Getting In Shape After Our Holiday Habits
After all that yummy holiday food and vacationing, we all tend to put on a few pounds. The weight gain itself is not a health issue. Although the increase in body fat compared to muscle mass could be. During vacationing we tend to eat more sugar, more processed foods, and higher animal fat diets along with increased alcohol consumption. Getting into shape is not about losing weight; it’s about improving our body composition, eliminating toxins, increasing oxygenation to our organs including our brain cells, as well as reducing inflammation, to prevent cardiovascular, diabetes, and cancer risks.
Fat Cells Do Not Benefit Our Health
I call fat cells “dead cells’ because they do not benefit our health. The more fat we have on our body, the more we are at risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and depression. And the more muscle compared to fat, the lower our risk of mortality and ultimately, improved health (1). Muscle is alive, and its activity potentiates oxygenation and blood flow to tissues and organs, a concept known as exercise hyperemia (2). The more active the skeletal muscle is, the more oxygen reaches the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs; all the major organs that keep our system functioning properly. Muscle activity also increases metabolism and increases adiponectin (fat burning hormone). Adiponectin indicates the health of the oxygenation of muscle as well as the health of the mitochondria (your cell’s engine). The higher the adiponectin, the lower the overall inflammation in your body, the stronger your immune system, the healthier your heart, the higher the muscle mass to fat ratio, and the lower the risk for metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetic condition) one has. (3, 4)
To measure your body mass, your muscle mass and fat mass along with the health of your cells, heart, and nervous system, at Holistique, we use an advanced technology approved in USA but originally developed in Europe. It measures the status of your wellness through heart rate variability testing, sudomotor testing, electric impulse, oxygen saturation and orthoststic blood pressure. Its accuracy helps us establish an individualized diet and exercise plan to help you get into shape.
Three Tips for Quick Post-Holiday Recovery
How though do you get your muscle mass higher, your fat mass lower, and your adiponectin levels higher to improve wellness quickly in a world where time is of essence? Here are a few quick tips to get the adiponectin higher to get the inflammation down, while increasing muscle mass, reducing body fat, and improving overall wellbeing.
#1 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Intermittent Exercise
Research shows that HIIT is one of the most effective ways to shift the adiponectin, and improve body composition (muscle/fat ratio), improve overall wellness and to reduce your health risks (5, 6). Everyone can fit HIIT in their busy schedules to get into shape. It takes 15-20 minutes, 3x per week. Yes, that is all you really need to commit to–to get in shape. HIIT is performed by either sprinting, cycling, dancing, or doing pushups, jumping jacks or whatever you are willing to do, to get your body moving as fast as possible for 30-60 seconds per interval. Then, slow down, stretch or do yoga poses for 60-90 seconds. Repeat this cycle 5-7 times for a total of 15-20 min. Make sure you warm up and cool down prior to doing the intermittent exercise.
#2 Intermittent Fasting (IF)
To lose body fat and weight, reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase muscle mass, intermittent fasting is a great starting point (7). In general, IF has been shown to protect the heart, increase adiponectin levels, and optimize general health (8, 9). Fasting for 16 hours per day every other day is a form of intermittent fasting. The goal is to avoid eating after dinner and skip breakfast the next day. Water, black/green tea and black coffee are allowed during the fasting period of the day. The idea is to give the body a rest, so nutrients are absorbed, digestion is completed, insulin and blood sugar are regulated, growth hormone is secreted, brain health is improved, and the body is fooled into figuring out a way to burn its fat to support its cellular metabolism and energy needs, and to lower overall inflammation (8, 9, 10).
#3 Plant-based diets
Increasing your vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and healthy plant-based fats while avoiding animal protein, animal fat, and processed foods improves general health but also helps you lose fat, increase muscle mass, and reduce cholesterol and cardiovascular and metabolic disease risks (11). Plant-based diets also improve brain health, memory and function.
Eat, Exercise, & Be Merry
Enjoy the Holiday season and your precious time with your families and friends. Keep in mind the above tips to help you stay in shape and get into shape during this season. If you are suffering from any kind of medical condition, it is important to contact me or one of my associate Holistique physicians for a complete evaluation to make sure you are on a personalized dietary, exercise, and supplement program that will improve your health and wellness and address your condition.
Wishing you health and happiness throughout this season of gratitude and love, ~DrD