Interesting Facts Regarding Added Sugar & Processed Food

Scientific research continues to demonstrate the health benefits when added sugar and processed food are restricted in a typical diet. Many of us eat healthy during meal time. The issue seems to arise when it comes to snack time, grazing or late night eating. It is during these times that we jump ship eating more highly processed foods and added sugar.

The New York Times and Dr. Robert Lustig, MD teamed up recently offering an educational hour-long discussion on the “perils of sugar and processed foods” that can now be viewed on Youtube.

If you think snacking during the pandemic has taken its toll on your waistline, you’re probably right! Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, has a long history of trying to help prove this.

Dr. Lustig is a best-selling author of “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.” One of his lectures on the health risks of added sugar has more than 10 million views currently on YouTube. Earlier his month he joined Tara Parker-Pope, founding editor of the New York Times Well column. They looked to answer questions and share advice on how we can improve our overall health by simply cutting back on sugar and processed foods. You can listen to his latest lecture here.

Interesting Facts Regarding Sugar and Processed Food

One of the more interesting take aways from his talk was his definition of processed food from a nutrition standpoint. He stated that in order for something to be considered a processed food, it has too little of three and too much of eight of the following items.

Too little of

  1. fiber
  2. omega-3
  3. micronutrients

Too much of

  1. branch-chain amino acids
  2. salt
  3. nitrates
  4. omega-6 fatty acids
  5. food dyes
  6. food additives
  7. emulsifiers
  8. added sugar

It can be a daunting task to get this under control when someone is focusing on trying to eat better. The packaged foods in a typical grocery store contain 74 percent added sugar. This is one reason why a nutritionist always says to shop only the outside or periphery of the store, do not go down the middle isles.

Americans Eat Too Much Sugar and Processed Food

The average American consumes too much added sugar on a daily basis. Americans currently eat about 76 pounds of different forms of sugars every year. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

This is How Much Sugar You Should be Eating

Some publications have reported added sugar should make up less than 10 percent of our total daily caloric intake while other reports say that’s wrong and it should be more like 5 percent – which I tend to agree with. In that line of thinking, there may be value in putting ourselves on what I like to call an added sugar budget. An average meal can easily turn into dessert. A good, healthy goal for men is to consume no more than 150 calories a day (38 grams) of added sugar. Women should have a goal of 100 calories a day (25 grams). To clarify, you should limit your added sugars not natural sugars.

What Types of Food Contain Added Sugar?

Added sugar is hidden in more than 60 different forms and it’s in just about everything we eat, from tomato paste, to fruit-based yogurt to (sadly) sports drinks like Gatorade (i.e. HFCS). According Dr. Lustig, “approximately 80 percent of the 6,000,000 consumer packaged foods in the United States have added caloric sweeteners.”Your best bet is to avoid it altogether if it comes in a bag, a box, out of a can, or from a carton.

The first step is start reading all food labels. Natural sugars, like those that come from fruit, contain fructose, but are packed with plenty of fiber, have an abundance of nutrients and contain lots of water and as a result gets released slowly into the bloodstream. In turn, blood sugar levels do not spike as they would with high sugar content foods. The net result, your body avoids a big release of insulin from the pancreas. When this happens multiple times throughout the day and over time, the body becomes more sensitive to storing body fat.

What the Research Shows

There is an abundance of scientific research published each year showing too much added sugar in our diet can be toxic to our health.

One study showed subjects who got 17-21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.

(D’Adamo, 2015)

Two large European studies published by the British Medical Journal found positive associations between consumption of highly processed foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results showed that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) was associated with a 62 percent increased risk of all cause mortality compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional daily serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk relatively increased by 18 percent.

(BMJ, 2019)

Adopt a Healthy Eating Game Plan

To see big gains in the gym, it’s important that you train smart, eat healthy by decreasing sugar and processed food, and get plenty of sleep. Most people understand this intuitively but never develop a game plan to eat healthy. Try to follow these four easy steps to make the process easier and hopefully in turn build a healthy habit.

  1. Eat more fiber in your diet
  2. Decrease added sugar
  3. Eat fewer unhealthy fats
  4. Reduce salt intake

Use some of this information coupled with a regular strength training program if you want a recipe for success. Checkout the Jefit app to help plan & track your workouts.

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

Reference

Srour, B et al., Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2019; 365:1451. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1451

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Are You on Board with the New Obesity Paradigm?

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Some scientists are starting to believe that obesity research has been coming from a failed paradigm. For close to a hundred years now it has been believed that the cause of obesity was a surplus of calories. When a person takes in more calories than they expend, overtime, that individual becomes overweight. Many think, however, that obesity research is based on a misbelief. According to the World Health Organization, though, it’s still about “an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.” So who do we believe?

Many researchers and science reporters, like NYT best-selling author Gary Taubes, believe that it’s time for a new paradigm. A group of these researchers have actually published a lengthy review article on this obesity topic, that comes out today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This group believes we should move away from the current energy balance model (EBM) to a new carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM).

Moving Towards a Possible CIM: Carbohydrate-Insulin Model

According to this model, increasing fat deposits in the body, resulting from the hormonal responses to a high-glycemic-load diet, is what drives positive energy balance. Other words, it’s not about eating too many “good” calories, it’s more about “food quality.” We need to be aware of the quantity and quality of specific calories coming from carbohydrates.

A high percentage of carbohydrates in each meal, coming from processed foods, contain high amounts of added sugar. Each time we eat meals and snacks like this, our body has to deal with a sugar spike. When this occurs, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin, to bring down blood glucose. The by-product of this? the body stores more fat (triglycerides) in adipose tissue.

This new paradigm shift states that obesity is not an energy balance issue but rather a hormonal disorder or what the researchers call a “disorder of fuel partitioning.” The calories in versus calories out debate says nothing about why it happens.

Where Do You Lie on this Obesity Topic in Favor of the EBM or CIM?

We mentioned author Gary Taubes earlier. If this topic is of interest to you, he has some outstanding books that explore various obesity-related topics and does a deep dive into why too much added sugar is so unhealthy for us.

So what do you think? do we become obese by taking in more calories than we expend? Or is it more about the quality and quantity of carbohydrates and what those sugar calories do to our physiology over time?

Jules Hirsch of Rockefeller University, one of the most celebrated obesity researchers, told Gary Taubes in 2002 that after 40 years of research he still didn’t know why people got fat to begin with. Looks like this debate will rage on for a bit longer but let’s hope it’s not another hundred years!

References

Taubes, G. (2021). How a “fatally, tragically flawed” paradigm has derailed the science of obesity. STAT.

Ludwig, D., et al. (2021). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab270

Try Jefit App Today

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. In addition, the app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Want a Healthier Diet? Have a Feel for Macronutrients

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In life everyone hopes to achieve their ideal body type and look and feel as confident as can be. Confidence can play a role in the way we look. This is because we have an image of ourselves which cannot be shaken. If you want to be more confident and happy in life, choosing a healthier lifestyle will only help your cause. Healthy nutrition, and understanding macronutrients in particular, is a major component in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

You probably know someone who uses some form of macronutrient counting. Like the macrobiotic school states, “it is about a way of life, making sure everything is balanced in your body each day.” Macronutrient might not be a word you have heard of before. You will likely be familiar, though, with the three types of macronutrients we eat each day: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This article looks at each macro, what it does for the body, and how we can balance them to improve our diet.

Carbohydrate

If you ask anyone what their favorite food or meal is, it is pretty much guaranteed that carbs are involved. Most meals revolve around the comfort of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and wheat. Carbohydrates are a type of substance which are found in many different foods. Once broken down, they are converted into energy for the body. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. It metabolizes to form energy and gives us the ability to run around and stay awake through the day.

The macronutrient, carbohydrate in particular, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. As a result, many people won’t even eat carbs now. They fear what they will do to their body. So, let us just stop right there… carbs are good for you. Your brain utilizes carbs on a daily basis for fuel (about 120 grams a day). Without carbohydrates you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, solve math problems or workout. We need carbs to live, so make sure you let yourself eat them! It basically comes down to eating more healthy, complex carbs and less highly processed carbs.

Protein

Protein has become less of a macro in recent years as a buzzword for health enthusiasts the world over. Let’s just make things clear here: protein won’t solve all of your problems. In fact, too much protein isn’t a good thing. We all need a healthy dose of protein in our diet each day. Each meal should contain some form of protein. Typically, 25-35 grams of protein in each meal is a good goal. The role of protein in the body is to create and maintain muscle cells and to keep us strong.

There are many reason why many people who train have protein powder. Usually it’s because protein heals injured muscles and keeps them strong enough to train more often each week. Another job which protein handles, that you may not have realized, is to transport hemoglobin around your body. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen atoms from the air we breathe and transports them to our cells. So basically, a low protein intake can have a huge effect on your oxygen intake. In the gym world, this is probably the most important macronutrient in many eyes.

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Tasty and healthy oatmeal with berry, flax seeds and nuts. Healthy breakfast. Proper nutrition.

Fat

Fat is a part of the body which most of us spend our time trying to lose, so the idea of putting more of it into our bodies each day might just seem like a crazy idea. However, fat is just as important as any other substance in the body and as long as we reach for healthy fats we can still keep a slim and toned figure.

Fat makes up our cell membranes, it’s improves our brain function and nerve system and it can also help us to absorb certain vitamins which are fat soluble. Healthy hat has a lot more to offer for the body than you may think and it is because of this that we should eat a small amount of fat each day. By adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and avocado to your meals you will be providing the body with the fat it needs to function happily.

How to Count Macronutrients

Counting your macros involves thinking about everything you are going to eat during the day and splitting this into your carbs, protein and fat. Think of it like a pie chart and make sure, as an example, that approximately 50 percent of what you eat comes from healthy carbs, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent is fat. You can adjust these amounts slightly to gain more protein and less fat, but as a rule this is a helpful guide to follow.

For example, if you are a female using a calorie count of approximately 1,600 in order to lose some weight, your calories per macronutrient should be similar to these values:

Carbohydrates – 800 calories (divide by 4 to determine the number of gram to eat for the day = 200)

Protein- 480 calories (120 grams)

Fat- 320 calories (divide by 9 to determine the number of grams = 36)

A quick example for a male, looking to drop weight, a calorie count for say 2,700 calories would look like:

Carbohydrate – 1,350 calories (338 grams/day)

Protein – 810 calories (202 grams)

Fat – 540 calories (60 grams)

Keep in mind, these are just rough examples. You are not always going to count your calories each day but having a better understanding where the calories are coming from and how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming can only help on the nutrition side.

A helpful way to keep on track of the macros which you eat is to use an app such as MyFitnessPal which counts your calories for your meals by ingredient. You can see much more clearly where you need to make changes in terms of your ratios. Counting macros this way will allow you to stay healthy and it will also ensure that you maintain your ideal bodyweight too.

Use Jefit to Record and Track All Your Exercise Needs

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Three Key Requirements for Muscle Growth to Occur

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There are three key requirements in order for muscle growth to occur. To ensure muscles grow, known as hypertrophy, you need an appropriate training stimulus. In addition, proper diet with adequate protein and of course plenty of sleep. A fourth factor, not discussed here, is the important role that genetics play. We all know people who train hard, eat well and get plenty of sleep. They typically get stronger but don’t really pack on lean muscle. There are many variables that can effect (1) how much and (2) how quickly your body responds to training and eventually adds muscle. This will depend on age, gender, genetic and hormonal factors. There is a saying out there when talking about the role genetics play: “If you want an Olympic athlete then you need Olympic parents.”

Appropriate Training Stimulus for Muscle Growth?

How do you stimulate muscle growth? When a persons muscles are challenged they adapt and change over time. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and types of muscle fibers used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction. (Marieb, 2004) The point is to push through all your workouts, especially a heavy day. Because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. “It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.” Try using the Jefit, a workout planner & tracker app to record all your workouts.

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Is the Current RDA for Protein High Enough?

This is a tough area for a lot of people. Their eating habits are just not where they need to be. In addition to eating well-balanced, highly nutritious meals, protein intake needs to be sufficient. If not, muscle growth to say the least, will be difficult if not impossible. The scientific research has shown different results over the years in terms of protein needs.

The question we should ask ourselves is – should we follow the suggested RDA of 0.8 grams/kg/day for protein intake or is it more in line with 1-2 gram/kg/day? The answer may depend partly on the volume of daily exercise you’re doing, if you’re a strength or an endurance athlete, and your age.

Adequate Nutritional Intake (Especially Protein)

A classic study was done in 1988 at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. I was actually one of the younger test subjects in that particular study. The team headed by Meredith and colleagues, looked at the protein needs of 12 subjects. Six were young (26.8 +/- 1.2 yr) and six were middle-aged (52.0 +/- 1.9 yr) endurance-trained men. All subjects consumed either 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 grams/kg/day of high-quality protein over three separate 10-day periods. They did this while maintaining their training and a constant body weight. The results of the study estimated that protein requirement was 0.94 +/- 0.05 grams/kg/day for the 12 men. The data from the study showed endurance exercise was associated with a specific dietary protein requirement. These needs were actually greater than the current recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day.

Since then, there have been several studies on individuals who engaged in regular aerobic exercise. The exercise, more vigorous in nature, demonstrated a higher protein need more in line with 1.1 to 1.4 grams/kg/day. This by the way is about 38-75 percent above the current RDA range. There is good evidence that the current recommended protein intake may actually limit muscle growth. This was seen in a study published in the Journal Applied Physiology. Some researcher’s report an optimal intake more in line with a protein range of 1.5 to 1.8 grams/kg/day which is 88 to 125 percent above the suggested RDA. The best way to make this happen is by ingesting 25-30 grams/protein with each meal and of course supplement with a post recovery protein drink.

Optimal Recovery (Sleep)

You can have the two other two boxes checked but if adequate sleep is not happening, muscle growth will not occur. For those individuals training extremely hard, periodic naps may also be needed. As training intensity increases, more recovery and sleep is needed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Are you getting that? When this happens on a regular basis for you, you can check that third box. Here are their guidelines for recommended amounts of sleep by the NSF.

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour, compared to younger children, to 8-10 hours.
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category).
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours.
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category).

Key Take Aways

Increasing strength and building muscle can often seem like a full-time job. You will need all the help you can get to make this happen, especially on the fronts discussed here. By checking all three boxes (training/nutrition/sleep), your odds of finally adding lean muscle will improve greatly. Be well and stay Strong!

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Workouts

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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This is What Happens When You Binge on Added Sugar

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We know how much our senses love something sweet but at the same time we’re aware it’s not the best food choice. It’s Summer, though, so it’s ok to eat a little added sugar, right? Like Mom says, “everything in moderation”. Not everyone has the will power or self-control to eat just one though. One statistic that I’ve read shows 74 percent of packaged foods contain added sugar. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

If you know you’re the type of person, who has control issues, then it’s probably easier, and healthier, to avoid certain snacks and desserts altogether. After a few weeks you won’t even crave it.

Have you ever wondered what actually happens inside your body when you do go overboard and eat one too many chocolate chips cookies? Feel free to substitute cookies for ice cream, pizza, fast food etc. Whatever your “fix” is. They all have added sugar and maybe knowing more of what happens to your body, will make you pause and think twice about eating it. Let’s note that we’re not talking about one item or a typical portion size. That’s ok. It’s only when you go overboard, on a regular basis, that you should be concerned. This is where diet can begin to affect overall health. If your physician has mentioned that your A1C level is getting high, then you have been warned. Get your house in order or you may end up becoming a diabetic or worse.

How Added Sugar Affects Your Body

  • We consume food that is high in added sugar on a daily basis.
  • Carbohydrates are what cause blood sugar to rise. It’s is important to eat protein and fiber with carbohydrates.
  • The body breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars and away they go into the bloodstream.
  • As a result, the body releases insulin, which is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
  • Insulin’s role is to absorb excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels.
  • Insulin helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so it can be used for energy.
  • The amount of insulin released usually matches of glucose in the blood stream.
  • Once insulin does its job, your blood sugar drops again (the result though is you feel “drained” following the sugar rush).
  • Repeated blood sugar spikes, many times a day, over time leads to an increase in stored body fat (typically around the abs in men & hips in women).
  • Over time, cells stop responding to all that insulin – because they’ve become insulin resistant.
  • Finally, your body can’t lower blood sugar effectively leading to type 2 diabetes.

A Few Interesting Facts About Added Sugar

  • Eating too much sugar initially causes a spike in insulin while elevated, long-term levels can lead to kidney damage.
  • Added sugar causes a surge in feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. So does using certain drugs, like cocaine. When you consume too much added sugar over time, you end up wanting more of it (just like certain drugs). Your body gets addicted to it.
  • One study of more than 3,500 people found that those who drank 34 ounces (about 1 liter) of water a day were 21 percent less likely to have issues with high blood sugar than those who drank 16 ounces (473 ml) or less a day.
  • A second study showed subjects who got 17-21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.
  • Men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression in a five-year period than men who ate 40 grams or less.
  • One study from UC San Francisco found that drinking sugary drinks, like soda, ages our body on a cellular level as quickly as cigarettes can.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year.

How Much Added Sugar Should We Eat?

Added sugars can come in more than 60 different forms and it’s hidden in just about everything you eat. Added sugar is found in a wide range of foods, from ketchup to fruit-based yogurt to (sadly) sports drinks like Gatorade. In terms of how much we should eat, the American Heart Association suggests that men consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 38 grams) of added sugar per day. That is close to the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda. Women should try to eat less than 100 calories (or 25 grams) of added sugar per day. It may seem easy to do but keep in mind a bar of chocolate and a can of soda will already put you at 75 grams.

Keep in mind added sugar is much different than natural sugar found in fruit. It’s fructose, yes, but it also has fiber. This in turn helps release sugar slowly into the blood stream compared to the spike you get after eating half a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Your Brain on Too Much Sugar

Eating too much added sugar affects just about every cell and organ in the body and the brain is no exception. Previous research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. There is also additional research, published in the journal, Peptides, showing chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating.

Hopefully this article sheds more light on the pitfalls of eating too much added sugar. You can pick your poison, it leads to weight loss, brain fog, low energy, oral health issues, you name it. Eating added sugar in moderation is fine. Too much of it though will lead to a multitude of health issues including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity and regular strength training makes you more sensitive to insulin, one reason why it’s a cornerstone of diabetes management. Focus on maintaining a healthy bodyweight and body fat level. Basically, living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle will do the trick. It’s the best way to keep blood sugar levels where they need to be.

Use Jefit

Try doing what millions of others have already done, use Jefit as their workout log app. This in turn, will help you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Want Ripped Abs? Decrease Your Added Sugar

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There is nothing more upsetting than not getting results after dedicating hours to workout sin the gym and dieting over the course of many months! You pushed the weights regularly, did cardio and improved your diet, but in the end, there was still that unwanted layer of body fat covering your abdominals. It may have been because you did monitor one very important item…added sugar.

Are Doing Sit-ups Enough?

You may wonder why your abs are not showing as much as you would like, especially since you’ve been hitting the gym every other day for months now. A research study at the University of Massachusetts, in 1984, looked at various fitness outcomes of subjects who performed 5,000 sit-ups over the course of a month. Performing hundreds of sit-ups on a daily basis wasn’t enough to lose abdominal fat. The subjects, a group of college students, had body measurements taken as well as a painful muscle biopsy procedure. The subjects body fat didn’t change and not even an inch was lost around the abdominal area by the end of the study. In the end, they had much stronger abs but their body fat and girth remained unchanged.

Many factors can influence the way you look and feel on a daily basis as well as over the course of your lifetime. A healthy, sustainable lifestyle also plays a huge part in how lean you ultimately get. You have probably heard that genetics are also important. True. Don’t forget about physical activity (in and out of the gym), this plays a significant role too. The missing “ingredient” in most exercise plans though is cutting back and monitoring added sugar.

What is Your DASI? Daily Added Sugar Intake

The term, DASI, is an acronym that I coined and stands for daily added sugar intake. It’s an important component of any nutrition program and it’s a game changer for those looking to get ripped abs. For the majority of people, getting a lean, ripped mid-section will be a lifelong challenge. Some never seem to realize that how they fuel their body in turn effects their midsection and abdominal area. This goes well beyond doing a daily plank challenge. Learn from the story of the UMass college students.

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Follow These 2-Steps to Get Strong, Ripped Abs

  • Beware of added sugar in all foods and drinks. How? Start reading food labels and keep track of your daily added sugar. Put yourself on a sugar budget. Eat no more than 150 calories of added sugar a day for men. That’s about 38 grams a day for men and 100 calories or 25 grams a day for women. Carbohydrates (sugar) contain 4 calories per gram. There are two types of sugars, natural sugar and added sugar. Added sugar is hidden in just about everything we eat and drink. Examples of natural sugar are milk and fruit, and unlike added sugar, they contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Added sugar has minimal nutrients, basically no fiber, and can quickly raise blood sugar levels like all types of fast food or junk food.
  • Add a weekly HIIT session on the cardio side, in addition to your weekly strength training sessions. Begin adding intervals into a cardio session or two with bouts of hard work followed by brief periods of recovery and repeat several times. A whole cardio session could be an interval-based workout for 15-20 minutes or you can periodically add it to the cardio work you’re doing now. Any type of cardio will do the trick from jogging, biking, to rowing.

Final Thoughts

Remain focused with your weekly core routine and incorporate the two steps above into your training plan. This will definitely move you in the right direction in terms of getting those long wanted ripped abs. Shaking things up periodically, from the way you have been doing things, is a great way to stimulate not only your body but also your mind. Use the Jefit app to help track your progress and keep you moving toward your goals. Remember, you don’t own it until you right down or record it, so use the app. Good luck Stay Strong!

Use the Jefit App to Record Your Workouts

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Muscle Growth Requires: Intake, Timing and Distribution of Protein

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Many Jefit app users spend a lot of time working hard in the gym, lifting the appropriate amount of weight to progressively overload their muscles. Additional focus is also placed on optimal sleep and nutrition. With all that, they may still have trouble building lean muscle mass, commonly known as a “hard gainer.”

Key to Muscle Growth? Protein Intake, Timing and Distribution

Preventing sarcopenia can be a serious challenge for the majority of people over the age of 35. Performing 2-3 weekly strength training sessions can help your cause. Also, eating a balanced diet with adequate protein are essential components. Finally, eating an additional 500 calories a day will keep your body in an anabolic state. Still having trouble adding muscle? Monitor the amount of daily protein as well as how it’s distributed throughout your day.

Protein Research

Building muscle requires adequate daily protein intake. Research has demonstrated eating protein every three hours, on your strength training days, is needed to build muscle. A 2013 study by Areta and colleagues, published in the Journal of Physiology, showed this to be true. Consuming 20 grams of whey protein every 3-hours, over 12-hours, following strength training, showed superior results for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. The key differences in the study were the timing and distribution pattern of the whey protein. The findings of this novel study were:

“the results from the study provide new information demonstrating the timing and distribution of protein ingestion is a key factor in stimulating rates muscle protein synthesis.”

“this study emphasizes that the timing of protein intake is a separate variable and a crucial factor in the development of optimal nutritional strategies to maintain and/or enhance peak muscle mass in humans.”

Journal of Physiology

A study published in the Journal Nutrients in 2020 by Hudson and colleagues looked at additional protein requirements. The results supported eating at least one meal containing a sufficient quantity of protein. This applies to all adults already consuming 0.8 – 1.3 grams of protein a day. This in turn, helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, independent of daily distribution, and is helpful in promoting skeletal muscle health. The study went on to mention that the researchers believe there has been a shift in thinking about dietary protein requirements. Their belief is it has gone from a daily requirement to an individual meal requirement. As an example, eating 30 grams of protein per meal, plus one protein shake, would equate to 120 grams a day.

References

Areta JL, Burke LM, Ross ML et al. (2013). Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. Journal of Physiology 591(9): 2319–2331

Hudson, JL et al., (2020). Protein Distribution and Muscle-Related Outcomes: Does the Evidence Support the Concept? Nutrients 12(5): 1441. doi: 10.3390/nu12051441

Try Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Added Sugar Associated with More than Just Weight Gain

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For anyone heading back to the gym to start the process of getting their body out of pandemic hibernation mode, the following information on added sugar, is for you!

Added sugars are found in processed foods. They contain only four calories per gram, similar to protein, but when consumed in surplus, those calories can become “toxic in the body”. According to the American Heart Association, Americans eat an additional 355 extra calories a day from simple carbohydrates. The by-product of this is among other things, potential weight gain. Added sugar has been reported to decrease testosterone levels in men by 25 percent. We know the impact it can have on conditions like diabetes and risk of cancer. Too much can also negatively affect the cells in our body, a study in 2009 found a positive association between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells. A 2012 study in the Journal of Physiology linked too much sugar to deficiencies in cognitive health.

Suggested Recommendations

It has been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To help prevent all the various side effects from eating too much added sugar, it’s important to have an idea of how much you’re consuming in the added sugar department on a daily basis. The easiest way to do this is to start reading food label, then start monitoring the amount of daily added sugar (in grams). Put yourself on an added sugar budget especially prior to Summer & Holiday seasons. 

Our craving for sugar has increased 39% between 1950 and 2000, according to reports from the USDA. The average American consumes about 156 pounds of sugar each year (about three pounds of sugar each week). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 10 percent of daily calories come from sugar and for the majority of people this is about 50 grams a day. Keep in mind that just one can of soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar. WHO further suggests that “a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.” This should be your goal, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Finally, be aware of the following guidelines.

Cutting back on added sugar will help you look and feel better as well as improve your workouts as you head back to the gym.

  • Focus on eating about 2.5 grams of added sugar per 100 calories.
  • Men = Consume <150 calories (38 grams) a day of added sugar or about 9 teaspoons a day.
  • Women = Consume <100 calories (25 grams) a day of added sugar or about 6 teaspoons a day.

Suggested Reading

Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

Lustig, R. (2012). Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

Use Jefit to Track All Your Workouts

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. In addition, the app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Five Tips to Keep You Healthy Inside and Out

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There’s so much more to looking good and feeling fit than building up muscles. Fitness starts within the body and is a combination of fitness of the mind and body. The western culture has lost the connection between the mind and body, so we embark on the latest fitness craze and fad diet, only to fail a few weeks down the line. Reconnecting the mind with your fitness goals will help you to achieve a lifelong regiment of good health.

To really focus on fitness goals you need to feel fit on the inside. You also need to feel good about yourself. If there is anything you can change do it! For example, perhaps you’re feeling stressed at work, which is causing you to choose unhealthy foods or alcohol as a quick fix?

Here are five tips to help you develop a healthy mindset in order to meet your fitness goals and most importantly, stick to them!

Regular Health Checkups

Make sure to attend all of your regular health checkups to check on your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. This will ensure you have a clean bill of health for starting any exercise regime and will flag any potential health concerns. Make sure you raise any concerns that you have with your physician.

Eat Healthy

The old adage of “you are what you eat” is true and not just an old wives tale. If you eat foods that are considered healthy, you will automatically feel healthier. Try to avoid processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and unhealthy fats. Include in your diet fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain foods, protein and keep hydrated with plenty of water.

Sleep

Sleep is our bodies opportunity to regenerate. Getting too little or too much sleep can affect our physical and mental health massively. A lack of sleep can affect the whole body, causing lack of concentration, reduced motor skills, impaired immune system and even our cardiovascular health. Feeling exhausted will tempt you to eat unhealthy foods as your body will crave carbohydrates and sugar to give you energy.

Try to get into natural daylight during the day. Artificial lights and darkness doesn’t provide us with a clear definition between night and day. Avoid looking at your smartphone before bed and don’t drink any caffeine after 2 pm. If all else fails visit your medical practitioner.

Exercise

The combination of exercise and a healthy diet are what ultimately enables you to reach optimal health. Have clear goals and start gradually. Mix up your routines, for variety so that you don’t become bored. Seek expert advice from personal trainers as to how to develop the best routine for you. Most importantly, use Jefit app to help track and stick to your goals.

Be consistent and make small changes to your life. Once you have formed the habit of keeping yourself healthy – you are on your way. Exercise helps decrease stress in your life, in addition to keeping you healthier, both mentally and physically.

Work on Your Mobility

Mobility refers to the ability to move freely around a specific joint. When you have healthy range of motion (ROM) in all the joints, your body is free to move and adjust to its position in the most efficient way. As a result, activities and movement are more natural and less restrictive. When you have sufficient joint mobility you also get more out of your workouts at the gym. As a result of inactivity, chronic stress, and aging, your ROM and mobility begin to decrease. It is important that a regular mobility routine is incorporated into your exercise program. Specific areas should be addressed to improve joint mobility such as the hips, shoulders and lumbar and thoracic spine as a start.

Use the Jefit App to Keep You Healthy

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep track of their fitness goals. Not only does it give you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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3 Popular Diets to Follow—And Ones to Stay Far Away From

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It seems like every day there’s a new diet that emerges onto the scene. Sometimes, they are legitimate and can really help you achieve your health goals. Most are fad diets trying to take advantage of people who are just trying to be healthier. So, here we give you an overview of popular diets to follow and those you shouldn’t.

The Best Popular Diets to Follow

1. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is less of a diet and more of a structured time approach as to when you should eat your meals. The idea behind intermittent fasting is that you have an eating window and a fasting window. This may differ depending on the type of intermittent fasting you want to do. Typically, the eating window lasts for 8-10 hours, and the fasting window is 14-16 hours.

Another type of intermittent fasting includes only eating once a day and ingesting all your calories in that one meal. It really depends on what your personal preference is.

For this post, let’s follow the 8-10 hour eating window and 14-16 fasting period. The popular times that most people go by consists of fasting from 8 pm to 12 pm the next day, and eating between noon and 8 pm. Once the clock strikes 8 pm, you fast again. This is popular because the majority of your fasting window is taken up by sleep. When you’re awake though, you can fill up on lots of water, tea and coffee (without milk or sugar).

However, change your eating/fasting windows to whenever suits you and your lifestyle.

It may take a couple of weeks for your body to adjust to fasting, but once it does, it’ll become easier.

Intermittent fasting helps people curb their appetite and control their hunger. The average person will typically eat fewer calories because they have less time to eat. However, some people may find that they use intermittent fasting as an excuse to binge and eat insanely larger meals during their eating times so be wary of this.

2. IIFYM

Macro counting is another one of those popular diets to follow. It refers to macronutrients which are your proteins, fats, and carbs. If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM for short, emphasizes flexible dieting. It allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as it fits within your personal macro count.

Every person has a different macro count, (a certain number of grams of protein, fats, and carbs), that they can eat each day according to their activity level, exercise levels and intensity, and more. This is why it is important to find your own personal macros instead of copying someone else’s. There are too many variables that come into play here.

This means that if you feel like eating ice cream, as long as it fits your macros, you can eat it without feeling guilty! You can adjust the portion sizes of your other meals to accommodate your cravings.

Does this mean that you’ll be able to lose weight (or gain weight if that’s your goal) following IIFYM? The answer is yes. Does this mean that you’ll be healthy? Not necessarily. Even though foods like chocolate, ice cream, and other junk food are accessible on IIFYM, try to focus on unprocessed foods to still be healthy and provide your body with the proper nutrients and minerals.

3. Mediterranean Diet

There is a reason why the Mediterranean Diet has been listed as one of the best and healthiest diets. It focuses on all the good stuff such as eating more vegetables and fruits, legumes, seafood, olive oil, and whole grains. It even allows the occasional glass of red wine as well.

Because the diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, you’ll be eating plenty of fiber. It’s also full of anti-inflammatory foods and stays away from processed ones.

The Mediterranean diet will reduce the risk of heart disease as well as obesity, type-2 diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. One of the best things about the Mediterranean diet is that it is sustainable long-term, which is crucial for any diet that you may follow.

Fad Diets

Unfortunately, there is a myriad of fad diets out there. Stay away from these diets as they are usually very, very restrictive and provide no long-term benefits. They will also be very difficult to maintain in the long run.

Meal Replacement Shakes

While it is popular to drink a protein shake as a snack when you’re hungry, it becomes a problem when you only drink meal replacement shakes instead of eating actual meals. This is based on the belief that these shakes have fewer calories in them than actual food, therefore you will be consuming fewer calories in a day, leading to weight loss!

Meal replacement shakes are not as satiating as proper meals. You’ll most likely feel a lot hungrier on this fad diet. Also, it won’t provide you with the proper nutrients and minerals that your body needs.

1,200 calorie diet

This fad diet is founded on the belief that you can only ingest 1,200 calories per day to lose weight. While it’s true you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, the actual number of calories greatly varies from person to person. Some people may eat up to 1,500, while others can eat well over 2,000 calories and still lose weight. It depends on your body type and size, the amount of activity you do, and other lifestyle factors.

Following the 1,200-calorie rule does not take these individual factors into account, and it is also an extremely low number. If you’re someone who needs to eat 2,000 calories to be in a deficit, eating significantly lower at 1,200 can cause problems such as moodiness, headaches, and nutrient deficiencies. It can also increase the risk of bingeing, which can be psychologically damaging as well.

Diets like meal replacement shakes are all fads because they are not sustainable long-term, and people tend to quickly put back on any weight that you may lose in the beginning. So be careful about staying away from quick fixes and too-good-to-be-true promises. Look at the other popular diets to follow instead, like macro counting. Remember that this is a slow and steady journey and that it will take time—but it will be worth it.

Get Healthy with Jefit

The best way to become healthy is to make sure that you eat a nutritious diet and workout regularly. If you’re looking for a way to connect with others to learn what other popular diets to follow there are, as well as food and workout tips, then join our Jefit community. We have a members-only Facebook page where you can talk to others and motivate each other to keep up the great work!

What other popular diets to follow do you suggest? What works for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

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How to Calculate Your Fat & Muscle Mass

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The amount of bodyweight someone carries does not distinguish between muscle and fat weight. Overall bodyweight does not paint a true picture of how well someone is doing regarding their diet and exercise. For example, when I step onto the scale, it tell me I weight 227 pounds, great. I’m more interested, though, in the ratio of that bodyweight number. Meaning, how muscle and fat do I currently have? What is the ratio of my lean muscle and body fat? This, in my opinion, is the more important question that we should ask ourselves every few months. As an example, my goal is 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. If you are female gym-goer maybe that ratio looks like 75/25.

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Muscle, water, connective tissue, organ weight and more are included as part of lean body mass.

Jefit Body Composition Metrics

The Jefit website offers the ability to record and track the five key health metrics seen below. There is also the ability to input and track bodyweight, girth measurements and percent body fat via Jefit iOS and Android platforms. What is great about the website, however, is the option to see your breakdown of lean muscle mass and fat mass. Check it out!

  • Current Weight
  • Percent Body Fat
  • Lean Body Mass
  • Body Fat Mass
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

How to Calculate Fat & Muscle Mass

First, you need your bodyweight and percent body fat numbers. Once you have these, you can then figure out the ratio of muscle and fat mass that comprises bodyweight. A few items to keep in mind. Men have about 3 percent essential fat while women have about 13 percent essential fat. This is the minimal amount of body fat that someone needs to maintain for overall health.

The average college-age male, who is a non-athlete, has about 15 percent body fat, while a female of the same age will have about 23-25 percent. A college athlete will have considerably less body fat. Here are two examples that demonstrate how fat and muscle mass are calculated.

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Let’s look at the case study from above from a Jefit user. This is from a 227 pound male who is carrying about 17 percent body fat.

First, multiply bodyweight by percent body fat. The number you get is fat weight mass. In this case, it’s 227 x 16.8 percent = 38.13 pounds, which is the fat mass.

Next, subtract fat weight (38.13) from bodyweight (227), this equates to lean mass (not pure muscle mass) which in this case is about 189 pounds. About 44 percent of this number is pure muscle mass, which in this case, is about 83 pounds. The weight of your bones (skeletal system) comprises 15 percent of your bodyweight.

What the Math Looks Like

227 x 17 percent = 38 pounds of fat weight, therefore, 227 – 38 = 189 pounds of lean mass. It’s important to understand that this number, 189 is comprised of: muscle, bone, connective tissue, fluid, skin, organ weight, etc. Otherwise known as all the good stuff. The 38 pounds is fat or adipose tissue. The ratio for this male individual would be 83/17. Or, 83 percent lean mass and 17 percent fat mass.

Men carry more muscle than women. An average male (18-39 years old) has about 44 percent of their bodyweight made up of muscle mass. About 34 percent of a female’s bodyweight is made up of muscle mass.

Use Jefit to Record & Track your Body Composition Metrics

To ensure an exercise and nutrition program is truly working, record a few baseline numbers mentioned above. Over a period of time, you should experience a slight increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass and your ratio should also change. Recording and tracking body composition (and strength) metrics should help keep you motivated. An assessment can be beneficial because it keeps you consistent, with both training and your nutritional intake, because you know at a future date, your metrics will be looked at again for comparison.

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How to Get Back on Track After Overeating: 9 Tips for Recovering from Binge Eating

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So, you’ve overeaten. That’s okay, most of us do it once in a while. With our favorite foods in front of us, it can be hard to stop sometimes. However, the aftermath often has us feeling bloated, full, and sometimes a bit upset with ourselves. It can be hard recovering from binge eating but to help you out, here are some tips on how to get back on track after overeating—both physically and mentally.

9 Strategies on How to Get Back on Track After Overeating

1. Get Moving

One of the best ways on how to get back on track after overeating is to get moving. By that, we don’t mean punishing yourself by spending extra hours slogging away in the gym. Punishing yourself is not the goal and you shouldn’t either. But it is a good idea to move.

After your meal, get up and go for a walk around the block or park. Just by doing this, you will help your body metabolize your food. It will also assist in alleviating the fullness or bloated feeling that you may be experiencing.

2. Stay Active

With this being said, make sure you stay active and keep your exercise regime. Don’t compensate food for exercise but just maintain your usual training to get back on track.

3. Hydrate

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Another great tip on how to get back on track after overeating is to make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up. Drinking water can get your digestive system moving and speed up your metabolism. This, in turn, makes your body digest your meal faster.

In addition, drinking extra fluids means that you can reduce dehydration. In fact, it also helps to get rid of extra water that you are retaining so that you feel less bloated.

4. Get enough sleep

Make sure that you have an adequate number of hours of sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep will set you up the next day, filled with sugar cravings and hunger pangs. Do yourself a favor and make sure that you rest properly and get quality sleep. This way, you will wake up feeling refreshed.

5. Control your portion sizes

The next day, don’t skip meals. Skipping meals to compensate for overeating is not a good idea. In fact, it can have the opposite effect and lead to increased hunger or intense cravings. This can potentially lead you to binge eating even more.

Instead, get back on track with your diet and pay attention to your portion sizes. Make sure that you eat balanced meals that have vegetables, protein complex carbs and healthy fats. A more manageable and healthy option is to cut back a little on your carbs and fats for the next day or two. Keep it to a reasonable amount but don’t skip them entirely.

6. Focus on whole foods

Increase your vegetable and fruit intake and load up on plant-based foods. The extra fiber will help increase your satiety levels and leave you feeling fuller for longer. Focusing on whole foods as well, help diminish any sugar cravings that you have and feed your body the nutrients it needs.

It will give your mind a break and leave you feeling better and more refreshed. It will also help you get back on track with your goals.

7. Avoid the scale

It can be tempting to step on the scale and see how it has affected your weight. While the scale is not the most accurate way to measure your progress, it is often what people turn to, to track their weight.

Most people will weigh more after overeating. This may not be because you’ve put on weight but because of increased water retention from the extra sodium that was in your meals.

So if you are recovering from binge eating, step away from the scale. It won’t help you if you do; it can make you feel defeated or feeling worse.

Instead, follow these tips on how to get back on track after overeating before stepping on the scale, if you must.

8. Remember it’s about a healthy lifestyle

Putting things in perspective is a great way on how to get back on track after overeating. By reminding yourself, it’s about an overall healthy lifestyle, you can gain a new perspective. One day of bingeing is not going to completely derail your process or make all your previous efforts useless.

Remember that.

9. Forgive yourself

The most important tip you can learn on how to get back on track after overeating? Forgive yourself.

It is all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’ve let yourself down or like you have just undone all your progress. But the truth is, this happens to everyone. We are human so sometimes we indulge a little too much in our favorite foods.

Focus on the next day and get back on track without punishing yourself or putting yourself down. This can do more damage in the long run that goes beyond just overeating. Forgive yourself and let it go. Tomorrow is a new day.

Become part of a supportive community with Jefit

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has an extensive exercise library database, as well as the ability to update and share your workout log. With your fellow Jefit members as part of your supportive community, you can share and help each other on a range of topics, including eating and nutrition, keeping each other motivated.

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