The Importance of Shape

You may think you know when you look in the mirror, or you may be too busy trying to cover up unshapely areas to really see yourself as you are. Do you know how much fat you’re carrying, compared to how much muscle? Do you know where you tend to gain weight–upper body, lower body or around the middle? Until you know the answers to these questions, you are not ready to make your personal plan for losing weight and keeping it off. Understanding your body is the first step to reaching your best personal shape. As someone who teaches both doctors and the public about obesity, I believe weight loss has been overemphasized and body shape underemphasized. You have probably read about the Body-Mass Index (BMI), which is a weight-to-height ratio. If your BMI is greater than 25, you are considered overweight, and if it is greater than 30 you are obese. This ratio has been a powerful way for scientists to document the obesity epidemic in this country and its effects on health and disease. However, when it comes to you as an individual, it can be misleading. A football player can be considered overweight on the BMI scale, but if the extra weight being carried is muscle, he is not really fat. A thin woman can have a normal BMI, yet still be over-fat. So shape counts.

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Shapes are personal and go beyond the usual apple and pear. Women can have three typical body shapes–upper body fat, lower body fat and both upper and lower body fat. Men usually only get upper body fat. The upper body stores fat in times of stress and some people can lose and gain weight rapidly in the upper body. The lower body fat in women responds to female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and stores fat for breastfeeding a newborn baby. Women who have both upper and lower body fat will lose their upper body fat first. Women with more upper body fat tend to have more muscle than women with lower body fat and will need more protein in their diet to help control their hunger. Losing weight is harder if you have lower body fat rather than upper body fat, but the medical benefits of losing your upper body fat are greater. Losing weight around your neck, face, chest and waist usually goes along with losing fat on the inside as well. So as you look better, you are also improving your health tremendously.

Finally, there are two more body shapes to consider: The shape you can change and the shape you can’t change. It is important to know the difference and work on the shape you can change, while adjusting your wardrobe and attitudes to the shape you cannot change. Due to low metabolism, many women with lower body fat can’t lose weight just by cutting calories. These lower body-fat cells are resistant to both exercise and diet. Only a personalized program can help make sure you get enough protein to control cravings and build or maintain lean muscle.

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YOUR GUIDE TO HEALTHY WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

AFFECTED AREAS

In general, women store body fat on their hips and thighs, while men and menopausal women tend to store fat around the abdomen.

However, genetic differences and hormone balance means that individuals can vary greatly in the areas where fat is stored on their body.

CAUSES

The causes of weight gain can be many, and vary greatly from person to person. Some common causes include:

  • Excess kilojoules from an unhealthy diet high in sugar, processed fats and processed foods
  • Excess kilojoules from sweetened beverages such as juice, soft drink and sports drinks
  • Excess kilojoules from alcohol
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • Stress / anxiety which triggers emotional eating, and / or reduces an individual’s motivation to be physically active

Other factors that can influence weight include some medications, genetics, hormonal imbalance, insomnia and menopause.

NATURAL THERAPIES

The causes of weight gain can be many, and vary greatly from person to person.

The Blackmores naturopaths can help provide personalised advice and support on the most appropriate natural therapies for your needs.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE

Just as poor diet and lifestyle choices can contribute to weight gain, a healthy diet and lifestyle can play a big part in helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Diet

  • Eat whole grain varieties of carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereal
  • Eat 2 portions of fruit every day
  • Eat 5 – 7 servings of vegetables each day
  • Aim for 1 – 2 meals each week that include fish and seafood
  • Include protein-rich foods with every meal such as lean meats, seafood, eggs or tofu
  • Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day, and have water instead of fruit juice, cordial or soft drinks
  • Moderate / minimise your alcohol intake, including at least 2 alcohol free days (and nights) each week
  • Eat a wide variety of different foods each day, and each week
  • Don’t cut out all fats. Include moderate amounts of plant fats such as avocado on a sandwich, nuts as a snack, or olive oil on a salad
  • Eat slowly to aid digestion, and prevent eating large portion sizes

Physical activity

  • Give yourself time when starting a new exercise program. Plan progressive increases in your duration, intensity and frequency over a few months
  • Aim for 3-5 30 minute cardiovascular workouts each week including activities which make you puff and utilise large muscle groups such as cycling, walking, jogging, paddling and swimming
  • As your fitness improves, include interval training at least 2-3 times a week, with short bursts of more intense effort
  • Include resistance training 2-3 times a week to strengthen your muscles, prevent injury and boost your athletic output
  • Exercise before breakfast when you can
  • Incorporate variety into your exercise program, constantly changing the activities, location and even people you exercise with
  • Once in a while, include a fun element to your exercise program, such as playing outdoor games with your children, bushwalking, bodysurfing, team sports or walking your dog
  • However you get moving- find an activity that you enjoy

Lifestyle

  • Prioritise getting enough sleep
  • Plan relaxing activities into your schedule
  • Manage your time well so you don’t feel too busy to exercise, or prepare a healthy meal
  • Use your weekends to be extra active and prepare healthy meals for the week ahead
  • Find an exercise buddy- enlist friends, family or work colleagues into your healthy lifestyle by training together, or swapping healthy recipes

IMPORTANT NOTES

See your doctor for a check-up before starting  a weight loss or new exercise program.

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Understanding Protein Supplements: A Comprehensive Guide

In developing countries, such as India, people are not as health conscious as in other developed parts of the world, primarily due to ignorance about the significance of healthy living. Though the number of health-conscious people resorting to health supplements is increasing by the day, not many are sure about the best-suited supplements to support their nutritional requirements. Adding to the complexity are the various manufacturers that claim to be offering  the ‘best protein supplement in India’, due to which many of us end up consuming inapt nutritional supplements.

Today, the market is flooded with countless health supplements – all featuring rather impossible-to-decipher jargons. To help, this post delves into some common types of protein supplements available in the market and their finer lines. Let’s begin.

Protein Supplements: Types  & Benefits

Whey Concentrate

Ideal for beginners, whey concentrate is a basic form of protein supplement, easily available in any store. Containing 70 to 85 percent protein, whey concentrate is ideal for those who wish to gain mass. This protein supplement is not only cost-effective , but also easy to process by the body. You can have whey concentrate both pre- and post-workout sessions.

Whey Isolates

It is the most expensive version of whey protein, due to high Biological Value (BV) and less fat and lactose content. Whey isolate is considered as the best source of protein with 90 to 95 percent of protein content. Isolates are great when taken pre and post workout, as they get quickly absorbed and supply the needed nutrients.

Whey Protein Blends

Whey protein blend is a batter of whey isolates and whey concentrates. These are also quite reasonably priced and among the most commonly used why protein supplements. Protein blends have 76 percent protein content and are well suited for beginners and professionals alike. It can also be used as a replacement for meals.

Whey Isolates

This supplement is particularly suitable for people who are on a low carb diet, as isolates are 90 percent pure protein and are the quickest to be absorbed in the blood stream. Athletes, bodybuilders and others can have whey isolates pre- and post-workout as they quickly supply nutrients to the muscles and help in muscle development and recovery.

Casein Protein

The source of protein in this supplement is glutamine known to enhance immune system. This protein supplement is ideal for those who want to consume protein supplement as a meal. It takes 5-7 hours to fully breakdown, during which, the body keeps absorbing and utilizing the protein. Therefore, they keep you energetic all day long.

Hydrolysate Protein

This is one of the most expensive and trending protein supplements.  Content wise, hydrolysate protein contains the highest quality of protein available. By consuming this supplement, you can actually sense an anabolic effect, i.e., high absorption rate of the protein. This supplement can also be taken both pre as well as post workout sessions.

Soy Protein

This is the most famous protein supplement among vegans. Though, not much popular among professional bodybuilders; this supplement comes with all basic nutrients such as glutamine, arginine and BCAA, and helps in muscle regeneration and development. Also known to dilate blood vessels, soya protein can be taken anytime.

Milk Protein Isolate

A mixture of casein and whey proteins, Milk protein isolate supplements contain amino acids similar to soya proteins. In milk protein isolate supplements, multiple sources of proteins are blended together. If, however, you are looking for a concentrated source of protein, this type of supplement may not be an appropriate choice.

Egg Albumin

When it comes to the sources of natural protein, egg white has no parallel. A favorite among bodybuilders, egg albumin supplements are prepared from egg white and do not contain amino acid. Though, it is unadvisable to take egg albumin supplements at night or before you go to bed, it can be consumed as snack in between meals.

Soy Protein Isolate

Soy protein isolate supplements are prepared by separating or isolating non-essential components of soybean. It has approximately 90-95 percent protein content and does not contain fat or carbohydrate. Though, it is considered a lower form of soy protein compared to other soy protein options, it suffices the need of people who have a busy lifestyle.

Goat Milk Protein

When it comes to bioavailability in protein supplements, then goat milk protein has no better replacement. Known to contain high concentration of BCAA, this supplement is also lactose free. Though most milk proteins are made from cow milk, goat milk protein has the most optimal balance of whey and milk protein, and has all the ‘essential’ amino acids.

Wheat Protein

If you are looking for an alternative for dairy- or egg-based protein supplements, wheat protein is an ideal option. It is a perfect supplement for those athletes and bodybuilders who stick to a vegan diet. This types of supplement has zero cholesterol and lactose content, though it is rich in glutamic acid.

Complete Milk Protein

Complete milk protein is the dried protein content of milk, which is produced after the removal of fat and carbohydrates. It is highly nutritious and contains high levels of minerals and proteins. In addition, complete milk protein supplements also contain calcium, whey and casein protein.

Pea Protein

Pea protein, similar to wheat protein, is a great option for vegans. Pea protein is 100 percent gluten, lactose and cholesterol free. The supplement has high amino acid content and it is very easy to digest, which is one of the reasons it is often recommended to beginners as well.

Differentiating Factors

Taste Options

Protein supplements are available in numerous taste options, with vanilla and chocolate being the most preferred choices. Here, it is important to mention that when it comes to buying any protein supplement, make sure that the one you select consists of minimal added flavors, as more often than not, the added flavors are nothing but crystallized sugar.

Cost

Protein supplement powders generally range from 2000 to 5000 INR. Nonetheless, you can also get these supplements at a lower price by availing the discounts offered by both online and physical stores. Among other options, you can realize substantial savings by signing up with any reputable supplement e-store or by using any of the various discount codes available  online, discoverable using any web search engine.

Conclusion

In a country such as India, where people often suffer from protein deficiency, it is necessary to spread awareness regarding the need of protein supplements. In the healthcare market, there is an exhaustive variety of protein supplements, with almost all claiming to be the “best protein supplement in India”. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a dietitian before adding any protein supplement in your daily dietary intake.