Archive for the ‘Dieting’ Category

Kate Middleton’s Dukan Diet

kate1 150x150 Kate Middletons Dukan Diet

Like there aren’t enough diet plans/fads already. But the Dukan Diet, which has been popular in France for years, is making the news  because Kate Middleton is allegedly using it to shed pounds before the royal wedding.

The diet seems to be a French version of the Atkins diet that was hugely popular in the US until…well, until Dr. Atkins, the main champion, passed away. (Interesting fact – he was several pounds overweight when he died but the doctors claimed it was “water-weight”). So, anyway, back to Dukan. The diet consists of high-protein, low-fat meals along with lots of water and oat bran. It is divided up into week-long cycles. Some weeks include vegetables but fruits are taboo. Wine and dessert are allowed, which is why the diet is popular in France. Excercise seems to be an afterthought – 20 minutes a day.

The Dukan diet sounds downright dangerous to me. Meat, barely any veggies, and no fruit? Sounds like a meal-plan for nutritional deficiency and kidney problems. Even the French admit the hazards -France’s National Agency for Food, Environmental and Work Health Safety said the Dukan Diet was one of 15 imbalanced and potentially risky diets.

And does Kate really need to lose weight? She looks like she’s a Size 2 on a fat day.  But if she MUST shrink further, why not just eat balanced, low-calories meals (whole-grains, veggies and fruits) and excercise an hour a day? That works just as well and is far, far healthier.

Oh well. To each her own.

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Th New “Thrifty” Gene and Obesity

Article first published as The New “Thrifty” Gene And Obesity on Technorati.

thriftygene Th New Thrifty Gene and Obesity

Scientists recently discovered another “thrifty” gene called CRTC3 that affects obesity.  The concept of thrifty genes was first explored in the 60s. These genes are believed to slow down the body’s fat-burning process, and once helped our ancestors survive famines.

Mice bred without CRTC3 stayed lean irrespective of diet. Studies also showed that some humans have more potent variants of CRTC3 which makes it extra hard to lose weight, but only among certain ethnic groups. For example, Mexican-Americans with the variant-gene have greater rates of obesity, but non-Hispanic whites with the variant-gene do not.

While “thrifty” genes were once useful, they haven’t evolved at the same pace as society; they persist in making us retain excess fat though famines are unlikely in our current world.

So what can we do about these pesky genes?

Since “breeding” humans without them isn’t a viable option, and pharmaceutical companies will take time to develop a drug that turns CRTC3 and other similar genes “off”, we currently have only one choice. Consume fewer calories than we expend.

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The Only Diet that Works

Constant diet-discoveries have made us chronic dieters, fickly abandoning one fad diet for the next, in our pursuit of lipid-blasting. So as we struggle into jeans that the washing machine has shrunk yet again, we wonder: What will actually WORK for me long-term?

Only one thing does. And it’s not even a diet.

It’s the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. It allows all foods, is simple, healthy and can be maintained long-term.

Here’s how you follow it:

Step 1: Record your InCal or the calories you consume per day(most packaged foods provide the calorie information per serving, others you can look up on http://www.thecaloriecounter.com

Step 2: Calculate your basic metabolic rate(BMR), ie., the calories you burn just to breathe, digest food etc.
If you’re female, use the formula 655+(4.3 x weight in pounds)+(4.7 x height in inches)-(4.7 x age in years).
If you’re male, use the formula 66+(6.3 x weight in pounds)+(12.9 x height in inches)-(6.8 x age in years).

Step 3: Record your OutCal or the calories you burn per day through physical activity. Most cardio exercise machines display calories burned. You can estimate calories burned for other activities (Ladies, think shopping. Gentlemen, think cleaning out the garage :-)) using http://www.www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

Step 4: Calculate your Calorie-Deficit(CD)using this formula: BMR+OutCal-InCal. For example: If your InCal is 1600 calories, your BMR is 1500 and your OutCal is 600, your CD will be 500. Now, you need a CD of 3500 to lose 1 pound. So in this example, you can lose 1 pound every week.

I lost 43 of my 50 pregnancy pounds following this approach. But then I got greedy, wanted to lose the last sticky, sticky seven pounds in a minute. I tried the fad diets, lost some flab, gave up the disgusting meal-plan (whether Cabbage Soup, Starvation or Eat-All-Animals-You-Can-Find), regained the flab.

But I’m back on track this week with the Calories-In vs Calories-Out Lifestyle. If I succumb and eat half a bar of chocolate at dusk (Tragic Fact of Life: junk food doesn’t nourish, but has calories. So if you substitute nutritious food with junk, you’re substituting ONLY calories and may feel hungry (read nutrition-deprived) when you try to stay within your InCal allowance), I make up by eating a mound of greens for dinner.

And I’ve already lost a pound. Woohoo!

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The Eternal Dieter

I climbed onto my PreCor this morning. Did the requisite 300 calories. Ate two slices of whole wheat toast for breakfast. Am contemplating skipping lunch. The prospect depresses me enormously but the scales depress me more.

I’ve been on a diet for a nine years now, ever since I became a mommy. I’ve tried it all – Atkins, South Beach, WeightWatchers, Nutrisystem, Cabbage Soup. I lose a few pounds. Celebrate with chocolate. Gain them back. And the years roll by.

I am the Eternal Dieter. Not fat, just chasing the pipe-dream of getting back to my pre-mommy size. Every couple of months, I sneak into the fitting-rooms at Ann Taylor or Macy’s with Size 4 outfits. They emphasize the soft band of blubber around my waist. Sadly, I return them to their hangers.

In theory, I know what I should do. Change my eating habits. Ensure that the Calories in are less than the Calories out. Keep a food diary. I do all of this. Most of the time. But the exceptions ensure the soft band at my waist stays.

So I’ll just keep dieting. Forever.

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