Healthy? Take a Second Look.

Looking at labels could not be more important than it is in our world today. Even though a product claims to be “healthy” one way or another, until you read the label you will never know for sure. Maybe they have reduced the fat, but added more sugar. So really a label reading low-fat might be true, but they don’t tell you up front they have added something in its place. Here are 3 examples that might be worth a glance.

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

You may think reduced-fat PB is the way to go to, but have you read the label to check out the ingredients? It’s peanut butter and in my opinion it should only be made of peanuts! Artificial sweeteners are added, but that only takes off 0.5 grams of fat and 10 calories….is that really worth it? The unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, pb, and olive oil  help protect our heart, lower bad cholesterol, and fight inflammation in our bodies. Choosing your peanut butter can be made easier if you go with organic or natural. The calorie content can be scary with pb, just remember moderation and only allow 1-2Tbsp per serving.

Frozen Yogurt

Since yogurt is being considered a health food then why not treat yourself to a dish of frozen yogurt?! For the most part I’d have to agree, but we have to watch it with portion sizes and topping that are added. There are so many self-serve places around that lets you choose your portions along with loading on all types of delicious toppings! Very quickly you went from a healthy snack to calorie overload and you didn’t even realize it.

Gluten-Free Foods

Celiac Disease is what causes people to have to go gluten-free, it’s not a choice for them. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as rye, wheat, and barely which leads to inflammations in the small intestine and prevents sufferers from absorbing certain nutrients.  It seems that this ‘diet’ has become quite popular lately even though some people who chose to live this way don’t actually have to. Due to the marketing of gluten-free products as health foods we have to watch out because some products actually contain significant amounts of sugar, saturated fat, and preservatives. Don’t fall into this craze if you don’t indeed need to be gluten-free. When it comes down to it you only need to go gluten-free if you have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

These are just a few of the things out there that claim to be “healthy”, but might need a second look. Looking at labels might take a little extra time so ultimately it’s up to you if you want to know what you’re putting into your body.

~ Your Health Dork ~

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Raw Food Diet.

If any of you have read any of my previous blogs you know I’m not a fan of the word diet, but here I am using it in my subject line. This isn’t really by choice though…let me tell you why. On Saturday I went to a Raw Food Diet seminar, that’s what they call it! So really they are choosing to live a lifestyle of raw foods. Hey to each their own!

I’m not going to sit here and bash this lifestyle or try to sway you to get on board with it, but I will say that I left with a great deal of information. The gal that did it has been doing it for I belive it was 6 yrs now and had went to an institution to become very knowledgable in the area.

The raw food diet is simply foods that are minimally processed and in their natural state. A lot of people think it’s pink, uncooked meat, and sushi just to mention a few, but really it’s not that at all. Anything cooked above 118 degrees isn’t considered raw because the heating of it takes out all the benefits. Microwaves are a no-no!! Zapping your food for just a few seconds takes out all the benefits of the food.

Leafy greens, fresh fruit, seeds, nuts, good oils, and veggies are just a few of the examples of foods in this diet. These types of foods are high in enzymes which help break down the foods. We have them naturally in our bodies already, but to use the ones we already have uses 30% of our energy to break that food down. Foods that already have enzymes in them break down on their own requiring none of our energy. All living foods have enzymes.

Fruits and veggies are 70% water! That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Well think about eating a lot of those throughout the day plus your normal intake of water…..you should be hydrated and ready to go!

One of my questions about following this ‘diet’ was “where are the proteins?” I always thought the majority of protein was found in meats. Well the darker the leafy green the more protein it has in it. Also an avocado had a great deal of protein along with good fats. The process of heating meats actually congeals the proteins together.  It turns to a jelly and once consumed that jelly is sitting inside your belly. Yuck!

If The Raw Diet sounds like something you’d be interested in there are tons of books out there about it. I’m just touching on it and sharing the information I received. It’s a very interesting concept so if it’s for you then bring on the Raw Food!

~ Your Health Dork ~

Plan Ahead.

A lifestyle change isn’t going to just happen overnight. There needs to be some planning involved and some mental preparation. Are you ready for it? Of course you are…. If you want it bad enough it’s all up to you! Planning is going to create new habits, better habits! It’s going to make things a lot easier and less stressful. You may be thinking I’m crazy for saying that, but after some time you will see for yourself. Disciplined people are the ones who are successful when losing weight and keeping it off. It takes effort to succeed in a challenge. No one said losing weight was easy, if it was everyone would look like professional athletes or supermodels!

Planning ahead and staying on a schedule can keep your blood sugar steady, which can help keep the hunger headaches away, and keep you from feeling extremely hungry or fatigued. When you experience any of these feelings there is a good chance once you do eat you will overeat. When you deprive your body of food it goes into hunger mode. Once you do eat something it will store it away as fat because it doesn’t know when it will receive food again. Also your metabolism doesn’t work correctly and once you do eat something you will end up gaining weight.

Planning ahead can take a little extra time and preparation, but your life is well worth it. In the evenings plan what your meals and snacks will be for the following day. Especially if you are gone all day you need to pack snacks, meals, ect. so you are able to eat when you want and eat exactly what you want. If you are prepared and end up getting hungry you will just eat anything in sight, healthy or not. Everyone has different schedules so someone who works 8-5 will have to prepare differently than someone who is a stay at home parent or simply just works from home.

Exercise is the same way. If you don’t plan ahead to go to the gym, yoga, fitness class, whatever it is you do then there is a chance you may not go. If someone mentioned going to happy hour would you go? Did you have plans to workout? If you didn’t then you probably would go have a drink or two. But if you had plans to workout you might stick to your guns and go get your sweat on! Again discipline plays a big part in all this, even exercise.

~ Your Health Dork ~

Lift Weights to Lift the Weight Off.

There is quite the misconception when it comes to lifting weights as a way to lose weight. A lot of people think that lifting weights will only bulk you up and for women that is usually something they want to stay far away from! There are a few reasons why pumping some iron can set you up to lose a few pounds.

Metabolic rate increases both short-term and long-term when lifting weights. Even hours after an intense weight workout your metabolic rate will increase. After some time of lifting weights you will achieve lean muscle mass, which in turn creates a permanent increase in your metabolism. Studies show that after an hour-long weight workout, on average, 100 extra calories are burned in the 24 hours after the workout has been completed. Increasing your metabolism is NEVER a bad thing so what are you waiting for?

Cardio is a great way to lose weight, but lifting weights will help you lose fat and in turn change your body composition. The number on the scale isn’t everything. Muscle is more dense than fat, but can compress the same amount of weight into less space. So even if the scale isn’t changing quite as fast as you’d like, if you are successful in a weight training program your body composition will show results. Toned muscles look better than loose fat any day!! Those jeans you never thought you’d get back into will be getting compliments very soon!!!

Weight lifting can also help with some medical issues. The extra belly that some carry around can lead to such diseases as cancer or diabetes, but researchers have found lifting weights is better than cardio when trying to shrink the belly. A little time working your muscles is well worth it versus getting a bad report at the doctors office.

Muscles are amazing little body parts! They can eat up calories even when you aren’t working them out! How great is that to sit at your office desk, on an airplane, or on your couch and know you are shedding calories? Of course you have to put in the work before that’s all going to happen, sorry it’s not magic! Change 10lbs of fat to 10lbs of lean muscle and you’ll additionally burn more calories each day, not to mention your body composition will look phenomenal 🙂

See you at the gym! Or even if you don’t belong to a gym find things in the house that can replace some dumbbells. Trust me I’m sure you have things around that can work….No Excuses!

~ Your Health Dork ~

I had a Bad Day.

No one is prefect…even if sometimes you may think you are pretty close 🙂 If you are starting the change to improve your lifestyle and want to lose weight don’t go into it with thoughts you will never eat another piece of candy, dessert, cheese dip, ect. The minute you tell yourself, for example, sugar is off-limits you will want it even more. Don’t deprive yourself of anything, you need to live your life. Of course moderation is key. Don’t eat the whole bag of M&Ms, take a few, enjoy them, get it out of your system, and move on.

Having a day consisting of poor eating choices can really get you down and in a bad mood. Remember this mood and how you felt. Try not to let yourself go back to that place. Starting your day off with bad choices doesn’t mean you have to end your day the same way. If you start getting into that mood again stop right then and there and make a change. Don’t let the whole day get away from you before you realize you just blew a whole day. You are in control of your day, you will never get that day back, so change it around ASAP!

Need a little boost to get back on track in the middle of the day? Ask a friend to take a walk, go for coffee, read a book….anything to keep you busy and away from the kitchen. Get your mind off the first part of the day and move on. Google a motivational quote, some can really hit close to home for every single one of you. ASK ME! Tell me what’s going on and I’ll do my best to help you through the rest of your day!

When you go to bed that night, once you are at the end of your Bad Day, mentally prepare yourself for tomorrow. You are in control of what’s going to happen, make yourself proud, and kick your bad day to the curb. If you are a planner lay in bed and think of what you will eat for breakfast….even better lunch and dinner, snacks too. Don’t give yourself an option to have another bad day.

Remember we all have bad days. It happens. It’s ok. Hopefully not too often, but don’t give up when you do come across one. Put it in the past and move on to the future.

Bring on many, many GOOD DAYS!!!

~Your Health Dork ~

Breakfast: Yes or No?

We’ve all heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well I’ll go ahead and say, that is a fact! Growing up our parents may have said it, but at that time it pretty much went in one ear and out the other. This time without letting the info slip away lets take a look at some of the reasons this statement is true.

Energy. Your body and brain need energy to function, food is fuel. If you choose not to eat breakfast by the time lunch comes around you are probably feeling fatigued. There is also a better chance that once you do finally eat you will overeat and may not end up making the best choices. Vending machine around? You may be headed straight for it and we all know those things don’t have the healthiest of choices.

Weight Loss. The first time you eat something in the morning your metabolism has begun for the day! Who wouldn’t want that? As we get older our metabolism slows down, so why not do one simple thing for ourselves and get that back up to speed. What you choose to eat for breakfast is a different story. People who choose healthier options for breakfast tend to choose healthier options throughout their day.

Investment. This is your body that is with you forever, choose to take care of it. Certain illnesses are caused due to lack of nutrition, don’t let your body be one of them. Maybe you want to sleep that extra 10 minutes in the morning, but in the long run is that 10 minutes really going to matter? Cherish what you have been given, not everyone has the option of eating breakfast.

Maybe you do eat breakfast, pat yourself on the back, but if you don’t hopefully one of these reasons above will at least get you to reconsider. Breakfast is a FREE meal, why would anyone not take advantage of FREE?

It’s your choice. Now choose.