Shari Duncan

Tag: metabolism

Eat MORE Protein: For Fat Loss AND Muscle Gains.
Shari

by on May.26, 2012, under General Nutrition, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss, Whey Protein Recipes

The human body is built and rebuilt everyday from and by proteins.

Protein plays an important role in any fat loss program. To lose weight you must restrict the number of calories you consume. However, when you cut down on what you eat, the body starts using muscle protein as energy – so it’s important to get enough protein from your diet to cover these losses. Among other important functions, protein is essential for

Eat protein with every meal.

stimulating cell growth and helping to repair body tissue.  Foods rich in protein help the body build lean muscle and can be converted into glucose for energy.  Because this method of

energy is more time consuming for the body, the body burns more calories digesting proteins, and does not convert as readily to stored fat. (As with food rich in carbohydrates and

fats)  This is one reason why high protein, low carbohydrate diets are popular for those attempting to lose weight and build muscle. And protein does a better job of filling  you up and keeping you full longer than carbohydrates or fats.

Any type of exercise or physical training increases the body’s need for additional protein which is why athletes and those with very active lifestyles generally consume a higher daily intake of protein. Since protein is the building blocks for new muscle tissue, it is a staple for anybody (or any body builder) wanting to pack on a little (or a lot) of mass. Training alone will not make the body grow.  And a lack of quality protein will result in a loss of muscle tissue and tone, as well as reduction in the function of your immune system, a slower recovery rate, and a lack of energy. If you fail to get enough protein on a daily basis, you’ll quickly lose strength and slow down your metabolic rate.  The body will also breakdown

muscle and conserve protein for basic, life sustaining needs and may not perform other duties such as healing and immune function if protein intake is not sufficient.

Protein Shakes make an excellent snack or meal replacement.

Proteins are found in all varieties of foods; however, some forms of protein are more healthful and beneficial than others. Choose foods that are complete proteins and do not contain high saturated fats or sugars. Fish and poultry are excellent choices of high protein foods, as are foods in the legume family including: beans and lentils.  Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt (and other dairy); as well as various nuts and seeds are also protein rich choices.  Red meats contain a great deal of protein, but take care to choose lean cuts of meat, avoiding the extra fat.

A Whey protein shake makes for excellent snack  or a meal replacement for those trying to lose weight. Most protein powders mix easily with milk, water or juice and will quickly add 25 or more grams of protein a day. And shakes are easy to make and very portable, making it simple to get your protein on the go.   Here is a “recipe” that combines 3 of my all time favorite flavors:  Chocolate, Coffee, and Coconut!

Coco- Mocha Protein Shake

1 scoop chocolate whey protein

1 tsp instant coffee granules

~8 oz of coconut water (or unsweetened coconut milk)

ice (3-4 cubes)

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes in a personal blender :  AWESOME!!

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Feed your Metabolism with Food.
Shari

by on Jan.01, 2012, under General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

All Calories are not created equal.

Contrary to what you may have been told, the body does not burn and store 500 calories of fruit and veggies the way it does 500 calories of refined, processed or fatty foods. Some foods take more work to eat–and therefore burn more calories while you’re digesting them.  Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! On the contrary, many other foods lack certain nutrients and minerals that have been proven to stimulate the metabolism.  The higher your metabolism level, the faster you will lose weight, provided you eat healthy food and pursue an active lifestyle.

Depriving your body of fuel is a surefire way to slow it down.

When you slash calories, the calories burned by eating are greatly diminished and so is your metabolic rate. Restricting calories also signals the body that there is no food available, so it tries to conserve stores of carbohydrate and fat by slowing down its metabolism. The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat regular meals with snacks when necessary to give your body a constant supply of healthy fuel.

Nutritional Superstars that Burn Calories

There are proven nutritional superstars that can fuel your metabolic fire and help you to burn more calories as you kick your diet into high gear. These foods/beverages act similar to the way a thermogenic or a cardio session in how they affect the body. They can ramp up your metabolism, and in essence, assist you in burning fat.   When you wake up in the morning it is especially important to “break the fast” (and a sleepy metabolism) by eating breakfast. When you eat breakfast you start burning calories earlier, thereby burning more total calories through the day. And keep your metabolism pumping all day long, by eating several small meals through the day.  You will tend to eat less at one sitting, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.

So what are you waiting for?   Let’s get your metabolism moving!

Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease.  Try adding some of these metabolism friendly foods to your diet each day:

1. Oatmeal If you’re looking to jumpstart your metabolism, start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. This super food is rich in fat soluble fiber, which requires a lot of calories to break down. Eating oatmeal can also help decrease your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

2. Grapefruit Studies indicate that eating grapefruit can reduce insulin levels. Lower insulin levels after meals can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. This means that you burn more calories and store less fat.

3. Hot Peppers Adding some spice to your food can speed up your weight loss. Hot peppers, like jalapenos, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives these veggies their heat and causes a spike in your metabolism. This chemical also keeps the calorie burn going hours after you’ve finished your meal.

4. Lean Proteins The protein found in chicken, turkey and other lean meats takes a great deal of energy to break down. Therefore, your body burns a lot of calories during the digestive process. Protein is also an essential ingredient in building lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

5. Salmon and Tuna High levels of the hormone leptin have been linked to slower metabolisms and weight gain. A good way to lower leptin levels is to increase your intake of fish. The oil found in fish like salmon and tuna has been shown to cut leptin levels and help your body process foods more effectively.

Burn more calories with Green Tea

6. Low-fat Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is one of the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. It gives you the energy your body needs to keep going all day and helps you build lean muscle mass. Yogurt can also help regulate your digestive tract.

7. Green Tea The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up your metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical, known as EGCG, that stimulates the nervous system and helps you to burn calories at a faster rate.

8. Broccoli Broccoli is rich in both calcium and vitamin C. These two vitamins work together to help you burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium activates your metabolism, while vitamin C helps you absorb more calcium.

9. Almonds Almonds may be high in calories, but they are also jam packed with essential fatty acids which are great metabolism boosters. And the healthy fat in almonds has been proven to help in lowering cholesterol.

10.  Apples,Pears, Berries:  These fruits are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Your body must burn calories to break down. Since they help you stay full for longer, you‘ll eat less.  And they are naturally sweet!

Spices can fire up your metabolism too!

In addition to some of the suggestions listed, certain spices such as chiles, cinnamon, curry and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.

Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow  your metabolism — Here are a few:

  • Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  • Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
  • Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

And don’t overlook the power of water!

Researchers in Germany found that subjects increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by up to 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. It is necessary to drink water at frequent intervals, because it is water that helps in digestion of food. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink all day long.  It’s hard to get too much water.

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Fitness Plateaus: How to get your body out of cruise control.
Shari

by on Nov.13, 2011, under Fitness, Motivation, Weight Loss

“… There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  Bruce Lee

Workout plateaus are nothing new.  You are hitting the gym routinely. You feel more energetic and look better, but  suddenly now you‘re not feeling the burn anymore.  The scale stops moving and your body becomes immune to the stress of exercise.  You have hit the wall.  Fortunately, it usually only takes a few changes to overcome a workout plateau.

The key to overcoming plateaus is change.

Changing up just a few things can make a big difference.  Our bodies are highly adaptive and are constantly working to maintain homeostasis—so the workout that was so challenging and making you sweat and burn calories 6 weeks ago is no longer.   Changing your approach or routine will help you blast through frustrating plateaus. Remember the body acclimates to repeated challenges, making it necessary to make changes every four to six weeks.

A few suggestions from Web MD:

Pump it up. Instead of 40 minutes on the treadmill, pump up your metabolism with high-intensity intervals. Do four minutes of any cardiovascular exercise as hard as you can; then two minutes of strength-building exercises (using free weights or weight machines). Repeat this “harder/easier” cycle five times. (The magic cardio-to-weights ratio is 2-to-1.) Your

Change workout activities, intensity and break through plateaus.

post-exercise metabolic rate and fat loss will increase much more than if you exercised 40 minutes steadily at an average pace, and you’re also building lean muscle mass.

Shake it up. Walking doesn’t do much to help you lose weight, even though it’s good for your health. Instead, mix up your cardio intervals by throwing in new things every week: the elliptical machine, the recumbent bike, the rowing machine, the stair climber. Keep your body guessing.

Start it up. The one time when simple aerobic exercise can really boost your metabolism is in the morning. When you first wake up, your liver has burned through your carbohydrate stores, and light aerobic exercise can jump-start the fat-burning enzymes in your liver. So start your day with a brisk walk.

Count it up. You might think you’re not snacking between meals, but it’s easy to miss the bites of your kids’ leftovers you take here and there. For a few days, record everything you eat. Make sure the extra food you take in is accounted for — either by cutting out your dinner roll or by doing an extra high-intensity interval.

——

*Varying your activities or cross-training is important to avoid or break through plateaus.  But while changing up type of activity is important, it is also important to implement variations in intensity.

Specify different days of the week as low, moderate or high-intensity days.  Grab a new partner to work out with. Get out of the gym and move your workout outdoors.  The mix-up of activities will also keep your workouts enjoyable, thus helping with motivation as you break through the wall.

And if you’re not strength training, now is the time to start.  A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat.  And you want to replace fat with muscle to increase the amount of calories you burn a day.  If you are already lifting and have hit your plateau: You MUST step up the intensity of your strength training program. Bump up the frequency of your training from twice to three times a week. Increase the amount of weight you’re lifting to challenge your muscles even more or try a more challenging exercises.

But plateaus do not necessarily mean you need to work harder or spend more days at the gym. It may be time for an active rest.  Proper rest and recovery from working out is so important, it may just be the deciding force behind results and no results.  Consider taking a few days, to up to a week off from structured exercise, and instead take leisurely walks, play ball with the kids, or take a yoga class. Active rest rejuvenates the mind and the body and allows for overworked muscles to rest and rebuild. You will return to exercise stronger and ready for new challenges.

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Wake up and…. EAT!
Shari

by on Sep.18, 2011, under General Nutrition, Weight Loss

You’ve heard it since you were a kid:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And if shedding excess weight (and keeping it off) is among your health goals, a healthy breakfast holds one key to success.

You may think that skipping breakfast is an easy way to cut calories when trying to lose weight. A growing body of research, however, indicates that eating breakfast is a successful strategy for lasting weight loss. Data collected by the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) showed that over 90% of successful dieters usually eat breakfast. These are people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for a long period of time.

    Reduced hunger.

  • Eating breakfast can reduce hunger later in the day, which makes it easier to avoid overeating. . Some studies have found that those who skip breakfast end up eating more calories through the course of the day compared to those who don’t – and weight gain is the result.1This may be due to increased feelings of hunger which can lead to overeating, particularly higher-fat foods later in the day. Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral status and eat fewer calories from fat.   In addition, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.

    Healthy choices.

  • Eating breakfast may get you on track to make healthy choices all day. When you eat breakfast, you tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. When you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too.  Choose foods that you enjoy and that fit your

    What's for Breakfast? You need to eat to lose.

    dietary weight loss goals. Whole grains, fruits, low fat dairy (yogurt) and lean protein, such as eggs.  Proteins provide a feeling of satiety which means you will feel full longer while actually eating less.  High-fiber complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and cereals (like oatmeal) will keep you satisfied. Fiber also increases that sensation of fullness.  Look for breakfast cereals that provide at least 6 grams of fiber per serving, suggests Harvard Men’s Health Watch, but make sure your choice is low in sugar (less than 10 grams per serving). If you are not keen on eggs or cereal, try a high protein smoothie, made with fruit, low fat milk and protein powder, spread some almond or peanut butter on whole grain toast, or melt some low fat cheese on a whole grain english muffin.

    More energy.

  • Eating breakfast gives you energy, increasing your physical activity, which boosts your metabolism and may in turn actually assist in burning more calories.  Consider this: If you don’t eat  in the morning, you are literally forcing yourself into running on empty. If the last time you ate was 8 p.m. last night and you don’t eat lunch until noon today, that’s sixteen hours of no refueling!  Your body is screaming out for fuel so it stands to reason that skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.  A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy.   Increased energy levels will allow you to be more active during the day and give you more chances to burn calories. In turn, you are more likely to go for a run or hit the gym if you don’t feel exhausted all day.

Bottom Line:

Breakfast as part of a daily routine is a key strategy to use as part of a lifestyle management approach for long-term, sustainable weight loss. So, if you’re trying to control your weight and you frequently skip breakfast… you may wish to reconsider.

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/whats-for-breakfast-10-morning-meal-ideas-that-can-help-you-lose-weight.html

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See Less, Eat Less. Portion Distortion
Shari

by on Mar.27, 2011, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

One of the most important pieces of information in a nutrition label is the serving size.

There is a difference between “a portion” and “a serving”. A serving is a standard or measure on how much food to eat and has been chosen by the manufacturer to describe the nutritional value of that food. For example 1 cup of milk, or a half a cup of oats. A portion is the amount of food someone CHOOSES to put on their plate and eat. Be mindful of portion sizes, for example 1 cup of oatmeal is actually considered 2 servings.

Buyers beware! Packaging can be misleading.  Many foods that come as a single portion actually contain  multiple servings. The Nutrition fact label on packaged foods—on the backs of cans, sides of boxes, etc. — also informs you of the number of servings in the container.  We may look at the calories but don’t notice the stated serving size. This means we may be consuming more calories, fat, sugar, sodium, etc.

For example, look at the label of a 20-ounce soda (typically consumed as one portion), and you’ll see that it has 2.5 servings in it.  So if you choose to drink the whole bottle of Pepsi, you are consuming 250 calories and a whopping 69 grams of sugar!  A 3-ounce bag of chips—which some would consider a single portion—is actually 3 servings.

Buyer Beware: This is 2 1/2 servings & contains 69gms of sugar!

Another example of portion distortion is the bagel.   A typical bagel used to be 2 to 3 ounces, or about 200 calories. Today one bagel is 5 to 6 ounces, which can be well over 400 calories, depending on the type. (This is without any “schmear” on top!)   That same 5- ounce bagel that you might enjoy for breakfast is the equivalent of 5 pieces of bread and comprises the five servings of breads/grains that someone should eat for the entire day.

We live in a world of all you can eat buffets and “supersized” convenience foods. And when food is put in front of us, we will eat.  Restaurant portions tend to be two times or more than is recommended at one sitting, which leads to way too many calories. We can retrain ourselves to eat more slowly and stop eating when we are satisfied…not full. Also, it is healthier to eat several smaller meals, rather than a few large meals a day. This is because it keeps your body in the digesting-food mode, which means it keeps your metabolism up.

One of the easiest ways to cut back on calories and lose weight is by monitoring portion sizes.

A couple of “visual” tips to help with portion control and avoid consuming too many extra calories: In general terms, one hand, cupped = 1/2cup, two hands, cupped = 1 cup. An open palm, or the size of a deck of cards = 3-4 oz, the

Portion Distortion

standard serving size for a piece of chicken or fish,  and a serving of potatoes about the size of a computer mouse, for example.  Get to know the recommended portion sizes for your favorite foods and strive to stick to that as closely as

you can.   Another way to prevent over indulgence is to serve meals on smaller side plates, instead of dinner plates.  Think of meat and pasta as the side dishes and vegetables as the main course.  Fill half your plate with veggies, one quarter with lean protein (meat) and on quarter with starch/carbs (pasta, rice, potato).  Once you get into the habit of monitoring portions, it will become second nature and easier to monitor.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who shrank their portions by 25% slashed 250 calories a day—enough to help them lose a half-pound a week—and still felt full.

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“Spot Training” Will not Whittle your Middle Away
Shari

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Fitness, Motivation, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss

All of those ab crunches you’ve been doing will make your abdominal muscles stronger. But they will not whittle away belly fat.

Our hormones determine where we will store fat in our bodies.  Fat is lost in a pattern dependent upon genetics, sex and age. Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area.

We all have our trouble spots. For women this is typically in the hips and buttocks; the tummy; and/or the upper arms. Unfortunately, the first place we store fat is also the last place it leaves when we begin to diet and exercise.

But training one particular area of your body to reduce fat (also known as spot training) does not work.  So if you have a large tummy, then simply doing ab crunches and leg raises will not result in a flat stomach. Here is why. Fat loss occurs in the body as a whole. Unfortunately, the fat in a particular area isn’t governed by the muscles in that same area. So if you want to lose belly fat for example, you have to have a fat loss strategy that burns fat throughout your body.

Lose the OVERALL body fat to reduce fat in those trouble areas

Lose OVERALL body fat and you will reduce fat in those trouble areas


You must always treat your body as a whole which means changing your diet to a whole food diet (healthy eating) and exercising your whole body.

The answer is to combine weighted compound exercises that work all of the major muscle groups (like squats, rows, and presses to name a few) with high intensity cardio.

High intensity cardio releases fat burning hormones, and revs up the metabolism in a way that slow, steady state, and long duration cardio does not. Cardio raises the heart rate and determines how many calories are burned.  Strength training also helps to raise the metabolism, as well as build strong muscles. The more muscle you have, the more calories will be burned.  This is why strength and cardio exercise should be a part of your regimen to achieve the maximum fat burning results.
And if you’re serious about reducing your overall body fat percentage; you must incorporate a healthy and well balanced diet. This is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and grains.  This does NOT mean to starve yourself. If you deprive yourself of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) you will be counterproductive in your efforts to lose weight and body fat.  Essentially, you’ll end up slowing down your metabolism and stopping your fat loss before it even starts.

So, if you are ready to lose that excess fat, you can’t spot reduce it away. Spot training does not work. Instead,  focus on fat loss in the body as a whole.  The best way to lose fat from one particular area is to lose fat overall, then concentrate on toning individual parts of your body

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Hit a Plateau? Repair a Stalled Metabolism with Diet
Shari

by on Apr.25, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

Knowing your body’s daily caloric needs is an important step in adopting a realistic diet and exercise plan that will help you reach and maintain your desired healthy weight.

To determine your energy needs specific to your age, weight and activity level, click on the attached link to calculate your daily calories.  This is a basic guideline…   Remember, no two individuals’ body composition are identical and activity levels vary for each person.   But this number will provide an important starting point.

http://www.bcm.edu/cnrc/caloriesneed.htm

You now have a baseline number of calories to maintain your current weight.  Next, determine how many calories you are taking in. This must be done before you modify or make adjustments towards your desired weight goal.   Keeping a food journal or logging on to a web based calorie tracker such as www.fitday.com can assist in this task.  I suggest you

You have to know where you are before you make a plan for success

STOP GUESSING! You have to know where you are before you make a plan.

track your calories for at least one week.  Write everything down, including sodas and alcohol.  Many people are surprised when they compare the numbers.  They are surprised to find they are not taking in enough nutrition for their body.  As a result, their metabolism has slowed and the weight loss has stopped.  If you find that your total caloric intake is too low for your current weight, you must gradually up your intake some before you begin to cut again.  This alone will jumpstart your metabolism.

This might sound scary, but you will have to eat more, to burn more….

And you will need to exercise (especially weight bearing  to increase lean muscle).  By restricting calories too much, the body responds by holding on… or going into “starvation mode” and will lock up from fat burning mode.  It will store as much adipose (fat) tissue as possible .

It is not just enough to eat the proper foods, but nutrient timing is key to revving a stalled metabolism. To keep “the furnace” burning, it is optimal to eat small frequent meals (every three hours).  By “fueling” up frequently with “Clean” and nutritious foods, you will prime your body to build lean muscle and in the process lose the unwanted fat. You also will not feel deprived because you will have something in your stomach all day long, which in turn will make it less likely for you to binge on unhealthy snacks.

Be sure that every meal contains quality protein, as proteins are more satiating than other foods and by increasing protein, you will decease you daily consumption of carbohydrates and fats, which are more readily converted to fat.   Research shows that escalating protein levels in your diet results in weight loss.

So what percentage of total calories should be protein?

I hesitate here, again because we are all different.  0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight is often recommended. For a 150lb person this equates to 120 grams of protein every day.  Others prefer a macronutrient breakdown based on total caloric intake instead of body weight:  -40% protein-40% carbohydrate & 20% fat or  a 40-30-30 distribution of total calories for example.  For the same 150lb person eating 1600 calories, this equates to 160 grams of protein a day.    You get the picture.  This is something you will have to experiment with to assess your response and make adjustments.

Macronutrient Tracking.

Macronutrient Tracking

Once your metabolism is moving again & if your goal is weight loss, you will need to GRADUALLY and safely create a caloric deficit. This is done by a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing activity levels.  Again, accountability comes into play.  You need to track your progress.  Stop guessing and measure everything that you want to improve.

  • Keep a nutrition AND training journal
  • Weigh and measure food and track your progress – weekly weights and body fat composition
  • Take photographs

Finally, revisit and re-establish your calorie deficit.  What worked for you before is no longer working, so it is time for a new strategy.  Calorie needs and metabolism changes with weight loss.  The trick to avoid plateaus is to adjust your food intake (calories in) and your exercise/activity (calories out)
each week to reconcile the difference between hypothetical (on paper) calorie needs and
actual (real world) calorie needs.

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from Green Tea to Ephedra… Fat Burners are NOT all Created Equally.
Shari

by on Apr.09, 2010, under Natural Bodybuilding, Supplementation, Weight Loss

Supplementation with fat burners can help you achieve your desired results- BUT only with a disciplined diet and regular exercise program.

I am often asked to recommend a fat burner by those struggling to get lean quick, and I often hesitate before doing so.  Fat burners and thermogenic supplements can assist with desired fat loss but remember, they are called SUPPLEMENTS for good reason.  There are no magic pills and there is much debate on their effectiveness.  There are many natural products

Green Tea~ a natural choice

Green Tea~ a natural choice

available such as green tea and guarana that contain fat burning and thermogenic properties, as well as chemically enhanced weight loss pills that may work more quickly but may also produce undesired side effects and/or become addictive.   Most natural fat burners can be found in health food stores.

A good fat burner contains certain herbs and chemicals that will do three things:

  • Burn stored fats resulting in increased energy
  • Stimulate the metabolism to “burn” stored fat
  • Suppress the appetite

With the correct lifestyle, fat burners can provide significant benefits. But they also can be misused. If you choose to supplement with a fat burner, avoid these common mistakes:

1)      DO NOT exceed recommended servings.  In fact, I recommend that first time users take less than the recommended daily serving initially to assess tolerance.  Most fat burners contain caffeine and/or other stimulants that may produce undesired feelings of nervousness, or jitters.

2)      Fat burning supplements are intended to be taken short term to stimulate the metabolism.  Even if the product you choose consists of all natural ingredients, you will develop a tolerance to it over time. Once your body gradually becomes accustomed to these stimulants, it will cease to respond.    Remember, that they were designed to assist you in reaching a short term goal and not to be incorporated as part of your daily diet long term.

3)      No two products are exactly the same.  No two metabolisms are the same either.  Basically, this means that what may work wonders for your best friend, may not be the best choice for you and your body. If you decide to incorporate an fat burner/thermogenic, you should approach it with an open mind and find the product that works best for you.

Fat burning supplements may very well be a worthwhile investment if you research and choose your products carefully and only use in conjunction with a healthy program of diet AND exercise to maximize the results.

The best weight loss supplement for you will be dependent on your individual goals and the path you wish to take in order to achieve those desired results.

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CHOOSING and STICKING to a Healthy Eating Plan
Shari

by on Feb.17, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

Are you controlling your diet or is your diet taking control of you?

To be successful in anything, including eating to lose weight, the process need not be too extreme or complicated. You will never stick with a diet plan that is not reasonable for you or your lifestyle. Strict diets and resolutions may seem good in theory, but they have a huge flaw built into them. More often, these fad diets will only set you up for failure. If your diet seems like some form of torture and the foods you eat give you no pleasure, you will not be successful.  Rather than trying to follow the exact rules of a particular diet, use sensible guidelines to point you in the right direction.

Add variety and Color to you menu

Add lots of variety and Color to you menu

HAVE LOTS OF FOOD CHOICES:

  • Don’t limit yourself to 5 or 6 foods.  This makes absolutely no sense.  Eat from all food groups. There are unlimited nutritious foods available to you and variety will keep you from straying.  “Grapefruit” or “cabbage soup” diets may take weight off temporarily but they will not work for the long term.
  • Shop around the edge of the grocery store. These tend to be the fresher, less processed items. You’ll have better nutritional options in those areas. Fresh produce, whole grains, dairy, meats, fish and poultry are found around the perimeter of the store. Sticking to the basics also keeps it simple.  Preparing and eating healthy need not be complicated.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible.  Bright colors over white.  Wheat for white breads and pastas.  Brown for white rice. Sweet potatos instead of white,  etc.  Make a habit of preparing extra portions so leftovers can be placed in reusable containers for the next days meals.
  • Bake, broil, grill, sauté but do not deep fry.  It is more about HOW you prepare the food.  Use healthy oils like olive oil or non-stick sprays and experiment freely with herbs and spices for different flavors.  Stay away from butter, cream sauces, and added sugars.
  • Do not forget about the value of water.  Staying well hydrated is not only vital to good health but drinking at least 8–10 glasses of water daily will also help you feel full.  Add fresh lemon or lime.

Take Part in Regular Snacking

Eating more frequently with sensible portions will keep you from getting too hungry between meals and will keep your mind off of food.   There is a common misconception that snacking is wrong and that it is what puts most people’s weight on. However, the truth is that snacking actually benefits the body by accelerating the metabolism; it is what you are snacking on that matters!

Snacking stops the body from becoming hungry. It is unhealthy to leave the body without food for a long period of time and so snacking helps to bridge the gap before meal times. Just ensure that you are snacking on the right foods and you should be ok.

Some good snack choices include: low fat air popped popcorn, fresh fruit and veggies,  cottage cheese, greek or low sugar yogurt, cereal bars, protein bars or  nutrition shakes and smoothies, rice cakes with peanut butter, whole grain crackers with hummus, boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups,  low fat cheese, nuts or seeds.

Have a realistic approach. Healthy weight loss is about 2 lbs a week.   If you’re losing only 1 or 2 pounds a week, you shouldn’t experience tremendous hunger. Not if you plan your meals and snacks correctly.

Go ahead, dine out.

Dining out is easy when you know how and what to order

Dining out is easy when you know how and what to order

Eating out is fine if you know how to order. You do not need to socially isolate yourself or avoid going out with family or friends…

Don’t be timid to ask your server to prepare the food a certain way.  Here are a couple of things to remember:

. avoid fried entries and those made with cream sauces. Baked or grilled poultry or fish are best options.
. ask for steamed veggies or fresh fruit as sides.
. salads – ALWAYS order dressing on the side (vinagrette much better than ranch)
. if you order an appetizer,  order a broth based soup and skip the rolls!
. Drink Water with lemon or lime.

When you know you will be going out to eat, DO NOT starve yourself all day. BAD IDEA! Continue to eat your smaller size meals through the day so you will not be FAMISHED by the time you get to the restaurant. When you get too hungry, you tend to not only overeat but also make bad choices.

Participate in some form of exercise program.

Just like your meal plan, exercise should not be another form of torture.  Find an activity you enjoy or find a partner to work out with you to make it more fun.  If you are not self motivated or uncertain about what to do once you get to the gym, join in a group fitness class.  Match the activity to your interest and you will be more likely to stick with it.  Group classes also add the element of accountability.  Think of it as a weekly appointment that you cannot miss.  Open your mind up to try something new; you may surprise yourself at what you can do.

REMEMBER THIS, one of the many benefits of working out is that it builds lean muscle.  And the more muscle you build, the more you continue to burn the fat!

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NUTRITION: for Optimal Success
Shari

by on Jan.17, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

Just because you work out does not mean you can eat whatever you want. … that is if you want optimum results.

Here are 10 basic tips that will not only help with muscle building and fat burning from your training but will also provide a boost of energy throughout the day.

Exercise and Nutrition: Partnership for Success

Exercise and Nutrition: Partnership for Success

1.      EAT six meals a day.

Researchers and nutrition experts advise active people to eat frequently (about every 3 hours) to accelerate the metabolism and maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.

2.      COMBINE carbohydrates AND protein at every meal.

A simple fact: Our bodies work most efficiently with a balance of carbohydrates and protein.  Protein is essential for building healthy and maintaining a strong immune system. Protein paired with a nutritious carbohydrate has been shown to reduce appetite as proteins make you feel fuller longer.

3.      CHOOSE appropriate portions.

Portion size is important to weight management.  Use a common sense approach, such as using the palm of your hand or clenched fist to gauge portions for foods.

4.       PLAN meals ahead of time.

Fix meals in advance and pre-package or freeze them. It is important to plan ahead and shop at least once a week.  If you forget, you run out of “good” food and will be tempted to cheat or make impulsive and not so healthy choices.  Experiment with different recipes and seasonings and try new foods to add variety.

5.      STORE  food in reusable containers.

Purchase plastic storage containers, sports bottles, a water jug and a cooler to store and carry your food.  Having your pre-planned and prepared meals with you throughout your hectic day will keep you on track.

6.      DRINK 10 glasses of water daily.

Drink at least one glass of water with each of your 6 meals and 4 more throughout the day.  If you indulge in soda, coffee or tea, strive to consume even more water to compensate for the diuretic effect of these beverages.

7.      PROTEIN within 30 minutes of exercise.

Your muscles are primed for nutrients immediately after an intense workout, but within 2 hours, the body’s ability to refuel decreases.  Taken within 30 minutes of your workout, a high-quality protein helps to refuel and build muscle.

8.      SUPPLEMENT with high quality products.

Supplements can help make up for any nutritional deficiencies and enhance performance.

9.       Define your GOALS and your reason to succeed.

Research shows that those who are successful in transforming their bodies are motivated by an emotional trigger that helps them clarify their reasons for making that change.  Consider your “emotional trigger” and use it to stay committed to your nutrition program.

10.     CONSISTENCY, not perfection.

There will always be a meal or special event that offers foods not on your recommended food list.  When you get off track, don’t allow it to slow your progress. Enjoy the divergence, recommit to your goal and then get right back on track with your very next meal.

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