Posts Tagged ‘health’

The Not So “Diet” Soda

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Healthy Choices
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The other day I was approached by a woman at my gym where I train at.  I was teaching an abs class when she came up to me asking about my hours and how she could sign up for one of my classes.   No problem, nothing unusual, except while talking to her I couldn’t help notice her red coozie she was holding with a nice big straw coming out from the top.  Couldn’t really see what it was so I asked, “whats that you’re drinking?”.  She replied, “Oh its my diet soda.”  “I’m really trying to cut back on my calories so I like to drink this while I workout, it gives me energy.”  “sigh”………There were so many things I wanted to say at that moment, but I was still in the middle of a class. So I grinned and just told her to please talk to me before she leaves.  Needless to say she left before I could talk to her.

Now I know most of you would never do this…right!? 🙂   (I am still shaking my head about it.)    But I do think most people are a bit misinformed when it comes to these zero calorie, zero sugar soft drinks.  So here is a list of 5 long-term health effects that drinking diet soda has on you and your body.

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The main one I want you to pay attention to is the ingredient Aspartame. Doing research around the web I’ve found plenty of websites relating this sweetener to so many terrible health risk,including cancer. Whether they are all true or not is unclear, but why risk it? Just something to think about when you reach for that second or third glass of Diet Soda.

I do want to say though, switching from regular soda to diet will help you lose weight short-term. Cutting 150 calories (if you only drink one a day) and the extra sugar from your diet will drop the scale down a bit. But its the long-term effects of Diet sodas that you at least need to be aware of.

Everything in moderation is the key. Drink more water and have a great week! 🙂

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Everyone gets to a certain point in their life when they take a good look in the mirror and realize the person looking back is not who they think or want to see. So the first thought that comes to mind is “Where is the closest gym and what have I done?!” If that sounds like something you have thought or said you’re not alone and just realizing that means you’re on the right track. You see the thing is, we all know what it takes to head in the right direction and what steps are needed to get ourselves there. But just the thought of sweating, waking up early, missing our favorite t.v. shows or changing bad habits is exhausting and makes you have second thoughts. But I’m here to tell you that it is ALL worth it and then some! (Especially since that wonderful invention of TiVo) 🙂

The problem is we want everything right NOW (insert annoying Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Girl) and if we don’t see the results we think we deserve we give up and go back to the old habits and go back feeling no better than where we started. You really have to give yourself a chance, it didn’t take you 3 months to get where you are today and unfortunately it’s not going to take you 3 months to get where you want to be. Yes, you can go on a quick fix diet or take every fat burner in the books but those results are only temporary. But the feeling and results you get after exercise and a great workout is unmatched and will continue with you the rest of your life. It’s a sense of accomplishment you can’t get through any magic pill or shake. And that feeling is what you need to remember to keep you coming back over and over. You should leave the gym with a smile on your face and your head high (along with some sweat of course) after what you just did, because the average person doesn’t feel like you do at that moment.

One of the main things I tell my clients is try not to live and die by the scale. Do yourself and me a favor and try to weigh yourself only once a week in the morning. I know how tempting it is to step on the scale every 15 minutes “just to check” but once you focus on how you feel on the inside and stop worrying about numbers, everything else WILL fall into place, but you have to give it time. It’s going to be very frustrating at times if you keep worrying what the scale is telling you and you will drive yourself and if you have a trainer crazy. (No one in particular) 🙂

If you ever have doubts whether or not you should keep going, try and remember that initial thought you had when you first realized you wanted to change and feed off that, and don’t EVER look back. There are SOOOOO many other reasons to exercise other than weight loss(which I will be going over at another time) and once you notice them and realize this, everything else will click. Just Keep Going!

Keep Fighting The Good Fight and have a great week! 🙂

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Eat Less Salt

This question comes from my sister Megan who is currently pregnant and asked me if I think she might be getting too much sodium in her diet, and is it a bad thing. Well, Megan great question, glad you asked.

Too start off you need to know that sodium, a.k.a salt, is very important to your health and you need it to carry out normal body functions. But just like most things, too much of it can be a bad thing. The recommended intake a day is no more than 2,400 milligrams(mg), but even that’s a bit much. To keep things on the safe side, especially if you have high blood pressure, you should try to keep your intake around 1,500 mg.

While you’re pregnant though (Megan) it is recommended to have a little more sodium in your diet to maintain fluid levels. So the swelling is most likely not from too much sodium, just a part of the process to make me an uncle. 🙂 Just drink a little extra water and keep an eye on your salt intake, as good as those foods might taste to you right now. One good rule of thumb is to try and keep your sodium intake per meal at or around 400 mg.

Let’s make one thing clear, sodium does not make you fat. What it will do is make your body retain extra water and, in result, have the scale read a bit higher than usual. More importantly though having too much sodium in your diet is most known for causing high blood pressure, which can lead to plenty of other unwanted health risk. If you think that you might be getting to much sodium, drink plenty of water to help your body release some of the water it might be holding on to (sounds funny I know, but it works). Remember, always check serving sizes. Just because they stuff everything into one package doesn’t mean it only counts as one serving.

Do your best to try and read more lables of the foods you are eating and be careful eating too many of those frozen dinners that claim to be “Lean” or a “Healthy Choice”. Most of those frozen dinners come very close to your recommended daily intake and will put you way over your limit.

Click on the picture below and see if you might be maybe eating too much salt.

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Just by knowing some of this info you can easily lower you salt intake and be healthier for it.

Live the Salt Life at the beach and not in the kitchen. 🙂

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We all notice it, that one person on the elliptical sweating their face off looking like they might fall off at any moment, and could probably use a drink of cold water.  Thinking either, “Wow that person is killing it” or “Is it raining outside?” And then there’s the person next to them who’s working just as hard and for the sake of this article has been on the elliptical for just as long, yet looks like they have a cold breeze blowing in their face. Is one better than the other?  “If I’m not sweating does it mean I’m not working hard enough?”

First off, when we sweat it’s simply our bodies attempt to cool us down as our body temperature rises. Whether it’s a hot and humid day outside here in sunny Florida and the AC in your car is broke (God forbid I know, I’ve been there), or you’ve been on the treadmill for 30 minutes walking on an incline, your body is going to react the same. Each individual’s body is different though, we know that. It comes down to a couple of things as to why some people sweat more easily and why some don’t. Some people just naturally have more sweat glands than others just like naturally some people like to talk more than to workout :). People in better physical shape tend to take a bit longer to raise their body temperature, causing them not to sweat as much. Sweating, though yes is a small indicator of having a good workout it’s not what you want to be looking for. Remember the main goal is to burn calories and to lose fat. And for best results you need to try to have your heart rate in what is called the “Fat Burning Zone”. Which leads me to why I wrote this article in the first place.

Now this is where it gets a little tough, but please keep reading!  To really get the most out of your workouts and to really know if you’re working hard enough, you need to make sure your heart rate is in your THR (Target Heart Rate) zone for at least 20min. But you also need to make sure you know your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate), which is the most beats your heart can handle in one minute. Sounds like a lot of work I know, but It’s easier to figure out than it sounds. First to get  your MHR simply subtract 220 from your age. So for example, if you’re 40 your MHR would be 180. This number is important to know because it tells you the hardest you should be working out. If you ever do get to your maximum zone it’s okay. Don’t dive off the treadmill, just slow down and catch your breath. Now that you know your MHR you can figure out what your Target Heart Rate is. The general rule is you want to be working out at 60 to 80% of your MHR. This is just as easy to figure out, you just have to take your maximum HR, let’s stay with 180, and multiply it by 80%. That gives you 144 beats per minute, so that’s your ideal target zone. So if you were in a consultation with me I would give you a range from 120 to about 165 to try to stay in throughout your cardio workout. But if you can maintain 144 for the entire workout, that’s perfect. You would be well in the “Fat Burning Zone!” Exciting stuff I know, but it really is very important to understand this. Some people just have to look at the elliptical to start sweating , 🙂  so its not always the best sign of a good workout. Use this information to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts every single time.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the day and remember “you’re only one workout away from a good mood!”

This is going to be the hard part sometimes. There are to many convenient  and easy choices that we all know to well. The trick is to start slow and give yourself a break and just begin to make better choices. Every healthy choice you make is one step closer to creating new habits and breaking the old. Yes you will have slip ups here and there and order that supersized #2 :(… but as long as you keep in mind where you want to be in 6 months you will move on from it and continue on.

Here are some tips to start doing if you havent already started:

  •  Eat Breakfast.  I know most of the people I sit down and talk to have no time for this.  You wake up, have a cup of coffee and you’re out the door.  Even if its small at first, a banana, apple, yogurt, bowl of cereal, whatever it is for you to get used to eating in the morning. A healthy breakfast will kickstart your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day as well as giving you more energy.
  • Smaller Portions and Eating More Often.  The eating more often part sounds crazy I know but this is really important.  The less you have on your plate and the more frequent you eat the less calories you will take in and the higher your metabolism will be throughout the day.  Kinda simple as that, but I know it’s not. The main goal is to try to eat 4-6 meals.  Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner.  Do your best and just keep this in mind.
  •   Late Night Snacking.  This is what gets a lot of people I know in trouble.  The general rule if you are looking to lose weight is try not to eat past 7pm.  This is not always going to work out I know, but the later it is the slower our bodies get and the slower you’re going to burn calories.  So the late night snack that probably isn’t very healthy will most likely  go straight where you don’t want it. If you are feeling a craving try to have some fruit around to snack on.  I know it doesn’t sound as good as that left over pizza but you will thank me for it later.
  • REMEMBER this isn’t going to be a quick fix.  Focus on these start-up tips for now and don’t make it too complicated.  Be patient, be healthy, be positive and good things WILL come.

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  • So as most of you know if you really are serious about losing weight and working on becoming a better you, you have to start making some different choices when it comes to your eating habits. Theres no getting around it. But it doesn’t nessasaraly mean you have to go on that ugly word…a diet.  There are tons of fad diets that you see and hear about everyday.  The truth is going on these fad diets are only temporary fixes.  Most likley as soon as you go off the diet and go back to your normal habits you WILL gain back all of the weight you lost and sometimes more. Im not saying diets are a terrible thing but I do think overtime that word has been over used and when people hear it they tend to cringe and picture themselves eating salads with no dressing for every meal.  Obvisolouly thats not the case but you get my point.
  •  So in other words without saying that ugly word, when you are just  starting off you simply just need to make healthier choices.  Dont worry about counting calories or beating yourself up if you had a slip up and went through a drive thru.  The main thing right now is just knowing that you need to start making better choices and be aware of what you put in your body.  If you’re working out 3-5 times a week you’re not going to want to ruin your hard work with a #5 from some fast food resturant.  It might be the hardest part when you start, but slowly but surely you will form new habits and see big changes not only how you look but also how you feel.   The best diet is not going on a diet at all.  Rather changing habits over time,exercising, living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying your life!

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It’s never going to be easy or even the right time to start your fitness life.  Whether its your first time in the gym or you got lost along the way and have found your way back, you are already one step closer than you were yesterday. First things first you have to realize its all about YOU. Most likely you have been taking care of other people for a long time or have been distracted by school, work, ect.  and somewhere down that road you have left yourself behind. So in three words I’m going to give you your new motto. TREAT.YOUR.SELF.

For you Parks and Rec. fans you have heard that before and for those of you who don’t watch this hilarious show it means put yourself FIRST for a little while. It doesn’t have to be just in the gym but in every aspect..(as long as you’re not FIRST in line at Wendys) All kidding aside you owe it to yourself. So if your just starting out and for now are just looking to lose weight im going to give you just TWO things to focus on and I promise you if you do just these two things you will quickly begin to lose weight.

#1. ONLY drink water for your liquid consumption.  Yes you can have  your morning coffee , I wouldn’t dare take that away from you. but besides that ONLY water.  You will cut out sooooo many calories just by doing this.  Yes you will be using the restroom quite often, but think of it as a cleanse.  Flushing (no pun atended….well maybe) all of those old habits out of your system.

#2. CARDIO.  If you don’t have a gym membership that’s ok!  The main idea right now is to just start moving.  Try to commit yourself to  3-5 days 30-45 minutes of moderately walking outside, riding your bike, walking your dog, chasing your kids….whatever it is to start burning more calories than you are used to.  I promise you it doesn’t have to be hard or complex if you are just starting.  Make it easy on yourself for now.  Try to form new habits and give yourself a chance.  And always remember to TREAT.YOUR.SELF.