Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health  & Special Risk students

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why don't you use any of the popular diet programs?
A: Most popular diet programs are considered "fad diets" for a reason: they come and they go and they have poor success. If they worked, we wouldn't have a national weight management crisis. Our philosophy is centered on lifestyle change - a change that you will maintain for a lifetime. Not just for a few months. Not to get ready for the next class reunion or swimsuit season. Remember, if you do what you've always done, you'll get the same results you've always gotten. Therefore, if you go on a diet for a few months and then go back to your previous dietary habits, it's virtually certain you will find yourself back in the same boat.

Q: I'm used to thinking about dieting in the context of controlling carbs, fats, etc. Isn't it too narrow to just focus on calories (energy)?
A: There are lots of factors that influence weight gain, loss, and maintenance. To say that any macronutrient (a major nutritional dietary compoment, such as fats, proteins, etc.) is the sole key to weight management is too simplistic. It also overlooks the primary fact of weight management, which is: if you take in (eat) more energy than you burn, you have a surplus of energy that is stored as fat. If energy-in equals energy-out, weight maintenance results. Your body can't store extra energy if it doesn't have it. Too many calories compared to the energy you expend equals weight gain. Even if you're eating wonderfully healthy food, but too much of it, you'll gain weight. For example, if you eat 2600 calories per day of nothing but fruit and veggies (great food everyone agrees) but you only burned 2300 calories throughout the day, a surplus of 300 calories would result. Even though those calories were from healthy fruits and veggies, it's more energy than you needed. So, your very efficient body stores it as fat for later use.

Q: How much weight loss should I aim for in a week?
A: Generally a pound per week is a good rule of thumb. Every pound of fat represents about 3,500 calories of stored energy. Therefore, to lose a pound requires an energy deficit of 3,500 calories. Break that down into a week , aim for a negative energy balance of 500 calories per day. Over the course of seven days, you'll use 3,500 more calories than you consume, which should result in the loss of a pound of fat. Ideally you would accomplish that energy deficit through both reduced energy intake and increased energy output (skip dessert and go for a long walk).

Q: Can't I lose weight faster than 1-2 pounds per week?
A: Studies show that weight loss of greater than 1-2 pounds per week increases the rate of muscle mass loss (instead of just fat mass). Since muscle mass is a huge factor in metabolic rate, you don't want to sacrifice muscle mass. Remember, you didn't put on 10 pounds per week and you shouldn't lose it that fast either!

Q: How can I speed up my metabolism?
A: Increase your muscle mass. Every pound of muscle requires (burns) 35-50 calories per day. If you gain five pounds of muscle, you will boost your metabolic rate by approximately 213 calories per day. Over the course of a week, this extra muscle will require (burn) an additional 1,491 calories! (We're nearly halfway to the goal of 1 pound of weight loss (3,500 calories) per week, just by increasing your muscle mass!) Assuming energy intake is the same, that extra energy required by additional muscle mass will have to come from stored fat. See our fitness download "The Golden Five" for help building the biggest muscles in the body.

Q: I've been working out and my clothes fit a little looser but the scale stays the same. Why is that?
A: Most likely you are gaining muscle mass and loosing fat mass at a similar rate. That means the scales stay the same but since muscle is denser than fat, your actual body size is smaller. This is great! Muscle is about 70% water whereas fat is only about 10% water. One pound of muscle is smaller in mass than one pound of fat. That's why your clothes are looser. Keep it up!

Q: It really irritates me that I gain 3-5 pounds every month around my period. Is there any way I can prevent this weight gain?
A: Some women are more prone to temporary weight gain around their menstrual cycle than others. Aldosterone is a hormone that influences sodium and water retention. This hormone increases during the luteal phase of the menstral cycle and results in water retention. One way to decrease the weight gain is to avoid salty foods. If you aren't eating much salt, less water will be retained.

Q: I am generally hungry right before going to bed. If I don't eat, I end up waking up during the night starving, is this bad?
A: Everyone is different. There is no golden rule regarding eating before sleeping. Just make sure you are not going over your energy budget for the day and your meals are evenly distributed throughout the day. During sleep our metabolic rate slows and we don't need very much energy. Therefore, if you are eating your largest meal right before bed (within the hour of going to bed) you're not doing yourself any favors. Our bodies need energy during workouts and active times during the day. Don't deprive yourself of needed fuel during those times. There's an old saying that captures this idea: "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." This style of eating matches your energy consumption with the energy requirements of your day. Our mp3 download "Weight Loss for Active People" expands on this theme.

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