The most talked-about summer diet in sports has finally been revealed.

At the unveiling of his "LeBron 12" in Oregon this month, LeBron James finally pulled back the curtain on the meal plan that led him to lose all that weight this offseason.

"I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs," James said, according to SI.com. "All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That's it. For 67 straight days."

Entering his 12th NBA season and nearing his 30th birthday, James made it a point the past few months to slim down. He says he lost the weight to be in top shape for training camp and also to test his "mental fortitude."

While it's unclear exactly how much weight James actually lost, it's probably in the 10-20 pound range. James, who is 6-foot-8, has fluctuated between 250 and 260 pounds the past few years.

James started a trend, and his superstar friends Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade also dropped weight.

The Cleveland Cavaliers forward has been posting photos of his meals, and they're all consistent with what he told reporters:

"Lunch is served. Arugula salad with chicken, strawberries, mango, cashews and olive oil/lemon vinaigrette dressing. Bowl of squash and zucchini and glass of H2P #YummyInMyTummy"

"Dinner is served! Lobster salad with asparagus and mango chutney. #Amazing #MykonosFollowing"

James even had to turn down a personalized cake while on vacation in Greece because it broke about every rule of his diet:

As it turns out, James may have lost too much weight, and he's said that before the season starts he's hoping to "pick up a couple pounds back." He should have no problem with that.

"Do you believe in Paleo?” (Or Atkins or Pritikin or the Zone or South Beach, etc.)

It's a somewhat loaded question to those of us who work in the fitness business.

Do I believe it exists? Like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy?

But that's not the real question I'm being asked. The question is really, "Do I believe that someone should eat this way?" And while my answer is a definitive "maybe," I think the "Paleo, Atkins, South Beach question misses the point, because it doesn't answer what the real issues are that prevent anyeating plan from working.

Popular diet books promise to cure us of our unsightly Muffin Tops and make us dynamos in the bedroom! Not only that, but if we’ll just follow their particular food restrictions, we won't have to count calories or workout either. Baloney!

If you read my previous blog, the Top 5 Reasons You're Not Seeing Results In The Gym, you will understand one thing about me: I believe in basic, straightforward solutions.

Continuing my quest to provide simple, actionable solutions, here are my Top 5 Reasons Your Fat-Loss Diet Isn't Working:

1. You Don't Count Calories.

The simple truth is the vast majority of us simply eat too much. We tend to eat too many calorie-dense foods, our portions are too big, and we eat too often.

Consuming the proper number of calories is the single best thing we can do to be successful at fat loss! In fact, it's so critical that my other four "reasons" could really be viewed as 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e. Everything refers back to our ability to control calories.

For fat loss, this means a calorie deficit. In other words, we need to burn more calories daily than we take in. We can create this deficit by eating fewer calories or exercising to burn more calories, or (preferably) a combination of both.

I know you were promised that if you just cut out carbs, or fat, or gluten, or meat, or dairy, or legumes or nightshades you wouldn’t have to worry about calories.

Sorry, but it’s simply not true.

It's no wonder that most of us have no idea how many calories we are eating. We were told it wasn't important. Yet without this knowledge, we can’t possibly create the proper calorie deficit to lose body fat. The onlyreason any diet works is that the food choices you are given to eat are typically lower in calories than the foods you were told to eliminate.

But make no mistake, it's not that you stopped eating animal protein or fat or sugar or legumes that got you to lose body fat. It’s simply that you created the needed calorie deficit.

Keep a food journal, or use a smart phone app to find out how much you're eating now. You may not need a whole new lifestyle; you may just need to eat less of what you're already eating.

2. You Demonize Nutrients

For Atkins, it was carbs. For Pritikin, it was fat. And for Paleo, it's legumes and "nightshades." Nightshades ... sounds scary, right?

To be fair, there is a poisonous nightshade called “Belladonna” or “Deadly Nightshade." It is poisonous and it can kill you. But to lump other nightshades like potatoes, peppers and eggplant in with Belladonna is simply ridiculous.

As is the idea that eliminating any single nutrient, food or food group is the key to fat loss (or that consuming it is the cause for obesity). Yes, there could be reasons for an individual to limit or eliminate specific nutrients (e.g. someone with Celiac Disease eliminating gluten). For most of us, this is completely unnecessary and could even lead to malnutrition.

But demonizing nutrients does sell a lot of diet books!

3. You Don’t Sleep Enough

Other than the danger of a middle of the night, Ambien-induced food binge, sleeping is hugely important for good health, and even for fat loss.

Lack of sleep has been positively correlated with an increase in metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity). Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation is inversely related to body fat (less sleep equals more body fat).

And while dieting, a lack of sleep leads to more of the weight being lost from lean body mass instead of fat mass, definitely not what you want. So get your ZZZZ’s!

4. You Follow Someone Else's Diet

If you told me I had to consume a diet that included sushi, radishes, cauliflower and avocado, you’d probably think I’d say that’s pretty healthy, right?

While those foods are good choices for some people, I HATE them all. What good is the best diet plan if you won’t follow it? The key is to find a diet that works for you, a diet that covers all your nutritional bases while creating the desired calorie deficit.

And perhaps most importantly, a diet that you can maintain your weight with once your fat loss goal is achieved.

5. You Don't Lift Weights

"Less Frosting, More Cake!"

I’m not talking about dessert here. But this is one way I describe body composition to my clients. We want a body that is more cake (muscle) and less fat (frosting).

Resistance training is, of course, the best way to add more “cake”. And one of the biggest problems I see is people who try to rely on dieting alone to lose body fat.

You've probably heard that you burn more calories when you add muscle. Technically, this is true, but the results are minuscule. You won’t magically be able to eat whatever you want just because you added a few pounds of muscle.

But what weight training does do is stimulate the retention of lean body mass while on a diet. Also, you are more likely to stick to your diet if you are concurrently exercising.

To be fair, fat loss can be complex at times and confounded by medical issues, socio-economic issues, etc. But most of us could achieve our goals far more quickly if we ignored all the hyped minutiae and focused on the Big Picture items I mentioned above.

As I learned growing up in the Midwest, "Don't step over a dollar to save a dime!"

Focus on counting calories, sleep, resistance training, and by all means, investigate what foods work best for you to stick to your eating plan.

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Tags:
Diet, Fitness




Notice your buddy’s belly poking out of his Browns jersey? This might explain it: You’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods the day after your favorite football team loses, according to new French research.

Fans of losing teams consumed 10 percent more calories than usual the day after a game, the research found. (And the bigger the team's losing deficit, the more people ate.) But fans of winners translate feelings to their food choices, too: Caloric intake went down 5 percent in spectators whose teams were victorious.

(Eat 30 percent less with this easy research-proven trick: The Easiest Way to Shrink Your Gut.)

We know it's just a correlation, but after doing some research, we did find that St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Detroit, and Nashville -- all cities with perennially bad NFL teams -- placed in the bottom half of a Gallup-Heathways poll tracking obesity in 190 of the United States’ biggest metro areas. Meanwhile, San Francisco, Denver, and Boston -- towns with traditionally successful NFL franchises -- were among the least obese areas.

So why do losers drown their sorrows in food? Research suggests you adopt the identity of the team you root for. Taking wins and losses personally affects self-regulation, making you more likely to stuff your face with handfuls of chips.

(What are the best snacks for men? Find out here.)

Predicting a bad season for your team this year? To deal with a tough sports loss, try blaming someone else. When our guys win, we often ascribe their success to how great they played. But when they lose, it’s easier to attribute the rout to some other external factor in the game, like bad officiating from the referees or fluke injuries to their star players, says Christian End, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Xavier University. That convinces us that our team isn’t bad at all -- we just got screwed. It’s called “cutting off reflected failure,” and doing it helps you brush off a loss without your ego taking a blow.

(Discover how the world's greatest athletes use failure as motivation. And use this stratagem to always keep your head in the game.)

Additional reporting by Andrew Daniels

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By James Fell
AskMen

For decades, "the man" warned that dietary fat (specifically the four-legged kind, not the plant kind) caused clogged arteries, chest pain and pleas to "Call 911!"

Could be that this was just a causation-correlation mix-up.

See, people who are obese and sedentary just happen to have diets that are really high in fat (as a general rule). They are also more likely to have high cholesterol and heart failure. The dietary fat may have indirectly caused the problems, but it was the body fat (and the lack of activity) that was the main culprit. Yes, you can be in the "overweight" category and be perfectly healthy, but once you start getting up into +30 BMI (assuming you’re not really muscular), the dangers to your health begin to arise. The higher the BMI, the more at risk you are.

Not necessarily at higher risk of "mortality" but "morbidity." This means life takes a nosedive with illness and infirmity at higher body weights. People still live a long while, but the obese are more likely to spend time in hospital beds with tubes in orifices and other nasty medical sh*t.

Eat cow. Put butter on stuff. Cheese it up. As long as calories are in check and body weight isn't high, your health should be fine. (Side note: stay away from trans fats, because they're way bad. The types of foods you find trans fats in are usually processed to hell. Processed food is the real enemy.)

So the saturated cow-cheese-butter fat isn't that bad if you're not overdoing it and don't have a high percentage of body fat. And the avocado-salmon-olive kind of fats are good for you, so get on that. But overall, if you have a high percentage of fat in your diet, you're at a higher risk of being fat, and that's not good.

There are four reasons why eating fat can make you fat:
1. The thermic effect of food for fat is very low
What is the thermic effect of food? TEF is the calories food burns by being digested. Cool, right? When you eat protein, which has a high TEF, roughly 20% of those calories are freebies; they’re burned off because your digestive system has to work harder to process them.

Carbohydrates don't have as high a TEF as protein, coming in at around 10%, but they still blow away the TEF of fat. Fat’s TEF is a subject for debate, but most put it at below 5% and as low as 2 percent.

So when you eat fat, very few of those calories are freebies. In the grand scheme of things, TEF isn't a huge factor, but it all adds up.

2. Fat isn't satiating
Dr. Raylene Reimer, a registered dietitian and associate professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Calgary, told me this about macronutrients and satiety: "Protein has the highest satiety factor of the three macronutrients. Carbohydrates come second, and fat is hardly satiating at all."

This is a statement supported by research like this, this and this. As you'll see in No. 4, it actually can have the opposite effect.

3. Fat is high in caloric density
This boils down to some basic math. Protein and carbohydrates only have four calories per gram, but fat has nine.

As an extreme example, an entire pound of fresh spinach (which has a high water content as well) has roughly the same number of calories as a single tablespoon of butter. Guess which one is more satisfying to your appetite? Which one is easier to consume a lot of? With fat, you get a big wallop of calories in a small volume of food, so it's just a lot easier to shovel a bunch more in without making your stomach feel full.

4. Fat makes things taste great
Try this experiment. Take a piece of bread and toast it. Now eat it. No, not with butter, just by itself. Not so great, right?

Now toast another piece of bread, but this time put butter on it. Tastes way better, doesn't it? You took a 100 calorie piece of toast, added 50 calories worth of butter, and that made it taste so much better you could eat two pieces. Maybe even three.

Our desire to eat fat dates back to Stone Age times, because for most of human history, we didn't have a grocery store down the street. So our brains became wired via evolution to seek out foods that were high in energy value to help us store fat for the next time there was a drought or you were too chicken to chase down that mammoth and stab it to death so the tribe could have hairy elephant meat for the next few weeks.

A pile of research shows that fat makes food taste better, and therefore people eat more of it. So it's not just added calories from fat, but added taste that makes you eat more. It's not just buttered toast, but buttered popcorn, deep-fried foods, chicken with skin vs. without ... This phenomenon has been investigated thoroughly by Dr. David Kessler in his excellent book The End of Overeating.

So, taking all this into consideration, it's worth easing off on your fat intake simply because it's a wise method of restricting overall caloric intake and keeping your body lean. At the end of the day, calories are what really matter, and a diet that is somewhat reduced in fat makes lower calorie consumption that much easier.

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NEW YORK -- For more than a decade, Rafael Nadal has been viewed as one of the most physically fit players on tour. The 27-year-old Spaniard is 6-foot-1 of muscle.

After his 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison on Monday at the U.S. Open, Nadal was asked if it was time to adopt a gluten-free diet. The 12-time Grand Slam champ panned the question.

"If you have the gluten-free diet or ... these kind of things that produce you not being happy the rest of the day, not being fresh mentally, that's a lot of effort for you," Nadal said. "Then you better don't do it."

While he acknowledges that gluten-free may work for some people, Nadal said each tennis player should cater to his own diet.

"There is not only one way to be a good tennis player or to be fit," he said. "Not all the players who had success in the history had the same diet or had the same style of play. Everybody's different."

Nadal is not even convinced gluten-free will be the top athletic diet in the next few years. The same way people believe Twitter and Facebook could be overtaken by the next social media site, Nadal says gluten-free dieting could lose its standing.

"Now, it seems like the gluten-free diet is great," he said. "After three years or four years, we will find another thing that will be great too. Then the gluten-free will not work anymore."

Nadal has his own routines for happiness and healthiness. In fact, Nadal does not think his methods are much different than those of his fans.

"I practice physical performance, practice tennis," he said. "I go fishing. I play golf. I go party when I have the chance to go party. That's all. I'm a really normal guy, normal life."

As part of being a normal guy, Nadal will not attack a gluten-free diet. Instead, he'll keep eating what makes him happy and what he believes makes him a world-class tennis player.

"I am happy with the normal diet," he said. "But I don’t say [gluten-free] is negative. I will say everybody's free to do what he wants. Everybody is not working the same things."

Nadal will not play his second round match until Thursday. He will be matched up against either Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil or Vasek Pospisil of Canada.

If Nadal wants to go eat a big steak in the meantime, he just might.

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The Eagles' offense isn't the only thing coach Chip Kelly will be overhauling in his first year in Philadelphia.

The former Oregon head man has made big changes to the team's diet, eliminating some staples of the Andy Reid era while implementing a much healthier array of foods.

ESPN's Jeannine Edwards reported from Philadelphia's practice facility Monday, noting that several new signs have appeared in the cafeteria:


Edwards noted that Kelly will be discontinuing two Philadelphia traditions -- "Taco Tuesday" and "Fast Food Friday" -- and cutting out fatty foods like pizza, chicken wings and red meat.

Kelly has implemented a leaner diet meant to help players stay fit. This includes personalized protein shakes.


So far, the shakes seem to be a hit with the players.

"We all got to choose our flavors," tight end Brent Celek said. "Mine is coconut, pineapple and banana. It tastes good and helps you maintain weight."

(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)

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Green label = green light? You're more likely to think candy is healthy if the calorie label is green instead of white or red -- even when the calories are the same, finds new research in the journal Health Communication.

Chalk it up to green's positive symbolism: The color is associated with "go" and the natural world, which may encourage you to think it's better for you, says study author Jonathan P. Schuldt, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Cornell University. (Ever notice how M&Ms and Snickers both sport green calorie labels?)

Other studies suggest that color can play with your brain: For instance, the color of your cup may influence how you perceive the taste or smell of a drink, and your plate’s hue may impact how much you like your food.

OK, so now you've got another food label lie to remember when you set foot in the food store. Luckily, we've sorted through all the confusion for you, and reduced every misleading label and advertisement you see to a few simple rules of supermarket shopping. Here's how to successfully Navigate the Grocery Aisles.

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On the morning of June 1, 2011, Michael L. Sparling took the recommended dose of the workout booster Jack3d before doing a drill with his Army unit.

During the workout Sparling collapsed, and several hours later he died at a hospital of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

Sparling had purchased the Jack3d in a GNC store at Fort Bliss in El Paso. Despite a warning issued by the FDA in April 2012, the powder is still available in GNC stores across the country as well as online.

Now, Sparling's parents are suing GNC as well as USPlabs, the developer and marketer of Jack3d. The Sparlings are claiming that GNC and USPlabs misleadingly marketed Jack3d and did not warn consumers about its potential health risks.

A stimulant contained in Jack3d, dimethylamylamine (DMAA), has been linked to several deaths recently. In 2011, DMAA was identified in the toxicology reports of two soldiers’ deaths. It was also found in the body of Claire Squires, a British woman who died while running the London Marathon in 2012. Jack3d has since been banned in England.

Products containing DMAA, like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, are commonly marketed as workout boosters. But in its warning letter last April, the FDA noted that firms that produce these supplements have failed to demonstrate the safety of their key ingredient, DMAA.

At the time of the letter, a spokesman for GNC said the company disagreed with the FDA's conclusion and was "unaware of any scientific or medical evidence which calls the safety of DMAA into question."

The lack of DMAA regulation troubles many in the medical profession.

"[DMAA] is a pharmaceutical-grade product which is being directly introduced into the supplement marketplace with absolutely no regulatory oversight," Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the New York Times.

Last month New York State Sen. Jeffrey Klein called for DMAA to be banned from all sports nutritional supplements in the state. Klein labeled DMAA as "possibly the most dangerous, lethal and unregulated performance-enhancing drug on retail shelves today."

"The FDA is still taking a wait-and-see approach, still looking at it, still investigating it. I think we have to act now," Klein told reporters in January. "We're putting young people and people who are interested in sports, people getting sort of a quick fix at risk each and every day."

Klein's concern with the FDA's inaction is not unique to him. Steve Mister, the chief executive of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, told the New York Times that the FDA needed to be more clear about how it views DMAA.

"It is incumbent upon the F.D.A. to make a decision as to whether it is a legitimate and safe dietary ingredient,"Mister said.

This is far from the first time USPlabs has gone to court to defend or protect its product. In December, it reached a $2 million settlement with consumers in California court while also agreeing to make warning statements larger and easier to understand.

In October, USPlabs sued the owner of a supplements store in Reno, Nev., who described Jack3d as an "amphetaminelike compound" that “speeds up your heart rate” and could "possibly" cause death. The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Dallas, was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

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I've written about why eating more helps you lose weight as well as the perils of a starvation diet. So why did I just complete a 12-day cleanse in which I ate no solid food (only broth soup, green juice and a little coconut water)?

Before you shout hypocrite, I've been doing this for six years and my first cleanse, in which I lost 24 pounds in 12 days, was life-transforming for body, mind and spirit. Keep in mind that even the strongest proponents of fasting will tell you it can be (if done smartly) a fantastic tool for your health but a poor one for long-term weight-loss.

Jon Gabriel, author of the bestselling The Gabriel Method, said: "Starvation diets make your body want to be fatter. You can lose a little bit of weight in the short term, but you'll have to pay it back with interest."

That's why the best solution for long-term health is a daily, consistent practice of healthy habits. If you want clean teeth, you have to brush and floss daily. But skipping that and going to the dentist once a month instead is a poor strategy. Teeth are the perfect metaphor for fasting because even though consistency is the key to oral health, there's some stuff that gets stuck and requires a more aggressive approach.

In very simplistic terms, the liver has two jobs: To filter out toxins and to metabolize fat. If it's too "busy" dealing with toxins, then it has less capacity to burn fat. Having a healthy liver is paramount to both health and weight loss. Just as changing your oil will make your car more efficient and get better gas mileage, detoxing your liver will do the same for your body. The downside is that, after a fast, you will have less muscle and a much slower metabolism.

Once you finish your fast/detox, you have reached the critical moment. I lived at Spa Samui, a fasting resort in Thailand, for more than a year so I've watched hundreds of people go through the program. Many are so overjoyed at finishing that they go out and eat massive quantities of junk food. Everything they denied themselves gets consumed in their first meal.

And their body freaks out! They end up leaving in worse shape than when they started. Keep in mind that fasting and gorging is a well-researched strategy for sumo wrestlers to gain weight.

The solution is simple. When you finish, eat very small, healthy, low-fat meals. Fermented foods are great because they put the healthy bacteria that have been flushed out back into your system (it also helps to take probiotics). Have a little kimchi or sauerkraut. Drink green juices and have a salad. A little bit of seasonal fruit is OK, but again, have very small portions.

After you eat, move! Take a walk after every meal. Play Frisbee. Jump on a rebounder or go for a swim. Resume your exercise routine immediately with an emphasis on resistance training. By doing so, you start to build lean muscle mass and you speed up your metabolism.

Jennifer Thompson, a detox expert and founder of HealthyBliss.net says, "Any time you finish a cleanse you need to teach your metabolism how to work again. You want a body that eats-burns-eats-burns not a body that eats-stores-eats-stores."

Now you're in the perfect state to lose weight because:

1. You've broken addiction to cravings.
2. Your liver can efficiently metabolize fat.
3. Your digestive tract is healthier so you feel fuller quicker.
4. You've proven your self-discipline.
5. You experience what it's like to feel good and want to maintain that feeling.

Fasting is a building block for better health and weight loss. It's a start, not a solution. How to fast is for another day, though do your homework and then go for it. Just remember that when you think you are finished, your work has only begun.

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Tags:
Fasting

If you're looking for ways to boost your workout regimen this holiday season, the solution may lie in those people closest to you.

A recent study done at Kansas State University determined that people can be more motivated at the gym if they are working out in a group setting. The researchers based their study on the idea of the Köhler Effect, which states that weaker individuals often perform better when working in a group setting rather than on their own.

For their study, the researchers gathered 58 female college students and told them to ride a stationary bike for as long as they could. The researchers gave the college students a virtual partner via a computer screen, telling the women that this partner rode longer than they did during her pre-trail ride. When the two women rode together, researchers found that the college students lasted an average of 40 percent (nine minutes) longer than when they had ridden alone.

When the college students were told that they and their virtual partner were on a team, and that their score would be based on who stopped first, on average the college students increased their individual time by a staggering 160 percent (11 minutes).

"We were pleasantly surprised by how big the motivation gains were," Brandon Irwin, one of the study's authors, told Wired, "but I think the most interesting thing was that for the partners who were the weak link in the group, the fact that their motivation wasn’t only greater than in the other two groups but it actually increased over time."

Irwin and other researchers are still determining the best way to apply their findings. A common idea is to look into developing some sort of virtual workout partner, which Irwin described as "similar to matchmaking software for romantic relationships online." In other words, as long as people had a smartphone, they could find a partner and hit the gym.

But until that happens, we'll have to settle for other real, live human beings as our partners.

(H/T to Wired)

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