Is Sugar Toxic?

Watch this video, it’s only 14 min of your life but could help you add years to it!

60 Minutes – Is Sugar Toxic?

This will help you understand why our country has an obesity problem. Here are some take away points:

– Sugar from fruit is fine since it is in such small amounts and fruit has fiber that slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.

– Limit or stay away from foods that have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), start looking at your food labels, if there are too many ingredients you cannot pronounce, you probably should try to stay away from it.

– Since the movement to take fat out of food or have low fat foods, sugar or HFCS was added to make low fat food taste good. Since this movement for low fat food, many diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome etc. have skyrocketed.

– Some cancers can grow larger due to insulin, another reason not to have excess sugar in your diet! Your body will release more insulin in response to sugar intake.

– Your brain has the same response to sugar as it does to cocaine!

– Men and women should consume less than 150 and 100 grams of sugar respectively a day.

In Summary, you should limit your sugar intake as well as eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats. You should also make changes in your lifestyle by adding in more physical activity and exercise.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!

The ACSM recommendations for weight loss suggest that 150-250 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity will prevent weight gain. Amounts greater than 250 minutes a week lead to modest weight loss. The most successful strategy is to combine diet restriction and increased physical activity; this leads to more weight loss than just diet alone.

With that said, physical activity does not have to be planned exercise; it can be household chores like mowing the lawn (not on a riding mower), cleaning and raking leaves. Going to the grocery store does not count. 60% of adults in the US are either overweight or obese; largely due to 40% of adults do not participate in leisure time physical activity.

So let’s do the math here. If you need 250 min a week of physical activity just to maintain your weight, which is only a little over 4 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week, 56 of them should be spent sleeping, if you work, at least 40 hours working, that’s 72 hours a week of time that you are not sleeping or working that you can find time to exercise. If you plan an hour of exercise or physical activity a day combined with the proper nutrition, weight loss should happen.

Someone once told me, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Here are a few tips in planning for success:

  1. Schedule your workouts. If you work with a trainer, you have an appointment. When you exercise without your trainer, schedule that as well. Don’t just assume it’s going to happen. You should weight train at least 2 times a week and get cardio-vascular training at least 3 times a week for 30-45 min each time for weight loss.
  2. Plan out your meals for the week. Look at your schedule so you know where you will be for your meals. Make your food ahead of time if you are on the go. Convenience is key, that’s why America loves fast food. If your healthy food is prepared ahead of time and all you have to do is warm it up, you won’t fall into lazy habits of just eating out all the time. Diet is the most important part of losing weight.
  3. Set goals for yourself. Make a short term goal for weight loss. In some cases, the end in mind is a bit overwhelming. Make it realistic and set deadlines. See if you can lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks. Make it measurable, have your body fat and circumferences measured so you can see your results on paper.
  4. Plan a little time each day for yourself. Use this to relax, read a book, pray, try to forget about your stress. Prolonged periods of stress can actually make you store more fat through changes in your hormones.

Losing weight can seem like a daunting task, start slow and ease yourself into it. Start by taking walks around your neighborhood or a park. Get yourself moving and see if you can meet 150 minutes a week of physical activity. When you master that, see if you can do 250 minutes. Your time can be a mix of planned exercise and physical activity.

Why You Should Take Fish Oil

Thirteen Reasons to Use Fish Oils to Get Lean

By Charles Poliquin and Dr. Mark Houston M.D.

Excerpt from Charles Poliquin’s and Dr. Houston’s book on fat loss.

Serious trainers want to find a supplement that will give them an edge. For those of us interested in positively and optimally altering body composition and maximizing our training efforts, Fish Oils offer thirteen possible advantages:

  1. Cell membrane health: Eicosapentaenoci acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) insure that cell membranes stay healthy. The membranes are more flexible and contain larger numbers of insulin receptors that are more receptive and responsive to circulating insulin. This results in decreased fat storage in the adipocytes (fat cells).
  2. Fish oils turn on lipolytic genes (fat burning genes).
  3. Fish oils turn off the lipogenic genes (fat storage genes).
  4. Fish oils diminish C-reactive proteins, a newly identified risk factor associated with various inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure and diabetes. The DHA fraction of the fish oil seems to be one most responsible for that protective effect. DHA also has best ability to reduce blood pressure.
  5. Increase utilization of fat stores from adipocytes (fat cells).
  6. Preferential utilization for energy production once stored in the adipocytes.
  7. Reduced inflammation from physical training.
  8. Pain management from the reduce inflammation.
  9. EPA regulates blood supply to the brain that is essential in maintaining focus in weight training sessions. DHA is important in brain membranes, memory and cognitive function.
  10. Fish oils increase serotonin levels (the happy neurotransmitter). Therefore, fish oils will decrease incidence of depression, anxiety, panic attack and reduce carbohydrate cravings.
  11. Fish oils will improve your cardio-vascular risk profile by lowering VLDL, triglycerides, homocysteine, fibrinogen and increasing HDL levels. Combining fish oils with plant sterols will improve lipid levels even more than either alone.
  12. Fish oils can also decrease blood pressure by several mechanisms. These include increases in vasodilatory compound, nitric oxide, reducing vascular inflammation, blocking constrictive elements in the vascular wall such as calcium channels reducing blood viscosity, and inhibiting a blood vessel constrictor (thromboxane). Lipoprotein (a) is another CVD predictor that can be lowered by fish oils (a 19% reduction was seen with natural, stable fish oils and just 4% with  highly purified fish oil).
  13. Fish oils are a great stress fighter. Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids inhibits the adrenal activation of steroids, aldosterone, epinephrine and norepinephrine (catecholamines) elicited by a mental stress, apparently through effects exerted at the level of the central nervous system. Therefore, for the same amount of stress, one will produce fewer stress hormones if consuming fish oils on a regular basis.

Protein Smoothie

I thought I would share my favorite smoothie recipe I use at home after my own workouts or as a snack between meals.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie:

– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

– 1/2 ripe banana

– 1 tbsp of peanut butter

– 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla whey protein powder

– 5-6 ice cubes

Works well with the magic bullet blender system if you’re on the go or you can use a large blender. I also like 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) instead of a banana and peanut butter for a little less calories.

Peanut Butter/Banana Smoothie: 270 calories

Mixed Berry Smoothie: 210 calories

Nutrition Made Easy

Have you ever been frustrated trying to lose weight in the past? Do all those conversions of protein, starches and fats make you get discouraged? Our philosophy is to make nutrition easy. Here are a few helpful hints:

1. Drink lots of water! Replace all that soda and coffee that you drink all day. If you find yourself tired, sometimes more caffeine isn’t the answer. You may be dehydrated and need more water. Water also helps you burn more calories. A good goal to shoot for is half your weight in ounces of water a day, not including water you need after vigorous exercise.

2. At each meal, build your plate around a lean source of protein. A good guideline for a portion is the size of your palm.

3. Get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits, not your starches, breads or pasta.

4. Limit the amount of sugar you have! For men, have less than 150 grams and less than 100 grams of sugar for women a day. This is possibly the biggest problem. Sugar increases your blood sugar, this triggers your insulin to take that out of your blood and into your body’s cells. You can only store so much carbohydrate in your body in the form of glycogen. The rest is turned into body fat you probably want to get rid of. Avoid foods that are highly processed or have high fructose corn syrup in them.

5. Eat more frequently! Don’t skip meals! When you go long periods of time without eating, you will get cravings for carbohydrates and ruin your day diet wise. Try to eat 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks per day. Eat every 2-4 hours.

6. Eat till you are only 80% full. Don’t overeat.

If you follow these guidelines 90% of the time, this should lead to weight loss. If you are looking to maintain, you should eat like this 80% of the time. If you do the math, there are 7 days in a week, 3 meals per day, 2 snacks per day so it looks like this….

To lose weight:

3 (meals) + 2 (snacks) = 5 sittings per day

5 x 7 (days/week) = 35 sittings

35 x .9 = 3.5 meals/snacks per week where you can splurge a little bit

You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, just don’t overeat.

Are You Ready for Change?

A generally accepted model for any type of behavior change is the Transtheoretical Model. In exercise terms, it looks a little like this:

1. Precontemplation (not ready): You have no intention of even going to the gym, it’s not even in the back of your mind that you should go.

2. Contemplation (getting ready): You know that you need to make some changes to your health, and you think to yourself “I’ll get around to it.” At this point you can find just as many reasons or excuses why you can’t workout than why you should work out. You are probably going to do something in the next 6 months.

3. Preparation (ready): At this point, you are telling your friends and family that you are going to start working out and eating right, you are mentally preparing yourself and thinking about how you’re going to do it, but still not quite there. You’ll likely start in the next month.

4. Action: You’re actually doing it! Whether you jumped straight in or you had to wade your feet in the shallow end first, you are actually making changes in your behavior (this is where Journey Fitness comes in)! We can’t make you decide to exercise, but when you are ready, we can help guide you to make the healthy changes needed. If you are working with a trainer, that’s only a few hours out of the week, you are flying solo the rest of those hours and our job is not only to train you, but educate you for while you’re not with us.

5. Maintenance: You have made changes but still have a chance to relapse. You need to seek accountability and support. A personal trainer or boot camp would be a great way to have accountability, they also can keep your workouts fun by changing up the exercises. Family and friends are great support too.

6. Termination or relapse: Hopefully, you reach termination where your old ways have no chance of surfacing again. If not you may have a chance to relapse after the action or maintenance phase. Relapse may be due to boredom of your workout or eating the same healthy foods all the time. Journey Fitness can show you healthy recipes and nutrition tips as well as fun workouts that always change to fight boredom.