The Joulebody Cleanse

I’ve ALWAYS dreaded the idea of fasting. It’s only every really come up for me in terms of religious holidays and the occasional surgery or blood work. Lately, I’ve started to warm to idea of fasting, after trying some different cleanses. I’ve noticed that after the dread wears off, and you start to get in the right mindset, they can actually be energizing. So, it only makes sense the next step is exploring the intermittent fasts/intermittent caloric restriction diet programs I keep hearing more and more positive things about.

This most recent write up in the Wall Street Journal, “Short Fasts for Weight Loss vs. Traditional Diets” posits that following a strict diet for just two days a week, instead of constantly calorie counting, is a far more effective way of losing weight. There also seem to be some other health benefits, such as better brain functioning and retention of muscle mass. There’s also growing research on how this type of diet can potentially prevent breast cancer.

A fast is considered 500-650 calories per day, a couple of times per week. The other days you eat as you normally would. Once you get past the “crankies”, you fall into a rhythm (?) and it becomes more or less effortless.

I’m thinking I will give this fasting a try, a la Dr. Gregory House, who was known for using himself as a guinea pig. Incidentally, the show “House” featured a nutritionist on Season 3, but, I digress…

I will post updates when I finally settle into trying this new diet plan. One caveat though, if this is indeed the way to lasting weight loss and improved health, then I will be forced to re-examine my “traditional” clinical nutrition education.

Have you every tried one of these intermittent fasts? Thumbs up or down? Let me know…

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Selfie Throwdown

Selfie Throwdown

The answer is, of course they can! According to Lisa Young, PhD, RD , taking photos of yourself as you embark on a weight loss journey can be an integral part of monitoring your progress.

I, personally, have been involved in a few weight loss contests in my time and we definitely made use of weekly photos (front and back) as a way to track changes in our physiques as the numbers ticked down on the scale. In fact, I am about to embark on another weight loss contest with at least one like-minded individual (JZ I’m talking to you).

Stay tuned to FashionablyHealthy for updates and for more info on the Selfie weight loss tips, check out the Women’s Health article, “Can Selfies Help You Lose Weight?”

Original description - :Cartoon representation...

Cartoon representation of ubiquitin protein

A recent article in the FASEB Journal, “Short-term energy deficits increase factors related to muscle degradation, confirms what those in the know have been saying for a long time…

…just cutting calories to lose weight isn’t ideal for your body aesthetically OR biologically. A certain percentage of both fat and muscle are lost during the weight loss process.

The good news is that it is possible to offset this effect by consuming a sufficient amount of dietary protein to replenish protein stores during weight loss. According to the article,

Protein consumption slows the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), which is primarily responsible for degrading skeletal muscle.

UPS may also be involved in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome. cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. UPS specifically degrades proteins tagged with an ubiquitin chain.

The study proposes that at least 2-3 times the IOM’s RDA for protein may be the sweet spot for offsetting this catabolic response. More research is needed though before any definitive recommendations can be determined.

I’d always heard that if you forfeited wearing sweaters and coats during the winter months, you would actually burn more calories, presumably to stay warm. Of course, this is not such great weight loss advice, on account of the possibility that you might compromise your immune system, not to mention risk some frost bite.

There seems to be more to the story though. An article in Wednesday’s New York Times discusses the possibility of a type of body fat, known as brown fat, that is actually metabolically active.

Nearly every adult has little blobs of brown fat that can burn huge numbers of calories when activated by the cold, as when sitting in a chilly room that is between 61 and 66 degrees.

Though more commonly found in infants, it seems adults do tend to have some of this brown fat in the upper back, side of the neck, the crevice between one’s collarbone and shoulder and also throughout the spine.

So brown fat can be activated by cold, but, it is also possibly activated by neurotransmitters, and this may ulitmately be the key as researchers try to develop a drug that will be able to safely stimulate brown fat, and eventually help with weight loss.