Diet, Exercise, General Health, Motivation, Q&A

Q & A: Can people who exercise “get away” with poor food choices?

My short answer is Yes and No…

In a small study of  two groups of 7 participants, one group exercised for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity or higher at least 3 times a week. The other group worked out less often and less intense than the first group. 

All 14 participants were fed the same high fat 960 calorie breakfast meal. (2220 mg sodium, 48 g of fat, including 16 g saturated fat and 4.5 g trans fat..280mg. cholesterol)

After the high fat meal, they measured obstruction of blood flow in the brachial artery (-the one just above your elbow crease on your arm)..The less active group showed a greater obstruction of blood flow through the artery- it was narrowed,  while the more active exercisers had no change.

Both groups experienced an increase in triglycerides (triglycerides are an ester of glycerol and 3 fatty acid groups. High levels of triglycerides indicate an increased risk of stroke.) The more highly active group’s triglycerides rose by 47% but the less active group increased triglycerides by a whopping 184%

While exercise is protective against disease, and people who exercise may be more able to get away with poor food choices, but not on a regular basis. 

Johnson, B.D. et al. “Vascular consequences of a High-Fat Meal in physically active and Inactive adults.’  Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 36, no3. (2011) 368-375

Diet, General Health

Which DIET is BEST?

While I’m reasonably certain of what will work best to keep me mentally sharp, performing well in the gym and emotionally even in terms of my nutrition, I’m an agnositc when it comes to my belief about whether that method is the right one or the best one for YOU.

First, let’s be sure we are on the same page. When I say DIET, most people hear the word restriction. When I say the word diet, I just mean the habitual pattern of what you eat on a day to day basis.

I know there are people who are devoutly Vegan or Low-Carb or Paleo or eat within a specific time window or High Fat or High Carb, Gluten-Free, Keto, Kosher, Hallal, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or any variety of nutritional lifestyle and many of them think their way is the BEST way.  However, I know from working with real clients over many years that different things work for different people. I actually think any of these could probably work depending on one’s situation.

If you like to cook, or don’t like to cook, have food allergies, have a big or small food budget, have a lot or a little nutrition knowledge, have GENES or diseases that predispose you to gain or lose weight on certain diets or require certain foods be added or omitted from your diet all coalesce into what your perfect diet is for YOU.

You may be wondering how it is that someone like myself who has studied nutrition and fitness could endorse such wildly different and sometimes conflicting diets depending on the person, and how I could even coach nutrition under such circumstances. The answer is that most nutrition programs accomplish certain cornerstone habits which are necessary in a healthy lifestyle.

In other words, when I coach clients in nutrition I don’t prescribe a diet or a particular menu though I may make some suggestions in the way that fits their lifestyle.. taking into consideration things like:

~ Cooking Experience and Knowledge

~ Stage of life (big family, small family, living alone)

~ Time

~ Budget

~ Allergies

~ Genetic variables (For clients interested in high fat or high protein diets I often suggest a DNA test to see if they are good candidates for such a diet in the long-term since some plans can require intense commitments. If a diet could feel overly restrictive given their social and entertaining calendars or those of other family members or their genetics indicate it would yield poor results at the outset they will have the information to make a more well informed decision as a result of the DNA test.)

Speaking of genetic variables, 23 and me is offering 50% off their Health and ancestry kit One of the health kits they offer can help you know if you are predisposed to be successful on a high or low fat diet for your individual metabolism and more.

 please use my referral code   https://www.23andme.com/?utm_source=extole&utm_medium=referafriend&utm_campaign=extole&utm_content=23c_Refer_A_Friend&extole_share_channel=EXTOLE_EMAIL&extole_shareable_code=wiwif&extole_coupon_none=true&sub=ver2

If you would like a FREE tool to help assess if your current diet is actually working for you, click HERE for a questionnaire to help you decide

Diet, General Health

Probiotics to Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in women. One in eight women who live to age 85 years will develop breast Cancer over the course of their lifetime.2 

The reality is that Breast Cancer Awareness strategies have done little if nothing to decrease the incidence of diagnosis. The mammogram can be a useful tool for detecting a breast tumor, however, the cancer cells may have have already spread. Wouldn’t it be great if we could prevent and/or reverse unhealthy breast tissue before it becomes cancerous? 

Um, Yeah! That’s why I’m on the lookout for the latest and greatest in research to arm us with just that sort of tool. While researching information on foods and health and weightloss, I stumbled across this mind-blowing info:

A 2019 review of the studies from Oncology Review indicates some promising research about the efficacy of probiotics to alter the but bacteria to prevent the growth and development of breast cancer by modulating the gi bacteria and systemic immune system. 

Probiotics (bacteria or yeasts) are live microorganisms which when given in the right amounts in food or as a supplement provide health benefits. The most commonly used bacterial strains for probiotic purposes are the lactic acid bacteria, which are mainly consumed as fermented dairy like Kefir and yogurt. There are others as well including Kimchi, fermented saurkraut, Kombocha, and there are also tablets. Each type of probiotic is somewhat different and it may take some research and experimentation to find out which one(s) are right for you. Gastrointestinal bacteria is affected by diet, alcohol, and cholesterol metabolism, and vice versa… and these all have an effect of the amount of estrogens in the body. In short, several small-scale studies reported lowered cholesterol on using probiotics, which may support their benefit in blocking the hypercholesterolemiaestrogen cancer mechanism.44,45In summary, in addition to regular exercise, stress reduction such as including mindfulness meditation, adding fruits and veggies to your diet (specifically the cruciferous ones like broccoli and cabbage) it seems probiotics can be another tool to improve your odds preventing and beating disease including Breast Cancer (-specifically, estrogen positive cancers).
I’m trying to incorporate probiotics like this fermented cabbage into my daily diet. Its ok to start with a small amount even a tablespoon to see how you tolerate different kinds. Do your research and consult with your doc to see which might be right for you.

Read the latest research that got my attention: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6775487/
Body Image, Diet, Exercise, General Health

Is Obesity a CHOICE?

Trigger Warning: 

This post involves discussions of Weight. If such topics are distressing or triggering to you please consider employing self-care tools and strategies which may include not reading this.

A February 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association reveals how the pandemic has led to unwanted weight gain.42% of US adults gained unwanted weight during the pandemic.52% of Gen Z adults report undesired weight gain, with an average gain of 28 pounds.48% of millennials report undesired weight gain, with an average gain of 41 pounds.Yet despite these statistics, for better health and a longer life span, exercise is more important than weight loss.

 An interesting new scientific review of the relationships between fitness, weight, heart health and longevity found that obese people typically lower their risks of heart disease and premature death far more by gaining fitness than by dropping weight or dieting.

The review adds to mounting evidence that most of us can be healthy at any weight, if we are also active enough.

Glenn Gaesser, a professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University in Phoenix (My alma matter, BTW), found overweight and obese people with significant health problems, including high blood pressure, poor cholesterol profiles or insulin resistance, a marker for Type 2 diabetes, showed considerable improvements in those conditions after they started exercising, whether they dropped any weight or not. The studies show that even if no weight is lost, obese and formerly sedentary individuals can  lower their risk of premature death by as much as 30 percent or more.

And now, because the science needs to also explain that water is wet:

“Some past research shows that people who start to exercise rarely lose much, if any, weight, unless they also cut back substantially on food intake because the exercise they are doing burns too few calories and because they compensate for some caloric burn during exercise by eating more calories afterwards.”

This information begs the question: Is Obesity a Choice?

This short answer is..not usually. Sure genetics and bone structure, genes and upbringing play a part. However, some of us eat more and/or move less when stressed or anxious or depressed.. and for others its just the opposite! Some of us find sweet foods satisfying in some situations and salty in others (hint: there are actual biological reasons for craving salty in some situations and sweet in others–and its part of the glorious way or bodies are pre-programmed for survival).

Sometimes people are making choices, but they are only semi-conscious of them-for instance out of self-harm as a trauma response. Other times we don’t even know we are making choices because we are simply unaware of alternatives or we have never been educated about the way that stimuli such as emotions and specific foods trigger different responses within the body that set us up for a cascade of effects that are displayed visually or on our bloodwork results…

Information like how to combine which foods to achieve stable blood sugar and lower insulin response. A sensitive balanced insulin response can increase your sensitivity to feelings of hunger and fullness. That is necessary for true agency in one’s health outcomes (and visual outcomes). Listening to one’s body only works well when the body is working to give us those signals otherwise the whole system is rigged against us succeeding from the start (if our goal is to “listen to the body”).

There is a whole science behind options including which foods to combine or eat and when if you want to decrease cravings overall. Or which foods can make you feel fuller longer or think more clearly or have more energy.  Which type of exercises performed which way for how long will make you hungrier and which will enable you to feel more full after the workout. If you would like to know more about those things, so you are more empowered to make changes smarter not harder,  it is something I coach my 1:1 Private clients on.

Some people say, I can’t train with you Kayla, you’ve never been overweight like me. I have never been you, but there have been times I was overweight (5’5″ 172lb not pregnant, and 175 when pregnant) and I have also been mocked for appearing underweight (young teen), Fortunately I have mostly been in the normal range. I have discovered ways to hack the system both from reading and studying and talking to pros about it to be more stable over time and some of it has to do with hearing relatives who do have a good relationship with their bodies and food while growing up-which helps me reflect back to my clients when something seems off track.  I’ve survived illnesses, injuries, and other setbacks. I’ve had a few pregnancies too…and struggled sometimes there too.  Its important to select a trainer and coach (sometimes a counselor and/or RD) who does get you and who you are comfortable with and have the conversations so it can become more of a choice that your body is rigged to help you with instead of fighting with your body.

Body Image, Diet, Exercise, General Health, Motivation

How to Hack Your Hormones for a Better Mood

This year it seems World Mental Health Day got a lot more press in America. That’s a good thing because its really time to lower the stigma and thereby encourage everyone to get the help they need to to feel good.

So many of us have been affected by lifestyle changes brought about by Covid and I’ve seen many tip lists and articles about how to lower anxiety and increase happiness but some of it is dense and hard to remember so I created this handy dandy chart compiled from some of them. See if you notice what I did:
OK.  Technology wasn’t on the list.  
Did you see how often EXERCISE was on the list?!?

Exercise has multiple physical health benefits. AND it can have a positive impact on emotional well-being.Regular physical activity can increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, making it a great option to boost your happy hormones. In addition, you’ve probably already heard of the ‘high” that many feel from endorphin release intense exercise triggers. 

According to one article focused on using food to boost mood, here’s how to  Maximize the Mood Boosting Power of your workout:

To see even more benefits from exercise:

Include a few friends. A small 2009 study (of men) found evidence to suggest group exercise offers more benefits than solo exercise.

Get some sun. Move your workout outdoors to maximize your serotonin boost.

Time it. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at a time. Any amount of physical activity has health benefits, but research associates endorphin release with continued exercise rather than short bursts of activity.
Diet, Exercise, Fitness Goals, General Health

Just One Thing..

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Just One Thing…

The most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get into shape or tone up.  

If getting into shape is your goal, and you actually want to change your shape-say from a pear to an hourglass or from an apple to an hourglass or from a brick to an hourglass, or from a stalk of wheat to something that won’t blow over in the wind, cardio isn’t the best way to try and get there. Cardio is a great choice for heart health and stamina and we need to do it a few times every week but its not a top choice for maintaining a healthy weight and for actually changing your shape.

With resistance or weight training, we can build you some shoulders to give those of you with a pear shape a more balanced look and we can tighten and firm your glutes and use high reps on your thighs to give them a longer leaner appearance. Will that make you an hourglass? Technically no, because bone structure and genetics are what they are, but we can get you closer to balance and proportion you might have in mind.That said, there’s nothing wrong with any of those body shapes and many people do find them attractive despite the singular message about beauty standards the media seems to offer. From a health and longevity perspective weight training is great for you.

Those with more voluptuous bellies or booties may also be dealing with another big issue: hormones. Those of us in our mid to late 40s or 50s with bat wings who may be dealing with age-related loss of muscle.Muscle also gives a more youthful firmer appearance. Muscle tone helps you lose fat because it takes calories just to sustain itself.  Even if weight loss is your goal, resistance training, and especially resistance training in midlife is the way to go.

Muscle is metabolically active tissue…which means you don’t need to starve yourself and run marathons to maintain your physique. In fact, muscle tissue needs calories to stick around or it will waste away- which means you can eat good nutritious food without worrying so much that it will turn to fat. Isn’t that good news?

So if starting the new year with an exercise program means loving your body, that’s fantastic. If it means beating into submission, can you believe you’re less likely to succeed at weightloss? Yes the scientific data says loving your body with enough hydration, rest, nutrient dense food, an occasional unhealthy but so yummy treat and the healthy hormones released when you exercise with intensity are fabulous for your health and better for weightloss.. Starving your body, over-working it and telling yourself about how your various bits aren’t up to par is horrible for your body and your emotional health and actually inhibits weightloss and may even foster illness.

This year, can we resolve to work out smarter instead of harder and be kind to our bodies? I’m ready. So here’s my challenge to you: This year don’t join a gym, and blow it out on the treadmill and dry ryvita crackers for 3 weeks and give up by March.. Just pick one thing. ONE small thing you could commit to for the rest of 2019 that might make a difference and stick to that one thing.

Here are some examples: (Feel free to come up with your own…but only ONE..and make it small and achievable)

  • I will drinking a glass of water every day before breakfast.
  • I commit to walking for 10 minutes every day.
  • I commit to a one minute meditation or mantra of gratitude every day.
  • I commit to learning to do something besides a bicep curl with dumbells
  • I will learn to do one pushup.
  • I will join a workout group and attend each of my 6 sessions (okay I had to throw that in there) as a way to kick start making fitness part of my lifestyle.

 

Diet

Drink Up!

10406497_815382911871386_1382414466723659507_nFor camels like me who know they should be drinking more water…Try an infuser like this set from Costco $25. Put your fruits inside, pour water in and refrigerate overnight. I’ve got raspberry lime water. Still technically zero calories but a lot more interesting. This one is made of plastic by Takeya but there are probably glass ones to be found elsewhere. One more tip- if you fill a personal drinking bottle with fruit-infused water, I find my bottle gets moldy faster because of the fructose.. So use a straw bottle brush right away. Don’t just rinse and refill or use a bottle that doesn’t have a straw for easier cleaning

Diet, Exercise, Fitness Goals

Planning to go on a diet and exercise plan after Passover?

Consider the following things a personal trainer can do:

  1. Improve Your Overall Fitness by monitoring your progress and fine-tune your program as you go, helping you work your way off plateaus.
  2. Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight by helping you set realistic goals and determine safe strategies, all while providing the encouragement you need.
  3. Learn to Stick to It by helping you overcome your biggest obstacles to exercise.
  4. Focus on Your Unique Health Concerns such as low-back pain, rehabilitation from injury and pre/postnatal training.
  5. Find the Right Way to Work Out, by learning  the correct way to use equipment, and appropriate form and technique for cardiovascular work and free-weight training.
  6. Stop Wasting Time. Get maximum results in minimum time with a program designed specifically for you.
  7. Learn New Skills.
  8. Enhance Your Mind, Body and Spirit by showing you potential you didn’t realize you had.
  9. Benefit From the Buddy System, individualized attention and support.
  10. Finally find the exercise program that works best for you.
Diet, Fitness Goals

Cleansing for Passover

You have probably heard all the gossip about the latest fad diet or juice cleanse or whatever and at this point the only thing you really matzo deserves a good cleanse is the back of your refrigerator from any chometz.

Some of us, fear that Passover with all of the matzo balls or macaroons, oddly timed meals and family stressors will ruin the waistline we worked so hard to achieve.  I think Passover can be a great time to institute some good nutrition for yourself and your family. The market shelves are already brimming with boxed specialty latke mixes for Passover, Passover candies, Matzos of every variety and we are carefully checking labels to insure they meet our high standards. We may also start getting concerned about the higher costs of all of these specialty items.

I’d like to invite you to also use this time of preparation to take a look at the junk we puff ourselves up with on the outside and begin fresh this spring by taking the holiday as an opportunity to simplify, and cleanse the body with un-packaged, simpler and self-made goodies that nourish us on the inside in ways that will make us glow as well on the outside.  You can choose to “simplify with ore packaged foods and mixes..or you can choose to simplify and actually save money by using more fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.  You can make your own convenience foods such as carrot and celery sticks, or melon slices pre-portioned and ready to go in baggies in the fridge. You can even nibble on these while you clean. Soups can be a wonderful addition to your meals because they make you feel more full and (assuming you aren’t using bullion) contain no artificial colorings, flavorings, unhealthful oils either. You can even be your own sous chef and slice all the veggies and separate them into portions all on the same day for different uses-for sides or soups or for steaming all at the same time to economize on time.  Salads are another great option with a lean protein like a poached chicken breast makes a great lunch to keep your blood sugar stable (and your mood) while you are preparing and during the holiday as well.

If there is one area–besides the Matzo not to spare expense–it would be oil. Grapeseed, Walnut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut are all better choices for your health than the cottonseed and palm oils which will be readily and more cheaply available. These more healthful oils are worth the extra expense!

Make sure to stay hydrated while you are scrubbing and organizing too and re-charge your emotional and physical battery as you prepare to leave Egypt! Take time to tune in to how you are feeling. Do you need a break? Do you need some you-time. Maybe as we get closer you can’t get to the gym or class because of the time crunch but can you do some bodyweight exercise at home or a video? Maybe try to do 3 burpees or pushups between cleaning each shelf of the fridge or turn on some music and dance each time you finish cleaning an appliance.

If you are already using free software like MyFitnessPal.com to track your calories, Do Not vacation from that during Passover. Continue to log- before or after Yom Tov too. Just the act of logging keeps you on track to staying within your caloric requirements.

Finally, choose Chol HaMoed activities which allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise. Plan a family hike, take a tour, go vegetable picking at a farm but stay active. You should be blessed to come out more free and energized with your cleaning.

Those are my tips. Do you have tips for thriving and using this prep time to tune up your nutritional cleansing and pantry cleansing?

Diet

Veggetti

1455987_743692369040441_7586790813147492486_nMy friends give me a sly look when I tell them I bought myself a veggetti at Bed Bath n Beyond..I’m not saying it won’t help in the bedroom but its for the kitchen..to make spaghetti spirals out of your zucchini. Just top with sauce and you should be good to go…(minus all the extra calories and refined white flour in regular high-gylcemic pasta.) Now everyone can be happy. Sshhh..don’t tell the marketing folks who wrote “without the carbs” on the package that vegetables are carbs.