It’s the Fourth of July! For most, that means it is grillin’ season. (more…)
Written By: Devon Kroesche, CSN Social Media Intern
Memorial Day Weekend is less than a week away, and many of us are packing our bags and headed to the beach for the first time in quite a while. Others may have plans for a backyard BBQ and pool party with friends. This unearths a wave of mixed emotions: the obvious excitement for a weekend getaway from the daily grind, and perhaps some lingering anxiety about donning a swimsuit and revealing your “beach body”. (more…)
Why adopting an “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality is negatively affecting your weight (and a bunch of other things).
We’ve all heard about the importance of diet and exercise on health and performance, but did you realize sleep is just as important? With schedules that are packed with work, school, social and family obligations, (the list goes on), sleep often feels like an afterthought. You know, that thing you get to when everything else on the checklist gets done? But having good sleep habits allows our bodies to recover, promotes hormonal balance, results in improved focus and increased ability to handle stress (both mental and physical). Poor sleep habits, on the other hand, can result in fatigue, reduced performance, higher body fat percentage (2), hormonal imbalance (12,13) and increased risk for illness and injury (1). According to the CDC, over 1/3 of American adults sleep less than 6 hours a night on average (the recommended minimum is 7 hours per night to keep potential health problems in check.) Recently, a major review found that shortened sleep (less than 6 hours per night) resulted in an increased likelihood of obesity in both children (89%) and adults (55%). Another study found that when restricted to 5 hours of sleep for 5 nights, participants gained an average of 1.8 pounds (4). Now imagine if that happens more than just five nights out of the year.
How can it have such an impact?
As you may be aware, increased body weight is associated with an increased risk for many diseases, however, there is no well-established proof that higher body weights cause diseases.
In fact, weight cycling (often seen with dieting/yo-yo dietiting) may more likely be a causative factor in the development of diseases (insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia) than weight or BMI alone.
Research suggests that behavior change may play a greater role in health improvement in the absence of weight loss.
Not only can taking the focus off of weight feel empowering, but it has also been shown to significantly improve psychological & behavioral outcomes, particularly in improvements in self-esteem & eating behaviors. Health indicators such as blood pressure & cholesterol levels have also shown improvements with behavior changes regardless of weight loss.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at one of the largest & longest dietary intervention clinical trials– The Women’s Health Initiative. In this clinical trial, 20,000 women maintained a low-fat, reduced calorie diet & increased their activity levels, however after almost 8 years, there was no significant change in weight from the starting point. In fact, abdominal fat (measured by waist circumference) slightly increased.
We do not fail diets. Diets fail us.
Along with lowering our self-esteem, dieting may increase the risk of:
- Weight gain / regain
- High cholesterol levels
- Decreased muscle mass / metabolism
- Stress, anxiety & depression
- Body dissatisfaction & preoccupation
- Disordered eating / eating disorder behaviors
- Social isolation
- Devaluing of health promoting behaviors
You have the power to achieve health & well being independent of your weight.
I challenge you to re-think dieting this year and instead put your energy toward developing self-care & pro-health behaviors that leave you feeling good about yourself & your body!
At Case Specific Nutrition, we pride ourselves on offering individualized care to each of our clients. Are you ready to take a new approach? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation!
“Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift” by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
“The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss” by Tracy Tylka, Rachel Annunziato, Deb Bungard, et.al.
With the coming New Year, you’re probably thinking about what diet & exercise resolutions to make this year. You are also sure to see countless “detox” diets & cleanses popping up all over the internet.
This year, instead of opting for a restrictive, potentially counterproductive “detox diet” support your body’s natural detoxification pathways via liver, kidneys & digestive tract with the following tips from a dietitian:
Include more plant based foods:
These foods contain antioxidants, B-vitamins & fiber help support our body’s natural detoxification processes.
- Antioxidant rich foods: Berries, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, orange veggies, coffee, tea, dark chocolate & spices such as cinnamon
- B-Vitamin rich foods: Whole grains, beans, fruits & veggies
- Fiber rich foods: Beans, legumes & cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, cabbage)
Aim for ½ of your plate to be filled with a variety of veggies. Add fruit to breakfast, a snack or dessert – 1-2 servings per day is a good goal.
Build a wholesome plate:
Including veggies, protein, complex carbs & healthy fats at meal times will help promote satiety & energy levels that keep you going until your next meal!
Drink more water:
Staying properly hydrated allows your kidneys to remove waste products from your body via urine
Fluid recommendations vary from person to person- in general, you can estimate by dividing your body weight by 2.
Moderate alcohol intake:
Excessive alcohol intake can be taxing and damaging on your liver & kidneys. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women & up to 2 drinks per day for men. A note on red wine: Red wine contains polyphenols (antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage which can lead to heart disease & cancer.) If you choose to consume alcohol, including a 5 oz glass of red wine with dinner may have some protective effects.
Get enough sleep:
Sleep is the time for our body’s to rest, repair & recover. Adequate sleep promotes cardiovascular, kidney health, immune health & healthy weight (by balancing our hunger hormones ghrelin & leptin) as well as our insulin levels (the hormone responsible for healthy blood sugar levels.) Adults over the age of 18 require 7-9 hrs of sleep per night.
Move your body:
Not only can regular physical activity help support cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, bone health, mental function & sense of wellbeing, but it is also essential for regular bowel movements (one of our bodies detox methods!) Adults should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Clean up your social media:
Although social media does not directly impact our physical health, it can have an impact on our self-esteem, mood & overall sense of well-being. If you’re currently following accounts that make you feel less-than or poorly about your self & self-image, it may be time to replace those accounts with ones that bring you joy & enhance your life!
Student Spotlight by Therezia Alchoufete
- Make Realistic Goals
- Eat in moderation – recognize foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium and avoid over-eating.
- Don’t deprive yourself of family favorites – enjoy treats, but watch portion sizes.
- Find Time For Exercise
- Incorporate physical activity into holiday chores – running the vacuum burns calories!
- Take a walk daily – even if that means walking around the mall as you finish your gift shopping.
- Plan For Parties
- Try to eat a healthy snack prior to going to the party to avoid over-eating
- Avoid items that are high in salt or sugar, such as cheese dip and cocktails – liquid calories do count!
- Treat Yourself
- Make time for sleep, family and friends – this will decrease stress and keep your metabolism going strong.
- Avoid over-booking your schedule – the holidays can be busy, but leave free time for relaxation.
- Create Healthy Traditions
- Cook with the family and let everyone choose a favorite recipe.
- Modify recipe ingredients to choose low fat & low sodium options when possible.
- Don’t change family favorites – instead, use portion control to eat in moderation.
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a non-stick muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients (oats–salt).
3. In another bowl whisk together all wet ingredients (egg–applesauce).
4. Add dry ingredients slowly into wet ingredients, whisking to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Transfer batter into muffin tins (about 1/4 c. per slot).
6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops are slightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.
Nutrition Facts (per muffin):
Yield- 9 muffins
Calories: 186 kcal
A very common question I get – “How much cardio are you going to make me do?”
Well, it depends…
First off, most people need to understand their ultimate goal. If it’s fat loss, then you will be using cardio as a tool to burn more calories. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to use cardio as a way to enhance your performance. Having coached competitive swimming now for 10 years, I understand there’s a clear cut difference between peaking someone for a long distance swim, and peaking someone for a 5-10lb fat loss goal.
Second, you need to take a look at your daily activity, not just what you do in the gym. Do you work a desk job? Are you a construction worker? Are you a stay home mom constantly running around chasing your child? Each one of these questions will have a different approach when it comes to cardio – why add more cardio to your day when you’re already running around like a crazy person?
In terms of burning calories and having a short-term goal of shedding unwanted body fat, cardio is a simple as placing your left foot in front of your right. Over and over again.
If you work a desk job, and want to lose an extra 10-20lbs, think about what has changed over the last few years. On second thought, let me take a stab at it…your eating habits haven’t been the greatest and you sit way more these days, meaning you move less. Am I right?
Okay, Eddie, so what are you saying?
Keep things simple and don’t kill yourself in the gym with 5-7 days worth of cardio – I know I don’t and neither to any of my clients. Plus, is that even sustainable? Before you decide to add more to your already busy schedule, see where you are first. And how you do that is simple, invest in some sort of step tracking device (Apple Watch, FitBit, etc.) Track your steps for a week to gather initial data, and adjust from there.
Here’s my rule of thumb if your goal is to lose unwanted weight/body fat – assuming you have sound lifting program and you are eating according to your goals
• If you are hitting 3,000 steps, or less, per day, aim to hit 5,000-7,500 steps per day for 1-2 weeks
• If you are hitting 5,000-7,500 steps per day, aim to hit 10,000-12,500 steps per day (on average, 10,000 steps will burn 500 calories).
• Find activities you ENJOY to increase your step count (walk your dog, play more with your kids, clean your house more often, park further away when you go to the grocery store, etc.)
The key, like anything else, is to have a plan, be consistent, and have patience. Now get up and move more!
Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness LariosTraining@Gmail.com
Click HERE to learn about my Women’s 6 Week Challenge
Don’t take my word for it, click HERE to get Melissa’s point of view!
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 15 oz. can chick peas, drained/rinsed
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 15 oz. can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. red pepper curry paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. pepper
1. Spray large pot with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Dice onion and place in pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes. As onions become translucent add garlic.
3. Dice tomato and carrots and add to pot after garlic cooks for 1 minute. Let cook for 5-8 minutes until carrots soften.
4. Add pumpkin puree and chick peas (drained and rinsed). Stir until well combined.
5. Stir in coconut milk and spices. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Yields 6 (1 cup) servings
Calories: 189 kcal
Does this sound like you?
- “I’m deep into my career, it’s hard to find time to workout after work.”
- “Ever since I became a mom, it’s hard to find time for myself.”
- “With taking care of my family and my busy job, it’s hard for me to spend hours and hours in a gym.”
The list goes on…
Look, I totally get it – we’re busy people, and once we have a family, our priorities shift. The key is to find a structure that fits you and your lifestyle. Asking a mom, or career-minded woman, to be in the gym for 5-7 days per week, for hours on end, is silly. Not to mention counterproductive. I mean, who can keep with that high demand in a gym? I know I can’t.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s a magic pill out there to transform you overnight, but there is an easier way. All it takes is a small step forward and deciding to take action.
So how many days to I really need?
In order to progress, regardless of the goal, you need a plan and you need to execute. Most importantly, you need to understand why you are doing what you are doing with your program. Why? If you don’t know what’s going on, how will you know if the plan is working?
Since I love having all of my clients in the gym, the goal is to learn how to efficiently weight train, be progressive, and not spend hours and hours on end on the treadmill. In turn, this will begin to shape your body the way you have always wanted.
Here’s a simple cheat sheet:
- New to the gym (consistent for less than 6 months) 2-3 days per week is a great start
- 6 months or longer in the gym (consistent and progressive) 4-5 days per week
- Vary your rep ranges and exercise selection from workout to workout
- 6-12 reps, 12-15 reps, 15-20 reps
- Rest 1-3 minutes between sets
- Track your progress! Make sure you are moving in the right direction
- Cardio? We’ll cover that later 😉
Don’t take my word for it, click HERE to get Melissa’s point of view!
Check out her transformation below!
Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness
Click HERE to learn about my Women’s 6 Week Challenge
1) “American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults.” http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11828249
2) NSCA Essentials of Strength and Conditioning