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When Deprivation Rebels

Hello everyone! I know it's been a couple weeks since I last blogged, but life gets busy and that's just the way it goes. I'm back at school and learning some very transformational stuff that I've not only been applying to the lives of my clients, but to my life as well. So without further adeau, let's jump right in to todays topic, today I'm going to be talking about deprivation. Deprivation is an interesting paradox in the sense that when we deprive ourselves of something, we expect the loss of whatever that something is in our lives, only to find that we gain more of it in return. Let me explain. Say Jane Doe deprives her body of food that contains fat because she fears weight gain. Her mentality is "if I eat fat, I'm going to get fat". While she deprives herself of what nutritional science calls "essential" fatty acids (being essential for a reason), she begins to experience symptoms such as redness around the eyes, dry hair, brittle nails, skin that lacks luster, anger, fatigue, depression, inability to lose weight, and even weight gain. She deprives herself thinking she will lose the very thing she deprives herself of, all while gaining it at the same time. This is only one example, that's obvious to most health or nutrition professionals, but not the only one.

Let's take a step away from food for a moment, and look at another example, desire. A lot of the time we suppress our hearts desires, out of fear, loss of control, anxiety, or whatever. We see a desire within us but at the same time, we try to deprive ourselves of that very desire thinking that it will result in us getting what we want in the future. If I desire to be loved, often times I will be doing things subconsciously that drives love away, all while desiring it at the same time. You often see this happen in people that have experienced abuse in some way throughout the course of their lives, and more times than not, sexual abuse. They desire to be loved but will adopt behaviours that in turn, deprive them of love, or what they think will deprive them of love.

nutrition infographicsWhen we deprive ourselves of anything that our body needs or desires, it naturally rebels. In the case of the woman depriving herself of essential fats in her diet, the body rebels by storing fat and getting irritable. When the person who desires love, but deprives herself of it, the body rebels in compulsive manners. She may over eat, binge eat, become depressed, irrational, moody, etc. Whatever we shove deep down, comes back up in different ways, commonly coming out as food issues. Why does it come up as food issues (more times than not), you ask? Because on a psycho-physiological level, whether we deprive ourselves of food, relationships, experiences, emotions, or whatever, we are depriving ourselves of nourishmentHappy Couple Eating Pizza. Cooking Together

Nourishment is different from nutrients. We feed ourselves nutrients, but are not necessarily nourished by them. Nourishment goes so much deeper than just the food we eat or don't eat. You could have the "cleanest" diet on earth but at the same time live a life where you hate your job, sit at home lonely, are stressed out about finances, and feel like you have no purpose. You may be putting nutrients into your body that would build it up, but your life is deficient in the most nutrient dense substance on earth, nourishment, and nourishment on every level. Just because you may be feeding yourself foods that are healthy, they don't actually have the environment that's conducive to them assimilating at an optimal or efficient level and therefore, you're still starving. And not only are you starving, but you live in chronic low level stress every day.

When we deprive ourselves of true nourishment, not just food nourishment, but life nourishment, the body and mind will naturally rebel because our need for nourishment is the same as our need for air. Without nourishment, we live a life of starvation. When the body senses starvation, it grabs for the easiest and quickest source of "nourishment" there is, food. It doesn't realize that subconsciously it's starving for affection, it just knows that it's starving. When you're hungry, you eat, this is a natural thing. It's nothing to be ashamed of, we wouldn't shame a baby for crying because it's hungry and yet, we shame ourselves when we cry out for nourishment. We deprive ourselves, or try to beat ourselves into submission, we guilt and shame ourselves, and we don't honour what our bodies truly need. This is going to look different for everyone, but just realize, if you are over eating, binge eating, or battling compulsive behaviours and moods, it may just be because the body is rebelling out of a need for nourishment.

Your Homework

What are your desires in life?

What nourishes you on a food level, and what nourishes you on a life level?

What is your body hungry for?

What behaviours are present in your life that are unappealing to you and do they link with a need for nourishment in an area where you're depriving yourself?

I'd love to hear your answers to these questions, so please feel free to contact me! Have a Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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Week 5: Fill Your Tank With Premium

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas that was filled with lovely meals, eaten with complete satisfaction and enjoyment, surrounded by loved ones. As we move into week 5, I want you to reflect how your eating habits, and even more importantly, your thought patterns have changed. I want you to think about how you view sleep now opposed to before you started the program. Are you sleeping better? Are you making sleep more of a priority? Are you doing anything differently to insure you get longer hours of sleep each night?

Now I want you to think about breathing. Are you learning to breath more? Do you fully understand the importance of breathing in terms of metabolism and overall health? Does anything change physically when you breath deeper opposed to shallow breathing?

Are you learning and applying ways to manage yourself under stressful situations or feelings? What are some of the things you're doing to help you when you feel stressed out? Are you aware of the physiological responses your body goes through when stress starts to creep its way in? How do you combat them?

Lastly, are you letting yourself enjoy life, and enjoy food? Are you learning to let go and listen to your body before listening to anyone else? Are you asking yourself what specific foods and specific amounts your own body needs throughout each day, instead of looking to magazines and diet books to tell you and plan out your meals? And are you exercising in a way that celebrates the bodies movement, instead of using exercise as a form of punishment?

Because we are going into a new year, it's the perfect time to do a little reflecting on the things you've accomplished, and the things you'd like to do better or differently next year. It's also a good time to give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings come up, whether they are positive or negative, and channel that energy into your plan of action moving forward.

Week 5 is all about celebrating you, and honoring your body. This week we focus on quality. Now quality can mean various things and it's completely contextual. Mainly, I want you to focus on quality food, but also I want you to focus on a quality eating experience. Let me explain what I mean by that. It's one thing to choose organic or local foods (which I am 100% in agreement with), but the way you prepare your meals is just as important.

Imagine making yourself a meal, it doesn't have to be anything fancy, but you really take your time to prepare it. You may decide to bake some chicken in the oven. You get fresh chicken breasts, cover them with rosemary and thyme, and place them neatly in a baking dish. While that's cooking, you prepare a beautiful salad full of mixed greens, nicely chopped peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and finish it off by dropping handfuls of luscious berries and slivered almonds over it. Then you toss it gently as you drizzle in olive oil, and dash it with some sea salt and pepper. You set the table for you and maybe a guest or two, setting out each plate with its accompanying utensils perfectly placed. Everything is ready and it looks and smells delicious. You are proud to feed this not only to your guests, but to yourself. It looks appetizing, so it is appetizing. The production of the whole meal has literally increased its nourishment.

Now imagine rushing in, frustrated you're home late and have to cook. You take the same ingredients but this time, you throw some frozen chicken breasts onto a tray and shove it in the oven. You take the salad and stuff a few handfuls into a bowl. You chop up the same vegetables into thick chunks because you can't be bothered to take your time, and finish off by rushing though your meal, stressed out that it's late, and not taking the time to appreciate the fact that eating is a necessity. While you eat, you are angry and, your whole eating experience negates quality in every way. Same ingredients, completely different experience. Can you feel the difference and how it would even effect your digestion differently, even though it's the same ingredients?

This ties into what I was talking about last week, and the previous weeks as well. Quality of a meal and how it's prepared is essential to healthy eating. There is a lot of questioning surrounding organic vs. non organic and all I am really going to say about that is, pound for pound organic and local varieties are nutritionally more dense than non organic. If you want to truly eat clean, you will choose foods that are pesticide free, hormones free, and have been grown or raised in an ethical manner. I personally choose organic or local whenever I can, which is about 90% of the time. I also choose high quality places to dine out at, and choose the freshest foods that I can on their menus. Quality looks different to everyone though, so here are a few questions to ask yourself with eating throughout the week:

Are you taking time to prepare and present your meals in a way that is pleasing to the eye and to the palette?

Are you cooking your meals from whole, fresh ingredients?

Are your meals rushed or made to be an enjoyable experience?

Are you reading ingredient labels? Do these labels have ingredients that you can't pronounce or is it  filled with chemicals?

Start to treat yourself like a premium gasoline car. Choose to put only the highest quality food in your body because you are the most important thing in your life. That's not being narcissistic either. If you have a family you need to care for, how can you care for them if you aren't healthy? Treat you, and those around you, by celebrating you every time you eat. Take your time to prepare meals, present them nicely, and choose the best ingredients that you know how to. This is a sign of true health, being able to say "I choose only the best for me, because I am worth it".

 

 

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Week 3: Transform Your Health by Stressing Less

I'm sure it doesn't come as a shock when stressful times come into your life. Everyone gets stressed from time to time, so the old adage "stress management", has a flaw. We cannot manage life's stressors, but we can learn to manage ourselves under times of stress. If you don't know much about the stress response, let me give you a little lesson (the coles notes version). Fight/or Flight is the technical term for the response our body goes through when we face something stressful. Thousands of years ago, fight/flight helped us in natural disasters, confronting attackers, or running away from anyone or anything. When the stress response is activated during an event, your heart rate speeds up, blood pressure elevates, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released into the circulatory system, respiration quickens, blood flow is rerouted away from the stomach and transported towards our extremities to give us the necessary power to either fight or flee. What also happens during stress is the digestive system shuts down. Digestion is not needed when you are running away from a hungry lion who's looking for lunch.

Fast forward to 2014. You are anxiously rushing through your morning trying to get to work, meetings, etc. You may or may not eat breakfast, maybe you have a coffee and a muffin on the run. Then you rush through lunch or sit in  front of your computer eating while you work, not being present for your meal, which should actually be an event, not just something we need to get through, to rushing through the rest of the day. Have you ever felt after a meal, that wasn't relaxed, that your food is still sitting in your stomach? It's because it is. All your bodily energy went to fight/flight instead of digestion. That means you could be eating the healthiest food on the planet and have your digestion dramatically reduced because you ate it on the run or when you were anxious. The same part of our brain that turns on stress, also inhibits digestion, and vice versa.

Do you ever wonder why European countries have some of  thinnest and healthiest people, yet none of them count calories or exercise in gyms like we do in North America? In fact, lots of them smoke cigarettes, drink everyday, and eat bread, pastries, butter, cheese, cream etc. The one big difference between us and them is pleasure and stress. In France, eating is an event to be enjoyed and a event that takes time. Meals span out over hours, food is savoured and eaten slowly, and most importantly, no one is worried that their lunch might make them fat.

The more you worry about your weight, the more cortisol you pump out, which in turn stores fat, especially around the midsection Quite literally, the more you worry about fat, the fatter you'll become. Clinical study after clinical study have shown that an excess in cortisol is strongly associated with fat accumulation because one of cortisol's chemical response is to store body fat and inhibit muscle growth. The bottom line is we need to relax, and we need to be able to digest the food we put into our bodies. Your objective for the week is to slow down when you eat, and slow down in life. Here are a few things you can do to help you:

1. Breath deeply. We talked about how important breathing is last week and it trickles into this week for sure. When you are stressed, breath deeply. You can trick your body into thinking it's relaxed by your breath. Breath deeply while you eat to encourage digestion.

2. Slow down your exercise. This is important if you do high intensity workouts more than twice a week. Stress is stress, and chronic stress, which is a result from excessive impact with anything (including exercise), does and will take it's toll on the body. If you don't exercise at all, get out a few times this week and just walk for half an hour.

3. Meditate on what is good. If you don't think you're into meditation, think about the last time you worried over meeting a deadline. That worry is a form of meditation, only geared in the wrong direction. Spend your day thinking positively, and about how you're going to reach your goal of renewed health.

4. Love yourself. When you love and value yourself, you will naturally gravitate towards foods and activities that nourish the body and build it up. When you love yourself, you will remove unnecessary stress that has dominated you, and you'll reclaim your life. When you love yourself, you won't force feed yourself, starve yourself, or yo-yo diet. You will listen to what your body actually wants, and that will be different for everyone.

Marc David says, in his book The Slow Down Diet, "By including more time with food, you can elevate yourself from a mammal that feeds to a human being who eats".

 

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Week 2: Breath Your Way Into Health

I hope you're enjoying getting more sleep and all the benefits that come with it! This week we are going to focus on boosting your overall metabolism, on every level, through something so simple and inexpensive, but yet needed to support every function we have to sustain our life. This week, and optimally from here on out, we are going to focus on breathing. So you're probably thinking, "how can breathing help me get healthy or even lose weight"? Let me explain. From his book called The Slow Down Diet, Marc David talks about how breathing affects our digestion and therefore affects our metabolism. The way we breath is in direct concordance with weight and weight management because it is linked to stress and the fight/flight state we go into when we are under stress.Attractive man breathing outdoor

When we are stressed, we adopt a shallow and short breathing pattern, which then kicks in our sympathetic nervous system that says "I'm in danger, run"! When this fight or flight/sympathetic response kicks in, one other major thing happens, our digestive/parasympathetic system turns off. This system is responsible for telling our tummies to digest the food we've eaten and to relax and recharge. If we are constantly stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, our breathing remains shallow and any food we have in our stomachs end up sitting there without being digested until we come back to a homeostatic level.

If you look at calories as something that needs to be "burned", what do you think burns them? Oxygen. If you want to be a metabolically burning machine, you will adopt a deep, full, and relaxed breathing pattern. The more food you eat, the more you need to breath because after a meal, the parasympathetic system kicks in and the brain automatically increases air intake to supply the demand for more oxygen needed to digest your food. So if you are on a low calorie diet, your body will adapt to the smaller portions and decrease the amount of oxygen needed, thus decreasing your overall metabolism.

This is where exercise helps the body to burn fat, by increasing the demand for oxygen, and by helping the body to better utilize that oxygen. If you practice breathing deeper, you can reap some of the benefits of aerobic training and increase your bodies ability to burn it's internal fuel source, fat.

Ron Teeguarden says in his book The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, "Regardless of the amount or the quality of food we consume, it will not energize the body if the breathing is insufficient, just as a candle will not burn if there is no air available". It is imperative to your overall health, and the health of your metabolism to breath properly. Not only will increased oxygen supply all the demands of your internal organs, it also helps us mentally to stay relaxed and composed in times of stress. You can trick your body by adopting a relaxed breathing pattern when you're stressed.

Tips to help you breath your way to health

1. When you eat, consciously think about how you're breathing. Putting your fork down between each bite and taking a deep and quiet breath in through your nose, holding for a moment, and exhaling out through your nose, will ensure you are helping your digestive system to function optimally.

2. When you feel stressed, breath in deep and quiet through your nose, hold for several seconds, and exhale out through your nose. Repeat this process 10 times.

3. Maintain an upright posture as you eat to allow for fuller and deeper breaths.

4. Take breathing breaks throughout your day, even if it's only for a few minutes. It will help to reduce stress and increase mental clarity.

5. Dine in a relaxed and peaceful environment where you can enjoy the company you're with. Eat slowly and breath while you eat.

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns! Happy breathing :)

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Week 1: Rest and Grow Young Grasshopper

Hey everyone! The 8 week plan to renew your health starts now....or tomorrow. I decided to wait until a Sunday to start up the first week. Not because I think goals should start at the beginning of a week only, but because I know most people like to start something new at the start of their week, and not generally in the middle. There's a lot to be said with starting your week off on the right foot! I have been deciding what the 8 weeks is going to look like for the past several days, and the more research I do, the more I am convinced that the most important thing to address first is sleep. Beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom, lying on bed

I truly believe that sleep trumps everything when it comes to true health. It trumps exercise, it trumps a clean diet, and it definetly trumps any weight loss or muscle building aids out there. Without sleep, you will never be able to manage your body composition optimally or live a life of radiant health. Here's just a few of the things that are linked to your health when you don't get adequate, restful sleep:

  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes- type 11
  • depression
  • hormonal imbalances
  • Immune function suppression

When we sleep, it is our bodies chance to heal and regenerate itself from the daily demands we put on it, not only on a physiological level, but on an emotional level also. During sleep our bodies have the chance to detoxify, regulate blood sugar, balance hormones, and repair damaged muscle and tissues throughout the body.

Weight Loss and Weight Gain

Hormonally, in terms of weight loss and or/weight gain, sleep is directly related and a huge component. If we are hormonally imbalanced, our systems cannot perform at the level we need it to in order for it to be metabolically stable. Studies have shown that people who get 6 or less hours of sleep per night have:

  • decreased glucose and insulin sensitivity, which contributes to type 11 Diabetes.
  • increase in the hormone ghrelin, which sends off hunger signals ("I'm hungry").
  • decrease in the hormone leptin, which sends off signals of satiation ("I'm full").
  • increased cortisol levels, which is one of your stress hormones.
  • decreased growth hormone levels (GH), which helps the body grow, repair, and combat body fat.

In short, it would then appear that a lack of sleep makes us sick, fat, hungry, and stressed. Probably not the most conducive environment for a healthy mind or body. So what is this weeks focus? To sleep. And by sleep, I mean sleep well. This week I want you to focus on getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. This may seem difficult to some people and it will mean strategic planning. Here are some strategies that will help you get to sleep, and that will effect the quality of the sleep you are currently getting: fridge with food

1. Stop eating 2-3 hours before bed- This will help your body to focus on sleep, not digestion. Eating meals too close to bed time will affect your sleep quality.

2. Turn off all electronics an hour before bed- This means turning off the tv or the computer, putting your phone away, and reading an actual book, not an ipad. finger push on power button

3. Create a bedtime routine- For me, I like to have a bath (usually in the winter), floss and brush my teeth, pack my gym bag for the morning, then read for 20 minutes.

4. Limit caffeine consumption- Try to stop consuming any caffeine after 1-2pm. Because caffeine is a stimulant and has a half life in your body, you want to stop consumption at least 8 hours before your bedtime.

 

5. Go to sleep by 10pm (unless you are a shift worker)- There are many reasons to go to sleep at the earlier hours of nighttime, but the main one for you to concern yourself with is simply that you need to get 7-8 hours of restful sleep. The reality is that most people get up around 6am, if not earlier, so by having the lights out by 10pm will allow you to get those hours in. If you're a shift worker this is obviously not always attainable. Instead, create a dark and comfortable environment that allows you to get to sleep easier, and bank those crucial hours.

I am convinced that when we get the sleep we need, everything else starts to fall into order because true homeostasis can be met. You have the right to sleep, so give yourself permission to. In a stressed out and over worked society that demands our constant attention, sleep usually falls to the wayside and is seen as a luxury. Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and your health is the most valuable asset you have. Allow yourself to mentally turn off at the end of each day and sleep long and soundly.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, or any input you'd like to give to all my readers by leaving your comments!

 

References

Rachel Leproult & Eve Van Couter, Department of Medicine, Chicago, Ill.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065172/

Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet. 1999;354:1435-1439

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8 Week Challenge to Renew Your Health: What does true health look like?

I have faced many challenges throughout my life in my journey to finding true health. I have tried countless diets and methods of eating, all in hopes of transforming my body. This whole "body transformation" that most diets focus on though is transforming the outside of your body, but true health starts from the inside out. This is the number one mistake that all diets have, they focus on getting the outside to look a certain way and negate to focus on the root cause of why you got to where you are in the first place. If you want to truly transform your body, it has to start internally. The most important factors for weight loss or optimal body composition need to be addressed first, and that's not necessarily the diet plan you should be following. When I set up my initial consultation with a new client, these are some of the questions I ask and what I'm more interested in changing right off the bat.

1. How well do you sleep? How many restful hours of sleep do you get a night?

2. How would you rate your stress level in your personal life, and how would you rate your stress level in your work life on a scale of 1-10 for each?

3. What is your digestion like?

4. How are your energy levels throughout the day, from waking up to going to sleep?

5. How often do you exercise, and what type of exercise do you predominantly do?

6. What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

Do you notice how only one of those questions ask the client about actual food? Make no mistake, what we eat is essential for optimal health, but there are so many other factors that go into really transforming your body. Because the majority of my clients are seeking weight loss, the most important thing I tell them is this; you have to create an environment that is conducive to weight loss.

In this 8 week challenge, I will be going over different strategies to help you create that environment. Notice the title isn't transform your body, it's renew your health. Your health should be your number one focus, first and foremost. Weight loss will come naturally when you make this your main focus, I can guarantee it. This approach is not exercising more and eating less, we've tried that over and over again, but it's not really working is it? This approach is focused on treating your body with the respect and love it deserves, like giving it nutrient dense food it can thrive off of, or exercising in a way that builds up the body and not abuses it or tears it down repeatedly.Change, Same Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

So if you're interested in truly transforming your body in a way that is healthy and sustainable, then get ready for this 8 week start up program to get you on track. I will be posting a different strategy to implement into your life each week. Each week the strategy I post will be your main focus and nothing else. As you progress into the weeks, you will keep your previous strategies and simply add on to them. This is not a magic weight loss diet plan, this is a plan to change your life. It is not a quick fix, you probably won't lose 30lbs in 8 weeks, but you will have more energy, you will sleep better, and you will be on track to achieving your dream body. This is a lifestyle, not a diet plan. If you are serious about your health, you will be serious about changing the things you are doing that are causing your body to hold on to fat, and the things that are making you sick and tired. Keep your eyes open for Week 1 coming very soon!

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You don't lack willpower, you're just addicted to sugar

Late Night Binge"If you don't let yourself eat cookies once a week, you'll go crazy"! This is the statement I overheard a trainer at a gym (not the one I work at) tell a client who was interested in changing the way she eats. As I walked by, I was instantly frustrated and thought to myself, "what the heck are you doing saying something like that"?! I understand what she might have been trying to say or do, but her delivery was devastating. Without even realizing it, she has set this person up for failure before they even started.

I wondered why the statement upset me so much and I realized that it's because I run my practice trying to encourage people, and inspire them, to want to make the right choices. I teach them that they have complete control over the food they eat, and that food, nor their emotions, rule over them. When I heard that statement I couldn't help but think that even if that person had no desire to eat cookies, she probably will now because she was told she would go crazy if she didn't have them once a week.

When people are trying to lose weight, the last thing they need to hear is that they won't be able to go through something hard without failing. Yes, failure is almost always a part of your  journey and isn't necessarily a bad thing,  but to start off telling someone they'll go crazy by doing something that benefits them is poor practice, in my opinion. What this woman needed to hear was, "actually, the greater time you go without eating things like cookies and sweets, the more you'll lose the palate for them, and eventually they'll become undesirable". That's the truth.

If you find yourself eating loads of sugar, or high carb foods that turn into sugar, and can't seem to stop, can I let you in on a little secret? You don't lack will power, that's not your issue. The simple truth is that you're most likely just addicted to sugar. I tell my clients who want to lose weight, that they don't lack will power, and they aren't failures, they're just having a hormone response.Schiefertafel mit der chemischen Formel von Serotonin

When sugars or high carb foods touch your tongue, there are massive hormonal signals going off. For instance, one hormone secreted when you eat sugar is serotonin, which is best known as the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. Serotonin is also what most antidepressants alter to improve your mood and reduce levels of anxiety. Serotonin is also made from the essential amino acid tryptophan, and tryptophan needs insulin to help transport serotonin to the brain. And what gives us the greatest insulin spike that would allow for that serotonin to get to our hungry-for-love little brains? You guessed it, sugar.

Also, something very interesting to note, as stated by Dr. Marcelle Pick., OB/GYN NP, is that beta endorphins are also released when we eat sugar, causing a "high" that actually acts as a natural painkiller. So I guess that begs the question, is it that we truly lack will power or can't deal with our emotions, and that's why we turn to sugar, or do we eat sugar because we've simply just been eating sugar already, and chemically it feels good? In terms of disordered eating patterns that have been the result of traumatic life events, yes, we consume food in response to those situations on a subconscious level, but make no mistake, there are also things going on in your internal world when you consume sugar that makes us feel good or that takes the pain away temporarily. Sugar is highly addictive, and it will keep you wanting more on so many different levels.Harmful sugar addiction

The problem isn't you, the problem is the food you are choosing eat. You can be the strongest willed person in the world, but if you are eating foods that spike your blood sugar all day, you are still going to gain weight and crave those foods. Try to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index, with numbers 50 or lower, eat a healthy amount of proteins and fats from things like avocados, coconut oil, and raw nuts, and stay away from sugar laden food products. The longer you don't eat sugar, the more you just won't want it. I promise that after you get over your sugar addiction, you will feel 100 times better than you have ever felt before, and not that you'll go crazy if you don't have it.

 

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How to Work With an Injury, Not Against It.

Young bodybuilder training heavy weights in smith machine Imagine you are going full tilt in the gym. You have been 100% dedicated to training hard, and even more dedicated to eating clean. Life is good and you feel invincible.....until you're not. You get injured and it completely catches you off guard. You are unable to train as hard as you've been training, and even end up missing a few days of workouts. What are you going to do?

I don't wish ill will on anyone but the truth of the matter is, shit happens. Injuries can be one of our hardest challenges both physically and mentally, and they can either been seen as our demise, or you can take the hits as they come and learn something new that you might have never found if you hadn't been injured. I should know because I have been through injury after injury since I started training from the age of 17. I've fractured my tibia (shin bone) and my foot, sprained my lower back, dislocated my shoulder, tore my hip flexor, quad, and hamstring on the same leg (all in one year), and have had a bulged disc in my spine. What I have learnt from all of these injuries is this; life goes on.woman runner hold her sports injured knee

I remember my first injury. I was 19 years old and loved running. I ran everywhere. I would run 3km to the gym, workout for an hour, and finish off with a 12km run. I did this 5 times a week, I was obsessed with running. My mind and my iron will seemed to be able to endure more than my body was capable of enduring though when one day I got off the treadmill and couldn't walk. I thought I just tweaked something, that maybe it would go away after I iced it. I could feel a sharp pain aching through the front of my leg. The next day I got up for my morning run but alas, there was no running to be had. I made an appointment with a physio, my very first physio, and he was a runner. A few tests were done and it had been determined that I had a stress fracture through my tibia. I had no idea what this meant, all I cared about was getting back on the road. Thinking it would be a week or two until I was back at it, I asked what every normal OCD person would ask, "how long until I can run"? His response, "6 months". I remember bursting out into tears right there in his office. He was so good about it too, and because he was a runner, he totally sympathized with me. Nevertheless, I had a choice, give up or push through.continue or go back

During that 6 months I started weight training. I never really took a liking to it until I had no other choice for means of exercise. Because I was unable to even walk properly for about a month, I literally had no choice but to lift weights. Lifting weights lead to a passion for fitness on multiple levels, which ultimately lead to my career as a personal trainer. That's the Cole's notes  version anyway.

I'd like to say I handled myself better when I encountered other injuries after that, but that would be a lie. For years I would cry, feel sorry for myself for a few days...ok for a week, but then something would switch. I would take some kind of good through the bad I was experiencing and just grab on to that, even if it was something tiny. I still get upset when I get injured, but not to the point where I'm literally crying and depressed for a week. Being injured has also taught me to slow down, and it's taught me to respect my bodies limitations. Injuries most often occur from excessive training or negligence, and they teach you when enough is enough.

Every injury will tell you something about yourself and will give you a sense on how you deal with conflict and how you are going to resolve conflict. What silver linings have you experienced through having an injury? These could be mental or physical, or even spiritual. Take the good out of the bad, it's in there somewhere, you just have to look. If you are injured and you're reading this, don't just take a mental note, write this down: What has this injury taught me about myself or my training? Write down your answer. Every time you're frustrated or want to throw in the towel, read your answer and push through. Injuries will come, but they will also pass. Be smart about recovery and rehabilitation exercises and seek professional help from physiotherapists, athletic therapists, or chiropractors and get yourself back on the road to recovery!

 

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Creating An Environment For Success

If you aren't successful in what you have been trying to achieve, a very likely cause is that  you haven't created an environment that would foster success. Success in anything takes work, it doesn't just fall from the sky onto your lap. You have to  wake up everyday and consciously make the decision to create your own world, and to cultivate a breeding ground for excellence. If you are struggling with proper eating, it's because you are not creating an environment for success. Excellence begets excellence. If you want to eat properly but surround yourself with people that don't care about health, or have a bunch of food in your house that isn't good for you, you have created a toxic environment around you. I'm not saying ditch all your friends who eat chips, but I am saying, get around people who want to better themselves if you want to better yourself.

If you hang out with criminals, you are more than likely going to get into crime. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people, people who are determined and who live lives of excellence. Here are some steps to create an environment for success:

1. Remove anything that inhibits you from achieving your goals. This could be having food in your house that would deter you from eating properly, or people who don't care about your goals and push you to eat the foods you're trying to stay away from. If it doesn't push you towards your goal, it's a roadblock, whatever that looks like to you.

2. Surround yourself with successful people. If you don't know any successful people, search them out. We have the whole world right at our fingertips, success is literally a click away. Listen to podcasts, follow blogs about health, and start creating your own environment where you are consistently listening and getting information from successful people. Some people that I get information from is Dr.Mercola, The Model Health Show, The Art of Charm, Kris and Kathy Vallaton, Rusty Moore, and many others. Listening to these few people cover my physical, emotional, and spiritual success, because they are all successful in what they do.

3. Don't give up when times are tough. I realize that this sounds fairly cliché, but it is truly the secret for success. A good friend of mine told me this quote "Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't want to do". Nothing stays easy, but the challenge is what makes the story and the outcome that much better. Change your mindset about going through trials and turbulence. Look at it from the perspective that you are growing "muscle of resilience".

Start with these three steps. Remove the inhibitors, surround yourself with successful people, and push through turbulence. These are the most crucial steps towards creating your own environment of success. Know who your cheerleaders are, and know your nay-sayers are.

One last quote, "I did not just dream about success, I worked for it".

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Omegas 6-9-and-3, aren't all they're cracked up to be.

*This one's for you mom :) There is a lot of buzz around essential fatty acids (EFA's), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA's), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA's) right now in the nutrition world. If you don't know much about these terms, let me spare you the boring diagrams of hydrogen and carbon atoms, and let me put it in terms you can fully understand without getting too scientific-y about it. (Scientific-y being the "technical" definition).

The food industry, I'm going to say the proverbial "they" so bare with me, has been talking up all the benefits of PUFA's and MUFA's, and don't get me wrong, there are many benefits, but as they've been glorifying these fatty acids, they've also been downplaying their saturated fat sisters. This article isn't about saturated fats though, that's for another day.

The bottom line about unsaturated fats, though providing many benefits in small doses, are unstable. Have you noticed that your olive oil is liquid at room temperature and your coconut oil is solid? This is because, now here is where I have to get scientific-y, saturated fats have the maximum number of hydrogen atoms attached to every carbon atom in its chain, therefore it is stable. Unsaturated fats however, have gaps in their chains. If it has one gap, it is a monounsaturated fat, and if it has two gaps, it is a polyunsaturated fat. Because of these gaps, they are unstable, thus making them liquid.

Ok, so who cares? Well, everyone should care in my opinion. If something is unstable outside of the body, it is unstable inside of the body. When PUFA's are consumed in high amounts, they are incorporated into the cell membrane making your cells fragile and prone to oxidation, in turn causing inflammation and stress internally. This is seen with the typical American diet composed of high levels of omega-6 compared to lower levels of omega-3's. The optimal diet for your health is to be consuming a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, but in small doses.

It would be wise to stick with more MUFA's, like olive oil, and high grade saturated fats like coconut oil or grass-fed butter, than to be consuming high amounts of PUFA's, which are found in vegetable oils like corn, safflower, and cottonseed. These vegetable oils are usually rancid by the time they hit the grocery store shelf from undergoing extreme processes to extract the oil from them. You would never eat a bowl of cottonseeds, so why are you consuming its oil? Furthermore, when they are heated, the vegetable oil Jekyll turns into Hyde, and the oil goes from an unsaturated fat, to a literally bent out of shape trans fat.

That's right, every time you cook with one of these "healthy" fats, you are ingesting trans fats, which is short for a fat that has undergone a transfiguration, and not in a good way. This is not the fat phoenix rising from the ashes, this is more like the Frankenstein of fats.

What does this all mean?

Start to incorporate more fats in your diet and start to purge your diet from excess PUFA's. Choose high quality fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and extra virgin olive oil (not heated), and start to stay away from oils that include, but are not limited to: canola, grapeseed, cottonseed, safflower, and corn.

 

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If you don't value this number one thing, you will never be successful in your eating.

2014-07-01 NIKON D800E 2779 As a woman, I have gone through many different seasons of self loathing, and if you are a woman reading this, I’m sure you can relate (although I know men struggle too). I have found over the years, that there is a direct correlation with the food I eat at the times I feel less valuable.

When I am overly critical and unaccepting of who I am, I eat poorly. Why? Because if I can’t see my own value, do you think I’m going to make the right decisions in regards to feeding myself? I’m probably not going to spend extra money on high quality food that is full of nutrients, or I will either starve or force feed myself (sometimes both). When the switch flips though, and I take it easy on myself, you know, have a little grace for you who are at this particular moment in time, I more often than not tend to choose the right foods for my body. If you cannot see your worth, it will show in how you feed yourself and what foods you decide to buy.
I don’t think anyone likes being overweight, correct me if I’m wrong. I also know that either obesity, or being unhealthily underweight goes so much deeper than food. Disordered eating patterns, whether starvation or bingeing, are just the manifestations of deeper rooted issues. It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you? Your goal for today, to start to make healthier choices with food, is to value yourself. If you value yourself, you will value what you put into yourself, and if you don’t value yourself, how can you give what you don’t have?

 

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