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WELLNESS COLUMN

Want to Be Well? Just Eat Less, Exercise More!

32 Marine Log // December 2016

predominantly), they fire off all sorts of chemical signals that tell us to eat, and we quickly respond. This is our most primal wiring. “Eat Less” is dietary advice that fights our chemistry. Our willpower may win a few battles, but eventually, we will lose the war over and over and over again! The good news is there are strategies that can help us work more closely with our biochemistry to hack

Exercise decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke and can make you smarter

our way to a healthier cycle. These will be explored in columns to come.

But What About Exercise? Here is the sobering truth about exercise—it is fantastic for long-term health, but not necessarily for weight loss. Working off one 20 oz Coke would take you on a walking journey at moderate pace for 4.5 miles. Up the game a bit, and consume one supersize “fast food” meal, and you would have to run those miles (at a moderate pace) every day for a week. The 30 minutes spent walking on the treadmill-5X a week is pure folly for weight loss. Diet needs to be changed, and that needs to

Nothing in this article constitutes medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. All medical advice should be sought from a medical practitioner.

Emily Reiblein

Crowley Maritime Corporation, Labor Relations-Union Wellness Programs/ Operations Integrity

Shutterstock/Uber Images

W

hen we gain weight or start to show signs of sickness like diabetes or heart disease, inevitably someone provides the age-old advice, “Eat Less and Exercise More.” But will this really lead us back to the Land of the Well? At some point, most of us have tried to increase activity and decrease caloric intake to lose weight. We have executed this endeavor, once, twice...and more times, only to have the attempts end in failure. We end-up heavier and sicker (higher LDL, fatter, more inflammation, higher glucose, etc.) with each attempt. The journey begins, ensues and ends in “hangry” frustration. We blame our poor execution of this seemingly simple plan on a lack of willpower, and then some...but is this failure really our lack of mental fortitude and poor execution? Let’s take a moment and think differently; taking into account a little human physiology, biochemistry, and just a bit of human history. For eons, humans have roamed this Earth in times of plenty and times of scarcity. Our bodies are hard-wired so that when we get hungry, we eat, and we also have the capacity to store any excess. When times of starvation come and there is no food, we don’t die. Our bodies compensate by using our stored/excess fat to fuel most of our organs, cells and parts of the brain. What bits cannot run on fat, still run on glucose that our liver so helpfully produces for us. Clever System! Today, starvation is defined by the World Health Organization as consuming less than 1,800 calories a day for women, and 2,100 calories a day for men. When our brains and hearts, the largest fuel consumers in the body, start to feel a lack of energy (glucose

happen first or simultaneously. Health experts estimate weight loss to be between 75-80% diet related and less then 25% exercise related. Exercise has some astounding benefits that very minimally impact the caloric equation for weight loss and these cannot be underestimated as a benefit to overall health. 1. For those fighting metabolic diseases, and those attempting to never fight them, exercise increases sensitivity to insulin in muscles and cells. 2. It helps your stress response and resilience to stress. Moderate exercise can reduce your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that sends fat storing signals, and it increases when you lack sleep, or when you are under other stresses. 3. Exercise decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Remember, your heart is a muscle, and it needs work to be strong, but not too much work. A consistent, moderate exercise that uses all the muscles in the body can reap great benefits. 4. Exercise can make you smarter. Exercise sparks Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) to start working its magic. In the brain, “the BDNF protein is active at the connections between nerve cells (synapses), where cell-to-cell communication occurs. The synapses can change and adapt over time in response to experience, a characteristic called synaptic plasticity.” The BDNF protein helps increase and renew your ability for learning and memory. This concept of “Eat Less and Exercise More” is riddled with problems when it comes to weight loss. Eating the right foods that decrease fat generation (lowering carbohydrates), and increase energy may be a better start to kick off weight loss goals, with exercise in tow for ultimate long term functionality and health. Stay tuned for more information on the Four Anchors of Wellness and the above topics in Marine Log’s Wellness Column. Stay healthy!

December 2016 Marine Log  
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