Intermittent Fasting For Fitness (and Health)

Intermittent Fasting For Fitness (and Health)

Intermittent Fasting For Fitness (and Health)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Eat every few hours to keep your metabolism going

Have a healthy snack between meals to lose weight

I bet you’ve all heard these before, right? But is there any truth or helpful advice in there?

NO!

You can exercise all day long and have the best fitness regime going, but if you’re eating too much of the wrong type of food then nothing will change. And you might even end up fatter.

Unfair? I know! Your diet plays such a critical role in your overall health and fitness, and it’s been my passion for so many years now to help and bring the truth to as many people as possible so they can make more informed choices.

How did intermittent fasting help me? Fasting to fitness…

Eating within an 8-hour window (called intermittent fasting) during the day dramatically helped me shift weight when I started my weight loss journey way back when. But did I go back to eating my previous foods and enjoy snacks all day long? No way! And that’s the real key here.

I don’t encourage any kind of fad diets or quick fixes – because honestly, they only work in the short term (if at all). I’m much more interested in encouraging a healthy way of living – forever – and making sure you have the unbiased facts and knowledge you need to make the right choices for you and your body.

But please don’t let anyone make you think that fasting = starving yourself.

The facts about intermittent fasting and weight loss

While you might instantly think of periods of not eating when you hear the word ‘fasting’, in this sense it just means eating only within a certain timeframe and eating the right kinds of foods to offer your body the best fuel.

The main benefit of intermittent fasting for weight loss is that your body becomes a fat burning machine, meaning that most people do see a steady shift in their weight loss. I say steady because this is a lifestyle choice. The weight probably took years to add on, so it won’t (and shouldn’t) fall off you overnight. You’re essentially retraining your body’s cells to burn fat more effectively.

When you fast intermittently, the following changes take place in your body:

  • Insulin levels drop, which means your body goes to fat sources for fuel and burns them quicker than before
  • Your metabolic rate increases dramatically, meaning that more fat is burnt
  • Your hunger levels drop because of the lower calorie intake (you’re not munching all day) as well as the more efficient use of the food you are eating

I know from my own experience that intermittent fasting also helps with so many other things like improved sleep, better condition of hair and skin and much more energy.

How do I get started?

Start slow and pick a window of time, say 7am – 6pm for your eating window – then gradually reduce that time when you’re comfortable, after a few days or a week.

My eating window is now 11am – 7pm and within that period I eat 2-3 substantial, healthy meals that keep me full and bursting with energy.

Then, you need to really look at what you’re providing your body with in that eating period – it’s not an excuse to load up on junk food!! Higher fat and lower carbohydrate meals will give your body the energy it needs for fuel and keep the hunger pangs away. Read more about this type of eating and some of my meal ideas.

In my free ebook, The 8 Hour Abs Diet, I go into much more detail about how intermittent fasting can work for you to have a healthier lifestyle, lose weight and be happy.

And as always, any change in diet should be discussed with your physician, especially if you’re on medication, are pregnant or suffering any kind of medical condition.

focusing only on upper or lower abs?

Focusing Only On Upper Or Lower Abs? You’re Doing It All Wrong!

Have you been focusing only on upper or lower abs? You’re doing it all wrong!

It’s pretty controversial in the fitness world; especially amongst some celebrity trainers who promise the holy grail of ‘toned lower abs’ to get that six-pack look.

But I’m sorry to say that I need to bust a few myths that are perpetuated by certain individuals and companies selling the latest equipment or exercise regime that guarantees improved lower or upper abs in a crazy short space of time…

Your upper and lower abs are the same thing!!

It is one whole wall of muscle and, just like other muscles in your body, you can’t technically work one section of them without working the whole muscle. Think about it, have you ever heard of working the upper vs lower triceps??

That’s not to say that different parts of the same muscle can’t show different results based on the workout you’re doing, but the actual muscle will all be worked at the same time.

Muscles work on an all or nothing principle; they contract when a signal is sent from our nervous system, and then relax. This contracting and relaxing is what happens when you work on any muscle – whether it’s a crunch, a plank or a squat.

Also, our bodies don’t like waste – so why would you want to focus on just one area of your physique when you can work multiple??

The confusion with upper and lower abs probably stems from the way the muscle – rectus abdominis – looks. This long, flat muscle goes all the way down the abdomen, divided vertically by connective tissue (linea alba) and horizontally into smaller sections (tendinous intersections).

These ‘sections’ of the muscle can often be seen on the outside of the body and are usually visible as a six-pack, but it’s not uncommon to see four, eight and even ten-packs. While I understand where the misinformation might come from for those not involved in the medical or fitness field, anyone who is helping someone attain a better body shape or fitness level should know their facts.

The rectus abdominus muscle works as one, even if you think you’re working on just the upper or lower abs!

The way your abs look on the outside also depends on so many variables too – your body shape, your fitness goals, injury history, fitness abilities, nutrition and of course your motivation and mind-set.

So, before you rush out and buy the next gadget promising the best upper or lower abs (or any other part of your body for that matter) – just take a moment to think about whether it makes sense and if the person or company trying to make money off you really knows what they’re talking about!

Can Wine Be Part Of My Healthy Lifestyle?

Can Wine Be Part Of My Healthy Lifestyle?

Can wine be part of my healthy lifestyle? Yes… with some side notes

In my 20s, I was more of a mixed drink kind of girl. There were a few sweet white wines that I would drink but red wine was out of the question. It was just so sharp and I didn’t have the pallet for it.

Then, in my early 30s, I read somewhere red wine was better for us than other types of alcohol – and I fell for it. Now, there might be a little evidence out there that it is better for you than, let’s say, beer…but alcohol is definitely something we should have in moderation, no matter what it is.

Now, in my 40s, I have acquired quite the taste for red wine. I love to have a glass when I go out to dinner with friends and family. Since that is a super rare occasion, I also have a glass here and there at home. I think it’s written somewhere that it’s a cardinal sin to make a ribeye without accompanying it with a nice glass of red wine!

And you know me; I’ve done my research. I have favorite wines out there but it’s really based only on taste. I decided to dive in a little bit and find wine that had a really high standard for quality as well.

I have learned that there are over 76 additives approved by the FDA for US winemaking, including ammonium salt and copper sulfate.

US wine companies also use genetically modified (GMO) yeasts.

Plus, over 20 million pounds of pesticides are used on commercial vineyards in California every year. Monsanto’s synthetic herbicide “Round Up” is so commonly used in the US that even organic wines frequently test positive.

I wanted a wine to be sugar-free, low sulfite, truly organic and lower in alcohol.

I FOUND IT!

There’s a company out there called, Dry Farm Wines, that actually over delivers on what I was looking for. They are also endorsed by some people I really look up to: Mark Sisson, Dave Aspry, JJ Virgin, Abel James and Robb Wolf!

Click to try this awesome brand, and they’ll give you a great deal on your first order – Dry Farm Wines.

Now let me leave you with a few tips on making sure your occasional glass of wine is the best it can be:

  • Reds: serve at 55 to 60°. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or ice for 15 minutes before opening.
  • Whites/Roses: serve at 40 to 50°. Refrigerate for 2+ hours and remove 15 minutes prior to serving or ice for 30 minutes.
  • Consider a smaller pour. Not just because no one needs that much wine but also because smaller pours leave more headspace in the glass to properly enjoy the aromatics.
  • Swirl your glass. Swirling aerates the wine and releases the aromas. Have fun trying to name the different smells!

And most importantly, always make a toast before that first sip!

What You Don’t Want To Know (But Definitely Should) About Diabetes

What You Don’t Want To Know (But Definitely Should) About Diabetes

The science bit 

I feel it’s really important to understand what goes on in our own bodies, especially when it comes to what we eat and how that affects us. So here is a rundown of what diabetes is, so you don’t have any excuse now!

The cells in our bodies need fuel for energy. When we provide our body with fuel (food and drink), it is broken down into glucose, which is a simple sugar. The glucose is then transported around the body via our bloodstream and delivered to where the energy is needed – i.e. to breathe, move, walk etc.

A hormone called insulin regulates this fine balance of fuel processing and distribution that goes on in our bodies. The pancreas consistently releases small amounts of insulin; when more is needed the pancreas receives a signal so that the glucose can be delivered where it is needed. When this happens, your glucose levels drop (because it is being used by your cells).

When the body’s glucose level goes too low, the body can suffer from low blood sugar levels (you might have heard the medical term hypoglycemia). Signals are sent to the liver to release more glucose, which in turn means your brain receives a signal that it needs more fuel (i.e. food), and you start to feel hungry.

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to manage this process effectively. Either the body cannot make (enough) insulin, or the body plays a cruel trick and is resistant to it (which means that it can’t control the glucose in your body and you end up with high blood sugar levels).

Type 1 diabetes is when the body destroys the insulin-producing cells – usually people have to inject themselves regularly with insulin to manage this.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body can produce insulin, but in insufficient amounts, or the body is resistant to what is produced. 

What you don’t want to know (but definitely should) about diabetes:

The bad news…

  • Diabetes is a lifelong disease – there is currently no complete cure
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the USA
  • There are currently about 30 million people in the USA who have type 2 diabetes (that’s approximately 9% of the total population)
  • Over 84 million American adults have pre-diabetes (where someone’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet at a diabetes level – they are at an increased risk of later developing diabetes)
  • Diabetes sufferers are at an increased risk of other health issues, including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and the amputation of limbs.

The good news…

  • The right diet and exercise can play a big role in the management of diabetes*
  • Pre-diabetes can be reversed or slowed down with the right diet and exercise*
  • Weight loss can lead to significantly improved outcomes for many diabetes sufferers*
  • Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with steps you can take, including the right diet

 

What you can do

This doesn’t just apply to those who are at risk of diabetes, or who currently suffer from it. The eating and exercise suggestions in The M.A.D.E Diet are for everyone wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle – and for those who want the chance to live a longer life.

You can download my ebook for full information, but in a nutshell:

  • Stop drinking soda – completely and forever
  • Cut out packaged or processed foods (includes pastries, bakery goods, processed meats, ready meals, candy…..)
  • Stop choosing low fat margarine, vegetable spreads, milk and yogurt (read my post about why healthy fat is good)
  • Reduce / eliminate grains (yes I know this one is controversial for many so you’ll have to learn more in my ebook, or my blog post here)
  • Switch to a diet focussed on healthy meats, fish and veggies
  • Give your body a fasting break each day (Intermittent Fasting)
  • Combine with daily cardio and weight exercises

Sorry to be (almost) all doom and gloom but this is a serious issue… an epidemic even, for our public health, and we need to take action ourselves if we hope to stop this for future generations.

* I will never give you medical or dietary advice – these points are for generic information only and you must always consult your physician for professional medical advice.

Sources:

Harvard School of Public Health Study

Diabetes.org

Centers for Disease Control

 

 

 

8 Practical Ways To Eat Healthier Fats

8 Practical Ways To Eat Healthier Fats

More and more people are coming around to my way of thinking with the whole healthy fat is good for you mantra (yay!) But I get asked a lot about how to incorporate more of the good stuff into your day.

At first it sounds great to be able to eat bacon, steaks and eggs everyday – but even those can get boring after a while. And variety is the only way to ensure you stick to the higher fat, low carb way of eating for the long term.

After all, it’s a lifestyle choice, not a fad diet.

High fat foods can easily be added to almost all dishes, main meals and snacks. You just have to get creative and look for some inspiration. Lucky for you, I’ve added 8 practical ways to eat healthier fats below to get you started, but I encourage you to experiment and find your own preferences:

  1. Stop eating ‘low fat’ foods – these might be labeled ‘reduced fat’, ‘light’, ‘lite’ or ‘low calorie.’ They also include artificial creamers for tea and coffee. I know it still says there’s fat in there, but hardly any, and the rest of the junk added to such foods is not worth it.

If you’re eating dairy, go for full fat plain yogurt (not vanilla or any other flavors because it’s full of artificial sugars) and almond milk gives you a nice extra protein hit.

  1. Always have eggs and avocados in your kitchen – they are full of healthy fats and make so many versatile meal and snack options. I posted on Facebook recently a quick lunch I made simply out of slices of ham, some mashed hard boiled egg and avocado slices on top – it was really delicious! Add some nuts sprinkled over the top and some extra virgin olive oil and yummmm!
  2. Cook vegetables in fat – butter, coconut oil or sesame oil – sauté them for a few minutes so they retain their crunch. Steaming is great but can leave vegetables a little tasteless and adding healthy fats gives them more value.
  3. Get to know your oils! Experiment with various fats and switch them up according to your preferences. For example you could try:
  • Butter over asparagus
  • Stir-fry veg with coconut oil
  • Macadamia nut oil over salads
  • Avocado oil over fish
  • Olive oil on tomatoes and mozzarella

Look past the typical oils and fats the next time you visit the grocery store. And don’t let the high price tag put you off – a little oil goes a long way.

Another great way to try different oils is by visiting a local farmers / organic market – they often let you try before you buy, or sell a mixture of oils in sample sizes. Chances are, they’re locally made too, which always tastes better!

  1. Get cheesy! Again, always go for the full fat versions. Cheese is so versatile – it can form the main part of your meal or be a nice addition to meats, bunless burgers or salads:
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chunks of hard cheese
  • Shavings of blue cheese (with steak, yum!)
  • Crumbled feta salad
  • Sliced edam
  • Gouda cubes
  • Baked brie/camembert
  • Grilled halloumi (if you haven’t tried halloumi on a BBQ yet, you haven’t lived!!)
  1. Mighty meat. Who doesn’t love crispy bacon over a salad? Or a juicy steak? Despite what we’ve been led to believe, healthy (i.e. grass fed and finished, organic), and less processed meat is good for you, in moderation of course.

But let me be clear, I’m not saying turkey ham, corn dogs, or any other processed and ‘fake’ meat is allowed. There is nothing good in those foods (I use that term loosely!)

Whether it’s the superstar of your plate, or a side accompaniment, healthy meats can give you a great source of protein. But think beyond the usual:

  • Grilled sausage pieces
  • Sliced pancetta
  • Bacon bits
  • Steak strips
  1. Incorporate nuts and seeds wherever you can. They might be small but nuts and seeds really pack a fatty punch! If you don’t like to munch on them as a snack, don’t write them off completely. Get creative and you might start enjoying these little gems more than you imagined:
  • Toasted almonds are delicious added to broccoli and spinach (sautéed in butter of course)
  • Crushed hazelnuts are such a dessert fruit – add them to some healthy berries
  • Toss some walnuts in a bowl with some paprika and chilli powder and roast them for an amazingly addictive on the go power snack
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and sunflower seeds add a lovely crunch to salads
  • Pine nuts are bursting with flavour and are delicious when toasted and added to salmon dishes
  • Sesame seeds add a lovely Asian flavour to veg stir fries (minus the noodles of course!)
  1. Bulletproof coffee. I’ve blogged about this before and how it came about and it’s honestly such a great way to start your day with a caffeine boost (to motivate you for your workout!) and to get the body going with healthy fats.

The additional benefit with all of these tasty ideas is that these kinds of foods help to keep you fuller for longer, so enjoy your healthy fats and know that you’re doing your body good by fuelling it with the right things.

How do you incorporate healthy fats into your diet?

are all carbohydrates created equal

Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal? Well… NO!

Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal?

As you all know, I follow a Higher Fat Low Carbohydrate diet… I eat meat and fish as my major sources of protein (along with nuts, seeds, eggs etc.)

But low carbohydrates doesn’t mean no carbohydrates. I don’t want you to go completely carb free… that wouldn’t be good for your health either.

So here are some of the benefits of carbohydrates (the good ones!)

  • They provide our bodies with energy
  • They contain important protein (yes protein!) and lipids that our bodies need to function
  • They offer our gut good bacteria which is vital for our overall health
  • They help to form our muscles and maintain them (despite what many bodybuilders will say!)

 

Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal?

In a word… no!

The good guys

Whole (or unrefined) carbohydrates are our friends. They are unprocessed and contain fiber that is found naturally in food.

These are the carbs that can be eaten in moderation (and that amount differs amongst each of us – check out my M.A.D.E Diet ebook for more details):

  • Vegetables (ideally ones from above the ground – so no potatoes please!)
  • Fruit (berries are the best option)

You might be wondering why I’ve not included other common, less refined carbohydrates to the good guys list – brown pasta, brown rice, legumes etc. Well, technically yes they are classed as the good carbs – by mainstream diets – but I would argue that even though they contain some benefits, they just don’t provide enough for you to waste your daily food intake on.

The bad guys

Refined and processed carbohydrates have had the dietary fiber stripped out of them and offer little to no nutritional value. On top of this, too many refined carbohydrates have been proven to contribute to type 2 diabetes and obesity. They cause spikes in blood sugar levels, hunger pangs, cravings and untold damage to your internal systems.

So, avoid these at all costs:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Fruit juice (I know it should be healthy but the majority aren’t)
  • Processed beverages (i.e. energy drinks, soda)
  • Processed snacks (chips, candy etc.)
  • Pastry and bakery items

Prioritize your nutritional intake with meals made up of fresh meat and fish accompanied by healthy vegetables. I know the transition can be tough, but honestly you will feel more energetic (and less hungry) than you imagined.

I Eat Low Fat Foods. Why Am I Still Overweight and Unhealthy?

I Eat Low Fat Foods. Why Am I Still Overweight and Unhealthy?

Because we’re scared of fat!

That’s right – we’re scared of fat! Imagine reading a menu that said ‘high fat meals served all day long’ – if you’re trying to be healthy you might mistakenly avoid the place. But, how about your reaction to the menus that have ‘low fat’, ‘skinny’, ‘low calorie’ options? You’re doing the right thing by choosing those, right?

WRONG!!

I’m sorry to say it but we have been duped… badly.  As a nation, we are consuming low fat, low calorie and nutritionally void foods by the bucket load. And you know what??

We are getting fatter…not skinnier!! And unhealthier…. So what’s going on?

The dietary information given to us for decades is completely flawed. And now there are more and more studies proving that a diet high in healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates, is much better for our health and waistlines than we have been led to believe. 

Why is low fat so bad?

I Eat Low Fat Foods. Why Am I Still Overweight and Unhealthy?

We’ve been conditioned to think that if we eat low fat foods we won’t get… fat. But when food manufacturers make a low fat product, they add in a ton of sugar (often masked as cane sugar, corn syrup or fructose) to make up for the loss of taste.

Did you know that a single serving of low fat yogurt could contain as many as 30 grams of sugar? That’s 60% of the USDA recommended daily amount!

What happens when we consume too much sugar?

There’s a lot that goes on inside our system when we consume too much sugar, but basically our bodies react to the influx by triggering the liver to start storing fat in various places around our bodies – places like your liver and heart – and over time, that build up is not good. But it also gets stored in different places in each of us – butts, hips, tummy etc. And that just doesn’t look good… ever!

When we consume too much sugar our bodies use it up first for energy (that’s why you get that ‘sugar high’ after eating a donut and then feel hungry 30 minutes later!). The more important process of burning fat is put into second place and then insulin (a major hormone in our body) takes the sugar in your system and converts it straight to fat.

As a final kicker, the signal to tell your body to make more insulin is delayed so you still feel hungry (and probably eat more food). This results in a massive destabilization of your body’s entire blood sugar system and can lead to all sorts of short and long-term health problems, including obesity, allergies, depression and diabetes.

A simple solution?

The problem might sound complex when you start looking at the science behind it, but thankfully the answer to this fear of fat problem is actually quite simple.

A diet high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates can easily and quickly set your health back on the right track.

What are healthy fats?

Despite what the marketing people at the food companies might say, the following foods are healthy forms of fat:

  • Meat (but please opt for grass fed and grass finished!)
  • Butter
  • Cream and cream cheese
  • Avocados
  • Cheese
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggs (yolk and all!)
  • Fish (the fatty kind including salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, trout)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil

What about carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates contain sugar and starches which, as I mentioned above, do all sorts of bad stuff to your blood sugar levels and should be limited. Foods to limit/avoid include bread, pasta, rice, potatoes).

But eating these low carb foods ensure you feel full and they don’t put extra pressure on your body:

Vegetables (choose ones that grow above the ground i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, asparagus, eggplant etc.)

Check out the kind of foods I eat daily here.

As always, I love learning about how we can eat better to fuel ourselves and stay healthy. If you want an even more in-depth study of how the American diet got it so wrong, this is well worth a read.

Lucky for you I made the whole high fat, low carb eating super easy and you can download my free ebook for more information and tips.

it's this easy to eat well

It’s This Easy to Eat Well…

its this easy to eat wellFor those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that I often share what we are eating for lunch or dinner that day. Now, I’m never going to be one of those amazing Instagramers who have thousands of followers because I share drool-worthy professional pictures of my food!!!

But I do always get plenty of comments and questions about what we eat, so I thought a roundup of some of the go-to meals we have in our house might help you to see that eating healthy really doesn’t need to be a chore. In fact, as much as I’d love to tell you to plan ahead and to know what you’re eating days in advance, I would be lying if I said I do that all the time myself!

And let’s face it, hardly anyone has the time to plan and prep too far in advance. I also wanted to say that it’s this easy to eat well (if I can do it, anyone can!)

Breakfast

it's this easy to eat well

Eggs and bacon with a Shakeology! Two eggs and two pieces of top quality bacon and this keeps me full for hours. I also try to add some veggies to my breakfast most days.

it's this easy to eat well

Shake – I usually make it with ice and water, sometimes some almond/cashew milk to mix things up.

Calorie-wise, the food is about 300 calories and my shake is always right about 250 calories. I eat 3 meals a day and if each is 550 calories…that’s 1650 (and perfect for me).

Lunch

it's this easy to eat well

In my intermittent fasting, lunch is often my first ‘big’ meal of the day so I make sure it’s jam packed with goodness. You can’t really go wrong with a salad and a ton of veggies. One of my favorites is a micro green salad of spring mix, sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, jicama, nuts/seeds and high quality bacon.

 

 

My all time favorite dinner…

it's this easy to eat well

Steak and veggies. Yep, I’m a simple kinda gal when it comes to food, because simple is best and the most nutritious.

The steak must be grass fed and grass finished (read my post about this here – and get a discount voucher for some amazing meat!) and I cook the veggies in my cast iron first with a tiny bit of coconut oil, sesame oil or olive oil.

For the veggies, use whatever you have in the fridge or grab a pre cut bag for extra busy days. Eat the rainbow – so go for a nice mix of broccoli, carrots, beans, cauliflower, onions and peppers. Don’t overdo the cooking and leave a nice crunch to them.

Fish

it's this easy to eat well

When Wholefoods have wild caught salmon in stock I’m usually first in line to get some! I keep it simple with some smoked sea salt as seasoning and oven bake for about 30 minutes at 375°F.

Cooking a big fillet is great because you have your lunch-time salad protein good to go!

Brussel Sprouts

it's this easy to eat well

I know, I know – they can be gross, I agree! But only if you boil them to death and don’t take care of these little nutritious gems! Here’s how I love them (and I’ve converted many a sprout hater in my time too!)

Cook in the oven at 400°F. Spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook on the cast iron until the outer leaves are browned. Enjoy!

In this picture I combined the sprouts with chicken, also cooked on the cast iron (of course!)

Spritz the cast iron with coconut oil then butterfly the chicken, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and garlic and cook on medium high.

A little extra fat

it's this easy to eat well

I always get asked how I incorporate enough healthy fats into my diet – nuts and seeds!!

I get raw nuts and seeds and roast them at about 260°F in the oven, stirring occasionally, until you notice a slight change in color (30 minutes to an hour depending on the quantity).

I have here pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts and pecans. They go in my salads everyday and in our vegetable stirfrys when I remember.

Feeling hungry now aren’t you? As always, eat more from the farm than the factory, don’t overcomplicate things, and if in doubt, add more veggies to your plate!

Why You Need To Show Up

Why You Need To Show Up (And Shut Up!)

OK I know that might seem a little ‘in your face’ or even rude, but honestly I hear almost every day from people who want to be healthier, fitter, skinnier, have more muscle etc etc… but they are just not willing to ‘show up’. 

Let me explain…

For 99.9% of us, being fit and healthy is a lifelong dedication. There are those who, on the outside at least, seem to be able to eat whatever they want, never work out and still look amazing. But as I said in last week’s post, there is always more to the story than meets the eye. Plus, those people really are in a small minority of the population.

Why you need to show up…

The rest of us have to work hard to be where we are. We have to be mindful of our food choices – every single day – each meal is an opportunity to make good or bad choices. Each time we get invited out for lunch with a colleague, or over to a friend’s place for a BBQ, or to attend a family gathering, it’s about having the willpower to pick the salad and veggies, the healthy meats, the sugar free drinks – instead of the pasta and cheese sauce, the fatty burger with fries and the pie and ice cream for dessert.

It’s a workout just for your mind to consciously make healthy choices. And sometimes it means declining those invitations if you know healthy options aren’t on the menu, or eating before you go out, or, as we do in our household, pack up a load of healthy food before a long road trip so we know we don’t have any excuse to be tempted by the drive thru.

It’s more than just food choices.

What you eat, is only part of it. And don’t get me wrong, this post isn’t meant to make you feel bad or to make you think that being healthy is a chore. But I do want to make it clear – being fit and healthy is a lifelong choice and it does mean you have to put the work in.

I hear that working out everyday is not possible for some people because of kids, work, no babysitters, unsupportive partners, back pain, leg pain, no money, no workout gear, no one to work out with, blah blah blah. I honestly could write a list as long as my arm with the excuses I hear. And believe me, I know what it’s like to be a mom, run a household, work and try to fit everything else in – I DO!

But…

There comes a point where you have to prioritize. You have to make changes to your lifestyle, to your schedule, to your commitments to make it work. Otherwise, you’ll get to 55 and be onto your second heart attack asking me ‘why didn’t I listen to you earlier?’ Think that sounds dramatic? Here are some stats to wake you up:

1 in 4 deaths in the USA is caused by heart disease

29 million people in the USA currently suffer Type 2 diabetes. 1 in 4 people don’t even know they have it

Almost 70% of adults in the USA are considered overweight or obese 

The good news…

I always like to end on a positive note because I do believe the path to your health and fitness goals needs to be an enjoyable one. Working out and staying fit really doesn’t require you to live in the gym. Here are some really quick and absolutely do-able ways to keep moving during the day. Even the most busy and overworked amongst you won’t be able to avoid these:

  • Park farther away from where you need to go, take your sneakers and WALK
  • Do butt clenches at your desk. No one will even know.
  • Take the stairs as often as you can
  • Lunge from your bedroom to your kitchen; get the partner and kids involved too
  • Do push-ups off your countertop while waiting for the dinner to cook (the washing up can wait!)
  • Calf raise in line at Starbucks (while waiting for your coffee without heavy cream!)
  • Overhead press something heavy you buy at the grocery store (start with a couple of cans)
  • Butt and ab clench while waiting at stop lights
  • Get some fresh air every day, walk the dog, take the kids to the park
  • Have races with your kids in the garden
  • Make housework your workout time – clean house and toned body!

It’s your choice whether you’re going to be strong or weak. And when you need that extra nudge, I’m here to help and kick your butt!

Why can some people eat whatever they want?

Why Can Some People Eat Whatever They Want?

Why can some people eat whatever they want…
…but never gain weight?

 

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.

What’s with metabolism?

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.

Diet or exercise?

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!!!

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