Friday, January 20, 2012

How To Lose Weight Without Loosing Your Mind

(the link won't load--you can view it at youtube.com, type in: How to Lose Weight Without Loosing Your Mind. It's an hour and 13 minutes long--but worth watching if you're interested.)

This talk, given by Dr. Doug Lisle, clearly explains the physiological reasons we gain weight and provides excellent dietary recommendations for how to loose excess body-fat through sensible diet changes. It is based on the principle of swapping foods that have a high caloric density with foods that have a much higher nutrient density, but low caloric value.

In his talk, Dr. Lisle clearly explains that the reasons we may be overweight do not originate in stress, emotional eating, lack of will-power, or childhood issues but are rooted in normal, physiological processes designed to keep us alive that cannot stand up to our modern, high-caloric -density diet. He gives an excellent explanation for how we got to where we are and then goes on to recommend simple changes that can make a big difference over time.

As information becomes available, I will post eating recommendations, meal plans, and recipes.

If you do have a chance to watch this, let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Workout? Exercise Wisdom to Get You Moving

Why Workout? Exercise Wisdom to Get You Moving

Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are a complex lever and pulley system that allows for every movement you make, from simple things such as drinking a glass of water or sitting up in a chair, to the more complex movements performed in dance or participation in sports. Every activity you do utilizes this system. To keep it working optimally, you need to perform a variety of movements regularly; the best way to accomplish that is through a structured exercise program.

You may have launched into an exercise routine, only to give up after the first few weeks. It took too much time, too much energy, and you were too sore or tired after your workouts to continue. Sound familiar? These problems, though painful and disheartening, are the direct result of how you were working out. The greatest mistake people make when they start a fitness program is in working out too much, too long, or too hard. Fitness, like most achievements, is best built by starting out small and adding gradually.

Consider this; none of us were born fit, we were born helpless unable to even hold our heads up. By attempting to move a little more each day, we grew and developed and, through time and effort, became stronger. Before long we were able to lift our heads, roll over, sit up, and crawl. Eventually, we learned to walk and then run. We all started helpless then increased what we could do daily until we had much greater movement ability than when we started.

This is because the human body is designed to adapt. At any point in your life, at any age, you can increase your fitness level by following the principle of applying small, increasing physical demands and allowing your body to adapt. When you ask your body to perform a new physical activity, it responds by altering its physical structure to meet those demands—just as it did when you were a developing baby. This is true of any kind of physical activity from learning to type on the keyboard, to learning to throw a Frisbee, to learning to climb a mountain. In response to physical training, your muscles (including that all-important heart muscle) develop their strength. So also do your connective tissues, your ligaments and tendons, and your bones.

On the opposite side, your body adapts to a lack of physical activity. Your body will not maintain what it does not use. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and burns more calories, even at rest, than non-metabolically active tissue such as stored body fat. Because of this, muscle tissue is seen as ‘costly’ to maintain; it takes up more available nutrients and calories than other tissues. Your body is incredibly efficient; it will not maintain what it does not need. If you aren’t participating in a regular exercise program to keep your muscles strong and healthy, then your body will burn them so it does not have to use valuable resources to keep them. If you lead a sedentary life that does not involve using your muscles regularly, over time, all your unused muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones will become weaker.

This why exercise a critical part of a healthy weight loss program. Through your workouts, you develop a strong, balanced musculature, and thicker tendons and bones. This makes your lever and pulley system healthier so all your movements become easier.
In addition, when combined with healthy eating habits, your muscles aid you in loosing weight by burning stored body fat during your workouts and also during your recovery periods. The more muscle tissue you have, the more stored body fat you are able to burn, even at rest.

A well-rounded workout program will include two important styles of exercise: Cardio/Respiratory exercise (more commonly known as aerobics); and Strength Conditioning (the most common form of which is weight training.) Aim to participate in 3 sessions of Cardio exercise and 2 sessions of all-body Strength Conditioning each week.

For more information on Cardio, go here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/456280-why-is-it-important-to-get-cardio-exercise/

For more information on Strength Conditioning, go here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/299896-resistance-training-routine-to-lose-weight/

Friday, June 10, 2011

In With the New! 3 Tips to Positively Changing Your Diet

In with the New! 3 Tips to Positively Changing Your Diet

Your body needs regular doses of nutrients throughout the day which you supply through the food you eat. These nutrients are used by your body as building blocks for cellular growth and tissue repair and also to fuel all your daily activities—including brain activities such as thinking. The higher the quality of nutrients you consume, the better off you will be. You likely take care to put high quality fuel into your vehicle, realizing better fuel equates with better vehicular performance. Your body functions along this same principle, if you want to look better, feel better, and function better—one of the most important ways you can do that is to eat better quality food.

Most diet programs are viewed, and intended, as a temporary state—you go on the diet to lose weight then, once you’ve lost the weight, you go off the diet and resume your normal eating patterns. If you have gone through this cycle even once, you know what often happens once you go off the diet; all the weight you’ve lost starts to come back!

In contrast, lifestyle changes are viewed, and intended, as permanent—you take time to learn about healthy food options and how to incorporate them into your daily diet with the intention of changing your eating habits for good. Weight lost this way stays off because you’ve changed what you eat and the way you think about food.

I’ve found the most effective way to make permanent dietary changes is to focus on the positive. When you focus on eating a wide variety of nutritionally packed foods daily—you end up eating fewer unhealthy foods by default. This approach is easier to stick to and more enjoyable than restrictive diet programs; it can be fun to try out new foods and add them to your meals and snacks. Healthier foods also tend to make you feel better, which makes this approach remain successful over time. The more you learn about healthy food options, the more foods you want to try and the better you begin to feel. That often makes you want to learn and try more.

Below are 3 tips to help you get started with changing your diet. Keep in mind every person is unique and this uniqueness extends to the kinds of food we like to eat. I believe there is a healthy diet out there for everyone. The vast array of nutritionally packed foods available to choose from allows even the most particular eater to find a diet that works. As you make changes, be sure to select healthy foods you like, and steer clear of the foods you don’t.

(One important note about changing your diet: If you suffer from illnesses related to your digestive tract, or you have food allergies, it may be necessary for you to consult your doctor to get guidelines regarding foods you need to avoid. The last thing you want to do when making healthy lifestyle changes is worsen an existing condition.)


Tip 1. Choose Fresh: Fresh fruits and vegetables contain important micronutrients and enzymes critical to myriad cellular functions that occur in your body daily. You may have heard eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetable improves the quality of your skin. This same improvement occurs with your inside skin too, such as the lining of your alimentary canal, your lungs, and your blood vessels. Eating a broad variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily will nourish all your tissues and cells.

If you have difficulty digesting fresh veggies, try lightly steaming them. This preserves a lot of the vitamins and nutrients, but allows the plant cellulose to be broken down to make it more easily digested.

For a quick tip on how to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, check out my sister’s vegetarian blog here: http://intuitivevegetarian.blogspot.com/2011/05/shake-it-baby.html


Tip 2: Choose Whole: White flour has the same effect on your blood sugar as straight glucose and white rice has a similar effect. In addition, processed grains lack the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in their whole counterparts so they’re more accurately categorized in the junk food column. If you’re going to have a treat, then white flour products may be appropriate, but for top quality daily nutrition, opt for whole wheat bread and pasta products and whole grain brown rice. There are also numerous whole grains that are not as common such as quinoa, millet, barley, and rye. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a few of these less common grains; you may find some you really like.

For a quick cooking guide for whole grains, go here: http://www.lesliebeck.com/page.php?id=2309&type=art

Tip 3: Choose Lean: Protein is a key component of muscle building and tissue repair. It is also important in maintaining your blood sugar. The most common sources of protein come from meat and dairy. These animal sources of protein also contain high amounts of saturated fat. Your body has little nutritional need for saturated fat because you produce and store it easily (a fact you are likely already familiar with). This gives the proteins from animal products a high ‘fat’ price tag. To keep the protein, but minimize your consumption of saturated fat, look for leaner versions of the meat and dairy products you like. And don’t forget about beans for protein. Beans have negligible fat and, when combined with whole grains, make a nutrient packed protein and carbohydrate combo—a top quality food.

In contrast to the saturated fat found in animal products, plant based fats such as those found naturally in nuts and seeds, canola oil, olive oil, and also the oils found in fish are actually good for you. Not readily stored like saturated fat, they are utilized by your body for a number of vital functions. Regular consumption of these fats make you healthier. Begin to familiarize yourself with the amount and types of fat found in what you eat regularly, then look for ways to include more healthy fats in your daily diet.

For more information on healthy fats and oils, go here:
http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/fats.htm

For good sources of lean protein, go here:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/389303-the-best-lean-protein/

Thursday, June 2, 2011

5 Tips for Healthy Weight Loss

5 Tips for Healthy Weight Loss

Losing weight can seem such a mystery, but it is really a side-effect of making healthier life-style choices. By changing the way you eat and move, your body responds by becoming fitter and stronger, and by burning stored body fat. Follow these 5 tips to increase your health and fitness while you simultaneously decrease your girth.

1. Graze to Lose: Eat frequent, smaller portions to keep the level of sugar in your blood more constant. Your blood sugar fluctuates with everything you eat. When you focus on eating frequent, small meals, it keeps the sugar in your blood (and your energy level) more even. This has two helpful effects—it primes your body for fat-burning; excess fat burns most readily when your blood sugar is within a healthy range. And it gives you the steady energy you need to participate in your work out routines. Instead of three ‘squares,’ shoot to eat 5-6 small ‘meals’ each day.

2. You Are What You Eat: Every cell in your body is made up from the nutrients you take in as food. In addition, the food you eat is the fuel that keeps you going. Nutrient rich foods provide valuable building blocks for muscle development and tissue repair as well as top quality fuel for energy. Focus on eating ‘meals’ that are comprised of real foods taken as low-glycemic index carbohydrates, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.

For information on low-glycemic index carbohydrates, go here:
http://www.glycemicindex.com/

For a good article on which healthy fats to eat, go here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/


3. Move it to Lose it: Stored fat is most effectively burned by working muscle during aerobic activity. To lose weight (and to keep a healthy heart) do a minimum of three, thirty-minute aerobic training sessions each week. Aerobic exercise immediately ramps up your metabolism and, over time, produces specialized fat-burning cells in your muscles. This means the more you participate in aerobic exercise, the better your body gets at burning stored fat. For an exercise to be aerobic, it should involve major muscle groups such as your leg muscles and should be moderate in intensity—you should be able to talk during your work out, but not sing. Some examples of aerobic exercises are walking, biking, jogging, roller skating, dancing, using a stair-climber or elliptical. Try a few until you find one you enjoy and then stick with it.

4. Develop a Better Relationship with Gravity: Your body is a skeletal frame with muscles, tendons, and ligaments that hold you together and allow you to move. If you want to keep moving well, it’s important to keep your physical structure strong and flexible. Regular strength training increases muscle, tendon, and ligament strength and results in a balanced musculature—this leads to a reduction in the common aches and pains that result from weakness in the movement areas such as the joints. In addition, regular strength training increases your metabolic rate; a well-conditioned body burns more calories at rest than an unconditioned one. To get the most affect from this conditioning, strength train all of the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body two times a week. Don’t forget to stretch when you’re done, so your muscles stay long and lean as they grow stronger.

For a basic strength training routine, check out: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/lose-weight/build-strength/strength-training-for-beginners/


5. Stop and Smell the Roses: When stressed, you are more apt to make poor food choices. Junk food becomes very appealing when you’re rushed for time and stressed from the day. In addition, the stress hormone itself is a primary contributor to weight gain. We all have stress that we need to combat. The best way to reduce stress is to take time daily to relax and unwind. This could be through writing in journal, taking a walk, gardening or participating in another hobby you enjoy. In addition, there are specific relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation that are truly effective in combating life-stress.

For a Deep Breathing Technique, go here: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_05.htm

For a simple Mindfulness Meditation guide, go here: http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2125