Organizing your Nutrition

OK now we know that exercise isn’t going to help much with weight loss. It is time to dig on that nutrition part of the puzzle! But where do I start?? 

I want you to think of this like you think of finances!! We need data and information!! The more the better!  When you see your financial planner or your accountant you don’t just sit in his/her chair and say, “Well I think I did this” “I might have spent that”  “I’m guessing on this” They want numbers and facts! The more you have the better picture they see, the more they can help.  Nutrition is that same way if we want to dig in and take a look around we need data and facts. We need a picture.

 For the next 7 to 14 days log and track all your nutrition...EVERYTHING. There are tons of free apps out there that work well or old school pencil and paper is fine. You can log macros, caloric density, calories, points..honestly pick what is most important to you and do that. If you can log hunger levels and emotion along with your food that is a HUGE bonus and will give us an even more accurate picture of your relationship with food. The hardest part is going to be NOT CHANGING YOUR EATING HABITS, PORTIONS, AND BEHAVIORS FOR THE next 7-14 DAYS. Be brutally honest with yourself, eat a Cheeto off your kids plate you better log that Cheeto!   This is going to be tough to do but true change starts with acceptance and awareness.  What this also does is gives you an accurate window into your normal routines and habits when it comes to food. We want to see this!  Next Wednesday we will start to take a deeper dive into what your logs are telling you and what changes can be made.

Part 2

Congrats you logged your 7 days..Let’s dig in and become critical thinkers!

First we are going to look at the big picture. What patterns come out at you?
🔬Look at the week:
--Calorie ups and downs on certain days of the week (Friday, Saturday) What is your highest calorie day in the 7 day window? What was your lowest calorie day in that window? Why are they different? 

🔬Look at individual days:
--Calories ups and downs during certain times of day (Snacks? Dinner? Late night?)
--Macro changes ups or down (more carbs as the day goes on?)
--Do you tend to eat sweets at certain times of the day? Why?
--Is there a daily pattern to your snacking? Or Overeating?

🔬Look at meals/snacks/beverages:
--Portion sizes (Do they change from breakfast to lunch to dinner). Are there certain foods you struggle with more portion size wise?
--Do you skip meals?
--Are there more snacks at a certain time of day?
--Does the healthiness of your choices change? How do they change? When do they change?
--How many veggies do I get in?
--How much water do you drink?
--Are meals balanced well with the style of eating you follow?

It is like being a detective. You get to the crime scene and you first look at the big picture. You are taking everything in then slowly you move closer and closer just identifying....analyzing what you see....thinking critically 

🎯 From this viewpoint I want you to list out 3 main areas that you see in your food logs that could be improved on and you want to work on. Feel free to list them in the comments below this post and I can also help you further

From those 3 you are going to pick 1 (yes just one) area to focus on and I want that area of focus to be the most realistic for you. For instance if you have been a soda drinker for 30 years and have never gone a day without soda let’s not start there.  Let’s instead work on something more realistic and doable, gain some confidence and self efficacy, set the habit, keep the routine going, then slowly build on the next change you want to make, etc….  So if you know Soda is on your list but eating a healthier breakfast just feels more realistic for you start there! Often people just go out too fast/hard with habit change and it blows up so they give up everything. Rome wasn’t built in a day, change takes time so start small and realistic for you!

Exercise, fitness tracking and weight loss...myths and facts!

Let's talk about exercise, fitness tracking (calories burned) and weight loss...myths and facts!

First let's start with fitness trackers and calories burned. Why can they be so different? The answer is actually quite complex because of the wonderful human body. Calories in food is static and doesn’t really change but when we look at the human body and calories we burn when we exercise a lot of factors come into play: Sex (male or female), age, body fat %, heart rate, temperature conditions (cold or hot), stress, sleep, what kind of exercise,underlying genetics, general conditioning, general nutrition, etc…

Most fitness trackers estimate your basal calories using a formula based on the Harris-Benedict equation, which includes your height, weight, gender and age but it doesn’t include the other factors listed above. All those things also factor into calories burned but are impossible to put in an easy equation often used by fitness trackers. Some trackers will take bits and pieces of extra data: heart rate, sleep, etc.. and try to add that into the equation too.

What does that mean? Honestly the number you get is a big guesstimate. My best advice is to never use calories burned as a definite end all be all number. It is a gray area guesstimate at best across the different trackers.

Let's take this a step further.... Remember the old saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet” it really is true.

Let’s say you really wanted to just outrun a bad diet….just how much running would you have to do?
Let’s look at the numbers!
Technically to burn 1 lb of fat you would have to burn 3,500 kcal, so what would that look like exercise wise?

---If you weigh 125lbs it would take 6 hours of continuous running at 6mph (10min/mile pace) or if you prefer to walk it would take 13 hours of continuous walking at 4mph (15min/mile pace)
---If you weigh 155lbs it would take 4.7 hours of continuous running at 6mph/walking 10.5 hours at 4mph
----If you weigh 185lbs it would take 4 hours of continuous running at 6mph / walking 8.75 hours at 4mph

**Another wrench in this equation? The more we exercise, the more conditioned we are and the less calories we actually burn due to our bodies efficiency. There are some studies that say the numbers could even be higher than 3,500 kcal to burn that 1 lb of fat. Always remember exercise is so much more than just calories burned!! Exercise decreases stress, improves sleep, builds strong bones and muscles, conditions your heart and lungs, boosts mood, boosts metabolism, is anti-aging, makes you feel accomplished and strong, etc..(I could seriously go on and on)

What does this all prove?? Never trust calories burned in a fitness tracker and nutrition will take you where you want when it comes to weight loss goals! Next week let's dive into how to take a closer look at your nutrition, simple steps to take.

Exercising when sick...when is it safe and when is it not?

First let’s review how exercise affects the body when it comes to our immune system:

--Brief vigorous exercise (any kind)  5-10min = Doesn’t cause immune suppressing effects in conditioned individuals 
--Moderate Intensity exercise (walking, yoga,very light weights high reps) - less than 60min = can actually boost your immunity. This is often the best place to be if you want to exercise with safe symptoms. 
--Vigorous prolonged exercise - more than 60min = can depress the immune system for up to 6 hours (average is 2 hours)

Second let’s look at general illness symptoms:

*Safe to Exercise Symptoms: Sore throat, congestion, runny nose
**Semi Safe to Exercise Symptoms: Coughing **This is one where you really need to know yourself. If you have asthma or are prone to lung illness please take that under consideration when exercising with a cough
***Not Safe to Exercise Symptoms: Fever, aches, chills, joint pain, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and any prior safe to exercise symptoms that are becoming worse and not getting better with time

Knowing what exercise can do to your immune system + general illness symptoms can give you a great formula to keep your workouts on your schedule while you recover:

For instance if you have a sore throat and a runny nose and you want to work out..OK.. Keep it at that moderate Intensity exercise and no more than 60min, it will not cause harm and can actually help your immune system fight off the virus. BUT if you decide to do a more vigorous prolonged exercise understand that this can cause your immune system to depress and you could actually become more sick because of the exercise and make your recovery even longer

Always let your symptoms be your guide but never your excuse!

Pain vs Being Uncomfortable

“No pain, no gain.” Pain is temporary”, “Pain is weakness leaving the body” We have all heard these but are they true?  What if the pain is helping to prevent injury? Knowing the difference between pain and being uncomfortable can also be the difference between an injury that side tracks you for weeks/months and finally making gains in your fitness that you have always wanted.

Let’s start to break this down: Pain is a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by very specific physical discomfort (such as pricking, throbbing, or aching).It’s often very centralized and specific in location, you can point to it with one finger.  It is your body’s way of saying “STOP! Something is wrong...this is not good”. Often if we ignore this signal and continue to keep going injury will occur.

Now let’s talk about being uncomfortable: it’s something you can’t pin-point location wise, it is a general feeling, it’s not sharp but dull.  Being uncomfortable is not a bad thing mentally or physically.  Being comfortable being uncomfortable will take you where you want to go with both your health and fitness goals, to another level! 

Next time you are pushing yourself in a workout if you feel pain (centralized, specific location, immediate, sharp) listen to that shit! Your body is telling you, “Something is wrong, I’m about to break...hold off” but if you feel uncomfortable (you can’t centralize the feeling or specific location, dull, slow onset) push through that shit. That uncomfortable feeling is temporary, that is what you need to push through to get stronger, get to the next level!


Let me walk you through what happens when we are stressed: Think back to caveman days!

Our body is wired to deal with any and all stress in a physical way- The Fight or Flight response.  We were designed to deal with famine, storms, wild animals…...survival

Our heart rate increases so we can fight, our blood pressure increases so we can run fast, cortisol is released to heal any injuries that might happen during the fight, our thoughts turn to worst case scenarios so we are ready for anything, etc... our body prepares to run or fight.  And if we do have to run or fight, if our stress is truly physical stress, our body returns to normal after the exertion is done.  It is like this beautiful little circle of stress--activity--homeostasis….all is well again!

The issue in today’s world is our body has not evolved like our lives have evolved. Our stress is rarely physical in nature and almost always mental but our bodies continue to deal with it in a physical way (hormones released, blood pressure goes up,negative thought patterns, etc..) and when you don't have activity/exercise to immediately offset that response those hormones just hang in the body for an extended period of time and research shows we can even adapt to stress levels which is not a good thing. We have all seen and heard the research of what prolonged periods of stress can do to is a silent killer.

So what can be done about this?? Try to offset stress in more physical ways if you can...get up and walk 5 mins, take some deep breaths to bring down your heart rate and blood pressure.  The best drug for stress is exercise! Often when we are stressed exercise is the first thing to be forgotten when really we need it the most during those difficult times. It naturally returns our body back to normal and releases hormones that counteract those fight or flight hormones.

You can’t always control what happens to you and what others do but you can control your reaction to it! Be mindful of your stress levels and keep those workouts routine and regular in your life!

Self education and using knowledge: Be curious, but skeptical.

I'm a huge believer in self education and using knowledge as power for self growth but how do you trust what you see in social media when it comes to health and wellness studies? How do you become a scientific thinker? Here are some tips I threw together to help you sort everything out! 

1. Did the study appear in a peer-reviewed journal? AKA did other experts review the study and findings independently?  If not, be mindful and careful with it. 

2. Who was studied, where was the study?  Animal studies are often used but not always transferable to human findings and look further if this study was only done on men, finding might not be the same for women. 

3. How big was the study? Typically more participants more valid results. If a study only had 10 participants take it with a grain of salt

4. Did the study take into account key differences? Diversity, gender, genetics, age, etc..

5. Was there a control group? For instance were some in the sample randomly assigned a specific diet while others weren’t?

6. Did the study results look at the relationships? Correlation is not causation!

7. Is a journalist or scientist OVERSTATING results?  Watch for generalizations! Grand language!  If there is language like “PROVES” that is a big red flag.  Good studies just suggest they don’t prove. 

8. Who funded the study? For instance: A recent study found that you could drink lots of sugary beverages without fear of getting fat, as long as you exercised. The study was funded by………….Coca Cola, which eagerly promoted the results, SHOCKER. This doesn’t mean the results are wrong. But once again take this into consideration

9. Is there a hidden agenda? Experiments on the value of a supplement that is trying to get into the billion dollar wellness market should be taken into account, this is also where who funded the study needs to be looked at again

10. Do the researchers of the study acknowledge flaws, limitations and offer alternative explanations? Does the study look at both sides? Is it open to alternative explanations? Does it provide its own skepticism? 

BEST RULE OF THUMB: Be curious, but skeptical.

"A negative mind will never give you a positive outcome"

Sports Psychology time! Do you fight back on internal thoughts or roll with them? What is the difference?  It might sound miniscule but how it feels internally can make a big difference and can even affect your performance. 

Think back to a time you were challenged in a debate personally by another person? What worked best? To counteract, attack and fight back on that debate or to roll with their resistance, listen and let them know they were heard while applying logic and positivity back? 

Think conflict resolution….often when our mind has an intense thought, “This really hurts I want to stop” our first thought is to fight back, “This doesn’t hurt, don’t stop” but what if it really does hurt? How is immediately fighting back really listening to ourselves and accepting what is happening to our bodies at that moment?  Does fighting back make the thought stop or does it increase the intensity of the fight and the energy it takes to fight back. Does it almost become an internal battle in your head that wastes energy and causes negativity (the very thing we don’t want in these situations)?

If you find yourself in this endless loop, feeling negative during a workout and not really making improvements physically on where you want to be. I want you to try something new next time. Roll with the thought, don’t battle it!

“This really hurts I want to stop” -- “Yep this hurts, but it won’t kill me.  I only have 5 mins left and just last workout I did something just as hard for 10 min so I can totally do this. I have done this before and as soon as I’m done I will feel better”

Everyone’s internal dialogue is different and how they handle it is different and that is OK. What is not OK is trying to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  If your mental dialogue during workouts, competitions and/or races is not working, is taking up lots of mental energy and becoming negative….. try something new. I promise you rolling with a thought is much easier than fighting against it.

How to cope with an unsupportive partner in your health journey.

It happens in relationships and I think just normalizing it can really help while also openly talking about it: 

A few tips that can help in these situations: 

--Clear communication, sit down and really talk with your partner about what you need from them ... while reassuring them that THEY don't have to change!! And this is your journey!
--Be clear about what support you need! What does support look like to you?  Be transparent yet kind on what you need.
--Remind yourself that your health journey might not align with their thoughts, beliefs and opinions.....that is OK!! We are all on a different path and journey. They don't have to change if they don't want to. At the end of the day this is about you, your needs and your health! 
--If they are not supportive than seek out other support! Find your tribe!!!! Find an accountability buddy, a group, a class for additional support.  Build the tribe you need! 
--If they struggle with their own health and weight just be there for them, demonstrate great habits (while not pushing them on it) never know they might just start joining you! :)
--Try to understand that often the unsupportiveness is driven by fear in themselves, this is often about them and not about you. 
--If they have a favorite hobby make sure to support that too, maybe they enjoy painting and you enjoy exercise. Hobbies don't have to match just make sure what balances is the respect given to each other about the time, finances and space needed for those hobbies

Reward Eating

Let's chat about: REWARDS today, specifically reward eating. 

Have you ever had this thought…...
"I've been doing SO well this week, I deserve [insert junk food here]” 
“That was a really hard workout, I deserve [insert junk food here]”  
“I’ve had a really bad day at work,I deserve [insert junk food here]”

**Often this behavioral chain happens in childhood, did your parents reward you with food? Always feel free to dig on your own experience with reward eating...where did it come from..why does it happen. Be OK with digging in and learning your own triggers and experiences***

Once we normalize what is happening let's stop and think for a second.... is this thought process TRULY helpful to you, your goals and furthermore your health journey? Probably not.
 Let's reframe that thought. Whenever you start to think about what you DESERVE, remember to practice DISCIPLINE and ask the real question:   “What does your body deserve?”

"Why is it that I can gain 5lbs overnight?"

"Why is it that I can gain 5lbs overnight? HOW???”  

If we take in more calories than we can use at the moment, our body will store those calories in a few different ways. Our body will first store extra glucose in our liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. Once these stores are full, additional glucose is stored as fat. You know how athletes like to “carb load” the night before a big race? This is done to fill up their glycogen stores to prepare for the race because glycogen is easier for the body to use for energy than fat stores. The problem is that glycogen works like a sponge, holding up to THREE TIMES its weight in water, and water is heavy.

So here's what actually happens, Let's say one day all I eat a HUGE basket of french fries that has 3750 calories. I only burn off 2000 calories that day, which results in a calorie surplus of 1750 calories, approximately half a pound (one pound = 3500 calories). Logically I would think “I will see half a pound tomorrow morning on the scale” but what I will see is more like a two pound gain on the scale because of the glycogen/water response. 

French fries also have a ton of salt, which makes us retain water. This is because it disrupts the balance of sodium and potassium in the body, which affects our kidney's ability to filter extra water out of our blood. This will make us gain water weight and increase our blood pressure. So adding carbs + sodium can be a perfect storm for an immediate overnight weight gain (Remember we are talking weight **not fat)

So in our example, I’ve gained about 2 pounds from glycogen and water, and 3 pounds from water diluting the salt in my blood. That's 5 extra pounds in one day from eating something that was only the equivalent of half a pound of surplus calories. Also if you a hard workout the day before which has caused some muscle fiber tears (natural healing process) you will have inflammation, inflammation causes some micro swelling that can add even more! 
FINALLY the mystery is solved!! 

To sum up: The scale often lies! Don’t let the number on the scale that only measures your relationship with gravity have power over your emotions.