Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sitting: A Lethal Occupational Hazard

I originally wrote this for my fellow pilots but it applies to all who have jobs where they sit excessively or who otherwise lead sedentary lifestyles:
Most of us of pilots are familiar with the most common health risks associated with long-term sitting such as back strain & pain, disc bulge & herniation, forward-head posture, blood pooling & clotting in our lower legs, constipation, hemorrhoids, and abdominal distention & bloating.  But now a recent clinical study published by the American Cancer Society states that long-term sitting even contributes to early-death & colon cancer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alcohol & it's Affect on Insulin & Dieting: Myths-BUSTED!

**NOT medical advice**
All these diet & holiday NAZI folks are chiming in telling you alcohol is going to make you FAT.  Guess what??  I'm here to tell you they're all full of CRAP!!  Tis the season to be MERRY!!
I'm going to discuss how alcohol is absorbed and metabolized, and used for energy in the body, (and why it does not make you fat!)  I’m going to dispel a few myths or common misbelieves, mostly pertaining to diet and weight loss, and our health.  I have no intention to discuss the many adverse effects on one’s motor skills from an aviation aspect or otherwise, or get into BAC levels or any kind of legal or ethical discussion.  I don’t want to bore you with such repetitiveness or present you with yet even more information bashing alcohol.  In fact much to the contrary, this article will cast a positive light on including moderate amounts of alcohol in your diet.  But this isn’t a result of me just presenting information from selective sources that you want to hear.  This is based on a broad review of many studies and resources, with no spin on my part.     
    Myth: Alcohol makes you fatter.  Excess calories make you fatter, period.  Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and can be used as an energy source by the body just like carbs, protein, and fat can, (4, 4, and 9 calories per gram respectively).  The only catch is that the body must burn the alcohol calories first, before it can move on to the other food you’ve eaten.  However, don’t forget to consider your mixer, or how dark your beer is, as this will add carbs/sugars and additional calories to your alcoholic beverage.  When you order that Margarita or Bloody Mary, you’re drinking a lot more than just alcohol.

Beverage Table
Serving Size in Ounces (Standard)
% Alcohol by Volume (About 10 to 15 grams)
Approx. Calories/Carbs
5 ounces
12.5 %
115 cals/4 g
12 ounces
4 to 5 %
130 cals/13 g
1.5 ounce (shot glass)
40 % (80-proof)
75 cals/0 g
** Some of the calories accounted for in this chart for beer and wine are from the additional carbs/sugars they contain.  This is a standard serving, but most of us usually drink more per serving.  Darker beers and micro-brews are higher in calories, from both higher alcohol and carb content.  Dry wine will have as little as 2 grams of sugar per serving**  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back to Basics: Assessing your Fitness Plan During the Holiday Season

     It can be brutal on your fitness or weightloss plan this time of year with all the holiday social engagements, decadant treats being brought into the work place & placed right in front of your face, cold & flu season, and being limited on outdoor physical activities due to inclement weather.  During times like these losing weight or training for a race or becoming leaner may be far-reaching, but you can at least hold steady ground on your progress so far.  Do this by auditing your self & your daily lifestyle routine right now!  Revisit & re-establish some basic, sensible guidelines as a reality check today!
     Just think about what your common sense and intuition tell you about the ideal habits of a healthy lifestyle.  If you were to jot down some of these ideals, they might read something like this, (In no particular order):
     -        Don’t skip breakfast, and include oats often.
-        Instead of eating 2 to 3 big meals, eat 5 to 6 smaller meals/snacks throughout the day.  Don’t ever starve, and don’t ever be full.  Keep the metabolism stoked and revved-up all day.
-        Don’t eat any later than 2 hours before bed time.
-        Minimize sugar and simple, refined carbs, and strive for whole-grain, complex carbs, and vegetables.  Simultaneously you will minimize and manage insulin, by avoiding such high-glycemic foods.
-        If you must eat sugar, have it during your pre or post-workout meal, to burn it for energy, or for muscle recovery respectively.
-        Balance your meals, by including protein foods and healthy, unsaturated fats along with carbohydrate portions.
-        Eat at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day.  Eating fresh, whole fruit, and trail mix is a tasty way to accomplish this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011