Weight Loss: Why Women Struggle So Much

There are myriad reasons why any one person, man or woman, might be struggling with weight loss. There are obvious reasons such as lack of activity, eating too many processed foods or just eating too much in general. There can be hormonal issues, food sensitivites or allergies, interactions with medications and digestive issues. However that’s not what I wanted to touch on in today’s post.

As a woman I deal primarily with women and I see something at work in women of all ages. I have a daughter in her 20’s and have worked with young women in their 20’s and early 30’s. I see them dealing with the stresses of beginning a career, navigating relationship issues, planning weddings, buying a home, starting a family and dealing with newborns. Just listing all those things stresses me out!

Many are working more than one job or working a full time job and either going to school to finish a degree part time or working a side job. That means often they are rushing from one job to another and usually healthy eating falls by the wayside. Often they are burning the candle at both ends to just get it all done and sleep suffers. And where do they fit in time to exercise?

Then you have women in their 40’s and beyond. While their children may be grown and out of the house, that doesn’t mean they are not impacted by whatever is going on in their children’s lives. I can personally attest to that. I heard someone say once that a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child and that is so true. If one of my children is going through a difficult time, it is as if it is happening to me.

Many women at this time are either re-entering the work force now that children are gone or are considering making a change, starting a side business or going part-time. They may be adjusting to a spouse’s retirement. They may be experiencing financial crises with these changes. They may also have become caretakers for elderly or ailing parents or relatives. Many have 20-something children who had to return home and that creates unique stresses all its own.

None of these things is easy and none of them are conducive to weight loss much less health and peace. We don’t often realize how powerfully stress, anxiety and lack of peace affects our ability to not only be truly healthy, but to be able to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Life is not necessarily easy or smooth all the time. We know this. As women we are usually the peacemakers, comforters, nurturers, encouragers and support systems for our spouses and families and this is a huge privilege. It is nothing new, however. Just read Proverbs 31 and you see this is how God created us as women.

If you see yourself in one of these descriptions and you are struggling to lose weight and find balance in your life, I want to encourage you. Thankfully we go through different seasons in life. For moms with small children know that this season will go by much more quickly than it seems to when you are in the midst of it. All my coaching addresses spirit, soul and body because health is more than the absence of illness or a certain number on the scale – it is wholeness. It begins, particularly for women, in putting yourself on the list.

That sounds so simple, and truly it is, but it is not always easy. Often things like guilt come into play. We are supposed to put others before ourselves and we’ve gotten so good at that we can feel guilty asking for help or taking time out for ourselves. But it isn’t an “either or” situation. It is definitely a process. As with all changes we make taking one baby step at a time usually works best. We don’t have to change everything all at once but we have to commit to making some gradual changes. You would be surprised at how supportive your family will be when you enlist their help in making changes.

Who knows, you may even encourage them to make their own healthy changes. We are all works in progress so whether we like it or not, change is our constant. Once you become aware of some things you can do to put yourself on the list, begin slowly incorporating them into your life and enlist your family’s help. If you need additional support and encouragement, contact me and let’s walk together toward wholeness.

In what ways can you begin putting yourself on the list as you work toward wholeness and weight loss?

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 Emotional Health, Overall Health and Wholeness, Spiritual Health, Weight loss, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Healthy Aging: Why Maintaining Muscle is so Important

scrambled eggs with tomatoes and sausage with fennel

One of the principles of my Today’s the Day plan is having a form of clean protein at each meal. I’ve shared before that when I was younger – all the way through my 20’s and 30’s – and the beginning of my 40’s – I was essentially a vegetarian most of the time. I love veggies and I was definitely a pasta and bread girl. I never had a weight problem until my early 40’s when I began gaining weight even though I wasn’t doing anything different.

That spurred me on to developing my Today’s the Day plan. I began adjusting my meals to include a form of clean protein at each meal and to first limit and then eliminate starchy carbs and grains most days of the week and the weight came off easily. I have remained at my healthiest weight now for over 20 years following this plan.

Now that I am in my 60’s I am aware of the importance of maintaining muscle mass. I work out most days of the week and that includes weight training and HIIT. After reading Dr. Mercola’s excellent book on mitochondrial health, Fat for Fuel, I understand better why too much protein can activate metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer development. My plan has never recommended large amounts of protein – 3-4 oz. per meal – I have recently seen that this recommendation can be increased for those of us over 50.

It was also found that having protein throughout the day, not just for dinner or at one meal, helped build and preserve muscle more effectively. We are constantly breaking muscle down and building it up. In fact this is how strength training builds muscle. However, as we age, muscle protein breaks down more quickly than it is rebuilt so we need to provide a little more of the raw material our bodies need to keep us strong on a consistent basis.

While we have most likely been more concerned with maintaining a certain weight earlier in our lives, as we enter our 60’s and beyond, maintining strength becomes the more critical factor so we do not get frail and weak.

Are you aware of the importance of protein for people over 60?

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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Blood Sugar and Weight Management Hacks

There are two very powerful, yet simple and easy to use “hacks” anyone can use to reduce blood sugar spikes, get excess sugar out of the blood and help with weight loss. This will not only benefit anyone with type 2 or pre-diabetes but is helpful for everyone as these spikes are damaging.

Obviously, as this client learned, adopting a low-carb lifestyle is very effective in normalizing blood sugar and for losing weight as well. So that would be the foundational step to take. But our bodies are created for variety, so eating very low carb indefinitely isn’t always best.

One of the things I suggest to people who finish the first 7 weeks of the Today’s the Day plan is to try carb cycling where on days when they do a lot of cardio, they bump up the healthy carbs a bit and on days when they will strength train, they boost protein by a bit.

That being said, there is also something called resistant starch (RS) that many are unaware of. Resistant starch is a carb that is resistant to digestion. Where most starches convert to glucose in the small intestine as other carbohydrates do, RS resists digestion and passes through to the large intestine where it acts much like dietary fiber and is fermented by gut bacteria. So it acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut.

This alone is a wonderful thing! Those good bacteria make it more difficult for the bad bacteria to thrive and improve absorption of minerals. RS seems to decrease after meal glucose and insulin response, improve insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, metabolism, increase satiety and reduce fat storage. All great things!

Some sources of RS are oats, cooked and cooled rice or potatoes, beans and legumes, particularly adzuki beans, 1-2 tablespoons of raw potato starch* daily added into yogurt or a smoothie and green bananas as well as green banana flour. *Start slowly! Use ¼ teaspoon and work your way up as it can constipate you.

What I learned about is how to include this RS with a low carb diet to accomplish the subsequent meal” effect. It’s fascinating. RS blunts insulin and glucose spikes and helps escort the excess sugar out of your body. Well if you plan a higher carb dinner – maybe a birthday party or dinner out – whatever, research shows if you have resistant starch at the low carb meal before that one, your after meal (or postprandial glycemic response or PPGR) is improved at the next meal!

So if you have a low carb dinner tonight, it helps you at that meal and your PPGR will be improved at breakfast tomorrow, especially if it is a higher carb meal, since it is the subsequent meal. It seems to lower the glycemic effect. The low carb meal makes you more carb tolerant at the next meal. A handy thing to know.

You can use these hacks whenever you know you’ll be having a higher carb meal and include resistant starch with a low carb diet to accomplish the same thing. Bottom line: if you’re planning on going higher carb for a meal — for whatever reason — low carb the meal prior to it and/or include RS.

By stabilizing insulin and glucose levels you not only protect yourself from their damaging effects, you also help your body to protect you from illness by boosting immune function and increasing nutrient absorption, particularly minerals.

Would you consider using resistant starch along with a low carb diet and using the subsequent meal strategy?

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, Digestive Health, Nutrition, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nutrition: Are You Deficient in this Important Mineral?

When I speak to people and we talk about supplements and what they are taking, almost every one makes a point to say they are supplementing with calcium. We’ve heard so much about the increase of osteoporosis and especially for women who are over 40, that most doctors even tell their patients to supplement with calcium.

I won’t go into all the details about this here but just supplementing with calcium for bone health isn’t enough – because with the continued increase in osteopenia and osteoporosis obviously it isn’t working.

You also need companion nutrients to make sure the calcium gets where it is supposed to go – in the bones – and keeps it from depositing in soft tissue like arteries. But that’s for another blog post.

Today I wanted to talk about a mineral that gets overshadowed by calcium yet is critical to health. In fact this mineral has an effect on more than 300 bodily chemical reactions, including heart health, energy levels, bone health, linked to lower diabetes risk and it is believed that as many as 80% of people are deficient. As a natural calcium channel blocker, this mineral may also reduce damage caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields and microwave radiation from cellphones and other wireless technologies. Recent research has also revealed it mimics a key underlying mechanism of calorie restriction, an extremely effective method of slowing aging and extending lifespan. And it does this without limiting caloric intake.

Have you guessed which mineral I’m referring to? It’s magnesium.

Most people are not eating enough foods with magnesium and even if they do, the soils are so depleted that they still are not getting what they think they are. Also certain very common drugs, like those prescribed for reflux, are associated with low magnesium levels. Also antibiotic use can damage the digestive tract preventing the body from properly absorbing and utilizing magnesium in foods. So while it is always best to get nutrients from whole foods, supplementing wisely in this case may be a good idea.

It’s difficult to determine deficiency via blood test since most is in cells or bones, but here are some common signs that may indicate a deficiency:

Low bone density or osteoporosis

Abnormal heart rhythms

Agitation, Anxiety, Irritability

High blood pressure

High blood sugar, diabetes or pre-diabetes

Chocolate cravings

Confusion

Constipation

Depression

Exhaustion, Fatigue

Headaches

Insomnia

Muscle cramping, spasms or weakness

Nausea

Numbness

Increased PMS symptoms

Poor appetite

Poor nail growth

Restless leg syndrome

More is not always better so keep in mind that nutrients act in synergy in the body which is why getting them from food is always best. Magnesium supplements help counterbalance high levels of calcium that accumulate when regularly supplementing with calcium. Also as important as vitamin D3 is, taking high amounts or being deficient in vitamin K2 can lower magnesium stores and result in deficiency.

That being said, here are some good food sources of magnesium you may want to include in your diet:

Almonds 105 mg. per ¼ cup

Banana 1 medium, 33 mg.

Pumpkin seeds 74 mg. per ounce

Oatmeal 57.6 mg. per cup

Peas 48 mg. per cup

Sesame seeds 101 mg. per ounce

Sunflower seeds 128 mg. per ¼ cup

Cashews 89 mg. per ¼ cup

Spinach 157 mg. per cup

Chard 154 mg. per cup

Yogurt or kefir 50 mg. per cup

Black beans 60 mg. per ½ cup

Avocado 1 medium 58 mg.

Dark Chocolate 1 square 95 mg.

Do you think you may be deficient in this critical mineral?

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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Weight Loss – The Truth about Calories

“Eat less and exercise more and you’ll lose weight.”

How often have you read or heard that? Thousands of times most likely. And I’m sure like most people you are thinking – if only it was that easy!

But is it true? Can you eat 1,000 calories a day of chocolate cake and potato chips, hit the gym for an hour and still lose weight?

Are 160 calories of almonds going to impact your body in the same way as 160 calories of a sugary soda or a candy bar?

You probably already know the answer to those questions is a resounding “No!” Honestly a calorie is not a calorie! While they’re equal by definition in terms of their energy content, your body processes each in a specific way, and these differences have serious implications for weight management.

Let’s take it one step further. Even if you eat 1,000 calories of junk food, can you exercise enough to burn it all off and end up losing weight anyway?

Again, that just doesn’t work so the answer is “No.” The truth is you can’t out-train a bad diet but you can eat your way to a fitter and healthier body.

The point is this: the source of the calories is far more important than the amount, since they are not all metabolized equally. Calories from carbohydrates (sugars, starchy carbs and grains) raise levels of the storage hormone, insulin and are stored as body fat.  Healthy fats, which are the most efficient fuel for your body and clean protein (think grass-fed, free range, wild caught) have very little impact on your insulin and so help you lose weight.

All these years we have been urged to eat low fat, diet foods, replacing real foods like meat, eggs and avocados with low fat, sugary carbs, exercise like fiends and stick to a certain number of calories and where has it gotten us? Overweight, obese, in many cases malnourished, diabetic and suffering from heart disease and cancer. Not a very pretty picture.

I like to keep things simple and basic. I tell clients to choose real, whole, high quality one-ingredient foods, eliminate (for the most part) or at least limit grains, sugar and other starchy carbs replacing them with non-starchy veggies to give you fiber and healthy carbs.

Pay more attention to the quality of your food and the breakdown of the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) than the number of calories.

Dr. Mercola says: “Carbohydrate intake is the primary factor that determines your body’s fat ratio, and processed grains and sugars (particularly fructose) are the primary culprits behind our skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.”

Is that all there is to it? Not quite – there are certainly some details we tweak including hydration, supplements to be sure you are covering your nutritional bases, inflammation, type and amount of exercise, adequate sleep, hormonal imbalances, stress and self-sabotaging beliefs, meal timing, food allergies and sensitivities among others.

There’s no “one size fits all” answer. I truly wish there was. But when we use common sense and get back to basics, it’s almost amazing to see how well our bodies respond.

Do you count calories? Have you found it to be helpful if you are trying to lose weight?

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 Cancer, Diabetes, Fitness, Heart Health, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nutrition: What the Health Documentary

I have worked with people who have varied types of diets. While I don’t particularly like labels, I am what I consider a “qualitarian” – someone who eats animal products within a plant based diet, my overriding concern is food quality. I have known people in the past who felt their vegetarian or vegan diet was superior. However, they neglected to choose high quality foods so eating all plant foods that are genetically modified or full of pesticides or processed carb snacks is not healthy at all. In fact it defeats the purpose of trying to avoid what they consider “toxic” animal foods.

Don’t misunderstand, if you eat conventionally raised animal products, that isn’t providing the health benefits you desire either.

So when I create my meals, my top consideration is the quality of the foods I include. That’s step one. Of course there is more to a healthy diet than just that, but without that, no matter what you do, you will miss the mark.

There are so many confusing and contradictory reports about what really affects our health. Is it sugar? Fat? Meat? Gluten? Grains?

I’ve said many times in the past, whenever you read new research results that casts a certain food or food group in a negative light – first find the money trail behind it. Years ago the cereal industry funded research saying the cholesterol in eggs caused heart problems. Then we were fed margarine and told to avoid butter and saturated fats and eliminate eggs and salt and what happened? Heart disease increased. New research has proven just the opposite to be true. Eggs, saturated fat from properly raised animals and natural unprocessed salt do not cause heart disease.

The bottom line is to eat the highest quality real food (margarine isn’t real food!) you can find and afford.

That being said, I read about a documentary called “What the Health” in this article in Dr. Mercola’s newsletter. I won’t repeat all he says since you can read it for yourself, but the bottom line is that it seems to promote veganism as most of the experts involved in its creation are vegans.

If you are a vegan and find that diet suits you, that’s fine with me! However, when presenting information to the public, it needs to be balanced and unbiased, otherwise it is nothing more than a commercial for your opinions. That can end up being very dangerous, especially if, for example, your recommendation to someone with diabetes is to eat low fat, avoid all animal products but not restrict carbohydrates or sugar. That is a recipe for disaster.

With all the recent research, to say sugar doesn’t cause inflammation and carbs can’t make you fat is an incredible stretch of reality!

However, I am not telling you what to believe or what is true or not true. You can read the article and watch the documentary and come to your own conclusions. My goal in sharing this is not to get you to agree with me, but to make you aware that everything we are told by “experts” is far from unbiased or accurate and to provide both sides of the story so you can make an informed decision on your own.

How do you decide whether health information you read is true or not?

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, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Health: Two More Ways to Use Salt You May Not Know

Have you ever heard of halotherapy? I hadn’t either until a friend of mine mentioned “salt rooms” after reading these two previous blog posts (here and here). Then I read this article. I have known about the health benefits of natural, unprocessed salt, so these two uses were fascinating to me.

I had never, however, heard of salt rooms or salt caves, which apparently have been around for hundreds of years. It makes perfect sense to me that salt is such a powerful healing agent. I always think about how renewed and revitalized I feel at the ocean – not just swimming or walking in the salt water but breathing the air. As the article mentions, when you have a dental problem or sore throat, rinsing or gargling with salt water is often the first recommendation.

It’s the negatively charged ions as well as salt’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are responsible for the health benefits. It sounds wonderful to me: You enter a room resembling a salt cave with walls covered in mineral salt. You sit in adjustable and comfortable massage beds. The room’s temperature and humidity is maintained for optimal conditions. The lights dim and you can choose to listen to relaxing music. Many people close their eyes and meditate. All sessions last for 25-45 minutes and you will finish feeling relaxed and energized.

Some of the conditions salt therapy is believed to improve include:

Asthma

Allergies

Chronic ENT illnesses (ear-nose-throat)

Bronchitis

Frequent ear infections

Frequent colds

Allergies to industrial and household pollutants

Hay fever

Smoker’s cough

COPD

Cystic Fibrosis

Pharyngitis

Sinusitis

Rhinitis

Tonsillitis

Snoring

Sleep Apnea

You can Google “salt rooms” and find out if there are any in your area you can try.

The other interesting use of salt is salt lamps, which you’ve probably seen around. They’re made from Himalayan pink salt crystals and can range in color from light pink to pink with an orange hue, depending on the mineral concentration. They create a soothing glow in any room and my son and daughter-in-law use one in the baby’s bedroom to create that calming atmosphere.

There are some interesting health benefits associated with their use including:

Purifying the air

Reducing stress

Easing allergy and asthma symptoms

Increasing energy levels

Improving sleep quality

Reducing electromagnetic radiation

Helping to improve certain skin conditions via reducing pollen in the air

You may be wondering how they “work.” Well the salt attracts water molecules that are circulating in the air in every room in your house. The water molecules attach to bacteria, viruses, dust, mold, pollen and other allergens. So it helps detoxify your room by capturing and holding these particles instead of allowing them to continue floating around for you to breathe in. As the bulb heats the lamp, the water vapor is released back into the air, while the lamp retains the contaminants.

They also release negative ions into the air. Those are oxygen atoms with an extra electron which occur in nature via the effects of water, air, and sunlight. That’s why being at the beach or near a waterfall rejuvenates and relaxes you so much.

The only two cautions I want to share about salt lamps are to make sure you are buying it from a reputable source and know it truly is made from Himalayan pink salt. Otherwise you won’t reap those health benefits. The other is to keep it away from your pets as ingesting too much salt can harm them.

These are two unique ways to reap the varied health benefits of salt. Have you used either? If so, share your experience.

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 Detoxification, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments