Five Easy Ways To track Weight Loss

Five Easy Ways To track Weight Loss

5 Easy Ways to Track Weight-loss

The groundwork of all happiness is health.


– Leigh Hunt

“Weighing” In On Weight-Loss Tracking

Almost everyone, at some point in their life, has felt the dread and anxiety bubble up.  You’re past the waiting room following the nurse around the corner when BOOM…there it is. The giant silver monster which is going to reveal just how bad you splurged at that Mexican restaurant last week; darn those unlimited chip baskets! You try to quickly take off your shoes and as much clothing as possible before the nurse impatiently instructs you to “step on the scale please…”.

Over the years the “giant silver monster”, also known as a scale, has caused millions of people to suffer feelings of anxiety, depression, and even panic. In extreme cases, many Americans refuse to weigh in even at their annual physical exams.

This may or may not be a surprise but, the scale is not the only or even the best way to track weight loss progress. If you weigh yourself on your bathroom scale in the morning, the gym scale in the afternoon, and your rec league’s locker room scale in the evening, you will likely observe three, sometimes very different, results. Why?… Could be several reasons!

 

What’s Effecting the Scale…

How much sodium you've consumed.

How much or little fiber you've consumed.

How much liquid you've consumed.

The scale may be on uneven ground.

The scale may not be calibrated correctly.

The type of clothing you're wearing.

If you've gained/lost weight or muscle.

If you've gained or lost "water weight".

If you've consumed food prior to.

And many more...

If you’re looking for simple and easy ways to evaluate your weight loss progress, look no further! We recommend combining all five of these at-home methods mentioned below.  Using more than one method, especially if that one method is solely a scale, will help give you a better understanding of your true weight loss progress.

Without further ado, let’s check them out!

#1 The Scale

Yup, despite our previous mentions the scale does “weigh in” when it comes to weight loss. Remember, the scale is merely one factor when determining weight loss progress. What the scale displays can vary greatly and does not always mean progress or the lack of progress. Let’s discuss some important details you should consider before stepping on the scale.

If you haven’t updated your scale in a while, now might be the time! You don’t need to break the bank but purchasing a new scale can help ensure the calibrations are correct. Some of the more recent electronic scales have been proven effective at approximating % body fat, %bone density, % water retention, etc. These additional insights can help give you a deeper visual than just one single number. 

If you own a quality scale, add new batteries, or if you have a standard scale, make sure it is properly recalibrated.

Remember to always place your scale on a level hard surface somewhere in your home and if you can, keep it in the same spot. You want to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. 

Weigh yourself in the nude first thing in the morning after using the restroom. Try to weigh yourself around the same time each weight in. Resist the urge to weigh in during the day especially after you’ve consumed fluids or food.

Try to stay objective when it comes to weighing in. This is a tool you’re using to analyze your progress. Once you’ve completed all your steps, then reflect back on your behaviors and consider any necessary adjustments.

PRO TIP

The day before weighing in, try to be mindful of what you’re consuming and pay close attention to your sodium levels. 

PRO TIP

If you are a female with a menstruation cycle, avoid weighing in during that time especially if you’re particularly susceptible to bloating or retaining water weight.  

#2 Measurements

Measurements are one of the simplest and most effective ways to evaluate weight loss. All you need is a little time and a cloth tape measurer.

Measurement points are up to you however we recommend at least these four sites: 1. largest part of your dominant bicep, 2. middle of your dominant thigh, 3. smallest part of your waist, and 4. largest part of your waist.

When scouting your measurement sites, try to find identifying marks to ensure you’re measuring in the same place each time.  If you have no identifying marks, try measuring to the site and documenting for future use. Example: Middle bicep located 7 inches below tip of the shoulder.

Measurements and the scale combined are the bare minimum suggestions for analyzing weight loss. If the scale shows a few extra pounds, but your measurements show no change, it’s very possible you’re purely holding water weight or, could use a little more fiber in your diet. The important thing is not to panic!

As with all these methods, document and date your results.

PRO TIP

If you have a friend, spouse, or family member, ask if they can help you with measurements.  An extra hand can help ensure you’re documenting the correct measurement. If not, take your time or, don’t be afraid to use a little scotch tape as your extra hand!

#3 Listen To Your Body

What does your body tell you?…

Do you feel stronger?

More energized?

Happier?

These are all good signs! Weight loss isn’t just about what you look like on the outside. It’s about your internal health!

Try to remember the primary reason for this journey isn’t solely based around physical appearances;  it should be about your overall health. That means, positively modifying your behaviors in order to help your body stay healthy and function properly. 

If you’re incorporating an exercise program, of course, you may experience some tiredness and muscle fatigue. However, you should start generally feeling better in many areas including your mental health, digestive processes, quality of sleep, etc.

So listen closely and pay attention. If you’re experiencing bodily changes, that’s an incredible sign!

 

PRO TIP

Stay aware of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling each day. Try and make the connection between nutritional health and your body’s response. This way, you can focus on eating what fuels you the best!

#4 Check The Fit

Clothing fit can sometimes be the quickest way you “see” (or feel) weight loss progress. You may not notice a difference on the measurement tape, but a few cm or mm lost can alter how a piece of clothing “fits” or “sits” on you.

Your clothing should not feel tighter or more snug if you’re on a weight loss program. If that’s the case, it’s time to check your program adherence or, make some changes. As mentioned previously, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your sodium and fiber intake. Bloating can certainly negatively affect clothing fit even though you may have maintained or even lost weight.

Some people have a designated outfit or piece of clothing often referred to as “your skinny X” (jeans, shirt, dress, etc.).  This is something you wore previously and aspire to wear again. Your skinny outfit can be a great motivational tool but tread carefully…Make sure this is a positive and achievable goal vs unrealistic desire. If your “skinny jeans” are from your younger years, fitting into that special something might not be a healthy or realistic goal. As we grow older our body and bone structures continue to change. And it’s worth noting that your bone “size”, your hip width for example, is out of our control. So if you have a special victorious article of clothing, make sure it’s a realistic goal that can be reached through a healthy amount of fat loss. 

 

PRO TIP

If you’re on a weight loss plan, don’t shy away from wearing form-fitting clothing. This can help keep you aware of your body and keep you on track with healthy eating. 

#5 Break Out The Camera

Don’t trust yourself enough to gauge clothing fit? That’s ok! Break out that smartphone and snap some shots!

Photos are a great way to hone in on weight loss and can reveal where your body is changing shape. Unfortunately, you cannot “spot reduce” fat; each body responds differently to weight loss.  Your images can help display where those first few pounds were lost  Some of the most common sites to visually see fat loss is the face, neck, chest, and upper stomach area.

Take several images right before your weight in. Ideally in the nude or undergarments, first thing in the morning and after using the restroom. Remember to date each image for future reference and comparison.

Keep in mind, with ALL these methods, consistency and discipline is imperative. In other words, it took time to add the pounds on, it will most certainly take time to take them off!  The more consistent you are with your plan, the faster you will see results. So don’t become frustrated if your first or second set of progress images don’t show major change. We’ll talk a little more about progress timing here shortly.

We recommend taking at least four images: 1. Facing front 2. Facing backward 3. Left side 4. Right side.  Keep your body relaxed (Afterall, these images are for your eyes only!). If you don’t have a tripod or place to set your camera, use a large full-length or bathroom mirror to help. When taking images, try to keep your camera as level as possible.

 

PRO TIP

Try to maintain the same pose and camera set up with all your progress photos. It will be much easier to compare images that are very similar vs positioned dramatically different! 

Final Tips

#1. Be sure to space out your progress “check-ins”. You can complete these as frequently as you like however, make sure you are in the right state of mind to do so. Checking progress too often can sometimes leave a person feeling frustrated or disheartened. Change takes time. If you think seeing minimal change may reduce your motivation, space out your check-ins.  We recommend checking your progress every 2-4 weeks depending on your preference.

#2 Remember to complete several, if not all, of these methods before allowing emotions to take hold. Like we mentioned, the scale may not have moved a bit but, your measurements could have decreased or, neither have changed but your images show some positive progress. These methods are here to help you stay on track, and to evaluate and adjust, your program as needed. If you take a step backward, don’t panic!  Stay calm and reflect on your recent behaviors; see if you can identify some adjustments which should be made. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask the advice of a fitness or medical professional.

3. Keep a designated journal or note taking source to store all your dates, thoughts, measurements, etc.  Use this as a tool to see how far you’ve come or perhaps identify future changes to reach your goal.

Most importantly, understand weight loss is in fact a journey and learning progress.  For 90% of people, it’s never a linear line or entirely “easy”. If you’re doing it right, you should be learning how to adjust your behaviors for the long run in order to maintain your weight for years to come. Stay calm, stay positive, and stay focused!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

THE WHOLE GRAIN TRUTH

THE WHOLE GRAIN TRUTH

The Whole grain truth

“The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, therefore, any person can publish their own diet book. Regardless if they are qualified or not”

Let’s Talk About Carbs

You hear it everywhere; facebook, instagram, news channels, talk shows…”carbs (carbohydrates) cause weight gain”, “cut carbs out of your diet”, “go on a high protein diet”, etc.

The problem is, there’s a lot more to the story. Too much of even a good thing often has negative consequences.  Furthermore, before jumping on the “no-carb” or “low carb” diet plan, you must dig deeper rather than follow what the headlines say.

 The latest trend is the keto diet. This diet promotes almost eliminating carbohydrates entirely from your diet. What people fail to remember is that carbs are not made up of just bread, cookies, and cakes. Carbs are also in nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s not hard to imagine what negative effects will arise from replacing fruits and vegetables, with bacon and hamburgers.  

Carb Considerations

Where are your carbs coming from?

How many grams of carbs/day are you consuming?

Are you consuming simple vs complex carbs?

Are you living a sedentary lifestyle?

Do you have a genetic predisposition to insulin sensitivity?

The Whole Picture

For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on whole grains. You may or may not know the difference between refined vs. whole grains, also sometimes known as, simple vs complex. So let’s have a quick review.

Whole grains are made up of three parts: the bran, gem, and endosperm.  The two most nutritious parts of a whole grain is the bran and germ. The bran, which is the outer layer, provides trace minerals, B vitamins, and fiber. The germ, is the nutrient dent core, providing vitamin E, B Vitamins, and antioxidants. The outer layer is the endosperm which contains primarily carbohydrates that supply the plant with energy.

Refined grains only use the endosperm. The refinement process strips the nutritious bran and germ leaving the starchy, carb-dense outer layer. Without the fiber and nutrients, refined grains digest fast and lead to spikes in blood insulin levels. The initial spike can cause feelings of increased energy however, these spikes are followed by a crash leaving you feeling tired, distracted, and/or irritable.

Whole Grain Examples

Brown Rice

Barley

Whole Oats

Quinoa

Buckwheat

Millet

Refined Grain Examples

Bagels

Most Pasta

Cakes

White Breads

White rice

Dinner Rolls

Whole Grains & Coronary Heart Disease

The British Medical Journal published a large study which combined over 40 published studies investigating the long term effects of whole grains.

Among a total of 316,491 participants, 7,068 cases of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) occurred during the study. It was discovered as whole grain intake increased, there was a reduction in the risk of CHD. The reduction occurred when participants reached 7 servings of whole grains per day. In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was a 20% reduction in the risk of developing CHD.

 

Whole Grains & Stroke

Among a total of 245,012 participants, 2,337 cases of strokes occurred during the study.  It was discovered a whole grain intake of 5 servings per day resulted in a reduction in the risk of having a stroke. In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was a 14% reduction in stroke risk.

 

Whole Grains & Cardiovascular Disease

Among a total of 704,317 participants, 26,243 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) occurred during the study.  In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was a 16% reduction in CVD related deaths.  The risk was reduced the greatest when comparing participants who consumed 1.5 servings per day to those who consumed 0 servings of whole grains per day.  

 

Whole Grains & Mortality

 

All-Cause Mortality

Among a total of 705, 253 participants, 100,726 all-cause deaths occurred. In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was a 17% reduction in all-cause related deaths. 

Cancer Mortality

Among a total of 640,065 participants, 34,346 cancer related deaths occurred. In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was an 11% reduction in cancer related deaths.

Diabetes Mortality

Among a total of 632,849 participants, 808 deaths related deaths occurred. In comparison between participants who consumed the ideal servings of whole grains vs non, there was a 36% reduction in diabetes related deaths.

 

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence supporting that the risk of death and disease is strongly linked to the intake of whole grains.

 

The study investigates the effect of whole grains on other aspects as well. Additional findings found that whole grain intake is also linked to a reduction in the risk of respiratory and infectious diseases.

Ideally, a person should consume between 6-8 servings of whole grain carbohydrate intake per day. In addition, one should attempt to reduce or eliminate the consumption of refined grains. Due to refined grains being more calorie dense and less nutritionally dense.

1 serving of whole grain is approx. 1 ounce.

Some examples would be:

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup cooked whole grain pasta

1 brown rice cake

1 slice of whole grain bread

References:
Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E.,…Norat, T. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ, 353, doi.10.1136/bmj.i2716. 

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

5 Reasons Your NOT Losing Weight

5 Reasons Your NOT Losing Weight

5 Reasons your not losing weight

“Fitness is like marriage….You can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.” 

—Bonnie Pfiester, trainer/motivational fitness speaker

Why Weight Loss

In today’s society, a person’s weight has become more about physical appearance rather than one of the many ways to maintain optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic illness.  This has caused a spur of unhealthy, drastic, and sometimes even dangerous “diet” and weight loss “techniques”.

With the correlation between maintaining a healthy weight and overall health on the back burner, weight loss has turned into a money-making industry. Too often we see the promotion of products, services, programs, etc. which most of the time are not backed by any kind of science or offer true health benefits!  Eliminating entire food groups for no medical reason, starvation caloric restrictions not enough to sustain general bodily functions, nonregulated “miracle” weight loss pills, the list goes on…

Let’s look at the primary reasons why you should maintain a healthy weight…

 

Healthy Weight Means…

Lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases including heart attack.

Lowering the risk of having a stroke.

Lowering the risk of developing many different cancers.

Lowering the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Lowering the risk of developing painful Gallstones.

Lowering the risk of early mortality.

Lowering the risk of developing high blood pressure.

and MORE!

Almost anyone will tell you they “need” to lose weight but, have you ever stopped to ask them why?… It’s important to understand why you should strive to maintain a healthy weight by researching how weight affects the body.

It’s time to redirect people from being so concerned with their “pant size” and start being concerned with what’s going on on the inside!

For now, let’s go over 5 reasons why you may not be losing weight!

#1 Caloric Surplus

We hear a lot of negative talk about calories, or counting calories, but at the end of the day, calories MATTER!

There are programs and diet plans which are based around masking calorie counting but truth is, it’s just that, a mask.  Example: “IIFYM” or If It Fits Your Macros; simply counts macros vs calories but, the calorie calculation generates the maco count. 

A caloric surplus is almost always the number one reason why a person is gaining or not losing weight.  The issue is:

#1. Most people don’t understand just how many calories they are consuming per day.

#2. Most people don’t understand just how many calories they should be consuming per day.

You may think you’re consuming a low or fair amount of calories but, for how long and, are you accurately measuring or, just guessing?

The candid truth is…we eat a lot more than we actually need (that’s just science!).  Every person has a BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate which in short means, how much energy (or calories) your body needs to function for your approx. activity level.  Unfortunately today, one plate at your favorite restaurant can equal your total recommended caloric intake for the day!  Oversized portions, along with added sugars, fats, and oils in almost every dish, make it very easy for Americans to far exceed their energy requirements.

PRO TIP

Focus on how many calories you should be consuming for your energy requirements; NOT the typical “American” oversized portions at every meal.

PRO TIP

Start a detailed food journal even if just for a week. Start to understand just how many calories you are consuming over than what you’re body actually needs!

PRO TIP

It’s perfectly ok to enjoy a large fancy meal…so long as it’s on occasion vs every day.  On days where you do indulge, try to expend more calories through exercise/activity. 

#2 Lack of Fiber

There’s a reason MyPlate and the latest Dietary Guidelines for adults suggest 1/2 your plate be filled with fruits and veggies!

With fast and processed food seemingly always within reach, lack of fiber can really slow your system down.  Hamburger buns, white sandwich wraps,  bagels, pasta bowls, and so on, are all examples of simple carbohydrates.  All of these refined grain foods contain very little fiber; not to mention little nutrients!

Try this exercise:

Step 1. Consume your normal meal containing large amounts of refined grains. Examples: Fast food hamburger meals, pasta alfredo bowl, bagel breakfast sandwich, etc.

Step 2. Think about how much you were able to eat, your portion size, and how the meal made you feel overall (effect to your body, etc.)

Now on the same or following day…

Step 3. Consume a meal where you make 1/2 your plate vegetables, 1/4 complex carbohydrates, and 1/8 lean protein. Examples: Grilled chicken, broccoli, seasoned brown rice. Or, Boiled salmon over a large bed of mixed salad/vegetables and quinoa.

Step 4. Think about how much you were able to eat, your portion size, and how the meal made you feel overall (effect to your body, etc.)

Step 5. Now compare the two meal “results”. The second meal contained a healthy amount of fiber and nutrients whereas, the first meal did not. You likely were not able to eat nearly as much when consuming foods with high fiber.

 

PRO TIP

At each meal, make every plate 1/2 fruits or vegetables and eat these first!

PRO TIP

Try to eat primarily complex carbohydrates vs simple. Example: Quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, etc.  vs white pasta, bagels, bread, etc. 

PRO TIP

For snacking, try cut-up vegetables, carrying a piece of fruit, or raw nuts and seeds. 

#3 Your Ratio Is Off…

If counting calories is not for you so your goal is just to eat “healthier”, what does your food ratio look like?…

Is it 80% healthy/20% unhealthy…or, is it more like 10-20% healthy/80-90% unhealthy?

Eating one salad a day is not going to give you a lot of benefits; health or weightloss wise!

Nutrition is all about balance. You can most certainly enjoy the occasional ice cream cone, dessert sundae, supreme pizza, etc. but the keyword is, “occasional”.  You cannot eat these things every day. The more consistently you eat healthily, the more you can enjoy these spurges but, you can’t be eating 50% healthy/50% unhealthy every day and think your favorite cheesecake isn’t going to regress your progress.

Pick a time frame. Even if it’s just 24 hours, and monitor everything you’re eating (without changing your habits; no cheating!). At the end of the day, take a step back and review.

Most experts suggest taking nutrition day by day and aiming for 80-90% healthy and 10-20% less healthy. Taking it day by day helps to avoid making the mistake of thinking you’ve been eating healthy for such a long period of time; of course you deserve that chicken parm and cheesy garlic bread! When in reality…your healthy eating has not been very consistent at all.

 

PRO TIP

Food journal or plan your meals in advance. Make leftovers for your lunch or try meal prepping to keep you on track.

PRO TIP

If you feel like you’ve eaten mostly healthy all day but not the “greatest” and you’re at your favorite restaurant for dinner, try to balance your meal.

Example: Instead of ordering that plate of chicken parm and cheesy garlic bread, swop the bread for a nice side salad and ask the waiter to hold the cheese on the chicken parm.

You can also ask the waiter if there are any whole grain options or to put half your meal in a take out box before serving it.

#4 Stop Rewarding Yourself With Food

You lose weight by creating a caloric deficit; typically that’s accomplished by reducing daily calories and increasing caloric expenditure through exercise.  You can accomplish a deficit with solely a reduction in calories or, caloric expenditure through exercise, but most find it’s less difficult and wiser to use both avenues.

What you don’t want to do however is consume calories expended after every workout. This is also known as, rewarding yourself with food and it happens more often than you think!  Either, A. You eat “x” because you’re “going to work out extra hard later that day” or B. You eat “x” because you had a super intense workout and “deserve” it.

While sometimes this method is ok IF you’re consistent with a healthy eating style and caloric intake, it’s primarily for maintaining current weight and most people tend to abuse this logic!

If you’re going to have a little splurge, it’s a great idea to burn extra calories to rebalance everything out, however, make sure it’s the correct balance and, it’s not happening often!

Eating a large hamburger and french fries every other week after your intense workout is likely going to either cancel out your efforts so you maintain your weight or, cause you to potentially gain.

PRO TIP

If you feel hungry after your workouts, drink a large glass of water (18-24 oz). 

PRO TIP

If you spurge after a workout, write it down in your calendar or note it somewhere. This way, if you are considering another splurge, you can refer back to the last date. 

PRO TIP

If workouts are increasing your appetite, try increasing your water, lean protein, and vegetable intake. A lot of times, we are hungry because our body is craving water or protein to repair muscle tissue.

#5 Lack Of Time and/Or Consistency

If you’ve really done your homework (truly!), and you still don’t feel like you’re losing weight, get your calendar out and pay attention to your timeline and consistency patterns.

It’s a lot easier to gain weight. That doesn’t mean you can or should use that as an excuse! 1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories over your daily expenditure. If you go out to eat 3-4 times a week, that’s pretty easy to surpass if you’re not careful!

Weight loss takes time. To lose 1 lb a week, you need a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.  Depending on your consistency and your metabolism, that can take a little more time than that you’d like.

Stay as consistent as possible. Set a reasonable timeline. And stay focused.

Once you lose the weight, 9 times out of 10 it will be easier to keep it off/maintain now that you better understand your body and what it takes to get the job done!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

Where Do You Stand?…

Where Do You Stand?…

Where do you stand...

With the top 20% or...the bottom 80%?

Let’s Find Out!

“The scientific evidence continues to build—physical activity is linked with even more positive health outcomes than we previously thought.

And, even better, benefits can start accumulating with small amounts of, and immediately after doing, physical activity.”

The Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is developed and issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).   These guidelines educate Americans on exactly how much physical activity is required to maintain optimal health and prevent the risk of chronic diseases.

The HHS Activity Recommendations are grounded in the most up to date evidence-based research and statistics.

The guidelines provide detailed activity recommendations for all Americans from ages 3 and up including pregnant women and those with disabilities.

Despite the astounding amount of research revealing the many benefits of physical activity, too many Americans are continuing to live sedentary lives.

Let’s look at some statistics…

 

 

The Harsh Reality

s

About half of all American adults (117 million people) have one or more PREVENTABLE chronic diseases

s

Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity.

s

80 percent of adults are NOT meeting the key activity guidelines.

s

80 percent of adults are NOT meeting the key activity guidelines.

s

The lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10 percent of premature mortality.

s

YIKES!....

So, Are You In The Top 20%?!…

 

Let’s Find Out!

 

 

 

The Minimum Activity Guidelines For Adults

150 Minutes of Moderate Physical Activity

OR

75 Minutes of Vigorous Physical Activity

PLUS

Strength Training two or more days per week involving all major muscle groups.

How Did You Do?!...

What’s the difference?…

Moderate Activity Means…

In terms of relative intensity on a scale of 1-10, moderate physical activity would be a 5 or 6 out of 10.

Examples Include:

– Brisk walking

– Hiking

– Swimming

– Electrical work

– Tennis

– Rowing

Vigorous Activity Means…

On a scale of 1-10 vigorous activity feels like a 7 or 8. Almost like you’re working at your maximum capacity but, keep it safe!

Examples include:

– Sprints

– Jogging uphill

– Mountain biking

– Heavy yard work

– Jumping rope

– HIIT training

So What Are The Benefits Of Exercise?

Let’s take a peek!

N

Improved bone health and weight status for children ages 3 through 5 years.

N

Improved cognitive function for youth ages 6 to 13 years.

N

Brain health benefits, including possible improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life.

N

For pregnant women, reduced risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression.

N

Reduces the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease).

N

Reduces the risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach.

N

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke).

N

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

N

Reduces the risk of all-cause mortality.

N

Reduces the risk of hypertension.

N

....And M O R E!

Moral of the story…It’s Time To Get Moving!

If you’re meeting the current guidelines for physical activity give yourself a pat on the back (and keep going!). If you’re not meeting the guidelines even by a little, it’s time to get moving!

It’s important to note these are the minimum guidelines; not the “athlete guidelines”, not the “just for this age group” guidelines, the adult minimum requirements.  Exceeding the requirements is ideal!

It does not matter what age you are, everyone needs and can benefit from some variation of physical activity.

So, what to do if you’re not meeting the requirements?  Find a way to get moving!

 

Here are some ideas:

– Mow the lawn with a push mower

– Try to get in 1-2 60 minute fitness classes each week

– Take a 30 minute power walk everyday

– Play a sport with your family

– Purchase a small set of weights or a kettle bell

– Try something new! Kickboxing, swimming, boot camp, cycle, zumba, anything to get your heart rate up!

– Start a project! A garden, a renovation, a DIY, a new hobby, etc. Think outside the box and get creative.

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

To Affirm…Or Not To Affirm

To Affirm…Or Not To Affirm

To Affirm...

Or Not to Affirm...

Excellent Question!

“Any thought that is passed on to the subconscious often enough and convincingly enough is finally accepted.” 

– Robert Collier

First, What Are Affirmations?…

In short, positive affirmations are spoken statements which are often repeated in order to encourage and uplift one’s self.

There is a great deal of research showing affirmations can impact positive change. However, there are many opinions on affirmations and how to correctly utilize them.

Affirmations have been shown to stimulate the areas in our brains that make us more likely to effect positive changes in regard to our health.

Science Backed 

For example, several studies suggest that affirmations can help you perform better at work.

According to research, spending a few minutes thinking about your best qualities before a high-pressure meeting, can calm your nerves, boost confidence, and improve your chances of a successful outcome.

What’s The Fine Print?…

The truth is, affirmations don’t work for anyone and can potentially work against you.

Like most things in life, there is no “cookie cutter” solution for everyone.  Positive affirmations may not work for some people but, there is usually an underlying reason why affirmations can have little to no effect or worse, negative effects.

When trying positive affirmations, you need to believe what you are saying…or, feel you can eventually believe what you are saying. If you have an extremely negative attitude and try repeating “I am happy”, of course your subconscious is going to consider the attempt a joke!

The point is, when attempting positive affirmations, make sure they are realistic and believable to you.

For example, you love to cook and host events but, you struggle with anxiety and perfectionism which can ruin the entire experience.  The next time you plan to host a dinner, prior to or when you start to feel warning signs, you tell yourself “I love cooking and I’m a great host. I’m going to have a great time and everything is ok”.  This is a great example of a positive affirmation that can work!

Now, let’s look at one more example. You hate broccoli. You’ve hated broccoli since you were a kid but you know it’s good for you. You cook a large helping of broccoli, sit down at the dinner table and tell yourself “I enjoy broccoli so much”…NOT. This is an example of an affirmation that’s doomed to fail.  It’s not realistic or believable; you know you don’t like broccoli and trying to force it on yourself can lead to negative emotions. A better avenue might be to say “I keep an open mind when trying new vegetables” and stay positive towards finding other alternatives greens.

Let’s review a few examples of some general statements you may have even said to yourself in the past vs, the corrected version in a positive affirmation format.

Less Powerful

“I am not afraid”

“I do not compare myself to others”

“I’m not worried about money”

“I won’t overeat today”

“I will not let the negativity of others affect me”

“I am not going to fall off the ladder”

Corrections

“I AM BRAVE”

“I AM PROUD OF MYSELF”

“I AM FINANCIALLY STABLE”

“I EAT WHEN I’M HUNGRY”

“I STAY STRONG & POSITIVE”

“MY GOAL IS IMPORTANT I AM GOING TO SUCCEED”

Give affirmations a real try; stay true to your spirit and remember, practice makes perfect!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

5-5-5 Challenge

5-5-5 Challenge

5-5-5 challenge

5 weeks, 5 habits, 5 lbs.

Are you ready?!

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”

– Joyce Meyer

The Challenge

Follow these five behavior tricks for five weeks and loose up to five lbs!

Managing your weight does not have to be stressful; it takes consistency, some discipline, and most certainly balance.

In today’s world, most people eat 80-90% unhealthy or heavily processed foods, and only 10-20% healthy wholesome foods.  What you want to achieve is 80-90% healthy and 10-20% of the time still enjoy your sweet or greasy treats.

Challenge yourself and stick with these 5 behavior steps closely for 5 weeks and track your end results. Let’s take a look at them now.

5 Habits

#1 Drink a large glass of water before eating

#2 Set your utensil DOWN or choose chop sticks

#3 Eat only at the dining table

#4 Wear form fitting or tight clothing

#5 Make 1/2 your plate veggies and eat them FIRST

#1 Drink a large glass of water before eating

Before eating a meal, snack or even so much as a bite of food, drink a large glass of water.

Before going back for seconds, refilling your popcorn bowl, or adding a round of dessert, drink another large glass of water.

This helps to:
  • Reduce your overall caloric intake
  • Allow time for your body to feel satiated
  • Reduce mindless eating
  • Keep you well hydrated

#2 – Set your utensil DOWN or choose chopsticks

Set your utensil down after every bite. Yup, we said it, every bite. Chew thoroughly. Swallow. Then pick up your utensil again, and repeat.

Yes…this seems silly however, you will be surprised by the result. If you’re eating finger food, cut it up! (Pizza, burgers, whatever!).

If setting your utensils down is too easy, choose chopsticks!

This helps to:
  • Ease digestion
  • Allow your body time to feel satiated
  • Build new behaviors for eating slower in the future

#3 Eat only at the dining table

Commit to eating all snacks and meals sitting at the kitchen table.

Resist the urge to grab food and eat while walking around the house, snacking while cooking, sitting on the couch, etc.

This helps to:
  • Limit mindless eating
  • Avoid unnecessary calories
  • Reduces snacking

#4 Wear form-fitting or tight clothing

Wear snug, form-fitting clothing. This is NOT meant to make you feel insecure; this is meant to keep you aware of your body.

Have you ever overindulged wearing a form-fitting suit or dress?… Doubtful! Sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt?… You know it! It’s much easier to overconsume when we don’t have to think about our bodies form or size.

This helps to:
  • Keep you aware of your body
  • Stop you from eating when you are full
  • Reduce overeating at home
  • Maintain posture and improve core strength

#5 Make 1/2 your plate veggies and eat them FIRST

This last habit is two-fold. Part 1. Fill 1/2 your plate at each meal with vegetables of any kind (No added cheese, butter, or heavy sauces).

Part 2, always eat the vegetables first before your other foods.

This helps to:
  • Increase your nutrient intake
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Fill your stomach with healthy fiber
  • Lower your total caloric intake at each meal

Challenge Accepted 

Don’t Wait! Start Today! 

Ready, set, go!

Don’t wait until next week or even tomorrow; start your challenge today. It’s only five weeks and five small behavior changes to focus on. 

The more consistent you are, the more results you will see! 

If you cannot do all five behaviors, then stick to at least 3.  Keep us posted on your progress and share your results!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

The “Con Man” In Your Food

The “Con Man” In Your Food

The "Con Man"

Hiding In Your Food

“Added sugar is hiding in foods that some consider healthy; 

such as yogurt, milk, granola and energy bars. 

Even savory foods are affected. 

Ketchup, breads, salad dressing, pasta sauses, you name it.”

What’s Lurking In Your Food?

With more and more research revealing the dangerous effects of consuming high amounts of sugar, the public’s awareness has significantly increased.  The problem…(aside from those knowingly consuming too many sugary treats) many people have no idea sugar is also being laced into just about everything they consume! From bread…to condiments and dressings…even injected into meats.

 

According to many studies, sugar is as addictive as cocaine and it’s well known, too much sugar has detrimental effects on the body.

 

As a result of the increasing awareness, food companies have become clever, changing the name of “sugar” to sneak it into food ingredient labels. We’re going to go over all the “alias” names for sugar but first, let’s share some helpful suggestions…

Helpful Suggestions:

Read The Ingredients!

Read the ingredients on every food label. There are plenty of options that offer low or zero, added sugar or artificial sugar. 

Avoid "HFCS"

Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at all costs. To put it simply, HFCS is an artificial sugar that heightens the potency of fructose to unnatural amounts.

Learn The "Alias" Names

Study and learn the names below so you can become familiar with how many of your regularly consumed foods may be affected by added sugars. 

Stick To Whole Foods

Stick with foods in their “most whole” form. Example – If you’re craving orange juice, try eating an orange stead of consuming fruit juices or orange flavored candy, etc.  Try to make at least half of your meals foods that are one ingredient…themselves! 

Use Fruit For Cravings

When craving something sweet, try using fruit as an alternative for cookies, candy, ice creams, and other highly processed deserts.  Chilled strawberries, sliced kiwi, clementines, etc. are all great examples of  sweet, nutrient-packed treats! 

Why Refer to Sugar as a “Con Man”? …

Several reasons!

First, high doses of added sugars play “tricks” on your brain. Making you think something may taste better than it actually does.

Next, high amounts of added sugar can make you believe you have “energy” when in reality, your body is working double time to remove that sugar from your bloodstream. Then suddenly, poof! Your “energy” levels nose dive leaving you feeling twice as tired.

Lastly, sugar can stimulate important hormones that can either make us feel hungry or satiated. Thus, increasing our appetite and making us eat more! (double ouch).

Not to mention…sugar has so many alias names as you soon will see!

The Hidden Names Of Sugar

Sugar (granulated)
Agave nectar
Barbados sugar
Barley malt
Barley malt syrup
Beet sugar
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Cane sugar
Caramel
Carob syrup
Castor sugar
Coconut palm 
Coconut sugar
Confectioners sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Date sugar
Molasses
Muscovado
Palm sugar
Panocha
Powdered sugar
Raw sugar
Refiners syrup
Rice syrup
Saccharose

Dehydrated cane juice
Demerara sugar
Dextrin
Dextrose
Evaporated cane juice
Freeflowing brown
Fructose
Fruit juice
Fructose concentrate
Glucose
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
HFCS (HighFructose Corn Syrup)
Honey
Icing sugar
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maltodextrin
Maltol
Maltose
Mannose
Maple syrup
Sweet Sorghum
Syrup
Treacle
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar
Sorghum Syrup
Sucrose

There You Have It!

We hope going over all these sneaky alias names for sugar will help you to better regulate your diet. Remember, the healthiest forms of sugar come from natural wholesome sources; primarily sweet vegetables and fresh fruits.  These wholesome sources are nutrient dense and contain healthier amounts of sugar and fiber combined.

 

Refined added sugars, especially “HFCS”, are known as “empty calories” which just means, they lack any real nutritional value and have no health benefits. They do however negatively impact your health by increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many other health complications.

 

Until next time, keep your veggie count up and cookie count low! 

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

The “Smarts” Behind SMART Goals

The “Smarts” Behind SMART Goals

The "Smarts" Behind

SMART Goals

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”

Andrew Carnegie

What is an effective goal setting technique fitness and health professionals utilize the most?

If you guessed SMART Goals, you are correct!

 

Setting a SMART Goal is a perfect way to help make your longterm health goals become a reality. Your goal may take a little longer to reach however, we can almost guarantee the results will be long lasting vs short lived. Reaching your best self is most definitely a “marathon”; not a sprint!

What Makes Up The SMART in SMART Goal?

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant/Reward Driven

Time-Bound

1. Specific

Your goal needs to be narrowed down and very specific. Start by creating a clear statement describing your goal. Keep it concise and easy to understand.

If your goal is very large; create smaller more manageable short-term goals while keeping your long-term vision in mind.

Bad Example: “I want to lose a lot of weight”

Good Example: “My longterm goal is to reduce my body fat by 10%. Therefore, my initial goal will be to reduce my body fat by 1%”

 

2. Measurable

How will you track your progress?… How will you get there? Most importantly, how will you know when you have reached your goal? By making sure your goal is measurable!

That means, adding some numbers and/or specific details to the end of your goal action.

Poor Example: “I will eat less fast food”

Good Example: “I will cook my own breakfast 5 times per week instead of ordering fast food. I will log the two days I do not cook in my notebook”

3. Attainable

Next, reflect back on your previous statements and ask yourself…is this attainable?… Meaning, you can work it into your lifestyle and feel confident you can achieve it.

Your goal should be challenging but, don’t forget to leave room for error and unexpected situations.  Setting the bar too high can lead to feelings of defeat and/or negative behaviors.

Poor example: “I will work out and eat a meal replacement shake for breakfast every day”.

Good example: “I will work out and eat a meal replacement shake at least 3 days per week.”

4. Relevant/Reward

Make sure your goal is relevant and has meaning to you (the “why” behind it all). Avoid setting a goal because it’s important to somebody else or pressure from the media/society.

In some cases, people will also set a reward to help motivate them. The reward can correlate to your “why” serve as a positive motivational tool.

Bad Example: “Upon meeting my goal, I will reward myself with a tub of my favorite ice cream.

Good example: “Upon meeting my goal, I will reward myself with a new mountain bike to ride with my spouse”

5. Time-bound.

Always include an end-point. It’s mentally important to keep track of your progression in order to reach your goal. Knowing your deadline helps keep you motivated and your “eye on the target”.
Poor example: “I will eat healthy everyday”
Good example: “I will do “X” for two weeks until “X” date”

There You Have It!

The breakdown of what makes SMART goals so smart!

Now, try to create your own smart goal. It takes a little practice, but you will get the hang of it in no time! 

Use a journal, old notebook, phone app, etc. to write out your first goal. Don’t forget to add your start and end date. Anytime you feel lost, take a peek at this article and use it as your guide. 

Set reasonable date ranges and track your progress. If you need a little more help, reach out to us anytime! 

Have a Question?

Reach out today!

The “WRITE” Way To Health Goals

The “WRITE” Way To Health Goals

The "WRITE"

Way To Health Goals

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

—Unknown

Missing The Target

At one point or another, most of us have set at least one health-related goal. Some of us have set quite a few goals over our lifetime.

So the question is, if the average person sets out to meet a healthy goal, why do they often fail?… The answer is typically one, or a combination of, these three mistakes.

Common Mistakes

#1 Improper Goal Setting

#2 Unrealistic Expectations

#3 Extrinsically Motivated

Imagine this scenario…Alex, a working mother of two, decides it is time to lose that extra 10-15 lbs. gained after her second child. Alex has not been physically active since college and eats on the unhealthy side (fast food is her favorite!).

Alex sets a goal “to begin jogging every weekday morning and eating healthier in order to lose the weight”.

On a scale of 1-10, how likely do you think Alex will meet this goal?…Our guess would be around a 2.

In this article, we will address some common goal setting mistakes then, use the information to revise Alex’s goal.

Common mistakes explained…

1. Too Much Too Soon

Attempting dramatic behavior change so suddenly is a receipe for complications. Extreme change of any kind can quickly lead to relapse, burnout and/or negative effects on your mental and physical health.

Small changes carried out consistently will lead to greater future success.  Set goals which challenge you but, are within your ability. Meeting your goals will help keep you motivated!

2. Overly Broad

Blanket statements such as “eating healthier” and “jogging every weekday” are far too vague.  Unrefined goals can easily lead to emotional frustration because you don’t have enough information.

Make specific statements which clearly outline your plan. “Instead of snacking from the vending machine this week, I will bring healthy snacks from home”.

3. Where’s the Finish Line?

When setting goals, it is important to set a reasonable deadline. Everyone needs a finish line! Working towards a goal requires effort, having an end date will help sustain your mental focus.

Set a reasonable deadline depending on the complexity of your goal. 7-14 days is a good short term goal. Once you reach the finish line, you can then regroup, revise and start fresh! Like we mentioned, meeting a goal has huge benefits for your feelings of self-worth and long term motivation.

4. Most Important, Why?…

People tend to make goals because it seems like the “right” thing to do or, something they heard through the media. If you don’t clearly understand your “why” behind wanting to change/meet your goal, chances are you will struggle.

Intrinsic motivation is desiring something that comes from “inside” or, “from the heart”.  Wanting to lose weight because “you need to”, does not ignite your inner drive. However, wanting “to lose 10-15 lbs because the added weight makes it difficult to play outside your children” showcases a deep intrinsic desire. Repeating your why over and over again can help push your forward towards your goal.

Now, let’s use the information above and refine the initial goal statement.

“My longterm goal is to lose 10-15 lbs because I need to spend more outdoor time with my children and my weight complicates that. My initial goal is to cook my own breakfast at least 4-5 times/week instead of ordering fast food. I will also wake up 30 minutes earlier at least 3 days/week (Mon, Wed, and Fri) to walk for 15 minutes around my neighborhood. I will start tomorrow and stick to this plan for two weeks”.

MUCH better!

Use this information and WRITE yourself a new health goal!  Practice makes perfect. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to be challenged yet capable of meeting your goal, keep revising! Start small and take your time. The journey to optimal health is a turtle race!

Have a Question?

Reach out today!