80/20 Rule: My personal way to keep balance in my nutritional habits

When it comes to my health, fitness, and nutrition, I have a few rules in place that help me stay the course.

One of them, I call my 80/20 rule.

Let me explain.

Eating healthy, particularly for weight loss, takes a commitment.

You don’t just say you’d like to lose weight and be healthy, you have to actually create a plan and stay focused in order to see results.  But, one thing I have noticed with so many of my fellow weight loss enthusiasts is that when they participate in a stringent, straight and narrow weight loss path, they become weary pretty early on.  They may be able to maintain the rigidity of staying the course for a short period, but inevitably, they wander off (or run away from) that path.

In other words, they crash their “crash” diets!

Unknowingly, they set themselves up for failure, because it’s completely unrealistic to never treat yourself to the pleasures of fine foods.

Let me give a shout out here to Weight Watcher’s, as their program is designed to allow from some type of indulgent free choice foods that when eaten according to the program guidelines still allows you to lose weight.  Some other programs also have a “cheat day”, where 6 days of the week, you eat a specific plan, and on the 7th day you are able to indulge in any food that you desire.  And I am sure there are other programs that allow for indulgences.  However, I’m referring to super low calorie diets and those that have you eating the same food every day. (more…)

You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty!

When you think you’re hungry, your body maybe trying to tell you that it’s thirsty. If you don’t drink enough water every day, your body can feel hunger pains, but chances are your body is crying out for water. A weak thirst mechanism (in about 37% Americans) sends confused signals which misinforms you that you need to eat when you probably just need to drink water.

photo credit: bigstock
photo credit: bigstock

My friends, let’s give water the respect it is due! We can go weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. 71% of the earth’s surface is water. And about 70 % of the human body is made up of water.  Water can give life , and water can destroy (like floods and tsunami’s). As techno-crazy as the world has become, only about 3 drops of water can damage your smart phone enough to have you lined up for and iPhone repair in no time flat!

Water is a mysteriously unique substance and is as it is the only substance on earth that can interchangeably exist in three forms- liquid, solid, and gas.

The Many Problems of Lack of Water in the body

Lack of water in plants, herbs, shrubs and trees can lead to death, rather quickly actually. Every living thing needs water to survive and thrive. Lack of water in the human body leads to overeating, while the opposite is true for consuming water- which suppresses the appetite naturally in the human body. And over eating leads to obesity, which leads to premature death! Just like the plants that survive on water, we need it too, and won’t last long without it.

For almost 100% of dieters in a University of Washington study one glass of water eliminated hunger pangs. (more…)

A New Way to Calculate Weight Loss

As we’ve written about before there are tons of different ways to try to lose weight. But nothing seems to help a majority of people. Thousands of people turn to weight-loss surgery every year, but so many people just gained that weight back almost immediately.

Are we are destined to be overweight and obese?
I don’t think so. But I think it has a lot to do with stress levels.
You see stress levels and cortisol are interconnected. The more stress we have less time we have to recover from it, the more cortisol all that we secrete and the more difficult it becomes to lose weight. This is why you can go on a very very low calorie diet and still actually gained weight. If you are stressed or to see if stress and a chronic and sustained state, your body will hold onto the weight both water weight and actual weight retention.

How can you deal with and measure stress?

There are numerous ways to measure stress. One of them is through heart rate variability.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the measurement between the time between your heart beats. It never beats symmetrically, there’s always variation. It’s not like it’s just one second, beat one second, beat one second, there’s always a variation in that heartbeat. It may be 1.25 seconds, 1.28 seconds, 2.25 seconds, .08 seconds, and the like. So you basically you will have a lot of variation and it is that variation that will tell you how stressed your body actually is metabolically, hormonally, and as well as your central nervous system.

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6 Pack Abs in 10 days?

Wow, is that even possible?

Credit: Bigstock Photo
Credit: Bigstock Photo

I can’t imagine something so powerful or magical that would allow me to have the abs of my dreams in only ten days, ten weeks, or even ten months!  There are articles out there that promote food plans, ads that promote supplements and herbs, infomercials that promote exercise programs – all of which promise unattainable 6 pack abs in a short period of time.  Maybe I’m a pessimist (or a realist), but I think most of these promotions are deceiving.

Outside of TV and magazines, I’m not sure I’ve seen too many real people with flat stomachs or six pack abs.  Although there was one time that I was actually in a gym with a fitness professional about to do a photo shoot for a magazine and I witnessed first-hand that 6 pack abs really do exist in the world.  However, she was a professional model and working to maintain a magazine cover-ready body was her job! But what about the rest of us?  Can it really happen?

Well, my friends, let me be honest with you.  Unless you are already super fit, eating a clean diet, and exercising regularly and efficiently (especially toning with weights) –  and already drinking a ton of water on a a daily basis, the road to a flat stomach and noticeable abs is not for the weak of will.  About a year ago, my friend purchased a program after being enticed by a very motivating infomercial that promised her the body she always wanted in 21 days.  She had high hopes that if she did the exercise program and followed the eating plan, she would see major results as promised. She gave it her all for 21 days, and indeed she saw results but a far cry away from the “body she always wanted”.  She was in a better place than she started, but she still had a long way to go.  (more…)

Want to lose weight? Make sure your attitude is set on positive!

I’ve been in the weight loss and customized nutrition industry for many years.  I’ve spoken to hundreds of people wanting to lose weight and get fit.  One thing I have found to always be true, is that attitude sets the tone for success.  People who actually believe that they are going to succeed and can keep this perspective despite periodic setbacks are the ones who actually do succeed.  Perhaps you have heard the famous quote by Henry Ford – “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t -you’re right.”

Some people are gifted with this type of mindset, others have to work at changing some thinking habits and negative self-talk.  I’d like to share an example to illustrate a common mental roadblock to weight loss success.

Disappointment in yourself for past failures at weight loss attempts.

Lisa shared with me that she wanted to lose about 40 lbs, but I could tell from early on in our conversation that she had little hope that she ever would reach that goal. She spent a lot of time listing all her past failures – the many times she started and quit a slew of different programs.  She saw herself as a failure in this area of her life, and wondered if she would ever have success. (more…)

Pick up your weights and start lifting: 5 reasons why you should strength train

When taking into consideration different ideas to help you lose weight, stay hydrated, and count calories, always take into consideration that sometimes the best ‘food’ can be exercise. And not just any form of exercise. The type of exercise we’re talking about today has drastic benefits across the board. We’re talking about strength training.
Proper strength training can help you to feel better, look better, and function better and delivers a ton of benefits that can’t be found anywhere else.

1. Strength training prevents muscle loss.

From birth to about age 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. However, somewhere in your 30’s you begin to lose muscle mass. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle per decade. Once muscle loss sets in, your health is on a downhill slope, with loss of energy, weight gain, vulnerability to disease, and accelerated aging.

2. Strength training will reduce your body fat

Fat does not turn into muscle when you begin to strength train, nor does muscle turn to fat when you stop. They are very different from one another. Fat looks like honeycomb and muscle like a bundle of straws under a microscope. Muscle tissue has the ability to increase in size through regular, progressive exercise. Fat tissue typically decreases in size with consistent strength training. (more…)

How to Customize a Nutrition Plan for Your BioIndividuality

No two nutrition plans work for each person. Why? Because each person is has individual needs. We all have different preferences as well, and if a diet plan is going to be working in the long term, you need to find foods that you like that work for you.

BioIndividuality: Your unique biology

Remember that no two people are the same. Everyone’s DNA is different, and so is their development and expression of those genes. We have to take into consideration not just what the government tells us to eat through the food pyramid, but need to take a more holistic approach. When selecting what foods to eat, we must take into consideration a plethora of things, including:

This is just a small list of what you need to be taking into consideration what foods to eat. (more…)

Does Fat Make you Fat? Plus how to use a fat intake calculator

Conventional wisdom since the 1970’s has said avoid fat at all costs. That’s why you see fat free everything in the stores. But new information has shown that fat can actually be a good thing for you. In this article, we’ll try to explain whether or not fat is good or bad for you.

Nuts, seeds and fat

Dietary Fat: Good or Bad

First and foremost, it’s our position that eating fat is probably a bad thing. I’ve bickered back and forth with my friend Jay about this, who is self proclaimed health enthusiast, and who also (strangely) is an accomplished lumberjack (click here to visit his website). That being said, before fat eating lovers get upset, let me explain my position. Consuming too much of anything can make you fat. All food has caloric values and if you are consuming too much of even the healthiest of foods, you can gain weight, and therefore, become more fat and overweight.

Excluding veggies

(Well, maybe not eating vegetables, because you can eat like 5 lbs a day of greens, and you will never get fat from veggies. Most veggies have only trace amounts of fat) But the truth is, fat is caloric dense, one gram of fat is 9 calories. One gram of protein provides 4 calories. A pound of fresh spinach has roughly the same number of calories as a single tablespoon of butter. So obviously, it’s more about the amount that you consume. But even with its caloric density, a fat- free diet should not be an option.

Fat: an essential macronutrient

Fat is an essential macronutrient in the body and has a number of roles in helping our bodies to function in a healthy manner. Fat provide the energy for most of our life-functions. (more…)

BMI: Do these numbers make me look fat?

BMI is a health measuring tool used to determine Body Mass Index. It is the result of a formula applied to your weight and height measurements to estimate fatness. Knowing your BMI can help you determine your overall fitness and your risk of developing chronic diseases, but isn’t the end all be all test for health. High BMI results *usually*point to obesity, which obviously presents a gigantic risk to your health.

Body mass index BMI

Although determining your BMI, is not as easy as stepping on a scale, you can simply plug in your height and weight to an online BMI calculator. 

Or, you can simply manually determine your BMI by using the formula below:

Divide your weight by your height in inches squared. For example, if you are 140 pounds and stand 66 inches tall, divide 140 by 4,356, which is 0.03. Multiply your result by 703. In this example the calculation comes out to be 22.6. This number is your BMI.

How do you rank? Your BMI results place you in one of the following categories:

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Eating Veggies helps with weight loss

Why counting calories may tip the scales….and help you lose weight

Counting calories may seem a bit old fashioned in today’s diet crazed world. Believe me, I know that there are so many diet programs out there these days promising results on the scale by following a specific set of eating guidelines. I’ve seen people put all their hope in Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem which are a few of the most popular weight loss programs on the market. They each have particular features that make their program stand out and appeal to the desperate dieter.

Eating Veggies helps with weight loss
photo credit: bigstock

Having your meals pre-portioned and sent to your home appeals to some; freedom to eat what you choose and count corresponding points appeals to others. But no program in the diet industry is recommending simple calorie counting. It seems so basic and doesn’t sound very glamorous. But in reality, that’s what all diet programs do – restrict your caloric intake so that you can take in fewer calories than your body burns in a day, resulting in weight loss.

The Balancing Act of Weight Loss

Your weight is a balancing act, but the equation is simple: If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Caloric guidelines that are based on age, gender, and activity levels are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Females caloric needs range from 1600-2400. Male caloric needs range from 2000-3000 calories per day. Determining your appropriate caloric baseline is the starting point to “counting calories” to lose weight.

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