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Newsletter: Thinking of a low-calorie diet - add in exercise to accelerate fat loss and avoid muscle loss
Plus, understanding why you hit an early diet plateau will help you keep going
[Copy of my Weekly Newsletter] Here are my hand-picked 4 Most Valuable pieces of content that I found this week, to help you live longer better.
These four topics stood out to me (click the links below):
1. Exercise and Weight Training during Dieting Improve Fat Loss
Very Low Energy Diets (VLED) are often used to lose weight fast prior to medical procedures. They are also promoted by meal replacement brands.
I remember being shocked during a consultation for my first bout of cancer to learn how many people are unfit for serious surgery. In contrast to me, the surgeon said, many people had to wait 6 months while they lost weight and exercised, before he would operate.
This is for people with potentially lethal cancers which have to be removed!
This study found that people who exercised during a 12 week VLED program lost 6.5kg more than those who did not exercise. Furthermore, 6.4kg of that extra loss was fat. Those who exercised also improved their strength. Those that did not exercise lost strength - they were losing muscle mass, which is highly undesirable.
Your action: If you are considering a VLED here are safe guidelines, and in addition you should seriously consider adding a recommended 400m / week of endurance exercises, and 3 times per week of strength training.
2. The Role of Glycogen in Diet and Exercise
You have no doubt noticed that you can achieve "quick gains" with dieting, but then a plateau is reached. That point is where many people become disheartened and give up.
Understanding why that happens will help you move through it reach your weight loss goals. The initial easy losses are due to the stored supplies of sugars in our liver and skeletal muscle. We use these stores during fasting periods and during muscle contraction.
The sugars are stored in a complex form called glycogen. Glycogen is highly hydrated - up to 65% water. Note this: we store about one full day's energy as glycogen. When we cut back out calorie intake it takes perhaps a week to burn this away - and that's mostly water that was attached to the glycogen stores.
You then hit a "metabolic wall" that your body has to climb over to start burning more fat. That's often an uncomfortable process - headaches, tiredness, irritability. Stick with it and life will get better. You'll be training your body to burn more fat.
Your actions: If you are intent on losing weight then (1) eat less, but more quality foods, (2) don't jump on the scales every day - once a week is plenty, (3) don't expect the initial drop to persist as an average - the average will be less but it will be fat not water (4) persist when you hit the fat-burning wall, and (5) keep exercising. I recommend that you read the article - it’s a good explanation of why you hit the wall when dieting.
3. The Five Best Strength-training Moves To Help You Sit Up Straighter
One of the best solutions for sitting up straighter and improving your overall posture is strength training. It's not widely appreciated that the source of most of our skeletal aches and pains is simply poor muscular strength and endurance.
It’s simple: When we sit for a long time, especially slouching in front of a computer screen, our muscles weaken - from our ankles to our head. Our body loves to slouch because it takes the least energy.
When our muscles lack endurance they quickly exhaust their capacity to maintain correct posture. The article has five practical exercises to help overcome poor posture.
I read a lot of such articles which often make things too complicated. This article, and the exercises, make sense to me - and for you.
Your actions: Check the article for the 5 exercises - you'll need a dumbbell and a resistance band. Do these each time you go to gym, they won't take long. Improving your posture has many benefits including less pain, and better breathing.
4. The Health Risks of Gum Disease
I went to the dentist recently, which caused me to notice this article. The state of our teeth has consequences for our overall health.
Most of today's most challenging diseases have one thing on common: chronic inflammation. Don’t stress your body by making it fight what's going on in your mouth when it could be doing better things for you.
Gum disease is now definitively linked with heart disease, diabetes, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. All of these can be avoided, but cannot be undone once they happen. I know - I'm diabetic.
Here's what the researchers say "oral infection, especially periodontitis, may affect the course and pathogenesis of a number of systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, and low birth weight".
Here's what I say: brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Your actions: Read the article - it is a 2 minute read; or just brush floss your teeth every day.
That's it for this week.
PS Believing that you will succeed isn't the opposite of believing that you will fail. My article on Medium explains why.
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter