Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Weight Loss”

Metabolism, Weight Loss, and Muscle Growth

Workout here. Play out there.

I recently received an email from a prospective client who is interested in making some big changes to his physique.  To paraphrase, this fellow is wanting to lose a large amount of weight (50+ pounds) while building muscle at the same time.  He also recently had his resting metabolic rate (RMR) measured (a service we offer at Gold’s Gym using indirect calorimetry) and would like to boost his RMR by 600 calories.  His question to me was whether I could help him reach those goals through a carefully crafted meal plan.  Here is my reply for your viewing pleasure!  (Some details have been changed to protect the innocent…)

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Making the Most of your Calories: Protein

Stroll down the diet and health aisle of your local bookstore (if you still have one) and you’ll see a myriad of diet books that each claim to hold the secret of getting thin and staying that way.  While high-protein diets are nothing new, the Atkins Diet really brought them back into the public eye after a long spell of low-fat plans.  Due to the huge popularity of Atkins, other high-protein/low-carb diets seemed to sprout up overnight.  All claimed that carbs made you fat and protein was the answer to your weight woes.  These diets did vary to some degree and offered up varying nutrient percentages.  While some eliminated entire food groups, others made more sensible recommendations.  But are high-protein diets really the way to go?  Just how much should you be eating?

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Making the Most out of Your Calorie Budget: Carbohydrates

You’ve figured out how many calories you need for whatever your goal may be–now what?  Though staying ‘on budget’ is the bottom line when it comes to your weight, how you choose to spend those calories will have a huge impact on what kind of weight you’re losing (or gaining), your ability to stick with your plan over the long haul, and–of course–your health.  In this post, I’ll discuss carbohydrates and the vital role they play in any diet plan.

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The Calorie Budget

Your weight is a balance between the calories you eat and the calories you burn, yes?  (Here’s a previous post on the topic, if you’re interested.)  So let’s talk a bit more about how to put a calorie plan into action.

First, you must figure out just how many calories you need.  The easiest way to do this (outside of indirect calorimetry), is to use a research-validated equation, such as the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation which accurately predicts resting energy expenditure within 10%.  Here is a handy link that allows you to enter your personal information; the site then inputs that info into the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation and does all the number crunching for you.  A more labor intensive approach would be to carefully measure and record your food intake for a couple weeks, using an online food journal like SparkPeople.  Assuming your weight has been stable, you can use the calorie information from this food journaling to determine your average intake and–voila!–discover how many calories you need on a daily basis for weight maintenance.

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Change for Good

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak at a local business as part of a wellness program for their employees. I’ll be talking about eating habits worth changing, effective goal setting, and staying motivated through the ups and downs.  I thought you just might enjoy taking a gander at the handout I’ll be leaving them with…so here it is!

Want to make some big changes in your life?  While motivation and determination will carry you a long way, a solid plan will ensure you reach your goal.  Therefore, as you ponder the possibility of a new you, consider the following tactics; whether you’re hoping to shed weight, get fit, or quit smoking, these strategies will help you set your course, steer you past obstacles, and push you across that finish line.

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Easy Swaps on the Run

Let’s be real.  It is hard to lose weight if you’re eating out very often.  Greasy burgers and fries will bounce that calorie budget before you’ve even had the chance to lick the salt from your fingers.  That said, sometimes you find yourself staring down a drive-thru menu and hoping for the best.   Here are a few easy swaps that will help you stay on track.

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Detox much?

Lose 20 pounds in 20 days!  Cleanse your colon and flatten your tummy! Eliminate toxins and regain your health!

Detox diets promise big results in a matter of days, but how do they really measure up?

Detox (short for detoxification) diets are touted as having all sorts of health benefits, ranging from rapid weight loss to cancer prevention (or cure!).  Just visit any detox website and you’ll read all sorts of personal testimonials that seem too good to be true.  Celebrities have used them to drop pounds for movie roles and even Dr. Oz has gotten on the bandwagon.

The premise is that our typical diets and environments are laden with ‘toxins’ that our bodies cannot process or eliminate on their own.  To kick these nasties, we must purge them with (insert detox regimen).  Once ‘detoxified,’ our bodies will purportedly function at a higher level, sending our metabolism into high gear.

Detox diets can vary widely in their recommendations.  Most involve literal fasting (if not starvation), while some allow for a small, select menu of foods.  The majority of these plans are very low in calories (sometimes as little as a few hundred calories per day) and are extremely restrictive.  Many include special formulations or drinks that are meant to expedite or enhance the body’s natural flushing and filtering processes and may include use of laxatives and/or enemas. Plans typically last a couple days up to a couple weeks.

But is there evidence to support these claims?  Will drinking a maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper concoction truly cleanse your system and promote health?  And, most importantly, are they safe?

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What’ll ya have?

So a guy is trying to lose weight and is looking for ways to cut calories.  While he doesn’t want to give up alcohol completely, he knows his weekend six-pack isn’t doing his gut any favors.  The solution?  He switches to liquor because beer, as everyone knows, is sky-high in calories because of all the carbs.  Problem solved! 

Sound familiar?  Over the years, I have heard this one over and over again.  In an effort to lose weight, dieters switch from ‘fattening’ beer to wine or hard alcohol, believing the latter options are more diet-friendly.  But are they?

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Taking Inventory

Let’s say you want to make some changes to the way you eat.  Perhaps your doctor is threatening meds for that unchecked cholesterol.  Or you’ve finally resolved to deal with that leftover baby weight.  Maybe you’d like to actually finish that race you signed up for.  Whatever the reason, changing your eating habits can be both challenging and overwhelming.  How do you even begin to tackle such a feat–especially if it really involves some lifestyle overhaul?

You’ve got to start with where you’re standing…and how did you get here?  Your eating habits are very much intertwined with every other aspect of your life, including your upbringing.  Nothing occurs in a void.  While you could definitely print off some meal plan and dive right in, odds have it you won’t last long and worse, you’ll almost assuredly regain every pound you lost and then some.  So instead of adopting some temporary means to a temporary end, why not do a little prep work and change for good?

Where is your starting line?

Coconut Oil

A close friend recently asked for my take on coconut oil.  It seems like coconuts have been all the rage lately, particularly coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut oil.  But what’s so special about coconuts?  Is this just a bunch of baseless hype?  Or is coconut oil a worthy addition to your grocery list?

Let’s start with a quick break-down.

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