Saturday, September 22, 2007

My TRA Program as at 19 September 2007

I recently joined a team to do the weight management together. With a group, there will be a lot of support and of sharing information. I have also included my Target Body Age and set it to 27. I still can remember how I felt like when I was at that age and hopefully, I can see how far I can take my body to reverse the aging process.

Here's my stats as at 19 September 2007:

 Target Statson 17 Jul 2007on 3 Aug 2007on 13 Aug 2007on 27 Aug 2007on 19 Sep 2007
Age  42 42 42 42 42
Height 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm
Weight61.6 kg 67.9 kg1 69.2 kg168.3 kg167.4 kg166.4 kg1
BMI21.824.11 24.6124.2123.9123.51
Fat%15.0% 21.9%1 21.0%1 21.3%1 20%1 19.9%1
Fat Weight (kg)9.2 14.8 14.5 14.5 13.4 13.2
BMR1464 kcal 1571 kcal1 1602 kcal1 1580 kcal1 1572 kcal1 1556 kcal1
Visceral Fat Index5 91 101 91 91 91
Muscle %3531.9%1 32.4%1 32.2%1 32.7%1 32.7%1
Muscle Weight (kg)21.5 21.6 22.4 21.9 22 21.7
Body Age27431 431 431 421 411
Time to Target Weight 4.1 months 4.6 months 4.3 months 3.8 months 3.3 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

For details on the different statistics, please click here.

To see me at the start of my TRA program, please click here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Healthy Eating at Fast Food Restaurants?

I occassionally have my lunch or dinner at fast food restaurants because they are convenient and affordable. However, I sometimes feel that these places may not always have a wide selection available for healthy eating. Also, as they need to serve quick and standardized meals, they may need to use preservatives on pre-prepared food in order to increase their shelf life instead of using fresh ingredients. So, I was surprised to hear about this initiative from the HKSAR Government and these restaurants in providing nutrition information and serving healthy options to their clients. I think that this is a good idea for the Government to use these establishments to educate the public as these places are popular and have a high influence on the eating habits of the people.

From the Department of Health website, campaign is a major health promotion programme of the Department in collaboration with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and various professional and academic bodies, with support and assistance from the catering industry and the management associations concerned. Staff of the restaurants, through taking part in the programme, will master the basic knowledge of food nutrition and techniques of healthy cooking, which will then be applied to provide dishes with more fruit and vegetables and less oil, salt and sugar to customers, so as to let public have more healthy and delicious food choices when eating out. Full cooperation from restaurants is key to the achievement of this goal; while customers' awareness and pursuit of healthy eating is critical to the success of the programme.

On their menus, participating restaurants shall make reference to the guidelines to provide some healthier dishes of two kinds:

Symbol for "Fruit and Vegetables"
Simplified Version
Dish with more Fruit and Vegetables
means that either fruit and vegetables are the sole ingredients of the dish, or they have at least twice as much the amount
Symbol for '3 Less'
Simplified Version
Three Less Dish
means that the dish has less fat or oil, salt and sugar, meeting the 'three less' requirement

Good effort from the HKSAR Government!

For more information on the programme and the list of participating restaurants, please click here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My TRA Program as at 27 August 2007

Here's my stats as at 27 August 2007:

 Target Statson 17 Jul 2007on 3 Aug 2007on 13 Aug 2007on 27 Aug 2007
Age  42 42 42 42
Height 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm
Weight61.6 kg 67.9 kg1 69.2 kg168.3 kg167.4 kg1
BMI21.824.11 24.6124.2123.91
Fat%15.0% 21.9%1 21.0%1 21.3%1 20%1
Fat Weight (kg)9.2 14.8 14.5 14.5 13.4
BMR1464 kcal 1571 kcal1 1602 kcal1 1580 kcal1 1572 kcal1
Visceral Fat Index5 91 101 91 91
Muscle %3531.9%1 32.4%1 32.2%1 32.7%1
Muscle Weight (kg)21.5 21.6 22.4 21.9 22
Body Age 431 431 431 421
Time to Target Weight 4.1 months 4.6 months 4.3 months 3.8 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

For details on the different statistics, please click here.

To see me at the start of my TRA program, please click here.

I am happy with my recent stats as my weight continues to decrease along with my Fat%. Since the previous stats, my diet is getting better as I don't have coffee every day. Also, my exercise is getting better as I can walk around 1.5 miles every night (now, my dog just sits and watches me) and I can swim 10 laps at least 3 times per week.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Count Your Calories Intake: Mc Donald's

Here's the first of the series on learning to count the calories of the food that we eat. Learning to count calories is essential to weight management. I attended a talk recently about weight management and the speaker made a good analogy on counting calories to budgetting our money. If we have a budget of only 1500 kcal per day, how should we spend it wisely?

For the initial blog on this topic, I went to Mc Donald's to find out the calories of the food they serve. If you look at the other side of the paper placemat on the tray, you can find such information.

Some of my favorites:

FoodEnergy (kcal)Total Fat (g)
Big Mac51028
Fillet o Fish33014
Mc Chicken42020
French Fries (Medium)36017
Chicken Mg Nuggets (6 pieces)33023
Deluxe Breakfast (Mc Donald's)66045
Apple Pie (Mc Donald's)24013
Chocolate Sundae (Mc Donald's)25010

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Know More About Fat

I found this information from the HK Central Health Education Unit website about fat and other information on health and nutrition. I, myself, do not really know much about the different types of fat.

From the web page, I found out that there are two types of fat: unsaturated and saturated fat. Unsaturated fat can be further divided into two types: mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat. At appropriate amounts, both can help to reduce the level of harmful cholesterol in the blood stream and prevent blockage of the arteries. Also, unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature.

On the other hand, saturated fat increases clotting activity in the blood stream and thus developing arterial thickening, which leads to strokes, heart attack and other forms of damage. It stimulates the production of cholesterol by our liver. Therefore excessive levels of saturated fats cause an increase in a harmful type of cholesterol that impedes blood flow, and causes more damage to your health than direct consumption of cholesterol. Also, saturated fat is solid at room temperature.

For the complete information, please click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

TRA Program - The Right Approach to Weight Management

Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to understand the connection between the energy your body takes in (through the foods you eat and the beverages you drink) and the energy your body uses (through the activities you do).

Energy Balance is like a scale. To remain in balance, the calories consumed (from foods) must be balanced by the calories used (in physical activity). To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you take in. The right way actually is just a simple equation:

Calories expended > Calories intake = Body fat decreased

How to increase calories expenditure and how to decrease calories intake?
Combine right nutrition with the right exercise and with the right supplementation to keep a fit body.

Decrease Calorie Intake

1. Control Carbohydrate Absorption

Balance Blood Glucose and Insulin Level. After food consumption, the blood glucose level will increase gradually. At the same time, the pancreas will release insulin to transport the glucose to the body cells as energy through blood circulation. After the glucose is consumed, the blood glucose and insulin level will start to decrease. However, if blood glucose level is lower than the normal range or if the insulin level is too high, we will consume high amount of carbohydrate food to balance the increased appetite and hunger sensation. As a result, the excess carbohydrates will be transformed to fat and stored in the body.

Inhibit Carbohydrate Breakdown. When carbohydrates enter the gastrointestinal tract, it will be broken down into glucose and the absorbed by the body. This procedure will enhance the hunger sensation and appetite due to the fluctuation of blood glucose level. On the other hand, if this breakdown is inhibited, the carbohydrate digestion time is delayed. This can balance the blood glucose level and increase satiety in order to avoid extra calorie intake. Therefore, the chance of fat accumulation will also be decreased.

2. Control Fat Absorption
Food with high fat content is a major cause of fat acccumulation. It is because 1 gram of fat contains 9 kcal which is double the amount from carbohydrate and protein. If we consume large amount of high fat content food every day and cannot expend all these calories, fat will accumulate in our body gradually.
To avoid fat accumulation, we should avoid eating high fat content food or excrete the fat from food out of the body.

Fat9 kcal per gram
Carbohydrates4 kcal per gram
Proteins4 kcal per gram

3. Balance Cortisol Level
When we are under stress, our body will produce a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose, fats and amino acid for extra energy production. When it is at a high level, it will trigger signalling mechanisms within the brain to increase our appetite and tell the fat cells in our abdomen to store as much fat as possible which then leads to abdominal fat.
By bringing cortisol back to a normal level, we are able to alleviate that metabolic signal, so our appetite and blood sugar level are under better control and the fat cells are in a state where they are more likely to release fat instead of store fat.

Increase Calories Expenditure
1. Increase Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy that the body requires to support the normal functions of the body. BMR is directly related to energy consumption. For example, if you exercise regularly, your BMR will be higher. It is because the BMR will be automatically increased by the body in order to increase the energy consumption to satisfy your body needs during exercising. On the other hand, if you lack exercise, the BMR will be lower. Even if you eat a low calorie diet, your body still cannot expend all the energy. The excessive energy will be transformed into fat instead.
Therefore, the first step to manage your weight is to do exercise and to increase the BMR.

2. Enhance Lipolysis and Boost Thermogenesis
To expend calories from fat, we have to break down the fat molecules into 3 fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. By burning the fatty acids, energy can be produced. To increase energy expenditure, we have to enhance lipolysis in order to boost thermogenesis.

The Right Nutrition
1. Quality of Food
In order to lose excess body fat effectively, we need foods that have appropriate levels of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fiber and fat) and micronutrients (antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). Consistently eating more high quality, fresh and colorful foods and avoid eating low quality, processed food. This ensures that we get the macro and micronutrients that will enhance weight management.

2. Eat 1/2 as much as twice as often
Most city dwellers usually eat out and eat too much. By "eating 1/2 as much as twice as often" we will immediately stop overloading our bodies with calories. Eating smaller meals more frequently will allow our bodies to burn off calories before they are stored as fat. One of the rules of successful weight management is DO NOT GO HUNGRY!

When preparing a meal using high quality food, you can determine portions simply by using your hands:

The Right Exercise
1. Stretching
Before doing any aerobic exercise and strength training exercise, we have to do some stretching exercises for 10 minutes. This can increase the flexibility of the joint and connective tissues in order to enhance the physical performance.

2. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise refers to activity that is rhythmic in nature, lasts for a prolonged period of time (about 20 minutes or longer) and encourages the body to utilize oxygen to meet energy demands. These exercises last longer and are less intensive than strength training exercise.

3. Strength Training Exercise
When we are undergoing weight management program, our body fat content decreases causing muscle and tissue shift. Strength training exercise can help reduce body fat, increase muscle tone and streamlines body shape in order to create a firmer and fitter appearance.

The Right Supplementation

1. Duolean
Duolean contains cactus extract (NeOpuntia) and wheat extract (Alpha Trim-W), two potent all-natural plant extracts which can reduce the fat and calorie absorption by the body. It is specially suitable for adults who have diets high in fat and carbohydrate.

NeOpuntia - Control Fat Absoption A proprietary ingredient extracted from Opuntia ficus indica cactus. It contains two unique fibers which can bind fats from our food and excrete out of the body through unique procedures. These procedures can reduce the amount of fat directly absorbed by the body.

Alpha Trim-W - Inhibit Carbohydrate Breakdown An ingredient extracted from wheat germ, it can inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates. It can delay the digestion of carbohydrates and extend the period of time that carbohydrate stay in the stomach. Therefore, it can increase satiety and balance blood glucose level in order to reduce the total calorie intake per day.

2. TRA Complex
TRA Complex contains a blend of scientifically proven ingredients. It combines the key ingredients from Tegreen97, Cortitrol and CraveEase to create an effective weight management through three metabolic processes. It includes controlling carbohydrate craving, balancing cortisol level, enhancing lipolysis and boost thermogenesis. This formula is specially suitable for people whose obesity problem is caused by stress, carbohydrates craving and people with high body fat ratio.

Banaba and Brewer's Yeast - Balance Blood Glucose/Insulin Level Banaba leaf facilitates the body's maintenance of blood sugar and insulin levels within their normal and desireable range and may hep people resist the urge to snack between meals.

Brewer's yeast is a natural source of chromium. It can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease levels of circulating insulin.

Magnolia Bark, Epimedium and L-Theanine - Balance Cortisol level Magnolia Bark and Epimedium can modulate stress level and balance the cortisol level.
L-Theanine, a unique amino acid found in the leaves of green tea (Camelia sinensis) acts as a non-sedating relaxant to help increase the brain's production of alpha-waves. It is effective for combating tension, stress and anxiety without inducing drowsiness.

Green Tea - Enhance Lipolysis and Thermogenesis Several studies found that green tea is capable of improving lipolysis and glucose metabolism, enhancing insulin sensitivity and balancing the metabolic rate of fat deposit and fat burning.

3. Metabotrim
Metabotrim contains chromium, L-carnitine, multivitamins and minerals. These potent ingredients can promote carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism in order to transform food to energy. It even can boost thermogenesis when used in conjuction with aerobic activity. This formulation is especially suitable for people who want to promote the metabolism.

Chromium can balance insulin level which helps regulate carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

L-carnitine promotes fat metabolism in order to transform fat into energy.

Vitamin B Complex can maintain normal body metabolism in order to promote energy production.

4. TrimShake
TrimShake is a delicious an satisfying shake that is perfect for breakfast or as a meal replacement, It produces the nutritional balance integral to effective weight management. Trimshake is high in protein and soluble fiber, low in fat and is available in chocolate and vanilla flavor.


1. Nutrition for Everyone, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
2. The TRA Booklet, Pharmanex

My TRA Program as at 13 August 2007

I had these measurements after a few weeks:

 Target Statson 17 Jul 2007on 3 Aug 2007on 13 Aug 2007
Age  42 42 42
Height 168 cm 168 cm 168 cm
Weight61.6 kg 67.9 kg1 69.2 kg168.3 kg1
BMI21.824.11 24.6124.21
Fat%15.0% 21.9%1 21.0%1 21.3%1
BMR1464 kcal 1571 kcal1 1602 kcal1 1580 kcal1
Visceral Fat Index5 91 101 91
Muscle % 31.9%1 32.4%1 32.2%1
Body Age 431 431 431
Time to Target Weight 4.1 months 4.6 months 4.3 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

For details on the different statistics, please click here.

To see me at the start of my TRA program, please click here.

From the results, not too much has changed from a month ago.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My TRA Program as at 3 August 2007

I had these measurements after a few weeks:

 Target Statson 17 Jul 2007on 3 Aug 2007
Age  42 42
Height 168 cm 168 cm
Weight61.6 kg 67.9 kg1 69.2 kg1
BMI21.824.11 24.61
Fat%15.0% 21.9%1 21.0%1
BMR1464 kcal 1571 kcal1 1602 kcal1
Visceral Fat Index5 91 101
Muscle % 31.9%1 32.4%1
Body Age 431 431
Time to Target Weight 4.1 months 4.6 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

For details on the different statistics, please click here.

To see me at the start of my TRA program, please click here.

From the results, my weight increased by 1.3 kg but my Fat% decreased a little bit and my Muscle% increased. However, I need to watch out my Visceral Fat index and try to bring it lower.

So far, I noticed that my cravings for in between meal snacks have decreased although I still do enjoy my cup of cha chan teng coffee (lots of milk). I still continue my normal activity/exercise of walking and swimming. As this is just a few weeks after my initial stats, I expect that nothing much will change as my body is still adjusting to the new program, I hope.

Calculate Weight Loss Requirements

As part of the TRA program, the body statistics are determined and measured using a Fat Analyzer Scale in order to calculate the Target Weight. Here's an example:

 on 17 Jul 2007 Target Stats
Height168 cm
Weight67.9 kg1 61.6 kg
BMI24.11 21.81
Fat%21.9%1 15.0%
BMR1571 kcal1 1464 kcal
Visceral Fat Index91 5
Muscle %31.9%1
Body Age431
Time to Target Weight4.1 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) measured from the Fat Analyzer scale is an index to determine whether or not your body weight is in proportion to your body height and is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults. It is expressed using the following equation:

Body Mass Index (BMI) = Body Weight (in kg)
Body height (in m)2

From the Hong Kong Government website, BMI ranges for Asian adults are as follows:

BMI for adults< 18.5Underweight
18.5 - 22.5Ideal
23 - 24.9Overweight
25 - 29.9Obese
30 and >Severely obese

The Fat% as measured from the Fat Analyzer scale refers to the body fat as a percentage of the body weight. To interpret the measurement:

GenderAgeLowNormalHighVery high
Female20 - 39< 21.021.0 - 32.933.0 - 38.939.0 and >
40 - 59< 23.023.0 - 33.934.0 - 39.940.0 and >
60 - 79< 24.024.0 - 35.936.0 - 41.942.0 and >
Male20 - 39< 8.08.0 - 19.920.0 - 24.925.0 and >
40 - 59< 11.011.0 - 21.922.0 - 27.928.0 and >
60 - 79< 13.013.0 - 24.925.0 - 29.930.0 and >

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or resting metabolism measured from the Fat Analyzer scale is the minimum level of energy required to sustain the body's everyday functions. The amount of calories needed to supply the body with the minimum level of energy depends on variables such as age, weight and height. This can be calculated using the Harris Benedict equation:

Female655 + (9.6 * Weight in kg) + (1.7 * Height in cm) - (4.7 * Age)
Male66 + (13.7 * Weight in kg) + (5 * Height in cm) - (6.8 * Age)

However, our total energy requirements per day also depends on our daily activities. To determine our total energy requirements based on our daily activities:

ActivityBMR Multiplier Factor
Sedentary (little or no exercise, desk job)1.2
Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days per week)1.375
Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days per week)1.55
Heavy exercise (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days per week)1.725

For example, if your measured BMR is 1571 kcal and you are sedentary, your Total Daily Requirement will be: 1571 * 1.2 = 1885 kcal.

The visceral fat is the fat surrounding the internal organs. Too much visceral fat is thought to be closely linked to increased levels of fat in the bloodstream which can lead to common conditions such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and diabetis. In order to prevent or improve conditions of these common diseases, it is important to try and reduce the visceral fat levels to an acceptable level.

To interpret the Visceral Fat Index result from the Fat Analyzer Scale:

Normal1 - 9
High10 - 30

The Target Stats are determined based on getting the Target Weight using the following equations:

Female(Height - 70) * 0.6
Male(Height - 80) * 0.7

In order to determine the Time to Target Weight, target to maintain a diet at a minimum of 1500 kcal. This should be enough energy for basic metabolism plus minimum physical activities.

Based on your Current Daily Requirements while maintaining a diet around the minimum daily requirement for 1 month (30 days), you will have a Calorie Deficit as follows:

Calorie Deficit for one month = Current Daily Requirements - Minimum Daily Requirement * 30 days

As it takes around 7700 kcal to burn 1 kg of fat, using your calorie deficit:

Fat burned (kg) per monthCalorie Deficit / 7700

From your fat burned per month, you can now determine how many months it will take to reach your Target Weight.

For the example above, the Time to Target Weight from 67.9 kg to 61.6 kg (to lose 6.3 kg of fat), with Current Daily Requirements of 1885 kcal and using a diet with the Minimum Daily Requirement of 1500 kcal:

Calorie Deficit for one month = 1885 - 1500 * 30 days = 11550 kcal for one month

Fat burned (kg) per month = 11550 / 7700 = 1.5 kg per month

Time to Target Weight = 6.3 kg / 1.5 = 4.2 months

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My TRA Program as at 17 July 2007

START OF PROGRAM. I took these photos on 17 July 2007 a few days after I started the TRA program.

As part of the program, I also measured my body statistics using the Fat Analyzer Scale we have in our office. Here are my statistics:

 on 17 Jul 2007 Target Stats
Height168 cm
Weight67.9 kg1 61.6 kg
BMI24.11 21.8
Fat%21.9%1 15.0%
BMR1571 kcal11464 kcal
Visceral Fat Index91 5
Muscle %31.9%1
Body Age431
Time to Target Weight4.2 months

1As measured from the Fat Analyzer Scale.

For details on the different statistics, please click here.

For my Target Weight, I chose the calculated weight based on my height as I see that this will give me a slim figure. For my Target Fat% and Visceral Fat Index, I just chose the middle values from the Normal ranges.

At the moment, my diet is not too good to mention here. To give you an idea, I usually enjoy in between meals of chocolate, pastries (cakes and cookies) or ice cream. Actually, my craving for sweet food increased after I stop smoking last May. Also, I enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day, especially the one from cha chan teng (lots of milk). For the next few weeks, I will still continue my current diet and include the diet supplements under the TRA program.

My activity/exercise consists of my usual swimming (20 minutes at least 3 times per week) and walking (with my dog) (1 mile daily).