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Nutrition & Weight Management

Nutrition & Weight Management


What is the definition of overweight?  What is your definition of overweight? One definition is when a person is 10% over the ideal weight for height.  Obesity is defined as 20% over the ideal weight.  The BMI scale is commonly used to factor ideal weight.  These days it is commonly understood that a person may have low body fat while simultaneously BMI is screaming, “You are overweight! I am an example of that contradiction. My current body fat is about 9% and I am considered overweight with a BMI of 27.  Using a height and weight chart is not always useful based on limitations and individual variations.  We humans are not all built the same.  Also, having some body fat is useful and healthy.  Obesity however is not healthy.


Obesity has a variety of causes, like physiological factors and psychological factors.  The simple equation for fat storage is energy in verse energy out.  If you eat more food (calories) than energy expended (work), this will yield an excess of calories and this excess will be stored as adipose tissue, fat.  You can also consider that each individual produces different amounts of hormones.  There is a common argument that genetics contribute to our shape and form.  However, diet, activity, familial reinforcement and peer interaction are larger contributors to your overall health than genetics.


We tend to mimic the habits of those around us.  Society pressures us to look, act and feel a certain way.  Lately, environmental factors are being scrutinized.  Farming methods that introduce growth chemicals, pesticides, contaminants and water that are becoming questionable.  There are extreme practices like surgery, drugs, fat blockers, body wraps, and specific macronutrient restrictions.  Sometimes people try fad diets to lose 20 to 30 pounds.  A couple of problems with fad diets are that they are scientifically inaccurate (nonsense) and there isn’t any long-term education on how to maintain your weight loss.   This often leads to chronic dieting syndrome or “yo-yo” dieting.  Often a person who only diets (no weight training) will lose an equal amount of fat and muscle.  Once off the diet, they gain back their lost weight, and the weight gained consist of more fat than muscle.  This is obviously not ideal for anyone.  With a bit of education a healthy balance can be achieved.  Fasting is another way people may try to lose weight.  Basal metabolic rate will drop while fasting, as well as electrolytes, loss of lean muscle, and you’ll experience low blood pressure.   Again, knowing how to eat after you quit fasting is important from a healthy maintenance perspective.


So… what is a sound weight management plan?

There are the aforementioned methods as well as behavior modification techniques.  Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming for example, are successful at creating new thoughts, different ways of thinking and often work to create new habits. It is important to know and really understand your personal eating queues.  It’s about understanding what drives you to eat, your emotions involved and sometimes most important, what drives your food choices.  It’s about recognizing the queues, and how you respond to these queues.  The consequences of your choices are fairly obvious.  You are what you eat!


You should always accept your current state. No one can successfully change their situation without fully acknowledging the situation and it’s realities. You should accept yourself and take responsibility for your choices.  You should define the behavior surrounding your choices.  Know and understand your eating patterns.  If you skip a workout, or fight with your spouse or just love tacos at midnight (Ding!), think about how you eat after such events.  You may find that planning out strategies for such occasions will help you make better and healthier choices.  You can bring an apple or banana, something that will help you get through your challenging times.


Writing out your meals (weekly meal plan) is a great idea. Be flexible and realistic, ensuring the diet is fits your lifestyle.  This is important in maintaining the diet.  No one sticks to anything that is inconvenient, boring, or annoying. Find fun healthy and tasty food. Your diet should be nutritionally adequate and include all the nutrients.  Bottom line is this… will you eat it?  A diet consisting of food you will eat is a strong determinant of a successful diet.


When you are successful and once you are about to achieve your goal (weight gain/weight loss) you must reevaluate, readjust, and decide how to proceed at your new weight.  Celebrate at 90% – 95% and set your new goal to maintain or tone or something exciting and achievable. The good news for you is that the human body works hard to maintain a condition of homeostasis.  Your body wants to stay the way it is. When you have a well thought out plan and a strategy that is best for it is much easier to achieve your goals and keep your prize.



A Guinness Won’t Derail Your Diet

A Guinness might seem the antithesis of a light beer. It’s the color of molasses, with a rich, almost syrupy consistency and a thick, creamy head. You’d imagine it’s a one-way ticket to the treadmill. But looks can be deceiving. A 12-oz. serving of Guinness has 126 calories. That’s less than a Budweiser, a Heineken or a Miller High Life. Plus, drinking a rich, stout beer such as Guinness can be more satisfying than a more watery pilsner or lager. So you may be more willing to stop after one or two.

Not to mention, the health benefits of drinking Guinness extend further than the surprisingly low caloric content. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found antioxidant compounds in Guinness that may prevent the kind of blood clotting that leads to heart attack. They claim a pint of Guinness a day does as much to fight the risk of heart attack as the daily low-dose aspirin many doctors recommend.

Otis, Jason. “Seven Drinks That Won’t Derail Your Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM.” LIVESTRONG.COM – Lose Weight & Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools. Web. 12 Apr. 2011. <;.

Mixed Martial Arts & Performance Enhancing Drugs

Part VII:

There is a bounty of ergogenic aids available to athletes and exercise enthusiasts. These range from commonly known steroids, creatine (monohydrate), and other supplements to ergogenically designed clothing like Olympic swim suits or strong-man body suits. Ergogenic aids are often mentioned in the discussions of health and beg the issue of competitive morality. The usual argument is whether or not the ergogenic aid inappropriately or unfairly enhances the athlete’s performance, or described in one word, cheating. There are other risks of course which include a myriad of health related issues, acute, temporary or chronic and lifetime side affects which accompany using ergogenic aids.

Creatine is commonly used because of its relatively convenient availability at supplement and health food stores. It’s not uncommon to find high school athletes loading up on creatine cocktails for the hopeful benefit of increased muscle mass, endurance, strength and fast recovery. Martial artists specifically benefit from using creatine for the fact that creatine is thought to enhance high-intensity bursts of strength and facilitate quick recovery as well as promote the stamina needed for repetitious explosive moves. “Creatine is allowed by the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sports. However, the NCAA no longer allows colleges and universities to supply creatine to their students with school funds. Students are permitted to buy creatine on their own and the NCAA has no plans to ban creatine unless medical evidence indicates that it is harmful. With current testing methods, detection of supplemental creatine use would not be possible.” (Creatine, 2011) However, creatine is suspected for causing nausea, cramping, and an increased load on the kidneys.

A creatine supplementation and health variables study was conducted by Appalachian State University, headed by BK Schilling with the purpose of discerning the long-term effects of creatine as a supplement to include specifically the side effects, and training benefits. 26 athletes were studied and tested (blood) as well as questioned on their dietary habits, creatine supplementation, medical history, training history, and perceived effects of supplementation. General body fat composition as well as blood pressure and resting heart rate were recorded for each participant. It was found within this group that the expected gender differences were present. It also concluded that muscle injury, cramps, or other side effects were no more prevalent using creatine than without. It was concluded with this study that long-term creatine supplementation does not result in adverse health effects. PMID: 11224803 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Another over-the-counter performance-enhancing drug is dehydroepiandrosterone which is commonly known as DHEA. It is used in place of steroids and has many of the same side effects as steroids such as heart and liver damage. DHEA substances are converted in the body into anabolic steroids. (Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the testosterone hormone.) The goal of using DHEA is usually the same as using steroids, to gain muscle mass or to increase strength.

Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic by Dr. K. Dhatariya, MBBS, MRCP(UK), MSC, and K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, PHD have performed research to find evidence of positive results in lab rats. However, lab rats are not the best subjects to correlate results or assume humans will have similar results because rats, unlike humans, do not produce DHEA endogenously (internally). Here is an abstract from Dr. Dhatariya’s research:

“Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated ester are found in high concentrations in the plasma; however, their role in normal human physiology, other than as pre-cursors for sex hormones, remains incompletely defined. Studies of rodent models have shown that these hormones have beneficial effects on a wide variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, immune function, atherosclerosis, and many of the disorders associated with normal aging. However, rodents are not the best models to study the actions of these hormones because they have very little endogenous DHEA; thus, the doses given to these animals are usually suprapharmacological. Human studies have been performcd to determine the potential beneficial effects of DHEA replacement in persons with low DHEA levels. Results have been conflicting. Human studies suggest a potential role for DHEA replacement in persons who have undergone adrenalectomy and possibly in the aging population. However, long-term studies assessing the benefits vs adverse effects must be done before DHEA replacement can be recommended…” (DHEA, 2011)

Whatever you may take from the information in this article, the truth of the matter is that supplements are not necessary for an athlete who trains diligently and consumes a healthy diet (specific to those mentioned in this article; beef, cod, salmon, and herring). Supplements and drugs may provide a temporary increase in performance but only proper training and diet will yield sustained athletic performance. The ethical matter of cheating is also to be considered and not to be redundant, the use and abuse of supplements can lead to serious health issues and death.


Schilling BK, Stone MH, Utter A, et al. Creatine supplementation and health variables: a retrospective study. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;33:183-8.

“Creatine.” National Library of Medicine. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) Studies – NADF.” Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“ – Creatine Truths And Myths. – AnimalPak.” – The Future Of Bodybuilding! Huge Bodybuilding Site. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“Performance-enhancing Drugs and Teen Athletes.” Tween and Teen Health. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

“Ergogenic Aids – Performance Enhancing Drugs – Supplements.” Sports
Medicine, Sports Performance, Sports Injury – Information About Sports Injuries and Workouts for Athletes. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. .

Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

Mixed Martial Arts 2-Day Meal Plan Example

Part VI:
Day 1 shows a typical daily diet for days when our athlete is in training.
Day 2 shows a typical daily diet for days when our athlete is not in training.

Included is a nutritional analysis of a general but typical on/off training diet for our athlete. Attachments included are for each day, a daily menu featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks based on a rough estimate that our athlete needs at least 3000 calories consumed on training days. When not training, the caloric intake can be reasonably reduced up to 1000 calories. However, since our athlete has a metabolism that is usually always amped up, even on rest days, we want to ensure adequate calories are consumed. If our athlete is hungry, nutritious snacks are provided for consumption. There are several additional reports included which show the details of the chosen foods, the “next step” advising how to ensure adequate daily intake of a healthy variety of foods, a weekly average and a weekly menu (which only on Day two will it show more than one day.) These reports were generated by submitting our athlete’s food items into the “’s” on line software which provides a food analysis and then generates corresponding reports (described just now). These reports are provided as verification that our meal plans meet the government’s dietary standards for our level of activity of our sport and our athlete’s age, height and weight.

DAY 1:
Plain Yogurt, fat free
Cinnamon Toast
Blueberry Muffin
Orange Juice, V-8, water

Bean Salad
Meat Lasagna
Garlic Bread
Milk, fat free

Carrot Salad
Bean Soup
Baked Chicken Breast w/cooked tomatoes, onions
Black Eyed Peas
Corn on the Cob
Baked Sweet Potato

Trail Mix, Snack Mix, Raisins, Apple, Banana, Water

DAY 2:
Plain Yogurt, fat free
Whole Wheat English Muffin w/fruit preserves
Cream of Wheat
Orange Juice, V-8, water

2 Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Mixed Salad Greens w/low calorie dressing
Peas and Carrots
Milk, fat free

Raw Spinach Salad w/Italian dressing
Baked Salmon w/sautéed green peppers & onions
Lentil Soup
Cooked Asparagus on the side

Raisins, Apple, Banana, Water

Our daily diet attempts to emphasize grains; the effort is to make half of the grains whole. Some days snacks are whole grain crackers or air popped popcorn. White bread has been replaced with whole grain bread as well as brown rice instead of white rice. Oatmeal for breakfast provides plenty of sustainable energy. At lunch time, whole grains are mixed into some dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or in casseroles. When preparing salads, pre-washed bags of salad greens, baby carrots or grape tomatoes are mixed together.

Our athlete enjoys eating more fruits and so much of the snacking may be an apple, banana, or strawberries. Even at breakfast cereal is enjoyed with bananas or peaches. If a desert is desired, baked apples, pears, or a refreshing fruit salad is eaten.

At lunch, fruits like tangerines, bananas, or grapes are available to eat. Salmon is often accompanied with mango chutney. Since our athlete is focused on explosive and repetitious muscle contractions, fruits with more potassium, such as bananas, prunes, dried apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice are the fruits of choice.

Milk is usually on the table for most meals and not only provides protein but calcium-rich. For breakfast we use fat-free or low-fat milk instead of water in oatmeal and hot cereals for the calcium and vitamin D. Right after a workout, a fruit and yogurt smoothie in the blended with ice helps in recovery. Our soups sometimes are topped with shredded low-fat cheeses.

Meats are lean in this diet and dry beans or peas are included as part of the meal. Salads are topped with garbanzo or kidney beans for they are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese.

Since it is quite easy to get foods with oils, the effort is to limit the intake of oils. We use oils high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats, such as canola, corn, cottonseed, olive, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil. A few oils, including coconut oil and palm kernel oil, are high in saturated fats and for nutritional purposes should be thought of as solid fats.

The training consists of true mixed martial arts training; going from gym to gym training with the best boxers, wrestlers, jiu jitsu experts as well as strength and conditioning sessions. Our fighting athlete will recuperate better and feel better eating 3 complimentary meals each day. Eating well contributes significantly to recovery, an increased immune system, sharper mental process, and to an overall positive disposition. Water is sipped throughout the day and at about 15 minute intervals during workouts. Fruits and vegetables are eaten at every meal and available for snacking. Our athlete will go no longer than 3-4 hours without eating, and always a lean protein. Carbohydrates and starches are emphasized after workouts/training session with side fruits and vegetable. Fats are limited to include olive oil, fish oil, and flax seed oil. Our athlete does not consume any supplements at this time for it seems they are not needed. In the past, before our athlete was placed on a strict diet plan, our athlete used caffeine, creatine and sodium bicarbonate in an attempt to enhance performance during workouts and competition. Our athlete reports positive performance results from their use. However, our athlete reports negative after-affects to include sleeplessness, irritability, acne breakouts and a feeling of extreme nausea after or during workouts. The following Old Dominion University report reviews the nutritional ergogenic aids thought to enhance performance and affect energy metabolism:

J Sports Sci. 1995 Summer;13 Spec No:S63-74.
Nutritional ergogenics in athletics. Williams MH.
Human Performance Laboratory, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0196, USA.

Nutritional ergogenic aids may be theorized to improve performance in athletics in a variety of ways, primarily by enhancing energy efficiency, energy control or energy production. Athletes have utilized almost every nutrient possible, ranging from amino acids to zinc, as well as numerous purported nutritional substances, such as ginseng, in attempts to enhance physical performance. This review focuses primarily on nutritional ergogenic aids thought to enhance performance by favorably affecting energy metabolism. Although most purported nutritional ergogenic aids have not been shown to enhance physical performance in well-trained, well-nourished athletes, some reliable scientific data support an ergogenic efficacy of several substances, including caffeine, creatine and sodium bicarbonate, but additional research is needed to evaluate their potential for enhancing performance in specific athletics events.
PMID: 8897322 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

References: – United States Department of Agriculture – Home. Web. 08 Feb. 2011..

Chasiotis D. Role of cyclic AMP and inorganic phosphate in the regulation of muscle glycogenolysis during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1988;20:545-550.
Kreider, Richard, PhD, Phosphate Supplementation in Exercise and Sport, Department of Human Movement Sciences and Education, The University of Memphis, 2001.

Fink, Heather Hedrick., Lisa A. Burgoon, and Alan E. Mikesky. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2006. Print.
Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champaign, Ill. [u.a.: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print.

Got Water? How ’bout Salt?

On the web page of The Journal of Clinical Investigation it explains the effects of sodium concentration and osmolality on water and electrolyte absorption. It states that the absorption of water was absent with low sodium levels and greatly increased with increased NaCl. It further explains that the movement of water cannot be explained merely by osmotic movement but that it must be due to the electrical potential as well as the changes occurring because of the reabsorptive process.
The article was difficult for me to read and understand. So, I spent a lot of time reading and reading again. I understand that Urea is a byproduct of the liver metabolizing proteins. Urea is obviously a waste product and the body needs to dispose of it. The liver also produces bile digestive juice and stores it in the gallbladder. The bile dissolves fat in the intestine where it is to be digested by enzymes from the pancreas and along the intestine walls. Now, what was difficult to ascertain because of the higher level physiological vernacular is that water, by the time it reaches the intestines, consists of the water-soluble vitamins, and specifically this water contains dissolved salt. The salt in the water (in the intestines) comes from the food and liquid you swallow, as well as the digestive juices secreted by the many digestive glands.

In other words the study concludes, distilled water, or water without electrolytes isn’t going to be absorbed by the body.

“Effects of Sodium Concentration and Osmolality on Water and Electrolyte Absorption from the Intact Human Colon.” Web. 28 Jan. 2011. .

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