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Dispelling myths about… calories

fitness nutrition tips Apr 07, 2018

Do you know the science behind calories and how to use that to help you achieve your goals?

I’m sure you hear people talk all the time about “counting calories” or “watching their calories”.

But what are calories, and if you’re trying to lose weight, what do you need to know about them?

If you remember back to your high school science days, you may recall that a calorie is a measure of heat or energy. All foods you eat bring in calories. All activities you do burn up calories.

So you think if you eat fewer calories than you burn up, you’ll lose weight, right?

Well… yes. But there’s more to it than that.

MYTH: Calories measure how much energy you take in and burn up.

Not quite. The definition of a calorie has changed over time from a measure of heat conservation with regard to steam engines (it was the unit of heat required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius), to an estimate of a food’s carbohydrate, protein, and fat...

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HA ha ha ha!!!

fitness tips Mar 27, 2018

When was the last time you were with some friends and someone told a joke that caused you to snort your drink through your nose?

When did you last laugh so hard your stomach hurt, and you couldn’t stop laughing, and you waved your hand soundlessly at your friend - who was also doubled over - hardly able to take a breath, and all that came out was a little wheeze, as you gasped for breath?

Believe it or not, laughter is terrific medicine!

Short-term, laughter changes your mood and gives you a mental lift. But it also changes your body. Laughter:

  • Activates and relieves your stress response, while increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. After your stomach stops hurting, you feel great, physically.
  • Causes you to take in a lot of extra oxygen, which stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases blood flow to your brain.
  • Increases your endorphins. Those are the brain and nervous system hormones that relieve pain and increase feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
  • ...
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It’s the little things that count

fitness tips Mar 12, 2018

I remember learning a new language when I was in school. I remember being completely overwhelmed on that first day of Spanish class.  I couldn’t believe I was expected to listen to, comprehend, and respond in another language.

That seemed like a tall order considering I knew exactly one Spanish word at the time: hola.

But somehow that teacher was right.  By the end of my freshman year I could order some food, talk about the weather, and have a basic conversation with my classmates.

When you start out on any new project, it can definitely feel overwhelming. If you focus only on the end result, it can seem like it’s really far away… like you’ll never get there.

This is how I felt that first day of class.  Like a baby learning to walk.  We all have to start somewhere. 

The key to reaching any goal is to take one small step at a time, and celebrate when you accomplish it.

You probably don’t think about it this way - most people...

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Meal planning made easy - for the busy person

fitness nutrition tips Mar 02, 2018

Let’s make eating well - for you and your family - as easy as possible. Simplify, simplify...

You probably already know the best things to do in order to make eating right as easy as possible: 

  • Shop on the edges of the grocery store, where all the one-ingredient foods are (not the center aisles with the pre-packaged, ingredients-you-can-hardly-pronounce foods)
  • Eat mostly plants.
  • Don’t keep foods in the house that are generally less healthy for you (eg, potato chips, candy, etc.)
  • DO keep easy-to-grab healthy snacks in the refrigerator
  • Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies if you know that’s the only way you’ll find/make time to prepare them
  • Keep your “healthy staple foods” fully stocked like: quinoa, brown rice, frozen vegetables, healthy meats and eggs, olive oil, tasty spices, apples, lemons, whole wheat wraps...
  • Prepare extra portions of healthy meals, so they are easy to grab-and-go on busy days 

Now here are a few simple recipes you can...

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The ugly truth about health and fitness

fitness health Feb 20, 2018

Feeling guilty about “sneaking” some “forbidden” foods…

Exercising as a way to “make up for” all those calories you ate (or as punishment)...

Binge eating because “I’ve already messed up so much today, what’s a little more?”...

This is what happens when you look at food not as food but as either a friend or a foe.

Too often, food becomes the villain in a bad B-movie. It tempts you. It controls you. It even laughs at you.

So you run to the nearest stationary bike, begging it to save you from the evil food villain. And you pedal like mad… or you do extra step classes all week… or you starve yourself for a day…

And next week the vicious cycle starts all over again. And you go to bed miserable, thinking, “I really messed up on my diet today. I’ll try again tomorrow.”

The problem is, “there’s always something…”

Because then you have this conversation in your...

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"I feel it in my gut…"

fitness nutrition tips Feb 05, 2018

When you stop to think about all the little tiny organisms you can’t see, and how many millions...billions...of them there are, it’s pretty mind-blowing. 

While many are floating around in the air, there are also hundreds of them inside your body.

No, this isn’t a new version of the movie Alien - none of them are going to try to take over your body - but in a sense, this really is a symbiotic relationship. 

You thought your unique fingerprint is pretty cool, right?  What about your unique microbiome? 

You have bacteria living throughout your body, but there are 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria in your gut: especially in your intestines and colon. When paired with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, you get the microbiome. 

And your mix of microorganisms is different from everyone else’s. It’s partly due to your mother’s microbiome that you were exposed to at birth, and partly due to your personal diet and...

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What do sugar, heroin, and morphine have in common?

fitness nutrition Jan 22, 2018

I have a confession to make. I’ve had a problem with sugar addiction. Actually, it’s still something I struggle with. And I know I’m not alone.

In fact, I don’t know very many people who haven’t had a problem with sugar at some point.

Why is that? Why do people crave sugar?

If you remember good ‘ol health class, when you get a hit of dopamine - a chemical neurotransmitter - it stimulates the pleasure center of your brain. When you consume sugar, it releases dopamine. Since it feels good, you want more… and more… That’s how you develop an addiction. 

Here’s the answer to the question in the title: Heroin and morphine stimulate those same receptors in your brain. 

And even though you may try very hard to curb your addiction, willpower usually isn’t quite enough to help you lay off the sweets.

If you’re feeling tired, the thought of a quick energy boost may cause you to reach for that candy bar. The...

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How to create “more” time by finding “lost” time

fitness motivation Jan 02, 2018

Last week I encouraged you to look in the rearview mirror before planning goals for your new year. Did you have a chance to do that? If not, take another look at that message, because looking at LAST year is a critical first step to achieving your goals for NEXT year.

And based on many conversations I’ve had with many clients, here’s the problem my clients encounter: they run out of time.

They know they “should” be taking care of themselves… that when they feel healthy they feel better about themselves… that exercise and proper nutrition give them energy to do all the things they want to do… 

But finding time to get to their workout every day is challenging.

So let me help you “find time” in your schedule, so you don’t put off taking care of yourself.

If you’re thinking about something, especially something you need to do, write it down. Once it’s out of your head, you’re able to focus on the tasks...

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Why looking in the rearview mirror is the best way to go forward

fitness motivation Dec 26, 2017

Are you feeling inundated with offers to “create your best year yet”, or “goal-setting for 2018!” or any other way of saying the same thing? 

I know my email inbox is full of subject lines like that.

And I’m not knocking forward thinking or planning. Not by any means. There are a lot of different ways of doing it - the “90 day year” or the “getting things done” plans. They are definitely valuable, and you should pick a system and work it. 

But the real gold is in the rearview mirror. 

Before planning for NEXT year, start by looking at LAST year, so you can identify the lessons that will help you move forward.

First, did you have written goals for this past year? If so, pull them out and write them down on a new sheet.

If you didn’t have any written goals this past year, think back 6 to 12 months, and put yourself into that time frame. What were you talking about doing? What new initiatives did you start? Work...

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When my knife slipped and I cut my finger…

fitness Dec 19, 2017

I was chopping up some vegetables for dinner when the little “ding!” on my phone distracted me. With my attention diverted, just momentarily, I accidentally slipped, and took a little slice off my finger.

“Ouch! Jeez! I always do that sort of thing!” I said out loud, to no one in particular.

I stopped in my tracks, right there in the middle of the kitchen. I couldn’t believe it. Why had I just said that? I know better. I don’t always do that sort of thing. But I had put myself down anyway.

Now if someone had been standing there watching me slice vegetables, only to see me slice my finger instead, and had said, “Jeez! You always do that sort of thing!” I would have gotten angry at them. 

I would have said, “No, I don’t! It was just an accident.” 

So why did I speak so unkindly to myself? 

Unfortunately we all tend toward negative thoughts over positive thoughts. In fact, your “mental chatter”...

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