Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's only the calories that count

Confused about which diet to go on, low carb, no carb, high protien, low fat? Well, it's all about the calories, according to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun. In a recent study done by the New England Journal of Medicine tested four different diets and found participants lost similar amounts of wieght on all of them. At the sixth month mark the all participants lost an average of 13 pounds and maintained a 9 pound lost after two years.
"The determining factor ended up being calories. It really comes down to people doing what is most effective for themselves, as long as they are healthy and prevent heart disease," Dr. Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study said.

I fully agree with this article. For years and years people have been attracted to fad diets that in long run get them nowhere because they are unable to maintain their weightloss. The article was very well written as well, it covered both sides of the issue, noting that one of the drawbacks of the study was that only one third of the participants adhered to their diets. Also, I liked that the study went on for two years so the readers can see how the participants maintained their diets over time. However, I would have liked to seen the study more weight specific; people slightly over wieght as compared to obese people and more participant feedback; how they felt, which diet made them feel the least hungery and which was the easiest to maintain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Workout Your Choices

Stop! Before you start throwing out everything creamy, crunchy and chocolaty; you need to start exercising.

The first step to getting healthy is to just start exercising at least three times a week. Luckily as a Towson University student, you are already one step ahead of the game; you have a free gym membership to Campus Recreation Center in Burdick.

At the C.R.i.B, you can do all sorts of cardio and weight lifting. In addition, they offer group exercise classes including, yoga, kickboxing, pilates and even aqua aerobics for water lovers.

"My favorite class is the AB Attack; it's short but still get a great workout from it," Sophomore Lauren Caldwell said.

If you just don't feel like the gym is for you don't worry; you can exercise from the privacy of your own home or dorm room for most us. Exercise TV offers over 100 free full length workout videos, some of which are even geared towards dorm room workouts.

The choice is yours so get ready, get set and get moving!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The sleep diet

On the Today's show for this past Monday, they had segment based on the recent Glamour Magazine article about the so called "sleep diet". While research has linked weight gain with lack sleep, can you really lose weight by just by sleeping? To test this theory, sleep and medical experts Micheal Breus, Ph.D and Steven Lamm, M.D developed a plan for seven Glamor readers of different weights. All the women had just one goal, get at least seven and a half hours of sleep at night without making any significant changes to their diet or exercise plans. At the end of the seven weeks, six of the women had lost six or more pounds.
So why is this? Well, the more tired you are the more prone you are to eat more. "When women are deprived of sleep, they have an increase in ghrelin--what we call the 'go' hormone--because it makes you want to go eat more," Breus said. Also, when you sleep more your body is able to break down fat for fuel because your brain is able to secrete a larger amount of growth hormone. Finally, the more sleep you get the more energy you'll have which in turn makes it easier for you to want to exercise.
Ready to start? Here's the four steps the Glamour magazine volunteer's followed:
1. Go to sleep at the same time every day
2. Have a bed time routine
3. Watch your caffeine and alcohol consumption
4. Experiment to figure out how sleep you really need

The sleep diet does makes a lot of sense to me. If you're tired all the time, you don't have the energy to exercise nor do you want to put the effort into making healthy eating choices. Although, I'm not too sure this is the be all, end all solution to weight loss. The sleep diet does not address the importance healthy eating. Instead they seem to emphasize that "more sleep, store less fat", as well "more sleep, eat less". I'm concerned that people may see this as way to eat whatever junk they want and just burn it off by sleeping a lot, which clearly will not work. Or that will just eat less of unhealthy foods without adding in important nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, protein, etc. I would like to see a more depth study following these seven women for a longer amount of time, maybe a year or so, to see how well they actually stuck to getting at least seven and half hours of sleep and if they still continued to lose weight.

Friday, February 6, 2009


In my blog this semester, my beat will be fitness and dieting on campus. I will be blogging about topics such as which diets work best on campus, the best group exercise classes on campus, workout tips and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on campus.

As someone who has both lost and gained weight throughout my life and a chronic dieter, I am truly passionate about my beat. In eighth grade I went on weight watchers and lost about 35 lbs, which I kept off throughout high school. However, once I got to college, that changed. I found it hard to stay healthy campus with a meal plan and pretty much gave up, gaining twenty extra pounds along the way. Over the summer, I had a wake up call and decided this school year I would make an effort to lose the weight and stay healthy, which helped me shed about 15 of those 20 extra pounds.

After talking with a lot of my friends and seeing increased crowd at gym in January, apparently a lot of other college students are trying to stay healthy and lose weight as well. Hopefully, my blog can help Towson students reach their health goals and gain knowledge on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So get ready and be sure to read my post next week!