Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tip of the Day : Antioxidants


A look back on Human Biology/Physiology:

Our bodies are made up of millions of different cells. Cells consist of different types of molecules. Molecules consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements joined in chemical bonds. As you probably remember from high school, atoms consist of a nucleus, neutrons, protons and electrons. The number of protons (positively charged particles) in the atom's nucleus determines the number of electrons (negatively charged particles) surrounding the atom. Electrons are involved in chemical reactions and are the substance that bonds atoms together to form molecules. Electrons surround, or "orbit" an atom in one or more shells. The innermost shell is full when it has two electrons. When the first shell is full, electrons begin to fill the second shell. When the second shell has eight electrons, it is full, and so on.

When trying to determine an atom's chemical behavior, the most important structural feature is the number of electrons in its outer shell. A substance that has a full outer shell tends not to enter in chemical reactions (an inert substance). Because atoms seek to reach a state of maximum stability, an atom will try to fill it's outer shell by:

  • Gaining or losing electrons to either fill or empty its outer shell
  • Sharing its electrons by bonding together with other atoms in order to complete its outer shell
  • Atoms often complete their outer shells by sharing electrons with other atoms. By sharing electrons, the atoms are bound together and satisfy the conditions of maximum stability for the molecule.
This Relates To The Creation of Free Radicals:

Normally when molecules split (separating the atoms) they don't leave one atom with an incomplete shell - with an odd number of electrons. But, weak bonded molecules can break apart leaving atoms with extremely unstable outer shells - they NEED to bond with another atom to try to reach stability. These unstable atoms are called Free Radicals, and they are voracious. These free radicals, upon the breaking of it's weak bond, turn immediately to the next healthy cell and latch on, trying to steal the necessary electrons - which then turns that cell into a free radical, and so on.

Are All Free Radicals Bad?

No. Sometimes free radicals are formed during the normal digestive process. Sometimes, they can be purposefully created by our bodies immune system to attack a virus. Normally the body has no problem - when the healthy cells are healthy enough, strong enough to prevent the radical from stealing their electrons then the free radical cell will eventually die.

Furthermore, free radicals can be created through the oxidation process - converting the air we breath into the chemical in our blood our body can use. The problem lies in the fact that the air isn't pure Oxygen, there are other chemicals, including second hand smoke, that have to be filtered out. The chemicals produce plenty of free radicals as our body strives to get rid of them.

How Free Radicals Are Bad For The Body:

Once the free radicals begin stealing electrons, creating a chain of events, it can cascade growing in strength until cells we need to function are being attacked. Furthermore, even normal or healthy free radical damage increases with age. Since the bad free radicals can harm healthy cells, it can lead to heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, etc.

How Do We Prevent Free Radical Damage To Healthy Cells:

You guessed it, Antioxidants. When we eat a diet high in antioxidants, then our healthy cells form a shell or protective barrier that keeps the free radical from damaging the cell. This shell can even protect a cell giving it time to heal or strengthen into a true healthy cell - thus preventing disease. But, the most amazing thing studies have shown us in the last decade, is that antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-"stealing" reaction. The antioxidant nutrients themselves don't become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form. They act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease!!

Not to mention the fact that the foods high in antioxidants are also high in such healthy vitamins as C & E and you're talking about an army of healthy cells fighting off disease and infection.

What Foods Are Commonly Referred To As Antioxidants:
  • Vitamin A & Cartenoids - Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables!)
  • Vitamin C - Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes
  • Vitamin E - nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil
  • Selenium - Fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic

Other Foods Rich In That Act as Antioxidants:

  • Flavonoids/Polyphenols - soy, red wine, purple/Concord grapes, pomegranate, cranberries, tea
  • Lycopene - tomato & tomato products, pink grapefruit, watermelon
  • Lutein - dark green veggies (kale, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts)
  • Lignan - flax seed, oatmeal, barley, rye
Vitamins That Act As Antioxidants:
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Glutathoine
SO, What Does This Mean For My Diet & Life-Style?

Well, now you can understand why smoking and being around smoke is so unhealthy. Furthermore, you can see how eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies is imperative to developing the antioxidant warrior cells out bodies need to keep us healthy. Look for a diet high in bright colors - the bright yellow in corn, the bright orange in cantaloupe, the bright red in tomatoes, the bright green in spinach...etc..

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Happens When You Drink Soda

I think this article is a MUST for anyone tempted to drink soda:

What Happens To Your Body If You Drink A Soda Right Now??
by Wade Meredith on December 8th, 2006

Have you ever wondered why Coke comes with a smile? It's because it gets you high. They took the cocaine out almost a hundred years ago. You know why? It was redundant.
  • In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don't immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
  • 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There's plenty of that at this particular moment)
  • 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
  • 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
  • >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
  • >60 Minutes: The caffeine's diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you'll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
  • >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you'll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You've also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.
  • This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you're a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it'll make you feel better.

*FYI: The Coke itself is not the enemy, here. It's the dynamic combo of massive sugar doses combined with caffeine and phosphoric acid. Things which are found in almost all soda.

Nutritional Shortcuts

You will never weigh everything!

I'm busy, you're busy...I like to tell my DH that even we SAHM's are more busy then anyone else (our job is 24-7). That being the case, the idea that you'll measure every single thing you'll eat or drink is unrealistic. The trick to life-long change is Ease With Your Lifestyle. If preparing food on Saturday and freezing the food for the coming week is best for you, do it. If sticking your car, pocket book, brief case, desk, etc is better for you? Do it! There is no right or wrong. Everyone was led down a different path, even though we all ended up with those extra pounds. So you're path to being healthy won't be the same as anyone else.

So, how do you know you're eating the right portion size without breaking out the scale for every meal? Well, there are tricks we nutritionists use. It's really the easiest way...but you must be honest with yourself. If you'll eat 2 servings it's ok, just exercise that much more to burn the extra calories. So you don't need to close one eye and stand on your left foot with your right fingers crossed in order to say it was a single serving.

Here are the visual tricks to determining Serving Size:
  • A rounded handful - one 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or a snack serving of crisps or pretzels
  • Woman’s fist - another way of visualising a serving of vegetables, or one piece of whole fruit
  • Small handful or golf ball - 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • A matchbox - a 1 oz serving of meat, or a serving of cheese
  • Deck of cards, or the palm of your hand (excluding fingers) - a 3oz serving (recommended serving) of meat, fish or poultry, or ten chips/french fries
  • Thin paperback book - a 8 oz serving of meat
  • Check book - a serving of fish (approximately 3 oz)
  • Tennis ball - 1/2 cup of pasta, or a serving of ice cream
  • Computer mouse - a medium baked potato
  • Compact disc - one serving of pancake or small waffle
  • Thumb tip or one dice - one teaspoon of margarine
  • A ping pong ball - two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Small milk carton - 8 oz glass of milk
  • A baseball - 8 oz cup of yogurt, one cup of beans, or one cup of dry cereal
  • If you have certain foods you tend to eat all the time (like for me it's sesame seeds) then weight those once. I buy my seeds in bulk, then weight them into individual Ziplock baggies. No need to weight every time, once is enough!

Oh - when you're at a resturant or a family dinner here is what I suggest:

  • Always get dressings on the side. Even dipping each forkful will give you less dressing then they usually put on. Try to stick to the vinegrettes, but if you MUST get the ceasar then dip or use the biggest spoon and put 1 1/2 spoon fuls on your salad ONLY.
  • As soon as you're plate is placed in front of you ask for a doggie bag. Immediately bag up at least 1/2 of your food. It's appaling the size of the plates here in America. You'll be less tempted to over eat if the food simply isn't there.
  • Always leave food on you're plate....trust me, the starving children in China won't care.
  • If you're going to a family dinner, and you know they'll hound you into eating high-calorie foods, ask for a desert plate and use this instead of a full dinner plate. It will help you to minimize the damage of those high cal foods.

Free Meal Plans

Now that you have a better understanding of how to determine the nutritional value of the food you usually buy (and the holes of extra calories) You can begin to plan out what you will eat for the coming week.

I can not begin to tell you how important planning and journaling is. For some of us, the fact that we have to keep a log each day is enough to keep us from straying (how harsh is it to have to fill that log with the crap you wanted to eat). So loging or journaling can help us stay on the straight path, but more than that - if you hit a plateau one of the reasons might be that you're eating more calories than you THINK you're eating. Looking back through your logs can help you to develop a clearer picture of the amount of cals.
  • You can take your log and compare it to the food Calorie Lists here:
    Mike's Alphabetical Food Calorie Chart
  • or You can use a Calorie Calculator to type in the food and it will calculate the calories and fat.
  • You can determine Your Recommended Caloric Intake here.
  • You can determine your Recommended Serving Sizes based on your Recommended Caloric Intake here.
  • What actually Counts As A Serving Size. As stated in the previous post. This is the hardest part...Who would have thought that 1 Slice of bread is 1 Serving Size...who makes a sandwich with only 1? That means you need to multiply the calories by 2!! This link will give you the foods list that equal 1 serving size.
  • Here's some Menu Plans for a 2200 - 2400 calorie a day diet (what most of us SHOULD be eating, most deprive the body short-circuiting the metabolism): Life Styles Management
    Pyramid Diet (using the FDA Recommended Daily Allowences listed on the Nutritional Labels for a diet) just scroll to the bottom of the screen for the Meal Plans.

No More Excuses

Hey Everybody,

Well it's 10am (est) have you worked out at all today? No? What about yesterday? Awww your son had a snuffly nose? Your hubby went out with his friends leaving you home with all the tired and grouchy kids? Awww I feel ya.....but....what exactly is your excuse? That's life, and no one said the road would be smooth sailing (how boring would that be). You'll always have a sick kid, or hubby (even worse :D), you'll always have a mile high stack of laundry, you'll always have to make dinner, and call your sisters-cousins-best friend.

Lack of motivation is the number one excuse EVERYONE uses. Sure some may think they are motivated, but if they were then their ass wouldn't be sitting at a computer desk right now.

So, here's my #1 wight-loss secret....

That's right....you should be doing about 45 minutes of cardio-respiratory exercise every day. BUT, this includes walking at a clip through the mall, or parking further away from work. Playing with the kids can be considered cardio, heck even sex is considered cardio...the actual definition of Cardio Respiratory exercise is any movement that utilizes several muscles at the same time for an extended period of time...So the treadmill, elliptical, stepper and Rower are cardio exercises that burn lots of calories (on average about 400-600/hour the same as about 1 meal)...So you should be doing continuous movement for a minimum of 45 minutes a day....but it's difficult to put aside an hour a day, things can get in the way....but you can easily find 10-15 minutes....that's right. You don't have to do the 45 minutes all in one lump, you can split it up throughout the day. You can easily find 15 minutes 3-4 times a day!!!!!!NO MORE EXCUSES, if you can find time to pee, you can find time to exercise....if you can find time to read this post, then you can find time to exercise!

Tip of the Day

Don't Discount Chores!!

Believe it or not, you do actually burn calories while doing everyday chores. Why not put on some music and boogy while doing them and increase the caloric burn!

  • Bed rest, sleeping = 60 per hour
  • Taking a shower - 65 for 15 minutes
  • Eating a meal (sitting down) = 70 per 30 minutes
  • Reading, Watching TV, Sitting (some brain activity) = 75 per hour
  • Sewing (sitting down at a sewing machine) = 80 per hour
  • Grocery Shopping, loading puchased groceries in your vehicle, carrying them into your home, and putting them away = 90 per hour
  • Basic House Cleaning; making beds, cleaning bathroom, light vaccuming, empty small trash containers (not breaking a sweat) = 95 per hour
  • Quietly standing in line = 100 per hour
  • Arguing on the phone or with neighbor (standing, swinging arms) = 105 per hour
  • Sexual intimacy = 108 per hour
  • Playing with your dog; throwing rawhide, playing tag, playing fetch = 115 per hour
  • Chasing after kids, during daily activity (Heck I have 2 kids I should know!) = 120 per hour
  • Driving a vehicle in moderate to heavy traffic = 120 per hour
  • Going for a walk (moderate movement) in the park = 130 per hour
  • Horseback Riding = 130 per hour
  • Going for a bike ride, (6 mph). Once warmed up, you want to work at about a level 5 out of 10 for 20 - 30 minutes, without stopping = 135 per hour
  • Mall shopping; swiftly walking through stores at an active pace, trying on clothes, carrying packages, (not resting on benches) = 135 per hour
  • Bowling or Ballroom dancing = 145 per hour
  • Wrestling = 180 for a 10 - 15 minute match
  • Heavy housework; scrubbing floors on hands and knees, stripping paint, hand-washing walls, cleaning the garage. (Using a lot of up and down motion with the body.) = 225 per hour
  • Yoga, breaking a sweat = 230 per hour
  • Weeding a garden (stooping and bending), bagging up discarded weeds, and carrying them away, breaking a little sweat. = 230 per hour
  • Playing Golf, riding in a golf cart between holes = 250 per hour
  • Softball, soccer or free-style swimming = 260 per hour
    *Swimming for pleasure, no time limits, no stress. This can only be considered aerobic if it is continuous for 20 - 30 minutes without stopping, going for an intensity of a level 5 = 260 per hour
  • Lawn mowing, using a push mower, (bending down often to remove rubbish from the way) gathering up leaves and carrying them away = 295 per hour
  • Playing golf, pushing a bag cart (with wheels) and walking between holes, some sweating = 300 per hour
  • Martial arts, Tai Chi, or Karate (no rest breaks) = 345 for 1 hour
  • Playing golf, lugging your own clubs around at a fast pace, walking between holes, sweating & labored breathing = 370 per hour
  • Hiking, Rock Climbing, uphill = 390 per hour
  • Dancing to Rock and Roll Music = 400 per hour
  • Competitve professional type bowling, one on one (no sitting) = 400 per hour
  • Going up and down steep stairs at home or work (12 steps to each set of stairs), not holding on to the banister, not stopping- only counts as aerobic if it is continuous for 20 - 30 minutes = 425 per hour
  • Racquetball, football, hockey, basketball = 460 per hour

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tip of the Day


Seriously, sucking your belly in the entire time you work out, throughout the day...heck whenever you can, will make a huge difference in the contour of your belly. The ab muscles are layered a little differently than other muscles. When you work your core, you can end up working deep inside, layers rather than the top pooch layer if you're not careful.
Sucking in your stomach, contracts the stomach - which flattens the layers of muscle together which allows you to work that top layer - and it is also building muscle memory - so that your brain learns that the flat, contracted sexiness is your everyday contour - thus giving you a flatter stomach, without any exercises....
Of course there are hundreds of other reasons including supporting the trunk and spine, and burning calories, but sucking it in can help flatten that trouble spot!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tip of the Day

According to the National Institutes of Health, the following are signs/symptoms of stress:
  • Possible signs of stress
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Problems with relationships
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

Stress for me is a big factor when helping a client lose weight. Many are in conscious denial - refusing to even see that stress affects them adversly. Here is

  • Don't worry about things you can't control, such as the weather.
  • Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, such as a job interview.
  • Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat.
  • Work to resolve conflicts with other people.
  • Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor.
  • Set realistic goals at home and at work.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep.
  • Meditate.
  • Participate in something you don't find stressful, such as sports, social events or hobbies.

Hope that helps!!! I also strongly suggest writing inspirational quotes on index cards and reading the before bed each night!!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Exercise of the Week


Huh? Well this is a way to continue Cardio training. Remember, we burn calories through Cardio training utilizing the muscles built during Resistance training. Therefore if we could do Cardio training as long as possible then we'd burn max calories -- but Cardio alone isn't enough since you have to have the muscles to burn the fat....the solution is to do compound exercises. Remember, the definition of Cardio Respiratory training is - using multiple muscles at the same time for an extended period of time. Therefore we could, technically, use compound exercises (those that use more than one muscle group) as a part of our Cardio...

Therefore you can perform traditional Cardio (treadmill, elliptical, steppers, etc) for 30-45 minutes EVERYDAY. Then you can extend this fat burn through the rest of your workout by using compound exercises. Think of it this way, we don't burn many calories during a bicep curl, because the bicep is a small muscle (it can only 'eat' so much), but if we stand on one foot while performing the curl, then we add in the core (for balance) as well as the thigh and hips. This increases the caloric burn (doing pretty much the same exercise) by an insane amount!! Speeding weight loss!

Conversely, those wanting to bulk up - need to conserve energy - burning calories is their enemy. So they need to sit with their arms braced on a bridge in order to conserve the most energy. (for the bicep curl)

Examples of Compound Exercises:

Lunges with a curl - overhead press
Squat - overhead press
1-Leg Squats
Lunge - front kick
Sumo Squat to torso twist


Tip of the Day

Veggies & Fruit

Guess What, these are another miracle for those looking to lose weight...why? Because you can eat unlimited supplies with very little caloric intake. Plus most are predominately water based, also helping with hydration. So STOCK UP! Keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks and times when you're feeling peckish.

Munch Away!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tip of the Day


The miracle weight loss secret. Seriously! Drinking water can help you lose up to 20 pounds in just a few weeks. You see, our water retention process is a reverse process. You retain more water the more dehydrated the body becomes. This is because the body fears water being scarce, like in a drought. This makes you put on the pounds. The body fears the lack of water -because then you'd die. So in the face of minimal fluid intake the body stores every ounce of water as it can squeeze from food and drink. When you continually drink appropriate amount of water, then you don't store as much water. This means you don't have that poundage. Carbohydrates are the tool the body uses to regulate hydration. SO, when people go on those carb-low diets, they tend to lose about 20 pounds relatively quickly because their body is incapable of retaining any water...but this is also not good because our body needs water to function normally. The best you can hope for is balance. When you're in taking enough water then you don't store water, you don't have all those extra water pounds, BUT (with a carb balanced diet) you also have plenty of HYDRATION so your muscles can work to burn the fat...
Water will also help you feel full, which will keep your portion sizes under control. Water, the truly amazing diet aide!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tip of the Day

It's rainy, sleety, snowy outside. It seems like the perfect day to sit around in my PJ's with lots of hot coco and chips watching movies......er, what? This is the perfect to for me to clean my house, or try out one of the exercise video's gathering dust, or even getting out of the house to go shopping or to the gym.

The hardest part of each day is deciding to MOVE to EXERCISE! Once you're at the gym or on the treadmill at home, then you have no worries, but each day you'll face roadblocks from the weather to the kids that make you want to stay home.

My advice?

  • Plan ahead. If you know you'll be less likely to want to leave the house, then set up several alarms, so set goal pictures on your cabinets / refrigerator. This way it's you inner voice nagging at you.
  • Get a buddy. I can't tell you how much having a support structure is important. Having a workout buddy will push you to exercise on those blah days. Having someone asking you how things are going (without judgement) will also help push you on.
  • Get a trainer. There really is a major difference between exercising on your own and exercising with a trainer....you would think that as tired as you are after exercising on your own, or taking a Spin class, that that would be it...but there really is no comparison. Even if you only work with a trainer a couple of times a year, it really is worth it!

I'm Baaaaaack!

Well, I took some time off to get things situated with the fam...mostly to get the homeschooling going, and setting up my websites....whew, I've been busy...

But I'm now ready to dedicate this blog to being the best fitness / wellness advice column around!

Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see of if there's any advice you want to ask....comment away!!!