"Shavua Tov", blessings for a wonderful new week. You haven't heard from my in over a week because I lost my beautiful and beloved 93-year-young mother on Friday 5, 2019 and finished the "Shiva" seven-day mourning period right before the Sabbath. I'm still in the USA, where my wonderful sibs and I have been together in recent weeks, and hopefully will return home to Israel later this week. It's good to be back with you here at "Strength and Serenity":
A lot of the fad diets have penetrated the Jewish world, which is infamous for unhealthy eating especially on Shabbat. For example, after Shabbat morning services, many congregations sponsor a "Kiddush" brunch of Coca Cola, liquor and pastry, followed by a meal of white Challa, potato and noodle kugels and cholent, with desserts of more cakes, roasted nuts and parve ice cream. Sure, one "cheat day" a week is legitimate, when we loosen up on our diet discipline and partake of a sweet or two, but that doesn't mean a total lack of restraint and going carb-crazy.
What happens? Many have turned to fad diets that promise quick weight loss. And guess what - the quickest weight loss results from loss of muscle mass. Muscle weighs a lot more than fat. Therefore, don't be impressed when you see that adherents of the fad diets have lost tons of weight, fast. Notice that they don't exercise. As a result, their bodies look like big empty burlap sacks draped on bone. At least when they were fat, their muscles had to work to carry the extra weight. But now, nothing. No muscle tone, just empty flab.
Modern society has become so focused on weight loss, that any weight loss seems to be good. It certainly is not. You look better and feel better when you increase your muscle-to-fat ratio. In other words, by exercising and increasing caloric intake - especially with quality protein and good HDL-producing fats - you gain weight big time without adding a millimeter to your waist or hips. In fact, your trousers or skirt fits better than ever.
The impressive initial weight loss of the "effortless" fad diets comes from losing the strategic and vital area of your body - your muscle mass. Therefore, the goal of dieting should be to improve body composition, the percentage or ratio of muscle to body fat, like we said. You do that by losing fat without losing muscle tissue. Maintaining and even increasing muscle mass is critical to weight control, because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. What's more, as you exercise and add resistance/strength training to your routine, you can actually look thinner and have a smaller waistline, but the scale shows that you gained weight! How can that be? Simple - muscles take up less space in your body, so body weight may stay the same or even go up as you add compact, tight muscle mass. In density, muscle is 22% more dense than fat. In other words, if you've been doing strength /resistance training, your waist is thinner, your skirt or trousers fit great, you look and feel great, but you weigh more! Maybe at 145 lbs, you could only do 20 pushups, but now at 155, you can do 50! Yes, you weigh more but you're much more healthy. Keep on liftin', bro and sis, and put the bathroom scale in the closet!
That's what I call "Body Politic". So, forget about your weight and just be strong and healthy. When you eat right - as natural as possible - and exercise, you'll burn fat and build muscle anyway. G-d willing, we hope to post more body-health and fitness pointers in the near future. Stick with us and meanwhile, stay healthy!