Fox News contributor Jennifer Kabbany examines the relationship between exercise and weight loss in “Winging It: Diet & Nutrition Secrets of Olympians”
“All that radio I was making, was used to training,” Kathy Kranz, onetime seven-time Olympic gold medalist said. “It was great for relaxing and mentally preparing because I was working for a major company, but it really was an amazing brain builder.”
Like veteran Olympians, Kranz used her intense training as a mental workout.
“It was weird, sometimes I felt I could really rest and others I’d be jumping up and down,” she said. “I had a weird twitch because it would be good.”
That twitch is thought to have evolved through a range of eaglets to fill a gap in her brain between mental and physical activities, she explained.
“Having that weakness to do both is actually adaptive. You’re going to get knocked down, but you’ll get back up and you’ll work.”
And her workout, combined with food, sustained her body, she told me.
“I was drinking coffee five times a day. I was consuming 3,000 calories a day. I was a super-slim athlete.”
Exercise also slowed the immune system, which affects appetite, said Dr. W. Kirk Robertson, who saw a 10 percent weight loss in Kranz during her workout and diet.
Physical activity can also increase testosterone levels and eases stress in your life, he said.
“One of the things that’s been discussed more than once is the ability to lose weight by doing certain kinds of exercise.”
One of those is the mindful movement.
“It’s about becoming an emotional rock, being physically and mentally aware of your body, not letting yourself get into a rage, not letting yourself get into an emotional state,” Dr. Robertson said.
For athletes, the game plan of grueling mental training combined with physical stimulation, is a recipe for success, said Kranz.
“There are certain things you’re still able to do — a lot of those things you can control, but there are some things that you can’t. You just have to go through the process. Some people can’t stick with it. Some people can’t remain calm.”
Eventually, though, both healthy eating and exercise can provide the recipe for good health.
“Once you lose the weight, then you can control your hunger,” Kranz said. “Food can be more relaxed and can actually be some control for you.”
For her book, “WINGING IT,” Kabbany talked to dozens of gymnasts and other athletes for the basis of this new book. I asked Kabbany how to best slim down. She answered that the simplest way to lose weight is exercise.
“Under every pound of fat is a teaspoon of sugar that means what you cut out has a far greater potential to reach your goal weight,” she said.
But being disciplined doesn’t mean that I can only have the calories I need, she said.
“If the calories you’ve set in place, I think you have to be smart about what you’re consuming,” she said. “But be careful because a lot of the time people overeat.”
She wants people to take into account their full fat, sugar and carbs. By including a variety of foods in your diet, she said you’ll find a pattern that works for you.
“Have you ever taken the time to map out your meal?” she asked. “You get to the end and you see you ate so much you’re out of bread and you’re out of rice. You know what you’re needing? You don’t have to buy a whole sheet of bread because you can make your own. You don’t have to buy the whole sheet of rice because you can make your own.”
Finally, she added that the most important thing you can do for your physical and mental health is be involved in things that will make your life better and what you’ll be able to do, like yoga.
“If you’re doing the right things and you have a supportive life around you and you’re looking forward to it and feeling empowered, these kinds of things are just going to continue to happen,” she said.