Premier Fitness Camp is a world class live-in fitness experience created by a staff of fitness professionals to deliver immediate and lasting weight loss results through intense fitness and nutrition training and sustainable lifestyle choices.
Water is essential for weight loss, among about a million other things we need to happen daily with our bodies! The function of the human body depends on water, and when our body is working in tip-top condition our efforts towards building muscle will be met with successful weight loss (more specifically, fat loss). Read on to learn the 8 ways water helps weight loss…
“H2O”, probably the most recognized chemical formula ever- more commonly known as water. Think of water as the highway that moves nutrients and waste between cells and organs. Without it, we would die within a few days. It is essential for sustaining life and overall health and does so much for the body… plus it can be your number one ally when it comes to weight loss (when used along side a healthy diet and consistent exercise)!
| 1. BOOST METABOLISM AND AID IN DIGESTION
Water is necessary for all chemical reactions in our body to take place, and that includes metabolizing (burning) fat. If you don’t drink enough water you will become slightly dehydrated. This slight change in hydration can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to metabolize anything and everything, thus slowing down your metabolism as a whole. Slow metabolism = not burning calories efficiently = not burning fat effectively = not meeting weight loss goals. Not drinking enough water is also linked to constipation and digestive discomfort. Make everything easier when you drink more water!
| 2. REDUCE LIQUID CALORIE INTAKE
It can be hard to drink enough water every day if you’re not used to it- especially if you are one of the many people who “can’t live without” their sweetened coffee, sodas and juices. When we drink our calories we tend to forget that we’re still consuming potential energy. Everything we ingest is broken down into molecules and dispersed among the body to be used immediately and efficiently. If you drink a sugary juice while you’re sedentary, all of those sugars will eventually be turned into stored fat because the body doesn’t need that instant energy. Storing more and more fat is not the way to reach weight loss goals. Be mindful of everything you take in, and remember food and drinks are supposed to fuel us and make us feel good… not just provide an instant sugar high.
*An important note: While you ought to reduce liquid calories, that doesn’t mean reduce liquid! Just drink water instead of those other beverages! Get a reusable water bottle, fill it up and keep it on your desk or your person all day. That way you’re always reminded to sip some water! Aim to drink 2-3 full water bottles just in the 9-5 hours of the day (assuming the water bottles can hold roughly 32oz of water). Try drinking unsweetened herbal tea, or water infused with herbs and cucumber for a change of pace that won’t add inches to your waistline.
| 3. DETOX
The more water you drink, the more fluid runs through your kidneys. Our kidneys filter out toxins that need to be removed from the body through urine. The more you drink water, the easier and more effective your kidneys will become at excreting toxins. Also, drinking ample amounts of water helps to decrease mineral buildup in the kidneys… that build up can result in kidney stones which are NO FUN to get rid of. Help your kidneys, limit your salt and alcohol intake, and drink more water. You’ll feel so much better!
| 4. APPETITE SUPPRESSANT/CONTROL HUNGER CRAVINGS
Drinking water before you eat can help you to feel more full and in turn, eat less than normal… which is probably a good thing considering portion sizes these days are WAY too big. This isn’t to be misconstrued as “drink water and don’t eat”, it’s about helping you to truly listen to what your body is asking for. Drinking a full glass of water 20-30 minutes before you eat can help you recognize how hungry you actually are. Our body has a funny way of telling us it’s thirsty- often times the craving for water is disguised as hunger or fatigue. So drink up, eat slowly, and wait before you dive in for seconds. Let your body recognize the nutrients you’re feeding it before you eat more. Chances are, if you take your time eating and drink plenty of water throughout the day, you’ll actually realize you only need about half of what you pile on to those big dinner plates.
| 5. ENERGY BOOSTSER
Feeling a little sluggish or tired? Drink some water! Water makes up roughly 70% of our bodies, and we can’t store it like camels. So, keeping a consistent flow of water coming in is essential for making sure our bodies have enough to stay on top of their game. Do you know what happens when you’re brimming with energy? You crush your workouts, you feel way more positive, and you’re less likely to make unhealthy choices. Drink up!
| 6. BETTER WORKOUTS
Want to crush your workout? Stay hydrated! Muscle tissue is about ¾ water by weight- that’s why those who have larger muscles need more water. That’s why those who want larger muscles or a toned body should drink more water- your body and your muscles NEED it! Not like a high school girl needs to have the perfect backpack for the first day of school… more like how you NEED to drink water or else you’ll die. To keep our muscles working at optimal performance levels they need to be taken care of and supported through proper nutrition, hydration, fatigue through exercise, and restful recovery. Water is essential for reaching fitness goals and recovering from a killer gym session. Bottle of water, anyone?
| 7. BOOST MOOD AND BRAIN FUNCTION
Our brains are almost entirely made up of water, so it makes sense to keep ourselves hydrated if we want to be able to use our noggin’s at optimal levels. Being so densely made of water, the brain is extremely sensitive to dehydration- you can start to notice side effects being just 1% dehydrated! Those effects include mental fatigue, fogginess, headaches, and lack of focus. It can also increase the feeling of anxiety! Nobody has time for that! Dehydration doesn’t only come from going on a run and not bringing any water. You can get dehydrated simply but not drinking enough even if you’re sitting all day. So stay alert and keep headaches at bay- drink more water!
| 8. REGULATE BODY TEMPERATURE
Water also helps us to “keep our cool”, so to speak. That’s right, water helps us regulate our internal body temperature. Think about it- the skin is our largest organ, and it’s responsible for helping to control our body temperature by sweating, or not sweating. You may not notice, because the human body is so wonderfully designed and efficient, but metabolism creates A LOT of heat- just an energy producing side effect of breaking down literally everything! Because we create so much heat, the body has to be able to cool itself down, and that’s where water and sweating come into play. If you’re dehydrated you may not be able to sweat enough to regulate your body temperature, and this can result in hot flashes, dizziness, flushing or even a stroke if it’s really, really bad! Stay cool and don’t forget to sip out of that water bottle!
Protein for everyone! We all need protein in our diet, but it can be difficult to know what to eat if your diet style restricts consumption of certain types of foods- like a vegan or paleo diet, for example. So, whether you follow vegan guidelines or consume all types of food, we’ve got some great suggestions for you and a little bit of information on why you need to include protein in your diet. Check it out…
Protein is an essential macronutrient. The Greek root of the word, proteos, actually means ‘primary’ or ‘important one’ because it was initially thought to be the most important of the macronutrients. That theory later evolved, as we now know that all macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) are equally important yet play separate roles in the body. The most well known role of protein happens when protein is digested and broken down into amino acids, which the body then uses for growth, repair and maintenance of muscle, hair, skin and nails. Proteins are, to put it simply, the building blocks of life.
| WHY DO WE NEED PROTEIN?
Our bodies are constantly assembling and breaking down different proteins to be used for integral roles in every single cell, each protein supporting a specific function. Some proteins act as enzymes, enabling chemical reactions to happen quickly and optimally. Some act as hormones, known as the chemical messengers of the body. Some proteins make up antibodies that help to protect us from foreign substances, other proteins maintain the fluid balance in our bodies by pumping molecules across cell membranes and attracting water, almost like a magnet. Some proteins even help balance and maintain our delicate acid-to-base ratio by picking up or giving up hydrogen ions, as needed. Many proteins transfer key substances, like oxygen, vitamins, and minerals, to specific cells throughout the body. Last, but definitely not least, proteins are used to repair and build muscle tissues and support the immune system.
We have become so evolved as a species that there are literally thousands upon thousands of different types of proteins that perform different functions within our bodies. In short, we need protein to live.
| WHERE CAN WE FIND PROTEIN?
Most people associate protein with meats or animal foods like chicken, beef, eggs, pork, and milk. While these foods are high in protein, it is less commonly know that plant foods can provide you with just as much protein, and often at a cheaper price for both your body and bank account. Plant-based proteins tend to be higher in essential vitamins and minerals and lower in overall calories, fat, and cholesterol.
There are many different diets that compliment different lifestyles, and what works for one person may not work for another. When you get down to it, what is important is that you’re getting enough nutrients from your foods to sustain and maintain a healthy life.
Here’s a look at the best protein sources for the most common diets right now…
| VEGAN PROTEIN
-The vegan diet is completely plant based and excludes meats, dairy, eggs, and honey… anything that has been taken from or created by animals. This means absolutely no animal products or by-products are ever eaten.
| VEGETARIAN PROTEIN
Vegetarian diets consist of many different sub-diets. There are lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, and of course vegans (listed above). Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat a mainly plant-based diet including dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians include only dairy in their plant-based diets, and ovo-vegetarians include only eggs in their plant-based diet. This list is a combination of great protein sources for all vegetarians.
| ANIMAL PROTEIN
Animal proteins are complete proteins, meaning they have all the essential amino acids that our body needs to obtain from food. All animals should come from their natural environment with natural feed. For example:
The Paleo Diet is based on the idea that you should only eat foods that early humans would- things you would have to hunt and gather by yourself. These foods consist of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit. The diet excludes dairy, soy, and grains(including gluten)as they have to go through lots of processing to be considered edible. The diet also excludes any foods that have been made with artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. The quality of proteins is also emphasized in a Paleo Diet.
These days, it is almost impossible to get away from sitting at a computer for extended periods of time and constantly looking at our smartphones. We are checking email, scanning through social media, typing at work, researching school projects and don’t forget online shopping! Unfortunately, this seated position, along with physical inactivity, can wreak havoc on one’s posture. Some muscles get tight, while other muscles are stretched and weakened. Constant stress causes faulty postures to become the norm—this may include a forward head, rounded shoulders, and an anterior pelvic tilt from tight hip flexors. Ultimately, the end result can be pain, fatigue, restricted movement, headaches, and even injury, such as neck pain, shoulder impingement, and low back pain.
| So, what can you do to prevent injuries from sitting too much?
Create an adaptive work environment to allow position changes throughout the day (try a stand-up desk or sitting on an exercise ball!)
Be aware of your posture while seated
Take one minute standing/walking breaks every hour—set a timer!
Learn corrective exercise strategies, like the examples below
|Our recommended posture stretches:
1. Chin Tuck – Slowly draw your head back and hold for 5-10 seconds.
2. 3-Way Neck Stretch – Hold each stretch for 30 seconds each.
3. Doorway Pectoral Stretch – hold for 30 seconds.
4. Scapular Retractions – Draw your shoulder blades back and downward. Imagine you’re putting each shoulder blade “into” the opposite hip pocket.
5. Hip Flexor Stretch – hold for 30 seconds on each leg.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and at PFC, we believe that mental health is a crucial component of one’s overall physical health and wellbeing. Often times, one’s weight is an outer representation of inner issues, such as repressed emotions, low self-esteem, and an accumulation of stress. If you are an emotional eater, then it’s likely that you are reaching for food as a means to self-sooth and cope with uncomfortable inner emotions such as boredom, loneliness, anger, sadness or anxiety. Food may offer temporary relief from these emotions, as food does release feel-good chemicals in the brain (serotonin and dopamine) and gut that does produce a feeling of happiness and relief; however, these sensations are short lived. After you’re done eating, the initial problems and feelings remain except now you have the additional problem of having eaten too much along with all the guilt and shame that comes with it. For some people, this maladaptive pattern of coping with emotions by eating food can spiral out of control and become an eating disorder called Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
Many people identify as emotional eaters, but less identify as binge-eaters due to a lack of clarity of what that term means. Many people are also unaware that their problematic eating behaviors are symptoms of a greater mental health condition. Here are clues that you or someone you know may be struggling with BED, according to the diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):
• Individuals with Binge-Eating Disorder have recurrent binge episodes on average at least once/week for at least 3 months. A binge is characterized by:
A) eating an objectively large amount of food (usually 2-3 times greater than what most people would eat) within a discrete period of time.
B) a sense of lack of control over eating (feeling that one cannot stop or control what or how much one is consuming).
• A binge-episode is also associated with at least three of the following: eating more rapidly than normal; eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when you’re not physically hungry; eating alone due to embarrassment; feeling disgusted with oneself or very guilty after the eating epsiode.
• Notably, individuals experience extreme distress about the binge episodes afterward. If someone chooses to overeat and enjoys doing so without feeling a loss of control or distress about what and how much consumed, then this would not classify as BED, but simply overeating.
After reading these criteria, you may realize that you have experienced a binge episode occasionally over the course of your lifetime. That’s completely normal and okay. Please do not judge yourself for this. Our society set us up to binge eat by inundating us with images for foods high in fat, sugar and sodium and even encourages this behavior through marketing efforts that glamorize eating large amounts of foods. Plus, most of us have not learned to how to feel and manage our emotions effectively, which results in us choosing to eat to stuff down the feelings rather than facing the pain.
If your eating habits fit the description of binge eating, and you find that you are experiencing these sorts of eating episodes one or more times per week then you may benefit from seeking professional help from a licensed health professional, whether a medical doctor, therapist or psychologist. Recovery from BED requires uncovering the underlying issues that one is using food to cope with, and then learning and implementing more effective emotion regulation and stress management techniques to better deal with inner stress and turmoil. Techniques that have been shown to be effective at treating binge eating disorder are Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). If you feel really stuck and want someone to talk to, you can always reach out to the THINK team here at PFC. Sarah and Rachel are available for remote sessions to assist you with any mental and emotional health challenges you are facing, including dealing with binge eating.
We all know Turmeric is a superfood that boasts myriad benefits for internal health. Did you also know that Turmeric can be used in a simple DIY detoxifying face mask right at home? Yup! It’s super easy to make, only uses three ingredients, and will work to brighten your skin and fight acne-causing bacteria to keep your skin glowing and clear.
Bonus: The ingredients are cheap and will last SO LONG you won’t have to restock for a loooooong time!
Cheap beautifying face mask you can make at home? YAAAS QUEEN! Miracles do come true!
| Here are the ingredients we use: Turmeric Superfood Powder, Aztec Clay, and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV – you can substitute this with filtered water if you don’t have any ACV or simply don’t want to use it!)
| Let’s talk about the Aztec Clay…We use “Aztec Indian Secret Healing Clay”. What it really is, is calcium bentonite clay. It’s sourced here in California from Death Valley where it is harvested and naturally sun-dried for about six months where temperatures can reach up to 135°F! This clay is famous for fighting acne and blemishes due to its positive ion charge (our skins impurities and poisons are negatively charged). The (negative) mask attracts the (positive) skin impurities and pulls them out toward the surface and into the mask. Simple as that! This is our base for the mask and is essential for deep pore detoxing. *It is important to never use any type of metal bowl or spoon for making a mask with this clay as it will pull the metals into the clay mask- the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do!
| Onto ACV… This stuff is amazing for you, inside and out! As far as skin health goes, ACV is known to help clear blemishes and acne while balancing the skins pH level- something many of us forget about! The balancing of pH levels on the skin helps to balance sebum oil production. Sebum oil is naturally produced by our skin when it’s too dry or stripped of its natural oils. Balancing this helps reduce age spots, fight wrinkles, and remove toxins along with clearing blemishes! You can opt to use filtered water- it won’t have the same healing effect as ACV, but your mask will still be killer!
| Let’s get to the star of the show: Turmeric!
Turmeric is known around the world as an anti-inflammatory food that helps aid digestion and heals the gut from the inside out. BUT- did you know Turmeric has also been traditionally used by Indian brides to purify, detox, brighten, and bring a healthy glow to their skin? Yes! It combats acne and clears the skin, brightens and evens out skin tone, and fights eczema, dark spots, wrinkles, and dark circles around the eyes. Plus- Turmeric is pretty cheap! Talk about a bang for your buck- you can make dinner with this spice and use it to beautify. We love products so pure you can eat and use them on the skin, don’t you? (Do NOT eat the face mask mixture. Only the turmeric powder is approved to use in food.)
Here’s what you really want… The face mask recipe!
| DETOXIFYING TURMERIC FACE MASK
•2 Tbsp Aztec Clay
•1-2 tsp Organic Turmeric Powder
•2-3 Tbsp ACV or Filtered Water
1. Combine Clay and Tuermic in a small non-metal container.
2. Pour ACV into the clay mixture and stir with a non-metal utensil until smooth and fully combined. *You may need to add more ACV or clay to get the right consistency- you don’t want it super runny, more creamy or like a paste.*
3. Using your fingers or an old and cleaned makeup brush, apply an even layer of the mask all over the face, avoiding sensitive areas like the eyes and lips and any open wounds.
4. Leave on for 10-20 minutes for normal skin, 5-10 minutes for sensitive skin.
5. Gently wash off in the shower or with a warm washcloth.
6. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
*Your skin will be red from anywhere between 10-30 minutes afterward due to the detoxing mask. You may also notice a yellow tint to the skin, this will wash away with a gentle soap. This is normal and nothing to be worried about– although we don’t recommend using the mask right before a date!
**Be sure you’re wearing old clothes you don’t mind staining or be very careful- Turmeric is also used to dye textiles, and for good reason- that color will STAY PUT!
***If you have any skin irritation or experience a rash, discontinue use!
Use this mask 1-2 times per week and see your beautiful skin brought to its full potential, naturally.
You may hear the word organic on a daily basis, but what does it actually mean? Organic implies that produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Keep reading to find out when and what is most important to buy organic!
In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in order to develop a national standard for organic food and fiber production. In 2002, the USDA finally implemented guidelines for food producers, handlers and certifiers. These labels add more opportunities for understanding the the quality of our foods.
100% USDA Organic
100% certified organic ingredients and processing aids
No GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
All natural ingredients cosplay with National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
Organic seal is allowed, yet 95% certified organic ingredients
Non-organic ingredients comply with National List
You may see the labels ‘Made with Organic’ and ‘Organic Ingredients’, don’t be fooled! ‘Made with Organic’ only requires that 70% of the ingredients are organic, while ‘Organic Ingredients’ has no specific % assigned. Although ‘Made with Organic’ must be non-GMO ingredients that comply with the National List and must be certified, ‘Organic Ingredients’ does not have to comply with either.
It’s true, organic foods tend to be more expensive and for those watching their grocery budget, you may be questioning whether it is necessary to buy organic. Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, aims to educate the U.S. on safe foods and household products. The EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (aka Dirty Dozen and Clean 15) is updated each year and ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables. The Dirty Dozen are the foods that have the highest pesticide residue while the Clean 15 have the lowest pesticide residue. Therefore, it is more important to purchase the Dirty Dozen organic, while the Clean 15 is less crucial. Keep this guide on your grocery list as a reminder when prioritizing your organic purchases.
Forget what you thought you knew about core exercises- we’re here to tell you how you can a strong core without crunches!
Tired of doing countless crunches and not getting the results you want for a strong core? Or, maybe you are trying to heal your diastasis recti (separation of your rectus abdominis muscle) and you need to avoid any crunching motion altogether! Either way, it is important to understand that your core is much more than the rectus abdominis muscle that makes up the show muscles we commonly refer to as a “6-pack”! So, let’s take a little time to get to know what makes up your ENTIRE core, and what exercises you need to do for a stable, strong core.
Your Core—It’s Way More Than a Six Pack!
It’s easy to think of your core as just those six muscles that make up that washboard ab look, but it’s so much more. Your core muscles provide precise stabilization to the spine and pelvis and make everyday activities, such as walking, running, and biking, possible. Core muscles include many deep and superficial muscles of the trunk including muscles of the abdomen, back and pelvic floor. The central nervous system works with these muscles to control their timing of contraction to increase spinal stiffness before any movement. The superficial core muscles cross a larger region of the body, providing core stabilization and produce power from head to toe. When these muscles are not firing correctly, spinal stabilization is hindered and injuries such as low back pain and sacroiliac pain can occur. This is why stabilization exercises are important and much more beneficial than ordinary crunches.
Crunches involve repetitive spinal flexion, which can cause excessive strain on the discs and nerves between the vertebrae of your spine. This repetitive flexion motion can not only cause back pain (which is what we are trying to prevent!) but reinforce bad posture of the spine as well! When you are in a crunched position, your shoulders begin to round and your head moves forward—exactly how we look slumped over our desk all day! And, if you are trying to heal from diastasis recti, those crunches are going to cause your tummy to dome up and increase pressure on that already weakened area. One of the best rules of thumb to remember- you get what you train for most of the time! Now, when you’re sitting at your desk you’re not training your muscle, but chances are your posture is not perfect which means you’re reinforcing(training) bad habits of slouching. As previously mentioned, the slouching position is very similar to the crunching position, so if you’re trying to fix that problem, doing exercises that mimic a slouch are going to be a lot less helpful than those that oppose and challenge that familiar position.
Hello Core Stabilizations Exercises!
Core stabilization exercises will help keep your lower back happy by increasing the structural and functional efficiency of your core. Almost every exercise has a variation or modification you can implement to fit your personal fitness level as well as ways to increase intensity and neuromuscular control… and honestly who doesn’t love that?! So, forget those crunches and add these fun and challenging core exercises to your workout instead for a stable and strong core!
Start with 3 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise. If you are more advanced, go with 4 sets of 20 reps for each exercise! (If the exercise alternates sides of the body perform 12-15 sets each side!)
Begin lying on your back with hands extended toward the ceiling. Bring feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees. Stabilize core by pulling in belly button, pulling ribs down and towards each other, and pushing the small of your lower back into the ground beneath you. Hold this position throughout the movement. Start the exercise by extending the opposite leg and arm, straightening the knee and hip to bring the leg just a few inches above the ground. Maintain the position of your pelvis as you perform the movement, as your back is going to want to arch. Only go as low as your stability on your core allows. Return the working leg and arm to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, alternating until the set is complete.
Lie on your stomach on a mat or the floor with your legs outstretched and your arms out overhead. Relax your neck and align your head with your spine. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine and slowly raise your legs and arms a few inches off the floor. Hold for a few seconds then lower your legs and arms back to your starting position.
Start at a hands and knees position on an exercise mat with knees underneath hips and wrists directly underneath shoulders. Slowly raise and straighten right arm and left leg until they both are at, or close to parallel, to the floor and hold for a few seconds. Keep head aligned with the spine throughout the movement. Gently lower yourself back to your starting position. Change sides, maintaining balance and control.
Lie on your right side with your legs stacked one the other. Engage your core muscles as you raise your torso coming and support yourself on your right forearm. Your right elbow is bent and should be directly under your shoulder. Your head should be aligned with your spine. Keep the abdominals engaged to brace the spine. Begin by holding for 10 seconds working your way up to one minute. Gently return yourself to your starting position. Repeat on the other side. Modify by bending leg closer to the floor at 90 degrees.
Mindfulness is one of the most important practices to adopt that can help improve your overall quality of life. Mindful eating is one of the best ways to help heal our relationship with food. Simply put, mindfulness is the practice of being “aware”. Most of us live each day consumed by doing and thinking of multiple things at one time. It is our tendency to constantly be multitasking while on-the-go that diminishes our ability to be aware in the present moment. This then takes away from our ability to experience true joy and satisfaction with what is unfolding in the now. Too often our minds are stuck ruminating on the past or present, which saps the joy from the now. It also robs us of the ability to truly be in-tune to what we are feeling, physically and emotionally, and be able to respond appropriately to those needs rather than impulsively (i.e. emotionally eat).
For example, let’s say you’re checking your phone and thinking about work while having a conversation with your spouse. This mindlessness detracts from your ability to connect with your loved one and will, more likely than not, not allow them to feel seen and heard. He or she will likely grow frustrated, thereby affecting how they treat you. Maybe your spouse becomes hurt and snaps at you out of frustration. This then will trigger stress within you, and without thinking you head to the cupboards and begin snacking on whatever is in sight, even though you just finished dinner. And so the ripple effect ensues, resulting in unfulfilled relationships, greater at-home stress, and an expanding waistline.
Studies show that when we eat mindlessly, we consume significantly more calories because we are out of touch with our body’s hunger cues and aren’t registering how a food or beverage actually tastes. When it comes to overeating, practicing mindfulness is absolutely key for three main reasons.
When you are mindful of your physical hunger cues, you will be better able to eat when you’re truly hungry and stop when you are truly satisfied. This will reduce your overeating because you will not be distracted by electronics, or whatever else you typically do while eating.
If you become mindful of what you are feeling in the moment, then you will more easily detect when you are reaching for food due to emotional reasons such as stress, loneliness, boredom, frustration or sadness. When you can pause and tune into your body and understand what you are feeling that is causing you to want to eat, then you’re in a position to be able to choose a more effective way to deal with that emotion rather than eating. For example, if you’re sad, call a friend to talk about it. If you’re frustrated, go boxing or get in a great workout to relieve the built up emotion. If you’re stressed, try meditation or yoga.
When you actually eliminate all distractions and sit down with the sole intention to eat your food with your complete awareness, it will enhance your eating experience tenfold. When you can truly taste a food, notice the textures and engage all your senses in the eating experience then you’re able to derive heightened satisfaction and pleasure from the act of eating. How many times have you scarfed down a delicious meal so quickly that you were left feeling unsatisfied because you didn’t really taste it? Imagine if you slowed down and intentionally enjoyed each bite of your favorite meal, savoring every morsel- it would completely transform your eating experience.
How to practice mindful eating:
Sit down at a table with the snack or meal you will be eating.
Pause before taking a bite and take a few deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose.
Scan your body and notice your physical symptoms of hunger, such as your stomach growling, your mouth watering or perhaps a slight headache.
Next, engage your 5 senses as you begin your eating experience, noticing how your body and brain respond to each.
SIGHT: How does the food look? Notice the colors, texture, and composition of the food.
SMELL: Smell the food. What aromas do you notice, no matter how faint?
TOUCH: Pick up or touch the food item with your hands or a utensil. Notice the texture and how it feels in your hand, or how the utensil feels when it makes contact with the item.
TASTE: Bring the item to your mouth and take one bite, again noticing the texture, as well as the taste. Is it sweet? Salty? Bitter? Bland? Does it taste fresh or like chemicals? Notice your reaction to the taste.
SOUND: What sounds do you notice as you bite into and chew the food? Perhaps it’s a crunch or slurp and maybe nothing at all.
Put your utensil down between each bite and be mindful to fully chew the food item before swallowing.
Continue eating this way, monitoring your physical level of satiety as you go.
When you notice that you are feeling satisfied and your stomach is about 80% full, stop eating.
Ideally, aim to take about 20 minutes to eat your meal since that’s how long it takes for the brain to register fullness.
Give mindful eating a try! Keep an open mind and be patient with yourself as you try to train yourself to eat this way. It can be a challenge, especially at first, because we are so accustomed to a mindless way of living and eating. Send us a message and let us know how it’s going for you!
Carbohydrates, fat, and you… are carbs really to blame for weight gain and increased body fat? While some popular diets may want you to believe carbs are your worst enemy we’re here to clear the air! First of all, get excited… carbs are good for you and you should be eating them! Second of all, carbs do not make you fat… overconsumption of carbs (or any macronutrient) can trigger your body to store fat, and there’s a simple way to fix this: get your portion sizes under control!
When no-carb and low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, hit the nutrition trend in the 90s early 2000s, the widespread belief became that carbs were the enemy and responsible for individuals packing on the pounds. People cut out candies, crackers, cookies and cake along with whole grains, legumes, and fruit. Carbs were then swapped for heavy cream, bacon, and broccoli. Yes, people lost weight initially… but just like any other diet, many people gained it right back (and then some) when they eventually resumed their normal eating habits. Why? Because a diet eventually comes to an end as “diets” are traditionally not sustainable for long periods of time. What I want you to learn about carbs is that they are not all created equal; the type of carbohydrate and the amount you consume is what is most important. Also- carbs are ESSENTIAL for a healthy body!
The Basics: When carbohydrates are digested they are broken down into glucose (sugar). This glucose is taken into the bloodstream (think of it as an internal highway, the transportation system of the body!) which we measure as blood sugar (the amount of glucose in the bloodstream at one time). Insulin is the ‘taxi driver’ that picks up glucose and delivers it to the cell to use as fuel. When there is too much fuel for the cell, the extra glucose is stored for later… these storage units are called fat cells.
We have two categories of carbs; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are broken down very simply, hence the name. This simple breakdown causes blood sugar levels to increase very quickly, overloading the cells and creating the need for more storage. More storage means more fat cells, resulting in weight gain. Complex carbs are complex to breakdown, meaning they take lots more time to become suitable for transportation through the bloodstream. This complex breakdown helps release the glucose at a slower pace, therefore providing a steady stream of glucose rather than a spike. This slow and steady stream of glucose is our bodies preferred way of using glucose, and it diminishes the need to create fat cells.
Complex carbohydrates come in the form of whole grains, beans/legumes, and vegetables, with the exception of starchy vegetables: potatoes, peas, corn, and winter squashes which can be processed more simply. Simple carbohydrates come in the form of table sugar, used in baked goods, candies, refined foods, some sauces, dressings and milk sugar (lactose). Refined whole grains can also be simple as well, the more processing of the food before you eat it, the less complex the food is to digest, therefore the faster it hits the bloodstream. This means the more unprocessed, true-to-nature foods you eat, the better!
Fiber is also a carbohydrate and an extremely important carbohydrate at that! Fiber is actually not broken down into glucose. Instead, it attaches to cholesterol in the bloodstream and helps help your body to excrete them, making fiber a heart-healthy food. When looking at a nutrition label, subtract the amount of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates and you will get your net carbs. This is the number to use when calculating your carbohydrates. Next, look at the amount of sugar (your simple carbohydrates). The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams PER DAY for women and 37.5 grams PER DAY for men.
The portion size of the carbohydrate is also important. We don’t want to consume more than we burn, otherwise, fat storage occurs. In terms of grams, we only need about 30-45 grams of carbs per meal and approximately 15 grams per snack. In terms of portion control, limit your serving of carbs to 1/2 cup per serving. If your physical activity is increasing, your need for carbohydrates may increase.
Conclusion: Carbohydrates do not make you fat, but if you consume more than you are going to use, yes – you will store the excess as fat cells.
Applying the Lesson: When creating your balanced plate, make 1/4 of your plate carbohydrates coming from whole grains, beans/legumes, starchy vegetables, and fruit. Limit simple carbohydrates. If you over consume them, make time to burn them with a walk or other physical activities!
You may not have tried it yet, but you’ve probably heard of the popular way to train called HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. While this is not a new way to train, it’s popularity has increased tremendously in recent years- and for good reasons! Many individuals enjoy HIIT for both the time-saving benefit and the prevention of boredom in their workouts. There are so many health benefits that come along with practicing HIIT- ranging from increased metabolism to boosted cardio health- that everyone should give it a try!
How do I HIIT it?
The main focus of all HIIT training programs involves an intense period of exercise followed by a brief period of recovery. You should aim to get your heart rate up to 85% – 90% of your max heart rate during the intense portion of the exercise and bring it back down to 65% – 70% of your max heart rate during your brief recovery periods. There are many styles of HIIT training including cardio based HIIT that uses traditional cardio, such as cycling and running, as well as HIIT classes using bodyweight and special equipment, like battle ropes and wall balls. Both types of HIIT training are very beneficial, so how do you decide what to do? You do what you enjoy! One of the most important things about training is finding a type of workout that you actually enjoy and look forward to- and feel free to mix it up!
For your HIIT, try starting at 1:2 work-to-recovery ratio for 20 minutes total. For example, you could perform a 1-minute run followed by 2 minutes of walking, or 30 seconds of burpees followed by 1-minute marching in place. Keep going through your selected exercises until your timer goes off at 20 minutes- and you’re done! Perform your HIIT workouts 2 to 3 times a week with a rest day in between for recovery.
Benefits of HIIT
Below is a list of the numerous health advantages of HIIT
Increases metabolism post workout, which means you continue to burn extra calories hours after your workout ends(score)! This is due to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. You will burn a lot of calories during your workout and because your body worked so hard, it has to continue to replace energy and repair your muscles long after you finish your workout.
Improves cardiovascular health. Blood pressure will benefit from regular HIIT, as well as aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
Promotes better blood sugar regulation. HIIT increases the insulin sensitivity in our cells which helps our muscles to use glucose as fuel for our workouts.
Reverses age-related muscle decline. HIIT has been shown to increase our mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, and muscle protein content to help preserve and build muscle.
Regularly including HIIT had been shown to help decrease abdominal fat while maintaining muscle.
HIIT training is an important addition to your overall health and wellness program. If you are new to exercise, please use caution when beginning a HIIT workout. Start slower and use modifications for body weight exercises that might be too advanced. Overall- the benefits of HIIT are so numerous there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try!