BLOG 121 FOOD MEANING
We live in a food centered society that’s for sure. Every street is lined with food locations; commercials bombard our televisions; cooking is a hobby; and at least 3 times per day we think about eating. Let’s face it, we like to eat and it makes us feel good. Food has many symbolic meanings as well. This blog is even difficult to write as my stomach growls waiting for my next meal.
We know that food fuels our bodies, but it means so much more than that. Socially, food is shared and meals are eaten together. Check out this synopsis: “Food is almost always shared; people eat together; mealtimes are events when the whole family or settlement or village comes together. Food is also an occasion for sharing, for distributing and giving, for the expression of altruism, whether from parents to children, children to in-laws, or anyone to visitors and strangers. Food is the most important thing a mother gives a child; it is the substance of her own body, and in most parts of the world mother’s milk is still the only safe food for infants. Thus, food becomes not just a symbol of, but the reality of, love and security” (http://www.sirc.org/publik/food_and_eating_1.html).
We associate food with celebration and have acquired certain meals to symbolize these holidays and events. The most obvious would be the courses Thanksgiving is composed of, but think about birthday cake, hot dogs at baseball games, pizza for any occasion (haha), potlucks at work, Cinco De Mayo or St. Patrick’s Day, the list goes on and on. When I got straight A’s in school, Baskin Robbins ice cream was the reward to celebrate. A lot of these ties relate back to religious customs that most of us aren’t even aware of.
Food means prosperity. Having an extravagant feast is how kings and queens showed their affluence. The same holds true today in that we are able to impress others with the spread of choices or which location to meet and dine at. Being the host with the most holds value. So yes, even class can come into play with food. We even tend to associate eating organic as fancy compared to pre-packaged cheaper choices.
Eating truly can be an experience. When I returned from Italy, countless times I was asked about the food. And yes, the Italian food culture is different. To us, spaghetti in heaping portions is dinner, but to the Italians this is just one course and it was a smaller serving for sure. We meet our friends for lunch or drinks and the traditional date involves dinner and a movie. You get my drift. So no wonder food is a constant battle on our fitness journeys. Mind over matter. One better choice at a time. Think about food as fuel not the traditional associations. We can talk ourselves into anything is we really try.
BLOG 120 COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil has certainly made its debut lately on our grocery shelves, in recipes, and it’s all over the health trends we see. Recently, the media has depicted this product as actually not being “so healthy” for us, which meant I had to do some investigation. From the onset, I came into this blog with the understanding that any item in excess isn’t “good” for us and that moderation is the key (especially in a non-so-moderate lifestyle our society has created).
Let’s cover the ground work. History: “Coconut oil is made by pressing the fat from the white “meat” inside the giant nut. About 84% of its calories come from saturated fat. To compare, 14% of olive oil’s calories are from saturated fat and 63% of butters are. ‘This explains why, like butter and lard, coconut oil is solid at room temperature with a long shelf life and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures,’ says registered dietitian Lisa Young, PhD. And it’s the reason coconut oil has a bad rap from many health officials” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/coconut-oil-and-health#1). The difference is that coconut oil fat is made up of triglycerides that our bodies handle differently than those found in traditional vegetable oils.
If following the standards, we are to consume no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. That’s the amount of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
Like most elements of life, there are pros and cons to the consumption of this oil. For example, “Fans of coconut oil point to studies that suggest the MCT-saturated fat in coconut could boost your HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. This, they claim, makes it less bad for your heart health than the saturated fat in animal-based foods like cheese and steak or products containing trans fats.
But it also raises your LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
A quick cholesterol lesson:
- LDL — helps form plaque that blocks your arteries
- HDL — helps remove LDL”
So all in all, we want to get our fat from sources like nuts and avocado, not necessarily oils. Personally, I use PAM cooking spray which does have zero everything on the nutritional panel. However, I realize that means there is artificial galore in the ingredients. Here again brings up the point of pros and cons to the elements of life.
Coconut oil is also great for topical skin purposes. It can help alleviate dry skin and add moisture. Some argue they don’t like the greasy texture.
Nutrition is a key component of our fitness journeys and the more informed we are, the better choices we can make. When I hear a trend, I research to help every BODY. Fuel your BODY how you want it to operate and let the journey be a learning experience along the way.
BLOG 119 CHILDREN & STRENGTH TRAINING
Exercise and sports begin at a young age with T-ball, soccer, swimming, and so on. Some children develop the necessary skills quickly, while others might take time to find the right fit for their interests. Parents like to see their children succeed, and maybe extra attention like hiring a trainer or private coaching lessons might take place. But is this extra physical training appropriate for children physically and/or psychologically?? Let’s take a look.
It’s important to clarify right away that strength training, not weight lifting can be beneficial for children. Truth be told: “This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven’t yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight. For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/strength-training/art-20047758). Traditional physical education in schools does implement pushups, sit ups and pullups in the curriculum and specific state standard tests require these components. SO obviously children wouldn’t be put in harm’s way because schools are doing this.
But having an under developed body and power lifting or using excessive weights for resistance is not good for the young body. A child’s body is not designed for these movement patterns yet. It would be hard to pin point a proper age when weight lifting can/should take place, but post puberty would be best. We need our children to be active, but in the proper realm. The benefits of strength training for children are many (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/strength-training/art-20047758) :
Done properly, strength training can:
- Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
- Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
- Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
- Develop proper techniques that your child can continue to use as he or she grows older
Keep in mind that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:
- Strengthen your child’s bones
- Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight
- Improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem
In high school, my basketball game was taken to the next level when I did start weight lifting. Not many others girls were doing this, so my strength was noticeable. But I had the supervision and technique in place. Children have to establish the maturity to know pain vs. strain vs. exercise “feel”. Injury at a young start is no good. On our fitness journeys we do want to encourage our children to be active and maybe even participate with us, but understand the do’s and don’ts of course and ask me if you aren’t sure.
BLOG 117 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 people who either carry too little, just the right amount, or an excessive amount of body. 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 pound 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)”
Here is the standard chart:
General Body Fat Percentage Categories
|Classification||Women (% fat)||Men (% fat)|
|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)
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 ?
BLOG 116 JUICE PLUS
As a business owner, fitness addict, health advocate, and professional natural bodybuilder, keeping my body fueled and functioning at peak performance is vital. I don’t ever chat supplements and don’t like to because of legal ramifications, but let me share with you about the greatness of Juice Plus which is whole food based nutrition. In my life, there are no sick days, there is no time for being sluggish, and I certainly want to workout at my best level day to day. So Juice Plus has been my solution for the past 9 years. I do sell this at the studio, but as a not-so-salesy type gal, I will lead by example again, and share with you about the product here.
We are told to have 17 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But who does that?? Juicing was the popular craze to achieve this, but Juice Plus has been around much longer and is a cheaper, more convenient and effective method. Our bodies can only do so much, but we are responsible for taking care of ourselves via nutrition and activity to aid in our health. Simply stated, “Whole food based nutrition delivers powerful antioxidants that provide your body protection, because it relies on fruits and vegetables. According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants are “substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C and E and other substances. Many of these antioxidant substances come from fruits and vegetables” (http://www.juiceplus.com/us/en/what-is-juice-plus/ingredients1).
I personally take the Orchard and Garden Blend which has the following ingredients:
- Apple • Acerola Cherry • Beet • Cranberry • Date • Orange • Pineapple • Papaya • Peach • Prune • Broccoli • Brown Rice Bran • Cabbage • Carrot • Garlic • Kale • Oat Bran • Parsley • Spinach • Tomato •
Juice Plus has the research stacked behind it. This product has proven results in its ability to improve and aid with healthy gums, heart health, oxidative stress, skin, inflammation, and lung health (just to name a few). All this information is publicly available to read on their website http://www.juiceplus.com/us/en/clinical-research/clinical-research-new#
This is not a weight loss product which is a question that always arises for me. But in reality, if we did want to consume all the fruits and vegetables required, our sugar and carbohydrate intake would be quite high so we are finding a source that encompasses all of this for us. On my own fitness journey, I don’t take supplements just Juice Plus. No multivitamin is required. From a girl who has been in this fitness industry a long time and in the past I tried every fat burner, every everything to be cool with the other trainers, I know that having natural and whole foods the best approach. Not even the common cold has hit me in a long time. Feel free to inquire more and do your own research, and if interested let me know and we can start your Juice Plus today.
BLOG 115 WORKOUT VOCABULARY
In the midst of your fitness journey, I’m aware that that during workouts I am giving you the guidance and structure of the hour. I realize that just because I use terminology for the layout of the plan, doesn’t mean you know what I am referring to. So the teacher in me (yes I have my teaching credential in P.E. and Health), says oooohhhhh that makes for a good lesson/blog. Here you have it…
Reps is the short name for repetitions: “the number of times to perform an exercise” (www.livestrong.com/article/153380-definition-of-reps-set/)
Example: If you did 12 bicep curls those 12 movements are the repetitions
This is how many times we repeat the exercise in its entirety.
Example: if you did 12 bicep curls, rested then did 12 more bicep curls that would be 2 sets of bicep curls
“used to express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/calorie).
Humans require these 3 main components: Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats
Carbohydrates: “Carbohydrates are present in varying amounts in most of the foods you eat including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, milk and milk products, and foods containing added sugar such as candy, soda and other sweets. Carbohydrates are present in food in the form of starch, sugar and fiber” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/carbs/what-are-carbohydrates-an-easy-to-understand-definition.html).
There are simple and complex carbs. They should make up 45 – 65% of your daily calorie intake
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
Protein: “a nutrient found in food (as meat, milk, eggs, and beans) that is made up of many amino acids joined together, is a necessary part of the diet, and is essential for normal cell structure and function” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protein).
You should have: “The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman” (https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-protein-per-day/).
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
Fats: “Fats are nutrients that give you energy. Fats have 9 calories in each gram. Fats help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats are either saturated or unsaturated, and most foods with fat have both types” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/types-of-fats-topic-overview#1).
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
These are just the basics. So now you know some of my jargon. I enjoy sharing and educating regarding elements of your fitness journey. The more you know, the better your choices will be knowing the reason behind your WHY. Ask away if you have further vocab questions.
BLOG 114 INTUITIVE EATING
Our bodies speak to us. Signals of hunger, pain, emotion, etc. tell us an action is required. The act of eating is mandatory, but certainly not a science we all have down pact. Intuitive eating is an anti-diet line of thinking that involves listening to your body’s hunger cues and responding accordingly. I’m not sure how I feel about this approach, but I figured some solid research might help us understand this concept better.
Intuitive eating was an approach I discovered while reading the weight loss memoir by Kelsey Miller (2016), Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got A Life. Kelsey is a writer for Refinery29 in New York and she created a project for herself at work that got world-wide attention. She decided to write her articles on her own journey of intuitive eating coming from a background of a lifetime dieter seeking a way to find a suitable relationship with food. She simply ate what she wanted, when she wanted, because she knew that if she wanted more she could have it. There was no restriction or off-limit foods. Having that in mind let her have a couple bites of French Fries instead of attacking them on her plate then asking her friend to polish off their serving. This approach takes some serious self-control.
This led me to that classic Google search. And I came across Intuitiveeating.org. There is an entire community of counselors and books available. Here are their 10 Principles: (http://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/).
- Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.
- Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.
- Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.
- Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.
- Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience.
- Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food.
- Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint.
- Exercise–Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference.
10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy.
This surely sounds like the diet to end all diets, but gosh there’s not a lot of structure. I think that if we all could just tune into our hunger and put down the fork when we should, well there would be a whole lot less obesity in this world. If only it were this simple. But I think the principle of this approach is great…. just don’t know many who can successfully do it. For example, here’s a clip from another article I read, “Some days, my body needed french fries. Other days, a big salad. Sometimes I’d have two breakfasts because I was just that hungry. Other days, a light dinner was more than enough. I learned that a small piece of dark chocolate could actually satisfy a craving and that I didn’t actually need three glasses of wine with dinner to enjoy it. Butter, burgers, donuts — nothing was off limits as long as I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full (but not stuffed). It took a few months, but it’s funny how once you realize you can actually have any food at any time, a lot of food’s irresistible draw vanishes” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennipher-walters/intuitive-eating_b_3976172.html).
I personally may not relate to this approach, but I’m in full support of those clients who can do this. In fact, maybe I envy them haha. Every BODY is different so we all have to find what works for us best. If logging food and counting calories sends you into a resistance mode to not follow orders, then by all means find another way. If 30 day tactics work for you, then do it. Lifestyle change my friends. That’s what I believe. And one better choice at a time we are getting to that level of success we are aiming for.
BLOG 113 FATS
Society deems the term “fat” in a derogatory manner for sure. The word doesn’t shout positive images or associations with good concepts. Our bodies do need fat. Over the years we have learned of low-fat, less-fat, and reduced fat items. So what are the healthy fats we are supposed to have?? Let’s take a look at good vs. bad fats for us.
Fat in the body is an energy source for us. This to me is ironic in the sense of the simplicity of the statement. Having more fat seems like activity becomes harder to complete and health risks increase. But in reality, “It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good).
Good Fat = monounsaturated & polyunsaturated
Somewhere in the middle = saturated
Bad Fat = Trans fats
It’s that crazy cellular form jargon of hydrogen bonds that make the different types of fat.
Vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish
These are liquid at room temperature
Monounsaturated Fats: “Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)
Polyunsaturated Fats: “Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)
Good sources are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil
In the Middle Saturated Fats:
Keep to about 10% of calories per day because can increase cholesterol (moderation right??)
“Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)
Trans Fat: Think solids
Increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes
Usually you see on the label as partially hydrogenated oil
So the fats turn solid and clog our arteries
That oil that fast food is cooked in
Our bodies are unique to exactly how much fat we need. Good vs. bad as most choices become. Just know that a healthy fat doesn’t mean it’s a free for all on the portions. Watch your total daily intake and plan accordingly. And ask me questions. So maybe some fat is good, unlike what we have been socially taught to believe
BLOG 112 GUT vs BRAIN
Well that good old Amazon Prime account of mine led me to the movie, “The Gut: Our Second Brain” (2013) by Cecile Denjean. This documentary was fascinating as so many clients suffer from stomach issues. I’m sure we can all relate to our bellies trying to be the almighty ruler of our day. So I’d like to share some of the research this movie explored.
Dating back to the cave man, our bodily features and functions were developed as needed mechanisms to seek and find food. Think of the “raw” diet that used to be consumed compared to our digestive systems now that have undergone quite the change in the types of food we eat. Even when cooking from “scratch”, realistically the flour or spices have been through some type of manufacturing process already before our purchase of it. The stomach cannot physically be the same as it was thousands of years ago.
The brain and the stomach use the same neurotransmitters. Serotonin is the “well-being” chemical found in both the brain and stomach. 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut. So if serotonin is said to dictate our mood stability, no wonder the stomach is impacted when we feel stressed or uneasy. Adding to this, 1 in 10 people are said to have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) digestive pain problems. The brain and gut have communication issues. I was surprised to learn that Parkinson’s disease originates in the gut.
Different approaches are used to help with gut problems. Recent holistic type methods and Chinese medicine suggest hypnosis and acupuncture. This has also been shown to help with depression (again the brain and gut communicating better). Chinese medicine believes in the finding the source of the problem, which most times is the stomach.
Bacteria helps with digestion and we need it in our system. Having this good type of bacteria date back to when we are babies and are building immunity. Obesity and bacteria have been closely studied. Some research has revealed that obese people have more of a certain type of bacteria. Obesity boils down to 10% genetic, 10% bacteria and 80% lifestyle. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria. Probiotics help develop the good type of bacteria we need which can be found in yeasts and yogurt. There isn’t a clear understanding yet of how probiotics work, but in a test that gave women yogurts, they were less reactive to situations, meaning they were in a better stable sense of mind. The images of the brain were in a calmer state.
The more we know, the better we set ourselves up for success on our fitness journeys. This documentary help make sense of a lot of the stomach issues clients face. There is more to that growl in the belly than we think. Feed the mind and stomach as best as possible and listen to what your body is trying to communicate.
BLOG 111 YO-YO DIETING
Sticking to the plan can be challenging. We know that. But starting and stopping the plan, on and off, go then stop…. well that temporary approach hasn’t worked. Yo-yo dieting can be that “all or nothing” tactic to weight loss, which typically starts off strong and then abruptly stops. Then the motivation to start again returns and the cycle starts itself all over.
Any of this sound familiar?? 30 day jump start, 21 day fixes, cabbage diet, grapefruit diet, the list goes on and on. Here’s the basic truth: “The yo-yo effect is usually caused by weight loss plans that involve missing meals, fasting and crash diets that drastically lower your daily caloric intake” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).
This cannot be good for us. Here are the side effects/risks:
- Metabolism: “When you deprive your body of the calories it needs for energy, it adapts to the change by slowing down your metabolism. Metabolism is the process where your body burns the food you eat in order to produce energy. Your metabolism may not get back to normal even when you resume your normal lifestyle. A slower metabolism means more weight gain. In some cases, not only will you gain back the weight you lose during the diet, but you may even gain more than before” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).
- Muscle Loss: When the body is not being sufficiently nourished, it may have to pull from other energy sources like your muscles. So now the body is burning through muscle and the less muscle the body has, the less calories it burns at a resting state and all day long. You get my point.
- Psychological: This approach doesn’t always “fix” what is truly going on. Rapid weight loss then re-gaining weight can lead to eating disorders, depression and anxiety with the fluctuations.
- Other risks: “Fluctuating weight can also result in a higher risk of developing cancer and heart disease. You might also suffer from losing hair and developing osteoporosis, among other health conditions. This is due to the fact that most crash diets are lacking in nutrients that are essential for healthy hair, bones and good health in general. Because of the low caloric intake, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating might also result from yo yo dieting” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).
When there is an event that is near or a purpose behind losing the weight so quickly, temporary gimmicks come to mind first. But understand this is usually water and muscle loss, not true fat loss. That is why I am determined to teach lasting, sustainable, lifestyle changes to my clients. Maybe the scale won’t move as fast, but at least the scale will keep moving the right direction for a long period of time. Patience is difficult with goals in mind, but trust the process and continue to become the best version of yourself.