Fat and why you need it

Fat-free does not equal healthy So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your…

Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

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Fat-free does not equal healthy

So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your daily diet. I’m not saying to go for the high-fat ice cream and yogurt, but next time you’re in the store keep these simple facts in mind.

Good versus bad

When it comes to fat, we want to focus on eating the right types. Unsaturated fats are necessary to live: both poly and monounsaturated fats. Both of these can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. What are some good sources of unsaturated fats?

  • Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive, canola and peanut oils

Fats to cut back on

Saturated and trans fatty acids should be used sparingly. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Artificial trans fats should be avoided at all costs, but saturated and natural trans fatty acids should be 7% or less of your diet. Examples include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry skin
  • High-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cookies
  • Baked goods
  • Crackers
  • Icing
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Some margarine’s

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold myself back when it comes to cookies. And I eat eggs like they’re going out of style. But I do try to eat most of the other things on this list in moderation. And I try to avoid the cookie aisle as often as possible.

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Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them

To carb or not to carb That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our…

Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

To carb or not to carb

That is the question. For many looking to lose weight, they tend to turn towards diets that are low in carbs, or cut out carbs completely. But this is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Especially since we need carbohydrates in order to exercise and fuel our muscles properly. But rather than reaching for that bowl of cereal or box of Oreos, I’m going to share some healthy, complex carbs you should incorporate into your daily meal-plan.

Complex Carbohydrates

Next time you’re in the kitchen, whip up some of these quick and easy food items to incorporate complex carbs in your meal.

  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Fruit (especially when you can eat the skin for extra fiber)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin)
  • Beans, lentils, and split peas
  • Popcorn (just skip the salt and butter and use spices instead)
  • Quinoa, bulgur, and millet

Simple Carbohydrates

Things to cut back on include the following:

  • Sodas and juices high in sugar
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Chips (sorry guys!)
  • Candy
  • Added sugar
  • White bread
  • Cereal

Be sure to read labels and look for how much sugar is in the food item prior to buying it. It’s best to aim for lots of complex carbohydrates and to not over-indulge in the simple carbs.

What’s your favorite carb?

 

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Carbohydrates: complex vs simple and why we need them was originally published on Self Evolve

Snack to feel full longer: what to snack on

What do you snack on? Most of us grab what’s convenient: chips, crackers, pretzels, or a box of cookies. While this may seem like a great idea, it is terrible for people like me. I have a HUGE appetite and find that I need an entire box of cookies to feel full. But if I…

Snack to feel full longer: what to snack on was originally published on Self Evolve

What do you snack on?

snackMost of us grab what’s convenient: chips, crackers, pretzels, or a box of cookies. While this may seem like a great idea, it is terrible for people like me. I have a HUGE appetite and find that I need an entire box of cookies to feel full. But if I go for veggies instead of cookies, I can eat way more for way less calories. If you have a huge appetite like me, read on to learn what type of snacks you should snack on.

Nutrition bombs

While cookies and crackers are nutritionally poor, veggies are nutrition bombs. Crackers only offer salt and carbs. Veggies pack macronutrients and antioxidants to boost your energy and immune system. Not only that, they are full of fiber! Fiber is key to feeling full, gut health and comfort, energy levels, and mood. Fiber also prevents belly bloat caused by constipation. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just eat healthy, think of snack time as an opportunity to fill the holes in your diet that you’re missing with meals alone. Most people don’t get enough veggies and eat too many processed carbs, so this is a great swap!

Snack Hack

Make this choice easier by meal-prepping carrot and celery sticks, sliced peppers and cucumbers, and broccoli and cauliflower florets. Keep stacked veggie containers at eye level in the fridge so they’re as easily accessible as a box of crackers, inspiring you to grab them. I also like to mix up my snacks by adding in peanut butter and raisins or fruit. For example, I will bring celery sticks, sliced apples, and peanut butter for both. Yum!

What types of snacks do you enjoy?

 

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Snack to feel full longer: what to snack on was originally published on Self Evolve

Exercise to have a younger heart

It happens to everyone As we age, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn’t as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people, the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don’t exercise, these changes can start even sooner. According to…

Exercise to have a younger heart was originally published on Self Evolve

It happens to everyone

As we age, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn’t as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people, the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don’t exercise, these changes can start even sooner. According to Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas, the heart gets smaller and stiffer. This stiffness can lead to breathlessness and other symptoms of heart failure. Fortunately, a recent study done by Levine finds that even if you haven’t been an avid exerciser, getting in shape in midlife may head off that decline and help you have a younger heart.

The study

The research recruited individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 who were mostly sedentary but otherwise healthy. 53 volunteers undertook the two-year study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group engaged in a program of nonaerobic exercise- basic yoga, balance training, and weight training- three times a week. The other group was assigned a trainer and did moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise for four or more days a week. After two years, the group doing the higher-intensity exercise saw dynamic improvements to heart health. The hearts of those engaged in less intense routines didn’t change.

Keys to a younger heart

A key part of the effective exercise regimen was interval training. Short bursts of high-intensity exercises followed by a few minutes of rest are key (4X4 intervals). Pushing as hard as you can for four minutes stresses the heart and forces it to function more efficiently. Repeating the intervals helps strengthen both the heart and circulatory system. And the sweet spot in life to get off the couch and start exercising is in late middle age when the heart still has plasticity. You may not be able to reverse the aging of the vessel if you wait.

Of course, if you’re considering beginning a strenuous exercise program, you should check with a doctor first and ask about individual health issues that might warrant a less intense program initially.

What drives you to exercise?

 

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Losing weight before puberty can prevent diabetes

Being a heavy kid is common More than 23 percent of all children worldwide are overweight or obese. Not only are heavy kids more likely to face bullies in the schoolyard, they are also more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes later on in adulthood. That was the common belief, until a new study shows…

Losing weight before puberty can prevent diabetes was originally published on Self Evolve

Being a heavy kid is common

pubertyMore than 23 percent of all children worldwide are overweight or obese. Not only are heavy kids more likely to face bullies in the schoolyard, they are also more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes later on in adulthood. That was the common belief, until a new study shows that as long as these kids lose the weight before they turn 13, the risk of diabetes reduces greatly. This is the first and largest study to show if weight reduction is done before puberty the future risk of disease is lowered.

A difference of a few pounds

We’re not talking extremes here, we’re talking just carrying extra pounds and shedding these changing risk of disease significantly. This new study showed that being overweight at age seven, 13 and in early adulthood made it four times more likely that the person would develop diabetes. Adding extra pounds by the time puberty arrives and keeping them on as an adult posed a 3.87-fold greater risk.

Puberty is the magical timeframe

Among children who became overweight, only the seven-year-olds who lost it by age 13 didn’t have an increased risk. Youngsters who were overweight at age seven and 13 but lost the extra weight by early adulthood were still 51 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they grew up. This gives us hope for the future. We can help children normalize their weight through exercise and lifestyle changes, not just diet. And just because a child may be overweight as a youngster, we can teach them good, healthy habits before they hit puberty to help them start and continue a healthy lifestyle.

Do you help your kids live a healthy lifestyle?

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Losing weight before puberty can prevent diabetes was originally published on Self Evolve

Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level

Rest to rise above Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few days, a week, or longer off from your workout routine. Things happen, like a vacation where you can’t get your normal workout routine done. Or perhaps an injury that forces you to take it easy. But sometimes you’re just tired, sore, or unmotivated and…

Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level was originally published on Self Evolve

Rest to rise above

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a few days, a week, or longer off from your workout routine. Things happen, like a vacation where you can’t get your normal workout routine done. Or perhaps an injury that forces you to take it easy. But sometimes you’re just tired, sore, or unmotivated and therefore a break is needed. To avoid over-training, many athletes regularly schedule a week off every 8-12 weeks. And while you may think this would set you back, it could actually help you in the long run. Before you skip those rest days, consider these benefits.

Rest day benefits

  • Recover those sore muscles
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Avoid over-training
  • Reset your mindset

Rest days don’t mean stop moving

Just because you’re taking some days off your training doesn’t mean you just sit on the couch. Try to change it up with some of these activities:

  • Take a long walk
  • Try a yoga or pilates class
  • Stretch
  • A long, easy bike ride
  • Tossing a football or frisbee
  • Leisurely working in the yard

Don’t worry about losing your gains

Here are some facts about how a break can affect your fitness:

  • Aerobic power can decline about 5-10% in three weeks.
  • It takes about 2 months of inactivity to completely lose the gains you’ve made.
  • Extremely fit exercisers will experience a rapid drop in fitness during the first three weeks of inactivity before it tapers off.
  • Muscular strength and endurance last longer than aerobic fitness. Muscles retain a memory of exercises for weeks or even months.

Do you ever take a few days off?

Whenever I take a week off, I find myself gaining extra super-powers once I start my exercise routine again. My problem is I rarely take that much time off. I decided to force myself to take this past week off, and I’m looking forward to hitting it hard next week to make up for it.

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Taking extra rest days to achieve the next level was originally published on Self Evolve

Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet

I’m guilty as charged There are days where I just say “F it” and eat whatever I want. While these days are few and far between, I used to have these days all the time. There was at least a solid year when I was working out 3-5 times a week all while going home…

Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m guilty as charged

bad dietThere are days where I just say “F it” and eat whatever I want. While these days are few and far between, I used to have these days all the time. There was at least a solid year when I was working out 3-5 times a week all while going home and pigging out on pizza 3-5 times a week. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it wasn’t good. My diet was crap, and you know what else was crap? How I felt. After suffering through the side effects of a year of this bad diet, I decided to completely change what and how I ate. And while now-a-days my diet isn’t as strict, I’ve found a happy middle ground between extreme dieting and eating whatever I want.

Even the world’s best trainer can’t out-train a bad diet

You could train 5 to 6 days a week with the best trainer in the world (i.e. me) but even then you couldn’t go home and pig out on pizza and beer everyday. I’m not saying you can never have these things, but to eat and drink them everyday is just too hard to combat via exercise. Also, a high carb diet will only help you so much. Without proper protein and the right fats, it will be very hard for your muscles to repair and grow stronger after a strength training session or a hard run

Many runners have an attitude that they will burn off whatever they eat. This may seem to be the case because you run and don’t gain weight despite eating whatever you want. But just because the number on the scale seems healthy, doesn’t mean your diet isn’t doing damage on the inside. Overindulgence in simple sugars is the single most common dietary transgression among any endurance athletes, especially runners. I.e. white bread, white pasta, white rice and refined sugars. Large portions of these will turn into bad molecules, bad types of fat, and bad oxidative sugar species- things that do damage to the heart vessels. 

Still, runners often hear mixed messages about how exercise can erase the ills of a junk food habit. Especially high-intensity sessions. While this may be the case over a few weeks, if you continue to have a bad diet for years there will be long-term effects. No matter how much you run or workout, you can’t outrun a bad diet.

Always hungry

But I’m always hungry! That’s because all you eat is carbs! Up the proteins and fats and you’ll feel full for longer. Carbs are important, but if they are the main source of your calories you’ll likely be eating an entire bag of chips rather than just a few. 

Do you try to out-run a bad diet?

 

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Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet was originally published on Self Evolve