Science Or Snake Oil

As a writer, there are many paths my mind goes when it comes to sitting down and deciding what I want to let out of my head. Sometimes I just feel like talking about life and things going on. Other times, because my blog is about health, fitness, living well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, my focus is zeroed in these areas.

One of the topics I haven’t written on lately is the ongoing, ever present, collection of products to “help” people lose weight.

Ya know, gimmicks and what not. People happily, willingly, fork their hard earned money over for the latest smoke and mirrors in an attempt to unload fat magically overnight.

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I hate to break it… but it just doesn’t work…or maybe for awhile they are encouraged and see some initial water weight loss and that can spur someone on to keep going… but it’s rare.

Most of the time they just have lighter bank accounts once the novelty has worn off.

So I’m on my soapbox again….

in the mega million dollar “health and wellness” industry, there’s always a new kid on the block. There’s always some product that makes people hopeful that maybe this time, this new thing, will do the trick.

There’s one that recently caught my eye and of course I’ve started digging and reading on it.

I love when the … what do I call them? the sellers? business people? distributors? boldly post the ingredient list as if to proudly say “SEE this is what’s in it. All good and natural ingredients”

It just helps me so much. It helps my research to ferret out all those magical ingredients that lead to sweet dreams of health and being goal weight thin.

Gosh one ingredient, I do not exaggerate, has as many letters as the entire alphabet.

For real.

It should also be noted that the person writing the review and nicely breaking down all the ingredients ( they obviously sold product X) first off mentions (that this product that contains all the letters of alphabet) is chemically demonstrated….

So there’s that, whatever that is.

Let’s establish this….

Just because a product tells you it’s made of “all natural ingredients”  doesn’t really mean squat.

The term “natural” is common in the supplement industry, but doesn’t always mean it’s safe. In fact there is no legal definition for natural. Often many plants that grow in nature can be deadly and natural supplements can still have added unnatural ingredients.

All natural  supplements don’t always mix well with other medications we may be taking. be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any.

Pay attention boys and girls, the “all natural” thing is a huge marketing and selling gimmick designed to make you feel comfortable and good about using their products. It encourages you to buy them because, well gosh, it’s all natural so it’s gotta be super good for me, right?

Don’t buy the hype.

Diet+Snake+Oil+Cure+Take+Once+ver+2

 

Other things to consider..

Do you know the FDA ( food and drug administration in the U.S.) has actually banned many  “natural” substances that were being put into diet and weight loss aids and products?

Why you may ask?

Oh because of pesky little problems like accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath or even heart attacks from the stimulants of these “natural” products.  Many of these natural ingredients are actually mother natures version of “speed”. They can accelerate your heart and breathing, leave you feeling jumpy, nervous or agitated or provide an upset stomach and headache as well as (maybe) have effects of curbing appetite ( most likely from other said issues it causes)

In the US, herbal products and food supplements are largely unregulated.

That is, the products are not screened or subject to FDA approval
prior to their going on the market.  Rather, it is the product
manufacturer that has the responsibility to make sure that anything
being sold as a food supplement is safe… or to determine how much of what to put in the mix of everything.

For that reason, you will often see statements on herbal products or weight loss supplements sold in the US to the effect of:  “This statement has not been evaluated by
the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or
prevent any disease”.

Let’s look at a current example….

one of the “natural” products on the market today that everyone is jumping on is green coffee bean extract derived from unroasted coffee beans. It is currently among the worlds most popular weight loss supplements.

Basically, keeping it short, it’s claim to fame is supposedly to cause more fat loss by increasing body heat.

Green coffee bean extract comes from coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. Coffee beans contain compounds known as chlorogenic acids. Some believe these compounds have antioxidant effects, help lower blood pressure, and help you lose weight. Roasting coffee reduces chlorogenic acid content.

It’s interesting to note in all the articles I read it stated it “may” help with weight loss or lowering blood pressure etc.

There isn’t much testing or proof done on this topic to be totally conclusive and because of this there is always a lack of evidence on it’s safety. Studies are small, not long term and for the most part poorly designed.

Because there is no regulation on this manufactures can use the amounts they choose in their products. As mentioned previously, the jury is still out on the fact there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims for this product.

Speaking of evidence ….

As I read this glowing report on this particular product, she indicated “studies” had been done on the effectiveness of it. Well, of course I wanted to see who had done them and what some of the results were.

I mean, in all fairness, let’s see what they revealed. Maybe I was being a bit unfair.

Well, it turns out the studies were actually done by the company selling the product. I might be a wee bit cynical here but, I don’t see that as some kind of scientific, conclusive proof.

And of course the contestants who used said wonder product, were losing all the weight.

A company doing their own testing, to me, is not the most compelling evidence.

In summary….

not just this product but thousands  of others are not well tested, have limited evidence for their claims, and are not regulated by food and drug administration on any level.

It’s important to be mindful of what you take, especially if you already take medications.

Also understand that as sweet, good or well intending your pedaling neighbor or family member is, they are simply regurgitating the company driven info that comes to them in their sales packets. The majority most likely know nothing of the effects of ingredients that  are in products  beyond what they’ve been told.

And of course there is the simple truth that you will not find a magic formula to help you quickly knock off the weight to get your dream body.

You just have to get that the old fashioned way. Sensible, healthy eating, the right amount of calories for your body and purposeful exercise, that and  that alone is your key to success.

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Food And Guilty Feelings

Food and guilt. If there’s ever a time I hear people talking about what they ate and feeling guilty over it, it’s after a holiday.

We just wrapped up the big celebratory 4th of July here in the states on Wed.  A summer holiday offering all kinds of tasty food treats… everything from outdoor BBQ, hotdogs, apple pie, salads etc it’s a day built for family and food.

4th+of+july23

Now I’m not gonna verbally slap you if you are one of those who take on guilt for eating or eating to much or eating all of your favorite thing ( where DID those brownies go??)  but seriously, guilt and food do not and should not go hand in hand.

However it is a tendency for people to do so, especially after a holiday.

Why do we have those feelings?

Seriously. Why do we food shame? Why do we entertain thoughts of guilt when food is such a huge part of our lives and is enjoyed with family and friends?

If we indulge and we’ve labeled foods as “good” or “bad” and we indulge in the “bad” then we somehow have put ourselves into categories of good or bad, strong or weak, worthy or unworthy.

“I didn’t eat dessert while everyone else did. I am stronger than they are”   or “I ate dessert and I’m  trying to diet. I’m so weak.

As if being strong, good and worthy somehow makes us better for passing on the food or eating that extra brownie makes us weak and unworthy.

Both ways of thinking are not right.

Both ways can lead to dysfunctional thinking with food. If you missed my post on food and dysfunctional thinking, find it here   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/06/food-and-dysfunctional-thinking/

In some ways we are wired to restrict ourselves and when we let go of that “restriction” those negative feelings can come.

But hey… get this… our inability to resist “forbidden” foods isn’t a moral failing… ok?

It might not be the best for you to go back for a third serving or eat until your stomach is stuffed and tight, but it’s not a moral failing.

I hope in time, if over eating is a problem for you, that you can get balance to that in your life.

But feeling guilty when we are hanging with friends or family and eating food while having a good time, well it’s not right.

I mean at Christmas when I make my famous cut out sugar cookies that I adore ( seriously they are  made with a whole pack of real butter, and a package of cream cheese) I eat them… and I don’t always keep track of them either.

Does anyone really NEED a sugar cookie… or 12… ?  I’m not that bad… but you follow.

It’s all about that balance…..

When we put those foods into “good” or “bad” groups and restrict ourselves, the more prone we are to want to eat what we’ve deemed “bad”. Then when we give in and eat them ( maybe at a holiday ) then we tend to over indulge, over eat, because of the restrictions we’ve placed on ourselves.

I mean, isn’t a holiday the perfect time to take the brakes off and just let it all go? Ugh.. the times I hear this at the approaching “holiday season”

Then enter our friend, Mr. Guilt, who is there to remind you of what a failure you are and how you’ll always be weak to doing this and you might as well give it up and forget about it..

But here’s a novel thought…..

When you have balance to your eating, you don’t have the good food/bad food game going on.

Food is just food.

Some foods definitely do not support an overall healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be heavily indulged in, for sure.  On a daily basis our eating should reflect good, natural, healthy foods to maintain a balanced weight and health.

A current example in my life I can share is this. The other day I really, and I mean, really, wanted French fries.

french-fries

 

They are hands down at the top of my “favorite non-essential foods” list.  I rarely eat them.  Why? Because I know (overall) a frequent intake of them does not support my health and fitness goals.

I also know, having them occasionally won’t sabotage my fitness level or overall health.

So I went to a place I knew wouldn’t disappoint ’cause if I’m gonna eat them, they better be good.

They were amazing. Hot, crispy, salted just right. Totally worth every useless calorie.

I enjoyed them, no guilt attached.

So how do you make the guilt stop?

Ok let’s be honest, at a point, you know you’ve had more food than what you really need, right?  Unfortunately those feelings just become a vicious circle of feeling bad, then eating again to feel better about feeling bad.

The reason we feel this way is what I mentioned above, the place of restriction so many keep themselves in.

When you don’t restrict yourself it means all the food is available to you. It takes power away because it’s no longer in the “off limits” section.

That may seem scary to some of you… I mean… nothing restricted? what if I just go crazy and eat it all the time?

What if you do? I don’t think you will though.

I tell you,  even if you may be tempted to have your favorite thing for days, the novelty will wear off. You may not want it at all because now you won’t be thinking of it as something you “can’t” have.  In time those foods will have less and less pull on you, meaning when you go to a holiday meal you can enjoy the things you love without going crazy because well, you haven’t long term restricted yourself.

It’s a pretty free place to be.

How to stop food guilt.

My mom used to say “what’s done is done”

If you’ve had a moment and you know you went overboard, nothing is gonna change that.

You CAN however learn from it.

Forget the whole “negate what you ate” nonsense by thinking you’re gonna workout extra hard the next day. You can’t undo what you ate. You can get up and go workout as you always do and that will be fine.

Think about how you feel afterwards. Do you really like the feelings that come with it? Now days, I tend to get annoyed with myself for mindlessly eating something that offers no benefit to me. I know better and therefore, get frustrated that I didn’t do what I know to do, which is walk away.

Stop restrictive thinking and behaviors.  So what if you might have a day or two where you slip or make choices you aren’t happy with?

Welcome to the club, we all do it.  The key is to keep moving forward, learning from the choices we make and growing in positive ways.

Don’t quit. For heavens sake don’t quit.

Stop shaming yourself. Own what you did and move on. Like anything, with repetitive practice, the things we do become new habits. In time you will learn to eat with a healthier balance and check system.

Make a list of five foods you enjoy but feel guilty about eating.  Write down the reason why you feel guilt over it. Is it rational or irrational? Is it scientifically true?  Then for each of those write something positive about it. It’s taste, nutritional value, how it smells, feelings it evokes. There is no right or wrong answer to this.  Then allow yourself to pick one of these at a time, eat it, think about it, enjoy it.  What do you enjoy most about it? If any guilty feelings come up, use your positive statements to push them away. In time you might determine some foods on your list aren’t worth keeping and that’s ok too.

Guilt and eating do not need to go hand in hand, it is another form of how our thinking has become disordered with food.

Remember food guilt at it’s best is emotional baggage. Learn to let go of it.

Your turn. Have you ever struggled with guilty feelings and eating? How did you overcome them? Or do you still struggle with those feelings?

 

Super Size Me

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Full disclosure here. I’ve been camped on this topic for a long time now. Sometimes ideas come to me and they are easy to write off the cuff. Others require a bit of time to brew in my head and yet some I’m just left pondering how to deliver the message. This is usually when a topic is a wee bit controversial or “not politically” correct or whatever term can be applied.

Since I’m one who is fairly comfortable speaking my mind, I won’t hold back.

When I saw the quote above it was one of those things that resonated with me immediately. Mainly because the truth of it in our culture and society today is so true.

Food has become the drug of choice for many and it’s taking a toll on their health and living a energetic lifestyle. This drug also has the ability to end lives with the diseases that obesity brings with it. Food is a socially acceptable way to often medicate things deep inside yet it doesn’t fix the problems a person deals with.

With obesity at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly in children, some are eating their way to the grave. Unfortunately, food is often mindlessly, mechanically consumed and in quantities beyond what is needed to satisfy our hunger.

With restaurants and food establishments offering larger and larger portions or the “super sizing” we are super sizing ourselves into obesity and the joy of carting around extra fat on our bodies. This taxes our heart and lungs, puts excessive work on our joints, causes our organs to work hard to compensate for the excess which then causes our body to develop ( very preventable diseases)

Super-Size-Me

According to the CDC (Centers for disease control) Nearly 4 in 10 adults have a body mass index classifying them as obese. Young Americans as well have been piling on the pounds and obesity rates among the country’s youth ( 2-19) stands at 18.5 percent.  This trend is most worrying as young people are far more likely to stay obese while childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of early death in adulthood. More troubling yet, 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese making people with normal weight a minority.

But wait… it’s not just an American problem….

Globally there are more people ( children and adults) who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.

Some key facts

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable

 

So why are people getting so fat?

Being over weight, simplified, is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.

Worldwide there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; ( think fast foods, overly processed, high calorie, refined sugars etc. ) and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. And sadly let’s not forget an overall laziness or desire to just not physically exert ourselves.

So basically, we’re shoveling in more food, and not the good kinds, and moving our bodies less and less.

It’s the perfect storm for disaster.

Are there common health consequences for obesity and being overweight?

Yes. Our bodies are not designed to handle excessive fat and often develop diseases because of this.

  • cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
  • diabetes;
  • musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
  • some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
  • high blood pressure

And what about our kids?

Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.

My brother was overweight as a young adult. Children are awful in how they treat others. The psychological effects can be huge for kids.

How do we fix the problem?

First and foremost, someone has to have the desire to change patterns, habits, and behaviors that have led to obesity or being overweight. Without a personal desire nothing will change.

Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable.

Preventable meaning we have control of them. Meaning we can change things if we don’t let it get to far. There are things you might not have control over, but maintaining a healthy weight is something for the most part, we can all have a measure of control over.

Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.

As adults we are in control of the choices we make, good or bad. If we have children then we are responsible for the foods we buy and provide for them. If high fat, sugary foods are the mainstay of what’s available, they will be consumed. Children cannot go buy their own food so we must be mindful of providing them with the most nutritionally sound foods that we can. Treats aren’t bad, but they should be limited. If certain foods aren’t available in the home they can’t be consumed.

The same goes for us. If we limit/control the amount of non-nutritional foods we bring home, we won’t eat them.

I told hubby when we were shopping recently that I know and  fully understand if I bring home a bag of salt and pepper kettle potato chips, it’s the equivalent to bringing home crack to a druggie.

I just can’t be trusted with them. The best thing then is that I don’t buy them, and if I do, I fully accept the consequences.

Steps to take in losing weight

On an individual level we can:

  • limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;
  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and
  • engage in regular physical activity. Find something you enjoy and do it. Do it most days of the week. Children need to be moving and should be encouraged to participate in sports and other activities to keep them healthy and work off excess energy 😉
  • limit the amount of fast foods or overly processed foods eaten.
  • Try to eat more natural foods without things added to them.
  • Develop a balanced and sensible nutrition plan.
  • Plan a 1-2 lb loss a week.

Keep a healthy perspective

Keeping your goals small and realistic will lead to success. Understand building new habits and behaviors will take time but they will be worth having to help you live a permanent lifestyle of health and wellness.

Accept good and bad days on your journey but don’t quit. Keep moving forward every day celebrating all your body can do for you.

Make small consistent changes. Don’t go for the “all or nothing” or drastically cut all things you love from your daily nutrition.

Get friends or family on board to have a support system to help you. Often it is hard to do something like this on our own, having others who can hold you accountable, ask you how you are doing and celebrate your successes with you can help tremendously.

If you and your family need to lose weight, brainstorm on how you can work together as a team to reach goals individually and as a group.

Finally, be patient with yourself and learn to celebrate each step along your journey and before you know it, you will have reached your goals your  set for yourself.

What healthy practices do you use? Do you think the super sizing of foods has contributed to obesity problems? Do you think food is often used to medicate feelings or emotions?

Food Tips For A Healthier You

Pass Junk food

 

As we count down the last days of the year and head into 2018 many will be assessing their plans and goals for the new year ahead.

Trips, appointments, school activities, family gatherings, holidays etc will all take space on our planners.

Others will be factoring in goals of weight loss and moves towards eating better. My last post was tips on getting started with an exercise program… you can find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/19/tips-for-a-fit-2018/

I wanted to include some tips on eating and nutrition but for the sake of not turning it into another War and Peace novel I decided to make it more of a two part item 😛

Food can be such a struggle for so many.

How much to eat, what to eat, when to eat. Eat when you’re hungry, eat when you’re not. Eat for reasons unknown to you.

These behaviors left alone can lead to unwanted pounds and unwanted health problems associated with being over weight. So many people want to change and make improvements but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. They feel like they have to give up everything they love and everything that’s good and be in this restricted zone of deprivation and no fun.

Please. Don’t.

That mentality will certainly not lead to long term success in your weight loss endeavors. If you’ve followed me then you know I’m anti-diet mentality and anti-deprivation believing people will be far more successful knowing they can include foods they enjoy and still lose weight. I believe building new habits and behaviors with food is what leads to life long success and sustainability. Building new habits doesn’t happen over night, but with persistency and keeping at it, those habits will stick and become second nature to you.

In fact, I was delighted to come across a book a few years ago that was pretty much what I had done to lose weight and keep it off. It was all about habits and behaviors and I literally devoured it.

When I talk with people the book Lean Habits For Weight Loss is what I always recommend.  It offers sane, practical and sustainable advice for life long weight loss.  I wrote a review on the book which you can find here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/10/07/lean-habits-for-weight-loss-book-review/

on a side note, the author is releasing a paperback version on the 26th of this month and asked me if I’d write another review for her 🙂 I guess she thought I did a decent job  on the first to ask me to write one for the new book and I’m thrilled.

You can be watching for my review on it later on.

But I digress….

Like exercise, the decision to lose weight has to be yours and yours alone. Once you make the choice to do it then you need to become proactive in doing things to make it happen.

No one will do it for you. No one will control what goes in your mouth or how much you eat but you.

But you’ve got this.. you can do it.

ok, I’m ready to start. Now what?

Don’t start by eating all the junky food in your pantry to “get rid of it”.  Don’t start by cutting out everything you love or that is tasty to you and eating celery. I mean.. you CAN eat celery it’s really good for you and one of those “zero” calorie foods but.. well.. you get what I mean 😉

Don’t start by so severely restricting your calories that you are constantly hungry and thinking of your next meal.

These are frequent “techniques” I see to many people employee in their quest to lose weight, techniques that quickly fail them.

You can do this instead…

Practice listening to your body and learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are feeling satisfied. This may take some practice as your eyes and mouth will want more and you’ve most likely trained yourself that way. Eat slowly and learn to savor your food this gives you time to realize that you are satisfied with most likely, less food.

At the start don’t focus so much on what you’re eating as when you eat and how much you eat.

As you move through those first few weeks you can consider your food choices and begin to think of what you might let go of, or opt to make a better healthier exchange on.

The food you eat.

Hey we’re all adults here, right?  That being said we all have that level of responsibility for what we eat and drink. If you toss down a dozen Christmas cookies in a sitting, well, you might reconsider that.  If you’ve learned to have a couple and savor them, you’re on a good track.

The foods we consume come down to what we find tasty and how we’ve trained ourselves to eat.

Yes. I said trained yourself.

We have all trained ourselves in our eating behaviors and food choices. That being said.. you can retrain yourself to eat better or eat less or make better choices.

Will it take time, yes. Will you get it down in a couple weeks? No. Can you be successful doing it? Absolutely.

Remember I told you at the beginning, it all comes down to you and what you want.

If you want to change, you will.

What do I eat?

I’m not going to tell you how to eat or what to eat. I will say making choices that involve healthy and nutritious foods will always be in your best interest. Foods that have minimal ingredients are best, the majority of the time, if you can.

If your daily diet consists of more processed, fast food or sugary/salty foods you might want to reconsider what you are eating.

You should work to building meals rich with veggies and fruits and healthy carbs with a good dose of protein.

Let’s face it… 400 calories of fast food vs. 400 calories of veggies and healthy food equals a lot more food to eat AND its better for your health. The more food choices you make that are nutrient dense means you can eat more and stay full longer.

Be aware.

Even though people largely believe they don’t over estimate food portions, they usually do. Be aware of what true serving sizes are and aim to stay in that perimeter.

Know what you’re eating. Look at labels and the contents of the product if you are unsure.

Make a list of what you eat to keep track of your food, at least for a few weeks. Be honest. No one will see it but you but and it can make you aware of what you eat, when you eat and how much. This could also give you some clues to behaviors with food you might need to deal with

Focus on small changes.

It’s those small daily things we do each day that add up. It’s easy to dismiss choices we make and think it doesn’t matter, but when we are attentive to our movement and what we eat those choices will lead to success.

Also, when you focus on small improvements it really doesn’t seem difficult to work on the goals that have been set. Eating a bit less, swapping a sugary drink for one with less or no sugar, passing by the fast food restaurant, having a small dessert over a full size, roasting instead of frying, learning to eat more fruits and veggies, are all examples of small ways to make changes.

green and red healthy food

One bad day isn’t the end of the world.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all had days where we know we ate more than we needed. Meh. It happens. The key to your success is not throwing in the towel from one bad day and reverting to your old habits and behaviors. Simply hit the reset button and get right back at it.

Stay positive in how you view yourself, and stay focused on what you are wanting to achieve.

Ask yourself the hard questions… is food more important than… ( whatever you are hoping to achieve)

There will be up’s and down’s in this process. The most important part to being successful is an unwillingness to quit or give up.

Stay the course and before you know it, you’ll be looking back at how far you’ve come.

Do you have any tips or tricks for weight loss that have worked for you ?

 

Cheat Days Vs. Healthy Eating Habits

The question came at me again. Often there are similar ones that arise in conversations  in regards to health and wellness.

“Do you allow yourself a cheat day/meal?”

If you don’t know what that means, in the fitness world it’s a day set aside where you eat whatever suits your fancy. Anything you’ve been craving or put off limits from yourself. It could be a meal or an all day eating frenzy depending on how deprived you feel.

The answer is a big “no”.

No, I don’t. Never have and don’t have any intention of starting.

I’ll tell you why. October marked my 8th year on my health and wellness journey.

8 years people. I’ve lost the weight of a hefty toddler child and about 5 pant sizes. In those years I not only lost fat but have built muscle and a strong physique that allows me to enjoy all my outdoor athletic sports and gives me a good deal of energy and strength for living life.

I’ve not gained it back or played yo yo dieting games.

As I’ve gotten deeper into endurances sports I’ve come to accept that my body will go through times of being leaner when I’m doing a lot of training and a bit softer when I’m not heavy training. I can fluctuate within 5-7 pounds and I’m ok with that.

Losing weight and keeping it off for a lifetime involves small, consistent, changes that turn into new habits. It’s really the only thing that works and you have to intentionally build on it every day.

The cheat day/meal thing

if you’ve followed me for awhile you know I’m “anti” diet and diet hype nonsense. I consider my take on things practical, livable and sustainable. When I started my journey one thing I set out for myself was that nothing was off limits or to be considered “Bad or good”.

For me, it took a ton of power away from food. Mentally, if I knew I could have “whatever” then I was less likely to think about it or “wish” I could have it.

cheat meal days

It’s amazing how that works.

Allowing myself a fun meal with my family and then resuming my normal eating took away feelings of “deprivation”.

Admit it, haven’t you at some point been dieting and everyone is eating and living the good life and you feel freaking miserable, left out, disgusted with yourself and well…fat?

Me too and enough of that already.

Having a fun meal or some birthday cake at a party didn’t undo all my efforts. I had mentally taken on living healthier and I loved being in control of my choices.

If I didn’t want cake, I didn’t eat it. If I did I was smart enough to know a small piece wouldn’t end my efforts.

On the other side, saving a day to eat all the things you’ve withheld from yourself or over eating can lead to you feeling bad (physically) and bad (mentally ) for over doing it.

Binge eating only feels good in that moment.

The power of your choices

Learning to change my lifestyle I also learned there was a tremendous amount of power I had in my choices of food I made.

It was rather freeing.

Making healthier choices began to get easier and the other foods that used to have a pull on me began to have less.

But sometimes… chocolate. Or French fries.

Let’s face it when you are trying to lose weight those cravings or desires don’t come in at your scheduled cheat day do they? And what if it’s cheat day and you don’t really feel like having it?

I found allowing myself a small amount of whatever I wanted set the craving aside and took it out of my mind.  I’m still like that. If there is a strong pull, almost a physical need, I listen to my body.

I can tell you if I want something particular the need is quenched and I’m on with life again.

It is powerful making choices for yourself. Choices that involve thinking and listening to your body.

Think of how mindlessly you can eat. Eek. Tell me you’ve had those moments, that I’m not alone!

You know.. maybe you aren’t truly hungry but you are stuffing food in ’cause it’s there? or you’re in the pantry at 10 at night trolling but you know you aren’t needing food? Or when you eat past what you need to feed your appetite?

Making smaller more mindful choices on a daily basis will lead to weight loss that lasts long term and not just a few weeks until you’re eager to get back to “normal”.

Practice makes perfect…er… perfect “ish”.

Ok so no one is perfect or nails the eating thing perfectly.  With time, consistency and practice the cool thing is it will start to become second nature.  As you teach yourself to balance all food groups and eat in a healthy manner with room for those treats and celebratory moments you will find yourself automatically making those good choices and passing on things that don’t support your health and fitness goals.

You won’t need a cheat day to enjoy life or the things you love. You won’t feel deprived as you work on building new habits and skills in your life. You will feel empowered by trusting yourself and making mindful choices.

cheat days

Snake Oil Diets And More Wizardry

snake oil

Did you grow up with siblings? If so you understand how you learn to push each others buttons on things right? Sometimes it’s to annoy each other, sometimes it’s just to get that person going on whatever topic because it amuses us in some way.

It doesn’t seem to change even when you grow up. Then we have friends who can do the same thing with us.  It’s all fun and games… usually….

I’m no different, I guess. If there’s one thing that gets me going or kicks my investigator mode into high gear,  it’s having someone ask me about some new diet craze or company pedaling it’s wares promising claims of extreme and swift weight loss.

Usually the companies biggest successes are emptying your pockets, not making you any thinner.

I had a friend message me recently asking if I knew of or had heard of a particular company and it’s product. People were flocking to it and it was gaining a big following.  She had been asked to try it, I’m really glad she’s one of my smart friends and of course, declined.

There are so many companies and products out there trying to make a living off of peoples desperation it really is hard to keep up with them all. I got the basic name and info from her and started digging.

Oh. It didn’t take me long. It didn’t take long at all to be shocked and horrified over it on several levels. The complete nonsense presented on eating and weight loss is…well.. awful.

When I shared what I was finding with my friend the response was “go get them” haha when I mentioned I just can’t help it, (gathering info  and sharing what I find) I get back…. “personally, I get a kick out of it…”

See what I mean from my opening questions? They give me the right prompts and cut me loose haha

So. What about this product?

This is a MLM (multi level marketing) company so that should tell you something right off the bat.

It’s about making money, first. There are no prices offered on website as they want you to find a “distributor” of the product and purchase from them. Hmmm.

There are several products they offer all promising you great things in a short amount of time. Reviews were glowing of big losses in only 8 days for one of their packages.

They claim to detox, fat burn, cleanse you inside and out,  get you thin and make you a new healthy individual with all of their amazing products. AND… you will finally be happy…. poor…  but happy. Blah. Blah. Blah.

( insert sound of me gagging here)

The hocus pocus of all the wording made my head spin in moments. Then I quickly realized people REALLY buy into this, literally and figuratively.

Like, they cough up a lot of money for all these promises of magic potions. Worse yet, they believe it all. They believe this time, something will work.

I continued my reading and searched out more info.  As many of these companies and products go, you find these hard to believe reviews of awesomeness on it, and oddly, not many dissatisfied customers at all.

Another red flag my friends.

There aren’t that many happy people about anything in this world, especially weight loss products. So we have to largely believe the reviews that are so wonderful are put out by the distributors of the product.

The negatives I found, well, as to be expected, the product hadn’t done the miracles they expected, the company hadn’t followed through on it’s promises, over priced, or worse yet were the side effects from using it.

Starve. Repeat.

It didn’t take me long looking at one of their most seemingly “popular” plans, the 8 day kick starter transformation package to know why people were losing so much weight in 8 days.

You’re freaking starving to death, that’s why. Literally.

They promise 8 days to transform you. Holy crap it’s taken me 8 years to learn all this stuff, get fit, and get a decent grip on my eating behaviors.  How could I have wasted all that time?? 😉

As I looked at their daily eating plan, I was thinking, what are people actually, you know, eating??  Besides sucking down all these pills, powders, “flushes”, and occasional shakes they are buying.

Ahhh here it is… I found it in the “plan”… you only get to eat 3 meals in the 8 days.

Yes. That is all.

And those “meals” are limited to 500-600 calories. I can’t even imagine how you must suck the food in at that point. Not to mention how foggy headed you must feel.

The rest of the time you are using all of their products to detox, fat burn, cleanse and whatever else bull nonsense they are hyping you over. Oh the hype.

Let’s call it what it is… you… are starving yourself.  I find it ironically funny they want you to use a product that supposedly “blocks” fat absorption and causes food to pass through. Meh… it’s supposed to expand and take up space in your stomach…

Like, why the heck do you need that when you aren’t even hardly eating anything ???

I wont spend much more time on discussing this. It just made me scratch my head. People will spend money to starve themselves… ok…

They also give you an “exercise plan” to follow but honestly, I don’t see how you are able to do more than lay on the sofa with a daily caloric intake of 500-600 calories.

Anything under 1000 calories a day is a starvation diet people.

But… it’s “natural” and “plant based”

So. What.

It should be noted there are lots of natural things but they can kill you or just make you sick and not feel good.  Just because someone has tossed various natural ingredients together doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that the doses are right for you.

Many of the ingredients in these products act like caffeine. It is the reason people are so hyped up and have so much “energy” when they are on them.  A fancy version of speed.

It should be noted that side effects are jitteriness, racing heart, high blood pressure, sweating, nausea, and shakiness.  Others are cramps, feeling bloated and an overall not feeling well.

No food and natural stimulants, no wonder those side effects present themselves.

One of the main pills you take is an appetite suppressant. It’s loaded with a bunch of herbal stuff.  When you start adding a bunch of “natural” herbal things into your body, the effects can not be pleasant.

One ingredient in this appetite suppressant pill is bitter orange or synephrine. It was banned years ago and is linked to major cardiovascular risks.

Not sure I’d want to be popping that with other stimulants too. No wonder a racing heart is reported.

Oh, and the “flush” they offer. well yeah, it’s supposed to do what the name implies.  It’s main ingredient is senna which is in laxatives you can buy at the store. I’ll just leave this here… you don’t really want to be on some type of laxative to help you lose weight.  This type of product doesn’t “cleanse” or “detox” you.

But then there’s the cost….

Besides the fact you sign up to starve and not eat for pretty much an entire week, and that you’ll be taking another product to flush you which means you might spend more time in the bathroom than anticipated, and another product to keep you from getting hungry ( um hey….getting hungry is a natural body signal we’ve been given to know when to feed ourselves. Ignoring it isn’t smart. ) there’s the ridiculous cost of this stuff.

The rough estimate I found for the 8 day “kit” is 391.00.

Yes. Your eyes aren’t going on you, you read that correct. Almost 400.00 for some supplements and a meal shake that comes in at a whopping 50 calories made with water.

Of course, any other products you buy has an additional charge that’s just as crazy.

And people are buying it. They are jumping on it like flies on honey.

I don’t know if I should feel sad for them or just think they deserve what they get for buying into such nonsense.

But then I remember how desperate people are for a quick fix they will do anything at all to get it.

Anything but the thing that works.. because well.. it does take some time… and effort… and patience.

The old “learn to eat healthy, eat mindfully, change your habits, and get some movement into your days” thing.

I know it’s not cool or trendy but really, its the only thing that works.

The bottom line

Since the weight loss comes from starvation, once you increase your calories to a normal range ( which you will) the weight will come back. These products are not sustainable for long term nor should you do their program multiple times ( setting yourself up for a starve and binge mode isn’t a good thing)  although if you want to drop almost 400 dollars for an 8 week starvation session you may have more money than common sense.

The ingredients are sketchy and found in much cheaper diet aid products if you’re still convinced that’s the way you need to go instead of the old fashioned route.

Promises of detoxing your body and turning it into a fat burning machine are just more modern day snake oil and smoke and mirrors. These products do have the ability to hype you up because of all the “natural” caffeine type ingredients they contain.

8 days won’t change your habits or behaviors with food. That’s where the biggest change occurs when you do it the old fashioned way.

Overall this is another get rich scheme for some people at the expense and desperate need of others.

If you are wanting to lose weight, don’t be brought in by hype and unrealistic promises. For all that money you can go buy a gym membership, some cool new kicks, and a whole lot of healthy foods.

 

 

 

Weight Loss And Salads

Another came rolling through again. The obligatory salad post with some “diet” caption attached to it.

I see them often.

The person is usually getting on the diet wagon and where else do you start, but by eating salads, right?

Now hear me out.

I’m not knocking salads. I love them. They are often my lunch of choice because well, I simply enjoy eating veggies, they fill me up, don’t make me feel sleepy, and leave me feeling energetic.

Salads done right are a wonderful meal and offer endless amounts of creativity with them.

Sadly, some I see, I’m left thinking that the poor person will be starving soon ( no protein in salad) and often lacking a good variety of veggies in it.

We have also been conditioned to think of losing weight and getting healthy in forms of deprivation.

Nothing fun or tasty.

A boring iceberg salad mix with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in, a bit of cucumber, and maybe some shredded carrot.

Yay. Go to town on that.

After all to lose weight, you gotta suffer right? Be miserable? Hungry all the time?

No, not really. Not at all.

Well, what works then?

There are many things on the market promising weight loss. There are lots of “trendy” new diets you can commit to if that’s your thing.

None of them are magic. None of them have some super power over the other. Some offer restrictions, others take food groups away from you, some have you eating gobs of fat, some give you barely enough calories to operate on, some offer “meal replacements”… gosh the list can go on….

At the end of the day it’s simply science.

We lose weight when we take in less calories than our bodies need for daily functioning.

You could achieve it on an Oreo and milk diet although I wouldn’t recommend that…. mainly ’cause I’m not into Oreos  😉

You create a deficit  by calories and activity level and in a slow and steady way weight loss will occur.

You need to reduce your daily calories by about  350-500 a day to lose weight.

How the heck do I do that?

I’d say start with things that might not matter a lot or that you could easily reduce. Do you stop for some sugary drink at Starbucks or the local coffee shop?

Do you have any idea of the calorie, fat, or sugar content of it for the size you buy?

Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Google it up and look.

Are you shocked? Most people are.

How much sugar or creamer do you add to coffee?  How many sodas or sugar drinks do you consume? Alcohol?

I’d say the best thing to do is simply write down all you eat in a day for about a week.

Be honest. Don’t try and hide anything from yourself. This will give you a guide of what you eat.. the good and not so good.

This will be your starting place to look at where to weed out those 350-500 calories a day.

We often mindlessly stuff things into our mouths without recognizing that yeah, those calories do count.

So do an honest assessment with yourself if you want to see where you can reduce or cut out to help lower those calories while keeping the more nutritious foods in place.

Speaking of nutritious foods…..

Consider foods you like that are healthy and offer your body good nutrition. You know I don’t really like to label foods, but let’s be honest, there are many foods that offer more to our health, feeling good, being energetic and losing weight than others.

Whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, dairy products all offer an abundance of goodies for us to choose from to plan our daily nutrition needs.

Vegetables and fruit… consider this…

On average, only 14 percent of American adults consume at least 2 servings of fruit and at least 3 servings of vegetables daily.

14%.

Sadly, in my communication with people I’m always staggered at the truth of that. The very idea of vegetables is something repugnant being offered to them.

You can eat a whole lot of veggies that fill you up, keep you feeling energetic, and come in really low on the calories.

They can be eaten raw or cooked in all kinds of ways that are delicious.

Here’s the deal… if you’ve trained yourself to eat not so nutritious foods, you can train yourself to eat foods that support good health and weight loss.

And you have trained yourself to eat and drink the way you do now…..

It just will take some time and intentional effort on your part…. you know… that habit thing I always blab about….

I was at a dinner party recently and the couple across from me were, well honestly, really over weight. The wife was telling me how she was trying to get him to eat vegetables and he was telling me about ones he had been “trying” and she said “I’m even trying to get him to eat brussel sprouts!”

I said “Oh, how are you preparing them?”  (Help me. I already knew the answer before it came)

“Oh, I boil them!” she said smiling at me

I tried to contain my face and not imagine them boiled and rolling around the plate like little green heads… boiling them is like the kiss of death. Boiling them is the reason people rebel against eating them 😉

I told her for a change, that would be tasty and healthy, to slice them up, toss them with a little olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt then roast them till they started to get crispy.

Her hubby definitely perked up to that.

Seriously though. Learn to experiment with vegetables. Roasting brings out the best flavors in them. Some do better lightly steamed but most anything can be roasted.

Now about those salads….

 

20170822_142237
Pure deliciousness. Writing, iced coffee and this new amazing salad from a local fast food joint of all places.

 

 

Just a few tips on making a good salad for your meal.

~include a variety of colorful veggies. Peppers, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, broccoli, really anything can be added.

~ don’t be afraid of tossing some fruit in. Blueberries or strawberries can make a good addition to a green salad.

~ Don’t forget a healthy dose of protein… this keeps you from getting hungry soon. Feta cheese, grilled chicken, canned tuna, boiled eggs etc can be great options to add in.

~ healthy fats like avocados or walnuts are a good addition to your salad

~ go easy on salad dressings or this will negate all the good efforts of your salad. Be mindful of calories and fat and the fact a serving size is usually like 2 tablespoons… yeah.. go ahead and measure that out…  look for low calorie ones or better yet learn to whip up your own healthier alternatives.

I’ve found the more creative the mix of my salad, the less I really want any dressing or at best just a minimal amount.

So post those salad pics…..

Seriously, if you’re on the road to dropping some weight, good for you! Salads offer a fun, tasty and super healthy way to get there. Make them satisfying to your tastes and share your creativity. It’s ok to enjoy your fruits and veggies.

Keep in mind as well, a balanced nutrition plan, with a small daily reduction of calories,  will lead to weight loss and keep your energy level up in the process.

What is the way you find most successful to lose weight? Are you good at eating your fruits and veggies?