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Many people have been asking me for recipes, recipes and more recipes coupled with “what do you eat for dinner?” Let me tell you, it is ever so glamorous. It all starts around 4pm (sometimes a little later) with “oh, ef…I need to make dinner” and then I procrastinate a bit hoping that the clean food fairies will do me a solid just this once. Alas, I find myself opening and closing the refrigerator and pantry countless times until it comes to me (I can make something easy for the kids and have my hubby make something yummy when he gets home! or) I’m going to throw this and this and this together, and then I cross my fingers. Sure, sure…I’m all for meal planning in advance and sometimes I get into a good groove and we plan…but not always (or even often).
Tonight was no exception. I actually had a vague idea of what I was going to make around nap time (which is stellar for me) unfortunately, I dreamed I had more of the ingredients than I did for the dish that I was going to make, so I improvised. My inspiration came in the form of summer squash from the garden.
Now, now, now don’t get me wrong our dinner ALWAYS looks like this…oh wait…do you know how much work it was for me to get this shot? First, I had to make some Annie’s Mac & Cheese because we had a playdate at our house and I wasn’t going to force this deliciousness on the palette of an unsuspecting 5-year old, I wasn’t even sure if my kids were going to eat it. Happily, they did and I discovered this after getting the plates all set up for a super pretty picture (whilst a two year old was holding onto my leg
screaming singing “mommy, mommy, mommmmmmmmy”) and I ran to get my phone only to find this when I came back…
…and two happy girls!
I missed getting a shot of our dog enjoying it off of the floor, too! But all in all this turned out super well and it was FAST and EASY (11 minutes start to finish).
All you need to do is:
Make a 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and then add some cubed avocado, black beans, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Halve and deseed your summer squash (or zucchini) and stuff those babies! Voila a healthy dinner in 11 minutes!
Oh, and just so you aren’t fooled by my oh-so-glamorous life…this post is brought to you from the sanctity of my car, in our driveway, while the kids are getting into bed, before I run out to do groceries for a barbeque we are hosting tomorrow. Yes, so glamorous!
For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to write a blog post about getting back on track. I spent May working really hard and was rewarded with fabulous results. Then June hit and life got crazy hectic again but I maintained my weight loss. And then July…oh July! I had all four kids home all day, we went on vacation, had a sick little one and there were many sleepless nights. I managed to gain 3 pounds (read: drank wine, wine and more wine); I was still eating well with splurges but my exercise has gradually decreased. Trying to keep the house clean, taking care of ALL the kids ALL day, preparing food and everything else that comes along with life made it difficult to find the extra time and energy.
This seems to be a common trend with my clients, too. We are truly motivated and committed until transitions happen in life and then it is hard to find our footing. At this point we must re-evaluate, re-focus and re-commit before we are too far off our path. I’ve allowed myself to consciously veer knowing that my time would come very quickly to figure it out again! And here we are!
One reason I was so successful in May was because I really felt the support. My husband made some tough adjustments to his schedule (which we both agreed would happen for a month) to open up space for me to train more and have time to prepare more food. There were also a lot of people joining and supporting me on this journey. This was a realization I needed to get back on track.
Earlier today my sister, brother and I committed ourselves to our very own (very made up) “bikini body challenge”. I put together a 7-day meal plan for us, fired it off to my husband to get him on board and then sat down for the evening which is where, serendipitously, I found my new focus.
Tonight, my husband and I started watching Extreme Weight Loss (we don’t often watch this) and I was in awe. This woman was 315 pounds and lost 94 pounds in 90 days! How amazing is that? Not only had she lost a tremendous amount weight but her high blood pressure was now under control WITHOUT any medications! I have always believed strongly that the key to health and ridding our society of lifestyle ailments (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) rests acutely in taking care of our bodies. True, this amount of weight loss isn’t realistic for all of us BUT what was truly inspirational was her mindset and the commitment she engaged to make such a HUGE transformation in such a short period of time. Even more inspirational was the support her husband showed her — he embraced a more healthy lifestyle while she was away at bootcamp and saw amazing results for himself. Remarkable.
I now recognize my great support team and will focus on opening myself up to accepting this support (which can be hard for me). I’m looking to surround myself by people who would like to have a nice bowl of fruit and enjoy iced green tea with me by way of eliminating the temptation of pizza, beer and ice cream! Just think about the differences we can make in our overall health with a little exercise and a clean diet!
I’m always motivated by challenge! So…here we go again! Let’s jump back in and do this!!!
My BIG PICTURE Goals:
- Muderella September 5th
- Half-Marathon on October 26th
- Lose 5 pounds by August 31st
How will I get there?
- Clean eating
- High-Intensity interval training 3-4x/week
- Run 4x/week
- Cross train 1x/week
- Rest 2 days/week
Who’s with me??? What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them?? Put it out there — you can do it!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of my health secrets revealed. Lemon Water.
OK, it’s not that big of a secret but I swear by it. If you know me, you’ve heard me say it over and over again “are you drinking your lemon water in the morning?” Seriously, ask my friends. Ask my clients. Ask the people at my gym. Ask the woman at the grocery store.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.
A glass of lemon juice contains fewer than 25 calories. It is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber. It also has medicinal values and antibacterial properties and contains traces of iron and vitamin A. What more could you ask for? A lot.
Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water
- Aids Digestion: This is my #1 reason for drinking lemon water. Upon waking, instead of grabbing a coffee try having a warm glass of lemon water first. The atomic composition of lemon juice is similar to the amylase (saliva) and hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. Having it first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive system, loosens ama (Ayurvedic for toxic residue) in the digestive tract, flushes out the unwanted toxins and encourages bile production after a nice night of sleepy detox. Lemon juice will also help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating.
- Boosts Immune System: Lemon water is loaded with vitamin C which is an electron donor, and this awesome property accounts for all of its known functions. As an electron donor, vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant in humans helping to protect our immune system from deficiencies and the adverse effects of toxins and harmful free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms like mild bronchial issues, and reducing the amount of phlegm your body produces. Vitamin C also increases iron absorption which plays an important role in immune function. Lemon water also contains saponins which show anti-microbial properties that are credited with preventing the common cold and flu.
- Supports Central Nervous System and Heart: Lemon water is high in potassium which improves brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure by stimulating the functions of the entire Central Nervous System (CNS) by nourishing brain and nerve cells. The potassium content also keeps all cardiac problems at bay by diminishing mental stress and relaxing the heart muscles. It boosts the formation of blood cells, regulates blood pressure and supports your heart and blood vessels known to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Clears Skin: The antioxidants present in lemon water helps to decrease wrinkles and blemishes and combats free radical damage. Since lemon water helps flush toxins out of your body and blood it works to provide a healthy glowing skin healing your skin blemishes from the inside out. Lemon water is alkaline in nature and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that kill some types of bacteria known to cause acne. The citric acid in lemon juice gradually fades spots, acne scars and evens out your skin tone while getting rid of that pesky oily skin.
TIP: Slice open a lemon and rub it across your face to help with acne and removing blemishes! If you are a crazy over-achiever add a few drops of honey to a lemon half before applying it directly to the area where you have blackheads and wait five to 10 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
- Boosts Energy: The energy we welcome from food comes from the atoms and molecules it is made up of. Citric acid in lemon is highly electrically active and a reaction occurs when these positively charged ions enter the digestive tract and interact with the negatively charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negatively charged ions, providing our bodies with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. When we mix the lemon with pure water the water acts as a conductor to deliver electrolytes directly to your cells boosting cell energy and nourishing your adrenals for a clean energy output that sustains you throughout the day. Many say that they drop their 3pm coffee when they begin to habitually drink lemon water in the morning. Coffee is dehydrating and stresses your adrenals creating a temporary energy that drains and depletes your body’s energy reserves. Maybe this is what you need to kick that coffee habit?
- Mood Lifting: The soft, sweet scent of linalool, a substance found in lemons has mood enhancing qualities that turn down the classic “flight-or-fight” stress response within us helping to reduce anxiety, depression and clearing one’s mind.
- Balances pH levels: Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for our bodies. I know, you think they are acidic but once the citric acid metabolizes inside the body it becomes alkaline. Both the citric and ascorbic acid in lemons are a weak acid that is easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease occurs when the bodies pH is acidic. Symptoms of “acidosis” can range anywhere from achy joints, stiffness, insomnia, and depression to chronic disorders and major disease. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to neutralize the body and maintain a proper pH balance within the tissues and organs.
- Cleanses Your System: The citric acid in lemons maximizes enzyme function stimulating the liver and aiding detoxification. Lemon water is a natural diuretic, which means it increases the rate of urination, which is highly important for maintaining the health of your urinary tract and entire renal system. As lemon water promotes the elimination of toxins and other waste materials from the internal system it can easily help promote overall health and well being. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements and remove toxins.
- Hydrates Your Lymphatic System: Your lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and is responsible for carrying lymph, a clear fluid, toward your heart. It also filters disease-causing organisms, distributes fluids and nutrients, aids the immune system in destroying pathogens, removes waste, debris and cancer cells from your body (just to name a few). Hydrating your lymphatic system combats the effects of dehydration like feeling tired and sluggish, having a weakened immune function, constipation, chronic lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, insomnia, lack of mental clarity and feelings of stress and anxiety. Warm lemon water supports the immune system by eliminating toxins, hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body and replenishes body salts, especially after a strenuous workout.
- Aids Weight Loss: Lemons contain pectin fiber which assists in fighting hunger cravings and satiating your appetite helping you lose weight the natural way.
I bet you’d like to make your own warm lemon water to start your day? It’s easy!
The Basic Lemon Drink
Squeeze 1 half a lemon (preferably organic) into a few ounces of room-temperature (or warm) purified water. Enjoy! Remember, cold water actually slows down digestion.
Pretty simple, right? Right! If you want to get a little more fancy!
The Morning Cocktail
Add the juice of one lemon to 4 oz of warm water with a pinch of Celtic or Pink Sea Salt (you can also add a tiny dash of sugar) for a morning cocktail made for a champ!
The sea salt helps with hydrochloric acid production, balances your electrolytes and provides a gentle boost to the adrenals.
The Afternoon Tea
Another option is to make a delicious lemon ginger tea.
Heat your water to hot and add the juice of one lemon with a few pieces of grated ginger, and a dollop of raw honey.
This lemon ginger tea is a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon and soothes your digestive system.
The Soothing Throat Drink
Lemon is great for a sore throat.
Boil some water, add lemon, manuka honey and1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
You’re throat will thank you!
Over the last two weeks life has been hectic. I haven’t given an update because I’ve slowed things down a bit and was refocusing. Working on balancing combining my busy life and all the exercise I would love to be doing! If I could I’d be exercising everyday still but this isn’t feasible with our life right now. A few changes I made for me these past two weeks were: my food journal and exercise. I stopped my food journalling online because I felt like I was focusing on calories too much, and honestly, I’m not a big believer in calorie counting when you are choosing healthy, fresh, clean options. However, one of my findings while journalling was that I definitely wasn’t eating enough food to help my body build muscle with all the exercise I was doing. So, I pulled back on my exercise and my journalling. Over the last two weeks I have lost 2 pounds at total of 12 pounds in 6 weeks. This falls into the healthy, sustainable weight loss zone so I am pleased! I haven’t measured myself, I think I’ll save that for the end of the month.
I know I could be losing more, more quickly but this is not a race and we shouldn’t be stressed by our health regimen. I was very focused on getting the first 10 pounds off and now that I’ve gotten there I’ve switched my mentality to slow and steady progress. My nutrition is close to the same but I am allowing myself a little more wine and snacks when we are out. I’m living real life now and I’m not stressing about my choices as long as I know that I am choosing clean 80% of the time and consciously making choices the other 20%. I’m still seeing results so this is working for me and it is a much more balanced approach.
In terms of exercise, I have been running at least three times a week. I was very happy the other day when I ran 3 miles at a 9:36 pace (which is quite good for me, I rarely get a sub-10 time). I have been doing a couple of tabatas (or high-intensity-interval training) per week and I’m hoping to up that just a tad. We also bought a bike seat for the back of my bike so I can tote my 2 year old with me on bike rides. I see many family bike rides in our future; I get our two year old and my husband will get our 5 and 3year old in the double bike trailer and our 7 year old will be speeding past us! Watch out rail trail here comes the Hicks-Kolodziej Krew!
I’m hoping to lose 3 more pounds by the end of the month. Wish me luck!
We have all seen the ads on our Facebook feeds:
“the magic pill that J.Lo used”
or the headline on our favorite fitness magazine:
“lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks”,
“lose 4 inches by eating this food alone”
And I’m certain we have all tried one of the high-protein, low-carb, low-fat, grapefruit-only, maple-syrup-cayenne-lemon drinks that your friend lost 10 pounds on. Or perhaps you haven’t been duped by these diets because you’ve figured it out! You have just been eating TOO MANY calories and that’s why you aren’t losing weight.
Well, I’m here to tell you that these fad diets DON’T WORK! Even if you have lost 5 pounds in the first week — it’s not going to stay off my friend, it’s not.
If you’ve followed a fad diet, you are in good company. You are also probably not the only one who has had trouble staying on one of these deprivation diets for a long time. Or, if you did lose weight I’m certain we can all commiserate that the pounds DID NOT stay off once you went back to your usual way of eating.
Fad diets don’t help you keep off the weight in the long term.
But why? I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, let’s do a very basic overview of some of the more popular fad diets out there:
High Protein Diets (including South Beach, Atkins, and Bernstein)
Description: The most aggressive high protein diet is Atkins and the premise of all of them is simple; very high protein to very low carbohydrates. This ratio of foods causes your body to burn its own fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Benefits: This approach is effective for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin resistance and blood sugar, and weight.
Problems: Eating a high-protein diet for a long period of time can promote weight loss but it can also lead to kidney damage, and (depending on the type of protein consumed) high saturated fat relative to essential fatty acids balance, nutrient deficiencies and constipation from lack of fiber. Protein is also an inefficient source of fuel for your body to utilize (glucose from carbs is much more efficient) so one may be left feeling exhausted.
High Carb, Low Fat Diets (including Ornish, Pritikin, McDougall, and Swank Diets)
Description: Complex carbohydrates comprise 55% or more of the diet; often the ratio can be as high as 80% carbohydrates, 10-15% protein and 5-10% fat.
Benefits: Like all plant-based diets, these will lead to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, weight loss, lower cardiovascular and cancer risk, and a healthier gut due to the high fiber.
Problems: A high-carb, low-fat diet can lead to deficiency in essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, E, and K deficiencies. Also, often people feel hungry and potentially hypoglycemic.
Blood Sugar Diets (including The Zone)
Description: Excess insulin makes us gain weight and keep it on. The goal is to regulate blood sugar levels by consuming a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein (40-30-30) at every meal so the body can burn fat more efficiently and have more energy.
Benefits: Balancing blood sugar levels is a key to staying satiated and reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and associated diseases.
Problems: This balance contrasts sharply with the accepted nutritional standard of 65-15-20 and it does not differentiate between types of carbohydrates and recommends avoiding all high-carb foods (therefore a candy bar and a carrot are the same “type” of carb). Often weight loss on this diet comes from restricting calories and not from the magic (and complicated) macro-nutrient formula presented.
Low Calorie Diets
Description: Calorie-restricted diets aim to set your body at an ideal weight to achieve maximum metabolic efficiency.
Benefits: Slows down aging, preserves mental and physical function and reduces risk of degenerative diseases such as heart, cancer and diabetes.
Problems: People are encouraged to eat more nutrient-dense foods but often end up actually eating far too little. When a person consistently eats too little their metabolism lowers because they lose muscle.
And many more…Vegan Diets, Mediterranean Diet, Paleolithic Diet, Blood Type Diet, Sally Fallon and Weston Price, Raw Food, Master Cleanse, DNA diet/Nutrigenomics, and more!
All of these diets have their pro’s and con’s, and some more than others. They key learning is that…no one diet works for everyone! The concept of bio-individuality is that each person has their own nutritional needs and making generalizations like “dairy is good for you” or “fat is unhealthy” doesn’t work for everyone. One person’s food is another person’s poison, and that is a big reason why fad diets don’t work in the long run. It is important to look at your age, health, activity level, blood type, metabolic rate, and personal preferences to determine your dietary needs. With that said, here a few other reasons why fad diets don’t work.
WHY FAD DIETS DON’T WORK
Sustainability: Fad diets are meant to be just that, a fad or short term. The goal is to lose as much weight as possible as fast as you can even if this is not sustainable. Many of these diets claim to be a lifestyle change but continuing on the plan is usually not easily maintained and we get lost in the “in-between” stage. These diets do not teach sustainable eating habits that encourage and teach us to eat healthfully over the long term. Therefore when we go back to our previous way of eating the weight inevitably comes back.
Activity level: Weight loss and health is a combination of diet and exercise. We must move enough to burn the excess energy we take in from food. I don’t believe in counting calories when eating a healthy, clean diet. However, when it comes down to it expended calories must equal or be less than ingested calories or the extra will be converted to fat. If you concentrate solely on depriving yourself (which is not sustainable) and don’t incorporate regular exercise, the loss will never last.
Metabolism: Our metabolism is the rate at which our body burns energy to keep us alive and it changes depending on our age, regular nutrient intake and activity level. During a fad diet, when food is restricted and exercise is often decreased (or non-existent) the body enters what we all know as “Starvation Mode”. When our body begins to defend against the perceived starvation our basal metabolic rate adapts to the lower nutrient intake in order to preserve the little energy that it’s getting and slows down. When we begin to start eating regular foods in our regular amounts the calories are burned more slowly since the body’s metabolism has adapted to running at a slower rate. This leads us to easier and more rapid weight gain than we were previously used to. This is yo-yo dieting at it’s best. We repeatedly try to lose what we have gained back further deteriorating metabolic health leading to nothing but long term weight problems and ill health.
Lean Muscle Mass: When we lose weight too quickly the body enters “Starvation Mode” and it searches for whatever fuel source it can find for energy. Our bodies like fat because it pads our organs, provides warmth, and fuels our brain. Therefore, the body begins to burn muscle instead which results in us losing highly coveted lean muscle mass. Healthy lean muscle is where our metabolic tissue lives and helps us to burn calories more quickly. Losing this muscle causes our metabolism to slow down more which means when we start to eat more food again we gain weight back because the body won’t convert this food into muscle but will instead immediately store it as fat. This equals more fatty tissue and less lean muscle. Losing fat and not lean muscle mass only comes from a combination of exercise and healthy, clean diet.
Snacking: Often we begin to stop snacking when we want to lose weight and follow a fad diet because we aren’t “allowed” to eat enough food through the day. Our bodies need a steady supply of fuel to function properly and remain satiated. Eating every 5-6 hours means extreme hunger by mealtime which leads to overeating and unhealthy cravings taxing our already slowed metabolism creating more stored fat.
Macronutrient Imbalance: Fad diets tend to focus on limiting one or more of our major nutrient groups; carbohydrate, fat or protein. The body needs all of these nutrients to function properly. Without them in healthy proportions we are at risk of nutrient deficiency which is not only bad for our weight loss but very bad for our overall health. Not only that, when the restricted foods are reintroduced we are programed through chemicals released in our brain’s pleasure center to binge on the “missed” food leading to more rapid weight gain.
But you just can’t seem to lose weight even though you are eating healthy?
There are many reasons that people have trouble losing weight and keeping it off while eating a clean diet and exercising. These can range from hormonal changes, cortisol and stress levels, food sensitivities, chemical-laden foods and more. I will talk more about these in a future blog post but this is when a Nutritionist is really helpful. They can work with you to determine what your diet should look like. For instance, you know that highly popular dark leafy green that goes by the name Kale? It’s not good for all of us (but it is good for most of us) shocking, I know! But we all require something different from our diets and it’s important to know what is right for you.
The best diet is not a diet at all, but a way of life that includes food you enjoy, exercise, and healthy habits.
My first goal was to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks. While my scale doesn’t actually read that I’ve lost 10 pounds my fitness evaluation reveals that I have lost 10 pounds of body fat, I’ve gained 1.5 pounds of muscle and I’ve brought my overall fat percentage down from 37% to 32%.
So this is pretty awesome, yes! But since I’m being completely transparent on this journey I was kind of bummed. You know, I sit with my clients and encourage them every time I see them; I tell them not to expect too much, to go slow and be proud of any progress and that there are always set backs along the way. I tell them to be gentle with themselves to know that you don’t always have to be perfect. Progress in the right direction is what we are looking for. These words are easier to say and harder to live by.
I KNOW that in order to lose weight and transform yourself into a healthier person it requires time, slow and steady progress and being honest with yourself. To have results that last we must go slowly, set our egos aside and be patient with ourselves. Blast – this sucks. I have been working so hard and while I have been happy and feeling great along the way I wanted to see MORE progress. I wanted to blow my goals out of the water. I wanted to see the scale read UNDER 150. But it didn’t and I wasn’t happy about that. My mental self knows that this is the most ridiculous thing — I’ve lost 10 pounds of body fat and I’ve gained muscle! Muscle is what I want! Muscle is where your metabolic tissue lives and this is what helps to “speed up” our metabolism making weight loss more efficient. However, I’ve been brainwashed, along with the rest of us that the number on the scale matters.
Guess what? IT DOESN’T. What matters is your health. What matters is your fat and muscle percent. What matters is how you feel. What matters is staying positive and kicking ace. What matters is staying on track.
So instead of getting off track and eating cookies and chocolate and drinking wine to deal with an invisible set back we need to remember the long game. We will all have moments when we feel discouraged but that is when our strength must shine and that is when we must persevere. Wallow for a moment (which I’ve done) but then pick yourself back up and brush yourself off (which I’m doing) and put things in perspective (which I’ve done). Dude, I just lost 10 pounds of body fat, that’s pretty fantastic.
The other great news is that from a fitness perspective I’ve improved! Here are my results (column 1: before six week challenge a year ago, column 2: after 6 week challenge a year ago, column 3: 4 weeks ago, column 4: right now):
This past week’s food journal can be found here and my exercise plan looked like this:
Finally, here are my measurements for the week:
This coming month I plan to set a goal of 5 pounds. Why not 10 like the first month? We all usually lose more weight at the beginning because our bodies are a little “shocked” and drop a few pounds right away after which it begins to level off to a healthier sustained weight loss.
My Goals for Month Two
1. Lose 5 pounds by June 30th
2. Drop my fat % and increase muscle mass (not sure what those number look like)
3. Continue to eat clean with a target of 90/10
Next: Why Fad Diets Don’t Work
Once again, I had a busy week but I managed to stay on track and see results. This week I lost 1.2 pounds for a grand total of 9 pounds down. The even better news is that my fat % is down which means I have built more muscle! My first smaller weight loss goal was 10 pounds in 4 weeks, I’m one pound away from reaching my first goal! I am super stoked that I have lost more inches and my clothes are fitting more comfortably, too! Also, my fancy scale at home gives me my metabolic age (which I haven’t been sharing because I already feel like there are a lot of numbers to look at) and I’m younger by one year this week — this means I am healthier and happier! Here are my results:
My food journalling for the week can be found here. I’m struggling to eat enough food to compensate for all of my exercise. I’m never hungry and have been making happy and healthy choices so I feel okay with this. There is no deprivation and I am well nourished (however, I did skip a meal or two accidentally, oops!). I’m trying to make my meals a little more robust by adding in some more healthy fats and proteins. One of my other goals was to cut back on my wine consumption. I’m doing OK with this but not super crazy fabulous. I find it very difficult in social settings to say no and find myself having a glass or two. May the wine Goddesses be on my side this week!
As for exercise, I’ve still be going pretty hardcore. I’m going to continue this for one more week and then pull back a bit. My exercise for the week looked like this:
Needless to say, I’m pretty pleased but there are few things to work on:
- Eat more healthy fats and protein.
- Don’t skip a meal
- Say no to wine!
- Rest and recover
When people begin to eat clean they often feel much better…but usually not until after their bodies have transitioned from eliminating all that added sugar from their diet! When you feel your cravings stepping up (cravings almost always stem from the body wanting more sugar!) Ask yourself:
Do you really want some sugar?
I’ve had my moments! Especially when I’m alone and I know that no one else will know. But then I think, that’s not being fair to myself and I am the only one who won’t benefit from eating it. It’s been surprising to me because I really don’t eat a lot of added sugar on a daily basis! Getting over sugar cravings is not easy, know that the efforts you make are well worth it and the benefits will be long-term health improvements.
What is my body trying to tell me?
Have you ever wondered if these annoying cravings were trying to tell you something other than go grab a donut? What if, instead of sabotaging your health and weight loss efforts, they were sent to enhance your efforts to get fit and slim down?
Well, this is exactly what’s happening. When you experience a sugar craving it’s your body’s way of sending you a message that it needs something else in order to get the body you deserve: healthy, slim and energized. And once your body get’s these things it will stop sending you these messages!
Your body is trying to tell you that:
It needs water!
Your body doesn’t tell you that it is thirsty until you are on the verge of dehydration. Sometimes, when you get really dehydrated, your body signals this to you by sending out a sugar craving, or other strange food cravings for that matter.
So the first thing to do when you get a craving is to drink a full glass of water and then wait at least twenty minutes before you indulge your sweet tooth.
Please try and consume half your body weight in ounces of water a day!
It needs nutrients.
Often people think they are eating a great diet because they’re choosing fat-free or low-cal food. The unfortunate thing is that the highly-marketed healthy foods are some of the most nutrient depleted, contaminated foods on the planet. If you are eating foods that lack nutrients, the body will wind up in deficit.
If there is a deficit of nutrients your body will not have enough fuel to create the energy it needs to get you through the day. Your body will turn to whatever quick fix it can find to solve it’s energy shortage. Leading the list for quick fixes: sugar.
Please stop eating processed foods, restaurant foods, unhealthy prepared foods and switch to a clean, organic nutrient-dense whole foods diet.
Oftentimes when people are dissatisfied with their lives or just flat out bored they turn to food for comfort, pleasure, and enjoyment.
It’s important to recognize when you’re using food as a means to distract yourself, fill an empty void, or entertain yourself because your life is not as fulfilling as it could be.
Please try and dig deeper when a sugar craving strikes to find out what’s really going on.
9 Tips to stop your sugar cravings:
Oftentimes, people are looking for a quick fix or magical tip to stop their cravings. When, in essence it’s all about making a handful of small changes that will add up to fewer cravings and feeling healthier and more energized. My tricks for stopping cravings are:
- Eat often: This not only helps balance your blood sugar, but it also lessens the cravings you will have.
- Eat dried fruit: Many people crave sweet foods after they eat. Eating something like fruit, or a dried fruit, following a meal can help. Don’t overdo it, though because fruits do contain sugars and dried fruit is generally higher on the glycemic index than fresh fruit.
- Go Nuts: Try eating nuts or nut butters (like peanut, almond, cashew butter). Nuts can often fill that need for something salty and satisfying.
- Salad greens: Many grocery stores stock mixed salad greens. Eating greens before a meal tends to fill people up; they are also loaded with vitamins and other nutrients (which is what your body is really craving) so it’s a great two-for-one filler-upper!
- Up the Fiber: Eat some form of fiber before every meal. Fibers swell and helps you to feel full.
- Exercise: When you feel the cravings beginning, go for a walk. Exercise not only gets you out of the kitchen and away from the temptations but it has also been shown to reduce cravings.
- Brush your teeth: Brushing gives you a bit of that sweet taste you are looking for and many people don’t feel like eating once their mouths are clean.
- Drink water: Sometimes cravings get mixed up in your brain and what your body really needs is water and not sugar.
- Remember, it is just a craving: You are not a slave to your cravings. When you start to feel that you really need something sweet, stop and think about it. You have probably eaten recently so you are not going to starve – even though your brain is trying to convince you that you are. You will be surprised how cravings disappear after a while.
Will my cravings ever stop?
I can’t say that you will never want something sweet again but you will not have such strong urges for sweets after this. Improving your overall diet and getting sufficient fiber and healthy protein in your diet will help retrain your body and stave off future cravings.
Whenever you find yourself impulsively reaching for something you know is not good for you, take a moment to slow down, breathe and reevaluate the situation. Why do you really want this? Are you hungry? Then eat some protein and fiber! Are you thirsty? Drink some water! Are you bored? Get active; go out for a walk, a run, start that Pinterest project you pinned months ago!
Remember: Plan your foods and have healthy snacks on hand. If you get hungry you will be more likely to give in to temptation. Have a plan and make a commitment to yourself to stick to that plan. The only person you have to be accountable to is you!
Next: Week 3 results
Many of you have joined me on this journey and have found the hardest hurdle to surpass are the withdrawal symptoms and cravings you are having for certain foods. Today we will look at withdrawals and tomorrow we will tackle cravings.
When you reduce or eliminate added sugar and processed foods (which usually translates to sugar in the body) from your diet you can expect to feel very different. In a week you will be feeling great but in the meantime, most people will experience some form of withdrawal. These symptoms can range from a mild anxiety to full-blown withdrawal symptoms.
Some common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Feeling Shaky
- Wanting to binge
Why do you have withdrawal symptoms?
Sugar acts like a drug in your brain. Similar to morphine and heroin, sugar triggers the release of natural opiates within the brain and this opiate effect stimulates the release of chemicals within your brain’s pleasure center that keeps you hooked.
Your brain cells have tiny molecular structures on their surface called opiate receptors. Sugar and carbohydrate cause the release of endorphins that trigger a pleasure response by activating dopamine receptors. The result is a pleasant “feel-good” effect and whatever physical or psychological troubles might have been bothering you are toned down a bit.
Researchers at John Hopkins University tested sugar’s effects in an unusual way. Their test subjects were babies who were just one to three days old. The researchers placed the infants in their bassinets for five minutes, and naturally, some began to whimper a bit during this time. Then they gave each baby either a tiny amount of sugar or plain water. The effect was almost immediate. Sugar-water stopped them from crying, water alone had no effect. A pacifier can do that, too, but there is a critical difference: If the pacifier is removed, crying can ensue immediately; but sugar’s effect lingers for several minutes, even after the taste is gone. The reason is that sugar causes opiates to be released in the infant’s brain, and these naturally calming compounds stay on after the sugar is gone.
Sugar causes the release of opiates within the brain. But the opiate response does more than make you feel good. It also has a marked appetite-driving effect. Inside your brain, the opiates triggered by the sweet taste are busily resetting all your internal priorities to make you care about one thing and one thing only: eating more of what has just passed your lips.
There is a chemical reaction that takes place when you eat sugar which leaves your body wanting more. That is why you feel withdrawal symptoms.
3 Ways to Help Your Withdrawals!
Please know, your withdrawal symptoms will soon pass and you will be feeling great. In the meantime, one of the best ways to deal with sugar withdrawals is to treat it like a hangover.
Supplements: The best supplements for a hangover are a good B-vitamin, Vitamin C, and Magnesium. Most stores have some sort of hangover remedy; I like the fizzy packets from a company called Emergen-C (look for the sugar-free variety, but don’t worry if you can’t find it the regular Emergen-C has 5g of sugar those 5g could be really helpful in getting you through the first few days).
Nux Vomica: a homeopathic remedy that is often used for excess (as well as a few other things like allergies, digestive problems, and more)
Water: drink lots and lots of water!
Be gentle with yourself
These first days are the hardest so please go easy on yourself. Your withdrawals and cravings will be their strongest now — but you can get through them! I believe in you. Treat yourself to something special today – a massage, a leisurely walk or just take some time to read a book. Take some time to reflect and remember sugar and processed foods are not a treat, it’s a trap (a client of mine coined that term and I love it!)
Ladies and Gentlemen. I have finished week 2 and it was a challenging week. Mostly because life was very, very hectic. My husband was traveling, one of our kids had a birthday, we had two sick kids and life threw us some lemons. But no excuses, I lost 2.6 pounds this week and 7.8 pounds in two weeks! I’m pretty happy with this because we all usually lose more in our first week of shifting eating and exercising and we gradually move to a healthy number of pounds lost per week (which is usually 1-2 pounds). I am wondering if I clean up my diet even more next week and exercise hard, hard, hard if I will be able to see a little more progression — but this would be more of a personal experiment — losing 2.6 pounds in one week is pretty stellar.
Here are my measurements for the week:
My food journal is here and you will see that I followed my clean eating rules BUT I was probably 70% clean and 30% not-clean — which leaves much room for improvement. But, that is real life — we can’t be perfect all of the time, and we shouldn’t expect that from ourselves.
Luckily, I still managed to get all of my exercising in!
Things to work on for this week:
- Eating more regularly
- Getting all of my water in
- Having fewer glasses of wine
- Make every workout count!
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In January 2013 I realized I needed to do something to improve my health. I spent 2012 on maternity leave and often neglected taking care of my own health (sleepless nights and caring for a tiny human will do that!). Not to mention the many years before that where health was at the bottom of my list of priorities. Luckily, I discovered Lisa's 30 day green smoothie challenge. The recipes were incredible and a green smoothie drinker was born! But I didn't stop there. Starting each day in such a healthy way led me to consult with a naturopath (it would have been Lisa if we were in the same city), do an elimination diet, and discover that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk. I changed to a whole foods-based diet (most of the time) and took up running. In the span of 8.5 months I went from being tired and sluggish on the couch (literally - I could run for one minute at a time before having to walk) to having enough energy to run the Detroit International Half Marathon. I actually RAN the whole thing! And I lost almost 60lbs along the way! Thank you, Lisa, for being my catalyst. Your challenge kept me interested in a new way of living and saved me! I continue to drink a green smoothie every day for breakfast. What a wonderful way to start each day!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Imogen Meloche Windsor, Ontario