Friday, January 13, 2012

Easy Weight Loss

It’s the weekend and I must first apologize if the title to this posting set your heart aflutter. The truth of the matter is; easy weight loss is a myth. Sorry…
Unfortunately, many diet and weight loss gimmicks have preyed upon the American obsession with thinness. It is the very promise of FAST results that has spawned a grand multibillion dollar industry and a plethora of fat-fighting strategies. The question is, “Do they work?”
Well, yes…, and, well, no.

Take for example, Liposuction. It is the process of suctioning fat out of specific areas of the body. This procedure requires tubes to be inserted in half-inch long incisions in areas such as the thighs, buttocks, upper arms, abdomen or hips, in order to “vacuum” out the fat cells.

It’s a brutal procedure leaving the patient bruised, sore and in support bandages upwards of six weeks after surgery, and contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not recommended for obese individuals. In fact, many doctors require that their patients be regular exercisers and usually not over the age of 35 (skin must be resilient) before undergoing liposuction.

Although this method of fat loss has immediate results, be aware that if proper eating and exercise habits are not used in conjunction with liposuction, the remaining fat cells will enlarge to replace those suctioned out.

Liquid meal replacement programs are another “quick fix” for weight loss. Available as both physician-supervised (Optifast, Medifast, etc.) and over-the-counter (Slimfast, etc.) programs, these high protein drinks do bring about rapid weight loss, but statistics suggest that subsequent weight gain is inevitable, often in amounts greater than what was lost.

Theoretically, an individual drinking two or three shakes (at about 200- 600 calories per drink) and eating one balanced meal a day would lose weight. However, liquid diets are also associated with certain health risks including possible loss of body protein and potassium, gastrointestinal discomfort and possible heart damage.

If I had to give a recommendation for quick weight loss solution, I would choose any of our surpluses of retail prepackaged food stores (like Perfect-Fit, TruMeals or My Fit Foods).

The only downsides I can see is sometimes a lackluster taste and high cost, these meals are usually nutritionally balanced & very convenient. Hey, if you were going to go to the “Golden Arches” for lunch anyway, why not opt for something better?

The problem with using prepackaged meals is that it can fail to educate you on nutritional skill-building thereby fostering dependence rather than independence around making healthy food choices. As a result, you may often find yourself at a loss when you try to live in the real world of multiple food choices next time you’re dining out with friends….

In any case, the best way to lose weight is to personal responsibility. If you need help, get it! In fact, that’s exactly what I’m here for. Just remember that YOU are ultimately responsible for taking the actions required for treating your body with care and respect. Don’t let media control your actions. Eat well, and you will live well; timelessly….


That said – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,

cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Facts on Fiber

For today’s post, I thought I would make it short and present a bit of information on dietary fiber. Media and marketers have been beating the drum on this component of nutrition, but when I ask some of my clients what they know about fiber, the response I most frequently receive is a blank stare.

Lucky for us, it’s not too complicated. So, here we go…
First: fiber has two forms - soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is absorbed in the large intestine where it slows the movement of food and allows organ plenty of time for the absorption of nutrients. As a result, fiber can also help in avoiding drastic swings in blood sugar. Its primary sources are fruits, vegetables, legumes and oat bran.
Insoluble fiber (aka., “roughage”) is what most people think of when they think or fiber. In any case, insoluble fiber absorbs water during digestion, creating a “fuller” feeling and thereby increasing fecal bulk and speeding its move­ment through the digestive tract. Sounds a bit vulgar, but there’s a good side: It helps prevent constipation and is believed to prevent colon cancer.

It is also this feeling of satiety or fullness that allows fiber to help curb appetite. Although the average American eats 10 to 20 grams of fiber a day, the recommended level is relatively higher; 25 to 35 grams a day.
But before you decide to go out and aggressively pile on the dietary fiber to compensate for your previous short-comings, I suggest you increase you intake of fiber gradually in order to avoid possible intestinal discomfort and embarrassment.

That said – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Should You Take Supplements?

Often I am asked about supplements and their role in a healthy diet. My take is that while vitamins and minerals are essential to life, the human body cannot self sustain this requirement. Therefore, it is imperative that we eat a well-rounded, low fat diet in order to obtain an adequate variety and supply.

Unfortunately, Americans have become infatuated with supplementation. Mega-dosing has become a common practice for both athletes trying to improve their performances and the “average Jane or Joe” trying to compensate for inadequate nutrition.

Research indicates supplementation is ineffective in improving athletic performance in a well-nourished adult. That’s to say if you are eating well, taking additional doses of supplements won’t give you an edge.

In fact, excessive amounts of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) may prove toxic since they are stored in the body and not easily excreted. Even some water soluble supplements such as vitamin B-12 have been shown to cause toxicity in mega-doses.

While most individuals don’t “need” diet supplements, women are an exception when it comes to iron and calcium. To counter the loss of bone density associated with osteoporosis, women are encouraged to meet the RDA of 1,000 mgs. Further research suggests that youths and pregnant, lactating and postmenopausal women need 1,500 mgs a day.

While some women reduce their consumption of dairy products to avoid fat, they also decrease their chances of getting the calcium they need by this omission. Iron Deficient Anemia is another concern for active women because they lose iron through sweat and the menstrual cycle.  In these cases, supplementation may be helpful.

Experts agree that eating a healthy diet is best. Combining this with an inexpensive once-a-day multiple vitamin & mineral supplement is more than adequate insurance for getting your recommended daily allowances.

However, if you're unsure of your nutritional needs, seek the advice of your doctor, registered dietitian or pharmacist.

And always – Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal


The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tips on Eating Out

I hope that you had an excellent new year celebration and that you are ready for a great new year. I know that I am!

While I discourage New Year’s Resolutions, I still indirectly get asked for advice on how to make them stick. For example, a person I met said their New Year's resolution was to start eating better at work. She vowed to no longer visiting the doughnut box in the break room or pig out at any of the company birthday parties. Yet she still needed to entertain clients and liked eating out with coworkers every now and again. Did I know what she could do to eat healthy at restaurants?

My advice was to try eating a few walnuts (about 6-8) or a small fistful of almonds (about 12-15) before leaving for the restaurant. The idea is to not arrive in starvation mode. In fact, eating a little healthy fat before a meal will trigger a chain reaction that will slow the rate at which your stomach empties.

The end result is a satiated feeling, but unfortunately it takes the brain up to 30 minutes to register that sensation. That's why I suggest starting with this tiny snack before heading out.

Once there, drink a full glass of water upon arriving. This, and eating the nuts, helps fill you up faster so that you are able to make healthier choices and don't over eat.
Also, instead of bread or fried chips and salsa, ask for some cut up veggies. Veggies are nutrient dense and that means you get more benefit out of the calories you actually do consume.

Speaking of veggies, I'm shocked by the lunchtime misconception that salads are a low fat meal. While they can be, the truth is often quite the contrary. Relying on the kitchen to prepare and dress your salad can result in as many as 500 calories added to your meal. Restaurants are notorious for overuse of dressing. Instead, order oil and vinegar on the side and go a little heavier on the vinegar. I
season my salad with a few squeezes of lemon and pepper.

Finally: desert time. If you must indulge, get in the mind set of sharing! In fact the more people sharing that desert guarantees you will consume fewer calories. However, my favorite way of ending a meal is savoring a fine glass of red wine.
There are numerous studies suggesting the benefits of red wine but remember to limit your wine consumption to no more than 5 ounces (if you are a woman) and 10 ounces (if you are a man). Research suggests that over consumption of alcohol results in a diminishing rate of return on its health benefits.

So, these are my recommendations but they are the recommendations I would suggest regardless of the time of year. Focusing on making better food choices is something that should be made everyday, without a “Resolution.”

As always - Enjoy Your Life,

John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Golden Hours

Happy New Year!
I hope this 2012 year is your best yet, and I pledge to do all I can to help you make it so!

As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning on the first day of the New Year, I remember my father. He’s an early riser, too.
I remember him telling me one morning that the reason he loved mornings was because it was his time to see the world “untouched” by the rest of us. It made him feel like the world was his alone.

For me this is the “Golden Hour” because it sets the tone for whatever follows. It allows you to take care of yourself first thereby setting you up for a happier day.

What can you do with this time? Well, here are a few ideas that I think will work:
Read: Most accomplished people took the time to “feed” their mind a diet of positive, uplifting and educational materials that moved them forward through their day and gave them inspiration for new ideas, goals and insight on life.
Exercise: Take a walk. It circulates your blood, strengthens your heart, removes residual stress and simultaneously allows you to plan your day.
Plan: Change does not happen by itself; it takes effort. Having a routine of un-interrupted time in which to plan your day and determine the steps that lead you to positive change is a must.

Visualize: Close your eyes, relax, smile, and see your life for what it is: a joy. Take time to sit and be grateful for what you have and enjoy all the gifts that encompass your life.
The key is to develop an attitude of unshakable confidence in yourself and in your ability to reach your goals until you finally reach the point where you are absolutely convinced that nothing can stop you from achieving ANY success – whether it be weight-loss, gaining physical health & strength or building a secure and happy life.

Remember: everything counts. No efforts are ever lost. Extraordinary accomplishment is nothing more than the result of thousands of plain, ordinary accomplishments that no one recognizes or appreciates. The greatest challenge for you is to focus single-mindedly on your goal. And the best time to do that is at the beginning of every day.

As always - Enjoy Life,

John Aaron Villarreal
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.