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30 Jul

BLOG 278 SKIPPING MEALS

Whatever the reason be it getting busy or forgetting to eat, skipping meals has been a topic of debate whether is good or bad. The bottom line is that the brain’s main fuel is glucose, and not giving the body food is also not giving the brain food. Eating isn’t just about the stomach.

Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals doesn’t equate to weight loss. Most of the time, when a person does not eat for an extended period of time, they end of overindulging later. Hunger levels rise and binging can happen. Overeating out of extreme hunger can easily happen. Blood sugar can also start to drop. This leads to feeling tired and the body is communicating that it wants to shut down until re-fueled. When blood sugar drops, mood also tends to drop. Becoming irritable is common. Sometimes when you finally reach the point that you have to eating something, you ravenously take whatever is available and this might not lead to the best choices. Grabbing what you find first might temporarily solve the problem but can catch up with you later on the waistline.

Skipping meals might seem save like saving calories, but most time overeating ends up happening and more harm then good takes place. Not eating means no fuel in the tank and this means less energy. Less energy usually means less motivation, causing performance to suffer. Skipping meals can lower metabolic rate, which is not conducive to weight loss efforts. Blood sugar and insulin responses also change. Some people start to feel really fatigued and even dizzy.

Weight loss is a tricky game. Food is something we have to think about all the time. All the choices and the free will to have them makes temptation and taste-buds a troublesome combination. Not every day has to be centered around food, but the topic is addressed on a daily basis. The key is finding a healthy relationship with food, planning ahead, and knowing what triggers and environments lead to poor decisions. If we are what we eat, then we certainly don’t want to eat nothing. Our bodies deserve premium fuel, so don’t leave the tank empty and expect great performance. You can only go so far for so long before skipping meals just doesn’t seem to be beneficial in the end. Eat for your nourishment and for your health, not because you are bored, stressed, or just because it is there.

22 Jul

BLOG 277 BARS

The food world was struck by convenience when shelves became stocked with bars of all types. They’re an easy snack, treat, or addition to the day. The options include granola, candy, and protein. Some are more nutritionally packed than others. Cheap, easy, and for on-the go, bars seem to be the answer to the day’s food choice selection.

Granola

Granola is considered a breakfast food and contains a mixture of oats, nuts, and different sweeteners like honey or sugar. Some variations contain dried fruit. The typical bar ranges from 100 to 200 calories, 20 or more grams of carbohydrates, 8 or more grams of sugar, and are usually low in protein. Most are moderate in fat and do contain some amounts of vitamins and minerals. Although they are not entirely considered empty calories, they typically don’t contain much that is beneficial to the body. Children love them and adults find them in the vending machine. Be weary of added sugar and carbohydrate content.

Candy Bars

They’re everywhere, especially when you check out at the store. The U.S. market contains over 80 different brands. From Hershey’s to Kit-Kat to dark or white chocolate, there’s an option for every taste bud. Loaded with calories, fat, carbs, and sugar, candy bars are a sometimes treat. Most have the intention of eating half and saving the rest for later, but that is a true test of will-power. Holidays and Halloween are the candy market’s golden time. Rotten teeth and a little extra on the waistline are the side effects. Children are rewarded with candy and can’t wait for a taste. It’s the addiction of sugar that the candy bar market has reeled us in on.

Protein Bars

Now even sold at gas stations. There are incredible brands packed with nutritional quality and there are others that equate to just the same as eating a candy bar. Protein bars usually have 20 or more grams of protein, and vary in sugar, carbohydrate, and fiber content. Selection depends upon purpose of consumption. The best source of protein comes from whole foods. Always look for sugar, fat, and carbohydrate content to ensure you aren’t just having a candy bar with protein. Some are even used as meal replacements.

We live in a grab-and-go eating while I’m driving or in between meetings type of world. A bar gets the job done under these circumstances. There are a lot better whole food choices to be made. When a granola, candy, or protein bar becomes the answer to the growling stomach’s troubles, be sure to make the best choices. Your waistline and heart will thank you. After all, the perfect bar would just be too good to be true, so always read the fine lines and know what you are putting into your body.

16 Jul

BLOG 276 DENIAL

Denial is the self-belief that something isn’t true. It’s refusing to believe something is true that is being requested or that has been told to you. Denial is a defense mechanism. A statement made is just not true. The situation being faced is just too uncomfortable to acknowledge. Even if there is overwhelming evidence, it just isn’t true to you. Denying that something is wrong is a way to cope with an emotional conflict, stress, or with pain. Living in denial when it comes to your health leads to procrastination, worsening of conditions, and the inability to take proactive measures facing the truth.

Denial is the complete opposite of acceptance. It’s hard to deal with life when it doesn’t happen the way you want it to. It the biggest way we lie to ourselves. It is actually the first defense mechanism we learn and use. For example, when we ate the chocolate we weren’t supposed to and mom or dad asked if we did, we shake our head no even though we scarfed it down. The problem is that avoidance doesn’t make the problem go away. It can help the immediate emotional state of mind, but it can also do more harm then good in the end. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t apply to the real world because we can’t exist in an imaginative state.

When our sense of control is threatened, we go into denial mode. Common scenarios include addiction, eating disorders, illnesses, financial problems, or relationship troubles. It takes a strong character to face these realities and deal with them. Living in denial of a medical diagnosis leads to a race a against time for your health. Living in denial about an addiction leads to high risk for poor health and risky behaviors.

It’s hard. I get it. No one wants to hear what is wrong with them or what they need to do. Problems don’t just go away though without addressing them face on. Therefore, on our fitness journeys, we have to address our health circumstances face on. We have to get to the “heart” of the matter. When I read someone their measurements, it’s facing fears and telling the truth that has to be told. Denial is only a temporary band-aid. It’s time to let the wound be exposed, become the better you, and build the character to be strong, fit, and an inspiration to others who have yet to face their truths.

09 Jul

BLOG 275 EXPECTATIONS

We all have expectations each and every day. We have beliefs that something will happen or should be achieved. We forecast the results like the weather girl and project the future like a psychic. We believe that if we do this, then that will happen. These expectations are sometimes met with such confidence that when the outcome doesn’t match, disappointment hits hard. When the world of any situation doesn’t live up to your expectation, you are let down, discouraged, angry, frustrated, and just plain upset be it sad or mad.

Why do we do this to ourselves?? Why do we expect to lose a certain amount of weight?? Why do we expect Mr. or Mrs. Right to always know what we want?? Why do we expect a pay raise, amazing service, low prices, fast answers and solutions, fast internet, and right here right now, for so many of life’s circumstances?? Then when the scale doesn’t read back what we want, he or she didn’t meet our relationship hopes, the food took forever to come out, the tires cost way more than what we were planning on spending, the boss didn’t email you right back, the website is taking way to long to load, and we have to wait in a long line at the grocery store, well…. our expectations have not been met.

Uncertainty makes us anxious to create expectations in our minds. Sometimes our expectations are so unrealistic, we set ourselves up for failure or self-destruction. We believe that someone or ourselves will behave or perform a certain way, and when they or we don’t do so, emotions get to the best of us.
Any of this sound familiar on your fitness journey?? You expect that you have been working out and eating right that the pounds should be melting off and the scale should read back leaps and bounds of major weight loss. The truth is that the scale will never meet your expectations. The data driven mindset likes to exaggerate itself in our mind. You somehow think that a candy bar can be worked off in 20 minutes with that jog?? No, it’s going to take so much more than that. The reality is that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Yet, you continue to expect to do this over and over again.

This is why I preach lifestyle change and daily choices that are realistic expectations and demands you place upon yourself to better YOU with or without a scale number. I get it. I get that when you feel like you aren’t losing fast enough or any at all then what’s the point?? But what you don’t see is your blood pressure lowering, your lipid and blood profile improvising, your cardiovascular system smiling, or your liver and kidney saying thank you for not making us work so hard?? So stop setting expectations that have led to your love-hate rollercoaster to no-where expectations about weight loss. It’s a daily grind, full of daily choices that need to be reasonable, attainable, and most of all…. doable.

02 Jul

BLOG 274 PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

Being satisfied with appearance can be influenced by social pressures and self-esteem. We desire to meet the acceptance of our peers and to feel comfortable in our own skin. Appearance related social pressures can lead to the development of negative body image, eating disorders, and even depression. Unconsciously or not we do judge others based on appearance. Weight, clothing, piercing, tattoos, height, and other physical aspects are in the forefront of our every day lives. We shop, dress, and choose our appearance based upon our interests, careers, and culture. The way we look communicates something about us. That is why we dress up for interviews, weddings, and special occasions. We might dress down to feel comfortable and relax. The environment and the company we are with influence these choices as well. There is also another form of pressure to look attractive in fear of rejection by the same or opposite sex. We seem to have heightened sensitivity when it comes to rejection based upon appearance. How attractive we feel dictates our self-esteem. There are also media influences.

Think of all the adjectives used to describe appearance….. average, beautiful, adorable, cute, handsome, fancy, dirty, ugly, etc. A compliment or an insult go a long way. Encountering and interacting with others can be affected by their opinion of our appearance either good or bad. It is human nature to judge appearance, which sometimes overshadows character. We often times associate class or money with appearance too. Brands and trends are socially influencing the marketing and purchasing choices we are making. To some having high-end is important, and to others second-hand is perfectly fine. Someone we discuss knowing the difference, how much we spent on something, or where we bought it from.

Clothes and shoes cover up what is underneath, regardless of personality. Sometimes personality is also a reflection of these clothes and shoes. The two concepts are interrelated. Have you ever bought something just to fit in? Have you ever spent more than you are comfortable with because of the company you will be wearing it around? Have you ever just thrown on old clothes because you just are tired of caring that day? Have you ever felt out of place or under dressed? These are questions that could be a ”dressed” daily when you select the attire for the day. We have to like what we see and what we wear can make or break our spirits for that day. Even if you are sitting behind a desk all day and no one will see what you are wearing, when you dress down or up, you actually do feel differently about your self-esteem that day. It’s just human nature and physical appearance is an evitable factor of our lives.

25 Jun

BLOG 273 OVERWORKED

Americans seem to have a lot of excuses when it comes to prioritizing their health. The U.S. has dictated a full time works schedule to consist of 40 hours per 7-day week, consisting of 8 hours per day. Most people use this time Monday through Friday, having weekends off. However, the U.S. does not have any exact laws setting the maximum work length for each week. As a result, 85.8% of males and 66.5% of females work more than 40 hours per week. Statistics are showing that Americans work 137 more hours per year than the Japanese, 260 more than the British, and 499 more than the French.

Following this trend of overworking, the U.S. also does not have a federal law requiring paid sick leave days. There are also not any laws about mandated annual leave. Therefore, the very people that are issuing pay checks are making the decisions about how to compensate time spent at work. With money and profit at the heart of the issue, it is no wonder people are working more hours.

It is easy for outsiders to merely say to work less hours. In doing so, that can translate to less money, which leads to more stress and lower quality of life. The problem is that when work is taking up a person’s schedule, almost entirely, there is little time for family and loved ones, spending time enjoying hobbies, unwinding, being social, and then of course….exercising. High stress and sedentary work life do to make a healthy combination. Somehow the mentality of work first has led to being intimidated to ask for time off to raise a child, to take a vacation, to have a couple hours off during the week, etc.

The statistics show that Americans are hard working. The average person is working 47 hours, not just 40. Some places of employment also require a 9-hour day because the 1 hour lunch does not count. That adds to additional time away from home and for self. Americans are starting to get a reputation for being chained to their desks. Some people even work through their lunches. Many just eat at their desks. Some just skip lunch altogether. In Spain, Greece, and other countries, lunch hour is a lose term and last as long as desired or needed. In Sweden, workers take a fika, which is a coffee break for all employees to socialize. There are actually laws in France that require workers to ignore emails and calls after work hours.

So much time at work is now a reflection of American’s waistlines, stress, mental health, and family relations. Most children grow up in a home with both working parents and if they both are gone for extended hours, that means there is less interaction. The cycle continues, and yet people have to pay their bills and taxes. How does the rest of the world have this figured out and make their health and work life balanced? We have yet to find the balance but need to restore our priorities or else the health consequences will continue to rise.

18 Jun

BLOG 272 OVEREATING

We are all too familiar with that feeling of being stuffed. For some it’s a rare occasion, but for others each meal can present the chance to eat and eat until overeating strikes again. We might do this at the end of a long day. It’s a holiday so why not? Or maybe when home alone all inhibition lets loose. Then we feel frustrated with ourselves for letting this stomachache happen….once again. The truth is that right out of the gate we are nurtured with food. We eat to live, but somewhere along the lines living to eat can become the lifestyle. We have an emotional connection to food outside of just nutritional purposes.

Yet, the act of eating can get out of control. It can become a coping mechanism for negative emotions. Some people think about food all the time. We might laugh and joke after eating large quantities at Thanksgiving, but some people feel ashamed and guilty after far too many of their meals. For some people, overeating can just be a mindless habit. The duration of the movie requires snacking and then pretty soon the box is gone and the entire liter of soda.

Some people who overeat might have an actual eating disorder such as binge eating disorder (BED). This is characterized by eating large quantities of food in a short period of time. A person with BED might do this at least once per week for the course of 3 months or longer. Eating is associated with feelings of stress, loneliness, and then guilt and regret after eating so much. To be clear, not all people who overeating have binge eating disorder. For some people it’s just a love of food, while others might suffer from negative body image. Sometime dieting gone astray can lead to overeating. Feelings of deprivation lead to a desire for foods that were off limits and the more the better. The foods that were forbidden become more and more attractive.

The composition of foods can make them addictive in nature. High fat, high sugar, and high salt foods taste to please us. The brain senses the euphoric feeling much like drug use. Then the person become dependent of these foods as they crave their comfort and satisfaction. The difference is that no one can cut food “cold-turkey”. We are faced with eating each and every single day, more than once. The act of eating can become an addiction too.

If there’s strong ties to deep emotional problems and food seems to be the solution, then seeking help is important. A person needs to determine their triggers, especially those that transpire negative body image. A counselor can certainly help. Food should also not be constantly deprived or labeled as “good” or “bad”. Tuning into hunger cues is important. Understanding the why of the overeating leads to a better solution. A change of scenery can help change the environment you put yourself in during eating. Don’t be on autopilot and let the habit carry on and on. There is a lot more to life then chewing, but we have to find a healthy relationship with food in order to be healthy mentally and physically.

10 Jun

BLOG 271 COMPARISON COMPLEX

Getting stuck in a hole of comparing yourself to others can wreak havoc on self-esteem. Confidence in question leads to poor self-worth. In today’s social media imaged filled culture, one can find themselves lost scrolling, clicking, and then thinking about how they shape up to what they see. For example, when it comes to fitness, you can tell yourself from that start that your goal isn’t about the weight loss numbers. Then you look at a feed of so many before and after photos, only to find yourself wondering why your results don’t add up the same. At work, you compare your performance to others so that you feel productive or purposeful. In school, you become competitive with grades. At restaurants, you look around to see what others have ordered. Parents compare themselves to others. They question whether their child should have a cell phone or not because their friend’s child is the same age and has one.

We can become so busy worrying about others, we loose sight of ourselves. We start to blame others for our own actions. When we have done the best job that we can there is no need to compare to anyone else. You have to be proud of yourself, otherwise you never live up to what you expect. That leads to depression and a downward path to negative thoughts. You actually limit yourself when you compare yourself to others because you are basing your potential on someone else’s.

All of this means that it may be time for a social media detox. It many be time to water your own grass and not worry about your neighbor’s. Don’t resist the past and accept where you are and aspire for where you want to be. Life might have been messy or bumpy, but the straight and narrow path doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. Lack of adventure doesn’t mean success. You are writing your own movie, and the ending isn’t fixed. There is more to come, so play out the scenes how you want to see them. Be grateful instead of always wanting more. Maybe you aren’t meant to have more. Don’t let fear guide you. Comparison is a form of fear. It is not being confident in your own self to be strong on your own, no matter where that leaves you in the line-up. It is okay to be inspired by others, but don’t compare yourself to their aspirations. You are you. You have to be nice to yourself and learn to ignore the bully in your head. It’s time to be happy and to be free from comparison. So let those scores go, you are the winner of your own life.

04 Jun

BLOG 270 SHINGLES

Shingles is a painful virus. The pre-requisite is having had chicken pocks first, even if it was decades before. This is because they come from the same virus called varicella roster. Chickenpox causes itchy blisters that can spread on the body, typically in the chest and back areas. On the other hand, shingles is a rash that causes a shooting, painful, sensation. The rash usually stick to one location or side of the body. When the virus first enters the body as chickenpox, after running its course, it retreats to nerve tissues located near the spinal cord and brain just makes its home there. Then for almost no reason doctors can understand, the virus wakes itself up again. That is when shingles occurs which is also called herpes zoster. Doctors do know that a weakened immune system is of course more vulnerable to virus waking itself up.

Others heightened risks for shingles include trauma, stress, have cancer, HIV, or take medications that lower the immune system over time (such as steroids). The mystery is that these possible causes are not always true for everyone.

Going to see a doctor is pertinent especially if the person feels a tingling feeling under their skin, an upset stomach, fever, chills, and/or headache coupled with raised dots on the body. The area of the skin will feel like a stabbing pain and eventually the redness turns into blisters. Within 7 to 10 days the blisters do dry out and pain lessens. Shingles cannot be entirely cured, but the painful symptoms and longevity of the blisters can be reduced.
Shingles is contagious to those who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine for it. A person is contagious until the blisters have dried out and crusted over. Pregnant women, infants, and those with weak immune systems are susceptible.

Currently there are 2 vaccines available for shingles. These include Shingrix and Zostavax. Shingrix is actually considered 90% effective, so it is the preferred option. The CDC does recommend people over the age of 50 get this vaccination, even if they have had shingles before.
Shooting pain should be kept away. Anyone who has had the Chickenpox should be aware of possible triggers and any symptoms associated with shingles. As we always intend to, keeping stress at bay is important. Be aware of germs and germ filled environments. Your body and immune system appreciate self-care. Don’t let the virus in and vaccination becomes very important.

28 May

BLOG 269 TALKING TO OURSELVES

We all have conversations with ourselves. In fact, when we talk to ourselves, we are rationalizing, comforting, and reflecting upon our lives. This is a healthy habit, and some of us even find ourselves doing it out loud. You aren’t crazy and you aren’t strange, we just don’t often tell others about our inner chats, so we don’t even know that everyone else around us is doing it too. It’s our little secret with our mind. Didn’t your mom used to say that if she didn’t talk to herself then no one would listen?? There are a number of reasons why talking to yourself is beneficial.
1. Organizing your thoughts: You are making your game plan, your blue print, your strategy to the upcoming. It helps you prioritize what needs to be done and let go of the small things that shouldn’t carry weight. We are better able to logically understand that we don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill.
2. Self-reliance: You are able to ask yourself how to solve the problem. Our inner voice helps us analyze a situation. We can come to conclusions independently.
3. Helps with stress: Your mind wanders and races as you worry and try to juggle life. Talking to yourself can be a pep talk or help you rehearse what you are going to do. This helps you face tough situations and increases confidence.
4. Eases loneliness: You don’t feel so alone when you have debates with yourself or feel like someone is listening and even talking back to you.
5. Allows you to determine your goals: You start to visualize the situations playing themselves out and talking out the lines to the play. This helps you decide what you really want to go after and accomplish.
6. You gain insight about yourself: What you say to yourself can reveal a lot about your inner desires. Your perspective when alone can be different compared to face to face with someone else because you are your only influence.
7. Increases self-esteem: Giving yourself compliments and encouragement makes you feel good and proud. You re-enforce to yourself that you can do something or that you should be proud of yourself.
8. Increases memory: We all talk to ourselves when we are trying to find something we have lost, like our car keys. We have to re-trace our steps and talk ourselves through what lead to the moment when the keys disappeared.
9. You feel more in control: Sometimes we need re-assurance or to hear someone else confirm that we are okay or doing something write. What better person than yourself.
10. You can increase your intelligence: When you rehearse, practice, organize your thoughts, and plan ahead, you aren’t scrambling in the moment when the situation arises. You self-talk a lot when taking a test, so all you have to do is re-call that conversation you had with yourself when you were studying. You are reproducing the talk.
Go ahead and jabber away to yourself. The benefits “speak” for themselves. And hey, you aren’t wasting your breath either.