12 Habits to Cultivate for Weight Loss and Transformation

You don’t have to be perfect to make progress,

but you do have to incorporate some new ways

of self care to reveal your best self!

  1. Self monitor: Food/Drink logging and stepping on the scale. Logging as you go throughout the day is the best approach. I like the apps “My Fitness Pal” and “Lose It!”
  2. The balanced diet approach with FOOD (as close as nature intended) with a macronutrient ratio of: 50% carbohydrate, 30% fat, 20% protein. (You can find this in a simple pie chart when you log your food on My Fitness Pal) Being careful of saturated fats. Examples of carbohydrates from food are starchy vegetables and fruits, and rice.  Restrictive diets (eliminating or limiting one of these macronutrients) work in the short term and are NOT lifestyle changes for the majority of people. Supplemental nutrition (shakes, bars, etc.) can be used to compliment an existing healthy diet, but it’s best to avoid meal replacements. It’s not for now, it’s forever.
  3. Eat 3 meals a day. No snacks. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Keep dinner the lighter of the three meals. If you’re eating a balanced meal  with the macronutrients listed above you will feel satiated until the next meal. You want to feel hungry for your next meal, but not famished. If you’re hungry, eat, but you may need to add more at your meals to stay full until the timing is for the next, i.e. dinner.
  4. Physical activity: walk the dog a couple of times a day, get a stand up desk, take the stairs, park far away from the door, and walking meetings, are all examples of getting in more physical activity. Make a conscious effort to move more throughout the day.
  5. Exercise: lift weights a few times a week, get your heart rate up some each day. #getwickedsweaty
  6. Mindful practice: taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath helps to bring you back to the present moment; when we get lost in thoughts, fantasies and stories we tell ourselves throughout the day we trigger the stress response. Training your mind to take down the stress helps with the hormonal balance: imbalance  contributes to fat storage. Get out in nature each day.
  7. Batch cook: make meals ahead of time for the week…it’s one less decision you have to make, and you’ll be less tempted to go out.
  8. Eat out less. There’s more fat, sugar and salt added in restaurant foods that you can imagine. Not to mention portions. Limit your meals out to trim your waistline (and fatten your wallet!)
  9. Hydration: drink plenty of water 80-100 oz, or until you’re peeing clear. Your organs will be able to work more efficiently if you’re properly hydrated.
  10. Rest. Sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. Sleep is where you heal, restore, and repair. Without proper sleep our bodies will crave energy from other sources, like simple sugars.
  11. No added sugar. This is in the form of corn chips, crackers, baked goods, bread, pasta. All of those foods are stored as fat if eaten in excess. Treat yourself once in a while (once a week), otherwise cut it out.
  12. FOOD. EAT FOOD. Minimally processed, non-packaged foods. 

CARBS

Did you just cringe a little reading this title??? I’m not surprised. It’s a dirty little word that makes people feel fat. Well, I’m a big fan of carbs, and perhaps after this little ditty you’ll feel the same way! I found this when I was searching around in my email for other things…I forgot that I had written it for a co-worker’s daughter was heading off to college. Give it a read and see if you can let go of that nasty feeling about these little buggers…

Carbohydrates are your body’s first choice for energy; they also aid in recovery, and preserve muscle mass. Carbs get a bad rap, because our consumption of carbohydrates should be largely based on the amount of energy we expend. We also need to be mindful of our physiological response to them. When we eat a meal, the hormone insulin steps in to regulate glucose or the sugar floating around in the bloodstream after we eat. Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas which helps to promote the uptake of glucose into cells; especially muscle and fat cells. If excess glucose is in the blood stream, it is stored away as fat; in other words, but not utilizing the carbohydrates we eat, or by consuming foods that are easily converted to glucose in abundance, there will be a lot more glucose present: and will be stored as fat.

All that being said, not all carbs are created equal. The foods that quickly increase glucose are generally in the form of “empty carbs”, or simple sugars. Sticking with the less packaged, “complex carbs”, in the form of whole foods is always a better choice. Complex carbohydrates can be found in fruits and vegetables, pastas, whole grain breads, and rice. These foods are a better choice for overall health; as it takes your body longer to break these foods down to be utilized or stored. Anything that is close to sugar, aka baked goods like muffins, bagels, cookies, etc. should be eaten sparingly, as it takes little time to convert them to glucose, and then to fat cells for storage.If you are a long distance runner or cyclist, the foods that you eat will be mostly starchy carbohydrates, especially during the activity; because these foods in particular take your body little time to convert to the sugar that you need for energy (glucose). If you are moderately active; aka. gym a few times a week, etc. your energy needs will look much different than an elite endurance athlete mentioned above. Good sources grains, legumes, seeds, pastas, fruits, and vegetables.

Something else to consider is that your brain runs solely on glucose, and in extreme cases, keytones. Keytones are mobilized proteins from broken down musculature. This is associated with starvation, and what we’re trying to avoid by consuming enough carbohydrate in your caloric needs. When carbohydrates are deficient, a key component to fat oxidization (burning) is incomplete. “Fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates”. The general recommendation is small frequent meals every 3hrs incorporating the minimum of 200-400 calories per day of carbohydrate. For every gram of carbohydrate, there’s 4 calories. So, if you have an english muffin with 26 grams of carbohydrate, there’s 104 calories of calories just from carbohydrate.

For recovery after exercise, to help replace glycogen stored in the muscle, and to utilized amino acids to build more muscle, it’s recommended that you consume a mix of carbohydrate and protein within 1 hour of the activity; this is called “the golden hour”, and is when your body’s maximum uptake of nutrients is taking place. Suggestions for a meal would be an egg breakfast sandwich (1 english muffin, 1 egg), or a turkey sandwich, with whole wheat bread. Use condiments sparingly; I like to use avocado (good fat), and vegetables (relishes) for my condiments. Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods, not empty calories post-exercise, it matters!

The glycemic index is a measure of how different carbohydrate foods consumed affect the body’s blood sugar level. Foods that are high on the list, are foods which increase your blood sugar (glucose) to high levels for longer, and cause an increase in insulin levels. Better choices for health are low-glycemic carbohydrates.
Here are the benefits to sticking with a low-glycemic diet (copied from: http://www.gisymbol.com.au/aboutGI.php):

• Help to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, avoiding over eating or too much snacking.
• Lower your insulin levels which makes fat easier to burn and less likely to be stored.
• Help you to lose body fat and maintain lean muscle tissue.
• Reduce your triglycerides, total and ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol.
• Increase your levels of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.
• Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
• Help to manage your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes complications.
• Reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
• Reduce your risk of developing some cancers
• Reduce your risk of developing certain eye diseases.
• Improve your skin
• Sustain your energy levels longer, improving both mental and physical performance.

These are some foods Low and Medium glycemic index foods, and good foods to lean toward for your carbohydrate consumption:

Low:
apple
cherries
kidney beans
chickpeas
lentils
peaches
plums
milk
yogurt

Medium
all-bran cereal
banana
grapes
oatmeal
pasta
rice (basmati vs. jasmine)
whole grain bread
yams
corn
Another correlated topic is a low energy dense diet. Similar to the glycemic index, when sticking to foods that are lower in energy density (i.e. lower kcal), can help to contribute to weight loss by keeping the feeling of satiety, and thus less deprivation. More on that topic at a later date!

Take care of yourselves, others, and get sweaty today!

Jess

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2015 by Jessica.

Up your NEAT!

One of my favorite take home messages from the ACSM (my certifying body: American College of Sports Medicine) was about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT. NEAT is the energy utilized (calories burned) to do all activities during our waking hours except eating or deliberate exercise. It includes the calories burned in yard work, house cleaning, gardening, even fidgeting. Studies show that over the past 50 years caloric intake has actually DECREASED, yet somehow we find ourselves in a trend of increasing rates of overweight and obesity (and it’s subsequent health complications) in this country.

What the heck is happening?

In a nutshell, there’s been a massive decrease in our NEAT. Due to the industrial revolution and advances in technology we have less physically demanding occupations we are burning far less calories at rest than we have in the past. We drive to work (sit), get into our offices (sit), go to meetings (sit), drive home (sit), and watch tv or read to relax (sit). We have also gotten more efficient; a good number of occupations are off-site or remote-based and we’re sitting perhaps more than we would in a regular office setting. Or, even more basic, most of us are no longer hand scrubbing laundry and hanging it out to dry on the line. So, what can we do to get our NEAT back?

How Jessica got her NEAT back…

So, a few years ago, I went from being a very busy weight loss consultant seeing clients every 15 minutes for 8 hours with little time to sit, to a less busy small business owner working on my computer A LOT. Client meetings, marketing, writing, exercise programming, meal planning, research, continuing education, etc. definitely took up a fair amount of my day. I quickly realized 2 things: 1) the scale was changing in a direction I didn’t care for, and 2) I was eating and exercising the EXACT same way I had been. Actually, I was working out MORE because at that time I was working out with each of my clients. What happened? Sitting happened! I had completely taken for granted the calories that I burned being on my feet and seeing people all day long! (Side note: my previous employer did say she was going to bring this up at the staff meeting as an added benefit for working there; particularly during the CRAZY times when morale was low. I’m not sure what happened with that or how it was received by the staff at the time…)

This chick got her NEAT back by making client meetings short and sweet or mobile- I would go for walks while on the phone with an initial client, or in person. I made an effort to get up and move when I could: standing when doing computer work (as I am now!) climbing stairs, taking 20 minute walks, getting out for a hike in the middle of the day with a friend versus lunch. I continued to avoid close parking spots at businesses. Or better yet, I’d avoid driving at all, choosing to bike or walk everywhere I could safely go. I also increased my weight lifting; increased muscle mass is another way to up your NEAT factor.

So, to up your NEAT-ness what will you do? The key is being CONSISTENT! Here are some great ideas to put into action TODAY to up your game:

Park farther away from the doors to public places.
Stand up and take several brisk walks around your home and/or office multiple times a day.
Vow to ALWAYS take the stairs. Also, instead of asking a loved one to grab something for you from upstairs, get it yourself; multiple trips=more NEAT
Schedule walking meetings- they’ve been proven to be more productive-plus, you get these added benefits: increased oxygen to the brain, more clarity of thought, and you get vitamin D…everyone wins!
Get a standing desk! Better yet…a treadmill desk!
Do some jumping jacks, lunges, squats and push ups while waiting for the coffee maker, copier/printer, or that email to send.
Bike or walk to wherever you’re going versus drive.
Start a new routine of going for a walk after meals, especially dinner! The days are getting longer and the weather has been beautiful…enjoy it with your loved ones.
Take care of yourselves and others and get a little (or a lot) sweaty today! See you soon…

Jess

This entry was posted in HealthStyle on April 22, 2015 by Jessica.

No dieting!!!

Don’t diet! A diet is “for now”. There are a lot of things in your life that you can do “for now”; sometimes a job or a pain-in-the-butt task, some relationships, school, etc. but, eating should be consistent, enjoyable and healthy for ALWAYS, not just in the short term. Looking for longterm goals and success in health and weight? Avoid dieting-especially restrictive dieting-and nourish your body with whole foods ( whole foods meaning they’re as close to as nature intended them) vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, etc.

Lose the white flour, extra sugar, and hydrogenated oils; yes, they taste good. But, how do you feel after? Maybe blissful initially, I admit, but then I’m guessing you feel kinda or mostly crappy after. Get rid of the crappy. Eat food. Food full of vitamins and minerals meant to be absorbed by your body’s natural enzymes. Food that will feed your body, not make it sick and depleted due to a lack of nutrients.

Let’s do this! Let’s get healthy and stay that way!

Oh, and get sweaty, too!!! Take care and I’ll see you soon!

Jess

This entry was posted in HealthStyle on April 14, 2015 by Jessica.