Tis the season of well-intentioned co workers and loved ones "gifting" tempting, unhealthy, calorie-laden, sugary treats that do nothing but pack on the pounds. Most of my clients complain about the constant temptation presented especially at work. Treats are literally all over the place. Don't get me wrong, the occasional treat is perfectly acceptable, but when it becomes a daily habit, the results can be detrimental.
Well-meaning coworkers and friends are often encouraging each other to share in the food. Sarah brings in her decadent brownies and is travelling desk to desk offering them up. Once the sight and smell enter our senses the temptation can be almost overwhelming.
These impulse moments are decision points. Do we cave with rationalizations like “I’ll eat less for dinner” or “Sarah’s feelings will be hurt if I don’t at least try her brownies?” In reality, by the time dinner comes around, we are just as starved as usual, have forgotten the earlier indulgences and find it impossible to eat minus the earlier treat. In addition, had I just thanked Sarah for the offer of the brownies and declined, Sarah would have completely understood.
I decided a long time ago that if I was going to stay in control of my weight, I needed to better control my impulse moments. The way I handle those temptations and impulse moments is through the following mental dialog:
1. I mentally break down the cookie, cake or other treat into its individual, raw ingredients (a pile of flour, a pile of sugar, RAW egg, baking soda, vanilla) and that's about it! How likely would I want to eat the individual, raw ingredients. NOT AT ALL. They are disgusting and offer no nutritional value.
2. I remind myself that I ALREADY KNOW what they taste like...It is no surprise. I prefer to save my treat indulgences for something truly unique.
3. I also remind myself that sugar always makes me feel disgusting later, especially with the inevitable crash after the sugar high.
To make the process easier, I also plan ahead to make sure I have snacks that are part of my healthy eating plan readily available for when I am truly hungry and not just driven by impulse to indulge.
Finally, I stay true to my exercise. The endorphins and serotonin benefits of exercise help to give me the boost I used to get from sugar.
The occasional treat will not derail a healthy lifestyle, but giving in to temptation daily will. Remember, you are in control. You are in the driver's seat.
Find a balance that works for you. Celebrate your blessings, health, and strength during this Holiday Season.
Have a wonderful, happy and safe Holiday!
A powerful new study from Johns Hopkins Cardiology reveals how critically important cardiovascular conditioning is to our overall health and longevity.
Researchers examined the results of 58,000 treadmill stress tests & tracked participants over the next decade.
The results reveal that among people of the same age and gender, fitness levels were the greatest indicators of death risk.
Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death. It turns out that our level of heart and lung fitness is the single most important determinant of our health and longevity.*
By far, cardiovascular exercise is one of the hardest things for my clients to embrace.
Understandably! After all, intentionally seeking out being out of breath and creating copious amounts of sweat is not high on our fun-o-meter? Certainly, this is not a pleasurable experience! Cardiovascular exercise requires the ability to embrace and push through discomfort and just plain exertion.
Just as the Hopkins steady revealed, pushing through the pain is so worth it.
Let's look at some other benefits of cardiovascular fitness.
Well, besides hopefully receiving a good dose of those feel-on-top-of-the-world endorphins, it is important to understand a few of the most important benefits to improving your cardiovascular conditioning.
The human body is designed for work. Our systems are uniquely designed to be “overloaded” on a regular basis. What is “overload?” Overload is anything that stresses the body’s systems above homeostasis that leads to beneficial adaptions over time.
Research has revealed that when the human body is not overloaded consistently, it atrophies. Atrophy means that systems in the body begin to break down and function less than optimally. In terms of the cardiovascular system, this means that circulation and blood flow to the body’s tissues decreases over time.
Without exertion, the body is not incentivized to maintain circulation. Overload to the cardiovascular system will help prevent the atrophy and maintain efficiency over time.
It is also associated with a host of incredible, life-enhancing benefits including:
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at 443-324-5893 or email@example.com.
Sometimes being a personal trainer is a bit like being the tax man. Let’s be honest. If you’ve ever had a relationship with a personal trainer, there have been times you would rather not see or hear from them. Some people flat out run for cover while others may just see their trainer as a necessary evil. There are a few out there, though, that learn to love and embrace their trainer AND EXERCISE. I say this because after being intimately involved with Bariatric Boot Camp over the past three years, I have witnessed first hand all of the above reactions.
One of the very important aspects of being a trainer and lifestyle coach is to lower clients intimidation of exercising. Somewhere along the line, or maybe put more accurately, as time goes by, many of us encounter a series of negative experiences with exercise until it becomes the monster in our minds we would just rather avoid.
But, here’s the thing. It only takes a little bit AND it doesn’t need to be excruciatingly painful in order for you to realize true health benefits. Put simply...Yes, More is Better but Something is DEFINITELY better than Nothing.
If you’re with me so far and haven’t clicked me off, hear me out on this. I promise you’ll be glad you did.
Before we go any further, let’s look at a few of the benefits of walking just 15 minutes per day:
So, what do you think? Are you already walking 15 minutes per day? If not, is this something that’s achievable for you?
The idea is to start where you are. Period. Then, build slowly.
If you don’t think you can start out walking 15 minutes, then think about walking 5 minutes three times a day. If you already walk 15 minutes per day, think about picking up the pace. Make it a brisk walk. Get your heart rate up a little more. Find a hill to walk up to make it a bit more challenging.
Whatever you are doing and where ever you begin, push yourself to feel a bit out of breathe some of the time. Breathing heavy is not bad for you. Heavier breathing is a healthy sign of exertion.
Get to know your body. At what tempo do you start getting winded? Time yourself and see if you can sustain that pace for a minute. Then, slow down, or sit down, to catch your breath. Realize all ‘exercisers’ do this. It’s what we call intervals--periods of exertion mixed with periods of recovery.
Personally, I like to set out with a goal in mind because it helps me measure progress and makes me feel good when I accomplish it. But please, please, please KNOW THIS: We all have days where we feel more motivated than others. On low motivation days it is infinitely more important to just get out there and move than to worry about a goal. Remember progress over perfect!!!! Consistency is key.
So, what do you think? Can you commit 15 minutes a day to your health? Remember, it doesn’t matter where you start JUST THAT YOU START. Break the 15 minutes up throughout the day if you have to. If you commit to doing this every day, you will quickly find you will be making gains and improving your health.
Once you achieve one goal, set another bit more challenging one. By slowly increasing your intensity and duration, you will find that you are 1) lowering your exercise intimidation factor 2) Increasing your positive experience with mild exertion and 3) establishing a healthy habit you can expand upon.
One more thought. Exercising consistently can be cyclical as your motivation and life challenges ebb and flow. Not everyone can be as committed and dedicated 100% of the time like the energizer bunny aka Liz Dumont. But by committing to these 15 minutes a day regardless of what else you do will help to keep your health top of mind. And, you’ll be amazed what happens once you strap on those sneakers and take a few steps. More times than not you’ll be off to a great workout!
So….what do you think?
If you’ve needed a little extra nudge to get you going, will you take on the challenge? For those of you who’ve already established a routine can you offer any other motivation tips and challenges from your own experiences?
Yes! I really believe this is the case. Sitting is the new smoking.
As it turns out, the key to solving obesity and other chronic diseases often attributed to obesity has been 'sitting' in front of us the whole time. The research has been flooding in and it appears irrefutable that sitting is killing us.
What's more sitting is an equal opportunity afflict er attacking all ages, ethnicities, and BMIs.
In other words, you can have a normal BMI and still have sitting disease!!!!!
What is Sitting Disease?
While it is important to note the term Sitting Disease is a term coined by the scientific community and not officially embraced by the medical community--at least not yet--most doctors agree with it's effects.
Sitting Disease is a condition of sedentary behavior that robs us of 1,500 to 2,400 potential calories burned per day.
Our bodies have evolved over time to stand upright and are meant to be in motion. Extended periods of sitting equals a decrease in body movement. The figure at the top gives you an astounding picture of the typical American day. Sitting in the car, at the dinner table, at work or watching TV leaves little time where we are actually on our feet. We are not expending the energy we would if we were standing. Sitting or lying doesn't require muscle contraction of our legs, back, abdominals etc. which in turn decreases the blood flow to our limbs. Our bodies are just not designed to accommodate a position that diminishes blood flow to our legs and feet.
A few of the Consequences of Sitting Disease
- Burning 3 times fewer calories than standing thus causing drastic decreased metabolism
- Increased cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. while lowering good HDL
- Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression
- contortion of the spine causing tight hamstrings and hips which in turn leads to back pain
That is just the beginning. Honestly, the statistics are staggering and I encourage you to check them out for yourself. It is easy to see as a culture, sitting disease is epidemic.
Sitting contributes to nearly all chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.
According to James Levine, unhealthy affects of sitting add up. For example, the death rate of men who sit more than 6 hours per day had an overall death rate that was 20% higher than men that sat 3 hours or less. For women, it was 40% higher. Furthermore, for each hour of television a person sits and watches per day, the risk of dying rises 11%.
Have I gotten your attention yet??? I don’t know about you about. But, this scares the crap out of me. As Dr. Levine is famous for saying, there is nothing about the human physiology that is designed to sit. Everything about us is designed for movement.
In fact, even the brain designed for controlling movement is adversely impacted . When the brain incurs a chronic amount of sitting it undergoes a general malaise. This malaise can be readily observed in just about every office building across america.
Another jaw dropping finding is that one hour of vigorous exercise per day may not be enough to offset the large amounts of sitting.
This explains why so many struggle with their weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Researchers say that the key is less sitting and more movement throughout the entire day.
What you can do about it
At this point, it should be readily apparent that individually and as a culture we have got to find ways to reduce the amount of time we are sitting in a given day.
Simply standing will help mitigate the harmful affects of sitting. Given the work of muscles necessary to hold the body's weight upright, standing can double the metabolic rate.
NEAT IS THE KEY
“Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual's daily NEAT.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go
“It is now irrefutable that sitting down is not a good thing. People die sooner.” James Levine, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic
Put simply, our hearts, minds and bodies are designed to MOVE.
To learn more on the topic I suggest you check out the following resources:
Another common question: “What’s the best exercise for weight loss/maintenance”. The simple answer to this is “whatever you do that is exercise and do it consistently!” Any exercise will help to contribute to the energy deficit required to lose weight (burning more calories than you consume). Generally, the more vigorous (intense) the exercise, the more calories you will burn within a specified time period. For example, 30 minutes of walking burns approximately 180 calories (in 180 pound person). That same person, however, will burn about 444 calories running (6.0 mph) for the same amount of time. In addition, researchers have discovered that vigorous exercise affects our metabolisms at a DNA level. They found specific changes on cellular metabolism with vigorously exercising 3 days per week for at least 35 minutes in duration. Here is a link that summarizes this study http://www.npr.org/2012/03/09/148306989/a-workout-can-change-your-dna. Bottom line, there is no ones specific exercise that is best for weight loss. The exercise program should be executed frequently enough to affect weight loss (at least 3-4 times per week, ideally 5) and should have an intensity sufficient enough to make improvements to the metabolism. Finally, the studies show that the exercise session should have a duration of at least 35 minutes.
I know. You are probably thinking “There is no way I can run to achieve my weight loss goals”. Relax! There are a variety of ways you can achieve vigorous intensity exercise without running. Great examples of these include aerobics (like Zumba), lap swimming, aqua aerobics, elliptical training, kick boxing, boot camp classes to name a few. For some people, walking briskly puts them right where they need to be! Also, don’t expect to be able to achieve 35 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise on your first attempt. Start small. Try intervals of 1 to 2 minutes every 5 minutes for starters. As you get in better shape and as it feels easier to do, lengthen your vigorous intervals and shorten your slower intervals. This really works! Before you know it, you will be accomplishing vigorous exercise comfortably.