A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables is great for overall health and can even help weight loss. However, this food plan is all about the choices that fall under these categories. Muffins are part of the mistake that can cause weight gain. The average medium sized muffin contains about 430 calories, 18 grams of fat, and close to 60 carbohydrates. This doesn’t include the possible 35 grams of sugar. No wonder they taste so good. For breakfast, as a snack, with tea or coffee, a muffin is a tasty, satisfying food that many approve of. The problem is that a muffin isn’t a nutritionally sound option. Then we to consider the giant muffins from Costco, the ones that taste good from Souplantation (although sadly gone), the one’s the vending machine has, and then there’s always 7-11. They taught and tease use because they are a grab and go food. They’re easy and filling.
Just because a muffin has some blueberries, is gluten-free, or made from scratch, doesn’t mean the waistline isn’t going to suffer. Even if just half, only 200 calories, those calories could have better been served with 3 eggs and a banana or ½ cup of oatmeal. More bang for the caloric content, but we don’t always make decisions based on that rationale. Often times a muffin isn’t the main meal either, although could count up to be this.
Muffins date back to the 18th century coming from either the British or Europeans. It is similar to a raised flat bread, shaped like a cupcake. Some even call it a healthy “cupcake”. The main ingredients are flour, vegetable oil, and of course sugar. Flavors range from chocolate to bran and all the types of fruits in between. It is typically eaten for breakfast and enjoyed a mid-morning snack or for brunch.
Let’s take a look at one of Costco’s chocolate muffins just for shock value. This muffin has 690 calories, which if a person is at a 2,000 calorie intake per day, that’s about 35% right there. This makes up 79 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of fat. Then there are only 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. All that considered, that is a lot for one muffin and a lot for just one item. There are other types like banana nut or poppy seed, but these still come in the 600 calorie range. A muffin is therefore an occasional food choice, not one to have with breakfast on a daily basis. As good as they are, there are not good for the body long-term. We all know the derogatory term that can be used for the shape of a persons’ stomach ☹
In 2014, the FDA approved the prescription weight loss drug, Contrave. With the recent New Year and weight loss adds running like crazy on TV, this drug surfaced in a commercial and caught my attention. So the trainer in me had to research it and here I will share my findings.
Here is what the website claims: “By adding CONTRAVE to your weight-loss plan for a full year, you could lose 2-4x more weight than with diet and exercise alone.2” (https://contrave.com/?gclid=CjwKEAiA-rfDBRDeyOybg8jd2U4SJAAoE5XqurpFCSvG4W9EmOm9N4CSlQwh727qtplFOX-aX-saZhoCt-3w_wcB).
To sum it up, Contrave can be prescribed to obese or overweight adults with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. Medically speaking, “Contrave combines two drugs already on the market: bupropion
(Wellbutrin), an antidepressant
, and naltrexone
, an anti-addiction
l thoughts that are linked with antidepressant
s” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#1). Wellbutrin is a popular antidepressant, which means those who take it for psychological purposes must not suffer from the weight gain side effects some of these medications can cause.
So what does it do?? Well, “‘It takes away hunge
r and the cravings for food,’ says John Foreyt, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. He was a researcher on a clinical trial studying Contrave” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#1).
I do like that the drug is recommended with diet and exercise. It can also not be prescribed to someone with an eating disorder. But then I questions how long does someone take this pill and what happens when you stop. It isn’t an isolated phenomenon, and success does depend on what you eat and your activity. Results vary but, “On average, people lose 5% to 10% of their starting weight, according to clinical trials and experts” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140911/contrave-weight-loss-drug#2).
So I guess this means if you were 200 pounds, you might drop to 180.
Bottom line, we know there is no magic pill on our fitness journeys.
Food provides us the fuel to exercise. We need energy to be able to perform at our best. Nutrition plays a critical role in our fitness journey. Clients often ask when is the best time to eat….before or after the workout?? There are several factors to consider when deciding which approach is best for you, because of course there is no straight answer to this question. Feeling totally full before a jog is never a good idea. On the other hand, feeling ravenous before a jog might make you more irritable then motivated to sweat.
Carbohydrates are probably the most controversial nutritional fitness topic, but they are the main source of energy for our bodies. We need them in order to sustain a quality workout, but that doesn’t mean we should have a plate of spaghetti or baked potatoes at free will. In summary, “You want every gram of carbohydrate you consume to be utilized as an immediate fuel source or to restore glycogen levels—you don’t want it to be stored as fat. Don’t eat more carbs than you need and don’t worry about spreading them evenly throughout the day. You can eat the majority of your carbs around your workout” (
Ideally, we are eating our snacks or meals every 2-3 hours, so if we were to workout 2 hours after having a snack, we wouldn’t need to eat again before the workout. On the other hand, if you have not eaten for several hours, then a snack before the workout is in order. For example, if the last time you ate was dinner and you are a morning workout person, a light snack would help energy levels to be able to sustain your workout. This snack should be 100-200 calories, and should have a small amount of carbohydrates and protein. For me, a rice cake with almond butter does the trick. When lifting weights, the body usually requires more energy so certainly have a snack at least 2 hours prior is necessary. A protein shake or 1/2 Quest bar are my go-to lifting snacks. Fast absorbing protein, particularly Whey sources, are best because they contain higher levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).
After a workout, there is a 60 minute time window that our muscles are vulnerable and ready to absorb nutritional components, which means, “They absorb carbohydrates readily to replace lost glycogen, energy stored in your muscles, as well as amino acids found in protein to help repair tissue you break down while working out” (
http://www.livestrong.com/article/399834-is-it-better-to-eat-before-or-after-a-workout-to-lose-weight/). When our muscles repair, they grow. More muscle means a higher metabolism.
Set yourself up for optimal results by meal planning and having snacks available to help you strategize your approach. Don’t go all day at work without eating for several hours then head to the gym with no fuel. My approach is to eat half my snack before and half after. So I might drink half my protein shake before or during, then the other half after. Or I might eat half my Quest bar before then the other half after. That way, my body has fuel before and is also receiving the BCAAs and protein after for muscle repair.
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.
“Science of Fasting” (2016), Sylvie Gilman, Thierry de Lestrade
Life expectancy is increasing, but that also means that the number of diseases and illnesses are increasing too. This requires medical attention, which plays into the money-making industry of Western medicine. In the fitness industry, clients ask about fasting for weight loss, but after watching, “Science of Fasting” (2016), this deprivation of food is actually a therapeutic approach to healing.
Russia’s public health system actually recognizes fasting. It is covered by healthcare. The documentary highlighted one of the Russian clinics where residents come to stay for a supervised program. This is not a DIY (do it yourself) process, which is a popular approach when it comes to internet searched detoxes, cleanses, juicing trials, or fasts. Here, fasting can take place up to a period of 3 weeks, and it’s all about WATER…. just water. The hunger sensation does disappear after a few days. The body is detoxing and living off its reserves. The body at first undergoes a “crisis” period as the impacted organism feeds on itself. So let’s say an alcoholic is trying to reverse liver damage, there could be possible pain the few days in the area. To help with this, patients are given body wraps, colonics and are recommended to exercise.
Of course this process is scary, because no one can tell how one’s body will react to food deprivation. But the body learns to tap into other energy sources. Our main source of energy is glucose and once the body has used this, it then taps into its energy reserves souring from proteins and fats. Now the body is using ketones for fuel. Over the years, nearly 10,000 patients have been treated and 2/3 have experienced successful results.
A physician in Moscow was the first to bring fasting to the medical board for review in 1973. As a physiatrist, he had a patient who refused to eat. So he just let him not eat. By the 15th day, the patient had a better attitude and felt recovered from his mental illness symptoms. Fasting has been shown to improve and reverse symptoms of depression, phobias, obsessions, anxiety, and schizophrenia. At first, not many doctors or the medical world were open to this idea because being hungry has a negative connotation. But this doctor, Nicoliath (possible misspelling), from Moscow has helped over 8,000 people with asthma, arthritis, and eczema.
Fasting stresses the body. It then has to auto regulate itself. Faced with starvation, hormones start to act and tap into the reserves. For example, this process on a person with asthma would target the black histamine cells in the lungs, cleaning out this area through the fasting detoxification of this organ.
Fasting hasn’t undergone a great amount of research because the pharmaceutical companies are not encouraging this. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, that equates to dollar signs for many years of medication. Studies have been done on penguins and rats, proving that these species can live off their reserves for nearly 4 months. This means that fasting is an adaption that body can undergo.
The concept of fasting ties into many weight loss strategies like the ketosis diet. The body is using other sources for fuel. It is important that this is of course a temporary, short lived approached. I was intrigued by the medical findings and thought of the effects of fasting the body of meat and dairy have which reduce inflammation. Consult a doctor and be sure to have professional supervision if this is something you are considering. To learn more, I would highly recommend watching the moving, “Science of Fasting”.
Mouth open wide, a loud sigh, and the face stretched to its capacity. We yawn involuntarily, but why do we seem to do it so much during exercise?? I just thought I was boring you.
When we are tired we yawn, so naturally as the body becomes fatigued from exercise, we then start to yawn. According to Livestrong.com (2013), yawning helps to cool down the brain during exercise. Furthermore, in order to cool down our body temperature, our initial reaction is to sweat. If sweating isn’t enough to cool us down, we then start to yawn which, “increases blood flow and heart rate and enables the intake of cool air, all of which may help regulate your brain’s temperature” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/424772-why-do-you-yawn-when-you-exercise/). Yawing brings in oxygen which then can be brought to the blood. During exercise our blood flow is increased, so we require more oxygen to the blood during activity. You will also be happy to know that the abdominal muscles are used during yawing.
The body is undergoing a behavioral change when we workout, so exercise takes us from a normal to more awake state, which then causes yawing. There are other theories as well that might align with why we yawn at the studio or in a gym setting. According to an article by Melanie Radzicki McManus, “Our bodies induce yawning to draw in more oxygen or remove a buildup of carbon dioxide. This theory helps explain why we yawn in groups. Larger groups produce more carbon dioxide, which means our bodies would act to draw in more oxygen and get rid of the excess carbon dioxide” (http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/question5721.htm).I constantly yawn while exercising, and I was always taught that it’s not polite to yawn in class or when someone is speaking to me. So after learning this information, I will no longer take it personal that you yawn during the workouts. After all, your face and abdominal muscles are being used. I shouldn’t get upset anyways, since this is an involuntary action….but when you yawn, I yawn. It’s a chain reaction that’s contagious.
Well, it’s 8PM, I’m yawning from being tired at this point, so that’s a wrap. Plus, I feel like my English teacher clients would note how many times I used the word “yawn” in this Blog and have re-read this multiple times to try to fix that. See you next workout, and maybe I’ll start tracking your yawn count in your files J
One of the most controversial nutritional elements are carbohydrates. Diets for decades have either ruled them out, praised them, or come up with complicated ratios we should abide by each day. Carbohydrates are an essential component of our daily nutrition, but of course there are choices left up to us as to what we will be consuming and how much we should have. Most people consume between 40 and 60% of carbohydrates each day as part of their total daily intake of food. They are our main source of energy which is derived from the glucose of these foods. As you know, some carbs are better than others. So let’s take a look at the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates in order to provide some guidance for your choices.
The best initial explanation I found was the following: “There are three types of carbohydrates: starch, sugar and fiber. Starches and sugars provide your body with its main source of energy. They’re all comprised of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, which are organized into single units. Sugars contain just one or two of these units and are “simple,” while starches and fibers have many units of sugar, making them “complex” “ (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/carbs/simple-vs-complex-carbohydrates.html). Let’s start with simple then move onto complex.
Simplex carbohydrates are made of one or two sugar molecules. Our bodies digest them very quickly, so they’re an instant source of energy. Some basic examples include table sugar, brown sugar, fruit drinks, soft drinks, candy, jellies or jams, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, and molasses (http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.htm). Other type would include white products like bread or pasta, baked good made with white flour, and most cereals (http://howtothinkthin.com/instincts2.htm). I would say that 3pm hour is probably the time most folks want that simple carb source.
Complex carbohydrates are the better of the two types. They’re full of fiber and take the body more time to digest, leaving you feeling satiated and fueled for longer periods of time. Blood sugar remains more stable instead of a quick spike from simple carbs for that instant energy boost. They also contain more vitamins and minerals. Examples include green vegetables, whole grain sources from oatmeal, pasta, or breads, potatoes or sweet potatoes, corn, beans, peas, lentils (http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html). Apples, oranges, grapefruit, and yogurt are other good sources (http://howtothinkthin.com/instincts2.htm).
On your fitness journey, we want to aim to fuel the body as best as possible. I would classify simple carbohydrates as “sometimes foods”. Unfortunately, they are those quick and easily accessible little snacks that make life convenient. However, having complex carbohydrates really isn’t that “complex”. Shoot 7-11 is starting to sell Quest Bars and they often sell fruit, so no excuses. Be an advocate for your health and make the necessary swaps. Not only will you benefit, but the whole family will when you stock your shelves full of better complex carbohydrates sources. Think about it… if the majority of what we eat are carbohydrates then let’s make the majority of our choices that much better. One choice and one rep at a time, we are on our way to being the best versions of ourselves.
Well, farting is part of life. This socially unaccepted normal occurrence in our bodies isn’t exactly fragrance friendly. And I know you are thinking this is an unexplored topic you didn’t expect me to write about haha. The oldest know recorded joke was about farting. Although a private matter, gas in the body happens to every BODY. But let’s be sophisticated and call it fluctulence 😊In fact, according to Medical News Today, “The average person passes wind between 8 and 10 times a day” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7622.php).It’s simple: when we chew to eat, we then swallow, and we are taking in air. The digestive system uses nitrogen and oxygen and releases these gases while doing its work. Here’s the catch… the smell. So let’s take a look: “In the process of converting our meals into useful nutrients, these food-munching microbes produce a smelly by-product of hydrogen sulfide gas — the same stench that emanates from rotten eggs” (https://www.livescience.com/32405-what-makes-us-fart.html).Fiber is the common culprit. However, sugars actually produce the most gas and include the following:·
Fructose — A natural ingredient in plants like onions, corn, wheat and even pears. It’s often concentrated into a sugary syrup for soft drinks and fruit drinks.·
Lactose — Milk’s sweet natural ingredient, also added to foods like bread and cereal. Some people are born with low levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, a fact that inflates their gassy susceptibility.·
Raffinose — The secret gassy ingredient in beans, which is also found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus and other vegetables. Products like Beano, designed to reduce gas production, break down the sugar before it can reach eager intestinal bacteria.·
Sorbitol — Found in almost all fruits, this indigestible sugar is also used as an artificial sweetener in “diet” and sugar-free foods. Yes, sugar-free gum, candy, soda and anything else deceptively sweet can cause gas.(https://www.livescience.com/32405-what-makes-us-fart.html)
Carbonated beverages and gum chewing also involve taking in extra air in the body producing gas. And yes, exercise can produce gas. As we move the body during its digestive stages, we can create air bubbles.Not that I want you to stink up my studio, but I get it…. a little movement might cause some of that fluctuance. But hey did you read that part that says sugar causes gas?? Maybe I found another deterrent for you haha. In other news, let’s hit the gas and become the best version of ourselves.Side note: Interesting Amazon Prime video watch called “Fart: A Documentary” (2016) by Troy Hale
Originally formatted for baby’s sensitive skin, baby oil is a great product. In fact, it is just mineral oil without the smell. It had evolved and changed over the years, and some people even know how to make it at home. This product has many uses and it is no longer (or has it ever been) just for babies, despite the labeling name. There are many personal applicational uses and even home uses that have many people raving over this oil.
Baby oil is made of the following ingredients: mineral oil, honey, aloe vera extract, vitamin A, vitamin E, and sometime other aromatic compounds. Other variations of this product that are not 100% natural might also have carrier oil (such as coconut oil), wheat germ, beeswax to make it thicker, and other essential oils like lavender or tangerine.
Baby oil’s originally intended purpose was and still is to moisturize a baby’s skin. However, kids and adults can also reap the benefits. Here are other uses of this incredible product:
1. Moisturize hair: This oil can be a treatment to the scalp and hydration to the scalp and hair.
2. Help with flaky, scaly skin: This might include making the skin of the heels softer.
3. Help with under-eye skin: This is a sensitive area that is neglected by many, despite its constant exposure to the environment.
4. Make-up remover: It works well removing the line-up of makeup used for the day.
5. After shaving oil: It can help add and lock in moisture to the newly exposed pores.
6. It can be used as a lubricant for machine parts or appliances.
7. Earwax: It can be used to help remove this.
8. Stretch marks: It can be applied for prevention.
9. Polishing: it can make counter tops and stone products sparkle.
10. Message oil: It is used by many in this industry.
11. It can help remove temporary tattoos and bandages without pulling to much hair and leaving residue.
12. It can help un-do a stuck zipper.
13. Soothe insect bites: It can be used as an anti-inflammatory.
14. Heel skin rashes: It works well to ease irritation.
Baby oil is one of the products to keep around the house just in case. This versatile oil is good for so many reasons, that having some on hand as the answer to little issues that arise can help save time, help address the problem faster, and make the pain go away quicker. Most people are advocates of baby oil in adult life and there’s certainly good cause for this.
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 influence
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 inevitable factor of our lives.