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!

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Why Eating Quick, Cheap food is actually expensive

So… I was in the grocery store the other day picking up some fresh fruits and veggies.  I was next to a mother and daughter (mother older than me, and a daughter around Kyle’s age).. I heard the mother say that she would like some avocados.  Obviously the child laughed and didn’t know what she meant.  So she made her way over to the avocados and immediately said “No way! 3 for $5, not worth it.

She put the avocado back and walked away from the vegetables.  I watched her, she walked toward the aisles full of dead, boxed, canned, packaged goods.  These are the aisles where we are able to buy thousands of calories of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, factory-made, processed foods filled with sugar, fat, and salt for the same five dollars as those healthy avocados. This is the scenario millions of us struggling to feed our families face every single day.

The odd paradox is that food insecurity — not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not having enough money to adequately feed your family — leads to obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease. Examining this paradox may help us advocate for policies that make producing fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole other foods cheaper, while rethinking the almost $300 billion in government subsidies that support the production of cheap, processed food derived from corn and soy.

Anyone see the commercials by Jamie Oliver?  Well he’s a chef who’s trying to show Canadians and Americans that you CAN eat healthy – and afford it too.  He’s showing us that cooking and eating whole fresh foods at home can be cheaper, more fun and simpler than most people think.  Google it, google him, I love him.

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So I want you to ask yourself this: Have you ever made poor food choices because of cost? What is the REAL cost of this cheap food — the cost in dollars, on our health, on our environment, and even on the fraying fabric of our social and family systems?

This is what you need to remember:

  1. The true cost of unhealthy food isn’t just the price tag — in fact, the real costs are hidden.
  2. Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more.

Sure, I know it seems cheaper to eat a burger, fries, and a pop from McDonald’s than to eat a meal of whole foods.  Especially when there’s all these value menus out there.  Of course we think it’s better to purchase a meal for $3.99, but there are healthier, cheaper options. Lets look at why the true costs of eating unhealthy food are hidden, and lets look at some ways that will help all of us save money and stop suffering by eating well for less. Poverty or financial limitations do not preclude eating well, creating health, and avoiding disease.

Let’s start by looking at how our economy and public policy are geared toward the production of cheap, unhealthy food.  
(I did some research and found this from the net)

Government Policy Supports the Production of Unhealthy Food

Unhealthy food is cheaper because our government’s policies support its production. We’re spending nearly $30 billion a year to subsidize corn and soy production. Where do those foods go? These foods go into our food supply as high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats), that are the foundation of almost all fast food and processed foods that are “manufactured” by the food industry.

Since the 1970s — when our agricultural policies where changed to support corn and soy farmers — we’re consuming, on average, an extra 500 calories (mostly in the form of cheap, artificial high-fructose corn syrup) per person.

When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.

Corn and soy are also used to feed cattle for the production of meat and dairy. In fact I found that 70% of the wheat, corn, and soy farmed in this country is used to feed animals used for our food. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people — more than the entire human population on Earth!

The Hidden Costs of Eating Poorly

We all know that bad foods are bad for your health.  Actually, when you think about it, bad foods are also bad for your bank accounts. For example, one expert has estimated that healthcare costs related to obesity are $118 billion per year. That’s nearly 12 percent of total healthcare expenditures — and more than twice that caused by smoking! Seventy-two percent of Americans are overweight and over one third are medically obese. One in three children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime and the life expectancy of our population is declining for the first time in human history.

So what’s the REAL costs of obesity?  Think about it, sure, you save $4 by buying an already prepared, processed burger by buying it from McDonalds… but think about what poor dieting can lead too.   It can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.  Here’s some facts on obesity:

  • Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work.
  • Obesity accounts for 7 percent of lost productivity due to sick leave and disability.
  • 7 percent of all of North Carolina’s healthcare expenditures are related to obesity.
  • Obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people.
  • Obese people are 2.5 times more likely to require drugs prescribed for cardiovascular and circulation disorders.
  • Liposuction is the Number 1 form of cosmetic surgery in the US, with 400,000 operations a year.
  • Over 100,000 people a year have gastric bypass surgery.

 

As these facts prove, the costs of eating fast, junk, and processed foods are often deferred until later. And that’s the key point: When you go to McDonald’s for a cheap burger and fries, you might immediately compare that lower price to whole organic foods which are more expensive in the short term. But the total cost isn’t reflected in how much you pay for your meal in the immediate moment, it’s the cumulative cost of what those decisions cost you over a lifetime.

For example, when you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket. There are other non-economic costs of eating poorly as well. You reduce your ability to enjoy life in the moment due to increased fatigue, low-grade health complaints, obesity, depression and more.

The biggest advantage of eating well now is not just preventing disease and costs later, but simply enjoying each day to its fullest. You can make that happen. Eating well doesn’t have to cost more.

So, to sum up my blog, it’s just known that eating well is not just good for your body, it’s good for your wallet, too! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Four Tips to Start Eating Healthy for Less Today

  1. Listen to Gandhi. Yes, Gandhi! He said that we should never mistake what is habitual for what is natural. Case in point: Some Chinese are very poor and yet they eat extremely well — small amounts of animal protein, with an abundance of vegetables.
  2. Be willing to learn. We have to learn new ways of shopping and eating, new ways of ordering our priorities around our health and nutrition that supports our well-being, even if it is hard at the beginning.
  3. Do your research. There are ways to find cheaper sources of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean animal protein. You just need to seek them out. It doesn’t all have to be organic. Simply switching from processed foods to whole foods is a HUGE step in the right direction.
  4. Make an effort. Eating healthy does take more planning. It may require you to find new places to hunt and gather for your family. You might have to reorder your priorities regarding where you spend your money and your time so that you can make healthier eating choices.

Remember, eating healthy foods without spending a lot is possible-and you can do it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!!
What a beautiful morning it is!

Woke up this morning feeling grateful and inspired.  Hit up the gym and had a great cardio workout.
Felt amazing at the gym this morning.  I’m not too sure if it’s “The Mondays” or what…. What I mean by “The Mondays” is that sometimes people find it easier to begin new things on a Monday.

That’s what I did.  I’ve started from scratch again.  Back to planning my meals, staying positive, counting my calories in and out.  Making sure I get all my veggies.  Cutting back on the starches and fruit — personal choice.  ALL food groups are important to incorporate into your daily diets.

Did a great cardio workout today.  30 minutes on the Ellipitcal followed by a 5 minute cool down on the treadmill.  Tomorrow going to incorporate weights.  I have a book that has strength training exercises from Bob Harper.  So excited to get to my goals and help my friends/family reach their goals on the way!!

The last couple of months have been quite rough on me.  I suffered from major depression and was not myself at all.  Not going to go into details.. but I was in a really dark period of time.  Nothing seemed to help.  Got placed on medications.. which I’m trying to ween myself off of — at doctors discretion of course.  Going to be visiting a Psychiatrist to help.  I’m getting myself through this.

The worlds most natural remedy for depression is healthy food choices and exercise and creating a positive day for yourself.
I wake up now and say a little prayer and plan on going to bed doing the same thing.  I have two guardian angels up there for me.. both rooting me on to my goals.  Both know how great I can do (AND DID).. 

So like I said, its time to get back at it.  
I’m hoping this positive change inspires others to do so as well.

I want to be healthy to be around for my son and family for as long as I can be.  

So here’s to the first day of the rest of my healthy life.
Lets do this altogether.

This blog will include inspiration, motivation, recipes and sometimes even my venting..lol.

Stay tuned for daily updates and articles!
Thank you all.  Better get busy on these meal plans!