So often we mindlessly eat for every reason in the world except hunger and health. Mindless eating often acts as a tranquilizer, an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug. Sometimes it’s simply an act of boredom and other times it’s just pure entertainment because it’s natural to like to eat. When we eat mindlessly we usually eat empty calories laden with sugar and salt and very little else, foods that are devoid of real nutrition. As a result, when we make mindless eating a habit we gain body fat and become malnourished most of the time, because we are not eating good, healthy food. We don’t have the strength and energy to work out as hard as we need to and so we begin to lose muscle. If we take our health seriously, we must put a stop to this destructive habit.
Ways to Win This Battle
1-Buy Small Size
When we open a big bag of chips and set down to watch T.V., odds are that the next stop will be the bottom of the bag. Buy small sizes of snacks and carry only one to your TV chair. If you have to think about getting another, your more likely to resist the temptation to overeat. We eat about 25% less if we eat from small packages.
2-Fix a Plate
When I was growing up, my Mother who was always concerned about mine and my Daddy’s weight, discovered that we would eat less if she fixed our plates and put them on the table. There was no mindless dipping back into the mac and cheese if it wasn’t on the table.
3-Keep the Evidence Visible
Keep the plates, packaging and remains from whatever you have eaten in front of you. If you devour a slab of ribs, keep the bones in front of you. You are less likely to eat half of the cake for dessert when you can clearly see the evidence of your gluttony.
4-Choose Your Dinnerware Carefully
Large plates make your food look small so use small plates. You will eat less. Use tall thin glasses that stretch your drinks visibly. Short, wide glasses encourage you to drink more because you see a small amount and feel entitled to have a little extra. This is critical if you drink alcoholic beverages.
5-Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Keep healthy foods visible in the front of the refrigerator and cabinet. Some people teach that you should keep empty calorie foods hidden in the back. I teach, don’t have them in your house. It’s easier that way. The decision is made before you start craving sugar.
6-Limit Your Choices
Prepare only one flavor, texture or color of food and you will eat less. If we have a variety of foods available in a single meal we will eat about 23% more. We quickly become accustomed to a single flavor or texture so we get bored and stop eating. This is called sensory-specific satiety and it means that we become numb to the same stimulus when we are exposed to it too many times so keep your meals and snacks limited to one food and you will stop eating sooner.
7-Make Eating Inconvenient
When food is too easy to get, we eat more. Skip the drive-thru and fix quick, easy meals at home. If you have to prepare it, you will eat less frequently and less in volume. Having to make an effort to acquire food gives us time to consider what we’re doing and hopefully make better decisions.
I know that these tips work. I have employed them for years. With a little forethought, you can set the stage for success.
Making a list of diet and fitness mistakes I have made over the years might get kind of lengthy as I have made more than a few. Something I learned long ago is smart people learn from the mistakes of others, it might be said I am a slow learner. I hope you can learn a few lessons from my past mistakes, here goes:
1.I just did not care about diet and fitness at a couple of times in my life. This point is the one I want to place the most emphasis on, I did not care. Now, how about that for being not only less than intelligent, but also pretty selfish too? This mindset is less than intelligent as, at some point, an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle will jump up and pop you in the nose before you can even say ouch. You might get away with this for a period of time, but unhealthy eating and laziness will always, at some point, catch up with you.
I guarantee this. Without fail, your health will begin taking a nose dive on you at some point. For some, this may come later in life, but for many, they will become stoved up with old peoples issues and ailments far too prematurely. Look around yourself on any given day and you will see folks in their early forties who are obese, out of shape to be able to function to their full capabilities as a human. Every day people become victims of their own poor lifestyles and then spend a good portion of time and a great deal of money on medical care which could otherwise be preventable.
Not taking care of your own health is a naive, or even a selfish attitude, that is never going to be just about you. Your poor choices will always become the business of someone else when you cannot fully take care of yourself. If you are going to be selfish about your own health, you might begin looking now for the loved one who is going to have to pick up the broken pieces behind you.
2. I never tracked my intake of food. When you eat with no regard to what types of food you are consuming, nor the amount of calories, you are going to become obese at some point. Most people can live a healthy life on 1800 to 2500 calories per day, especially if they eat whole, healthy foods that are not processed, contain added sugars and or tons of preservatives. You can very easily consume in excess of your daily needs in just one outing to a fast food restaurant. With all of the garbage foods of so called convenience of today, it is no difficult chore that people can find themselves consuming 5000 to 6000 calories per day, or even more. This is why in America we have an obesity epidemic where close to three fourths of our population is either already obese, or at a minimum, overweight. Sadly, this is also why our nation’s military is having a hard time finding quality recruits that can even meet the basic requirements to enlist. Our children are growing up obese, out of shape and suffering preventable physical ailments such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome to name just a few.
3. I over-estimated my caloric burn from exercise. This is a common problem where people greatly exaggerate their physical exertion from exercise. The thing is, many people have no clue what vigorous exercise truly is. Nor do they understand or know how to recognize the intensity of their efforts. I have seen this on a few weight loss social media sights where people will justify to themselves eating more than they need because they “exercised” at high intensity for at least an hour.
News flash; If you are overweight, or obese, it is highly unlikely that you are going to exercise at high intensity for a full hour. Really, it just is not going to happen simply because you would need to be an elite level athlete. If you were an elite level athlete, you would not be struggling to lose 100 pounds in the first place. This is just the truth, even if it hurts.
If you can easily carry on a conversation during your exercise, you are exercising at a low intensity. You can still carry on a conversation with ease because your heart rate is not elevated enough to burn fat. While a slow walk around the neighborhood is certainly much better than sitting your tail on the couch watching the boob tube, it is not going to justify going out for an ice cream sundae afterwards.
You want your heart rate to be at a level where you can still speak in conversation, but your words need to be labored. This is when you are at a medium intensity level. When your heart rate makes your conversation labored, you are at the fat burning aerobic zone for burning fat. This is where you need to be when doing cardiovascular exercises. Once your heart rate is in the right zone, it will take your body at least 20 minutes to burn through it’s glycogen stores before it begins burning fat for energy. You might need to work up to this, and that is perfectly fine. I would encourage you to do so. But in the meantime, do not over rate how much fat you are burning if you cannot go at it for at minimum of a half hour, and at least three times per week, four times preferably.
If you are huffing and puffing and cannot talk, you are at a high level of intensity. At this point, you have entered the anaerobic zone and need to slow down your intensity to the medium level. If you are over weight or obese, you are not going to be able to exercise at this intensity for more than a couple minutes at best. Period. I do not care who you are. If you go onto your diet app and log that you exercised at a high intensity for a solid hour, you either do not understand intensity levels or you are lying to yourself in order to shovel more sugary crap into your belly. If you do this, you are likely to never lose your weight and should take a moment to evaluate yourself, your goals and just how you are going to achieve them
4. I did not place the same emphasis on nutrition as I did my physical exercises of choice. If you enter Fitness Triad in our blog search bar, I have written an extensive article on this topic. In a nutshell, if you begin an exercise regimen, you need to feed your body with healthy foods for fuel. You need to ensure you are also consuming enough good protein in order to either maintain your lean muscle mass or to build upon it.
You need to ensure you are consuming the right amount of calories. Too many and you will find that you cannot out exercise your diet. Too few, and you will find yourself losing lean muscle mass and you could become what we refer to as skinny fat. Skinny fat is where your body might be at the so called ideal weight for your height, yet your body fat percentage is still to high for good health. Skinny fat is probably more harmful to your overall health and wellness as it could give you a false sense of security by being at your goal weight. Too high of a percentage of body fat is unhealthy no matter your weight which is why we teach and promote concentrating on body fat percentage over a random number on your bathroom scale.
Note: You can go to Calorie Counter Pro in our menu and find how many you need for your individual goal. It is free of charge to you.
5. I did not understand how important rest and recovery is to exercise specifically in weight training. Again, enter Fitness Triad in our search bar as this topic is also a part of that article. When you exercise, you cause micro-trauma to your muscle tissue which requires time to heal itself. This is how we get stronger. Another component of this equation is that your central nervous system needs a break too. This is particularly true when training with heavy weights. If you do not give your body adequate rest and recovery, you will find yourself burning out before you have reached your physical potential.
6. I did not do my due diligence in fully researching my exercise of choice from known experts. This is easier now days to do with all of the modern search engines available on the internet. It used to be that all we had for weight training was muscle magazines where Joe Wieder was selling worthless supplements and convoluted routines no one could ever fully understand, nor would they possess the personal equipment in order to even do them. Do yourself a favor and listen to those who are established professionals instead of falling into the trap of Bro Science which is usually based on the gym equivalent of “old wives tails”‘.
7. I did not understand the importance of using an established routine or tracking my workouts in a log. If you are serious about any type of exercise, do yourself a favor and establish a routine, even if it is just running. And then log everything that you do. Sets, reps and weights for weight training. Distance, pace and time for running as examples. Tracking a routine is a form of measurement, and what gets measured gets done. It also allows you to keep track of your progress by being able to go back and read over your earlier sessions. It is also a good idea for weight trainers to log the amount of sleep you get each day, and the amount of calories and macronutrients you have consumed before hand. Your mood and or how you felt when beginning your exercise session is important too. By logging these items, you can more easily identify why your routine might be stalling out on you.
8. Getting hung up on not being the strongest, the fastest or the best in the gym. Everyone is a newbie at some point, and most gym goers know this. Do not worry about what others might think of your level of fitness when you go to the gym. Just get in there and be diligent in getting your routine completed. Your tenacity will be noticed by those who are experienced in physical fitness. And even if you do go unnoticed, who cares? Just do your own thing. Bear in mind too, that sometimes, some of those you might think are all that in the gym might not know much more than you.
9. No matter your exercise of choice, learn to perfect your form and movements. If you think lifting weights is just picking up heavy stuff and setting it down, you are sadly mistaken. Take the time to perfect your form before trying to go heavy as this will mitigate your risk for injury and allow you to continue going forward for years to come. Lifting weights is as much about technique as it is about strength. Bad form and technique can hurt you bad.
If you are an aspiring runner, you need to learn it is more than just moving your feet as fast as you can for as far as you are able. Learn and perfect your stride. Build upon your pace, and how to breath. Seems simple enough, that is until you head out and cannot manage to jog around even a simple neighborhood block.
At my age, I have honestly made my share of mistakes in nutrition and exercise over the years. Those without blemish are usually found to be liars in my experience. Take care of your nutrition and fitness and odds are likely that your quality of life as you age is going to be leaps and bounds superior than if you neglect yourself. Too often, folks neglect themselves and find themselves sickly in their early forties, or younger, with ailments that used to not hit until at least the upper sixties or seventies. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take proper care of yourself. Anything else is could easily be seen as selfishness on your part. Others will always have to pick up all of your broken pieces at some point.
Check out Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way and give us a like and a follow. If you would like to be a part of a weight loss, health and wellness support group, we have a group linked to the Facebook page you can join. The group is private in order for us to keep out the trolls and trouble makers. It is a safe place to share your triumphs and set backs with your health initiative.
It should be common knowledge and come as no surprise that stress causes significant damage to our health and wellbeing. No matter how much we might try to avoid stress in our lives, it can weasel it’s way back in like a camel getting his nose under the side of a tent. This small, seemingly innocuous act will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences down the line. If a camel is allowed to get its nose inside of a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering. Stress can be that camel if you allow it.
For many of us, we may never be able to completely eliminate our stress, but we can take action to make the effort to mitigate how much we allow it to affect us. Learning how to mitigate the effect of stress is even more critical to those of us who are “Carb Addicted”. Stress hormones raise our insulin levels which makes most people turn to food when they are experiencing stressful situations. Carb addicts appear to be particularly sensitive to this response which is why learning stress reduction techniques are so critical to their health and well being.
Of course, the ideal life would eliminate having stress altogether, but how realistic is that? Life would be just dandy if it was all puppy dogs and rainbows. The problem is, puppies mess on the floor and rainbows fade away. Being as we cannot eliminate all the sources of stress in our lives, it is important to deal with it without compromising other areas of our lives.
Recognize stress when you see and feel it!
Learn to recognize when and how your body is responding to stress. It is easy for many of us to have stress build up to dangerous levels before we even recognize what is happening. As one who suffers from PTSD, I almost always felt like a hot, over pressurized pressure cooker waiting to explode. I can feel as if I am about to burst apart at the seams. When this happens, we can find ourselves retreating from the situation, or escalating it further which can make us feel guilty, or angry later on, or maybe a bit of both emotions. This places us under even more stress which can lead those of us who are carb addicted to eating away our emotions.
If you can learn to recognize your body’s early response to stress, you will enable yourself to have much more control over it. When you learn to exercise control over your stress, you will avoid the insulin releasing power that results in stress eating an entire pizza and a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. You will find that it becomes easier to not reach for calorically dense, nutritionally poor foods full of simple sugars. To be honest though, you might be surprised at how much cutting added sugars completely out of your life can lower your stress. Carb addiction is little different than nicotine addiction in that your body craves that which is causing those stressful cravings in the first place.
Learn to trust in yourself!
Some keys I learned in my own therapy for my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is to become sensitive to my body’s stress response. Rather than accommodating, or pushing through negative thoughts and feelings as they begin to build, we are better off when we learn to stop the process before it has fully bloomed. and focus on just what it is that is making us so uncomfortable. Is that tightness you are feeling in the back of your neck coming from being tired, or is it stress from seemingly impossible demands being placed on your life? Do you feel sick to your stomach over unfinished business with family or friends?
Is there really a good reason to crave eating carb heavy foods?
Are you hungry, or just trying to make yourself feel better?
Nursing emotions with food only serves to make you more miserable over time, and we all know this whether we want to admit it or not.
Learn to take the time to listen and learn about your body. Think about your stressful events backwards; if you lose your cool, stomp out of a room, or even quietly retreat, attempt to recapture what you were thinking or feeling before the emotional build up. Think about those thoughts or feelings, write them down if necessary, but do not place a judgment on yourself. Remain neutral in your feelings, and consider how you might react differently next time this situation arises. Remember that sometimes our stress or anger is entirely justified, however, what truly matters is what we do with this anger.
Who does it help by letting it control us?
Taking the time to learn how to move past stress and anger is critical to our own well being. This is not impossible, but it will take effort on your part. You have to choose to take charge of your emotions instead of letting them dictate your day for you..
When you find yourself under stress, you have three choices to make; you can avoid escalation, limit the duration, or you can decide exactly how you are going to let it impact you.
Avoiding escalation can alleviate back and forth emotions that keep you stressed. Know that by avoiding escalation, it does not mean that you have to hold your feelings in, but you can choose to not engage in a useless mental battle, especially with another individual. Pick and choose your battles, decide if this hill is worth dying for or not. If you ever find yourself trying to wrestle a pig, you only find yourself getting dirty while the pig enjoys it.
By limiting the duration of a stressful experience, you are taking charge of the moment. There is victory in taking charge whether you are going to get your way or not. When you understand that real victory in any stressful moment involves taking care of your body and health, you can then find yourself being able to calmly and effectively free yourself from the situation at hand.
Learn to set firm boundaries with others when they might want to argue with you. You might find the other individual is completely caught up in their own emotions, but this does not mean you have to get caught up in your own too. Stick to your guns and separate yourself until tempers have cooled on both sides. You make the choice whether you are going to remain engaged or not. You will find the more you do this for yourself, the easier it becomes.
Removing the impact of stress.
Removing the impact of stress might require removing yourself physically or mentally from a situation. Sometimes this is difficult if not impossible altogether, but there are methods to remove the impact of stress on our body and mind. For some people a hot bath or shower might be enough, but for many of us, we can find relief through vigorous exercise which is just as important for our minds as it is for our hearts. Regular exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It’s a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. If athletes and patients can derive psychological benefits from exercise, so can you.
The vast mental benefits of regular, vigorous exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts — or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over.
Behavioral factors also contribute to the emotional benefits of exercise. As your waistline shrinks and your strength and stamina increase, your self-image will improve. You’ll earn a sense of mastery and control, of pride and self-confidence. Your renewed vigor and energy will help you succeed in many tasks, and the discipline of regular exercise will also help you achieve other important lifestyle goals.
If you fail to plan for your own de-stressing choices, your body will eventually push you into less productive alternatives.
Treat yourself as your own honored guest.
Take the time and energy to treat yourself well and you will find that your body will display the positive results!
Summer time beach weather is coming soon, and with it, many will be wanting to look their best in swimwear. While a lot of people desire well defined abdominal muscles, the “Six Pack”, most appear to be sporting a keg under their shirts instead.
I frequently get asked what are the best exercises for developing abdominal muscles. My response will typically be to ask them whether they want strong abs, or well defined abs. Of course, most who inquire want to have well defined abdominal muscles. I perform some type of ab work with every workout I do, but I do have my two favorite which I will get to last. These two are the most effective way to achieve good visible abdominal muscles and trump all others, but first:
Beginning Abs Workout
I would tell you to do all the exercises in the illustration above, with the understanding that the rep counts are going to increase until you can do 50 reps of each.
Are you going to be committed?
Are you willing to work through the pain?
If you are not committed and willing to suffer a little bit when first beginning, then I might be inclined to tell you to get back to doing nothing. But, as I said, these are not my favorite exercises, nor are they the only way forward to achieving that “Six Pack”.
Ab exercises for the more advanced.
Assuming you have become more capable with your ab work, the exercises pictured above are great for those abdominal muscles too. But still, these exercises in and of themselves are not enough for you to be able to display a nice midriff during the summer beach wear weather.
Let’s get real about this, male or female, if you want to have well defined abs, you can do all the ab work in the world, and it will mean jack squat nothing if you are not willing to do more strength and conditioning work, especially for your core. And, you must get your nutrition under control. If you are not committed to strengthening your entire body and eating a nutritionally sound diet, then you might as well continue eating powdered sugar donuts while washing them down with your favorite soda pop. Developing visible abs takes work on many fronts that requires full commitment. If you are paunchy now, and unwilling to do what is necessary, then get over ever having a good swimsuit body and resign yourself to remaining out of shape.
My favorite work for my abs!
I do a little something for my abs every single day of the week, that you can do too.
That is if you will commit to it.
With my weight training workouts, I love to do:
hanging leg raises with a twist for obliques,
I do each of those exercises regular with a good mix of exercises from the illustrations, but my favorite and most important exercises are “Push Aways” and “Fork Put Downs”.
The most effective thing you and I can do for visible, well defined abs is the “Fork Put Down” followed immediately by the “Push Away” of our plates when full from nutritionally sound foods. If you want your abdominal muscles to be well defined, you have to get your body fat percentage low enough for them to become visible. If you fail to do so, all you will achieve through that extra ab work will be that your belly will only become larger since larger ab muscles will only serve to push out that layer of fat which has them hidden away.
Quit eating or at least cut back on your consumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars.
This can and will help you lose extra fat and to expose your abs. When you consume refined carbs, it cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to increased hunger and food intake. Swap out refined carbs from foods like pastries, pastas and processed foods and instead enjoy whole grains such as brown rice, barley, bulgur and couscous to help support satiety and burn belly fat. Eating plenty of whole grains, helps to reduce waist circumference and lower body weight.
Stop eating processed foods.
Heavily processed foods like chips, cookies, crackers and convenience foods are typically high in calories, carbs, fat and sodium. These terrible foods of convenience are typically low in key nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. By dropping these unhealthy foods from your diet and swapping them for whole foods you will increase weight loss, reduce belly fat and help yourself achieve a set of six-pack abs. It takes more energy to digest whole foods rich in protein and fiber, which can burn more calories and keep your metabolism up. The healthy nutrients in whole foods, like protein and fiber, also keep you feeling satiated longer which curbs cravings and aids in weight loss. Simply put, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all nutritious alternatives to prepackaged convenience items like frozen meals, baked goods and salty snacks.
Add more high-fiber foods into your diet.
This is one of the simplest methods for increasing weight loss and achieving six-pack abs. Soluble fiber moves through the gastrointestinal tract undigested and can help slow the emptying of the stomach which makes you feel satiated longer. One study found that increasing fiber intake by 14 grams per day was linked to a 10% decrease in caloric intake and 4.2 pounds of weight loss. Another study showed that for each 10-gram increase of soluble fiber taken daily, participants lost 3.7% of belly fat over five years without making any other modifications in terms of diet or exercise. You can alter your diet to help burn body fat simply by adding fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds for sources of healthy, high fiber foods.
Having visible abs takes commitment.
As you can see, there is much more to getting six-pack abs than simply doing a few crunches or planks each day. If you want your abs to be visible as a “Six Pack” instead of as a “Keg”, it requires a commitment to following a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle to help achieve your goals.Your overall goal should be one of achieving and maintaining good health over vanity of how you appear in swimwear. No matter your age, by making a few simple switches in your nutrition and daily routine, you can get a set of six-pack abs and improve your health at the same time.
Our endocrine system is an amazing messenger that keeps everything up and running with chemical fuels that are more powerful than we can imagine. They regulate our metabolism, energy levels, growth rates, reproductive health and our responses to everything around us. Nutrition plays a role in regulating our hormones, so for optimum health we need to be aware of how some foods can affect this network of “instant messaging” that runs throughout our bodies.
I frequently hear people say that they have trouble getting enough protein. They tend to fill up on carbohydrate laden foods and as a result, are never satisfied and tend to overeat. Adequate protein is necessary for hormone production. There are 20 amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that are necessary for human life. We can produce 11 of those inside our bodies but must get the rest through what we eat. In order to insure adequate protein intake we need to get about 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight. If you are a weight trainer, you need more, about 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight to insure the strength and muscle gains that you need and want. Some protein will build hormones and some will build enzymes that act as chemical catalysts and other protein will become muscle cells. Eating protein at every meal will reduce your level of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. Experts recommend getting a minimum of 20-30 grams of protein at every meal. (1)
Eat to Stop Eating
Eating anti-inflammatory foods will increase how well you respond to leptin, the appetite suppressor hormone. Fatty fish, nuts and leafy greens are good anti-inflammatory foods that can improve your sensitivity to leptin and help you stop eating sooner.
Decreased Thyroid Function?
Thyroid hormones determine the speed of your metabolism. Eggs, cranberries, milk, lima beans, potatoes, ocean seafood, dried plums or prunes and yogurt are all good sources of iodine which is necessary for good thyroid function. Always consult your doctor for dietary guidance if you have known thyroid problems and especially if you take medications for thyroid function. These drugs are powerful and the thyroid is a very powerful part of your endocrine system.
A Disturbing Trend
I am becoming increasingly aware of an ever increasing number of young women with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is an insulin resistant condition that may be affected by diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. At David’s Way we always advise you to avoid these foods. Sugar has no known benefits, promotes insulin resistance and packs on the pounds that add additional insult to your endocrine system. Even simple carbohydrates that do not contain sugar may increase your chances of insulin resistance. I have known of young ladies who want children to be told that PCOS would impact their fertility and yet still, they would not make these necessary dietary changes for their health. There are some studies that show a relationship between PCOS and increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer and cardiovascular problems. (1) Sugar and simple carbs cannot possibly be worth the risks involved in eating them.
Medium Chain Triglycerides are good fats that may decrease insulin resistance. So often people avoid fat, thinking that all fat is bad. We are supposed to eat some good fat. These powerhouses are found in palm and coconut oil.
Always avoid transfats. There is nothing good about them. They are found in baked goods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, fast food, vegetable shortenings, coffee creamers, canned biscuits and canned frostings along with other sources. Read Nutrition Facts on your food purchases and avoid these troublemakers.
Monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts are believed to increase insulin sensitivity. I have coconut oil every day in my protein shake and am not hungry for hours afterwards. The healthy fat and protein punch is satisfying and supports muscle development and maintenance for my heavy lifting sessions. I use the liquid oil and it mixes right into my shake easily and gives it a velvety texture.
Naturally Balance Your Female Hormones
These tips that help balance other hormones will help balance your female hormones. Eat good whole foods and avoid sugar and simple carbs and you will immediately notice a difference in the way you feel, especially if you normally eat foods containing empty calories.
We have so much control over our health including our hormones. We can never have good hormone levels if we don’t give our bodies what they need to make them. When we eat empty calories, foods devoid of nutrition, we set ourselves up for disaster. Take control and reap the benefits of good nutrition today.
The Best Intentions How many times have you started out for the evening with the intention of staying on your program only to succumb to the party atmosphere in the restaurant and order too much food? Almost everyone has dealt with this. It’s not just you. Why do we allow other people to make or break our health for us? Those choices that you make on the spur of the moment in social situations are critical.. Why? In 15 studies that were reviewed in 2013 it was indicated that we tend to behave in the manner that we believe to be acceptable or normal. If we associate with unhealthy people who possess unhealthy habits, we will pick up those poor habits. Strangely enough, the behavior continues when we are alone, not only with those people. While we are not going to abandon Aunt Sally whose trying to push her latest bakery concoction on us, we can avoid some people and situations that are bad for us. I once had a “frienemy” who openly stated that she could not tolerate me being smaller than her and left home-baked goodies on my doorstep frequently. I did gain weight, but when I realized what was happening, I lost the weight along with about 250 pounds of ugly fat, the “frienemy”. Feel-Good Neuros Many of foods that we tend to binge on are high carbohydrate and tend to boost our serotonin which is a party neurotransmitter. Many anti-depressants build serotonin, so when we binge on these foods, we are self-medicating. Sugar lights up dopamine receptors all over the brain so when we have finished the high carb pizza and pasta and go for the chocolate cake that was meant for the table to share… we are boosting serotonin and dopamine. These foods are activating the same circuits as cocaine. They are addictive, and we crave them almost all the time if we make a habit of eating them. When one rush wears off, we will look for the hit again. When we continue this behavior, our health will suffer from excess carbohydrate, sodium, sugar and overall caloric intake. 1- How to Navigate Social Situations When we eat out, we need to set the pace of the evening. Don’t let others who have bad habits take control. It’s all about choices. Make good ones. 1- PLAN I found out years ago that I could make much better choices if I was not blind-sided by the Menu. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to Google a restaurant and peruse the Menu beforehand. You will not be affected by the choices of those around you. Decide what you will order and as soon as the waiter shows up at your table, tell him that you know what you want and order. You have set the mood for the meal uninfluenced by the poor choices of those around you.
2- ORDER BETTER While you may not be able to prevent the bread basket or the tortilla chips from coming to the table, you can order your own healthy appetizer. Order some fresh veggies, such as celery sticks to go with a healthy dip choice. While others are stuffing their faces with high-carb bread and tortilla chips, you can be filling up on healthy foods. 3-AVOID cream based soups, creamy dressings, au gratin, crispy, battered, golden (it usually means fried), tempura, smothered, fritters, crunchy and en croute. En croute is wrapped in pastry! 4- TAKE CONTROL When you order, tell the waiter to bring half of your entree to the table and put half of it in a go-box or just order off of the appetizer menu if you can order small quantities. 5-SNACK The absolute worst thing that you can do is go all day without eating so that you can eat a lot when you go out. I have known many people who do this. This applies to eating with relatives at their homes or yours. Always eat well during the day and have a healthy snack before you go. 6-AVOID “ALL YOU CAN EAT” This is a no-brainer. You know better. 7- DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES Drink water. Avoid alcohol if at all possible. If you are determined to drink alcohol, order small without added sugar based mixers. Don’t drink “sweet tea”. I’m from the South and I witness this abomination frequently. Just don’t. 8- FOCUS If you have a favorite dish that you just can’t do without, have it. Have ONLY that, no bread basket, no tortilla chips, no alcohol, no dessert. Get what you came for, eat it and enjoy. Just because you are not eating at home, you don’t have a license to eat everything in the house. Get one thing that you love and focus on that. Recovery So, what do you do if you go overboard despite your best intentions? Remember, it’s one meal. Take it in stride and go on. Before you go to bed , be sure to hydrate with water. Be as active as you possibly can be for the rest of the day and the next day. Avoid anymore excess carbs and sugar and excess sodium. In a day or so, you can mitigate the effects of one meal if you get back on your program quickly Consider Your Associates While we are not likely to ditch family, there are some people in our lives that are toxic. Surround yourself with health-minded individuals who will inspire you and help you live a healthy lifestyle. Check in with us at David’s Way frequently. We post almost daily and have great tools here to help you along your way. If you have not downloaded the Calorie Counter, do so today. We are always available to answer questions and encourage comments. We will both get back to you and you have the unique advantage of a male and a female perspective here at David’s Way.
Even if you do not believe in God, you can still enrich your life through the principles of the Serenity prayer. Sadly, a lot people only think of the Serenity Prayer as something said by recovering alcoholics and junkies in their recovery meetings, or when trying to remain clean and sober. I personally try to use this principle in all that I encounter in life. Including control over my appetite and emotions. Like many people in western society, I too have had my own past issues with maintaining a healthy body fat percentage and control over food cravings. I know that Brenda Sue has too. All that we address in our writing has come about from our own unique life experiences, we are not types who will go on and on about what needs to be done about weight management while having never experienced what you are going through too.
Friends, if you have been following me long enough, you know that I always place an emphasis on personal responsibility and choosing to do what is right for your health and wellness. When you take personal responsibility for yourself, you quickly learn there are some things you can change for your benefit, and there are some that you cannot. This is a simple fact of life for every single one of us. None of us are special in this regard, some of us just learn to navigate our way around obstacles in life. How this applies to weight management is the mistake many of you make in trying to lose weight is repeatedly attempt to change the things in which you cannot change, and you fail to change those things in which you can. In private communications with our clients, Brenda Sue and I see this insanity just about daily.
The big mistake that most people make in trying lose weight is they try to use will power over their cravings. You are not a special snowflake, and the failure of will power is not unique to you alone! If you think will power alone is enough to get through cravings that keep you obese, you are most certainly going to fail!
When in weight loss mode, most people believe they need to learn to overcome their weaknesses by strengthening their will power. While I agree people need to work on strengthening their will power, this in itself is not enough to over ride your cravings for food, nor does your will power do anything about decreasing your body’s ability to store fat. Intense and recurring carbohydrate cravings, as well as the body’s heightened ability to store fat, come from a physical cause.
Cravings and fat storage come from a physical cause!
This physical cause is a direct result of an excess of insulin in your body. Therefore, will power does not come into play in decreasing your cravings for high carbohydrate foods, loaded with bad fats and sodium. Will power does not change the physical workings of your body. While you may over ride your cravings for a short period, if you do not do anything about controlling insulin production in your body, your will power is bound to fail you. Your will power is no where near as strong as the powerful effects insulin has in your system.
Commonly, when people fail at their diets and weight loss because they thought it was a matter of willpower and self control over all else, they are only partially correct. Instead of evaluating why they failed and what they could have done in order instead, they will place the blame on their lack of willpower, or accept blame from others, and then they will simply give up.
An evaluation of self is in fact needed to understand why we fail at weight loss and successful management, but the evaluation must come from a base of knowledge. Without a good understanding of the reason why you fail at weight loss you are bound to begin the cycle of yo-yo dieting all over again. At David’s Way, we have placed a great amount of time into the study of why 98% of people fail at diets, and it is always obvious their futile battles are lost because they either lack the knowledge of how their body works, or they refuse to acknowledge their need to come at weight management from a better, more informed perspective.
You must accept what you can and cannot do about your body and the manner in which it handles your intake of food. Know that you are not helpless in this struggle!
Those of us who are addicted to carbohydrates are little different than alcoholics. We cannot change our body’s predisposition to release too much insulin. You might think of your predisposition as a loaded gun that comes literally from the genes you inherited from your parents. However, this genetic message is only a predisposition, or a loaded weapon just waiting on you to be the one who pulls the trigger. It will not go off unless, or until you personally pull the trigger for it to do so. This is something you indeed have control over. While you are predisposed to release too much insulin, you can control that in which you eat. You can make the choice to quit eating added sugars entirely in order to not pull the trigger on your cravings. You can prevent your blood sugar and insulin spikes by not eating sugar. If you are carbohydrate addicted, you have to change the way you eat. It may be difficult for the first couple of weeks, but it is not impossible. You have to take the same approach to your carbohydrate addiction the same as one who quits drinking, the same as one who quits smoking. You just have to quit, and not believe that you can ever have control over the substance you never had control over in the first place.
Get your finger off the trigger, damn it!
The biggest way you can derail yourself is by frequently consuming carbohydrate rich foods. Specifically, simple carbs! You have to understand that if you are predisposed to carb addiction, this is for life, just the same as alcoholism.
If you are born with this unfortunate predisposition, the more often you eat carbohydrate rich foods such as starches, snack foods, or sweets (including fruit juices) the more intense your insulin response will be. When you eat carbohydrate rich foods all day as many people with weight issues are prone to do, the high level of insulin will only serve to make you crave more and more of them. This is a physical response, and is not one of a weak willed individual.
As you continue to eat these carbohydrate rich foods on a frequent basis, your muscles and organs will start to become insulin resistant. This is simple biology, you cannot change this. As you become insulin resistant, both the insulin and the blood sugar it escorts, will be steered away from the muscles and organs that require them, and will subsequently be stored away in your body fat.
In the first stages of insulin resistance, your body’s tendency is going to be weight gain. However, over time, even your fat cells will become insulin resistant which means the insulin and blood sugar remain trapped in your blood stream which will eventually lead to type 2 diabetes if you do not already have it. When you continue to eat carbohydrate rich foods, you are causing your body harm as this vicious cycle will continue repeating itself.
In many people who have been over weight or obese their entire lives, or those who find triggers such as pregnancy, stress, stopping smoking, and medications, will make them crave simple carbohydrates and gain weight easily. For others, we will see that although they might have been a normal weight in their younger years, the simple act of growing older changes their metabolism, which causes their bodies to become more insulin resistant. The damage that can occur from insulin and blood sugar being channeled into fat cells can be greatly mitigated by a low carb, high protein diet combined with vigorous exercise as we promote at David’s Way.
As a carbohydrate addiction progresses, the body releases more and more insulin in a valiant attempt to push through the resistance and force the insulin and blood sugar into the muscles and organs where they are much needed. When you continue to consume added sugar and excess carbohydrates, this extra insulin will lead to more severe carbohydrate cravings, or that feeling of being “hangry”. This is why we say to stop eating added sugars in all foods and to only eat whole foods that you have to prepare yourself. You cannot prevent your body from trying to protect itself from too many “insulin insults”, you cannot stop your body from becoming insulin resistant when you continue to eat too many carbs. This is why your willpower means little if you do not approach healthy eating with the right mindset and armed with knowledge.
Lets take an intelligent approach to our dietary habits.
Of course we still need carbohydrates in our daily diets, especially complex carbs that come from many vegetable sources and even simple carbs from whole fruits. The important point to remember is that when we do consume our carbohydrates, we do not use added sugars, and that we maintain a correct balance of protein and fiber in order to not set off and insulin imbalance which will set off our cravings for more carbs. You can maintain your blood sugar and insulin levels simply by enjoying well balanced meals that provide all the macro and micro-nutrients your body requires for good health. You have to know that all carbohydrate rich foods, including starches, snack foods, and sweet treats and drinks, and even some starchy vegetables when eaten frequently and without balance, can trigger your genetic loaded gun that makes it difficult for you to remain slim and healthy.
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The first day that I began eating David’s Way, I quit being hungry all the time. Although I wasn’t eating large amounts of sugar , I had not totally removed it from my diet. As soon as I began David’s Way I examined everything that I ate for hidden sugar. Sometimes the sources will surprise you. It works it’s way into almost everything unless we diligently seek it out like a phantom in the night.
Return of Hunger
Several months ago I began a job where I am blessed to have free meals. I carefully avoided all sweet foods and anything that seemed like it might possibly contain any trace of sugar. Soon after beginning this job, however, I began to feel hunger like I had not felt it in a long time. I was mystified. I ate good whole foods and avoided processed foods which are a huge source of sugar. Still, the hunger haunted me.
When I considered the menu tonight, I realized that every item on the menu contained added sugar. I had asked for the coleslaw recipe and guess what, hidden sugar. The succulent roasted pork tenderloin was slathered in sweet barbecue sauce. The beans served on the side contained a significant amount of sugar because other employees were talking about how sweet they were. And then, of course, there was cake, which I never eat. Suddenly I realized that many of the seemingly harmless foods that I had been so thrilled to have free were the culprit in my around-the-clock hunger that was coming and going at random, waking me up at night and causing me to examine my diet in intricate detail.
There are cultures that put sugar in almost everything. I worked in a private home providing nursing care many years ago and because I was there so much, I became great friends with the cooks. Although their food was incredibly delicious, both of those sweet women literally put sugar into everything they cooked if there was any way possible. The colorful potato salad with finely diced carrots, celery, onions and bell pepper was doused liberally with sugar. So were the green beans,yes, green beans! So were the pinto beans and fried potatoes… Everyone in the house was either overweight or obese and I could not keep my weight under control unless I carried all of my food and ate none of theirs. The added sugar kept me hungry around the clock, just like the hunger that I have been experiencing on occasion since coming to work at my present place of employment.
When we eat sugar, our body responds by secreting insulin to help metabolize it. When the offending molecule is dismantled there is still enough insulin in our bloodstream to be actively seeking a sugar molecule so the natural response of our body is to secrete ghrelin which makes us hungry so that we can balance the insulin. As this cycle continues, we eat at times that we shouldn’t and in larger amounts. Unless we realize what is happening by meticulously tracking every bite of food that we eat, weight gain is soon to follow. I am actively “cutting” right now, trying to get my 18% body fat to about 14%, and I have been struggling to cut without excessive hunger. The hidden sugars in some of the home cooked meals that I have been eating have made my cut more difficult than it had to be. Although this cycle of eating sugar and getting hungry is a bit more complex than I have stated here, this is the gist of it. Eating sugar makes you hungry. You don’t have to be eating desserts and sugary snacks for this effect. Examine your food. Don’t be lazy and just assume that those green beans or that cornbread does not contain sugar. They just may.
I’m never sure we can ever address the beginning pitfalls of diet and exercise for beginners enough. Afterall, statisitcs show that 90% of people who begin diet and exercise regimens fail them. They might lose a good amount of weight only to regain those pounds and then some once they quit their diets and exercise. Obesity is a chronic condition that we bring upon ourselves, and once we become obese, it is almost impossible for most to ever reverse the trend.
Again, obesity is a chronic condition that we bring on upon ourselves.
We have to take deep personal responsibility for ourselves in order to reverse obesity. The only caveat to obesity being a self inflicted condition is when we have children whose parents allow them to become this way. Of course there are children who are genetically predisposed to obesity, the reality is in western society, we have far too many parents who are lazy in their parental responsibilities. Look around in your grocery store at all the sugar sweetened junk foods that are targeted towards our youngsters. If these products were not selling good, the manufactures would not be producing them for the consumer. If this paragraph pisses you off, and your child is sitting in front of a television snarfing down powedered sugar donuts or anything else sugary, you had best re-evaluate yourself.
If you buy the groceries, you control what your children eat.
It is as simple as that.
We have a responsibility to our children to raise them to be as healthy as they can be. As I stated above obesity is a chronic condition that 90% of people fail at overcoming. As humans, when we become overweight our fat cells do not just puff up, they actually change our biology. Our bodies will respond as if the obese condition is normal for us, and thusly, will begin protecting our fat stores like a mother protecting her newborn baby. It is tough for adults to lose weight, therefore we must do all that we can to protect our children from becoming obese and educate them how to avoid ever becoming so.
Permanently losing weight through diet and exercise is tough, yet is is not impossible.
With diet and exercise we will often say that we wil begin a new routine beginning tomorrow, next week or even next month.
Why? How about thinking that if this decision is important, then begin it right now, as the longer you procrastinate a diet or exercise, the more time you will have to justify putting it off even longer. The perfect moment to get healthy is right now. There is no guarantee you will even see tomorrow. Make it a point to live to your highest potential every day.
Quit over thinking diet and exercise!
Enjoying healthy dietary habits is not rocket science. You do not require any special diet, and you damn sure do not need any fad or gimmick diets that promise you quick weight loss results. Especially if the fad or gimmick requires you to pay money in order to follow them.
Whether you pay for a fad diet or weight loss gimmick or not, plan to lose about 10 pounds the first month as they will often promise you. Next, you should expect to fall off of the fad and then, you can expect to regain those lost pounds with a swiftness.
With every diet, you can expect to lose a good amount of weight in the first few weeks to month and then the losses will rapidly slow down. This happens to everyone wthout exception.
Fad and gimmick diets almost always guarantee up to 10 pounds of lost weight in the first month and this is actually near meaningless in terms of actually getting healthy. With the exception of certain health conditions, your focus needs to be on your body fat only.
The rapid weight loss from fads and gimmicks is almost entirely a result of lost water weight. This loss is a biological response where your body releases water as a result of tapping into your glycogen stores once you have cut back on your calories and carbohydrate intake. Fat mass does not rapidly change in your body and you need to know that your weight can fluctuate by 5 pounds in a single day simply by the amount of water your body is holding onto. You can actually urinate over 4 pounds of urine in a single day.
Get you mind right!
If you are solely trying to lose weight because of vanity reasons, you need to change your thought process and prioroties. Your focus needs to be first and foremost on losing body fat in order to actually live a full and healthy life. By living for a healthy life, your vanity will take care of itself. If your body and mind are healthy, you will appear healthy. If your body is strong you will look strong. There is no faking this no matter what type of clothing you might want to wear through out the year. When you are pudgy, nothing can hide or disguise it.
No special diets or gimmicks are ever necessary to attain a healthy level of body fat.
What is required is personal discipline to not give into the instant gratification, or feeling of reward we receive when biting into a sweet treat. What is required is making your mind up to only consume foods that are nutritionally sound, foods that are not full of empty calories, added sugar and chemical preservatives. Instead of taking the lazy way out for a meal by ordering delivery pizza or going through the local fast food drive through, get your butt off the couch and actually prepare and cook a healthy meal. Cooking a healthy meal does not need be expensive, nor does it take any exotic ingredients, thought processes or complicated steps. You can prepare a dinner of your choice of protein along with any types of vegetables in less than 15 minutes with only a small amount of effort. When you eat nutritionally sound foods, your body will quit it’s cravings for sugar laden junk foods in a fairly short amount of time. You have to decide to make the personal choice of living with a bit of discipline and quit chasing after the instant rewards of junk foods like a junkie looking for his next fix. Make your mind up that you are not going to wimp out every time you spot a candy bar, Given enough time, you will come to understand and appreciate that nothing tastes as good as being fit and trim feels.
If you really feel the need for an occasional treat, you can simply use our blog search function and find a vast array of delicious sugar free dessert recipes. We have either created these recipes ourselves, or modified existing recipes to remove all simple sugars in order for you to enjoy them without ever getting cravings later in the day for simple carbohydrates. Every recipe has been tested before we have published them for your use.
Without going onto any diet, you need to adopt healthy eating as a lifestyle that does not include added sugar or simple carbohydrates unless they come from fruits or vegetable where there is a fiber componenet that regulates how the sugars enter your blood stream. Simple sugars dump into your blood stream which throws your insulin into over drive. Simple sugars, like amphetamines, will give you a pick me up emotionally, then you will crash and crave more. You need to wrap your mind around the fact that you cannot hope to lose body fat to a healthy level by holding onto your unhealthy habits of the past. Odds are that if you became obese because you had no control over your appetite for sugary, high carbohydrate foods in the past, you will not have control in the future. You must get your mind right in regards to living a healthy life over just getting rid of your muffin top that protrudes over your pants top. This is not me trying to be mean, it is reality.
Do not over think diet and exercise!
As with diet, people tend to far over think exercise. Healthy exercise that will help you with getting fit does not require expensive gym memberships, fancy attire, nor high tech equipment.
Get your body up and move it with enough intensity to raise your heart rate into the fat burning zone where you can still have a conversation, only you want your speech to come labored. If you cannot talk, your intensity is too high. If you can speak as easy as you could before beginning your exercise, then you need to pick it up in intensity as you are doing damn near nothing towards burning fat. This is true whether you are walking, dancing, lifing weights or any other activity you decide to adopt.
If you do not know where to begin with exercise, get your tail outside and go for a brisk walk. Unless you have a true physical limitation to preclude this, then there is no reason you can not do it. My 79 year old mother walks a mile and a half every day even when there is snow on the ground. Unless it is pouring down rain when she wants to walk, she gets it done. If it is pouring down rain, she goes when it stops or lets up. This walking requires no programming, no special clothes, no special preparation and costs nothing, yet she reaps many rewards from it as she has a healthy body and mind. I do not care how poor or broke you might be, you can still afford to get out and walk.
If you believe you might want to work into jogging or running, I do advise that you buy a decent pair of shoes desgned for running or jogging. Shoes are something we all need anyhow, so it does not need to be an extravigant extra expense to you. We all need and wear shoes.
For jogging or running, do not put it off until ou can buy yourself any of the popular fitness trackers that so many wear today. The devices are nothing more than a luxury and not a necessity. You can map out a route with the gps on your phone if you want to know your distances. The reality is you need to raise your heart rate into the fat burning zone and then keep it there for at least 30 minutes since it takes 20 minutes to burn through your glycogen stores before your body begins burning fat for energy. A Fitbit or fitness tracker of any type is not going to make you magically burn off more fat.
If you are new to jogging or running, do yourself a favor and ease into increasing your speed, time and distance. Otherwise, you can injure yourself with shin splints, joint and tendon issues. While you need to push yourself, you need to temper this as you stand a good chance of burning out before your body has even began to get close to being conditioned.
Always remember that physical fitness is also about proper nutrition and rest for recovery purposes as I have written about in my article Fitness Triad. If you do not eat enough or get proper rest, you will soon burn out and quit your exercise regimen. The less you have exercised in the past, the worse the problem of burn out will be for you.
I have written numerous articles on the benefits of strength training in order to maintain or build upon your lean musle mass which drives your metabolism to burn fat more efficiently. You can enter key words such as “strength training” into our blog search bar and see everything I have published on this topic. If you decide to incorporate a strength training regimen into your life, whether you are a man or a woman, you need to start out much lighter than you might feel is necessary, and build up in weight, reps and sets slowly. Learning form is first and foremost and must be done with manageable weight and in a rep range where you are not too fatigued to retain proper form. Improper form can hurt you now, or in the futre.
As I have written about exhaustively, you must know that with strength training, nurtition and rest are vitally important.
If you are going to strength train, you need a well rounded program that addresses all of your body and not specific muscles only. If you do a pushing exercise, then you also must do a corresponding pulling exercise in order to not create muscular and strength imbalances that can lead to injury and also just looks bad for the vain. You need to work your body from the tips of your toes to the tips of your fingers and every where in between.
For effective strength training, you need to have a set program and keep a log in order to track your progress. There will be times where you wll stall out, everyone does. With a written record you can look back and see how far you have come. Also, keeping a log is a form of measurement. I always say “what gets measured gets done”.
Fancy and or expensive equipment for strength training is not required. Equipment does not need to be pretty, it needs to be effective and heavy for you. Before going out and buying expensive equipment, try buying used gear online for much cheaper. Strength training is hard work that takes persoanl discipline and great effort. Many people burn out and quit before they even do their bodies any good. There is an abundnace of equipement to be had for cheap as most of it becomes a place where many find a convenient place to hang clothing.
Remember the KISS principle with diet and exercise. Keep It Simple Stupid.
With your nutritional needs, it is difficult to eat enough to gain weight when you eat healthy whole foods without added sugars. It is easy to lose weight when you quit eating foods of convenience. It is easy to maintain a healthy body fat percentage when do not eat simple sugars or processed foods. When you do not bring these products into your home, it does not even take any thought to prepare healthy foods when that is all that you have on hand. If you do not bring cookies and cakes into your home, they are not there to tempt you. If you quit eating added sugar, your body will quit craving it.
If not for the fact I require a certain amount of calories to fuel my physical fitness routine, I would not even count calories. To fuel my routines, I have to actualy force myself on some days to eat enough since healthy whole foods are quite satisfying to the appetite. When your body is getting all of its required nutritional needs, you will not crave anything else. You will not want anything else. This is simple and does not require anything complicated and is maintainable. In fact, the only time discipline is even required is during the period where you are adjusting to no sugar and getting your mind wrapped around living healthy for life.
With your exercise, do not over think what you are going to do. There are programs available on the internet such as Couch to 5K where you can ease your way up from being a couch potato into being able to run in a 5K race in a fairly short amount of time for one example.
Be careful of who and what you follow from the internet though as I have written about in my article Wastes of Time in the Gym. Do not get pulled in by complicated exercises and think you can only find success by doing them too. This thinking is hog wash. For instance, on one very popular weight loss sight forum, there is a very popular character with numerous followers who is always doing push ups where he is hopping around from side to side or in circles while doing them. Or he might be doing foolishness such as doing a few from the ground, then from the tops of dumbbells balanced on end, then back to the ground. All of this malarky might look pretty cool to the uninformed, many might want to emulate him as he appears to be some kind of fitness expert. Yet, he does his push ups with poor form, without going a full range of motion and openly admits that he may soon require shoulder joint replacement surgery. Never fall into thinking you need to be able to do what those who showboat are doing. These showboat exercises are not necessary and can lead to permenent injury. You do not want that for yourself.
Friends, just remember that weight management and exercise takes personal discipline that gets easier over time when you incorporate healthy habits as a lifestyle for good instead of as something temporary with a stopping point. If you focus on a stopping point in order to resume your former unhealthy life habits, then you are doomed to repeat all of them along with a greater fat gain.
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Last summer, a family member inquired about my thoughts of Keto. My response was that while I believe it to be a very effective method of losing weight quickly, through research, I felt it was not a method of weight loss and management for the purpose of longevity. While I have no misgivings about one trying Keto over the short term in order to drop weight, I feel it is more restrictive than necessary for healthy weight loss and management. Being restrictive in what you eat means that you absolutely must ensure that you still consume all the nutrients your body requires for good health. Being restrictive means you had better be extra vigilant of your macronutrients, vitamins and mineral intake.
Additionally, with the restrictive nature of Keto, you need to ensure that you are actually consuming all of your caloric needs for the day as fat and proteins are very satiating to the appetite. It is entirely possible that you may find yourself not hungry enough at the end of the day to have eaten all of your calories which your basal metabolic rate requires of you. By the nature of being on an extreme diet, and not feeling a need to count calories as most assume this is not necessary, you could easily find yourself eating at too much of a caloric deficit for healthy weight loss. You can easlily find your caloric needs on our Calorie Counter Pro. Simply enter your basic information and your weight loss, weight management, or even weight gain goals and your daily caloric needs will be calculated for you.
I’m not going to tell you to not use Keto, hopefully you are old enough, and mature enough to make your own decisions regarding your personal dietary habits. But after learning that my family member, who just last year thought she was going to use Keto for the rest of her life began losing her hair, and has now resumed normal eating, I decided to revisit this topic. Of course there are other reasons that could have come into play for her hair loss, I still thought this would be a good time to address some of the pitfalls that can come from this popular diet. When you begin getting caught up in the hype, it is a good time to regroup and do your due dilligence with research before jumping into the deep end of the nutrition pool. I have previously written about Keto and ketosis but will give another take on it in this piece.
Keto is a diet that has been getting talked about by all types of people from dieticians to body builders and any number of folks in between. Keto is a low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet which places the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, your liver produces ketones, which replace glucose as your body’s main source of energy. Remember, most peoples diets are much higher in carbohydrates, followed by a lesser amount of fats and protein. Keto usually limits you to no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day in order to keep you in ketosis. On keto, your nutritional emphasis is going to be first on fats, followed by protein and then a small amount of carbohydrates from green vegetables.
If, you are mindful of eating enough variety of foods to take care of all of your nutritional needs, you can safely use Keto. However, if you do not take care of your nutritional needs, you are going to likely have problems. Even some who are carfeul with Keto can experience flu like symptoms and a loss of energy for a few weeks in the beginning. Other side effects can include cramps, constipation, heart palpitations, reduced physical performance and hair loss.
I truly recommend you can skip all of this Keto mess and give David’s Way a try. My way is not going to give you these problems, ever. And you are going to lose weight in a healthy manner which means you will lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. You can read up about David’s Way on our home page.
If you look at the Keto Food Pyramid above, you can see that depsite the restrictions, there are still a pretty good variety of foods. The key to making Keto work for you is that you actually consume all of the foods in the pyramid. Foods that you will enjoy are natural fats such as butter and olive oil. Fish and seaood, meat, eggs, cheese and green vegetables will be on your menu as well as those that grow above ground such as cauliflower, cabbage, and cucumbers to make a few.
Now, take a look below the pyramid at all of the foods that you cannot eat while on Keto: bread, pasta, sugar, milk, corn, beans and rice. All foods that are high in carbohydrates. On Keto, your carbs are limited to not exceed 50 grams per day. This means your liver is going to ramp up it’s production of ketones. Bear in mind that if your body produces too many ketones, there is a remote possiblity that you can go into a condition called ketoacidosis which is dangerous, life threatening condition. Non-diabetic ketoacidosis is a rare condition, where all cases have been women who were breast feeding. The reason for this is not fully understood, but lactating women have higher glucose requirements. (1)
Hair loss is a less common side effect of Keto.
You can expect changes in your body and hair when adopting any new extreme diet. As your hormones adjust and your metabolism shifts to burning fat, you might expect to begin shedding some hair. When you reduce your calories a significant amount, your body your body reduces the number of calories used in reproduction of cells and hair growth.
Not everyone will lose hair on Keto!
Hair loss is going to depend on your lifestyle and how your body adapts to the new diet. Some hair loss can be remedied with a good daily multi-vitamin. You can also minimize hair loss by not restricting your calories too much and by ensuring you get plenty of good sleep each night.
Top 9 reasons for Keto hair loss:
Quick weight loss. Extreme weight loss can contribute to hair loss, as the body lacks calories due to changes in food intake which results in a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Yo yo dieting over many years can take a toll on your metabolism and your hair.
Biotin deficiency. Hair loss and dermatitis are common signs of biotin deficiency. Biotin is a water soluble vitamin essential for hair growth, and helps the hair follicles absorb other vitamins, especially vitamin b which is essential for hair growth.
Alopecia areata. Biotin deficiency can result in alopecia which is a rare cause of hair loss. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease actually linked to food allergies. It can happen at any time and result in total hair loss.
Hypothyroidism. Several studies report Keto may cause thyroid malfunction. Sympoms include hair loss, dry hair, loss of eye brows, abnormal thyroid glands and hormones.
Lack of protein. Protein deficiency mainly leaves its impact on the skin, hair and nails which are largely made of protein. Lack of protein in your diet can easily cause broken hair that is hard to grow. You need a variety of proteins in your diet for assimilation of amino acids to produce keratin.
Iron deficiency can result in hair loss.
Stress can result in poor hair condition. If you stress over losing your hair, this stress can actually make it worse. Stress hormones can also block communication with the hair follicle, which results in melanin absorption and thus, gray hair.
Gut health. While adopting the Keto lifestyle it is important to pay attention to gut health. Leaky gut syndrome can cause major health problems. Ensure your nutrition intake and current lifestyle are contributing to good gut health.
Not consuming enough calories. Lack of calories via quality fats can result in diverse hair issues. A deficiency of fat soluble nutrients can also cause the hair to split as well as leading to dry scalp.
Many people adopt Keto as a short term weight loss plan and as a lifestyle. Many people have adopted Keto and never have a single issue as they are ensuring their caloric intake as well as all their macro and micro-nutrient intakes are adequate for their body’s needs. While I whole heartedly believe my methodology is far superior to Keto as a lifestyle, I will leave you with the advice to proceed with Keto armed with full knowledge and caution. If you can afford to, I would advise that you visit your doctor for check ups and blood labs every 6 months in order to catch any potential issues before they can have a drastic effect on your health and well being. I actually would encourage everyone, no matter their dietary habits, to get at a minimum annual check ups. Check ups and proper blood labs will tell you how your body is doing. When you know what readings are off, you can then make it a point of personal responsibility to turn them around.