Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

How To Get Back on Track

Life happens.
There is no such thing as the “perfect diet”.

So whenever you ‘fall off track’ the best way to deal with it is to forget about it and move on!

Do not stress or feel guilty.
Do not ‘over exercise the extra calories.’
Do not starve yourself for the next week.
Don’t starve yourself for the next week.
Do not make a big deal out of it, look at the bigger picture of your life.

Get right back on track.

Allow yourself to enjoy social events that include food, without feeling guilty, knowing that getting back on track is as easy as enjoying the meal, accepting it, and moving on.

However, if you struggle with getting back on track after a binge or a long weekend of poor eating, I have put together some tips to help you get back into the swing of things:

  1. Step away from the scale. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT weigh yourself the day after a holiday, cheat meal, night out. Your body will most likely be holding more water from eating differently than you normally do (processed, unhealthy foods tend to be higher in salt, therefore causing your body to store more water) and drinking less water (and maybe drinking more alcohol). This does not mean that you actually gained 5-10 pounds from one meal, one weekend of falling off track. Give yourself a few days, or even a week for your body to release the extra water, if you feel the need to weigh yourself.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Aim to drink at least 500ml (1 generic bottle) of water more than you usually do. This will help to re-hydrate after any dehydrating activities over the weekend, but will also help to reduce bloating and decrease the amount of water your body is holding, which can also help with the ‘sluggish’ feeling. Green or herbal teas can also be great for helping to decrease bloating or stomach cramps, while also helping to hydrate and provide antioxidants.
  3. Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. This will give your body the vitamins and nutrients that it has been missing, which will help with the aforementioned ‘sluggish’ feeling. Furthermore, the fiber can also help get you feeling regular again, if you know what I mean…
  4. Ease back into your exercise routine. There is no need to work extra hard in the gym just because you had a piece of cake, however, you should try to get back to your normal exercise routine. Don’t allow falling off track with your diet to spiral into falling off track with everything.
  5. Forget about it, move on, and prepare to fall of track again. It’s easy to stay on track when you are in complete control of everything and eat all of your meals at home, however, that is no way to live life. Just because you have goals, or are trying to be healthy, is no reason to avoid social events that you are not in control. Just make the best choices possible, don’t eat until you feel like you are going to throw up, enjoy the company you are with, knowing you can always get back on track.
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Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

3 Simple Changes To Help You Lose Weight

1. Move as much as possible.

Stand up as often as you can, try to find things that you currently sit and do that you can do standing instead.
When sitting get up every 30 minutes and walk and/or stretch for as little as 2 minutes.
Fidget more.
Inconvenience yourself: make multiple trips carrying groceries, go to the far washroom at work, park at the far end of parking lot.
Make it your mission to sit less frequent, and for shorter periods at a time during the day.
** Research has proven that a 5 minute walking break every hour could burn an extra 500+ calories a week, that means without changing anything else in your routine you could lose 7 – 10 pounds in a years time.

2. Drink more water (and other zero calorie beverages)

Water not only helps your body function optimally, but sometimes you can feel hungry when you are actually just thirsty. Therefore drinking a glass of water before you eat can make sure that you are truly hungry, learning to eat only when your body is actually hungry (not bored or thirsty) is a great way to lose weight.
Furthermore, liquid calories, like pop, alcohol, specialty coffees, etc., may taste great, but they give you zero nutritional value with a tonne of calories.
By consuming calorie free beverages, like water, green tea, black coffee (or decreasing the amount of sugar/ milk in your coffee) is a great way to decrease your overall calorie consumption.
For example, say everyday at lunch you have your typical lunch with a can of coke. That can of coke is about 150 calories, in one week that adds up to 1050 calories, over a year that is 54,600 calories of sugar… If you cut out just that can of pop and nothing else for one year, you would lose 15lbs…. 15lbs just from cutting out one can of pop!

3.  Eat more fruits and vegetables

Start every meal or snack with either a piece of fruit or raw vegetables.
Fill up with healthy foods first and you will find that you become “full” faster, leaving less room for that highly processed junk that you usually crave. Did you know that those super delicious junk foods you crave, the ones with loads of added sugars and fats, are actually designed to leave you feeling still hungry? It is no snaccident that you are still hungry and craving more after you eat junk food, that’s the way it is made, it is made to make you over consume…. Whole foods on the other hand leave you feeling satisfied, which will not only fill your body with nutrients that it needs and allow you to feel like you are eating more, but you will actually be consuming fewer calories!

4. Stop Mindless snacking! (Bonus)

This last tip is sort of an extra, but it will make a huge difference so I didn’t want to leave it out!
Instead of just going to the pantry at night as you are watching TV and devouring a whole bag of chips – portion out 1 serving, and actually pay attention to the flavour of the food.
Have you ever sat down with a box of Oreos and before you knew it you were grabbing plastic because they were all gone?! We’ve all been there, and it’s OK. 
You will be surprised as to how much more satisfied you feel when you actually taste and eat your food mindfully, rather than stuffing it in your mouth like a zombie.
** However if you are following tip #3 your bag of chips should be some raw veggies and dip….and then if you are still hungry having 1 serving of chips/ 1 cookie, etc.
Furthermore, once you start paying attention to what you are eating and not just eating anything and everything that is presented to you (the candy bowl at work, leftovers, donuts that a co-worker picked up, etc.) you will see how quickly those odds and ends can add up.

There it is!

It’s not a quick fix by any means, but if you add in these tips to your everyday life I almost guarantee that you will start to see results.

Even if it is just one pound a month, in one year that is twelve pounds, which is twelve in the right direction.

Weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated!

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, My Fitness Story, Nutrition/ Diet

How to Kickstart Your Metabolism 

The word metabolism is thrown around all the time;“I have a slow metabolism, it makes it so hard to lose weight”, 

“You are so skinny you must have a fast metabolism,”

“Eating every three hours helps speed up metabolism.”
However, most people don’t know what it actually means.
Metabolism: the energy required to maintain normal and life sustaining body functions (breathing, heart rate, body temperature, tissue growth -muscle, etc.) while at rest. 

In other words, your metabolism is the amount of calories your body needs in a day to survive and continue to function properly, it is related to the rate at which your body burns calories and how efficiently it uses the calories you feed it. 
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) doesn’t vary a whole lot in healthy people, with the exception of those who have an underachieve thyroid, however you can increase the energy needed to sustain your functions and how your body uses the calories you consume by increasing your lean body mass. 
Exercise actually changes how your body uses the calories you eat. 
Muscle is more “expensive” calorie wise to sustain than fat, 1 pound of muscle burns 50 more calories at rest than 1 pound of fat. Therefore, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle your RMR increases by an extra 500 calories a day!
That means by strength training and gaining muscle, you can technically “speed up your metabolism” because your body will need more energy (food) to sustain it’s functions, especially tissue repair and growth. Furthermore, when you strength train regularly your body will learn to store the food you eat (mostly carbs and protein) differently; what you eat will go to your muscles first because it knows that you will need them either for energy in those muscles in the near future, or to repair those muscles from a workout. However, don’t let that make you think you can eat whatever you want all the time, because there is a limit to how much glycogen (stored form of carbs) your muscles can hold, and after that amount your body will start to store it as fat. The good news is, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will be able to handle to either maintain your weight, or even lose weight! 
On the other hand, certain habits and behaviours can technically, “slow your metabolism.”
One of the hardest things on your metabolism is hardcore dieting, for a prolonged period of time. The reason behind this is that our bodies are very smart; when you are in a calorie deficit for too long your body believes that you are not going to be able to find food again for a while, so in order to survive it starts to “slow down your metabolism.” This means that your hormones will make you store more of the food you eat as fat for energy and will also decrease your activity so you burn fewer calories and don’t “waste for energy”. Have you ever noticed that when you are dieting for a long period of time your weight loss starts to plateau? Or that you feel very sluggish….therefore move less?

 This is why “diet breaks” and/ or a cheat meal are great, not only for your mental sanity while trying to lose weight, but also for your hormones. Cheat meals (not whole cheat days/ weeks) trick your body into seeing that you are not starving it and allows it to start burning more calories again.
In conclusion, the best way to help with a “slow metabolism” is to add strength training to your routine and make sure you are not dieting too hard, too long!

Posted in fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet, Uncategorized

The Magic Diet Pill

Have you heard of it?

The magic pill that you can take at night at wake up with a perfect body?

That’s because it doesn’t exist.

Sure, there are tonnes of “fat burners” and teas and crap that people will try to sell you as a quick fix to a weight problem. But don’t you think if there was one pill or trick that worked that everyone would already have their perfect body?

Stop looking for the easy way!

There is no easy way.

The only way to see changes in your body is to actually put in the effort.

The reason that the majority of the population doesn’t look like fitness models is because it isn’t easy.

Furthermore, unless you are being paid to be that lean, there is no need to look like that model on the cover of a magazine.

It’s actually not even healthy to look like that year round, which is why most fitness models and competitors take an “off season”, to give their body a break from being that lean and their mind a break from that lifestyle.

You don’t have to be “cover ready” to show that you exercise and are healthy. Yes, you will have to put in hard work if you want to change your body, there is no denying that – however, know that if you want to make extreme changes in your physique that you will have to make extreme changes to your lifestyle.

I want you to imagine someone who’s body you admire, even if they are some model/ athlete who you know nothing about.

Good.

Now, imagine what you think their “typical” day looks like.

I bet you are imagining them eating vegetables and exercising right?

So, what would make you think that you can look like that without similar habits and lifestyle changes?

Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t have to be punishment, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that hard – but it does have to be consistent. The goal should be to live a healthy and active lifestyle 80% of the time; if you miss a workout or eat a bad meal 20% of the time it is not going to have that huge of an impact on your body and your health. But please, please, stop paying money for detox juices and pills just because you think it’s a simple way to lose weight.

The nice thing about making a lifestyle change is that for best results you should start small. Start with one nutrition habit, or adding in a little bit of exercise. The slower you make changes to your lifestyle the more likely they are to become a habit, the less likely you are to get discouraged and give up, and the more likely you are to see maintainable changes in your body.

Haven’t you ever heard that anything worth having doesn’t come easy?

Yes, it may be hard at first – change usually is, but I promise you it will be worth it!

** Having trouble figuring out where to start or what changes to start with? Just ask, I’d love to help you!

Posted in Nutrition/ Diet, Recipes

I Made Chocolate PB Protein Cookies!

Heads up, these cookies are delicious, addicting and fairly healthy… they do have sugars in them, so if you’re looking for a no sugar, gluten free cookie this recipe isn’t for you… they are dairy free, but that’s because I can’t eat it, however they are a simple, satisfying and good for your heart & soul. 

So here’s what you do: 

Get 2 1/2 cups of oats and turn it into oat flour. 

How to make oat flour…

Get 2 scoops of a generic chocolate protein powder (if you can eat diary doesn’t have to be vegan), 2 tablespoons of sweetener of choice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 


Then mix all of those in a large mixing bowl. 


Next measure out 1/2 of a generous cup of peanut butter (or any nut butter you like) and 3/4 cups of honey, put them in a microwaveable bowl and melt them together. 

Then add into the pb & honey to the dry ingredients and mix – don’t worry it’ll be crumbly. 


Next, 1 tablespoon at a time stir in 1/4 cup of milk (I chose cashew, but you can use regular if you don’t have an allergy, or almond or whatever) it should make a sticky dough.   At this time you could add chocolate chips, but I don’t have any dairy free ones and the protein powder I use is chocolatey enough that I don’t miss them! 

Let the dough sit for 4-5 minutes to cool then mash into little balls or flatten, put them in the fridge for 30 minutes and then enjoy! 


Can be stored at room temperature* 

Let me know if you try them & try not to eat them all!

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, My Fitness Story, Nutrition/ Diet

Everything I Ate Today

“What do you eat for breakfast?” 

“Do you eat sugars? Bread? Fat?” 

“Oh I bet you wouldn’t eat that” 

I get asked about my diet so often that I figured it would be easiest just to show you. So, I took a picture of everything before I ate it today so hopefully it will answer some of your questions. 

*However, I’m not saying you should eat what I do because everybody’s body is different and everyone has different goals. What I am trying to say is that there are no “perfect” foods or meal plans, and that you don’t have to give up your favourite foods to reach your goals. 

I am also going to include pictures of me first thing and right before bed to show any sort of difference. 

Let’s begin: 

Breakfast before work was a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and walden farms pancake syrup, two slice of white toast (yes, you read that right – I ate white bread!! ) with peanut butter, a banana and yogurt. I don’t discriminate against what color my bread is, I just eat what we have in the basket. 

Oh, and how could I forget my large mug of heaven, I mean coffee! Black with a bit of stevia. 


Then my post workout snack I had a birthday cake combat bar, which tastes like heaven with one apple and one pear cut into slices because I’m a child at heart.


After my killer leg workout I had a leftover hamburger with ketchup and again a white hamburger bun, with a nectarine and pear both cut into slices. 


Then before I went back to work I had a quick and easy dinner because I was sort of in a hurry;  chicken with sweet potato, white potato, turnip and a salad. I cut up the veggies and sprinkled some spices on them then put them in the oven, super simple and delicious! 


… Then I was still hungry so I knew I needed something else to hold me over until I was home again so I had some rice cakes, one with honey and the other with Reese spreads… Anything peanut butter and chocolate is my weakness! But hey, it gave me the energy I needed for work!


My bed time snack tonight was a banana, nectarine, a protein shake, one rice cake with peanut butter and honey… And some cookie dough ice cream because it was too hot not to! 

Was that what you were expecting? 

I hope not! 

Yes, the majority of the foods I eat are healthy. I always eat 7+ servings of fruit/ vegetables a day, at least 5 servings of veggies, but I also allow myself a treat every so often because I have a sweet tooth and life is too short to deprive yourself! 

And here, at the end of the day after all of my meals and over 3L of water, my body is happy, my muscles are pleased and I feel great! 

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

Hormones; why you should listen to your body

Hormones are very important for our health, and I don’t think many people know enough about their effects on the body and what we can do to control them. There are SO many hormones, but I am only going to talk about three that I believe have the biggest impact on body composition; insulin, cortisol and leptin.

Although you cannot outsmart science and must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, learning how to control your hormones can make the process more enjoyable and successful. Furthermore, better knowledge and control of your hormones can help you manage cravings, keep your metabolism from slowing down (which leads to stalled weight loss), and help energy levels from dropping.

The reason I chose to talk about these three hormones is because they are the hormones that you have the most control over,  and that if you actually learn to listen to your body you can use these signs to take action and influence the levels of these hormones.

In laymen’s terms insulin has to do with carbs and how our body handles them, cortisol is influenced by stress, and leptin is involved with hunger and storing fat.

But here is a little more information on each, and how to control them….

Insulin

Insulin is a storage hormone – it stores sugar (carbs), vitamins, and fats for later use. Anytime there is a rise in blood sugar due to either eating or stress you release insulin and your blood caries glucose and insulin to every cell in the body and your cells absorb the glucose – into either muscle or fat tissue, depending on your needs. For instance, if you do a heavy strength workout and deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles the carbs you eat after (to a certain degree) will go into your muscle tissue to replace those carbs and repair the muscle tissue (along with the help of protein). However, if you have not really worked your body/ burned many calories and you consume more than your body needs then the food you eat, not just carbs, will be stored in fat as energy for later. This is why I am an advocate for strength training to aid in fat loss, because the more muscle you have the more calories they consume per hour. Furthermore, the more calories you can eat while still losing weight.

However – this does not mean you can eat whatever you want just because you lift weights, because there will eventually come a point when your muscles are full – and those excess calories will not be able to be stored in them and will therefore be stored for later.

Insulin also has to do with appetite – more specifically, hunger cues. Since your body releases insulin after you eat and when there is plenty of fuel in your bloodstream you should feel full. But, because of the lifestyle trend of the overconsumption of food and booze paired with increasing stress levels most people no longer are aware of when they are actually hungry and have no idea what is happening in their body.

This leads us to insulin resistance which is when your cells no longer respond properly to insulin and becomes less efficient at absorbing the food you eat into the cells for use… Which means that when you eat you experience an exaggerated response to any rise in blood sugar, therefore you still feel hungry after eating and usually eat more because you think your body needs nutrients, when in reality your hormones are out of sorts.

It is important to note that insulin resistance is a result of chronically eating an excess of food/ carbs, or chronically over stressing… I am not giving you another “excuse” as to why you aren’t losing weight – I am trying to educate you as to how to use your hormones to help the process.

Did you know that one way to manage your insulin levels, even in diabetics, is to exercise? Whether your insulin resistance is due to over eating or over stressing exercise will benefit you. This is because if it is due to food, exercise helps your body learn to better utilize those carbs, and if it is due to stress, exercise is a great stress reliever!

Now you know! And now you have another reason to get moving!

Another way to keep insulin levels under control is to eat more fruit, veggies and protein – these foods have less of an insulin response and also help to keep insulin levels from spiking too high when you do indulge in foods with higher amounts of sugars.

So, overall – eat healthy and exercise and your body will be able to communicate better with you and let you know when you are actually hungry.

Cortisol

Cortisol is our “stress hormone.” Cortisol is secreted in the body whenever you experience any sort of stress, and activates your fight or flight mechanism. It elevates your heart rate and breathing rate and gets you ready for action. The stress response in your body can be affected by real life stressful situations, like if you are in danger, or a big deadline, but overexercising while under nourishing can also cause stress on your body. This is why it is so important to learn how to manage your stress and also how to let your body recover properly.

In small doses, cortisol can be very helpful for you body, and it is actually necessary for life and fat burning. However, when you are are experiencing a mass amount of stress over a prolonged period of time, the body releases more and more cortisol, and these extremely high doses of cortisol actually have adverse affects. Too much cortisol in your body is taxing and can lead to your metabolism slowing down, fat gain, increased cravings and hunger and worsening insulin resistance.

Furthermore, by eating healthy and exercising (as well as proper recovery) you can help to control your stress response and therefore keep your body from overworking itself.

However, if you have a hard time with stress relief here are a few tips:

  • Leave work at work
  • Take up a hobby
    • Colouring
    • Knitting
    • Crafts
  • Find an outlet
    • Yell into your pillow for 10 minutes once a week
    • Take up a sport
    • Start a journal
  • Spend more time with loved ones; cuddling has been proven to decrease stress, and this was with either a human or a pet, so get cuddling!

In the end, whatever helps you to decrease your stress levels will help you regulate your cortisol levels and will therefore improve your health and body composition.

Leptin

Leptin is known as our hunger hormone. It is produced by fat cells and is in charge of signalling the brain when you are either satiated or starving and from there it regulates how many calories your body burns. When we have enough fat stored leptin is supposed to signal our brain that we have enough so that our metabolism (the rate at which our body burns calories) can run at a normal rate and therefore you are not hungry.

Here’s a breakdown:

  1. You eat.
  2. Fat gets stored (not saying you gained fat, just the energy is stored, relax)
  3. Leptin levels in the blood rise and send signals to brain
  4. Brain says you don’t need to eat calories and can burn more calories

OR

  1. You don’t eat.
  2. Body fat levels go down
  3. Leptin levels go down
  4. Brain says you are hungry, so it tells the body to slow the metabolism aka burn less calories – and to eat

There is also leptin resistance, which is when your brain no longer receives the signals that you are full, and is typically seen in people with a lot of body fat. This may seem confusing because you would think people with more fat would have more signals saying they are full – but because of the excess amount the signal isn’t working and therefore it thinks the body is starving which leads to the brain signalling you to eat more and reduce energy expenditure.

Fortunately, there are several ways to reverse your leptin resistance, including:

  • avoiding processed foods
  • eating more soluble fiber
  • exercising
  • sleeping better
  • eating more protein

Hormones aren’t just important for weight loss

Although most of this blog talks about controlling your hormones for weight loss, regulating your hormones is also important for your everyday health and happiness. The reason I talk so much about it’s part in weight loss is because, as a fitness professional, that is what I get asked about the most. However, even if you are a healthy weight, if your hormones are out of whack this can lead to multiple health problems/ diseases, stress, mood swings, decrease in quality of life and weight gain.

So please, don’t underestimate the importance of hormones.

Overall key points in controlling your hormones:

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Eat plenty of veggies/ fiber rich foods and protein
  3. Learn how to best manage your stress
  4. Get enough sleep
  5. Don’t stress the little things and enjoy more!

Just remember, hormones are in your body to help you and are very important, so we need to be aware of how we make them work more efficiently to reach our goals and sustain a healthy land happy life.

Posted in Nutrition/ Diet

Nutrition; it’s NOT all or nothing 

When it comes to health and weight loss the “diet” part can seem like a war. However, it does not have to be all in or all out. Focus on the ‘big picture items’, these are things that make up the bulk of what you eat and have the largest impact on your health and waistline. When those are mastered, you can pay more attention to the ‘small details’ and do some fine tuning to help with those last pesky pounds. With that being said you should always keep in mind that it’s more about give and take than take away all of your favourite foods.
Everyone has certain foods or habits that they will never be able to fully eliminate from their diet, and that is ok! When it comes to the larger picture of your health and body composition, the little things you enjoy are not going to be as big of a factor as you may think.
In fact, as long as you focus most of your energy on ensuring the ‘big picture items’ are taken care of, you can be more lenient with the rest of your diet (exercise also contributes to how lenient you can be with your diet – but more on this another day, another blog). This is not to tell you that if you eat a salad with some chicken for lunch that you can eat junk food for the rest of the day, this is to tell you that you can feel good about the good choices you do make, without beating yourself up for not being perfect.
Now, before I get too deep into this post you are probably wondering what are the ‘big picture items’ ? I will give you some examples below. Basically they are the BIG NUTRITION DO’s that every healthy diet should include.
Examples of big keys:

* Drinking an adequate amount of water (2-3L)

* Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits (try to get one or the other in every meal/ snack)

* Eating a serving of protein at every meal
And ‘small details’ are things that are still important, but if you currently have not mastered the big picture items, then there is no use worrying about them.
Examples of small details:

* Drinking diet pop

* Eating white bread or pasta instead of whole wheat everything

* Using cream in your coffee

* Having a glass of wine at dinner every now and then
Furthermore, remember that everything must be within reason, you can’t tell me one of your “small details” is that you eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s every night before bed, and then wonder why your pants aren’t getting any looser. It’s about making overall healthier choices, minimizing the unhealthy choices and not about giving up everything all at once.
Now, I want you to look at your nutrition habits – which “big picture items” need a little bit more work? Are you getting in 5 or more servings of vegetables everyday? Do you need to add a little protein to your breakfast? Etc.. Focus on one at a time, this way you can make sure that each items gets properly integrated into your lifestyle and you will have more success.
Ok, now you have some big goals; great! I totally believe that you can add in these new healthy choices to your lifestyle without much trouble. It may take a bit of working reminders at first – but soon they will become second nature!
So, let’s say it’s been a few months and you have started drinking an average of 3L of water a day, you get protein in at every meal and are eating 6+ servings of veggies a day, you’ve lost a fair amount of weight and most importantly feel amazing… But now you’ve plateaued, this is when you want to be a bit more strict with your small details and start to either slowly limit them or pick and choose which ones you can live without (everyone now and then) first.
So where to start? Think about the habits that you currently have that you could adjust… Ok, so you can’t give up the cream and sugar in your coffee, but maybe you could cut back to half the amount? You absolutely need to have a snack before bed – no problem, just swap out the tub of ice cream for some yogurt and berries!

Whatever the habit is, I guarantee you that there is a healthier option – you may just need to get creative!
Just make sure when you start hammering down on of those small details , you also keep focused on the big picture items or else those little details won’t be very effective!
Lastly, the whole goal with eating healthy (even if your main goal is to look better) is to feel better. So don’t beat yourself up for those little habits that you can’t seem to shake yet, and be proud of yourself for all of the larger picture items that you are implementing.
Trust me, you don’t need to give up your favourite foods to live a healthier life and achieve your goals!

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

Think Your Way Thin!

Did you know that you can use your thoughts to control your hunger and think your way full.. Therefore, aiding in weight loss!** Warning I am going to discuss a study for a little bit here at the start, if you don’t care about it just skip to the bottom!

There was a study done titled, “Mind Over Milkshake” done by Amelia Crumb, who states that “labels are not just labels. They evoke a set of beliefs” and basically it looked at how our view of how satisfying a meal will be actually effects our hormones and levels of “fullness” after a meal.

In this study she gave half the participants milkshakes that were labeled “light, 104 calories, guilt-free and fat free”, and the other half got milkshakes labeled “indulgent, 620 calories,and decadenct.” But the trick is that both of the shakes were exactly the same having 300 calories.

At the end of her study those who consumed the “light calorie” shake had higher grehlin (hunger hormone that tells you you’re hungry) levels and those who consumed the “indulgent” shake had much lower levels, meaning that the “decadent, high calorie” shake left them them more satisfied on a physiological level.

The fact that both shakes had the exact same nutritional content but resulted in such drastic differences shows the huge effect of the brain on our bodies and our hormones.

Crumb also states that since our mind can control our grehlin levels that means that our mind controls our metabolism as well and that by thinking about our food in different terms we have the power to improve our metabolism!

When grehlin levels in the stomach rise it signals the brain telling it we need food and therefore slows our metabolism because it thinks we need to conserve energy until we find food again. So, when your grehlin rises and you combat it with a big meal, your grehlin then drops, which tells the mind you’ve eaten enough and that we can start to turn the metabolism up so that we can use the calories we just consumed.

OK, RONI. GET TO THE POINT. ENOUGH SCIENCE.

Ya, ya I know, this article is a bit more focused on the WHY – but I believe it’s important for you to know that when I give advice I am not making it up out of thin air!

“ SO HOW DO WE USE OUR THOUGHTS TO LOSE WEIGHT ALREADY?!”

Well, thanks for asking, it is quite simple!

Instead of looking at your food like it’s “bird food,” come in to each meal thinking fulfilling thoughts. One of the main psychological reasons why diets don’t work is because when we categorize our food as “diet” snacks, “low fat”, “sugar free”, or “light” we are going into the meal already believing that these foods are not going to satisfy our hunger. Start to focus on your food being nourishing, filling, satiating, pleasurable and full of nutrients and you will be surprised how different you feel after you eat!

Another point on controlling your thoughts to help control your waistline is to look at your habits. Did you know that certain habits can make you think you are hungry when you are really not. For example, do you always have a snack with your favourite TV show because you’re hungry or because it’s habit? Do you eat every 2-3 hours because you read that it would “rev up your metabolism,” or because you are actually hungry?

(Side note**Eating every two hours is actually not good for your body as you lose your real hunger cues and your body believes that it must be fed every 2 hours, out of habit. If you currently eat every 2 hours try spreading your meals out by 4-5 hours, the first week will be tough – trust me I went from eating every 2 hours to now about 4-5 hours I know – but you will get through it and your hormones will thank you for it!

Take control of your eating habits.

Stop eating because it’s just a habit.

Pay attention to real hunger cues, like your stomach growling and learn to enjoy every bite. 

Every challenge in life can be overcome by remembering one of my favourite lines, mind over matter.

Posted in fitness, Healthy Lifestyle Advice, Nutrition/ Diet

Health is the best reward 

Although the majority of people who walk into a gym are doing it for aesthetic reasons, everyone who comes into the gym, whatever the reason, is doing something wonderful for their body and health.
No matter what my clients primary goals are I always keep their long term health in mind when designing their program. Although any type of exercise is likely to improve your health, my job is to design a program that will get my clients to their goals, while also helping to optimize their health and ensure they are doing what will be best for them for the long haul.
Weight training, cardio, flexibility and balance training all have their place in an exercise program so it is important to find the balance that will help you get to where you want to be, will be sustainable for life,will benefit your health, and most importantly that you will enjoy.
I think too many people forget about the biggest reward of eating healthy and exercising, which is your own health. When you exercise and eat nutritious food, not only will you improve your health in many different ways (like lower blood pressure, decreased risk of disease, less aching joints, etc.), but you will notice that your body feels better.
When you start an exercise program, even if you do not lost weight, it’s important to remember that you are still improving your health. I also think it is important to point out that there are people who work out for reasons other than losing weight or looking good, some people truly do just want to feel better, stronger and live longer. Furthermore, after you make it a habit and not a chore you will actually start to enjoy exercise, and if you skip it or miss a few days your body will inform you through the way you feel.
I also feel the need to add that we are not dogs, you should not use food as a reward for good behaviour (especially when it involves being healthy and weight loss!!)

The best reward from eating healthy and exercising is the way you feel, next will be the physical changes, but if you feel the need to have a tangible reward – buy yourself a new workout outfit when you reach a goal, or go do something you never had the confidence, strength or skill to do before. I’m not trying to tell you to completely avoid tasty foods that may not be super nutritious, but don’t do it as a reward for a full week of good workouts and eating habits. That should be self-explanatory, learn to enjoy the reward of results.
So next time you step into the gym, yes keep your main goal in mind, but pay attention to how you feel after your workout. Notice the endorphin high, the sense of pride, the inner strength and sense of accomplishment – it’s basically an automatic mood booster!
In conclusion, whether you do or don’t change the number on the scale, exercise and healthy foods will change your life. Plus, the size of your pants doesn’t determine the amount of happiness in your life, your attitude and actual physical ability to enjoy it does!