Fat or Phat? Which do you choose


My son wants to play Football…whoa!  Now as a mom, this scares me.  Hold on now-stick with me!  He’s 10, my youngest of 6 (yes you heard me right!) and my second boy.  I haven’t had to deal with this issue much because my boys are these high energetic, active, muscle bound-no fat kinda kids!  When the question came up of “Can I play Football this year?” I simply gave the answer I always give…no you won’t make-weight. ( I know you guys out there are scolding me right now :)) but this is not my youngest son’s 1st go round with me and he know what I do for a living–exercise, fitness, and weight loss.  So, logically he asked “What do I need to do to gain weight?”  What?!  He’s not suppose to be that smart.  But when I saw how determined he was and how my husband said that I’m not letting him grow up (What?!?! again!), well I had to reconsider!  What he was asking was what I deal with on an almost daily basis with adults only in reverse.  The fact that he needed this advice is good.  Too many children have to deal with the life-long scaring of being on the other end of the spectrum.  Many of his classmates who also want to play are dealing with the weight cut-off limit as well but on the high side–they weigh too much! They are the same age and are in jeopardy of not playing football as well because they can’t get beneath the 140 lb mark!  (and these are the ones he will be getting hit by!! Can you see why I am nervous??)

Since gaining and losing are the same coin (different sides) I thought I would share some “rules” on the subject.

  1. Calories in vs Calories out:  It’s simple math.  2000 calories in and only 1500 burned up or used in a day and you WILL gain weight.  Your body will store the excess weight as fat for later use.  When losing weight, you want to increase the amount of calories burned in the form of exercise and activities and therefore, increase your muscle mass (Which by-the-way increases your metabolism!).  When trying to GAIN weight, you want to choose wisely on what you eat but INCREASE your caloric intake and increase your activity level at the same time.  You want the ability to build muscle and by increasing your exercise daily you will do that.  To get bigger however, you either have to have a fat storage already there to turn into muscle OR you have to fuel the energy being used.  When On a program like this, you want to make sure that your amount of protein intake is fairly high.  Protein is what helps speed the repair of muscle tissue.  so, after a strenuous work out, be sure to have a significant amount of protein!
  2. What we eat determines Fit or Fat:  Potato Chips, fast foods, greasy deep-fried foods will help you to gain weight, but gaining fat  and filling up our arteries isn’t the idea!  Wanting to get fit and healthy means choosing foods that will feed your body for energy,  muscle growth and keep your immunity system fit.  We need vitamins (for cell rejuvenation), carbs (for energy production) & proteins (for muscle repair and building).  When we are bumping up our exercising, it’s important to have both high quality and high quantity of protein in our diets!  This is best achieved having a protein intake after we work out for quick recovery and repair of our muscles.  Good sources are tuna, salmon, eggs, soy and whey.  Even with these foods, sometimes it’s easier to grab a quick protein shake that’s already ready to drink on the go like a Chocolate Fudge Protein shake or adding Protein Powder to your favorite homemade kind.  Either way, it’s important for your muscles to give them the protein they need.  Also, whether losing or gaining weight we still need some fat consumption.  It’s the type of fats that you choose that are important!  Monounsaturated or Polyunsaturated fats are the healthiest for us and mainly come from vegetables.  Nuts (Almond are my favorite!), avocado’s, and certain oils such as olive, canola or peanut oils, when used in moderation, are good for our systems and necessary for healthy skin & hair, and acts as a carrying agent for vitamins A, D, E and K.  Our bodies do not manufacture Essential Fatty Acids which aid in the regulation of blood pressure.  Essential fatty acids also help to regulate cholesterol in your blood.  Fats also provide satiety because they slow down the rate of your stomach emptying out.  Trans fats and saturated fats are what we are to avoid no matter if we are gaining or losing.  “Researchers have conservatively calculated that trans fats alone account for at least 30,000 premature deaths from heart disease every year in the U.S.” (Fitness: The complete Guide edition 8.6.6 pg 478 ) Word to the wise:  Read Your labels!!
  3. How often we eat is soooooo important:  We live in a culture that is telling us “3 square meals a day!” But nothing could be further from the truth!  Our bodies need to be fueled throughout the day.  One of the reasons that we are gaining weight is that we have been programmed that “it’s not time to eat” even though our bodies are telling us they need fuel!  We wait and get overly hungry then gorge ourselves because we scarf down wrong choices and way too fast!  We are meant to feed ourselves 5-6x’s a day!  Yup!  Every few hours we are to give our bodies something that they can use for energy to keep us going.  Now before you take this to stuff yourself constantly throughout the day, take note…we are to have portion control here!  This does not mean we are to sit down and have 3 course meals 5-6x’s a day.  It means that we are to have small amounts of food like an apple and a 1/2c granola, or whole wheat crackers and some tuna, or a small protein shake-those are ‘meals'(These are general ideas).   Small amounts that our bodies can use up and not store as fat.  This is true whether gaining or losing.   A key for the losing weight aspect here is to eat slowly.  Enjoy the foods and let your body become aware of when it is full-this is a process that takes up to 20 min.  So, don’t rush in for those seconds or for another helping…wait and see if your body tells you that you are full (or at least not hungry anymore!!  Being ‘stuffed’ is NOT a feeling we are striving for!)
  4. Taking supplements to know for sure:  It is almost impossible to get all the nutrients that your body needs from food alone-especially if you are on a diet and increasing your exercise.  There are also other factors that won’t allow us to get the nutrients that our bodies need such as:  a.)  we can’t always get 5-6 small meals a day,  b.)  our bodies have a difficult time digesting and absorbing these important nutrients from food, c.)  our farming techniques have depleted our soil, toxins and free radicals have caused our foods to be lower in nutrients then in the early 1900’s  d.) Periods of higher training requires our bodies to need more nutrients.  There are lots of supplements out there.  But remember:  Always consult your doctor before and while you are on a supplement program.  One of the best vitamin and mineral supplement that is 100% Natural, 100% Organic & 100% plant derived is Double X from Nutrilite.  This company has been around for over 70yrs and have led the way in dietary supplements advising even our US Government-changing how we look at food!
  5. Water, water, & more water:  It’s important to allow our bodies the water that it needs.  Our bodies are made up of up to 75% water and we lose much of that during our regular activities throughout the day let alone when bringing on some strenuous exercise and activities!  A 10% reduction in body water means sickness for us and a 20% reduction can mean death!  Water aides in the transport of important energy, aides in recovery from work outs, and rejuvenates your cells.  Water flushes out the toxins that our bodies produce from working out and speeds up the recovery time.  So, don’t neglect taking in large amounts (at least a gallon a day when working out) of this important substance!

So, whether losing or gaining there are some rules to go by to be healthy and fit no matter what your fitness goals are!  We don’t want to lose just to be ‘skinny’ without health and neither do we want to be ‘big and fat’!   Being healthy, fit,and our ability to be active and up for the challenges life brings our way is what we want to strive for!

As for my 10yr old son, well he’s all signed up for Football and is just 60lbs (the cut off is 59 or less!)  He’s working hard on gaining some good quality weight-at least a couple of pounds.  We are really looking forward to watching him play!

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