I like the saying, “Get Fit in the Gym, Lose Weight in the Kitchen” because it is so true.
Why is this? Well there are a few reasons. Exercise makes us hungrier, so we “compensate” by eating more. Many people use exercise as an excuse to eat more and end up eating more than they burn during the exercise. Don’t believe me? To counter the effects of one 20oz soda, you would have to walk 4.5 miles, or 1 supersize meal at a fast food restaurant you would need to run 4 miles every day for a week to burn it off! If you eat that supersized meal every day, you have to run a marathon every single day to burn it off.
*Note, for everyone tracking their food in MyFitnessPal. Do not eat the “extra” calories you get through exercise. It never works out and it is often a way people gain weight.
Another reason is that when we exercise, we may also compensate by being less active at other times. Have you ever plopped yourself down on the couch after a hard workout and no feel like moving? The more active we are at one time, the less active we may be later on.
This is why I encourage people to be more active instead of exercising. This may sound like I'm contradicting myself, but exercise and physical activity are subtly different and can mean the world of difference when trying to lose weight.
What is physical activity? Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga, mowing the lawn, picking up toys, and gardening are a few examples of physical activity.
What is exercise? Exercise is a type of physical activity that's planned and structured. Lifting weights, taking an aerobics class, and playing on a sports team are examples of exercise. You do not need to be at the gym to exercise! Exercising can be going for a 15 minute walk during your lunch break, dancing with your kids or girlfriends, or taking a dance class.
Physical Activity and Exercise are important for:
1.Better insulin sensitivity
3.Improved brain health
4.Reduces risk for chronic disease
6.Slows aging process
Although exercise is great, I like to focus on increasing physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t sound so burdensome for a lot of people. Even though exercise doesn’t have to be at a gym, it requires some sort of planning and often gives people the excuse to eat more. Physical activity on the other hand can be fun and spontaneous and doesn’t sound so hard to do if you are out of shape. It has also been shown by science that increased physical activity throughout the day is better than one long bout of exercise for your health!
Easy ways to Increase Physical Activity:
1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
2. Park further away
3. Take frequent bathroom trips
4. Take a walk during lunch
5. Play with your kids
6. Dance around the kitchen while making dinner
While it is true that you can’t over-exercise your way out of a bad diet, the right exercise (increasing physical activity) can help you lose weight, maintain weight loss, and control your appetite so you don’t overeat. Ideally you should do a minimum of 30 minutes of walking every day. Get a pedometer to track your steps. Wear it every day and set a goal of 10,000 steps a day. More vigorous and sustained exercise is often needed to reverse severe obesity and diabesity (diabetes related to being overweight). Run, bike, dance, play games, jump on a trampoline, or do whatever is fun for you.
Fun Facts about Steps:
10,000 Steps Challenge:
Looking for an easy to follow physical activity or exercise plan? >>>CLICK HERE<<<
People who suffer long-term stress are more prone to obesity. Surprise, surprise. The adrenals secrete hormones – such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine – that regulate the stress response. BUT what you might be wondering is why some people are devastated by stress, while other are relatively unaffected. Or why some people thrive in high-pressure, driven work environments while other self-destruct. The reason different people respond so differently to the same stressors is that our response to stress is largely defined by perception. That perception of stress determines how we will respond and that perceived stress is what’s linked to health problems. Because of this stress response from the adrenals, the adrenals are what determine our tolerance to stress and they are also the system of our body most affected by stress.
When we think of stress we think of impossibly full schedules, driving in traffic, financial burdens, arguments with a spouse or kids, losing a job, etc. But we often don’t consider all the other stressors that burden the adrenal glands. These include blood sugar swings, gut dysfunction, food intolerances, chronic infections, environmental toxins, autoimmune problems, inflammation, etc. All of these conditions cause the adrenals to produce more stress hormones.
Other symptoms of adrenal stress include:
When stress becomes chronic and prolonged, the hypothalamus is activated and triggers the adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is normally released in a specific rhythm throughout the day - high in the mornings when you wake up (this is what helps you get out of bed and start your day), and gradually taper off throughout the day (so you feel tired at bedtime and can fall asleep).
Research shows that chronic stress can not only increase absolute cortisol levels, but more importantly it disrupts your natural cortisol rhythm. And it’s this disrupted cortisol rhythm that wreaks oh so much havoc on your body.
Among other effects, it:
Higher levels of cortisol over several months is associated with people being more heavily, and more persistently, overweight. People tend to report overeating and 'comfort eating' foods high in fat, sugar and calories in times of stress, and the stress hormone cortisol plays an important role in metabolism and determining where fat is stored (primarily around the belly – or visceral fat). Visceral fat is very metabolically active and increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Yikes!
But this would be all so very bad news if there wasn't anything you could do about it, but oh there is...
How to reduce the impact of stress?
One way is to reduce the amount of stress you experience. This method of stress reduction is preferred, but this might not always be possible.
Some how tos:
The second step in reducing the stress experienced is to address any physiological problems that are taxing your adrenals (the medical stuff).
We may not be able to avoid stress, BUT we can influence how we perceive the stress, thus changing how it affects us.
4 key factors that determine how we perceive and, thus, respond to stress: (Think NUTS)
1) The Novelty of the event
2) The Unpredictable nature of the event
3) A perceived Threat to our body or ego
4) A Sense of loss of control
Some how tos:
If you’re not doing some form of regular stress management, you will sabotage all of your best efforts with diet, exercise and supplements. Stress management is absolutely crucial to optimal health and longevity.
Hack Your Happiness in 24 Hours
We all need some MOOD BOOSTERS to get us through stressful situations and stressful seasons! Here's 24-hours of researched happiness hacks to help lower your stress…
6:30-6:35a: Stretch. Take 5 mins to practice yoga poses. Research shows yoga keeps you more resilient to stressful conditions. Yoga, meditation or simply breathing can be a great way to relieve tension.
7:00a: Add a green juice to your AM routine. Researchers found that a higher intake of produce resulted in a greater sense of happiness.
9:00a: Bring a plant to work. Research found that the presence of potted plants reduce fatigue, stress, and improve health.
12:00p: Add a shot glass of sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) to your LUNCH. Research suggests probiotic rich foods are a promising treatment for anxiety & depression.
12:30p: Activity break. Go for a 15 min walk outside. Research shows outdoor exercise lifts mood better than indoor exercise.
3:00p: Try green tea as an afternoon pick-me-up instead of coffee. Researchers found that levels of stress were 20% lower in people who drank green tea daily.
5:00p: Add Pandora's "Classical Goes Pop" station to your commute. Research suggests you’ll keep your road rage under wraps when you listen to calming music.
6:30p: Eat Sunflower Lentil Loaf for dinner. Research suggests folate in lentils boosts the happiness hormone, serotonin.
After dinner: Treat yourself to dark chocolate. Researchers found eating dark chocolate daily for 2 weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in people who rated themselves as highly stressed.
10:30p: Get a good night’s sleep. Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, research shows that poor sleep increases stress. In fact, improving the quality and quantity of your sleep is the best way to manage your stress.
.Click >>>here<<< for a yoga stress management plan.
Other healthy ways to manage your stress include: meditation, self-care (massage, pedicure), journaling, reading a book, deep breathing, time with friends, getting the support you need, exercise, laughing, slowing down, relaxing, counseling, yoga, and intimacy.
Water is the most abundant component of most of your body. In fact, about 60% of your body is made up of water. Our joints require it for lubrication, nutrients need it for transport and absorption, and our organs need it for protection. Simply put, water is essential for life.
We’re consistently losing water from our bodies, primarily from urine and sweat. In Fact, 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Nearly half of Americans don't even come close to being fully hydrated. Even mild dehydration can trigger symptoms like headaches, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, irritability, and anxiety. But chronic dehydration leads to sunken eyes, shriveled skin, muscle cramps, joint aches, slower metabolism, higher blood sugar, and, on a weight related note, increased hunger. People are especially dehydrated when they wake up in the morning after a long sleep and consistent breathing.
So how much water do you need? There is the 8x8 rule, where you aim for 8, 8oz cups of water per day, but this may be low balling it for some people. According to the the Institute of Medicine about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day for Men and about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day for Women. And coffee counts! But this is just a ball park. Another metric commonly used is to drink half your body weight in oz. But, even water needs will vary from person to person and from day to day so best to look out for dehydration signs.
Signs you are dehydrated:
What can water do for you?
But back to the weight loss portion of dehydration. It’s very difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So if you’re walking around feeling a gnawing sense of hunger, you might just be dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack.
Research has also shown that drinking a glass of water right before a meal helps you to feel more full and eat less. Many people do find that if they have water before a meal, it’s easier to eat more carefully. In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks.
It is actually best to drink water cold, because then the body will use additional energy (calories) to heat the water to body temperature.
Drinking water instead of other caloric beverages can dramatically boost weight loss. For one, drinking your calories doesn’t stimulate the same fullness mechanism that solid calories illicit. Thus, people who drink calories often don’t compensate by restricting other calories. Drinking more water may lead to decreased calorie intake and reduce the risk of long-term weight gain and obesity
HOT Lemon WATER = perfect morning hydration
HOW TO: Cut a lemon in half. Each morning squeeze half a lemon into 8-12 ounces almost boiling water. You can also add a few shakes of cayenne for a real wake-me-up.
5 REASONS TO JOIN THE HOT LEMON WATER CLUB:
1. Craving Buster: Sour & bitter foods reset taste buds to help you crave less sweet stuff.
2. Immune Boost: Lemon contains immune-boosting vitamin C.
3. Energy Kick: Staying well hydrated keeps energy levels naturally high.
4. Appetite Help: Water before meals decreases appetite so you naturally eat less.
5. Mental Jumpstart: Starting the day with hot lemon water gives you the feeling that you’ve already done something good for your body. It puts you mentally on track to have a healthy day and can snap you out of a less-than-healthy eating streak.
So just how much water do you need? In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less.
How can you build more water consumption into your day? Try these tips:
Too hard to drink water? Here are some of the most hydrating foods:
>>>CLICK HERE<<< for water infused recipes!
Week 8! Keep up the great work! It’s about that time when you are looking to satisfy your sweet-tooth. Dessert is often an area where people fall off the diet bandwagon, but it doesn’t have to be!
7 Desserts that won’t leave you feeling guilty
You know that feeling. The feeling of bliss over-shadowed by the guilt of calculating just how far you need to run to negate the effects of that rich, sinful chocolate dessert. Was it worth it?
From a nutritional prospective, you want to consume foods that have the most nutrients for your buck. Or in other terms, you want the highest amount of vitamins and minerals per calorie.
But what about desserts? Where do they fit in?
Desserts do not typically have nutritional value. I like to call many traditional desserts, which have lots of added sugar and white flour, “empty calories.” In fact, these desserts do not just have empty calories, but harmful calories. For example, sugar can suppress the immune system and send your blood sugar skyrocketing.
But what if we could change that? What if I told you that you could indulge, guilt-free, on several desserts without that little voice inside your head counting calories?
I want to share 7 easy recipes that put the nutrients back into desserts without sacrificing the taste. Each one of these desserts has redemptive qualities by substituting nutrient-poor ingredients with nutrient-rich ingredients from whole foods. In addition, these recipes will have:
Within this blog post and others to come, I will show you how to substitute white, wheat flour for sweet potatoes or black beans, table sugar for fresh or dried fruit, and butter for healthy oils, along with many more quick and easy substitutions that won’t hurt the taste. These nutrient-rich ingredients have health benefits worth indulging on.
Note: As with anything, eat these desserts in moderation. They still have calories and can lead to weight gain if eaten in excess. Think of these desserts as a safe substitute for an occasional treat.
1. Double Chocolate Brownies
Dairy and Gluten Free!
This is by far my favorite brownie recipe. It’s so moist and chocolatey. Palm sugar doesn’t raise blood sugar as high as regular sugar does and gives this dessert a rich flavor. The unsweetened cocoa powder is a superfood, full of antioxidants. The nuts make these brownies dense and filling, while preventing blood sugar spikes.
• 1 cup almond flour
• 1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
• 2 eggs
• 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), about ½ cup
• 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
• 1⁄4 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1⁄4 cup palm sugar
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
• 1⁄4 cup dark chocolate chips
• 1⁄4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease with coconut oil, and line an 8x8 baking dish with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment paper.
2. In a double boiler,or a bowl placed over simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often. Once 3⁄4 melted, remove from heat, and continue to stir. Once the chocolate is melted, add the coconut oil and stir until melted.
3. Mix together eggs,sugar,vanilla, and almond extract (if using). Once mixed well, add the almond flour and cocoa powder.
4. Slowly add the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips.
5. Bake at 350F for 20–25 minutes until just set. Cool in pan before cutting.
2. Berry Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Dairy, Gluten, Egg free
This is a very simple and easy recipe. It tastes just like chocolate pudding and you don’t taste the avocado! It’s loaded with healthy fats that will keep you satisfied while curbs your chocolate craving at the same time.
1. Halve and scoop flesh of avocados into a food processor or blender.
2. Add the almond milk, cacao powder, chia powder, sweetener and
almond extract. Mix until smooth (about 1 minute).
3. Taste and adjust with extra sweetener if needed.
4. Scoop the avocado chocolate mousse into pretty glasses or ramekins (Or use a piping bag). Add fruit if desired.
5. Refrigerate the avocado chocolate mousse for at least 30 minutes before
serving. Garnish with berries and mint.
Recipe adapted from As Easy As Apple Pie: http://aseasyasapplepie.com/avocadochocolate-mousse/
3. Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Makes 16 Servings
Dairy, Gluten, Nut free
This recipe uses black beans, which count as either a serving of vegetables or a serving of protein. Choose these brownies for a tasty alternative with extra fiber. You can’t tell the difference!
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy (a Nutribullet works just as well). Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt and process until smooth. Add one-half of the chocolate chips and pulse a few times until the chips mix with the batter.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares. (For easy removal and uniformed brownies, try using a cupcake pan with cupcake baking cups.)
Nutrition Information per serving: 120 calories, 5g fat (0.3g omega-3), 95mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g protein
Recipe adapted from: http://mealmakeovermoms.com
4. Apple banana chocolate chip cookies
Makes 12 Servings
Dairy, Gluten, and Egg free
This recipe uses apples and bananas instead of flour for added fiber and a sweeter taste. Kids love these.
1.Blend apple, bananas, sugar, water, nut milk, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth.
2.Mix in oatmeal and chocolate chips.
3.Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Information per serving: 114 calories, 2.7g fat (0.4g omega-3), 5 mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein
5. No Bake Carrot Cake
Makes 12 servings
Dairy, Gluten, and Egg free
These tasty bites have no added sugar, but the raisons and dates
sweeten the recipe naturally. Try these at your next party – always
1.Blend the oats and carrots in a food processor for about 10 seconds. Then, add the rest of the ingredients except for the reserved oatmeal and raisins. Blend for another 20 seconds until well-mixed. Don’t over blend!
2.Remove the dough and stir in the reserved oats and raisins by hand.
3.Form into bite-size balls. If needed, refrigerate dough to make less sticky and easier to work with. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information per serving: 67 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated, 0g trans), 3.2mg sodium, 14.8g carbohydrate, 1.4g fiber, 1g protein
6. Protein bites
Makes 20 servings
Dairy, Gluten, and Egg free
For the peanut butter lovers out there, these little bites have high protein and will leave you feeling satisfied, curbing your appetite with the protein and fiber.
• 1 cup quick cooking oats
• ½-cup flaxseed
• 1 cup peanut butter
• ⅓-cup honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½-cup coconut
• ½-cup pecan pieces
1.Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
2.Chill in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes.
3.Roll into bite-sized balls and enjoy!
Nutrition Information per serving: 156 calories, 10.5g fat (1.8g saturated, 0g trans), 48.6mg sodium, 11.3g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, 4.7g protein
7. Frozen fruit sorbet
Makes 2 servings
Dairy, Gluten, and Egg free
This is a favorite. A refreshing treat for that balmy, hot summer afternoon and an easy way to consume a serving of dairy and fruit.
1.Blend ingredients in blender.
2.Freeze until hard.
Nutrition Information per serving: 65 calories, 1.2g fat (1.2g saturated, 0g trans), 11.1mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 0.8g fiber, 0.5g protein
That’s it! You can use any frozen fruit you want. I don’t add any more sugar, but you could add a drizzle of maple syrup or honey or extra fruit on top if you want.
For frozen yogurt, just use a yogurt flavor of your choice (I think vanilla or plain would work best) and blend with your choice of frozen fruit.
For coconut ice cream (vegan), pour coconut milk into ice cube trays and freeze. Then blend about half the tray of the coconut milk cubes with fruit OR 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder and a small handful of raw almonds.
1) Substitute an unhealthy treat or a dessert with a healthy one this week!