Saturday Snippets

Ah the dilemma. The dilemma of what to put into my Saturday Snippets for you to read as you eat your donut and wash it down with coffee.

saturday

I thought I’d continue with my healthy living theme that I’ve got going on right now.

A few years ago when I began to um…accidentally…wander into the health and fitness world I had clear ideas of how I thought things should work. I still do although some have been dialed in on more since  I’ve learned and grown more.

The one thing now that is so important to me is using my voice through my blog and other social media to share  how crucial good nutrition is to someone wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle.

I love exercise. I’ve loved the hard work and challenges of training for big events. I love getting out of my comfort zone and doing stuff some of y’all tease me about 😁

However, at the end of the day, the best exercise I can do is make careful choices as to what I choose to shovel or not shovel into my mouth.

This is where it makes or breaks for all of us.

I firmly believe a sensible eating plan that includes all food groups is extremely important.

Why?

Sustainability long term ( can you do it forever) and important vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs from all food groups.

Yes, exercise I believe is crucial to our complete well being. However, if you want to lose weight, keep it off, and live “normally ” you need to do a couple things.

* Eat a balanced diet of all foods.

* Don’t engage in plans that restrict or offer “cheat days” or leave you feeling deprived and restricted.

* Practice mindful eating. Listen to your body.

*Portion control. You really don’t need seconds.

* Remember anything that is labeled as low fat, fat free, sugar free, gluten free, paleo, keto, low carb, whatever, whatever, still has calories! And your body only needs a certain number a day to do it’s thing. Eat over that, you won’t lose, eat under that requirement and you’ll lose weight. Remember, its science boys and girls 😏

Make a point to daily choose real, whole foods, allow for a wee bit of fun stuff, eat enough to satisfy your appetite, listen to your body ( it’s ok to get truly hungry!) then add as well some purposeful exercise to balance it all out.

If you need to start somewhere though, remember the best exercise is mindfulness of what your hand brings to your mouth and the quality of food you eat.

 

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Low Carb Diet vs. Keto Diet

With the start of a new year, I’ve watched with the usual fascination as all the diet plans and health products start making a new surge as people once again make a “resolution” to lose weight and get healthier.

I always marvel at how complicated people try to make it.  It honestly just doesn’t have to be so.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve been itching to get to is writing this post doing a little comparison of a low carb diet and the keto diet.

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Are they the same? What makes them different ? Is one possibly any better than the other?

I hope to offer some educated perspectives to this current trendy topic.

What’s the difference?

A low carb diet is simply that. You can make adjustments in your eating and modestly or greatly cut back on carbs. You become more selective about your carbs and where they come from.

For instance, I can really do without the carbs in cake or chips,  while the carbs in an apple or sweet potato offer my body lots of good vitamins and minerals along with those  complex carbs all for very few calories.

But hold up.

Not all carbs are equal as you may know. Simple carbs like the ones found in refined sugars meaning…. breakfast cereals, muffins,  pastries, chips, cookies, crackers, baked goods,  boxed snacks, sodas, sugared drinks, candy, alcohol etc… are ones that should be looked at critically first.

Simple carbohydrates are made up of just one or two sugar molecules. As such, it doesn’t take much for your body to break them down and absorb them (as glucose) into the bloodstream. For this reason, simple carbohydrates raise blood sugar much faster and usually higher than complex carbohydrates.

Often people may find with an awareness of exactly what they consume in a day they will realize those simple carb foods are the ones who need to be reduced in their daily diets. Doing so can almost painlessly lead to a slow steady loss of weight.

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Complex carbs ( starches made up of long chains of sugar molecules—are considered good carbs because they take longer to digest and thus don’t spike blood sugars as quickly as simple carbs) are found in good foods like whole grains breads and pastas, legumes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, low fat yogurt, milk,  and tons of good for you fruits and veggies. So many veggies…..

Not only are they good for supporting all systems of your body they provide crucial energy as well. Find my post on carbs here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/04/11/carbs-are-not-the-enemy/

Being on a low carb diet doesn’t mean you are on a keto diet although some tend to think that.  I hear so many people say it but honestly, many are on just an extremely low carb diet.

That being said, keto is a low carb diet. An extremely low carb diet to the exclusion of many of those healthy, good for you good carbs I mentioned along with most fruits and veggies.

In order to truly follow a ketogenic diet you need to be in a state of ketosis. This simply means your body is burning fatty acids (ketones) for energy instead of carbohydrate stores (glycogen in liver, and glucose in blood) and your carb intake must be at, and stay at, a consistently  low level to achieve that.

The levels of ketones produced can be varied depending on daily macros. ( Macro nutrients are the daily protein, carbs and fats you eat)  And the amount of carbohydrates consumed is one of the big differences when looking at low carb vs keto.

a ketogenic diet demands specific changes to all three macronutrients. For this reason, it’s hard to recommend a keto diet to someone unless they know how to track their macros or are really serious about learning.

When you have normal levels of ketones in your bloodstream, your brain and the rest of your body are fueled by stored body fat. But the only way to know for sure if you’re in a state of ketosis is confirming it through daily testing.

This can be done through blood, urine, or a breath analyzer test.

Urine strips are perhaps least confirming because they merely show the excess that you’ve eliminated.

Blood and urine strips are also more expensive as they are a one time use.

Breathe and blood tests show more up to the moment ketone levels.

So to clearly state… you could believe you are doing a keto diet but without actually testing for ketone levels and tracking your total macros, you could just be doing an extremely restrictive low carb diet.

Saying you’re doing keto doesn’t really mean you’re actually doing that without evidence to show that you truly have your body in a state of ketosis, this is where your body is actually using the fatty acids for energy and not glucose. Just because you reduce the amount of carbs you eat doesn’t mean you are using body fat for energy.

Lowering carbs can help you lose weight.

If you’ve been consuming more food than your body requires, and a lot of it in forms of the simple carbs we discussed, then lowering those carb levels will contribute to weight loss.  You can reduce these carbs that contribute to spiking insulin levels and that produce wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Cutting back can definitely help with those issues, but again, it’s lower carb, not keto, but you will lose weight. Learning to replace those carbs with healthier choices will keep you feeling satisfied while your body adjusts to not having those foods.

If you’re goal is to lose weight but not be in ketosis, then eating  plenty of veggies and a healthy dose of exercise will get you to your goals.

For me, when I want to lean out more, I stick to just tons of healthy veggies, fruits, some whole grains as needed and protein. I’m not restrictive and I’m not hungry.

As you can see the differences between low carb and keto is more than “just” carbs.

What can I eat?

With just a low carb diet you have the ability to manage your macros a bit more easily. Low carb with lots of healthy veggies and protein will keep you full and satisfied. You won’t necessarily be overly concerned at carbs in veggies because they will fill you up especially with added protein.  Not only that, your body loves all the vitamins and minerals that are loaded into veggies and fruits.

You will be more mindful of carbs found in grains, rice, breads, pastas etc. as well as your simple ( non-essential) carb consumption.

You can however, if you want to, have a small slice of birthday cake at grandmas 90th birthday and  know it will knock you out of ketosis because you did so.

That’s kind of a win 😉

If you think the keto diet is something you must do, a typical macro breakout for your daily diet is 25% protein, 70% fats and 5% carbs.

Yes. You are seeing that correctly. 5%.

These are recommended macros for keto. Lowering your carbs to this level will force your body into ketosis meaning it will begin to use fat for energy.

Maybe unwillingly, but it will.

If you choose this path, ideally, you would want to do it in steps as drastically cutting all carbs will make you…. want to eat a wall…

well… maybe you wouldn’t but you might feel ridiculously hungry and all kinds of other awful things from immediate restriction. It’s best to do a gradual reduction to allow your body to prepare for what’s coming.

Another common mistake on this diet is to lower calories while cutting carbs which isn’t the best idea. Lowering carbs will lower calories. Don’t push for both.

put in my body

So what’s the best choice?

I have a personal opinion, for sure. I wrote a post comparing the keto diet and the DASH diet… you can get a lot of my thoughts and also the comparisons of these two diets in this post… find it here….  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/21/keto-and-dash-diet-review/

I’m honestly not a huge supporter of the keto way for lots of reasons. It’s just a hard sell to convince me that a higher fat diet is better than the many, many veggies and fruits and food groups that are eliminated on this diet.

And really, I gave up a long time ago following anything that tells me “foods I can eat and foods I can’t eat” plans. #rebel

And besides, I kinda like bread once in a while…and cake… and eating those things definitely wreaks havoc on the keto plan as it can knock you out of ketosis.  Not only that, to many people I know who are on it seem to live for “cheat” days so there’s that thought as well.

Don’t do a diet plan that you look forward to cheating on.

I think going a more low carb approach is less restrictive, easier to maintain, and has a broader range of foods you can consume which leads to less feelings having to do with out or deprivation. Not only that there isn’t the constant manipulation of macros and counting and all that other stuff which seems kinda tedious.

Maintaining a less restrictive diet will give you freedom and let you lose weight as well.

However, we’re all different. One method works for one and not the other. Find what is easiest to live, what let’s you still enjoy life, and what doesn’t leave you feeling left out because you “can’t have” what’s being served.

I still find at the end of the day, balance, moderation, and mindful eating are where it’s at when it comes to weight loss and no one thrives being deprived and hungry.

And don’t forget no matter what “diet” you may pursue, Paleo, Keto, Whole 30, South Beach, gosh there are so many, even my favorite, the old school sensible, moderate eating plan, at the end of the day weight loss occurs because of a calorie deficit and nothing else.

There is no magic diet.

Your best opportunity to be successful is to find the plan that you can easily stick to and is long term sustainable leading to a permanent lifestyle change while achieving weight loss.

Tell me…do you have experience with either of these options? If so, did you have success or have tips to someone considering it?

 

 

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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8 Fitness Habits To Live By

healthy fitness

 

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to (effortlessly) maintain a healthy lifestyle and you are struggling over the idea of buying lettuce? Why your neighbor is out for a run before the sun comes up and you are challenging yourself to get up with the alarm?

What are they doing and what’s their secret?

They’ve built healthy habits of course. They have over time, built them into their lives to where they have now become second nature. It’s something they don’t think about, it just becomes an automatic thing they do.

With more than two thirds of U.S.  adults obese and over half not meeting physical activity guidelines as outlined in the centers for  Disease Control and Prevention, developing some healthy fitness habits definitely is in our best interest.

What are some of these habits and behaviors that highly fit people exhibit ?

Let’s consider these successful habits.

. They make healthy living a lifestyle. They aren’t focused on a quick fix plan or something short term. They know it’s a way of life and live it. Exercise and eating well are just what they do. This isn’t to say they are perfect but they don’t let slip up’s become an excuse to revert to poor eating and ditching their exercise regime. A healthy lifestyle is a focus on living day to day through good nutrition and purposeful movement.

. They’ve made physical activity fun. I preach this all the time. Don’t do something you won’t be able to enjoy because you “think” you should or your neighbor is doing it. Find the thing you can enjoy whether it’s running, or being at the gym. Learn to experiment and do new things. For me, I love having several activities because it not only works all of my body, but gives me variety too. Variety will prevent boredom.

. They follow an 85/15 rule. Meaning they’ve learned to eat healthy and nutritious meals 85% of the time while allowing some treats or fun extras into their day. I find this a sustainable way to live that allows me to be successful in my efforts without feeling deprived. Having an occasional treat won’t sabotage your efforts. It could prevent you from binging because you’ve deprived yourself.

. They’ve learned to be a bit competitive. No, I don’t mean against others although healthy competition in a race is always a good way to see what you’re made of. Competing against yourself can often be the biggest challenge and biggest motivator. When I train for something it changes my whole mentality about what I’m doing. Training keeps me in an athletes state of mind. Training is very concrete and intentional with a specific goal in mind. Simply “working out” has no definitive plan. Learn to let your inner athlete be your biggest competitor. I am fiercely competitive with myself but I don’t see that as a bad thing. It pushed me to work harder, in turn, I learn I’m always capable of a little more.

. They’ve learned to recover quickly from a setback.  Hey. Things happen, I get that. I’ve been de-railed by injuries and things beyond my control. I’ve had a day where I’ve had more “treats” than I really needed. This isn’t an opportunity to toss in the towel and quit. Those who have setbacks don’t allow them to get in the way of what they know to do. When they’ve maintained a high level of fitness, skipping workouts or going on a food binge is simply not something they do. They adapt, adjust, and get back to doing what they know to do. There is no “all or nothing” mentality with food and exercise.

. They are willing to learn. They don’t buy into the latest hype and have learned to educate themselves to make informed decisions. If they don’t know something they seek wise counsel and stay away from the latest guru or trending health book.

.They keep it simple. They aren’t going from one program to another looking for the next big thing or the fastest working thing. They have found what works and stick to it. This works well for all of us. In a busy world, keeping our health and fitness plans simplified ensures we will stick with them.

. They don’t use exercise as a primary way to lose weight. They learn to see other important improvements like strength or faster speed. They also understand good nutrition is HUGE to weight loss success and not just exercise. They have come to understand that sometimes the scale might not change a lot and learn to see improvements in other areas of their lives as well.

Do you exhibit and practice habits of fit people? What areas can you improve or do you feel you excel in?

 

 

Resolutions And Healthy Eating

“Food is fuel for our resolutions.”  

I really wish I could take credit for that line, but I can’t. I hear clever things and wish I had somehow been inspired to say it first. Like “Oh snap, that’s such a smart thought.” but this time, alas, no.

Interestingly enough, I heard it on a commercial for weight loss recently.

Ahhh isn’t that what January is all about? Weight loss, detox, cleanse, eat fake food posing as food, torture yourself, and suffer while you starve and put your body through hell only to return to your former way of doing things?

This commercial was pretty much making fun of all of that. And the way my writer brain works it only takes a line or a casual conversation with someone to get my creative ideas rolling.

In starting a new year off  one of the most common things I think we all hear is about making “resolutions”.

By way of quick review, resolution means “a firm decision to do or not do something”.

I do not make resolutions, I set goals.

You can see from the definition that resolution is definitely something very subjective to change based on our current feelings, moods or emotions.

In contrast, goals are defined as the object of a persons ambition or effort, an aim or a desired result.

Goals are specific and intentional.

So goal setting is definitely the more preferred way to go as opposed to resolutions which are more subject to change with our emotions or shifting feelings of not wanting to do something once the novelty has worn off.

I wrote a post on goals vs. resolutions last year. You can find it here….  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/01/01/new-year-goals-not-resolutions/

That all being said, the take on the commercial I saw was that we need to stop treating food in such a negative way and embrace it for what it can do for us. January should be a time to celebrate a new year full of adventure, not torture our bodies by depriving them of food or suffering through other perceived ways to lose weight.

This might come as a startling reminder to you but… you really… truly.. don’t have to suffer and deprive yourself to lose weight and get on a healthier lifestyle path.

Really.

Food is fuel. Fuel allows us to do all the cool things we wanna do. Hence, the “food is fuel for our resolutions” line.

Food lets me run, cycle and lift heavy things. It lets me do daily tasks with ease and gives me energy to enjoy my kids and grandkids. It helps me run up and down my attic access with big totes lifted over my head and carry 40lb bags of salt to the water softener.

Food does all the same things for you. It’s the types of foods we choose to eat that determine how lean we stay or how good we feel.

feel like crap
This pretty well sums it up

When I’m eating foods that I know are healthy and good for me, I feel more energetic. It doesn’t take being off my normal eating very long for me to feel it. I like that. It’s a reminder from my body that “Hey! we are doing things differently now days. What are you doing ?”

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Most mornings breakfast starts like this for me

 

 

If you aren’t used to eating healthier foods, it may take some time for you to adjust. A slow gradual shift will help you in the process of changing your eating patterns.  Don’t try it all at once. Slow gradual changes will lead to long term success and that is what you want… long term success. Not a quick fix or temporary loss.

Healthier foods build you from the inside out not only giving you energy in your daily life but keeping you lean too.

veggie people
We often don’t think of how food impacts us internally

So the question that begs to be asked is….

How are you going to fuel your resolutions or goals? Will you be feeding your body in a different manner that will support them? Are you willing to make the changes necessary for that success all year long and not just in January?

 Yes! I’m so ready to do this. Where do I start?

Be willing to experiment with new food or make healthier exchanges. Understand it won’t happen all at one time.

Have a willingness to try new things. Don’t decide you don’t “like” something if you’ve never even tried it.

Keep a food log of what you eat. Note new things you try and your thoughts.

Don’t vilify foods or food groups. Unless you have a real medical condition or allergies there is no reason to not enjoy a variety of foods from all food groups.

Keep your goals in mind. Set something concrete out before yourself to strive for. Maybe adding one or two new fruits or vegetables a week to your meals or learning to cook a familiar one in a new way. Perhaps you might try a meatless meal or experiment with a new recipe.

Cooking at home will always allow you to control what you eat and what goes into it.  Don’t be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone with new healthy foods.

With some time and patience you will be on the way to changing your eating and taking steps to fuel your goals in a healthier way.

Do you have any healthy tried and true food tips to share?

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 ?

 

Keto And Dash Diet Review

DASH-Not-Just-Another-Fad-Diet_-767x398

 

It’s midafternoon and I’ve landed at my favorite coffee cave to write. I know it’s crazy but sometimes I’m more focused and less distracted writing in the mix of elevator music, the chatter of the baristas ( even when they go on break and sit and talk with me for awhile) and the low rumble of customers conversations.

Today, yesterday too, my goodness there were a few that felt like they had to talk over everything going on in the café.

Like… didn’t your mommy teach you about inside voices??

OK on to todays topic!

If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know I’m kind of “anti” diet person.

As in a structured plan for “x” weeks where you eat foods someone else has generated for you to eat, in the quantities they think you should eat, based on a caloric intake that has nothing to do with your person/life/fitness level.

No. Just no.

I think it’s ’cause I’m a free spirit and just want to do my own thing… and it’s worked… and if you missed me blabbing about that in my blog the other day … you can check it out… “The Dangerous Game Of Off Limits Foods”….

BUT… I fully realize some people do need that structure and it’s the vehicle that gets them to success….

So I thought I’d discuss one diet that flies under the radar and is balanced, sane, normal and has years of support from the medical community.

The other side of the coin is one that’s on the “popular train” right now and it’s like a newer, more hyper, version of Atkins. It shows up a lot on my social media sites and if I see it, I’m sure you do too.

Ok the first one….

The Dash Diet

DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) was designed to target those with high blood pressure (hypertension) but anyone can benefit from this plan.

It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats and whole grains. It’s similar in many ways to the Mediterranean diet, but it focuses particularly on whole foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium — minerals crucial to regulating blood pressure. The heart-healthy diet also includes loads of fiber and steers clear of sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat, supporting weight loss, which, in turn, can lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

What do you eat? the diet has a strong focus on :

Whole foods. Processed foods account for most of the sodium Americans consume, which can elevate blood pressure. DASH’s focus on whole foods over processed can help reduce sodium intake. Making an effort to scale back your salt intake further can boost the diet’s effects on blood pressure.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in blood pressure-lowering potassium and magnesium, and low in sodium and fat. They also contain lots of fiber.

Whole grains — like whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal — are also packed with potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy, like skim milk, feta cheese and low-fat yogurt, are important sources of calcium, and their low fat content supports weight loss and heart health.

Lean meat, poultry, and fish contain magnesium and protein, but not the high levels of saturated fat found in fattier cuts of red meat, which can raise blood pressure and heart disease risk.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes contain protein, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, and boost HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.

Mono- and polyunsaturated fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts, fish, and avocados, are important sources of energy and nutrients, but don’t increase cholesterol or pack on the pounds.

Keep sweets to a minimum.  Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

The same for alcohol and caffeine, which can raise blood pressure.

Of course it also focuses not just on food, but on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.

What are health benefits?

Keep blood pressure in check, improve heart health, prevent type 2 diabetes, shed pounds, strengthen bones, keeps your memory sharp, and curbs cancer risk.

The Dash diet is easy to follow as it doesn’t eliminate certain food groups. It includes all food groups with the foods being practical,affordable and easy to find at your local grocery store.

The main goal of this diet is to improve overall health. With a consistent lifestyle change and adhering to it, weight loss will come.  The Dash diet is practical and offers all food groups with a focus on reducing sodium/salt intake to lower blood pressure and other potential health problems.

Overall, this is a good program anyone could benefit from. It is not restrictive which will lead to a higher level of long term success.

On the flip side of diets….

The newest hype on the diet market is the Ketogenic (keto) Diet.  I have to say, researching it I found a couple things swirling through my head…

1… it sounds just like the Atkins thing my Mom did in the 70’s. In fact Keto is like Atkins, it’s a high protein, low carb diet. ( and you don’t get birthday cake on either one)

2…. it sounded very much like my (brief) stint with the Whole 30/Paleo thing I experimented with in a fitness challenge a few years ago. The foods you eat, the food groups excluded, the high protein/fat only Paleo doesn’t  focus on being in ketosis.

Ahhh there’s a word you may be unfamiliar with.

What does ketosis mean anyway?

I’m going to keep it super simple here.

Normally your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis and it begins to burn it’s own fat for fuel. Basically, you burn out your glycogen stores ( as an athlete just typing that makes me nervous) When your fat stores become your primary fuel source you may lose weight. You maintain a level of ketosis by keeping your carb level at next to nothing which keeps your body burning fat for energy.

Interestingly enough, the keto diet has been used since the early 1900’s to treat uncontrolled epilepsy in children.

Supporters of this diet also say it also controls blood sugar, helps with mental clarity, increases energy and normalizes hunger.

In my research it seems there are two camps… those who think it’s the cat’s meow of he perfect diet and those who are conservative about it’s  success rate and overall long term affects on the body.

Of course I have my own thoughts. I’m just not sure it’s long term sustainable.

The diet is ridiculously high in fats. Perhaps this is where I get hung up, I just don’t see consuming vast amounts of butter, meat, bacon, cheese etc in my best health interest.  The desired ratio of fat consumption is 3-4 grams of fat to every 1 gram of carb and protein which amounts to getting about 75-80% of your daily calories from fat.

The diet is all about the fat to carbs/ protein ratio, so even though you aren’t technically counting calories meals have to be planned carefully to adhere to the strict formula.

I found these words about the diet…. ” Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat.”  Let that be your guide on if this could be a good choice for you.

What foods do you avoid?

Carbs. And that means no birthday cake for you… or ice cream.

Seriously though, carbs are in almost everything and you must account for them in your daily diet to stay in ketosis. Even good veggies have small amounts of carbs and therefore have to be counted.  When you are working with…. 20-30grams……. or less a day you don’t get much wiggle room. The bread/grains//beans etc food group is completely eliminated with other food groups being kind of scarce in what you’re allowed to have (like fruit)

Can you lose weight on this diet?

You can because your body is burning fat for fuel. The other thing to consider is you are not eating any of your favorite foods like crusty breads, pastries, chips, cookies, crackers, cereals, potatoes or sugars so that will definitely knock weight off.

Ok.. the food groups. The nuts and seeds category could be overrated. It sounds good, like there’s so much to eat, but after awhile you want something more than nuts or avocado. And honestly, so many of the “foods” listed just aren’t where I’m at or they aren’t easy to get, or they are costly.

( Seriously, I love nuts and avocados and they are in my daily diet but I’m not dependent on them to not starve)

Of course I see more “eat all the bacon, fat, cheese, butter” posts and articles than I see on eating a plethora of veggies and fruits. Mainly because you can’t have many of them or you have to be restrictive of them too if you are truly going to keep yourself in a state of ketosis.

The diet is low in fiber so that could cause digestive problems for people. You may not get certain vitamins and minerals from this diet so you may need to supplement or take vitamins.

There are also a host of issues that can come along with this diet but if I’m to believe my research, those things can possibly go away once your body adjusts to not having carbs.

Weight loss can be seen as maybe, impressive? in the first week or two someone is on the diet but you must remember this.

Carbs hold water. A huge reduction of them will cause a lot of water loss in the first few weeks. This can’t be counted as fat loss but it could be the kick start someone needs to get going on their weight loss.

This diet can be helpful for those who are over weight or  obese and needing to lose a good amount of weight . It’s not recommended for heart patients or people with kidney disease.

On an athletic level, I’m not sure it would deliver what I would need to perform well, or that it would for any athlete.

In summary…

it can be costly since high quality meats, cheeses, proteins are encouraged. Some foods on the accepted list might not be easy to find and others might not be on your personal palate.

This isn’t recommended long term, but it seems most people don’t last that long on it. I mean after awhile you just want some crusty bread for your pricey grass fed butter!

Hear me on this. It’s not a bad thing for any of us to reduce (simple) carbs in our daily diets which are found in foods like cookies, crackers, chips, baked goods, fast foods, sugar drinks etc.  and increase healthier snacks like whole raw nuts, fruits/veggies, low fat dairy and other heart healthy foods. Simple steps like this might be all someone needs to have some changes on the scale and we’d all be healthier adopting this attitude towards food.

From a purely personal perspective, I don’t see it sustainable for anyone long term. I don’t think if offers enough nutritional value by cutting so many of the good fruits and veggies we need for health as well as a minimal focus on other food groups, and I don’t think a high fat diet is in anyone’s best interest and you’d have to sell me really hard on that idea. Really hard.

It can lead to weight loss but overall it’s a restrictive program that many will quickly end the relationship with… because…well….. birthday cake 😉

Tell me… have you tried either of these diets? Or was there a diet that helped you get started on your weight loss efforts that worked for you?