Come on, you have at least one friend that seems to eat and drink anything they want and manage to stay super slim, right?!
I had that friend in high school. Her name was Jenell and she was one of my best friends. She was 5 foot 6 inches but only weighed 98 pounds and actually hated that she couldn’t put on weight. Ironically, she had really big boobs (I loved her but man, I hated her…lol)!
Of course I envied her because, to some degree, I had to watch what I ate because I would gain weight if I didn’t. Since we were best friends, we always ate and drank the same things. This was usually soda with lots of chips and french fries.
Now that I’ve spent 20+ years studying nutrition and the body, I realize that amongst healthy people, being able to eat whatever you want and still stay slim is a myth.
People often greatly under or over estimate how much they eat. And when I go back and think about my friend, Jenell, she was always one of those people that would pick at food but never finish and would open a soda but only take a few sips.
Human metabolisms don’t vary by more than just a few percentages for people that are the same age, sex and height. Now, there are medical conditions that make it difficult for some people to either lose or gain weight but those are so rare that you most likely don’t know too many, if any, people like that.
Most likely you are seeing your skinny friend occasionally eat huge meals and you assume that they’re consistently that way. But what we don’t consider is that they were likely to skip breakfast, they probably don’t snack a whole lot and they actually drink lots of water instead of sugary drinks.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, our obese friend who always orders the salad when we go out, maybe snacks constantly at home, eats at least three meals a day and guzzles down lots of soda, diet soda and juice.
I read a few studies that shows that people who stay slim are just more active throughout the day as well. This doesn’t mean that they exercise a ton but more so that they are on their feet a lot throughout the day and are very fidgety.
But if you’re absolutely sure that your slim friend eats the same as you do it could possibly be their thyroid gland that plays a role in this. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are dysfunctions of your thyroid gland. Basically speaking, your thyroid controls your energy usage and sensitivity to hormones. An overly active thyroid (hyper) will increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate) while an under active thyroid (hypo) will lower your BMR, which can mean weight gain.
So the next time you see a slim person eating a ginormous cheeseburger, consider that it could just be their first meal of the day and a rare occasion. And besides that, even slim people battle disease if their diets are poor. Food can either create or prevent disease and no matter what size you are…eating healthy most of the time is just plain smart!!!
So what made me decide to write a blog about sparkling water? Well if I’m being honest here, it was constipation…
For some reason, when my body travels, I am not as regular as I am when I am at home. And for the most part, I eat and exercise exactly the same way. The only thing that seems to change for me is I think I drink more sparkling water when I’m abroad than I do when I’m at home. I thought there might be a correlation.
So I did what I do best and I researched. I was really interested, and relieved (but not literally, darn it), to learn what I did and thought I would share with you, my fine friends.
Sparkling, mineral or carbonated water is created by simply dissolving carbon dioxide in plain, still water.
It is very different then sodas and diet sodas because it does not go through any chemical process and nothing artificial is added.
I was very excited to read that sparkling water actually helps keep you hydrated. I assumed that it didn’t necessarily dehydrate you, but I always worried that it wasn’t quite as hydrating as still water…but it is!
If you happen to suffer from frequent indigestion, upset stomach or even occasional constipation (hand raised), sparkling water can help tame those tummy troubles. According to a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, patients who had a predisposition to gallstone formation, indigestion or constipation showed that their issues, overall digestion and constipation problems all improved after drinking sparkling water for two weeks. I remember as a kid my mom giving me a Seven Up to help my upset stomach… She was onto something! Did your mom do that too?
Lastly, for those of you that intermittently fast like I do, sparkling water also helps keep you feeling full. There was a study in 2012, published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminogy, showing that people who drank sparkling water on an empty stomach shared that they felt fuller than when they drink still water. To avoid overeating during meals, try drinking some sparkling water about 30 minutes before you sit down to eat.
Because I do eat a diet that is higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates, I also supplement with magnesium at home. Most of the times I do forget to bring it with me and that could account for my slow moving digestion. But I truly have always wondered if sparkling water was as good of a choice as still water and it was fun to find out that it is. Add a lime and a few mint leaves and I’m in heaven!
Now, back to sunning my bum!
So if you know me, you know I love to travel! Besides my bobcat, Basil, I usually end up missing my cast-iron skillet the most when I’m gone for longer than a few days.
Cooking on cast iron…
I happened upon cast iron cooking by accident. One of my husband’s friends, and executive chef, came over to cook dinner for us one night. Outside on our brick wall was an old rusted out cast-iron skillet hanging for decoration (or so I assumed…who uses those anymore??) He asked me if he could use it and I immediately started laughing thinking that he was joking. Well, he wasn’t and he made the most outstanding steak I have ever had in it – I was hooked!
As always, I had to do my research and make sure that cooking on cast-iron was healthy for me and this is what I found:
Cast irons actually leach iron into your food… And that’s a really good thing. Iron deficiency is quite common, especially in women. I read that 10% of American women are iron deficient. And check this out, cooking your food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce can actually increase the iron content by as much as 20x’s.
I don’t know too many people that don’t like their food browned. But in order to brown most food, you have to use a good amount of oil to do so. For me, I have a well seasoned cast-iron skillet and I always just spritz it with butter or olive oil before adding my food. Most well seasoned pans are virtually nonstick and you can cook anything in them. I can make the perfect over easy egg with just one spritz of olive oil.
You might’ve read ‘nonstick’ above and thought, “Well, I have a nonstick pan so I’m ok.” But nonstick pans have harmful chemicals in them. The repellent coating that keeps the food from sticking contains PFC’s and that’s been linked with liver damage, cancer and developmental problems in kids. I remember as a new mom being broke and noticing the lining of my nonstick pan coming off, but I didn’t think twice about replacing it back then. I wish I knew then what I know now.
I do get asked a lot about how to season a cast-iron. It’s actually very easy. Just follow the steps:
1. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of kosher salt and a half inch of a healthy cooking oil (coconut, olive, tallow or butter).
2. Heat the oil until it starts to smoke.
3. Pour the salt and oil into a bowl ( very carefully) and then use a ball of paper towels to rub the inside of the pan until it is smooth.
Never use soap to clean your cast-iron, just simply scrub it with a stiff brush and hot water and make sure you dry it completely.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this, because sugar is downright horrible for your health!
Most people that I talk to still believe that they can eat the Standard American Diet (SAD), exercise here and there and be healthy.
This simply is not true! And I’m not going to sugarcoat the truth just so you can eat a candy bar without the guilt!
The biggest misunderstanding in all of this is that most people probably think they’re eating healthy and believe it’s their lack of exercise that is making them fat. 9 times out of 10, it’s someone’s diet that is causing them to gain weight year after year and for disease to start showing up.
Sugar is toxic…
Especially for Americans because they ingest a whopping 130 pounds of added sugars a year. Even if you try to cut down on the obvious sugars in our Standard American Diets, it is intentionally hidden in almost all the foods that line the supermarket shelves.
We need to wake up because it is way more dangerous than you think! It’s why even our very active children are suffering from obesity and Type II Diabetes.
Sugar is not just “empty calories.” Like I mentioned before, it is toxic and literally rusting us from the inside out.
Here are just a few facts about sugar and what it does to your body. When you want to reach for that Blueberry Yogurt, consider these facts before you do!
Be educated…make better decisions:
Sugar triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in weird places. Overtime, a diet that is high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building up around your liver, causing fatty liver disease. You’re well aware you only have one liver, correct?
Heart disease and diabetes are intricately related. Heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death among people with Type II Diabetes. The average person consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, but the American Heart Association recommends no more than 5 teaspoons for women and 3 for children. Chances are, you’re overdoing it and so are your kiddos!
There is a serious connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that (even after excluding those with high cholesterol and those who were overweight), people who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels and dangerous triglyceride blood fats and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
There’s a new term out there called, “Type 3 Diabetes” and it stems from the link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease. It is suggested that Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disease, one in which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. To paraphrase, it’s like having diabetes in the brain. It’s a horrible disease and one they are finding can be prevented with a better diet.
Sugar makes you feel FAMISHED! Research shows eating too much sugar keeps your body from telling your brain that you’re full. Your hormone, leptin, has the job to tell you “I’m full, stop eating!” Fructose appears to not play very well with leptin which keeps you feeling hungry even though you’re overeating.
And lastly, sugar makes you look old! Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs ironically). These unwanted little guys attack nearby proteins, damaging them, including protein fibers, collagen elastin… The components that keep your skin firm and elastic. The result of too much sugar? Dry, brittle protein fibers that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin…NO!!!
Sugar can taste amazing and is most certainly highly addictive. I understand how hard, initially, it is to clean it out of your diet. But I PROMISE you after the initial “detox” it gets so much easier to say no to that nasty stuff and you are going to look and feel like a million bucks!
Working out in the morning is BEST!
Especially if you can do it in a fasted state, working out first thing in the morning is a great fat burner. It also wakes you up and gets you ready for the day – and doing it first thing in the morning is a sure fire way to keep you from using the excuse that you ran out of time to work out.[Side note: I’m working out on a small meal now as part of a new program called the 80 Day Obsession – read more about it here.]
Making a habit to get up in the morning and workout can be really hard for some people. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things that I help my clients overcome in the beginning.
Here are 5 tips that I share with them that I think can help you too. But aside from these tips, you really just have to own this, draw that line in the sand and reassure yourself that this WILL become a healthy habit if you just commit for 3 to 4 weeks with no excuses! YOU CAN DO THIS!
1. I’ve noticed that my friends and family members that have a hard time getting up in the morning also have window coverings that block out the natural sunlight. Open those up or take them off and allow the sun to gradually wake you up and tell your body that it’s time to get up. I never shut the blinds in my bedroom windows.
2. Have you ever tried to have your alarm out of reach? It’s much easier to get up and stay out of bed if you have to do more than just reach over to turn that annoying alarm off. When I have to get up super early to travel, I will put my phone in my bathroom and turn the ringer up so I can’t sleep through it and I certainly can’t ignore it.
3. OK, you got up to turn off that alarm, now turn on some motivating music and use something with peppermint in it to wake up your senses. This could be toothpaste, mouthwash, gum or a mint. You’d be surprised how much that blast of cool pops the eyes wide open.
4. Have everything set out the night before. This includes your shoes, workout wear, bottled water and pre-workout snack in the fridge and a plan of what you want to do the next morning. This is one reason why I love working out at home because it’s such a timesaver. I don’t have to look ‘put together’ (and boy do I ever look like a hot mess!) Plus, the commute is literally 90 seconds. I know, I’m lucky!
5. Call on a friend or your partner. Even if they don’t want to work out with you in the morning, ask them to hold you accountable by texting them a picture everyday of you up and starting your workout. A good friend will oblige and a great friend will say, “Let me join you!”
Society has made a sedentary lifestyle way too easy. Unless you’re in the fitness industry or work a laborious job, you’ll never get enough exercise in the day to stay your healthiest.
We need to schedule it, we need to stick to it and we need to honor it.
It absolutely does not need to be anything crazy. Just get that heart rate up for 30 minutes, get that healthy glow going (ok, sweat) and it will make all the difference in how you look and feel…BIG TIME!
Well, take this advice with a “grain” of salt!
Just as controversial as eggs, coconut oil and artificial sweeteners are…grains have been a real topic of discussion lately. A day doesn’t go by I don’t get asked if I eat them.
Short answer, never!
When I took a real interest in living a higher fat lifestyle, one of the first books that I picked up was, “Grain Brain” by Dr. Perlmutter. It was honestly the first time that I was told grains are not healthy. His book made a lot of sense to me and really ignited the fire in my belly to learn more about being more specific with the carbohydrates I put in my body.
Another good book, called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, shed some light on my views of grains as well.
Dr. Davis states the simple fact that two slices of whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of sugar does… It raises it higher than a Snickers bar. High blood sugar triggers insulin and when that happens too often, our bodies get sick.
He also makes a bold statement that wheat consumption causes heart disease. It’s not cholesterol, it’s not saturated fat that’s behind the #1 killer of Americans; it’s wheat.
We have been taught by agribusiness that if white bread isn’t so good for you… Then whole-wheat bread must be a better choice.
Well the problem is, it might be a tad bit better but it’s still not really “good” for you.
I won’t argue with the fact that grains have fiber… But so do vegetables. And vegetables are much higher nutritionally than grains could ever be.
The truth is that “heart healthy” grains are the hardest food for us humans to digest. It’s why they wreak havoc on our immune systems, gut lining and trigger our inflammatory response.
All grains are really just seeds and seeds are meant to make plants. They’re not meant to be digested. They contain phytic acid which blocks the absorption of minerals in your small intestine. Why would you consciously eat something with a low nutritional value but a high caloric value? Again, why not eat something highly nutritious and low in calories like vegetables instead?
And lastly, did you know that wheat also has a protein called gliadin that has been proven to be an appetite stimulant. And you bet the air that you breathe the Big Food companies know this as well and that’s why it is put into almost all packaged food.
I know most people’s answers are to just eat a gluten-free diet but that only takes care of a small portion of the problems that grains create.
When companies produce products like gluten-free bread, they instead use products like cornstarch, rice starch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. The starches actually increase blood sugar higher than even the wheat. That means more weight gain… Especially in the abdomen. There are not any healthy replacements for wheat.
We are sucker punched into believing, thanks USDA, that whole grains are good for us and that we should eat them at every meal. We get problems like weight gain, hypertension, higher cholesterol, arthritis, acid reflex and diabetes from the grains but the Big Food and Pharma companies get lots of money. It’s ALWAYS profit over the people with these guys!
Yes, soaking, sprouting or sour leavening your grains helps a little but why make eating healthy so complicated? I’ll go back to what I always say and that is to eat tons of vegetables, nuts, humanely raised meats, wild caught fish, pasteurized eggs and healthy oils. You will notice a BIG difference within 24 hours, I promise!
Fast food is really an “F” word for me!
But I have to be realistic and remember that for my vacationers, road tripper’s and busy Moms… Sometimes fast food is it for options.
With that in mind maybe I can help you by giving you ideas on the better choices that these places offer. Although most of us would think you can’t go wrong with a salad… that’s not always the case. So let me share a few things I will get if in a SERIOUS crunch myself (and honestly, I’d have to be as the “quality” of the food is never as good as what we can purchase ourselves) and have to order from the dreaded fast food menu.
Well, you pretty much can’t go a mile down the road without seeing a McDonald’s. I really have a love-hate relationship with this company because although I don’t like how they market to children, I do appreciate the Ronald McDonald House.
McDonald’s offers an Asian Sesame Fusion Grilled Chicken salad that isn’t too shabby. However, I’m not a fan of the dressing because of the poor quality of ingredients so try to use that sparingly.
Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be a very big chain and if you’re in a real hurry and want to get coffee and something to eat on the go, their Veggie Egg White Flatbread isn’t so bad. It certainly beats one of their donuts (remember I’ve blogged that should be a NEVER food. Find a different treat).
Now you know me, I sure wish they would use the whole egg but the protein from the egg white, the veggies included and the cheese for fat makes it a not-so-horrible idea. However, I would love for you to order two of them but add the egg white mixture to the second flatbread so you have more veggies, fat and protein but no more simple carbs. Let the birds have the second flatbread.
Now I don’t think Chick-fil-A is as big of a chain but if you have one in your area or where you visit passing through a place that has one, they really do have a salad that you can enjoy without too much guilt.
It’s called the Grilled Market Salad with a Roasted Nut Blend. Again, ingredients in the dressing aren’t the best but because of the fruit inside of the salad, I hope you can go really light on the dressing.
OK, I included McDonald’s so you know I also have to include Starbucks.
The majority of Starbucks drinks are downright ridiculously bad for you. I would ask that you steer clear of them and enjoy a natural cup of black coffee or one with just a little bit of heavy cream or almond milk in it.
Starbucks around the world are obviously fantastic at advertising so they sell a protein box, called Starbucks’s Protein Bento Box, that of course is much better than their heavenly banana bread (so I heard from a friend😜) or their cute cake pops.
Everyone believes from marketing that protein is the way to go and so in labeling it as they do, it helps them fly off the shelf. But it will help keep you satiated since it does have a good amount of protein in it, some healthy fat from the eggs and some fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Because I’ve never been one that believes you need to eat every couple of hours, most of the time I would rather skip a fast food trip than eating what they offer. But being the travelers that my husband and I are, there are times it’s been way too many hours since I ate and one of these will have to do. I don’t feel too much guilt because considering the alternatives that these restaurants offer… what I’ve shared with you won’t derail you much at all (as long as your usual meal plan is on track of course!)
And finally, I suggest that what you order you get to go so that you can leave that restaurant and eat that food guilt free without having the temptation of going back to get something more.
Well before two weeks ago, I would have given you a resounding NO!
I’ve been doing fasted workouts for 18 years and attribute it to my lean physique. I know through all of my studies that you burn more fat when fasted and it also increases your levels of human growth hormone…which also increases fat burning. I’ve never struggled to stay lean.
I read a small study back in March, from the Department For Health, University Of Bath, United Kingdom, that proved that men who did not eat before breakfast burned more fat. The study also showed that exercising in a fasted state had a positive effect on their metabolism as well.
However, I was asked to be in a 90-day test group where the Celebrity Trainer, and friend of mine, asked me to follow her program to the “T.”
Of course I’m going to honor that request and so I’ve started to drink my Shakeology an hour before my workout instead of afterward.
Now it’s only been a week that I’ve done this but I know that this program is geared toward building a rounder booty and creating flatter abs. I don’t lack in the abs department but I always have when it comes to the booty. I swear I was dead last in line when they were passing those out!
So trusting Autumn like I promised I would, I would like to see if fueling my workout allows me to build bigger muscle mass in the areas that count!
Do you eat before or after workout to lose fat?
I have always treated myself like a guinea pig and have never tried to be closed minded about other schools of thought. Remember, I went vegan and raw in the name of science?! Maybe I’ll learn that if I have a fueled workout, instead of a fasted one, I might be able to build muscle in the areas that I haven’t been able to do in the past.
But in my own defense, I’ve never really tried… LOL! I’ve always said that I wanted a booty but I’ve never really taken any action steps, like squatting or using heavier weights, to actually achieve one. This girl loves cardio and body weight strength training.
Autumn has us lifting heavier weights then I’m used to, for sure, so I certainly have a sore backside. Stairs and the toilet are my enemies today! She is really emphasizing with us what is called, “Timed Nutrition.” Again, something that I’ve never studied or done myself.
So I will share with you, on this 3-month journey, my thoughts and the changes that I see.
I’m thinking without a shadow of a doubt, I will build my booty a bit because these workouts are intense and my body’s just not used to the heavier weights. But what will be interesting to see is if the fed workout and the meal timing agree with me and keep me looking as I do, help me look even better or possibly filling me out in ways I don’t want. I guess we’ll see…here’s to my next 80-Day Obsession!
Do you have a loved one, or loved ones, who you want nothing more than for them to WANT to lose weight? Are you excited to share your weight loss motivation with those who could also benefit?
Even good intentions can hurt people’s feelings. The last thing people want to be reminded of is the fact that they need to lose weight. So, in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings, keep in mind that a person who is overweight doesn’t need to be reminded daily…they already know.
But there are some things you CAN do to help inspire them to WANT to make the change for themselves. Here a few ideas.
Try to meal prep and workout at a time that doesn’t take away from them or isn’t a daily reminder of what they’re NOT doing. Seeing this every day will most likely make them more bitter and put in their heads negative thoughts like, “It’s so time consuming to be healthy” or “Being healthy makes it so you can’t hang out with your loved ones.”
As excited as you are about your progress, tread lightly when mentioning a goal met. Only do it if asked and WHEN asked, be honest and happy about it but don’t stay on the subject too long. And absolutely never give advice! Any sentence that starts with, “You should…” or “You need to…” is off limits.
When it’s time to eat together, absolutely eat your healthy foods. Also offer to share but if they’re not interested…leave it at that.
Let your loved one know, ever so often, that you are here for them if they want to join you on your journey to improved health. Also tell them that you believe in them. Don’t act like an expert or tell them what could happen if they don’t change their ways…just be there for them and encourage them when the talk does come up.
Bottom line, be consistent with YOUR goals but not in their face about it. Your results will quietly inspire them, if they don’t feel like your lifestyle is being pushed on them.
Your job is to be a humble example and an encouraging friend that does not judge or give advice. Always let them know you’re there for them, you believe in them and, no matter what, you love them!