. Likewise, there are populations that eat high fat diets that are lean as well. People lose weight on low carb AND low fat diets.  Why? Because they are eating overall fewer calories AND they are cutting out the worst foods that are high in calories, low in nutrients, and highly rewarding….which are foods…

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bone broth

Throughout human evolution periods of feasting have been followed by periods of fasting.  Our body is physiologically adapted to spending a little time without food. Skip eating for a day or so, 24-36 hours, and just consume water, tea, or bone broth and feel the health benefits.  I suggest fasting from about 6pm after you have had dinner until 6pm the next day and then have a small dinner, or if you feel good, go until breakfast time the next day.  During the fast you can consume as much non-sugar liquids as you want.  I want to point out that a 24-36 hour fast is completely safe and will not cause your body to go into “starvation mode”; metabolism won’t start slowing down until after about 72 hours.  I do not suggest doing a fast if you are pregnant or diabetic. What are the benefits of a 24-36 hour fast?…

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cortisol is made in the adrenal glands

One of the main stress hormones is cortisol and it can have a huge impact on your health.  75% of North American adults report that they have physical or emotional symptoms of stress.  It is a significant factor in chronic health issues like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, mood disorders, and dementia. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, meaning it is made from cholesterol similar to other steroid hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.  It is made in the adrenal gland, which is the main gland that helps us cope with stress and it is extremely beneficial for short duration stress reactions but can cause havoc on our body when secreted in large amounts over long periods of time. Chronic stress can be sneaky and not super obvious or it can be very distressful. See if any of these apply to you: Time stress – you worry about how much you…

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I often hear that we should eat first thing in the morning to “kick start” our metabolism, or eat small meals more often to keep our metabolism going all day.  Eating actually DOES increase our metabolism, this process is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), and it is because the process of digestion requires energy. BUT, it doesn’t matter when or how much food we eat and in fact, eating 1 large meal increases metabolism more than eating several small meals. How much impact does TEF have on your overall metabolism? 60% of your total metabolic rate is due to your basal metabolism, which os the amount of energy you burn just existing and fueling your cells chemical reactions and cellular processes. 0-10% is accounted for by the amount you exercise. 10-20% is due to calories you burn doing non-exercise activities such as moving around, cleaning, fidgeting, walking, lifting…

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