let’s get it on

I enjoy running aimlessly. Lacing up my shoes and just setting off in a general direction armed only with a playlist of my favorite podcasts.

Not worrying about time or pace, just running till I feel like stopping. Getting too hung up on progress tends to dampen my enthusiasm. These runs provide me with a brief respite to reacquaint myself with why I started running in the first place: how free it makes me feel.

Reveling in the warm embrace of the sun or splashing through puddles during monsoon season. This to me defines the joy of running, the simple act of moving through space in sync with nature’s rhythm. A true intuitive celebration of movement. Continue reading “let’s get it on”

Advertisements

Lessons from China

Optimal dietary macronutrient distribution in China (ODMDC): a randomised controlled-feeding trial protocol.

Unlike other East Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, which have generally maintained their traditional cuisines, China seems to be relinquishing its original dietary patterns. From 1982 to 2011, energy intake from fat doubled from 18% to 37% in megacities and daily edible oil nearly tripled from 18 to 49 grams (Figure 1). Correspondingly, carbohydrate energy intake decreased from 72% to 54%. Along with these diet changes, the burden of undernutrition has diminished, but an epidemic of obesity and diet related cardiometabolic disease has emerged. The prevalence of overweight has increased to 26%, which was rare in the past. In parallel, waist circumference, an indicator of central fat distribution, has undergone an increase across all age groups in the past 30 years

From the figure and quote above, it might seem that decreasing carbs while increasing fats and protein intake has led to an increased in obesity in China.

However, that is not the full picture.

The main driver for the increase in obesity is this startling fact: China’s avg per person caloric intake has more than doubled in the last 50 yrs

What are the implications of this?

  • To lose weight, you need to remember the first law of thermodynamics: conservation of energy. i.e. To lose weight you need to EXPEND more calories than you take in.
  • No single macro nutrient is the reason why you are gaining weight. It is the over consumption of calories that is causing you to gain weight.
  • Do not make life difficult for yourself by cutting out entire food groups and/or macro nutrients. All diets work, as long as you stick to them.. Encourage adherence by making your diet enjoyable AND sustainable.
  • Be flexible and be rational with your food choices.

Fitness and Eating Disorders

This question appeared in a forum I frequent. I would like to share my answer to it and I hope someone find it useful.

Do you think that this “fitness lifestyle”, bodybuilding, powerlifting (or whatever the heck else you’re in this group for) has helped you to overcome your issues? Or do you think it perpetuates them?

I’ve got a range of EDs. And I first started exercising as a form of ‘purging’. After developing some serious medical conditions and recovering from them, I’ve since reconsidered my POV on exercise and that is largely due to hanging out with the ‘right’ aspects of the fitness community. I now look at exercise/training as a way to improve a ‘skill’ (e.g. squatting, running) and be more goal-oriented (e.g. hitting PRs) versus a means to create a deficit or ‘punishment’.

In addition, helping people achieve their fitness/health goals in a way helps to reinforce the ‘correct’ way of thinking. That health and fitness should improve your way of life and not turn living into a ‘burden’.

To be honest, there are times I’ve relapsed, but overall I felt that fitness has helped me to take a more rational approach to my health. Whenever I catch myself regressing, I also ask myself ‘does this bring me closer to my goals?’, ‘why do I believe I need to do X to achieve Y’. These pragmatic questions really helps me to overcome the persuasive voices of my ED.

What about you? How do you feel about the ‘fitness lifestyle’ and eating disorders? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Growing older with health and vitality

Growing older with health and vitality

Growing older with health and vitality: a nexus of physical activity, exercise and nutrition
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889705/

Abstract

The preservation of skeletal muscle mass and strength with advancing age are, we propose, critical aspects of ageing with health and vitality. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are known to accelerate the gradual age-related decline in muscle mass and strength—sarcopenia—however, both are subject to modification. The main purpose of this review is to present the latest, evidence-based recommendations for physical activity and exercise, as well as diet for older adults that would help in preserving muscle mass and strength. We take the position that future physical activity/exercise guidelines need to make specific reference to resistance exercise and highlight the benefits of higher-intensity aerobic exercise training, alongside advocating older adults perform aerobic-based physical activity and household tasks (e.g., carrying groceries). In terms of dietary recommendations, greater emphasis should be placed on optimal rather than minimum protein intakes for older adults. Indeed, guidelines that endorse a daily protein intake of 1.2–1.5 g/kg BM/day, which are levels 50–90 % greater than the current protein Recommendation Dietary Allowance (0.8 g/kg BM/day), are likely to help preserve muscle mass and strength and are safe for healthy older adults. Being cognisant of factors (e.g., reduced appetite) that may preclude older adults from increasing their total daily protein intake, we echo the viewpoint of other active researchers in advocating that protein recommendations for older adults be based on a per meal approach in order to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS). On this basis, assuming three meals are consumed daily, a protein dose of 0.4–0.5 g/kg BM should be contained in each meal. We are beginning to understand ways in which to increase the utilization of ingested protein for the stimulation of MPS, namely by increasing the proportion of leucine contained in a given dose of protein, co-ingesting other nutrients (e.g., carbohydrate and fat or supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) or being physically active prior to protein intake. Clearly, developing simple lifestyle interventions targeted at preserving muscle mass and strength with advancing age is crucial for facilitating longer, healthier lives into older age.

Continue reading “Growing older with health and vitality”