Weight Loss Plateau, Getting Through It

No matter where you turn when following any of the many available weight loss social media forums, the topic of plateauing always will come up. Plateaus are a real problem for some, however, they never have to be a problem for anyone. I know that right now, there is going to be at least a few who are fuming mad after reading that last sentence, but it is a truth that almost no one ever needs to get worked up about a plateau if they are doing everything right.

If you are on medications or have a diagnosed medical condition which causes you to gain, or to have difficulty losing weight, then you may have a solid reason why this article does not apply to you so much. That being said, by being proactive you can still do better for yourself than you might believe yourself capable.

What is a weight loss plateau?

A weight loss plateau happens when the calories you burn equal the calories you eat.

When this happens, your weight loss is going to stall, but you need not get worked up about this if the stall is only for a couple of weeks. It is always possible during your weight loss plateau that you could still be losing body fat yet retaining water to the point the reading on your scale is not budging. This is the reason why at David’s Way we strongly encourage our readers to worry more about getting to a healthy body fat percentage, at a healthy rate of loss over time instead of concentrating on a set number on the scale you are attempting to achieve in a short period of time. Odds are you did not get fat overnight, which means it is unreasonable to assume you can get thin overnight. Lets get your body fat down at a healthy rate of loss which would only be about 1 pound per week.

Short plateaus where the scale number refuses to budge happens to almost everyone who is in the process of losing weight. It really should not come as a surprise to anyone when they do have a temporary stall, yet many do not, or cannot, understand why it has happened to them since they are doing everything right. When you hit a plateau, the last thing you want to do is freak out, or give up and revert back to your old unhealthy ways. If you hit a plateau, you need to simply take a moment and evaluate why it has happened and then adjust your diet and exercise regimen accordingly.

With a little knowledge of what happens within your body when you begin a diet, you can get through plateaus without stress. When you have a difficult time losing weight, the answer to this problem is usually going to be more simple than you might believe it to be. But first you need to understand how your body’s physiology works when you diet.

During the first week or two of a diet, your weight is going to drop rapidly and then it is going to slow down. This is true for everyone, it is not a problem unique only unto you. When you cut calories your body gets it’s needed energy by releasing it’s stores of glycogen. Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate found in your liver and muscles and is made up partly by water. When glycogen is burned for energy, it release it’s water which you will see in a rapid initial weight loss. If you lose ten pounds in your first two weeks of dieting, about eight of those pounds will be solely from water weight and not your body fat.

Most people who go on a diet, will lose lean muscle mass along with body fat which is why we advocate eating a high protein diet coupled with resistance training that will help you maintain your lean muscle. Your lean muscle mass is what keeps your metabolism up, it helps you to burn calories more efficiently. If you lose lean muscle mass along with body fat, you are going to cause your metabolism to slow down and therefore burn calories at a slower rate than when you were heavier. When you hit a plateau, it is time to re-evaluate your caloric intake and exercise regimen if you have not already been thinking it through before hand. Constant, and honest evaluation will keep your weight loss going in the right direction, yet maybe not as quickly as you might desire. You will either need to decrease your calories consumed or increase calories burned when you hit a true plateau, or a combination of these two factors. If you do not adjust your methods, your weight will be stuck where it is.

What to do when you do plateau.

  • Evaluate your habits. Have you changed anything? If you began your weight loss journey weighing and measuring your foods, do you still do this? A few ounces extra of a lot of foods will add up quickly over the day and week. Do you still track all that you consume? Those peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts you trimmed off of your childs sandwich add up as does those calories you get from licking off spoons and knives when preparing foods. Do you track those tastes you take while preparing your family’s meals? Are your food portions at dinner getting larger while your exercise time is getting smaller?
  • Cut your calories a little more, yet do not ever go under 1200 per day unless you are under medical supervision. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories which means to lose one pound of body fat per week, you must cut your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. If by cutting 500 calories a day places you into a caloric range under 1200 per day, then you need to consider increasing your exercise time and intensity. If you cut your calories too far, you are setting yourself up also for intense hunger which could easily cause you to binge eat at some point during your day.
  • If you are still consuming simple carbs such as table sugar along with processed foods, quit them. Simple carbs cause your body crave more and also to become inflamed and retain fluids as do processed foods which are usually full of sodium, preservatives, unhealthy fats and simple sugars. Eat whole foods that you need to prepare yourself. You will actually find it difficult to consume all of your daily needed calories when you only consume whole, healthy foods.
  • Ensure you exercise at least four days per week for at least a half hour and at an intensity which is enough to place your heart rate into it’s aerobic fat burning zone. You do not need a fitness tracker nor a heart rate monitor to know when you are in the zone. You can know you are in the right fat burning zone when you can speak but with some difficulty. If you cannot speak during exercise, you are in the anaerobic zone and need to back off the intensity. If you speak normally, then you need to increase your intensity. Remember, it takes an average of 20 minutes in the aerobic zone to burn through glycogen stores before your body actually begins burning fat for energy.

Whatever you do, never give up on yourself in your journey to lose weight and be healthier. Plateaus are not always a bad thing as with the right resistance exercises at the right intensity, your body fat might still be going away as your lean muscle mass is increasing which means the number on your scale may not move for a few weeks at a time. I advise to never weigh yourself daily, and even if you weigh yourself weekly, you should only concentrate on the difference in weight between the first weigh in of the month and the last one of the month. Additionally, if your trousers are fitting looser around the waist, and your shirts are fitting better around your belly, then the number on the scale is pretty much irrelevant. No matter what you do, never give up on yourself, you deserve better. If you are having a difficult time with your weight loss, you can always reach out to us through our contact email in the David’s Way menu or in our blog’s comments section. We are always happy to answer all correspondence from our readers.

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Do It Anyway

The Facts

There is one thing that is certain. Working to be healthy takes a commitment to yourself and also to those that you love. You obviously need to be healthy for yourself but you can’t help anyone else without taking care of yourself first. There are times that thinking about doing this for yourself may not be inspirational enough. In those times, remember that if you are alive and healthy into a rich old age, you can take care of others. Sometimes that is a stronger motivation.

You First

Quite often people around us resent the time and effort that we spend working out and studying nutrition and planning our days to be maximized to give us the greatest benefit health wise. These same people have no problem with asking us to spend our time and resources on them. What they don’t seem to realize is that the stronger that we are, the longer we can care for them.

Controlling Behavior

There are many people who simply want control of our time and resources. If we invest our time and assets in our health, then the controlling personalities cannot manage them for themselves. Quite often they want to determine how we spend our leisure time, where we work, who we associate with and even minute details of our lives such as when we sleep. They almost always want to control our finances. They may argue about a piece of workout equipment and then make a ridiculous purchase in the same day. Just go ahead, invest in yourself. They will be glad you did when they need you.

Jealousy

The resentment that is fueled by self-care is intense and illogical. I have actually been told that serious problems in other people’s lives, that they have had their entire lives, are my fault because I don’t quit working out. Being health conscious provokes anger in those who are not. It’s quite often pure jealousy. The one’s who make poor health choices, and pay the consequences, are jealous of the commitment and strength shown by others who carry through with good health practices. Honestly, the only thing you can do with this is just keep staying on your Program because if they can make you deviate one time, they will get worse. If this person is not a pivotal individual in your life, drop them fast. Otherwise, they will not rest until they fully undermine you. I have lived this. Get away from these toxic people.

Be Honest With Yourself

Blaming others with our bad behavior is an easier way out of a day full of bad choices than just being honest about our behavior. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, she just wouldn’t hush til I tried it!” That is not a reason to make a bad choice, it’s an excuse. There’s a difference. A reason would be, “My car broke down and I hadn’t eaten all day and the tow truck driver offered me a candy bar.” An excuse is “She wouldn’t hush.” Genuine hunger has to be satiated. Peer pressure is best left for high school and even then, it’s a bad idea.There are methods to overcome peer pressure and the negative influence of others.

1- Spend time with those who resist peer pressure. Learn from them. Read the blog!

2- Learn how to be assertive, say “No!”

3-Ask for help. We both answer comments and questions.

4-Get out of the situation. Go home…

5- Choose your friends carefully.

6- Use the delay tactic. Don’t answer immediately. This will buy you time and then RUN!

7- Think and plan ahead.

8- Provide your own positive influences. Read the blog.

9- Learn to be okay with being alone. Bad social acquaintances are still bad, and bad for you. Be alone rather than with those who are a bad influence.

10- Go with your gut. If a behavior feels like it’s a poor choice, it probably is. Follow your instincts and stick to your Program.

With forethought and determination you can avoid the negative influence of people who work against you. Plan to be healthy and start now. You have nothing to lose except low self esteem. Press in and create your very best self. Do it anyway.

Low Carb Red, White and Blue Berry Ice Cream Pie

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Serves 12

Calories 401

Carbs 10 grams

Protein 7 grams

Ice Cream Ingredients

2 cups heavy  cream

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup 4% cottage cheese

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup Swerve Confectioner’s Sweetener

1 Tablespoon  Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon  glycerin ( to make the pie easy to cut)

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries

No Bake Crust

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup salted butter, melted

1/4 cup  almond butter

1/4 cup Swerve Confectioner’s Sweetener

Instructions

1. Combine all the ice cream ingredients (except  the berries) in a blender and process until smooth. Churn in an ice cream freezer.

2.Prepare the pie crust and chill.

3. After ice cream is ready, stir in berries. Spoon  into the pie crust and freeze the pie for 5-6 hours.

4. Remove the pie from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form and mix in the sweetener and put on top of pie. Decorate with fresh berries and slice and serve.

 

 

Low Carb Chocolate No Bake Cookies

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These cookies have only 7 grams of carbs per serving. Similar chocolate no bake cookies made with sugar have anywhere from 18-25 grams per serving. Get your fix and save those  carbs wasted on sugar for real food!

Serves 9

Calories 140

Carbs 7 grams

Fiber 2 grams

Protein 3 grams

Ingredients:

1/8 cup solid coconut oil

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate

3 Tablespoons Swerve Confectioners Powder

2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Peanut Butter, or whatever unsweetened nut butter you prefer

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup unsweetened Coconut, shredded

1/2 cup almonds. slivered

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil and chocolate together in a double boiler until fully melted.

Add nut butter and combine.

Remove from heat and whisk in Swerve.

Stir in salt and vanilla.

Mix in coconut and almonds.

Drop onto parchment paper.

Refrigerate until hard.

 

 

Summer Is Here!

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Party Season

It’s  almost  officially  Summer and hot enough to be convincing. Sometimes  when this time of year arrives, all of our hopes and dreams of getting into great shape to rock that bikini begin to drift away. The party mentality of the Season has taken hold. This means different  things  to  different  people.

Lazy Days

For some, it has turned  into  a lazy time. You may say that it’s just too hot to work out and tend to lounge by the pool or just kick back in your recliner under the air conditioner. You may opt for drive-thru food instead of standing in a hot kitchen. Family get-togethers and church socials are laden with cold or frozen desserts and the temptation to try them all, coupled with peer pressure to just join in the festivities seems like an easy excuse to loosen up. You may think that it will be easier in the Fall. Guess again. That’s  when the festivities increase.

Rockin’

If you are the Party Animal then this is the Season of cold beer and frozen Margaritas. Once you have downed a few of these icy enticements, food sounds and looks even better. Your inhibitions are non-existent and it’s all too easy to have one more drink and one more hot wing. The nonstop party action of Summer can easily pile on 20 pounds over the entire Season. A pound is 3,500 calories. One 16 ounce frozen Margarita can be 850 calories, one Pina Colada, 650 calories. a Mudslide 820 calories. Get the picture? There are 806 calories in 10 small chicken wings. Do I need to continue? Maybe not, but let’s not forget pizza and beer. There is 390 calories in one slice of Meat Lover’s pizza and 145 calories in one 12 ounce beer. The point here is ONE. Seriously? Who eats one slice of pizza after having one beer and who ever stops with one beer?

The Problem

If we haven’t met our health and fitness goals by this time of year it’s easy to become discouraged. The reason is that quite often our motivation was a little off in the beginning. If our motivation to get healthy was to look good in shorts, and that hasn’t happened, it’s easy to say “What the heck?!? I might as well “enjoy” the Summer.” and just let everything go to Hell.

Reconfigure

While looking good is an admirable motivation, it’s really not the best one. The best one is to be healthy and to rock your entire life. You can be “skinny-fat” and look pretty good in summer clothes but you won’t be healthy. “Skinny-fat” is a condition that is known as metabolically obese, normal weight individuals who look fit and healthy but, due to a lack of exercise and/or poor diet have health problems lurking. (1) If you want loads of sexy muscle and low body fat so that your blood chemistry is good and you have energy to burn, along with looking awesome, you are much more likely to stick to your commitment of getting healthy this year. Remember, without good health your looks really don’t mean anything. You can’t back it up, Baby. Work towards getting healthy and you will think twice before downing that third Margarita.

Work It

If you are hot and tired and don’t feel like doing anything except lounging, much less cooking, try some of our recipes.  https://davidsway.blog/2019/03/03/low-carb-pizza/  is a low carb recipe for a pizza casserole that is quick and easy to prepare.  Pair that with the Mock Wendy’s Frosty at  https://davidsway.blog/2019/05/31/sugar-free-mock-wendys-frosty/   and you will not miss anything this summer. Being healthy does take a little work, sometimes hard work, but let me ask you, is it easy to be overweight and unhealthy? There is a quote that I love, “Losing weight is hard, Being overweight is hard. Choose your hard.” Spending all of your time and money in the doctor’s office and the pharmacy is the hardest life imaginable. If alcohol is your biggest problem, I strongly advise you to seek medical intervention. The health hazards of alcohol abuse are profound and the end of it is a horrible death. Seek professional help today.

Enjoy!

With forethought  and insight, you can enjoy this Summer and continue to improve your health. If you like to swim or hike, this is a wonderful Season! Get out there! Take advantage of grilled meats and fresh Summer produce. Leave off the heavy comfort foods that provide anything except comfort when you look in the mirror or your doctor comes in with your lab results. Instead of being swayed by the masses of unhealthy precedents that are often set in a social environment, be the example. Show those that you love and enjoy being around that health is a choice, not a chance. Conquer this Season and go into the Fall Festivities with renewed confidence and determination to weather the Winter in a healthy fit body.

(1) https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/are-you-skinny-fat

 

 

Your Second Heart

The Heart Needs Help

Our heart is an amazing organ that pumps blood throughout our entire body with a single squeezing action. It sends oxygen to the farthest reaches of our body in a moment. There is one problem, to get the blood back to the heart it takes more than that single pump. To get it back to the heart, the calf and ankle muscles assist the heart in circulating blood throughout your body.

The Problem

Our blood is returned to our hearts by venous return. The foot pump initiates the action and this occurs with each step. When the heel touches down the blood pools and as the toe touches, the blood is shot upwards. The blood then enters the soleus muscle that extends from the ankle to the back of the knee. Every time this muscle contracts, it applies pressure to the veins and helps return blood to the heart. Then the blood moves into the veins in the groin and travels through the largest vein in the body, the vena cava, to the heart. (1)

This network of veins work together but none of them can do their job without a strong calf muscle.

There are one-way valves in the veins that prevent blood from flowing back to the feet when the muscles aren’t active. This is how the body fights the biggest challenge to the calf muscle pump, inactivity. When you stop moving your legs and blood pools, your heart will apply some pressure to the veins, but blood flow is drastically reduced. This predisposes you to blood clots in the deep veins. Swelling, pain, cramping and ulcers can occur. Clots can travel throughout the body. Infections in the ulcers can become systemic and present grave health risks.

You’re at a greater risk of these complications if you are sedentary, stand for long periods or are overweight.

One study found that people with chronic heart failure have smaller calf muscles than people with fully functional hearts. This leads to overexertion during exercise. Small calf muscles are the result of muscle atrophy. David wrote an article entitled, “Looking Good As We Age”.

Looking Good As We Age

that discusses age related muscle wasting, or sarcopenia. (2) It’s an important article that thoroughly discusses the importance of keeping your muscles strong.

Intervention

Muscle atrophy is affected by diet and exercise, as discussed in David’s article. Good nutrition is mandatory but the best thing you can do for them is to lace up your sneakers and get moving. Walking is one of the best things that you can do tho keep them strong. Get up and move for at least five minutes out of every hour. Calf raises, lunges, walking on your toes and foot pumps, simply pointing and flexing your feet will all help keep these vital muscles in good health. You can wrap a towel around the bottom of your foot, hold the ends gently and pull towards your body. This will increase blood flow in the moment. If we do nothing to prevent loss of this vital muscle, atrophy will occur with age.

Get up and get moving today, with your doctor’s permission. Taking care of your legs will improve your overall health. I encourage the people that I work with to be proactive in caring for their legs due to the extensive health problems that can arise otherwise.

You will also rock those summer shorts, get moving. 🙂

(1)https://healthtide.com/calf-muscle-considered-second-heart/

(2)

Looking Good As We Age

Who Cares How Many Pounds You Lost!

You bet, you read that title correct. Who cares how many pounds you lost! Now that I have your attention, let me get to the point I want to get across. Obviously, with today’s obesity epedemic anyone who is overweight needs to think about losing “weight”. But is it the pounds, or the quantity of body fat you lose while maintaining lean muscle mass that is more important? If you have read much of my writing, you know the answer is the latter. What matters most is the amount of body fat you lose combined with the amount of lean muscle mass you maintain or even build upon while “losing weight”. If your only goal in weight loss is to reach a random or specific number on the scale, you really need to re-evaluate your goal.

Of course, if you are obese you will want the number on your bathroom scale display to go down when you are in weight loss mode. The bathroom scale is a useful tool to help track your progress. However, too many people get far too hung up on weighing themselves, especially when they do so more than once per week.

If you weigh youself more than once a week, what are you possibly learning by doing this?

Are you consistent in the time of day you weigh yourself, and do you wear the same clothes each weigh in?

Do you stress out when the numbers are not moving downward quick enough for your satisfaction?

Do you ever consider the flucuations in your water retention when you stress over not losing a pound or two in any given week?

When you stress about those stubborn numbers on your bathroom scale, do you even know why the numbers are not moving in the direction you desire quick enough?

If you have decided to regain your health by losing weight, you are to be commended and encouraged to do the best that you can every day in this wonderful endeavor. However, once you make this decision, you need to go about it with a bit of knowledge in order to make your success come easier for yourself. At David’s Way, we are always going to encourage you to achive a healthy level of body fat over getting hung up on a scale number.

Achieving a healthy percentage of body fat is less stressful than focusing on a single scale number. With a healthy percentage of body fat as a goal, your body weight flucuations are not going to be as stressful as you have not hitched yourself to a specific number that might not even be right for you in the first place.

Far too many people go about losing weight by drastically cutting their daily calorie input and then exercising like crazy. This appears to be what is required for healthy wieght loss, calories in verses calories burned, right? The problem with this is in the burning of body fat, too drastic of a calorie reduction will also cause you to lose your lean muscle mass along with the fat. If you believe that this is perfectly fine because the number on the scale is quickly reducing, you are ill informed. When you do not maintain your lean muscle mass, your metabolism slows down. Your body does not burn fat as efficiently. If you lose to your goal weight without a concern for your lean muscle mass, you are going to really screw yourself over. This is because, if unfortunately you regain pounds to your former weight without also replacing lean muscle, your body fat percentage is now going to be even higher than it was before you lost weight. If you are a yo-yo dieter, this reduction in lean muscle along with fat burning only serves to keep you at a too high percentage of body fat and will suppress your metabolism.

When you only concentrate on a scale number and do not consider doing anything about your lean muscle mass, you stand a significant chance of becoming what is referred to as “skinny fat”. You will hear people say they desire to get to a healthy weight, but guess what? Your health is not going to be improved no matter your weight if your body fat percentage is still high. Ladies, you could weigh 140 pounds at 18% body fat and be far more healthy than you would be if you weighed 130 pounds and still had a soft pudgy body with a body fat percentage that is still too high. If your body fat percentage is 32%, even at 130 pounds, then you are still obese and not any healthier than if you weighed more on the scale.

The smart manner of losing body fat is going to involve knowing just how many calories a day your body requires in order to lose 1 and no more than 2 pounds of fat per week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories, therefore you would need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day under your basal metabloic rate needs in order to lose 1 pound per week. You can use our Calorie Calculator Pro in our David’s Way menu to find out your specific needs for losing body fat. Always remember that even if you did not drop a pound for the week, you could have still lost one pound of body fat while retaining enough water in your body for the fat reduction to not be reflected on your scale. I recommend that you aim for one pound per week of loss in order to still eat enough calories from protein sources in order to maintain or build upon your lean muscle mass in order to keep your metabolism revved to it’s fullest extent.

I highly recommend that you being a strength and resistance regimen of some sort as you are trying to get to a healthy body fat percentage. Of course, this would be with your doctors approval first. I prefer strength conditioning over cardio any day as it not only builds your lean muscle mass, but done right, strength training is also cardiovascular in nature. For strength training information, whether with weights or your body weight only, simply enter keywords such as strength training in our search bar and every article we have ever published on the topic will be pulled up for you. Remember this about strength training, you might not lose pounds very quickly, but do not dispair because your clothing will begin fitting you more loosely in a matter of a couple short weeks. Again, who cares about how many pounds you lost? We want you at a healthy percentage of body fat over a number on the scale. You are more than just a number.

Get your body fat percentage down to where this will never have to become a part of your life:

Yes this is real, and it was three feet from one side to the other. I took this picture personally just the other day.

Connecting Your Gut to Your Brain

This piece is going to address how what we eat affects how we feel, how what we eat affects our gut health and the role this plays in our mental health. We know that an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day makes us feel better in the moment, but I’m going to get instead into how nutrients affect our mood and behavior. Our brains are complex organisms that use chemicals as neurotransmitters. These chemicals are affected by our diets, whether healthy or not, and have a direct effect on our behavioral regulation. When you do not consume a healthy diet which provides a complete variety of nutrients, you will notice this in how you feel mentally and physically. When you live on junk food, your mood is going to be affected accordingly. You are only selling yourself short when you go short on nutrients.

Connecting the brain and gut.

Our gastrointestinal tract begins at our mouths and ends down under at our rear ends. The gut is like a big port that permits certain substance in, allowing specific actions to occur, and then passing waste along. Millions of nerve cells and micro-organisms line the gut and interact with each other to influence our moods and provide other benefits. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It helps to regulate our mood and social behaviors along with our appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function. (1) Over 90% of our serotonin is produced in our gut either from the microbiota or through an interaction between the microbiota and nerve cells. Because serotonin influences so many regulatory functions and helps regulate our moods, maintaining a happy, healthy gut is part of eating for mood regulation. (2) Serotonin helps set the tone for our brain activity. It plays a role in our daily rhythm because it is involved in our daily functions, such as sleeping and digesting. Serotonin interacts with our endocrine system and influences the production of other neurotransmitters, such as melatonin. Serotonin is also a mood regulator which is why eating to maintain healthy serotonin levels is a part of eating for good mental health. (2)

Foods to consume for a healthy gut and a happier mood.

Tryptophan-rich foods

After ingestion and through interactions with gut microbiota, tryptophan is eventually turned into serotonin and other chemicals. Regularly consuming foods such as rice, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, salmon, and dark leafy greens will ensure you are getting enough tryptophan in your diet. (2)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon also provides omega-3 fatty acids, which interact with gut microbiota to maintain a strong intestinal wall and increase the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in other fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans also contain omega-3 fatty acids, but they are ALA, which is less preferable to the EPA and DHA in fish. (2)

Polyphenol-rich foods

These foods are thought to regulate our gut microbiota by decreasing the bad organisms and increasing the good ones. Foods highest in polyphenols include cloves, star anise, cocoa powder, Mexican oregano, celery seed, dark chocolate, flaxseed meal, and chestnuts. But you can also get some by basing your diet around a variety of whole fruits and vegetables and adding in seeds and nuts. You can also drink your polyphenols in both tea and coffee. (2)

Fiber

This material in food helps keep the contents of our gut moving along. Bacteria in our gut also ferment the fiber to produce butyrate, a chemical that helps maintain brain health. A diet that includes high-fiber whole grains also helps increase our gut microbiota diversity and decreases spikes in blood sugar that can lead to irritability and unpleasant moods. Get whole grains from rye, barley, brown rice, oats, millet and popcorn. (2)

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics increase gut microbiota diversity, and prebiotics help feed existing bacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and water kefir are all yeast, or bacteria containing foods that add to your gut microbiota. Keep that microbiota strong by eating prebiotic foods such as chicory root, raw dandelion greens, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, spinach, bananas, and soybeans. (2)

Consuming a diet rich in whole foods that contain fiber, tryptophan, polyphenols, and both pre and probiotics help to keep your gut in good condition. A strong healthy gut means you will also have more regular moods. If you noticed in all of these foods we need to have in our diets, you did not see anything such as candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, pizza, or anything that contains simple carbs or refined sugar. None of these were processed foods either. All the foods listed are either whole foods or ingredients you might add to dishes made from these whole foods.

We promote dropping simple carbs, or refined sugars, from your diet along with processed foods. By switching to only whole healthy foods, you will feel better physically and mentally as your blood sugar and insulin levels will be steady with no spikes or dips. By eating healthy, you will notice that you are also feeling less stress and this in itself will help to make your weight loss journey easier to achieve your goals. Everything we consume can, and will affect how we feel and our moods, whether in a good or bad way. The choice is yours to make, only you can decide how you want to feel. Choose wisely my friends, choose wisely.

(1) Medical News Today

(2) AFPA Kate Tendall M.S.

The Secret To Success

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How Successful Will You Be?

The ability to delay gratification is a major key to predicting our success in life because if we plan our destiny with logical steps and details, it is necessary to follow that plan if we want to achieve our goal. Pursuing instant gratification is a moment by moment behavior that interferes with long range plans. When we procrastinate to perform the necessary actions to fulfill our long range plan, we fall into this moment by moment living. That’s when the drive-thru calls our name and the couch looks better than the gym or the track. These behaviors are life changing and can be life threatening. Too many nights online with pizza and beer instead of being in the gym with protein and water will make drastic changes in our appearance and in our body chemistry.

An Ancient Problem

As far back as Aristotle and Socrates procrastination has been known to be a problem. Ancient Greeks developed a word for it, Akrasia. It means to act against your better judgement, such as not following through on what we know we need to do, the way that we might plan to work out or meal prep, but we don’t. (1)

“Time Inconsistency”

Akrasia, or procrastination, works through a “time inconsistency” , or the tendency of human beings to favor immediate gratification over long term rewards. When we make long range plans we are creating our lives. The steps to our goal are clearly laid out in a logical, sequential manner that will absolutely give us what we want but most of the time, most people will ditch the entire plan and program for a quick fix that will only give us a moment of pleasure. Think about the cake eaten in secret after declaring to the world that you’re going to get healthy. We’re so ashamed of that behavior that we hide it, quite often, and yet the cycle of what we call self-sabotage occurs over and over, keeping us from success. Our brains are wired to seek out a quick fix. To become proactive, or take control, we have to develop coping strategies to press through to our long term goals.

Three Keys

1-Commitment Device- This is where we make a decision before the challenge occurs to be successful by taking action that prevents instant gratification over long term rewards. If you can’t resist Oreos, don’t buy them. If you can’t resist gambling, have yourself put on the “Banned” list at the casinos. Take charge of your bad habits and they can’t take charge of you.

Commitment Devices help us design our future actions. I invested in home gym equipment so that I never have the excuse to skip a workout. I have to walk past it several times a day. It leaves me without excuse. I got what I needed to do the work that I need to do. I don’t buy food that contains sugar. It does not enter my house. I never have to decide if it’s okay to eat “that”. If it’s in my house, I can eat it.

2-Reduce the friction of starting.

Doing the work is not the hardest part of our commitments, it’s starting the work. It is also the most important part. We all know that once we get started on anything, we tend to keep going, regardless of how hard or tedious it may be. We have to build the habit of getting started.

The most important part of getting started is an individual act of commitment such as tying on your athletic shoes, walking up to the bar, step onto the field or beginning the prep for a healthy meal. This is the willingness to start. Once we exhibit that behavior, our brains understand that we’re “going in” and will begin to generate the energy and focus needed to complete the task. Nike was onto something with their slogan, “Just Do It.”

3-Use Implementation Intentions.

This is deciding exactly when, where and how you will fulfill these obligations to yourself. Instead of saying, “I need to work out.”, say I’m going to work out Monday through Thursday, after work and take three rest days during which I can walk my dog or hike.” This is just an example. Insert your schedule here and whatever you commit to, do it. That way when Monday rolls around, there is no question about working out. It has already been decided. These Implementation Intentions increase compliance with long term goal setting by 200-300%.

Aristotle also had a word for being proactive, or creating our lives. He called it enkrateia. It is the opposite of akrasia, or being reactive. It means to be in power over oneself or what we refer to as self-discipline. Learn to live a life of enkrateia rather than akrasia and live to see your best life in the years that will end in decline for those who do not. It’s up to you. What will you decide?

(1) https://jamesclear.com/akrasia

Low Carb Blueberry Muffins

Calories 247

Carbs 9.3 grams

Fiber 3.9 grams

Net Carbs 5.4 grams

Protein 7.3 grams

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour

4 T. coconut flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

7 T. melted, solid coconut oil

3 large eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 c. Swerve Granulated Sweetener

2 t. vanilla extract

2/3 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the muffin tin with oil spray. Do not grease tin.

Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat Swerve, coconut oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla til well blended.

Stir in flour mixture and blueberries til well combined.

Let batter stand for 5 minutes.

Divide into 12 muffin cavities and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 24-25 minutes.

Let cool for 15 minutes.

Gently run a knife around the edges to loosen.

Let cool completely in pan.