Candace's Favorite Things

Friday, April 26, 2013

DISH’IN NUTRITION: "Dieting With 'HCG’ Shots - SAY WHAT"?

I recently got my wrist slapped by NBC.
Down south, it’d more aptly be categorized as a Good old Fashioned “Talk’in To”. Why? The answer to that is a bit of a knee slapper.

You know, when I 'hear' myself starting an article with statements like " knee slapper" or "good old fashioned Talk'in to" , well ya'll....(see, there it is again), I'm often struck with an overwhelming need - oh how shall I put it...the need to 'splain' myself . Ok, now that was funny - I HOPE!
I realize I’ve mentioned this briefly before , but apparently I feel the need to 'expand upon my explanation', (not exactly poetic, but I think you get my drift) .
It starts with the fact that I was born in California, though raised in New York.
However, the truly interesting part is that while I was raised in upstate NY, (about as far away from 'Southern influence and terminology as one can get), I wasn't far removed from it AT ALL!
While I may have grown up in NY, I was raised there by parents who hailed from Smithville , Oklahoma (a township so small that my Grand Father literally wore the hat of school teacher, Church pastor… AND… wait for it - MAYOR )!
If I'm ly'in - I'm dy'in (and THERE 'IT' is again).....but you just can’t make this stuff up.
My mother is from the thriving metropolis of Saluda , South Carolina . Saluda is the home of one “Piggly Wiggly” grocery store. It’s not only culturally colorful, but it’s also the only grocery store in town! Not too long ago, excitement swept through the tiny town when a Burger King was recently added to the short list of dining options within the city limits.
My cross-cultural upbringing also goes farther than skin deep. It also makes for interesting blood lines - I'm part French, British and Cherokee and to that I feel the need to shout out a big, Boy Howdy!
As a kid, I visited these digs during summer vacations and the truth is..I LOVED ‘EM and still do.
I mean give me a trip to Beaver Creek Dam on a hot summer day back in Oklahoma. and I'm a happy camper. All you need there for a day of fun in the sun is a large fluffy towel, a big bar of Ivory Soap ( it's large, it's white, and it floats ...making it easy to spot when bathing in the great outdoors), and a fishing pole to catch dinner before heading home!
The closest I've gotten to bathing in the great outdoors since, is when I'm home in Hawaii and take the opportunity for a shower outside at the Four Season's private lush -- - plush "Lava Rock Gardens" . No Ivory soap required!!
However – the truth still remains...I happen to like them both. But when push comes to shove... I'll take the Four Seasons every time.
So, being born on the Golden Coast and raised in New York by folks who would see a storm approaching and proudly proclaim "Hey kids, looks like it's coming... a frog strangler and a toad chocker” often made for what can only be described as a confusing, cultural conundrum for everyone involved .
I mean seriously, try explaining to your peers, a bunch of NY born and raised middle schoolers, what "frog strangling and toad choking" have to do with anything involving a thunderstorm and you have a slight glimpse into my adolescence - "can anyone say AWKWARD "?
So I like to refer to myself as a “Rupee” . I don't suggest trying to Google that one. You’re search bar will throw it right back!
However, I rather like the term.
It's what I've come up - after years of not quite feeling like I fit the cultural norm in many situations or surroundings and yet, also...never feeling as though I had to!
But even though while growing up...I may have noticed I was a bit different than those around me, I ALWAYS felt quite confident in who I was - you know, not feeling the NEED to 'fit in'.
Obviously that kind of self confidence at such a young age must have a good deal to do with some hard work on the part of my parents. The one thing I remember is that my dad was always working to instill in me a Good, Godly Dose of Self Worth!
Looking back on it now, neither as an adolescent nor as a young woman, did I ever feel as though I was quite the same as the rest of the crowd I was with, but I never really felt like I HAD TO BE...bravo dad, BRAVO!
SO in my terms......A 'Rupee' is a bonefied cross between a Red Neck (actually, a very CLASSY community, of which I feel proud to be a part, by birth right of my parents) and a Yuppie (Not always as classy at times, in my humble opinion...but it is what it is!) So I've been a bit , oh ...shall we say culturally confused at times", but confident in whom I am still the same.
In short, I like to sum it up like this; I still want to go fishing, but I want to drive my Mercedes to the fishing hole. Which by the way, I have done so and from time to time.... I still DO!
Now that I’ve fully explained the origin of my own colorful mixture of speech -frequently engaging the use of words like “Ya’ll”, and phrases such as “Boy Howdy, Dad Gum it and Knee slapper”, let me return to the original purpose of this article; How I got myself in a bit of a pickle on the news set a few weeks back.
It was my usual early Saturday morning segment and this one (as often is my custom), was to be an interview with one of the anchors about a topic I had told my producer I was going to discuss about dangerous new diet fads.
I sat in my usual spot at the news desk (with my belly button directly lined up with the black X on the side of the desk - little known tv secrets). After my sound check, I turned my attention to and chatted with the anchor about my topic for the day. As usual, we grabbed about a 60 second strategy for our conversation (live TV isn't scripted) and prepared for our countdown to air. Everything was as usual with ‘said’ NBC affiliate and I THOUGHT I was prepared - to do my thing on the air - just the same as I have been doing so for over ten years now.
Which station is that again? Nice try. Not today.
I don’t particularly like a sharp switch to the behind, so I’m not going there in this post AS I AM BACK ON THE AIR AGAIN THIS WEEKEND! If you’ve watched my TV Spots, YOU KNOW!
My objective was to bring to light, a new fad diet that had my antenna raised - and not in a good way. In fact, this one gave me a very uneasy feeling in my gut.
I have reason to feel this way. Most every health care/ fitness professional I know is having the same reaction. In short, it’s ANOTHER new crazy diet but more Radical than most and therefore, potentially more dangerous.
This diet.... this 'program' only allows you eat a total of 500 calories per day. Yep, 500…no matter what!
Without mincing words, why not just call it what it is - slow, tedious STARVATION!
I mean, this type of severe caloric restriction will most definitely create an overwhelming amount of weight loss - DANGEROUSLY RAPID weight loss.
Unfortunately, crash dieting isn't anything new.
People have been trying to lose weight by eating near to nothing for years in an attempt to get it off and get it off FAST. Of course, weight loss that comes off that fast is about 98% certain to come RIGHT BACK ON!
SO what's different about this new Fad Program?
Glad you asked.
Every heard of the hormone HCG ?
It's often referred to as the pregnancy hormone.
HGC or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (try saying that fast three times), is found in the urine of Pregnant Women.
HCG shots are also commonly given to stimulate ovulation in women who ovulate infrequently or not at all when trying to boost the opportunity for pregnancy.
Interestingly enough - in males, HCG shots can be used to stimulate or enhance the production of testosterone.
Well, with this latest, craziest, particular new diet disaster, not only is caloric intake kept to that dangerously low 500 mark, but shots of HCG are introduced in an attempt stimulate the pituitary gland.
British Dr. Simeon's uses this dubious combination trying to reproduce some studies where HCG shots given to India women and overweight boys appeared to create a reduction in body fat.
THE FDA doesn't agree with this madness either and has issued a definitive statement; "The use of the HCG hormone as a weight loss tool is both ineffective and dangerous".
Is that clear enough for ya?
SO then, what was my crime?
Well, I slipped up and divulged the source from which I gathered this disturbing information. I mentioned that I was a bit unsettled that Dr. OZ (that’s right...I can say it here), had put this on his show. He said he was going to follow this research with great interest. I find that extremely irresponsible.
Apparently, he's also on NBC. Something I did not realize at the time.
I usually do my homework better than that. It was an oops and a pretty big one at that.
What I did, you AREN'T SUPPOSED TO DO!
You aren't supposed to throw into question the motives of a show on the same network as YOURS! Like I said, "OOPS"!
I quickly wrote a note to my producer and she responded in kind.
I have worked with this woman for a long time now and I trust and admire her and her work. Se sent me a response, short and to the point. It simply said "Don't Do That AGAIN… THANKS”! It's the first time I've slipped up in this manner, so I've been issued a pass. Wheeew!!!!
I vowed I wouldn't and I won't. But I also vow that I will keep shooting down myths, snake oil salesmen and dangerous diet and exercise fads.
I consider that a part of my job, and so do they - I just have to be careful how I present it. BUT THIS BLOG IS MINE!
SO I told you here.
While I am a fan of that brilliant man, I am VERY concerned and confused as to WHAT IN "THE SAM  #*/%#*  ", that was about. That's all I'm going to say about it. I'm done.
Always remember, anything that sounds too good to be true, scary or just a little off kilter ...ALMOST ALWAYS IS!
And if by chance you're not sure...check here, I'll tell you the truth.
Unfortunately, it's always about the same old thing - ridiculous attempts to avoid the obvious. The truth is with TIME and hard work your goals will be met. Safe, lasting, and effective weight loss will come with the true grit it takes to set your sites on moving more, eating less and the determination to accept a serious lifestyle change. Nothing less than a steadfast commitment to do so - will get the job done!
Anything else is SNAKE OIL, so don't drink it!

Until Next time...
(if you enjoy this blog please join as a follower)

Candace Grasso
CEO and Founder
Fit Is It, Inc.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THIS WEEK'S DISH'IN NUTRITION: "Nutrition Map - Destination Weight Loss"!

Quite often during my nutrition consultations, I find myself taken aback by the amount of information that my clients have already assimilated about nutrition and weight loss. This is apparently information they feel they need to share with a means to apparently 'educate' me about their awesome new discoveries(as if I hadn't heard about them already and shuddered). 

In short order however, I find that I become more horrified than interested. Yet I can usually get myself to sit on my hands, bite my cheek and patiently listen with a smile - for a while anyway.
 Truth be told, I get down right agitated after realizing that MOST, if not ALL of the information they've gathered over the years is just plain WRONG! In fact, it's often what I call "scary wrong". 

What's even more bizarre, is that while they go on and on into minute details of the new book they've just read, waxing eloquent about how "This Way of Eating" or "That new Program" is the way that will finally work best for them, it's painfully obvious that it hasn't yet! 

Let's face it...if "THIS NEW WAY" was the "MISSING LINK TO WEIGHT LOSS" we've all been waiting for - why have they just hired me to help them achieve their weight loss goals? I tell you, it's Insanity!!

Much of my time is spent during about a third of my first Nutrition appointments, deprogramming the brain washed and healing the blind to the truth about what will and what won't do the trick. 
SO, this article anyway, I refuse to rehash or open any 'new hash' about bogus programs and products out there that supposedly will run you right past the old "lower your caloric intake and move more" theory, and rocket you right into the idiotic ideology of, "eat what you want and relax and the weight will just fall right off ya" zone.

Hey, if you're dying to read about that, just run through my archives. I've taken on the best of them there.

 Today however, I'm going to walk away from giving any new weight loss fads even the slightest nod of attention. Even if it's by way of rebuttal. 

Instead let me show you how easy it is for you to create your own, customized "Nutrition Map/ Guide" for successful and lasting Weight loss. Using the internet, a food journal and a scale.

If by chance you are getting prepared to join my "FINALLY FIT IN FEBRUARY" Facebook Challenge - this is how you are to create your customized Eating plan for the totality of that Challenge and may I suggest after as well. Or until you reach your goals and then....simply modify your numbers and maintain.  

Everyone can do this. It's simple to create and it WILL WORK! 
Actually, with the use of the internet now days, by showing you how to do this...... I might just be working myself out of a job ( nutritionally speaking anyway)!  
                                           - HERE ARE YOUR DIRECTIONS... ENJOY -   
1)Go to either the MyPlate APP (by Live Strong ...yes I know, I know, but the Live Strong programs are amazing - enough said) or try the 'Lose it' APP - THEY ARE BOTH GREAT- (If you have already found one you like, YOU MAY USE IT... if it does what I describe below).

2) Follow the APP'S instructions and enter all your info. Make sure that for now, or at least through the month of  February (if not thereafter as well), to enter that you desire to lose 2 pounds a week.

3) Their system's will calculate and  print out the number of calories that you'll need to eat to achieve the goal you entered  at the rate of 2 pounds down per week. This is your "Daily Caloric Allotment" or the amount of calories you are to eat each day for now anyway - in order to achieve your goals. Each day when you reach this number of calories, well You're DONE  and "THAT's ALL FOLKS" (as Porky Pig would say)! 

4) Journal your food. Other wise, how are you going to know what you're eating!

5) Last - WEIGH! Yep. If you are taking the February Challenge, you will weigh Friday, February First and from there, every Monday and Friday throughout the month. If you're not doing the challenge, I suggest you do the same. It's easy to fool yourself that you're staying on track an towing the line, if you don't have to face the scale! So get used to getting on it and record your results. If it's not going down...well, you KNOW WHY!

Now, there are many ways to divide up and consume these calories throughout the day. Below is a Template so to speak. A Map To Follow if you'd like. It's safe, sound an will help to keep you full longer than just taking a blind stab at what, where and when to consume those calories. 
SO, my Suggestion is that you divide it up like this....

 Daily Caloric Intake Template;

Breakfast = 1 protein - 1 fruit - 1 starch

Lunch = 1 protein - 1 fruit - 1 vegetable 

Dinner =  1 protein - 1 fruit - 1 starch - 2 vegetables  

Snacks:  I do suggest trying to snack a bit. 
Try one or two between meals. They are a Great idea -  just as long as they don't exceed your daily caloric intake as determined by the "My Plate" or "Lose It" APPS! My suggested snack pattern or map is below. choose one of the three listed for your mid morning snack and another combination for your mid afternoon snack. Try snacking by combining food groups as follows:

1 protein w/1 vegetable 
1 protein w/1 starch 
- or - 
1 protein w/1 fruit

When it comes to fruits, starches and vegetables, these are ALL forms of CARBOHYDRATES! Yes, even a leaf of lettuce is!  You need a greater percentage of complex carbohydrates then you need protein in your diet each day. The more active you are, the higher the percentage of complex carbohydrates you will need. But protein is important too. We just need less of it. Contrary to any fad diet out there that may have told you otherwise!! 

However, as you will notice above. I always eat (as my clients do also), at least one or more complex carbohydrates at each FULL MEAL...accompanied by a single protein source. This way you will have lots of energy and with protein taking longer to digest, you will stay full longer. 
Remember though - to lose body fat you will have to find yourself at times, being comfortable with being a bit hungry. It's just the way it works. Not starving, just hungry. This may be quite contrary to what  many of those "Pie in the Sky" Programs are touting, but that's why they don't work and yes, I'll take that statement with me to the grave. It's the scientific truth. We don't have to like it, but we'll have to obey it if we want to succeed! You Choose! 

In case you aren't familiar with what constitutes a protein source, a starch, a fruit or a vegetable, check it out;

Proteins - Protein sources are made up of  dairy products, eggs (I suggest 4 egg whites as 1 protein - but a couple of yolks a week are OK, just remember one egg is 75 calories with fat involved and yes, great nutrients. One egg white has only 18 calories, nutrients and NO decide) , and all animal  products such as chicken, fish, ham and meats- period. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOW TO NO FAT VERSIONS OF THESE PRODUCTS . That's easy enough to find now days, especially in the dairy department for sure.  

Starches- Starches (Which literally means starchy carbohydrates as explained above), includes all products made from wheat and other grains -  meaning all breads, dry cereals, cooked cereals, pastas, rice, potatoes and other starch based vegetables such as corn. etc.

Vegetables - Vegetables are just that...vegetables! They are made up of  mainly carbohydrates sources, but remember for the purposes of this weight loss map, while potatoes and corn are vegetables, they will best fit into the starch category as they contain a large portion of such.  - and last - 

 Fruits - Fruits are again, just that. FRUITS. You know what they are - apples, oranges, grapes, melons, grapefruit, all berries etc.

The last piece of the puzzle - 
 What does (1)  mean of each of the food groups listed on the Food Map and how many calories does that contain? Well, (1) literally means one single serving size and the calories are the calories contained in that amount of the food group you are choosing.
On packages, read the back and read carefully. You may be surprised that that the favorite cereal you load  in your bowl each morning, actually has a suggested serving size of  only 1/3rd of a cup...OOPS! EXACTLY! 
It's been said that if we all at the intended serving sizes of all of our foods and moved a good bit, we'd all be in great shape! But heaven knows, in this country especially, we don't!!! 
SO, you will have to familiarize yourself with the serving size intended for each food you choose to use and the calories contained in it. 
But what if it doesn't come in a package or bag with no label to read? 
Again I say, exactly...and hopefully MOST of your food won't! 

Well there are several easy ways.

First - You can either do it the old fashioned way and buy a "food/ calorie" book. This will give you ALL the info you could or ever would want on each food group you eat, OR, you can literally Google what you want to know.....
"what is considered a serving size of wild rice and how many calories does it contain"? Believe it or not, Google will answer you or direct you to a calorie counting site!
My best suggestion though, is to use your APPS! They both have a calorie guide. 
So you want Chicken for your protein. Go to your APPS calorie counter and enter "Chicken Breast"-
it will spit out the calories contained in a serving size! Both questions answered!!!

Get yourself an inexpensive food scale and have your measuring cups ready. IF something shows up with too many calories for what you want to "Spend" on the math and cut it in half....AH HA! 
OR, choose something else from the same category maybe, that has a larger serving size but LESS CALORIES! This how I eat. 
I focus on choosing HIGH VOLUME  - LOW CALORIE FOODS!  That means, I pick foods that have the largest serving sizes but the fewest calories. 

When it comes to condiments, choose wisely and look at the serving size and calories on the back.
Some have TONS and there are alternative products that actually have none!

Notice I didn't include fat as a food source? I didn't because you'll most likely get plenty by way of foods that contain it naturally, such as dairy and other animal proteins (though still pick unsaturated and low fat products) well as nuts, avacados and oils etc. 

Just remember...most every thing out there contains calories. Count every calorie because every calorie COUNTS!!
Finally be CONSISTENT. Healthy weight loss takes time. Don't waiver and you'll win.

Until Next Time....
Coach Candace

Candace is a six time Certified Trainer, Nutrition Specialist  and Group Exercise Instructor.
She's an NBC TV Exercise Personality,  as well as a Continuing Education Provider, Pro Athlete and member of PowerBar's Prestigious Team Elite.