Weight Loss: Quality over Quantity

I just love when a study comes out that confirms what I have been saying all along. Recently, a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that  people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods, without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.

My Today’s the Day Plan focuses on eating fresh, whole, properly raised/grown, one-ingredient foods in a form as close to how God created them. I do not like counting calories and I never ask clients to do that either. I do recommend, however, that they keep a food log. It has not only been proven to help people lose more weight, it encourages you to pay attention to how foods affect you. I do ask them to pay attention to the quality of the foods they are putting into their bodies as fuel.

The study concluded that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run regardless of whether it is low fat or low carb. Today’s the Day is a low carb plan because I find most people eat too many grains and starchy carbs (which turn quickly to sugar) and it stalls their ability to reach and maintain a healthy weight. That being said, some people need more carbs. We are all one-of-a-kind individuals with our own unique metabolisms. Some people do best on mostly veggies while others feel weak and lethargic without animal protein. Neither is wrong. That’s why my plan is a blueprint. We adjust it to fit the person’s unique metabolic make up and needs. The point is choosing the healthiest ones – quality is what matters most.

The study also suggests people should be encouraged to avoid processed foods made with refined starches and added sugar, like bagels, white bread, refined flour and sugary snacks and beverages. That is essentially what I recommend. It’s very encouraging to me to see a study that focuses on food quality. Your body is Intelligently created and knows the difference between 1,000 calories of junk food and 1,000 calories of real food. You may be able to fool yourself into thinking it doesn’t matter, but you won’t fool your body.

What I found fascinating was that both groups participating ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories on average by the end of the study, even though they were not conscious of it and they did it by focusing on nutritious whole foods that satisfied their hunger. When you eat “real food” you satisfy yourself at the cellular level. You don’t just fill your belly and expand your waistline!

Do you regularly count calories or do you focus on food quality?

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Nutrition: Worse Than Processed Foods?

I won’t beat a dead horse. I am sure if you read this blog very often, you are aware that I barely consider packaged, processed foods to be foods at all. They are food-like products at best. If you ever take the time to read the labels you’ll see ingredients you likely can’t pronounce much less identify. And all those artificial additives, flavors, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, genetically modified ingredients do nothing to nourish our bodies. Food is intended to be fuel to provide nourishment and energy. Eating processed foods is like putting sugar water in your gas tank.

But what could be worse than processed foods? Hard to believe but there are actually ultra-processed foods. “Ultra-processed” foods are defined as those made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen. According to NOVA they “typically” have five or more ingredients; may be aggressively marketed and highly profitable. If a food includes additives whose purpose is to imitate sensory qualities of unprocessed foods or of culinary preparations of these foods, or to disguise undesirable sensory qualities of the final product.

Sounds delicious doesn’t it?

According to research, Americans spend 90% of their money on processed food, 60% of which comes from ultra-processed foods, which are mass produced, packaged goods, including sodas, packaged sweet and savory snacks, chips, snack cakes, instant noodles, chicken nuggets, white bread, frozen pizza and frozen meals. Twinkies anyone? 90% of the added sugar consumption in the U.S. comes from processed and ultra-processed foods. We can clearly see where that has gotten us – overweight, obese and diabetic.

Not surprisingly, to me anyway, researchers discovered that people who eat more ultra-processed foods have a higher risk of cancer. I understand that nutrition has become confusing with all the choices we are bombarded with. I maintain the best and easiest way to avoid these health problems associated with packaged, processed and ultra-processed foods is to get back to basics.

Eat fresh, properly raised/grown one-ingredient foods in a form as close to how God created them. If you do that 90% of the time the other 10% will not be an issue.

If you look in your kitchen now, do you have more ultra-processed foods than unprocessed (fresh) or minimally processed?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.         

Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Exercise: Can You Get Too Much of a Good Thing?

Most people seem to have the opposite problem. They don’t move enough and sit way too much, which has serious consequences all its own. Sitting too much has been compared to smoking and thought to be just as dangerous and destructive to health. All too often we are either sitting behind a desk 8 or more hours a day or sitting in a car commuting. God didn’t put 650 muscles in our bodies for show! They are meant to be used. And the old saying is true – use it or lose it. Just look at an arm or leg that has been immobilized in a cast for weeks. When the cast comes off the muscles have atrophied from non-use. So there’s no argument that we are meant to move throughout our day and staying active is important in overall health.

However, overdoing anything is counterproductive. You certainly can over-train, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time and then jump in full steam ahead and overdo it. You will know if you’ve done that because you will be so sore you will have trouble moving at all. Overtraining causes inflammation. You experience that inflammation in the soreness of your muscles.

But there’s an even more serious and sinister side to this. Going to the gym for an hour a few times during a week doesn’t offset sitting for 8-10 hours five days a week. One expert calls this being “actively sedentary.” Now the weather here in NY is starting to get mild and everyone just wants to be outside more, which is good. However, many people become what is known as “weekend warriors.” They don’t exercise all week and then do half marathons on the weekend or start extreme cross-fit workouts.

While increasing activity is a good thing overdoing it, especially all at once is not. You may have heard that a side effect of statin drugs can be rhabdomyolysis or rhabdo for short. It is a dangerous syndrome and overtraining has now been shown to be a possible cause. Besides statins, there are more than 100 different possible triggers including heatstroke, crush injuries, certain infections and metabolic disorders. Although it has been considered a relatively rare occurrence, recently there’s been an increased incidence by simply pushing too hard, too fast, particularly if a person is out of shape or just beginning an exercise program.

Rhabdo is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle resulting in leakage into the urine of the muscle protein myoglobin and is often linked to acute onset kidney failure. Symptoms can include muscle tenderness and pain, bruising, brown urine, nausea, fever, vomiting, agitation, irregular heartbeat and weakness. These are the most common types of workouts linked to emergency room visits related to rhabdo:

Crossfit

Weight lifting

Spinning

Marathon training

Training in very hot weather

Military training or strenuous exercise with full gear

So what’s the answer to this? Well as with all things beginning gradually and working up to a higher level of fitness is the first thing. Taking baby steps may not satisfy your need to do it all – but it is more effective than you may think and is the safest way to proceed, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time or are just beginning. I know the old saying “no pain, no gain” but you do not have to work out so strenuously that you get to muscle failure to get results!

Also I urge all clients, weight loss and otherwise, to set a timer and get up every 30 minutes and move. It doesn’t even much matter what you do as long as you move around for a few minutes. Stretch, walk to the water cooler and refill your container, do a few squats or lunges in the bathroom. Take a short walk, stand up while you talk on the phone. Just be intentional about getting some movement every 30 minutes or so. Your muscles will thank you!

Also be sure you are always properly hydrated but especially if you are exercising in hot, humid weather. Take extra precautions not to overdo.

Are you actively sedentary or do you intentionally get up and move periodically all through the day?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

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Nutrition: Impact of Sugar on Good Bacteria

If you typically have a cold glass of orange juice first thing before eating breakfast, you may want to rethink that habit. Juices, particularly fruit juices, are very high in inflammatory sugars and contain none of the fiber of fresh fruit which slows the absorption of those sugars. Twelve ounces of orange juice have 165 calories and 33 grams of sugar and 12 ounces of Coke has 36 grams of sugar and 140 calories. The orange juice has up to 14 grams of fructose while Coke as 15 or 16 grams. So much for a healthy start to the day.

The fructose that fruit juice contains quickly reaches the small intestine. In the mornings, the small intestine can’t process large amounts of fructose after periods of “fasting,” which means the sugar in drinks like orange juice will go to the large intestine instead. There, the fructose comes into contact with the good bacteria that reside there overwhelming your digestive system and disrupting the balance of your gut bacteria.

According to a recent study, over 90% of fructose is digested in the small intestine, which can process fructose, but only when it is consumed after a meal. They concluded that feeding mice before giving them sugar enhanced the small intestine’s ability to process fructose, protecting the microbiome from the damage due to sugar exposure.

So, the bottom line is: if you insist on orange juice (or any high sugar or fructose food or drink) never consume it on an empty stomach.

How do you typically “break your fast” every morning? What is the first thing you consume?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

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Nutrition: Simple Diet Change to Reduce Chronic Pain

Does it seem too simple that you might be able to reduce chronic pain just by modifying what you include in your diet? A very interesting study conducted in Africa seems to indicate just that.

You may be familiar with a food additive called monosodium glutamate or MSG. It is commonly found in just about every packaged, processed food. It sometimes goes by “yeast extract,” “natural flavor” or “hydrolyzed protein” on food labels and is often a cause of headaches and other digestive distress when eating out at Chinese restaurants.

You may think it is a harmless additive that just boosts the flavors in foods. It is the main ingredient in the flavor enhancing product, Accent. It is anything but harmless. MSG is what is known as an excitotoxin. It excites brain cells to death.

What this African study found was that people who regularly use MSG or products that contain it found relief from symptoms of chronic pain when they eliminated it from their diets. The 30 study participants had chronic pain symptoms as well as headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue and sleep issues. In this village in Kenya, where 60% of the people complain of chronic pain, MSG is used in daily cooking in a mixed seasoning spice called Mchuzi Mix.

The study participants were divided into 4 groups. The group that regularly used that spice mix and reported low water intake were given a spice substitute without MSG and increased their water intake as dehydration can exacerbate pain and headaches. The group that did not use the seasoning but reported low water intake just increased water intake. One group was given Tylenol and the last was the control group.

The group that removed MSG from their diet and drank more water enjoyed greater improvement in their chronic pain symptoms. Whether you experience headaches or chronic pain for any reason, it is a good idea to avoid MSG and be sure you do not let yourself get dehydrated. My basic formula is one-half your body weight in ounces of water and include ¼ tsp. of natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan Crystal for every 32 oz. you drink. The easiest way to avoid MSG is to limit the amount of packaged, processed food you eat as it is hidden in almost everything. Stick to fresh, whole, one-ingredient foods instead.

Would you be willing to try avoiding MSG to see how it affects your pain issues?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.         

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Exercise: Is it Ever Too Late to Start?

If you are approaching 50 and have essentially been a couch potato most of your adult life, is it too late to start exercising? I like what Dr. Michael Roizen says in this article: “Well, it’s never too late until you’re six feet under. So it’s never too late until they’re putting dirt on top of you.”

I wholeheartedly agree! Where there is life there is hope as the woman spoken of in this article illustrates. It also goes along with a basic principle of my coaching and my Today’s the Day plan. Taking small, gradual baby steps gently leads you to accomplishing much bigger goals. She just began by taking short walks. Then the walks got longer and she noticed she had more energy and began feeling more positive about her life. One small baby step in the right direction leads to another and then another until you have made some profound, lasting changes.

There are numerous benefits to regular exercise, including better sleep, improving heart health, getting off medications, reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes and other diseases. What’s even more interesting is that exercise improves the quality of your gut bacteria, which influences your immunity and pretty much every aspect of your health.

There’s no excuse for not doing some type of exercise. You certainly don’t have to start off doing the 4-pronged approach suggested in the article. Just start where you are. Take a walk after lunch and dinner when the weather permits. Start with a short walk and increase a little daily. Try and be intentional about taking as close to 10,000 steps a day to begin with. Work your way up.

There are so many different ways to exercise that you will undoubtedly be able to find something you enjoy doing. That’s an important key. If you don’t enjoy doing it, you will find every excuse in the book to skip doing it. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you consistently include movement and activity in your day. (Of course, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)

What is your favorite form of exercise?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

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Is Your Brain Being Hijacked by Someone Else’s Stress?

We’ve all walked into a room and felt the negative emotions and tension. Perhaps the inhabitants of the room just finished an argument. Or your spouse or partner came home and you felt the stress and anxiety as soon as they walked in the room. They didn’t have to say a word.

But a new study shows stress transmitted from others can actually change neurons in your brain in the same way as experiencing real stress yourself does. You may never have considered that stress and emotions could be contagious, but in fact, they are.

The research team studied the effects of stress in pairs of male or female mice. They separated the pairs and exposed one of them to stress before putting them back together. When they examined the specific brain cells that control stress response, both the stressed mouse and its partner showed exactly the same changes in their brains. I find this fascinating.

What is even more interesting is that when the stressed female mice spent time with an unstressed mouse, those effects were reduced almost by half. This did not hold true with the male mice, however. The take-away from this research was that stress and social interactions are intricately linked. My personal take-away was that we women probably help our husbands reduce their stress just by being calm and unstressed. You’re welcome!!

While the research was conducted on mice the researchers were confident that it could also hold true for us.

While being sensitive to each other’s emotions is part of what makes us human and children of God the study found evidence that some symptoms of stress can persist in the loved ones of people suffering from PTSD or other emotional stress disorders. It is another reason to investigate Christian EFT and deal with these negative emotions and memories so we are not only free ourselves but also so we don’t pass them on to our families and loves ones.

How do you deal with stress and negative emotions?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.         

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