Weight Loss: Fasting and Gut Health

Alarm clock with fork, knife and plate on the table. Top view. Time to eat.

You may be familiar with intermittent fasting, which is simply extending the time you go without food, usually this includes sleep time, and then compressing your meals into a short window. It can be done in several different ways. For example eating your last meal at 6 pm and then pushing your first meal the next day to 8 am if you want to do a 14 hour fast or until 10 am for a 16 hour fast and eating your meals that day between 8 am and 5 pm or 10 am and 4pm. You can have water, black coffee, green, oolong or herbal tea and stay in your fasted state until your first meal. I delve into more detail about different ways to do this in Today is Still the Day.

According to a recent study, doing this type of fasting, every other day stimulated the development of fat burning beige fat cells within stored white fat, reducing obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver. Researchers believe that changing the bacterial composition of the gut that this type of fasting caused was the major factor in this process.

You are still eating every day, just shifting the timing of your meals and fasted states. Allowing your digestive system to rest and reboot has numerous health benefits, one of the greatest being that it shifts the gut microbiome in a healthy way.

It is a very simple and relatively easy way to get the benefits of fasting without actually going a day or more without food. I practice intermittent fasting several times a week and actually enjoy it. And it is a win-win because it not only helps with weight loss, but also keeps your gut healthy and happy, which impacts every area of your health, particularly your immune system.

Just be sure you break your fast with healthy meals composed of clean, whole, high quality, one-ingredient foods. Within your eating window you can include one, two or three meals depending on how long that window is. And always try not to eat past 7 pm as that has also been shown to be beneficial to health.

Do you ever fast? Would you consider intermittent fasting every other day?

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

Weight Loss: Benefits of Quick Workouts

There has been a lot of information about the dangers of prolonged sitting and being sedentary. In fact, sitting has been compared to smoking in relation to its dangers to your overall health. However, many people work at a desk job or drive for hours every day. What can they do to help mitigate those health risks?

New research shows that even quick bursts of exercise can reduce those health risks. Just 30 minutes of light physical activity a day can offset the risks of early death by about 17%. Even just short 1 to 2-minute bursts of movement were linked to long-term valuable health benefits. It bears out the validity of what I always say – baby steps are the way to go! You don’t have to begin with an hour workout daily to reap benefits. Even just a few minutes is valuable.

Of course, if you include longer sessions of moderate to vigorous exercise, you reduce the risk of early mortality by 35%.

It’s good news that even modest amounts of physical activity will provide health benefits. In Today is Still the Day there is an entire chapter devoted to exercise and I do mention using bathroom breaks at work or at home to add in some intentional exertion like a few squats, stretches, high knees or lunges. I work from home and I make it a point to get up at least every 30 or 40 minutes and do 50 high knees or 20 jumping jacks. Even just walking around or stretching helps. It gets the blood flowing and I can think more clearly too. It’s wonderful to see that validated by research.

Our bodies were designed for movement. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym. Staying active and incorporating movement into your day periodically will go a long way to improving your health.

How long do you sit during a typical day? Do you intentionally get up and move periodically?

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 Fitness, Heart Health, Intentional Exertion/Exercise, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Household Dust Weight Loss Connection

Anyone who knows me knows housecleaning is my least favorite thing to do. I have two wonderful sister in laws who are immaculate housekeepers, but I guess I missed that gene. I have no problem cooking and baking up a storm, but I have to discipline myself to clean.

That being said, I just read research that makes me want to definitely step up my cleaning game. This new research says chemicals in household dust may promote fat cell growth! Yes, you read that right. Their research showed that “two-thirds of dust extracts they studied from homes in North Carolina were able to promote fat cell development and half promote precursor fat cell proliferation.”

Why is dust such a problem? It is composed of the accumulation of dead skin cells, dirt we track in from the outdoors, residue from furniture, cleaning products, cookware, as well as endocrine disrupting chemicals from plastics, the linings of food cans, toys and detergents.

This study from last year found house dust to be one of the most common sources of chemicals known as obesogens, which, interfere with how our bodies store and process fat, so this info isn’t really anything new. What is different in the more recent study is that it found even extremely low concentrations of these chemicals in dust might spur fat cell growth.

So what to do? Well besides dusting more often, wet dusting as opposed to dry dusting, which can spread those particles back into the air where you can inhale them, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, using natural personal care and cleaning products and taking shoes off when you enter the house will all help reduce toxic load in your home. And maybe help you more easily maintain a healthy weight!

How often do you dust? Does it surprise you that household dust could impact weight gain?

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!

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Posted in Detoxification, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Nutrition: A Novel Coffee Boost

Drinking coffee is known to boost alertness, well-being and concentration, along with improving mood and reducing depression. It is linked to numerous brain and health benefits including:

Reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s

Decreased risk of colorectal, colon, endometrial and prostate cancers

In people 60 years and older, drinking two or more cups of coffee a day was associated with a lower risk of impaired agility in women and in those with obesity.

Here in the US, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks on just about every street and it isn’t unusual to see people holding a coffee cup as they navigate streets and stores. There was a truly fascinating study done on whether it is possible to get that feeling of energy and productivity without actually drinking any coffee.

It turns out that you can get a productivity boost just by thinking about a cup of your favorite coffee. Interestingly both coffee and tea not only have physiological effects on your body, they also have psychological effects as well.

Many people’s brains may be primed toward arousal at the very thought of coffee, especially in our culture, where coffee dominates over tea. In the study, after being exposed to cues, such as images of coffee, the participants perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms, which suggests a more alert state of mind.

Even the smell of freshly brewed coffee is powerful! Another study of university students had some taking algebra tests in a computer lab with a coffee-like scent and others with no scent. Those in the coffee-scented room performed better on analytical reasoning tasks. So maybe even keeping a bag of coffee beans on hand for a quick sniff could be a caffeine free way to stimulate a mental boost.

If you avoid coffee because you avoid caffeine, even just thinking about it or smelling it could give you the productivity and energy boost without the caffeine.

Do you rely on coffee for energy and focus?

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 Brain health, Fitness, Heart Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Health: How Does Prayer Impact It

As a Christian I know and believe prayer is powerful. When I pray, I am communing directly with my Creator and I know Him as the Healer. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, I would like to share some scientific evidence regarding the healing power of prayer for your consideration.

You may be aware of the mind-body connection. Our thoughts and beliefs have a great impact on our physical health. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs or religious practice, studies have shown that attending church services regularly, even as infrequently as once a month, can make a difference in longevity and mortality. Regular religious service attendance was found to have the same impact on health as moderate physical exercise.

Centenarians who live in the blue zones report that their spirituality keeps them going every day by giving them a purpose for their lives. Some studies have shown that for older adults, maintaining a regular spiritual practice can act as a natural buffer against chronic stress, reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, strokes and other common age-related conditions.

A study of 34,000 Seventh Day Adventists over a period of 12 years found that those who went to church services frequently were 15-25% less likely to die at any age.

A Duke study of a group of 4,000 people over age 64 found that those who prayed regularly had significantly lower blood pressure than those who prayed intermittently. At Dartmouth Medical Center, one of the best predictors of survival among 232 heart patients was the degree to which they drew comfort from prayer. In studies at several medical centers, prayer had been shown to speed recovery from depression, stroke, hip surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, heart attacks, bypass surgery, and alcoholism.

There’s lots of talk about the benefits of mindfulness. Well, prayer, is the original mindfulness meditation! The words you speak and the thoughts you think release hormones and chemicals that powerfully affect your physical health. Our beliefs have great power, including healing power. I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say words are the most powerful things in the universe. A recent news story is a powerful reminder of the power of healing prayer.

Scientists measured the relationship between prayer and spiritual health and found both private and public prayer predicted better levels of spiritual health. Prayer has statistically significant positive effects on overall health. We are three-part beings after all: we are spirit beings, who have a soul (mind, will, emotions) and we live in a physical body. To think each aspect of your being doesn’t affect the others is ridiculous.

All too often we complicate prayer and make it this mystical practice only very few are proficient at. This isn’t true at all. Prayer for me is direct, honest, 2 way communication with God. It is sharing my worries, concerns, questions and joys with Someone I trust and then listening. I share one more powerful story of healing prayer and leave it to you to decide.

What has your experience with prayer been?

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, Soul Health, Spiritual Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition: Are Eggs Really Bad for You

I have been telling clients for years not to avoid eggs, even if they are trying to balance cholesterol levels. In fact, I usually recommend they eat them daily in that case! Recently, yet another (flawed) JAMA egg study was publicized across all media warning that the cholesterol in eggs is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and early death. Well which is it?? Are they good or bad for heart health?

According to that study of 30,000 U.S. adults, for each extra half-egg eaten per day, the risk of cardiovascular disease increased 6%, and risk of early death went up 8%. At first glance those numbers can be frightening. However, as with all things, you have to look beyond that first glance to get to the truth. As far as cardiovascular risk goes, those are pretty small numbers when you compare them to smoking, which increases your risk by 200 to 400%, or taking the birth control pill, increasing risk of heart attack by 50 to 80% in some cases. Researchers claim eggs cause cardiovascular disease by raising your cholesterol, but higher egg intake was actually related to lower LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol. So what are we supposed to believe?

Well let’s look just a little more closely at the study itself. It is what is called an observational study. That means researchers observe and examine the eating habits and health outcomes of a population over time, in this case 17 years. The problem with this type of study is two-fold and it all links to a lack of accuracy: people tend to only accurately recall about 50% of what they eat; and even if the data is accurate, there are other factors that make it difficult, if not impossible to identify how one food is affecting health. For example, is the person also eating bread with every meal? That will skew the results.

Also, the questionnaire used to compile these findings was completed at only one point in time over the course of that 17-year study. Their conclusions were based solely on that.

In my opinion we should focus on real risk factors rather than demonizing a truly nutritious food. Other, well designed studies have proven just the opposite.

So, it all goes back to my basics. Choose the highest quality, one-ingredient foods you can find and afford, in a form as close to how God created them, and that agree with your particular metabolic makeup. I, for one, am not avoiding eggs. Cholesterol is a vital substance. Even if you don’t eat it, your body is created to produce it.  A pasture raised, organic egg may just be the perfect food, providing a complete source of essential and nonessential amino acids, healthy fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals essential for promoting a well-functioning immune system.

My advice when you hear or read these types of study results is first take a deep breath and relax, then dig a bit deeper and find out how the study was done and if you should really make any changes based on it.

What do you think about these types of sensational headlines that demonize a particular food?

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 Heart Health, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weight Loss: Why Hire a Health Coach

Have you ever gone to your doctor, knowing you need to lose weight, only to have him or her say, just eat less and exercise more? Or perhaps they told you to start tracking your calories and keep them under a certain number. Those are very generic recommendations and depending on why you are overweight to begin with they may or may not even work. One of the very first weight loss clients I ever worked with completed her food logs and questionnaire and my first comment was that she wasn’t eating enough! In some instances, that can stall weight loss and in her case it was.

One size never fits all, which is why there is no one perfect diet for everyone! Even a recent study confirms that generic weight loss advice not only doesn’t work, but patients tend to lose less weight! The study revealed that patients who received more explicit advice lost an average of 7 pounds more than the generic advice group.

Telling someone to just “clean up your diet” or “eat healthier” is also way too generic. What do either of those things actually mean? So when I work with someone doing my Today is Still the Day 7 Week plan it all begins with a phone consultation, food logs and a detailed questionnaire. Unless I understand where you are when we begin, I can’t personalize the plan to fit your specific needs. And that is the critical piece of the puzzle most generic diets overlook. As I mention in the preface to Today is Still the Day, “any diet will cause you to lose weight, temporarily.” Making lasting changes that improve your overall health is key. And generic recommendations will never address that.

Please don’t think I am criticizing doctors for not giving patients more specific recommendations. I am, however, suggesting that also working with a health coach who is able to focus on you specifically and tailor a plan to address your needs and fit your lifestyle will make all the difference.

I shared my daughter’s personal experience in a recent newsletter and Cindy’s story in a past newsletter, and they both very clearly illustrates exactly why a health coach can turn things around when you are doing all you know to do and are still stuck. Sometimes being overweight is a symptom of another problem, not the problem itself.

Would you consider investing in yourself by working with a health coach? Can you see how it may just shed light on the true issue?

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 Digestive Health, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments