Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 9/28/14

Should Schools be Responsible for Kid’s Health?  This article asks the following question and throughout the piece goes onto answer it. “After cutting back on fat, sugar and salt in school lunches, how much more of the responsibility for student health should rest on the shoulders of educators?”  I for one am excited about reading some of the initiatives schools are taking, the BMI report card is very interesting.

6.4 Trillion Calories Cut From Food Products–  Personally I think large food companies do need to step up in order to help get the nations nutrition back on track. These 16 companies are starting that trend be pledging to reduce trillions of calories across their various food lines. Will it make a difference? “One study compared calories sold by the 16 companies in 2007 and 2012, finding the reduction of 6.4 trillion. In the other study, the researchers tracked calories purchased by U.S. households with children from 2000-2012. They found that families with children bought 101 fewer calories from packaged goods per person per day in 2012 than in 2007.”

Diabetes Rates Leveling Off in U.S.– Diabetes is still around and will be costly for the US in the upcoming years, but this article does shed some light on the issue. “Overall adult diabetes rates appear to have leveled off during the past four years in the United States, in stark contrast to the two decades prior, which saw a doubling of the chronic disease, according to a new federal study.”

Unleashing Their Inner Sis, Boom, Bah: PomFit Cheerleading Workouts at Pearl Studios– I for one am all about finding new fun ways to workout! Anything that will get people exercising is worth trying in my book. Having been on the Varsity Pom Squad in High School I have an appreciation for how much of a workout cheerleading is. Next time I am in New York I plan on stopping by!

 Chalk Talk: Instant Weight-Loss Inspiration– Ok so this is technically not an article, however some of these photos are really great motivation and funny as well. I might have to print a couple of these out for my fridge at home. Enjoy!

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Photo from Huff Post

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Rotation Diet-Day 4

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Last night I did not sleep as well as I have the last 2 nights. It was more like a usual night for me where I wake up multiple times and cant seem to stay asleep. Overall I think Day 3 has been my hardest so far. I felt hungry and un-satisfied for most of the day. It was either the food I ate or the combination of them that left my stomach grumbly and off. All of this combined leads me to say I am glad today is my last day on rotation! I know you are supposed to do these type of diets for at least 6 weeks to really get a good base line and to see how your body responds to a new program. For me this will be the end of it. I am so excited to get back to regular programming tomorrow!

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This morning I started my day with a 4 1/2 mile run followed by an hour of body pump. Usually when I do this combo on Thursday’s it is a breeze. Today was really hard. My body felt weak and tired. I am not sure if it is from what I ate yesterday, or from this week, or just an off day. Either way I am hoping tomorrow will be better.  Breakfast today consisted of a massive amount of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. I am finding the fruit with more water in them fill me up a lot more then some of the other types.

Breakfast

  • 2 cups of Watermelon
  • 1 cup of Cantaloupe
  • 1 cup of Honeydew melon
  • 1 cup of coffee with steamed almond milk

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By lunch time I was craving protein. I had made acorn squash, but grabbed some salmon lox at the breakfast bar to eat along with it. Actually lunch ended up hitting the spot and I have felt satisfied all day! I didn’t even need an afternoon pick me up, which lately is un-heard of.

Lunch

  • 4 oz of Lox Salmon
  • 1/2 baked acorn squash with brown sugar and salt
  • 2 small beets
  • 1/2 cup grilled summer squash
  • 3 glazed pecans for dessert

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For dinner it was all about Salmon and squash again. I have to say dinner totally hit the spot! Today my body felt really good with the food choices. I have been content and happy all day. After every meal I felt full, I did not crave snacks, and I was able to sustain energy.

Dinner

  • 4oz of Atlantic Salmon with sea salt and a drizzle of maple
  • 1 large summer squash made into spaghetti with a little olive oil and garlic salt
  • 8 Okra pods baked
  • 2 oz of sake

All in all here is what I liked and disliked about the rotation diet.

I liked that I was able to eat different things every day. It was nice to see what foods my body responded well to and which ones it struggled with. It was good to stop my snacking habit and focus on full satisfying meals. It was also nice to cut out processed foods and emphasize protein, veggies, and fruit. I also was happy with the added sleep from the week.

What I disliked was all of the food prep. There was a lot of thought and energy that went into every night with planning meals for the next day. It was also expensive. Since I could  not eat leftovers I had to buy a lot of different food to last throughout the week. Even with stocking up at the farmers market on Sunday it did not sustain all my meals.  Lastly it was hard to tell myself no to something healthy I was craving, aka like grapes and greek yogurt, because it was not the right day.

What I am taking away from this experience is it is good to force myself to vary my food more often. Even if it is just alternating breakfast every other day. I also like knowing what foods pair well together, which I can try and be mindful of when making meal choices going forward. Would I do this again, absolutely. Am I glad it is done tomorrow and I can go to happy hour to enjoy whatever healthy meal I want. Yep, I cant wait! I see wine, cheese, and bread in my near future.

Rotation Diet-Day 3

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This morning I woke up again to another amazing night of sleep! In the future I really need to remind myself how every time I go to have a late night snack it is going to affect me for the rest of the night. Because let me say, after sleeping well for two nights in a row it makes a huge difference to your day. I did wake up hungry, which is not typical for me. However I am not a fan of eating before working out, so I waited to eat breakfast till after my Barre class when I had made my way into the office.  I did start the morning cheating again with coffee from my favorite coffee shop Philz. Although I did make sure to use almond milk instead of dairy, so I am giving myself credit there. Today breakfast consisted of fruit and roasted sweet potatoes. I felt satisfied, but was definitely ready for lunch by noon.

 Breakfast

  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 1 plum
  • 1 medium roasted sweet potato with salt and a little brown sugar

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After preparing not only dinner last night, but also the sweet potatoes for this morning I had no energy to make something else for lunch. I was able to find a 3 bean salad at the grocery store and went to the salad bar at work and through together some tofu and beans for another snack. All in all it tasted pretty good and I did manage to feel full by the end of it. But by early afternoon my stomach was upset and gurgling for the rest of the day. Not sure if it was from what I ate or just the combination of foods.

Lunch

  • 1/2 cup 3 bean salad from Molli Stones (consisted of red onion, green beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans)
  • 1 cup of firm tofu, garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, and red onion with salt and pepper

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By afternoon I was in need of a snack. I grabbed a few almonds and ate a pluot along with some pineapple. However my mouth started to feel the acidity from the fruit and I was not able to eat it all. I ended up having to grab an afternoon coffee for a pick me up to make it through the rest of the day.

Snack

  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • 1 pluot
  • 8 almonds

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For dinner I ended up cheating again with a small glass of wine. However I figure I have been 100% on with the food, so a cheat drink is ok. After a long day of work happy hour was in order. I did make a delicious dinner of fish, asparagus, and had the rest of my leftover sweet potato. It was yummy, filling, and left me feeling completely content. Now I am getting ready to have half a glass of almond milk and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert. Only 1 more day to go!

Dinner

  • 4 oz of Sole baked with salt and pepper
  • 8 spears of Asparagus with salt and garlic powder
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato

Rotation Diet- Day 2

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Today was hard. I thought it was going to be the easiest day out of the four days because a lot of the foods I usually eat are options for day 2. However all day long I felt like I was hungry and battling cravings. The day started well. I woke up after the best night of sleep I have had in a long time, which I am contributing to my clean eating yesterday.  I went to spinning class and then made my way to work. I did grab a cup of coffee with almond milk, which is not approved on rotation day 2. However I decided coffee is my one non-negotiable. Breakfast consisted of the below and did fill me up. I used to eat oatmeal and apples everyday for breakfast for years. So I know this is a good go to for my body.

Breakfast

  • 1 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal with a tablespoon of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1 Large Gala Apple
  • 1 cup of coffee with steamed almond milk

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By lunchtime I was starving and ready to eat. I made an open faced sandwich and paired it with one of my favorites an asian pear. This meal totally hit the spot craving wise. The turkey was salty and mixed with the creamy avocado tasted very decadent. The pear was a perfect sweet add on and since it was from the farmers market this weekend it was delicious to say the least.

Lunch

  • 2 Toasted Slices of Flax Seed Bread. I used the Alvarado type which is 100 calories for 2 slices
  • 1/4 an avocado
  • 3 oz smokey turkey deli meat
  • 1 Asian Pear

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However only a short while later I was starving and craving something sweet. Of course it took all my restriction to not eat the danish in our work area, so I walked myself over to the market and bought some fresh berries. I proceeded to eat the entire container throughout the rest of the day.  By the time 5:00 hit I was again starving and could not wait to get home. Of course traffic was a nightmare so by the time I walked into my house I had to eat something immediately. Now usually I would go to one of my favorite snacks grapes with a handful of crackers and cheese, but since these foods were not on my approved list today I restricted myself, which of course then made me annoyed. Instead I grabbed some hazelnuts and started to prep dinner along with meals for tomorrow.

Snacks

  • 8 oz of Strawberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries
  • 8 Hazelnuts

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Dinner consisted of chicken, millet, and cauliflower. I ate a pretty good sized portion, actually way more than I usually eat and by the end of it I still felt not quite satisfied. All I wanted was to have a piece of the homemade pumpkin bread that was calling my name from the fridge. Again I reminded myself I could commit to this for 4 days and that it will not be forever.  Fingers crossed tomorrow is an easier day for hunger and cravings.

Dinner

  • 4 oz of baked chicken with tumeric, salt, and oregano
  • 1/2 cup cooked millet
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 of Avocado

 

Rotation Diet- Day 1

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I don’t know about you, but every now and again I find myself in a situation where I have indulged more than I would have wanted to. It is one party or event after another and no matter how good I usually am I find yourself continuing to have a couple of drinks, a piece of dessert, or that late night slice of pizza. Since I eat healthy most of the time I can really feel it when I have eaten poorly too often and frequently. I start to feel lethargic, bloated, and it even affects how I sleep. After this last weekend celebrating the marriage of my best friend and binge eating more then I have in months, I decided I needed a re-boot.

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One of the benefits of having your boyfriend as a personal trainer, is your home is filled with interesting books on fitness and health. On a bored night a couple of weeks ago I picked up  the book “How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy” by Paul Chek. Dustin raves about this book, so I thought why not take a look. In the very back of the book Paul describes a rotation diet, which was the first I had ever heard of this type of diet. Since I read so many books on nutrition I was surprised there was something completely new to me.

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The premise of a rotation diet is  you alternate the foods you eat daily for 4 days in order to help identify food intolerance’s, detoxify your body, help your digestive system get back on track, and can even help to lose weight. “To follow the rotation diet, eat only the foods listed on that particular day. You may have those foods as many times as you like on that particular day, but then you should not consume any of those foods.” Foods are grouped together based on  their food families and because they share similar protein structures and are therefore digested similarly by our bodies.

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The link here provides a good explanation of the Rotation Diet along with how each day breaks out in terms of food. I decided I can at least try this out for 1 full rotation, aka 4 days, and see how it goes. Today was day 1 for me. I have to say the hardest part so far has been the meal prep. Yesterday I had to go to the farmers market and then the grocery store to stock up on enough various fruits, veggies, and meats. Last night also required cooking meals in advance for today. Overall though I have to say so far so good. I have felt full and satisfied after each meal without that urge to snack out of control, which is something I always struggle with. I almost never eat red meat so eating it tonight tasted amazing and just what my body needed. I am excited to see how I sleep tonight and how I feel tomorrow morning. So I am sure you are wondering what  my meals consisted of today, well below breaks it all down. However I do want to note I am a grazer so there may have been some grapes or cherry tomatoes popped throughout the day outside of what I listed below.

Breakfast

  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 cup of grapes
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • Coffee with cream

Lunch

  • Half of an Eggplant baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella
  • 2 small red potatoes and eggplant baked with dill
  • 1 pan fried plantain

Snack

  • 1/2 cup of grapes
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • 1 oz of cheese

Dinner

  • 5 oz Ground beef, bell pepper, lettuce tacos
  • 1 sliced tomato with sprinkled sea salt

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 9/21/14

Off the Drugs, Onto the Cupcakes– This article discusses how addicts when entering rehabilitation centers are comforted and eased off of their addiction through sweets and other highly palatable foods. Through this end up trading one addiction for another.  On the flip the article also touches on how when people want to lose weight  quickly they will start adding in stimulants like coffee in order to keep from over eating. With the new research coming out on how sugar affects the brain, some rehabilitation centers are looking at overhauling their nutrition program.  “But though sweets may have eased some people’s drug cravings, many ended up “transfer addicting” from their substance of choice to sugar.”

Walking, Biking to Work May Benefit Mental Health– This article is short and sweet. Essentially research is finding people have a much healthier state of mind when they either bike, walk, or use public transportation to get to work opposed to driving.

When You Can’t Afford Sleep– Personally I found this article very impactful. I think we can sometimes get so involoved with our own lives it is hard to stop and think about what some of America has to go through in order to just feed their family.  “Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and people who never finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep six or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do.”

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose A Side– This video is just funny. It takes two workout’s that people have very strong affiliations with and talks about each of them. How does one choose which one to do? You are picking more then a workout, but an identity. Enjoy!

For Posterior’s Sake– Plain and simple this article focuses on the rear end, butt, or derriere along with the emerging popularity of enhancing it among women. Women are focusing in on their glutes like they never have before. “When I was growing up, everyone wanted to look like skinny, bony girls. Over time, butts have become a thing.”

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Photo from Huff Post

What is Healthy?

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What is healthy? I think the first thing that comes to most people’s minds with being healthy is wanting to lose weight. Maybe it is the last 10 lbs after just having a baby or getting back to your perceived ideal body weight before a big event. Being healthy can just be getting back on track with food and trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. It can also be just wanting to get into better shape, increase muscle mass, or just get into a regular exercise routine. Then there is striving to hit a goal like running your first marathon or climbing to the top of that 14er mountain you always wanted to. However my question is what if you are doing all of the right things, eating well, working out daily, getting enough sleep, but is it possible you could still not be healthy?

This is the new question I have been asking myself recently. I would say I eat healthy 80% of the time. I work out daily, sometimes even twice a day if I am being honest with everyone. I try to go to bed early every night  in order to get enough sleep. So why would I be questioning if I am healthy? Well let me explain. Over the last 6-9 months I found my life started to get a little stressful. We all run into this as adults right. Where all of a sudden things you were not expecting just smack you in the face and all of a sudden you feel like you are paddling upstream and are just doing your best to maintain a balance. We all figure out ways to cope with the added life stress, for some that is with food, others it may be shopping, but for me it is exercise. I exercise to relieve stress and to put me in a good mental state. The more stressed I become the more I want to move my body. This is not a bad thing, except you have to make sure you are balancing out your energy expenditure with enough food in order to sustain the new added activity.

Through the years I have become a lot better at balancing eating what I know my body needs with what my body craves in order to not binge. I am not perfect and I know learning this balancing act will be ongoing for me, but at least as long as I continue to make progress that is really what is important. So again, where am I going with this.  I found over the last 9  months the one thing I was not doing was eating enough to support my additional movement and exercise. Without trying to I ended up losing a few pounds.

What is a few pounds right? Well for someone already at the bottom of their weight range a few pounds can make a big difference. Once I lost the few pounds unintentionally  it created a viscous cycle in my head. For someone who has trained themselves for years that weight loss is a good thing and weight gain is bad, seeing a lower number on the scale felt like a new accomplishment even though I had gotten to a weight that I knew was not healthy for my body or sustainable.  I had a few close people in my life come and tell me that I had gotten to that “scary skinny” place and wanted to make sure I was aware. Let me just say now how much I love having people in my life that will tell me those hard things to hear.

So what does this all mean? It means we spend a lot of time focusing on how losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising more are all healthy things. Yes they are. Being healthy can also be listening to your body and learning when to pull it back. Right now for the first time in almost 4 years I am actually learning how to accept gaining weight as a good thing and that for me this is healthy. It continues to be interesting to me how much our mental state dictates our relationships with ourselves. Now having put back on those pounds I did not mean to lose I am more satisfied with my appearance. It is important to remind ourselves a number is only a number. At the end of the day it all comes down to how we feel. I am still a work in progress, but wanted to share my story.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 9/14/14

For kids with both asthma and obesity, which came first?– “The article cites a study that showed that rapid growth in body mass index (BMI) during the first 2 years of life increased the risk of asthma up to 6 years of age. It has also been shown that the onset and duration of obesity and the composition of the excess fat — lean vs. fat — can affect lung function.”

Wine and Exercise: A Promising Combination– We have heard this study before, wine is good for the heart. However most of these studies have looked at people who already drank wine vs people who did not. What this new study did was started looking at people who had not drank wine  previously and introduced it into people’s lives and then tracked its effects on their bodies. What the article finds is “That moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results.”

One Way to Cut Back on Expensive Ambulance Rides– To me this concept just makes sense. It will be interesting to watch and see if this program gains traction. “That person who called 911 because they were running a fever could end up being diagnosed and treated in their living room by South Metro’s station wagon for about $500.”

A wife’s happiness is more crucial than her husband’s in keeping marriage on track– After just spending the weekend seeing my best friend getting hitched, I thought this article was fitting for the week. I am sure everyone has heard the classic phrase, “A happy wife equals a happy life.” This article sums up “When it comes to a happy marriage, a new study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about the nuptials.”

10 Ways to Keep Building Muscle – This is a good article on how to work through training plateaus and lists our 10 strategies to help you get back on track.

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 9/7/14

A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat– “By the end of the yearlong trial, people in the low-carbohydrate group had lost about eight pounds more on average than those in the low-fat group. They had significantly greater reductions in body fat than the low-fat group, and improvements in lean muscle mass — even though neither group changed their levels of physical activity. While the low-fat group did lose weight, they appeared to lose more muscle than fat.”

Train Your Brain to Choose Fruit Salad Over French Fries– This is a short article that talks about new research which suggests how we can change how our brain responds to healthy foods as rewards. Researchers did MRI’s before and after on patients starting a new weight loss program and found their brains responded differently to healthy and unhealthy foods before and after. More research needs to be done, but it is a great starting point.

Five Ways to Build Mental Toughness– This article talks about how working out and fitness is just as much mental as it is physical. It is important to work and hone your mental skills for not only success inside the gym, but also outside of it as well. Here are the 5 mental tools listed out, Humility, Confidence, Focus, Integrity, and Passion. The article goes into depth on each of them.

The Age Of Aspartame May Be Coming To An End As More Health Risks Are Confirmed– “In a new study observing over 60,000 women, diet drinks containing aspartame consumed at 2 or more per day increased the risk of heart related illness by 50%. This is added to the list of studies that have shown aspartame causes fast paced kidney decline, brain and neurological damage, and is linked to increased rates of leukaemia and lymphoma and more.”

The NFL Dodges on Brain Injuries– With Football season just kicking off, I thought it only fitting to include an article I found in the Atlantic. I am sure many know about the class action lawsuit against the NFL league, however what this article focuses on is how the outcome will  not only affect the NFL, but it is also a matter of public health and could potentially have a significant public cost.

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Photo from Huff Post

Group Fitness, We are All in this Together

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One of my favorite things about group fitness classes is the community you start to develop. Running had always been my workout of choice, which I still do love and make sure to get a good run or two in every week. But there is a solidarity to running. It allows you to feel one with yourself. You focus on your breathing and the thud every time your foot hits the pavement. It creates a therapeutic rhythm you can get lost in. It is a great way to be in the present with yourself and for me it helps to work through stress and thoughts.

Now group fitness classes are the opposite. Yes you are working out by yourself, but you are doing it with others. You are all in on this adventure together. For that one hour you share a common bond with everyone around you. Without even trying you are motivating others around you, inspire them to keep going, work harder, and challenge themselves.

Through time if you are attending the same classes frequently, you start to see the same people. You build bonds with one another even if you do not always speak to one another. It can be through a smile, a friendly hello, or just knowing you all do this every week together. Friendships and relationships start to form.

This morning I went to body pump at my new gym, which was only the second time I had attended  this class at this particular gym. Class was supposed to start at 7:00 am and at 7:10 the instructor had not shown up. Now for most people this would mean class was cancelled. Everyone would disperse from the room and go about their day. However not today. On this day this group of people came together on a common goal of exercising. One guy in our class had the body pump soundtrack on this phone and another guy Chris had been trained to teach body pump, although not fully certified, and offered to attempt to teach the class. With this everyone in the class cheered and encouraged Chris to step up and lead us all.

Let me just say Chris did an awesome job! After every workout block the class would clap and cheer, encouraging Chris to continue to be our front man. After an hour I felt completely worked and also a sense of new found companionship with my class members. It amazed me how everyone came together and we were able to overcome a minor setback. I left  the gym feeling a sense of pride in the people around me. I think my new gym is going to be a pretty good place.