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06 Dec

BLOG 193 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 groweling 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.

30 Nov

BLOG 192 EFFORT

The skills and wisdom we achieve in life is the result of continued efforts. Most times we are graded or only praised for results, not the efforts it took to reach the goal or accomplish the task. Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. Effort is the act of trying, your level of intensity or work, your focus, and continuous drive to succeed. We are expected to give effort in the roles we play in life including work, sports, relationships, and for our health. Sometimes the attempt is what makes the reward more deserving and feelings of a job accomplished. It is the affirmation that when the result is determined, you did give your best. Hard work is a mind set that requires effort.

Believing in your efforts is motivational. People attribute their successes to natural ability, luck, other people, and EFFORT. Of these four causes, effort is the one that makes the experience purposeful. A handout or gift doesn’t equate to action. The refusal to give up puts you in the driver’s seat to wake up, take action, and apply effort. Your attitude shifts when you know you have to work for what you want. You cherish a possession much more if your efforts earned you the money to pay for it versus having it handed to you. You put effort into your school work when you know your grades influence financial aid or earning your degree versus having someone pay for all your school and you automatically graduate regardless. Effort connects action to reward.

Effort creates a mindset of not settling for less. What you put in, you get out. Don’t expect more when you give less. Equate your effort to your expectations. Effort builds character and makes you stronger whether the task requires mental or physical work. Sometimes the result doesn’t always match what you had desired. Sometimes your effort can feel under-appreciated or devalued when you don’t get what you had hoped for. Regardless of the outcome, there’s a mental fulfillment to knowing you truly tried. Those close to you see and it and know. Reassure yourself that your efforts will pay off in some form. Maybe the grade wasn’t that great on the test, but you still have the final and the effort you gave to study for this test will cut down on the studying for the final to help you focus more on what you need to better understand. Effort is a can do attuite and must for success. It is the key to success and when you keep turning that key, doors continue to open.

23 Nov

BLOG 191 CELLULITE

Cellulite: These dimples aren’t from smiling

Cellulite is the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that can be seen on the lower portion of the body. This dimply skin is typically seen around the buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. It is a type of connective tissue that like to manifest. The fat has pushed through the connective tissue and wants to be seen. Statistics vary, but most report somewhere near 90% of women having this appear on their skin. The time after the years of puberty brings on the cellulite, but there are number of causes regardless of age and body type.

Causes
These lumps are more embarrassing as opposed to being considered a medical condition. As fat accumulates, the connective tissue between muscles that has fat starts to push up against the skin. The tough cords try to fight this which leads to the dimples and uneven skin. Cellulite likes to make it presence known as we age because our skin starts to lose its elasticity.

Treatment
There are pros and cons to all approaches. Some are more cost efficient than others. It seems like those creams, massages, and different products on the market don’t live up to their gimmicks. Retinol cream is a popular item. They might slightly improve the appearance, but they don’t make it go away the way we desperately hope for. Being more active and weight loss can help. Genetics are genetics when it comes to these dimples, so even lean people can have cellulite.

Laser work seems to be the most effective treatment type at this time. Some laser procedures include radiofrequency, tissue massage, and others use infrared light. Results are temporary. Liposuction is also an option in which the doctor will make an incision and use a tube to suck out the fat. This doesn’t completely remove the cellulite but improves appearance. New lasers can be used in combination with liposuction which has the potential to destroy the fat cells and help tighten the skin. Cryolipolysis actually freezes the fat cells. This takes multiple, ongoing treatments. Ultrasound can also improve appearance.

There are also alternative approaches. Some believe that repetitive massaging will increase blood flow and help remove the cellulite toxins. Mesotherapy involves injecting different herbal remedies to the area. Topical creams are also common.
We would prefer a life without cellulite, but that is not always the way the cards are dealt. We can take steps to improve the appearance of the dimples. Those lumps are fighters so being consistent and persistent is important. There are many options on the market, some working better than others. Luckily, clothes can cover the skin. Be confident and know that what is on the surface of the skin doesn’t define the inner self you are truly known for by others.

16 Nov

BLOG 190 TORTILLA CHIPS

This snack food made from corn tortillas is a favorite crunch for many to consume. These wedges are pretty basic…. corn, vegetable oil, salt, and water, fried or baked. Yellow corn is the popular staple, but they can also be made from white, blue, or red corn. Originally considered only a Hispanic style food, this chip is a main attraction for any party, dip, or occasion. Today, tortilla chips sell at a much higher rate than regular potato chips. In fact, tortillas now out sell hamburger and hot dog buns. Mexican food has practically become as American as apple pie.

In the 1900s, tortilla chips were being sold to Mexican restaurants in southern California. What was once just left-over tortilla dough, became a whole line of distribution. Frito-Lay saw dollar signs written all over this and created the “Dorito”. In Spanish, “dorito” means “little golden things”. The Dorito was the original tortilla chip (hidden under that orange cheese color), to hit shelves in the United States. Then the concept of salsa and guacamole were introduced. Low and behold when the nacho was “invented”, this plate of tortilla chips and cheese, took these wedges to the next level. So think about this…. Frito-Lay owns Fritos, Ruffles, and Lays, and basically the tortilla chip.

The actual history of who invented these chips is debatable. Some say it was Rebecca Webb Carranza, others say it was the Martinez family of the Tamalina Milling Company.

The problem is self-control when it comes to these taste-bud pleasers. Most can say they have eaten so many in one serving they pile up in their teeth or their mouth starts to sting from the salt. A single serving size of these is supposed to be 9 chips. Yes, 9. That is about 150 calories and 20 carbohydrate and about 110 grams of sodium. Tortilla chips pretty much define what empty calories are. There isn’t exactly a nutritional benefit to their consumption. Then we dip each chip in sodium filled salsa and pile on the guacamole (understanding that ¼ of an avocado is one serving), the fat and calories continue.

Football season fans just wouldn’t know what to do without a chip and beverage in hand. Mindless eating and social eating for sure. And well, you can never go wrong with tortilla chips. Have you ever had a bad tortilla chip?? Maybe stale, but most of us polish off the bag before that ever happens. Turning down tortilla chips might a sin but try to reach for the veggie platter instead. Your fitness journey will thank you. If you have the will power to just stick to 9 chips, well all the more power to you.

09 Nov

BLOG 189 POTATOES
White, red, and sweet…. they make up the potato family. These starchy vegetables are staple of our diet, but each differ in taste, size, and nutrients. The potato is economical, can be prepared and used for so many different varieties of food, and can either practically be a meal or compliment a meal. Mashed, sautéed, hashed, as a French fry, in a soup, in a burrito, you name it.

Here’s the line-up and it is important to note that all potatoes are fat free:
1. White potato: 155 calories, 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 36 grams of carbohydrates
2. Red potato: 150 calories, 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 34 grams of carbohydrates
3. Sweet potato: 105 calories, 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 24 carbohydrates

All 3 are great source of vitamin C. We can get up to 1/3 of the daily total intake that we need from potatoes. However, sweet potatoes are the clear winner when it comes to vitamin A. Sweet potatoes can give us up to 4 times the amount of vitamin A that we need. A white potato has zero grams of vitamin A. We need “A” for our immunity, growth and development, and our vision. Sweet potatoes are also the winner when it comes to containing antioxidants. Sweet potatoes also are the fiber winner. Even though they may only contain 1 gram more, when most Americans don’t get adequate amounts of fiber in their diets, a little goes a long way. Sweet potatoes also have the lowest amount of carbohydrates. This affects their position on the glycemic index (GI). The higher the GI score, the more likely the food is to raise blood sugar levels. This is not conducive to diabetics. White potatoes rank in at 78 while sweet are at 63. However, white and red make up for lack of “A” by containing more iron, potassium, and magnesium than sweet potatoes.

Collectively, potatoes are low in calories, have no fat or cholesterol, have fiber and vitamin C. no nutrition label will break down the carbohydrate make-up for you of potatoes. Potatoes are slow to digest in our system. We like them because they are filling due to their complex carbohydrate composition. The difference is that sweet potatoes won’t spike your blood sugar like a white or red potato will. Sweet potatoes digest slower in our system and their nutrients enter our blood stream at much slower rate so we feel more satiated.

We tend to over do it when it comes to potato consumption. It’s difficult to stop at ½ cup of mashed potatoes or to have a baked potato merely the size of your computer mouse. Especially when it comes to French fries, just having a few is a mind game. The winner is the sweet potato when compared to its family members. Just be sure not to load up on butter, cheese, sour cream and the works no matter which type you choose. Taste your food for what it is versus what the condiments can cover up. When it comes to potatoes, it appears the sweeter the better.

03 Nov

BLOG 188 MENINGITIS

Anyone can contract meningitis but is most common in ages 16-25, in those over age 55, and in newborns. This is a rare infection of the membranes called meninges. The membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. The fluid surrounding these areas has become infected. This disease comes in three forms, and usually spreads rampant in areas where people are in close contact with each other. For instance, college campuses with dorms have been known to contain the disease. Outbreaks are common in military barracks and in parts of Africa. There are vaccines to help protect us from this infection.

Possible signs include headache, fever, or having a stiff neck. The symptoms are very similar to the flu. Seizures, sensitivity to light, difficulty walking, and decreased appetite and thirst, are also possible indications. Newborns can also be infected and might constantly cry, have a lasting fever, and not feed well.

The most common type is viral meningitis. It is typically not the most serious type (but not always). Diarrhea is known to cause this. Bacteria meningitis is very serious and can cause brain damage when not treated immediately. The bacteria gets into the bloodstream through the ears, sinuses, or throat. Once infected, the bacteria travels in the bloodstream to the brain. It is the type that can be easily spread even through a cough or sneeze. Fungal meningitis is the least common type. People who have a suppressed immune system are the most susceptible.

It is important to keep up on recommended vaccinations. This includes in both childhood and adult life. This bacteria does spread quickly. Having a suppressed immune system puts someone at higher risk, especially for persons with AIDS, diabetes, or alcoholism. The longer the bacteria lives, the more severe the outcomes, especially the development of seizures. Severe cases result in hearing loss, learning disabilities, brain damage, shock, loss of memory, and death.

The bacteria spreads itself when in contact with coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing toothbrushes, food, or cigarettes. Hand washing, proper hygiene, and covering your mouth and nose, are preventative measures. Having the appropriate vaccinations including Hib, PCV13, PPSV23, and meningococcal can help ward off the spreading and contraction.

Viral meningitis can typically be treated with Tylenol. Most people can fully recover within 10 days. Bacterial and fungal meningitis can often result in hospital care. The patient is put on an IV and heart monitor. Anti-biotics are then injected through the veins. Steroids can also help. Hydration becomes very important. Severe cases of bacterial and fungal meningitis can result in death and long-term disabilities. Make sure to be aware of your environment, get the vaccinations, and always wash your hands. We are taught to share, but sometimes keeping our germs to ourselves isn’t selfish when our health is at risk.

27 Oct

BLOG 187 BODY FAT
One of the fitness progress measurements and health standards used to indicate one’s weight range, is body fat. Fat is our energy storage warehouse that our body pulls from to meet the demands we place upon ourselves. Because every BODY is different, we see a range of people who either carry too little, just the right amount, or an excessive amount. But what does this body fat mean in relation to our bodies and on our fitness journeys??

The scientific term for body fat is “adipose tissue”. It’s important to clarify that a person carries both fat pounds and muscle pounds and a normal bathroom scale doesn’t differentiate between the two. I know that for myself, my weight might be higher than one assumes because of the muscle that I carry. This might put me in a different bracket on a chart that shows the health ranges of body weights. But body fat needs to be accounted for. On the reverse, a normal looking sized person may actually be unhealthy because the majority of their weight is fat not muscle. This would then put one at risk for medical problems. This goes to show that just because a person is “skinny” doesn’t mean they’re healthy.

When a person tells me they want to lose weight. I know that they want to lose fat, not muscle. Here is a good example of what this means: “Body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else)”
(http://www.healthchecksystems.com/bodyfat.htm).
Here is the standard chart:
General Body Fat Percentage Categories
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus

Another useful too would be:
• Fat mass: Weight x body fat percentage
• Lean mass: Weight – (weight x body fat percentage)
(https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-body-fat-percentage-how-its-measured-and-why-its-useful.html).

The scale doesn’t always show your weight in terms of good vs. bad pounds. Being realistic and understanding that losing body fat, not muscle is important. Often times quick fixes, cleanses, and really restrictive approaches to weight loss, yield water loss in weight, not fat. Having your body fat measured allows you to determine your goals and be realistic about how much and what type of weight you should lose. I hope this is informative for those of you who are stuck on that scale number. There is much more to weight loss than one thinks 😊

19 Oct

BLOG 186: WATER TEMPERATURE

Water: Used 100 different ways but when it is time to heat up or chill out this liquid??

We use life’s most important element hundreds of times per day in many different ways. From showering to quenching our thirst, H2O is part of all that we do. Sometimes we use cold water, sometimes room temperature and sometimes we use it hot.

There is no label on water that reads, “For best results….” Temperature can be trial and error or totally based on preference. Science tells us there are two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom but what happens when you heat or cool this liquid??

Drinking water: For this, the winner is cold water. It passes through the stomach faster which means the intestines absorb it quicker, and hydration occurs faster. The American College of Sports Medicine says that drinks should be between 50 and 72 degrees F for optimal hydration. How much of this cold water should you drink?? Well, that depends on a number of factors. Every cell of our body needs water. It gets rid of waist, keeps our body temperature in check, and lubricates our joints. 60% of our body weight is water. We lose water through urination, sweat, and even breathing. About 20% of the water we need can come from our food. However, for most adults, men should consume about 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters and women should have 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters. Probably more than assumed.

Showering: Hot or cold this daily cleaning task exposes our skin to different temperatures. The hotter the drops, the more natural oil from the skin gets stripped. Dry, cracked skin has never been a good look. Leave that for winter. Lukewarm is best which opens the pores (good for face washing too) and washes away bacteria. You don’t have to burn off the germs with extreme heat. Warm water for washing hair is also ideal. Hot water can damage the hair. Shampoo works its magic best with warm water.

Toothbrushing: There’s no science behind toothbrushing water temp, so do so at your discretion. I would say most of us just do room temperature.
Washing the dishes: The water should be about 120 degrees F. That is almost too hot to touch but this necessary to kill off an bacteria and grease. The key is that hot water dries quicker so the bacteria has less time to come back.

Washing produce: It’s actually best to use room temperature. Some of us like that fresh feeling of washing off fruits and veggies with cold water. However, cold water can actually perpetuate bacteria when it enters the cracks of the skin. Warm water transpires wilting faster. So just go with room temp.

Watering plants: Best at room temperature. Hot water causes damage to the roots and can even kill the plant. Cold water causes dormancy, so it won’t optimally grow.

We need to drink and use this liquid readily. If we are going to do something, we are going to do it right, so using the best temperatures is important. Cheers to H2O and proper hydration, cleaning, bathing, and watering.

12 Oct

BLOG 185 THE BUSINESS OF DISEASE

Sickness and disease are part of our life here on earth. Life can forever change when diagnosed. We know that as we age, our bodies become more vulnerable as our time here on earth has allowed for body to develop illness. But there is a whole other side to the tragedy of disease, and that is the business, money making industry of medical care. We are victims of this system. Let me further explain.

We are trained to set ourselves up for the aging process. We make sure our retirement will cover health care costs. We set up life insurance…. but isn’t this really death insurance?? We set up health care…. but isn’t this really disease care?? For medical companies, this is all just business…. nothing personal. Prozac alone is a billion dollar making pill. Here are some of the latest totals I found for what people are spending: “That means that, last year, the average family paid $9,996 for coverage alone, and, if they met their deductible, a total of just under $18,000.Meanwhile, an average individual spent $3,852 on coverage and, if she spent another $4,358 to meet her deductible, a total of $8,210” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html).

Our sense of fear causes us to adhere to health advice that is very costly. We live in a world of modified food that has made us sick. The government backs these large companies. We are eating genetically engineered food which has led to an increase in obesity and diabetes. This has created an entire market for genetically engineered insulin, which has dollar signs written all over it. Stress levels are through the roof these days for people, putting them as risk for physical and psychological problems (again dollar signs). With age we accumulate waste over time in our bodies. Our cells degenerate and regenerate over and over again, and if we aren’t healthy enough, at some point our bodies fail at this cycle. Sadly, humans think that living healthy is boring. Smoking and the enjoyment of fat ridden foods brings pleasure. And the disease business preys on this.

More and more drugs are being placed on the market. Prices continue to rise both for insurance and out of pocket costs. Consider this: “U.S. spending on prescription medicines in 2016 increased by 5.8 percent over 2015 levels to $450 billion based on list prices, and by 4.8 percent to $323 billion when adjusted for discounts and rebates. The biggest drivers of prescription growth came from large chronic therapy areas, such as hypertension and mental health” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/us-prescription-drug-spending-as-high-as-610-billion-by-2021-report.html).

Health is a choice. Take care of your body and you will take care of your wallet. The medical industry and quality doctors of course want to help us. Nurses don’t do their amazing jobs for the money. But dollar signs are looming in the shadows of health care. I don’t want to be a skeptic, but if every time I go to the dentist it feels like a sales pitch, it does make you think twice. What you do today counts for tomorrow and years ahead. We can’t erase old damage, but we can do what we can while we can to replace good cells with the bad. That starts with one healthy choice at a time and I’m here to help you.
Reference: “The Business of Disease” (2017) by Sonia Barrett.

05 Oct

BLOG 184 TOP 10 COMMON FITNESS QUESTIONS

Our fitness journeys are unique to us all but all have one element in common…. we are improving our health. What has led us to the decision to start, step it up, seek help, or try a new approach is the result of feeling stagnant, unmotivated, tired, low self-esteem, upon a doctor’s recommendation, or just to have a new hobby. We create questions in our head that sometimes are due to knowing the answer but needing to hear the answer from someone else. If we acted upon the answer that we know is right, well, my job would be null and void. The truth is that most times you have already answered yourself. But I’m here to guide you, support you, and help you confirm any doubts that should be squashed. So here are the most common questions I get, but truly have to respond with every BODY is different or I have to assert that you are not allowed to do something….
1. If I work out 5 days a week and eat right, how much weight will I lose by (insert date)?? How can I know that exact answer?? On December 13th will have lost 8.2 pounds (yeah it doesn’t work that way).
2. Can I eat this instead of that?? Probably not if you have to ask. You are substituting a choice but in doing so are settling or compromising to push the limits of a new plan. Oh how we love control.
3. How much weight do most of your clients lose?? Well, that is a case by case basis. This isn’t just about weight loss.
4. I have a bad back, knee, shoulder, can I still do the exercises?? Absolutely I’m the queen of modifications.
5. If I go on a trip what am I supposed to do?? You have the tools, you know how to make better choices, and trips do happen, so you have to learn to prepare. You are still YOU no matter where you go, so be bold and brave to stick to your plan.
6. Holidays are coming how can I avoid all those foods?? Probably won’t be able to 100% but fuel your fire and exercise more (nothing wrong with having more motivation to work harder). This won’t negate the damage entirely but will be a factor to consider the next time you have a second serving. Think of the exercise involved.
7. My significant other just doesn’t get it what can I do?? Communicate, communicate, communicate and be strong to assert your goals.
8. I walked a lot at the zoo or Disneyland, that counts for exercise right?? I want you to take time out of daily activities you already do. You are trying to justify not doing a workout to yourself and me.
9. Why won’t the scale move but I’m losing inches?? Your body is reshaping itself but an external health factor may exist. Have your bloodwork done to see if there is an internal issue such as hormonal imbalance or lack of nutrient absorption.
10. My doctor said I need to do this or that what do you think?? I’m working on my Doctorate but I’m not there yet. They gave their recommendation for a reason. I am not liable to go against that advise so sometimes I have to say, “Phone a friend on this one”.

I want to help every BODY, and as much as a trainer that I am, I’m also an ear and somewhat of a therapist to some. I love it. I wouldn’t change what I do. But remember, you are in control. You make the choices. You do the work. We don’t hold hands walking Greenbrier Hill, so I’m there for what I can and the rest is up to you.