The best exercise you’re not doing…….

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the table push away.

You should do this because– you shouldn’t keep eating until your plate is empty, you should stop when you’re feeling full.

Makes your everyday life easier because– it will stop the feeling of pain and guilt of overeating and will also help prevent unnecessary weight gain.

Form tips –  Put your fork down after taking a bite and fully chew and enjoy your food. When you start to feel full, stop, put any leftovers way and enjoy them later on.

 

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Not sleeping? This will help

You’ve been eating right and been putting in time at the gym. However the scale is not budging. Quick question. When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep?

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Sleep and the scale can go hand in hand. Not getting enough sleep also messes with our hormones, in particular Cortisol. Cortisol, which is produced in your adrenal glands, is naturally high in the morning to help you wake and low in the evening to help you sleep.

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Lack of sleep and stress will keep cortisol levels elevated thought the day and night. This can cause

  1. Muscle breakdown– Cortisol’s main function is breaking down substances for energy. That includes your hard earned muscle.
  1. Weight gain– A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that lack of sleep impacts your brain in such a way that it pushes you towards the pantry, not away from it. Only one night of fewer than six hours sleep triggers areas of your brain that is involved in your need to eat.

But don’t despair; you only need to make a few small changes to help you get that good night’s sleep you have been craving:

  1. Timing your food intake– Eating the majority of your protein in the morning/afternoon and have your dinner with some carbohydrates (fruit/vegetables, not sugar) which should aid in maintaining a proper Circadian rhythm.
  1. Manipulate light exposure- Manipulating light exposure for brighter white/blue/green lights in the morning and dimmer red/pink lights (or just darkness) at night definitely does helps in maintaining a proper sleep cycle
  1. Supplement with Melatonin– This is a naturally occurring substance in the body, but supplementing melatonin can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. I take this every night with no side effects, and it works for me. (Since the FDA does not regulate supplements, there may be inconsistencies in brands, so if one doesn’t seem to help, you might try another brand.)

Wrapping up

So, help your waistline and your mood by using the three methods above to get more shut eye. If you still need more assistance, schedule an appointment with your doctor or with the Clinical Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Your family and friends will thank you since a rested person is less irritable person. Right?

 

Female fat loss myths

We’re all suckers for a good myth, like believing that the Loch Ness monster really exists or Elvis is strutting his stuff in a dive bar in Vegas somewhere. These myths are harmless, even fun.

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However, Ladies, some myths can be harmful, especially when to comes to your fat loss.

The following three myths have been circulating for years and now’s the time to put them to bed, for good, so you can get the body you want.

1. Cardiovascular exercise is more important for fat loss then weights

Cardio should be included in every well balanced exercise routine. It has numerous health benefits (reduced risk for heart disease, reduced blood pressure) as well as burning calories.

However, when it comes to fat loss, cardio should never be the primary method, according to Scott Josephson.

“Keep in mind that the biggest concern when trying to lose weight is muscle loss. If you lose fat and lose muscle along with it, you might have a bigger issue to tackle. Less muscle mass equals’ lower metabolic function.

Fat loss programs should ideally concentrate on you controlling the ratio of calories in and calories out, as well as you doing everything in your power to prevent losing muscle”

Losing muscle will sabotage your fat loss efforts.  Lifting weights will prevent this while doing more cardio will not.  So Ladies, get off the treadmill and lift for a change. Your waistline will thank you.

2. “Ladies, you can tone and shape your muscles using this revolutionary method from…..”

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 You’ve been feed this bunch of baloney for far too long. Just because this has been repeated over and over again by marketers try to sell you things doesn’t make it true. Listen again to the wise words of Josephson, who will set you straight once and for all.

“Generally speaking and despite what marketing tells us, there is no training system, method, or tool that will ultimately change the shape of a muscle since they are genetically determined. Our parents ultimately have more to do with our physique than just about anything else does.”

So from now on, concentrate on calories in and calories out and lifting weights two-three times a week, and never fall for that line again.

3. Lifting anything heavier than a pink dumbbell will get you huge

You may have seen those female bodybuilders and thought to yourself, “That’s going to happen to me if I lift heavy.” Stop that line of thinking right now. This is not going to happen for two reasons:

1. Those ladies eat, take supplements and train for years and years to get that look.

2. Females don’t have as much muscle building hormone testosterone as men do.

Fear not, Ladies. Training with heavier weights while maintaining a caloric deficit will help you burn fat, make your muscles stronger and help reveal the body you desire.

Now leave the treadmill behind and go mix it up with the men in the weight room. Flexing and admiring yourself is completely optional.

 

 

Frosty The Snowman

One of my favorite holiday movies is Frosty the Snowman. I’ve seen it a few times (and by a few, I mean several dozen). It’s a great movie and it makes me laugh every time I see it.

Frosty has some great lyrics too. During the song it says,
He was made of snow 
But the children know
How he came to life one day

And then later it says,
Frosty the Snowman 
Was alive as he could be
And the children say
He could laugh and play

My favorite part of the movie is when Frosty is leading a parade and runs into a policeman. The little girl explains how Frosty has come to life. It’s hilarious.

This is why I like Frosty so much: One day he was just a pile of snow, and now he’s alive! What an inspiration for all of us!

Did you know when you eat right, exercise and rest you are literally adding life to your body? The regeneration of cells and bodily functions that happens when we live properly is amazing.

There has been research showing that fitness combats diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, depression, even cancer! We literally come alive when we do the right things.

When you spread hope and joy to a co-worker, family member or stranger, you are literally showing them a new way to live.

When you serve the homeless, the hungry, the poor (in body and spirit) you are literally bringing life to that situation and community.

Do whatever it takes to become like Frosty today. Put on that “old silk hat” or carry that “corncob pipe.” Do what you have to do to come to life today!

Have a great day.

 

Control your snacking urges and get results!

NOTE-  I have a special guest post from Josh Anderson head honcho at DIY Active. Nutrition isn’t my strong point so I called in the experts. Enjoy and let me know what you think.  Take it away Josh.

Everyone loves a good snack; it hits the spot but also appeases your sweet tooth. In fact, Americans love snacking so much that we eat over 600 calories worth of snacks a day.

That is exactly what makes snacking one of the hardest parts of nutrition for people to control. Not only do we have a hard time controlling what we eat, but we also have a hard time controlling how much we eat!

Snacking urges suck!

Let’s face it, we all love snacking. As I’ve said before, we can’t rid our diets of the things we love or they will never be sustainable. Snacking must be included in our diet but let’s take it under control!

I decided to take a backseat for this article and ask a panel of other fitness professionals from all over the United States how they recommend controlling snacking urges and what exactly they snack on. It’s time for the expert panel to weigh in!

Control Your Blood Sugar

Time and time again the experts agreed that one of the biggest culprits for these snacking urges comes from swings in our blood sugar.

Jeffery Rowe operator of Core Physique Personal Training & Nutrition Studio and an ISSA certified personal trainer said,

When someone is having frequent sugar cravings, it usually means that they have significant swings in their blood sugar levels, because of the ingestion of refined carbs, & the ensuing large surge of insulin that this creates. This insulin not only “mops” up the sugar you just consumed, but also depletes too much of your normal blood sugar levels. This is when you get the craving.”

Jeffery goes on to say that one way to fight the blood sugar swings is to eat plenty of fiber in your diet.

Fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar so that it won’t swing so dramatically, which leads to cravings. Over the course of a day, you should be getting at least 25 grams of fiber in your meals and snacks.

Likewise, when it comes to controlling your blood sugar, Jasmine Jafferali a lifestyle and wellness consultant and the creator of the Snack Smart Solutions Snack App had this to say.

One way to control snacking urges is to make sure each snack has enough protein, to help stabilize blood sugars, fiber to aid and slow digestion and good fats to help make you feel satisfied. The same goes for each meal we consume. Americans over snack by 600 calories per day because they are not doing this important part of eating and snacking throughout the day.”

Outsmart Food Cravings

When those snacking urges hit all you can think about is crushing a box of double stuffed Oreos. You literally cannot think of anything else so you end up going “just for one”… 50 cookies later the box is gone. One way to battle this to take your mind off of these snacking urges.

Rene Ficek is a Registered Dietitian who is also the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating (SSHE) says to outsmart your food cravings by picking up a phone and calling a friend or working on a hobby to take your mind off of that craving.

Soon enough, you will forget whatever it was you were craving. It’s also important to keep a craving journal. Note the time of day your craving appeared, how long it lasted, the food you craved, and how you handled the situation. You’ll start noticing patterns so you can be better prepared to handle cravings in the future.”

Any Snacking Recommendations?

It never hurts to have as many healthy snacking options available that you can use to battle your urges and surprise your taste buds! Here are some great ones:

Jeffery Rowe recommends, “A handful of mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, & cashews) with a piece of fruit. Yes, fruits have sugar in them, but they also have fiber, which decreases their glycemic load.”

Jasmine Jafferali recommends fruit paired with protein or good fat to fight blood sugar swings. Likewise, to stave off those 2-3 pm urges and make it until supper she recommends,

Greek Yogurt mixed with some applesauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon is nice as cinnamon has been shown to help stabilize blood sugars and apples actually can boost your energy naturally without grabbing that cup of coffee.”

Dr. Shilpi Agarwal a board-certified Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician in Los Angeles recommends either a precut (so you don’t overeat) dark chocolate bar to fend off the sweet cravings or hot tea. Dr. Agarwal says,

Hot [tea] is my preference, but teas come in so many flavors that are sweet and take some time to drink so they are a good way to fight snack cravings.”

Bobby Kleinau a certified personal trainer and a certified nutrition counselor (America Association of Drugless Practitioners) recommends drinking more water daily. He recommends to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water a day! He also gives us his go-to food to battle cravings.

I take a table-spoon of unsalted almond butter and drizzle it with raw honey.” This is an amazing alternative to cookies, cakes, pastries, etc and one you can feel good about (as in everything, knowing when to stop is key).

Rene Ficek urges everyone to consume snacks that have a good protein and fiber content to help fill you up and keep you full. Several great snacks are:

* A hard-boiled egg with a half cup of fresh fruit
* Yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
* One cup of baby carrots with two tablespoons of hummus
* Half cup of high-fiber cereal with skim milk
* A handful of almonds and dried pineapple

Wrap-Up

The ability to control your snacking urges through controlling your blood sugar levels is very important. I always recommend eating fruit for snacks because of its high fiber content, it’s sweet, and it’s convenient but it might be helpful to pair that with a handful of nuts as well or some other form of good fat and protein (i.e. protein bar).

Try some of these awesome snacks that mix a combination of fiber, good fats, protein, and even carbs for sustained energy and you can quench your snacking urges. In the end it’s only you against yourself…and you already know your weaknesses!

Plan ahead and outsmart your urges and you will have no problem in the snacking battle!

 

Author Bio

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Josh (M.S., PT) is the founder and editor of DIY Active. He enjoys blending the latest science with health practices to help you exercise smarter. He enjoys providing as much free content as possible to help you get fitness results at home!