Do Quick Fixes really work?

Quick-fix diet methods, like colonics, cleanses and fasting do more harm than good to your body — and can actually hurt your weight-loss efforts.

Whenever you see any type of get-skinny-fast diet or program, be wary  — there is NO quick road to weight loss!

No shortcuts, no secret pills, no magic potions — got it? Want to lose weight and keep it off? The only way to is to eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly.  TRUST ME!! I didn’t lose that 100lbs by fasting, or doing cleanses.  I got my ass to the gym and I ate real food.  Yes I know I worked within a weight loss company, but I did not use any of the pills to assist with my initial weight loss.  I was dedicated and motivated to lose that weight.

I know many of you already know quick fixes don’t work, but that doesn’t stop individuals from wondering all the time whether certain trendy cleanses and colonics really work. While cleanses or colonics may be necessary for medical reasons (testing foods to find an allergy, surgical procedure, etc.), there is absolutely no reason you should treat these methods as beneficial to weight-loss. Here’s why:

No medical research shows that there are any health benefits or true weight loss from colonics. The only weight loss that colonics promote is from the removal of fluid and waste from your bowels. Claims that colonics help to detoxify your body and restore your colon’s health are complete crap. No pun intended. Here’s the thing: Your digestive system and bowels naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria — you don’t need a colonic to do this! Not only do colonics fail to help your weight-loss efforts, but they can have negative side effects. Colonics have been shown to create electrolyte imbalances, which can result in nausea, vomiting, bloating and muscle cramps. Unless your doctor schedules you for a colonic for medical reasons, I would avoid getting one — and save the $55 to $95 per treatment cost too.

“Fasting cleanses” do more harm to your body than good. The term cleanse makes me laugh, because the only thing that detoxes your body is clean eating, nutrients that support your liver and kidneys and water. Stop eating processed crap and start eating whole, real foods. Thinking that drinking a concoction of lemon, syrup and cayenne pepper or drinking salt water and laxative tea, like the Master Cleanse, will “detoxify” your body and create permanent weight loss is completely inaccurate. Sure, doing cleanses can make you lose weight quick but in a month they put that weight back on. You starve your body for a period of time, and then when you start eating again, you put all that weight back on — and then some. You’re screwing with your metabolism to boot and that’s dangerous.  So STOP IT.

Fasting will destroy your metabolism. From a biochemical perspective, fasting throws your body into starvation mode. When you don’t provide your body with nutrients, it sends signals that you are now in starvation mode. Which means your body releases hormones that will slow down your metabolism, cannibalize your muscles, and store fat. The physiological facts: Since fat is needed for survival to insulate our bodies, we store it, but muscle is expendable. When you restrict nutrients to your body, your body will start to eat its own muscle tissue, and (double whammy) become more proficient at storing fat. The main point: Don’t fast, unless it’s for a religious purpose that you feel strongly about, and even then, be careful to only do it only for a short period of time.

There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. The key to “cleansing” your body is drinking water and eating whole, real foods. Colonics, fasting cleanses, and fasting methods are just sending your body and your metabolism into starvation mode — which can create long-term negative side effects that aren’t worth the few pounds you initially lost.

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Drink coffee?

 

Do you love caffeine as much as I do?  I must admit, I not only love coffee…I Love Energy drinks.  I KNOW!!! They are horrible for you.  I try to cover my tracks and ensure I drink the sugar free kind.  However, I know that no energy drinks are good for you.  ANYWHOO… I’m not talking about me..

So.. lets start off with the good things about caffeine.  I’ll give all of you coffee drinkers good news!!!  Caffeine in moderation IS a good thing.  Caffeine improves cognitive functions (What do I mean by that? Cognition is a group of mental processes that includes attention, memory, producing and understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making.) Anywhoo… Caffeine also inhibits insulin resistance AND….some wonderful news.. it also speeds up your metabolism!! WAHOOO!!

However, you have to make sure you do not drink too much!! Too much caffeine can actually make us gain weight by burning out our adrenal glands and releasing stress hormones. For this reason, 400 milligrams (mg) a day should be the limit. (That’s the equivalent of one to two large cups of coffee, depending on how strongly it’s brewed.)  SO if you’re looking to watch your weight.. I would recommend not over doing it with the coffee.

Some sources of caffeine are better than others. Organic, filtered coffee (not doctored up with sugar, artificial sweeteners, or cream) is okay. Green tea is a better choice because it promotes fat oxidation and is believed to improve insulin sensitivity. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to one or two a day — and because caffeine is a diuretic, you should drink one glass of water for every caffeinated drink. Also, you should have your last caffeinated drink before noon so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

So, are you drinking coffee just for the benefit of it’s fat-burning benefits?  I would highly recommend looking into Guarana.  What is that?  Well because of my experience with a certain weight loss company.. I know different products that assist with weight loss.  I always have friends and family asking me different things they can do/take to help with their weight loss journeys.  So what I do is research online about difference OTC products that they can purchase…

So…lets take a little look into Guarana.  First of all, you can ingest this product in pill form OR in a drink.. Guarana is a tropical plant native to the Amazon jungle. It contains caffeine, but instead of producing a sudden energy surge and quick drop-off, guarana is absorbed slowly and therefore produces a more moderate energy boost that escalates gradually. Try 5 mg of guarana per pound of body weight, and take it about 40 minutes before your workout.

So today, before you hit a Starbucks or Tim Hortons… remember don’t over-do it… It may just make you gain back the weight you’ve lost.

Have a wonderful Sunday. 🙂

-Danielle

10 Questions You’ve Always Had about Water

You’ve heard it over and over; water is key to a variety of health benefits, including beautiful skin, proper muscle and joint function, and improved mood.  How many of the statements you’ve heard are actually true though? Here are 10 common questions surrounding water, and whether they’re popular answers are fact or fiction. See how many you thought you knew!

1- Does everyone need 8 cups of water a day?

Drinking 8 glasses a day is not a rule set in stone. The truth is that fluid needs vary from person to person. Factors like weight, exercise levels, climate, and the quantity of water-rich foods you eat (usually food provides about 20% of your hydration needs) all play a role. Divide your body weight in pounds by two for a general estimate of the amount of ounces you should drink per day. For cups, divide that number by 8. 

2- Is plain water the perfect source of hydration?

While plain water is a smart choice for hydration, it is not the only option you have. Most fluids like flavoured water, tea, green tea, coffee, fruit and vegetable juices, sports drinks and hydrating foods like cucumbers and melons count too! Note that not all fluids hydrate. Alcohol, for example, dehydrates you (dehydration is one of the symptoms of a hangover) and is calorie-dense and usually nutrient-empty, as are most pops and sugary beverages.

While water is calorie-free and and has no additives, depending on your needs the other options provide benefits as well. Sports drinks, for example, are helpful to athletes exercising for prolonged periods of time. Tea and coffee may provide the caffeine jolt you need to curb a headache. Flavoured water is a simple way to add antioxidants from fruit to otherwise plain water. Choose the best option for you.

3- Will drinking water help me lose weight?

This statement is true, but probably not for the reasons you think. Water itself does not cause weight loss, but replacing calorie-rich fluids like pop and juices with water decreases calorie intake, which does cause weight loss. Sipping on water instead of snacking helps save calories as well.

4- Should I drink before or after a meal?

As a child, I was constantly told not to drink with my meals because then I wouldn’t be hungry. Some also believe that water dissolves the stomach’s digestive juices, resulting in poorly digested food. In reality, water actually aids in digestion, and while it is true that it fills you up, this is beneficial for those of us trying to eat less. Moderation is key, of course. Instead of guzzling down glass after glass throughout a meal, take small sips to slow down your eating pace, help avoid overeating, break down food, and aid in digestion. Water consumption is particularly important when consuming a fiber-rich meal too, as it will help avoid constipation!

5- Will water make me gain weight?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, most of us experience weight gain with increased water intake. Luckily, weight fluctuations due to water (and food!) are natural and the water weight (not fat!) gained will eventually be lost. Water also reduces bloating, which can reflect a drop on the scale too.  Avoid scale induced frustration by weighing yourself on the same scale at the same time each week.

6- Does lemon water help burn more calories?

Speeding up your metabolism is one way to burn more calories, but a glass of water with squeezed lemon won’t do the trick. While the vitamin C content may benefit your immune system, your metabolism won’t be directly affected as it is by thermogenic foods. Enjoy lemon water as a flavorful alternative to plain water, but don’t count on it  as a primary way to shed pounds!

7- Can I drink too much water?

Believe it or not, you can, although this occurrence is very rare. It is known as water intoxication and characterized by excess fluid in the body’s cells. The excess causes sodium to be diluted and your homeostatic concentration gradient to be thrown off. The average person should not worry about water intoxication as long as they don’t consume large volumes all at once. At risk are infants who drink too much for their kidneys to process, athletes who drink too much water after sweating out electrolytes, and people with health conditions like high blood pressure, edema, and kidney problems.

8- Is bottled water the safest to drink

A bottled water craze has taken storm in developing and first-world countries alike due to concern for contaminants. The concern is justified when you’re using the water for everything from washing your hands to cooking a meal. The safety of tap water does depend on where you live though. Canadian drinking water is among the safest in the world, and any contaminants (like lead) are quickly detected through close monitoring of supplies. If you’re still concerned, a simple water filter may help (and save you money!).

9- Will I know when I’m dehydrated?

Yes. Thirst is an early sign of possible dehydration, but it does not mean that you are already dehydrated. You feel thirst (and can sometimes mistake it for hunger) when your water balance is anywhere from 1 to 5 percent off homeostasis levels. Consciously sipping on fluids throughout the day should be enough to avoid this and other progressive signs of dehydration like feeling cranky, tired, or having a headache. This is especially important for older adults, as their sense of thirst may be dulled.

10- Does water cleanse and hydrate my body from the inside?

Vibrant skin and inner cleansing are two perceived benefits surrounding water intake that are not completely unfounded. Sufficient water does aid the kidneys in their function of cleansing toxins and expelling them through urine. The more often you drink, the more often toxins will be expelled. This cleansing effect may also contribute to youthful skin, but outside factors like climate, quantity of oil glands, and moisturizing play a bigger role.

 

Should you eat before a workout?

MYTH: Never Eat Before a Workout

The Truth: You should always eat something before exercising so your body has enough fuel to power through your workout.

The rationale behind this widely accepted myth is that forgoing food before exercise will force your body to burn more fat during your workout. This is a big, fat lie: Starving yourself before exercising can actually be detrimental to your body. Let’s get to the bottom of this fitness myth once and for all.

You need sugar to exert energy. Your body needs a certain amount of sugar for fuel when training. When that blood sugar is not there, your body will convert your own muscle tissue into energy. A recent study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at cyclists who ate before they trained versus those who fasted before they trained. The amount of fat burn was the same for both groups, but those who had trained without eating first had 10 percent of their calorie burn come from protein — including their own muscle mass. You’re trying to buildmuscle, not eat away at it!

Your body needs energy to perform at a high intensity.You know I’m always saying that I want you to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can. How can you do that if you haven’t properly fueled your body? Think about it this way: Would you drive a car without gas? Use your iPhone without charging it? Nope and nope. If you haven’t eaten anything, your workout won’t be as intense as if you’d fueled up beforehand, not to mention that you’ll likely suffer from low blood sugar, which will make you dizzy and sluggish.

You don’t need to gorge yourself; a healthy snack will do the trick. I suggest you eat something 45 minutes to an hour before training — you’ll have more energy and endurance to work harder, burn more calories, and improve your muscle tone. Aim for something with carbohydrates and protein. Here are a few quick, healthy ideas: a whey shake, low-fat yogurt with berries, or a banana or apple slices with natural almond butter.

The Bottom Line:

You should always eat something before a workout. I’m not suggesting you pig out. A small, healthy snack consisting of carbohydrates and protein will properly fuel your body for a killer workout.

How to get started!

How do you get started? It looks like you already have. The simple fact is that you can change your life by changing your mind. Nothing is impossible for the willing mind! We all have the power to gain control of our lives, reach our goals, and live our dreams. The challenge is locating, nurturing, and believing in your ability to do so.

You’ve worked out before, and you have some experience with eating right. But now you’re ready to take things up a notch and get the body you’ve always wanted. Here’s what you should do:

1. Clean the crap out of your cupboards.So you think you know how to eat healthfully? Let’s see…how many boxes of crackers and bags of chips do you have lying around? How often do you cook white rice or refined pasta? Processed foods contain more endocrine disruptors (Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans) than you can shake a stick at, and youwant them out of your life.

2. Replace it with whole foods. Fresh, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains should be the focus of your diet.

3. Get on board with strength training. Let me guess: Whenever you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you’ve done cardio…and more cardio, and more cardio. Cardio is great (in fact, I encourage it as “extra credit” toward weight loss), but it doesn’t help you maintain metabolism-boosting muscle and it doesn’t burn as many calories as circuit-training.

4. Know your target heart rate. To get the maximum calorie burn in the shortest possible time, I recommend exercising at a high intensity — 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.  To find out your target heart rate just visit this site:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/healthtool-target-heart-rate-calculator

5. Keep track of what you eat. The formula for weight loss is simple: You need to burn more calories than you eat. That means you need to be aware of how many calories you put into your body so you can stay on track. I personally keep a food diary.  I record everything that goes in my mouth.  Pretty much if you eat it, record it.  I like the old fashion way, just writing it in a food journal, but I know many people who use Apps on their smart phones.  Apps such as “My Fitness Pal” and “Lose It”  Both these apps have thousands of foods that have already been added with their nutrition information.

6. Evaluate your habits. If you’ve tried to lose weight before but weren’t successful, ask yourself what was standing in your way. Are you an emotional eater? Do you take an all-or-nothing approach that sets you up for failure?  What I’ve done in the past is keep record of when you eat when NOT hungry.  I mean, if you get stressed out and find that you’re turning to food, write it down.  Write down the date/time and how you’re currently feeling.  This will help you realize how you’re feeling when you turn to food.  It’ll help evaluate if you’re actually hungry or if you’re hunger is triggered by something else.

The first thing you need to understand is how your emotions and your behaviors affect your weight. You need to commit all your mental resources toward change. Learn how to take control of negative self-image and poor self-esteem through journaling, positive affirmations, visualization, and behavior-modification techniques. It’s also important to build a support system and communicate with your family and friends so they know what you need and how best to support you. Identify temptations and “trigger foods” (foods that you have a hard time controlling) in your life so you can modify your daily routine and behavior. Next, you must learn how and what to eat. Learn how to make healthier choices and find out what the right types of foods are for your individual metabolism. Then educate yourself about calories. How many is your body burning daily? How many are in the foods you are eating? How many do you burn when you exercise? Starting to get the picture? Weight loss is simple math. A pound is 3,500 calories — so to lose a pound you will need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. It’s “calories in” versus “calories out.”

This is where the exercise comes in. Exercise is the best way to get those “calories out” and burn fat. Get yourself acquainted with exercise. Find out the most effective ways to work out in order to burn the most calories. It’s also important to learn where your heart rate should be when doing resistance training and cardio, the proper form and purpose for each exercise you perform, and how to modify and progress your fitness routine to prevent plateau.

Always hungry? Maybe this hormone is out of whack!

 

I know there’s many people out there that no matter how much they eat, they are still hungry.  They can eat a half of a pizza, plus have dessert and they’re still hungry afterwards.  Does this sound like you?  Well it could be possible that it’s a condition called Leptin Resistance.

To understand leptin resistance, you first have to understand the role the hormone leptin plays in your metabolism. When you’ve eaten a meal, the fat cells throughout your body release leptin, which travels to the hypothalamus which is the part of your brain that helps regulate appetite.  While there, it switches off neuropeptide Y — a protein that tells your brain you’re hungry — and switches on appetite-suppressing signals. In other words, it gives your brain the message to stop being hungry and start burning calories.

You’d think, then, that low levels of leptin would be the cause of an unstoppable appetite, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some research indicates that many people who are overweight actually have very high levels of leptin. How could this be? Well, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. And when the body continually cranks out excess levels of leptin in response to overeating, the receptors for leptin in the hypothalamus can start to get worn out and no longer recognize it. People with leptin resistance have high circulating levels of leptin, but the receptors are “deaf” to it, so it can’t shut off appetite or stimulate your metabolism.

This vicious circle is similar to what happens when a person develops resistance to insulin, the hormone that allows your cells to use the glucose in your blood. (Insulin resistance can cause high blood glucose levels and eventually lead to diabetes.) In fact, the two conditions often go hand in hand, and research suggests that leptin resistance may be reversed in the same way that insulin resistance can be reversed — by exercising, eating right, and losing weight.

The Role of Fat

You probably don’t think of fat as an acetive part of your body, do you? Although researchers used to believe that fat cells were just big blobs of yuck waiting to get bigger or smaller, they now know that fat is an enormous endocrine gland, actively producing and reacting to hormones. The less fat you have, the less likely you are to overload your leptin receptors and deafen them to what leptin is trying to tell them — one more reason that fat-burning exercise is crucial for a healthy hormone balance!

What’s preventing you from losing the weight?

Lack of Exercise

I can’t tell you how many people just let exercise slide as they get older — then turn around and blame their lagging metabolism on their hormones. Yes, as we age, our hormones naturally shift in ways that encourage weight gain. But it’s just too easy to blame your protruding belly on your advancing years. The truth is, you probably haven’t been taking care of yourself! The more you eat clean, live clean, and work out, the better your hormone balance will be, and the healthier your metabolism will remain.

The first thing you should do is step on the treadmill. Exercise reduces weight-gain hormones like cortisol by releasing endorphins to combat stress, and it increases fat-burning hormones like testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone.  Not to mention, every pound of muscle burns three times more calories than every pound of fat does. You need exercise. Period.

Yo-yo Dieting

Some people go to crazy extremes to lose weight. They may cut out entire macronutrients, like carbs or fats. This type of dieting directly disrupts your hormone balance, sending survival messages to your body to store fat and slow your metabolism in case the state of famine persists.

Most “weight cyclers” — also known as yo-yo dieters — have been on diets all their lives. This up-and-down pattern makes each weight-loss attempt more frustrating than the one before — especially if you lost weight by starving your body. Starvation diets prompt your body to cannibalize your muscles for fuel. Without that muscle, your metabolism is slowed further, and your powerful metabolic thyroid hormones are lowered.

If you’re desperate to lose weight, you may figure that there’s no harm in consuming a measly 800 calories a day for a couple of weeks. But then what happens? After you return to what would be considered normal eating — roughly 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day — you’re toast! Your sensitivity to leptin (which plays a key role in regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite and hunger, metabolism, and behaviour) and your insulin has taken a hit. Your gherlin (a hormone produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fungus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals.) shot through the roof. And you wonder why the weight returns…

Processed Foods

Our 21st-century diet is composed primarily of corn, soy, and wheat — whether or not we ever recognize them on our plates. Just pick up a typical packaged food and check the ingredients list — you’re likely to find refined wheat flour, hydrolyzed soy protein, partially hydrogenated corn oil, and/or high-fructose corn syrup.

Food manufacturers add a whole shit load of chemicals to these incredibly cheap, incredibly bland ingredients to make them taste good. Some evidence even suggests that the food-science industry is tinkering around with your neurochemistry by throwing in addictive junk that makes you want to eat more — and more and more. Until the government decides to step in and keep the food industry from stocking the shelves with toxic processed foods, it’s up to you to protect yourself

Too Much Stress, Not Enough Sleep

Stress is like kryptonite for your hormones — just a bit can throw them entirely out of whack. Among other things, stress may lead to:

  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lower estrogen in women
  • Lower testosterone in men
  • Lower levels of growth hormone
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Impaired thyroid hormone

Any one of these changes could slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight. Add them together, and throw in all the behavioral responses that accompany stress — mindless snacking, not exercising, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol — and you can see that stress is a majorendocrine disruptor.

One of the biggest causes, as well as a symptom, of stress-induced hormonal upheaval occurs when people cut their hours of quality sleep. Studies have shown that when sleep is restricted for even a couple of nights in a row, your body’s levels of the satiety hormone leptin drop, and levels of the hunger hormone gherkin shoot up, along with your appetite for sweets, breads and pastas, and salty foods.

In a study of healthy people who were deprived for three days of the ability to reach deep sleep — the period in which most of the body’s growth hormone is released — the subjects’ ability to process sugar dropped by about 20 percent. In other words, they became insulin resistant in only 72 hours. The point is, you need your rest!

Pharmaceutical Overload

Drug companies have become very creative about selling people on new “lifestyle” diseases. Whether you’re sad, anxious, angry, or hyper — or have any other human feeling — they have a drug to “medicate” it away. In addition to the obvious hormone jostling caused by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, disruptions are produced by chemicals contained in many other pharmaceuticals. For example, a common class of antidepressants — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — has been linked to higher rates of metabolic syndrome. And weight gain can be caused by diabetes medications, antihistamines, mood stabilizers, and steroid hormones. All these pharmaceuticals can seriously affect your hormonal health. Of course, some people are taking their medications for very good reasons, and sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Never stop taking the medicines you’ve been prescribed without first talking the matter over with your doctor — suddenly stopping some medications, such as steroids, is actually very dangerous. Your doctor can help you decide what’s truly necessary for you to take.

This is something I’ve been thinking of lately.  I have been thinking of talking to my doctor to wean myself off my antidepressants.  I feel that it’s not helping really.  Plus, since Ive changed medications… my appetite has been out of control.  And I know I’ve gained weight.  So who knows what’s going on with my body.

Certain herbs, vitamins, and other supplements can also have very powerful hormonal effects — especially when combined with any meds prescribed by your doctor. So if you don’t tell your doctor you’re taking them, you risk doing some real damage to your endocrine system.

Cigarettes

Okay, here’s a no-brainer: Smoking is bad for you. But you probably never suspected some of the ways in which it’s bad. This destructive little habit affects a slew of endocrine glands — pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, testicles, and ovaries — in addition to the lungs, heart, brain, and, oh yeah, every other cell in your body.

To give you a breakdown of the metabolic risks, smoking helps cause insulin resistance and drives up your cortisol levels. It can make you infertile and throw your body into menopause years before your time. Smoking is also a huge risk factor for problems with your thyroid.

Think quitting will make you fat? I have news for you: Smoking fills your body with a number of pollutants that not only won’t help you lose weight but will make you fat. Seriously, people, just don’t do it.

A Super-sized Culture

The final factor on our list of hormone disruptors, and a reason that’s often cited for our society’s excess pounds, is the idea that more is good and bigger is better when it comes to food.

There’s no denying that we’re struggling with an environment that conspires to make and keep us fat. Restaurant portion sizes have increased 500 percent since the 1970s. On average, the typical American eats about 23 pounds of candy and drinks 35 gallons of regular pop a year. Add to these statistics remote controls, a few million TV channels, Internet addictions, longer commutes, extended workweeks, no sidewalks, drive-throughs, supersizing… and you can see why we’re a nation filled with overweight children and adults.

And this epidemic of “too much” isn’t just a harmless symptom of our supposedly greedy appetites. I want you to see this caloric excess as a highly profitable, corporately sanctioned endocrine disruptor every bit as disturbing as the pesticides and pharmaceuticals you’re putting into your body.

Look at overblown fast foods and huge portions as poisonous in and of themselves, and realize that by cutting back, you’re not depriving yourself — you’re sidestepping an enormous black hole of toxins in our environment. Toss the pop, keep reading about nutrition, and follow a diet that gets you to a place where your metabolism and hormones start working for you.

Come on guys! We can do this!  Let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet!