Monthly Archives: January 2012

Body Balance Healthy Living’s Top 5 Tips to Eat Healthier and Lose Weight

The world of nutrition, dieting, and the fitness industry is littered with unhealthy, dangerous, unsustainable ideas and diets.  When it comes down to it, the best way to eat to stay healthy and lose weight is to simply eat healthy.  Extreme diets are not good, they usually do work, you’ll lose weight, but will you keep it off?  When you go back to “normal” eating, the weight will come back, even if you make significant, good changes to your “normal” eating habits.  Here’s another question, is it feasible to exercise while you’re on a specific diet?  If not, then it’s not healthy.  The single most important thing that you can do for your health is exercise regularly.  Any amount of exercise is better than none, and if the diet you choose to do doesn’t recommend exercise, they’re crazy and aren’t truly concerned with your health.  They just want your moolah!

But I digress, simply eating healthy is the way to go.  It’s not the path to super fast results, but it is the path to consistent progress, and improvements to your health (lower BP, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, etc.).  Here are Body Balance Healthy Living’s Top 5 Tips to Eat Healthier and Lose Weight.

#1-Control Calories-there’s no way of getting around it, the calorie is king when it comes to weight loss.  Eat too few calories and your metabolism crashes which is probably the worst thing that can happen.  Eat too many calories and…… well….it goes without saying.  Most people looking to lose weight should eat between 1200 and 2200 calories per day.  Definitely track your calories, you need to know how many calories your consuming most days.  Technology is great, and can be very helpful, or you can be old fashioned and write everything down in a notebook.  Either way patterns and staple meals and foods will emerge.  It will become easier as you do it more.  Lastly, as you become more experienced with tracking your diet and develop healthy eating habits you won’t necessarily need to keep track of everything anynore.  You’ll be on auto pilot and you’ll automatically eat healthy.  It truly is a better way to eat!

#2-Eat 5-6 times per day and every 2-3 hours.  This does require some planning, but, once again, when you get in the habit of eating 5-6 times per day you’ll wonder why you didn’t always eat this way.  You’ll have steady energy levels, and you’ll have more energy overall.  This is mostly because you’ll be keeping your blood glucose levels more level.  You will also be giving you body a steady flow of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to fuel and recover from your workouts.  Here’s how most people do it: Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner, snack.

#3-Try to have fiber, protein and fat with every meal (except your post-resistance training meal/shake).  Fiber, protein and fat all slow down digestion.  You don’t want your food to digest fast because it will cause a spike in insulin which shuttles nutrients to cells, including carb and fat calories to fat cells.  If you have 5 grams or more of fiber with every meal, you’ll bring in at least 30 grams of fiber which is good.  Protein also slows down digestion, and, in addition, it provides amino acids that the body needs for muscle recovery and growth.  A steady flow of amino acids every 2-3 hours is ideal for keeping the body anabolic (anabolic =building muscle as opposed to catabolic which = the body breaking down muscle for energy).

#4-Eat plenty of fruits and veggies-you can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables, they’re packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and so much other good stuff that it’s beyond the scope of this post to list them.  Try to have at least 1 serving of a fruit or vegetable with every meal.  Experiment and try new fruits and veggies, the choices in our world economy are endless.  For ideas, check out: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden.  Lots of ideas and things to try in this book.

#5-Stay within your numbers and cut the artificial crap out of your diet.  Fiber: at least 25 grams per day.  Sodium: 1000-2500 mg per day.  Saturated Fat: less than 10% of total calories.  Sugar: 25 grams or less per day for women, and 37 grams of sugar or less per day for men.

Read labels, and ingredients lists.  Limit or preferably eliminate all the artificial junk from your diet.  Steer clear of artificial sweeteners, trans-fats, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and the other crap that is in your food.  If you are interested in what to look out for, e-mail me at: ian@BodyBalanceHealthyLiving and I’ll send you out a article on this subject.  Read and educate yourself.  Buy organic when possible.

Make a sincere attempt to follow these 5 healthy eating tips and I guarantee you will feel better, look better, lose weight, improve your health and have more energy!

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Don’t Diet, Eat Healthy

Dieting is dumb.  The first three letters in the word diet are die.  Wanna know why?  Because most diets are so ridiculous and restricting that they make you want to die.  Ever try to get by on a highly restricted diet?  Only eating a small number of certain things (here’s looking at you grapefruit and carrot diet), and/or keeping your calories below 1000 calories or so is very hard not to mention dangerous.  You’re tired all the time, you have no energy, you have trouble sleeping, you’re irritable, and there are other health problems that can develop.  How about a little nausea, constipation, or diarrhea as Web MD says (http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/low-calorie-diets).  They also mention that the most serious and common side effect as the formation of gall stones.  I’ll pass, thank you very much.  The FDA (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm281333.htm) goes further and mentions:  electrolyte imbalances, and irregular heartbeat as side effects of very low calorie diets.  These very low calorie diets are so dangerous in fact that Shirley Blakely, a nutritionist at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition says that these diets require “strict—and constant—medical supervision to ensure that side effects are not life threatening”.  Sobering stuff, who’d a thought that dieting could be life threatening.  It’s ironic that oftentimes people are dieting because they want to be healthier.  There is definitely a safer, better, smarter, healthier way to lose weight, it’ called eating healthy.

If you’d like to learn more about eating healthy, please send us an e-mail (ian@bodybalancehealthyliving.com) with your questions and stay tuned because our next post will share Body Balance Healthy Living’s Top 5 ways to eat healthy and lose weight.

A Stupid, Stupid, Stupid Dietary Mistake

I was at the gym getting in a morning workout when I glanced up at the TV and saw a commercial for a restaurant.  They were running a special, all you can eat pancakes.  Nothing too out of the ordinary here, but the more I thought about it the more abhorred I became.

It’s specials like this that can lead to obesity and even diabetes.  Think about it, partake in this special and you will be bringing in an incredible amount of carbs.  Furthermore, there won’t be any fiber or much protein to slow down the digestion of the carbs and there are virtually no vitamins or minerals present.  The definition of empty calories.  This is a lose, lose scenerio ladies and gentlemen.  What a great way to start out your day, filling your body with a huge amount of sugar, carbs, and empty calories.  Most people will probably add even more calories by having a glass of juice (more carbs, no fiber, perfect!).

Here are the facts: 2 medium sized pancakes, yes only two, with butter and syrup will total over 500 calories, 90 grams of carbs, and over 60 grams of sugar.  This is more than double the sugar you should have for the day.  Madness!  And how many of you only eat 2 pancakes?  How many do you have 3, 6, or more!?  Are you doing the math?  It’s downright ridiculous, and people wonder why we have an obesity and diabetic epidemic on our hands (there are over 70 million people in the United States that have pre-diabetes).

In closing, it’s ok to splurge sometimes.  I highly recommend that everyone that is trying to lose weight and eat healthy take a day off each week to ease the psychological stress of watching what you eat.  As long as you don’t go nuts (and pound 6 pancakes with syrup) your day off won’t sabotage your efforts.  The point is you need to be aware.  Be aware of what and how much is going into your body.  2 pancakes and syrup = 90 grams of carbs (I recommend you keep most meals under 30 grams of carbs), and more than double your added sugar recommendation for the day, nuff said!

Top 5 Things You Need to do To Lose Weight This Year

The vast majority of people that have fitness New Year’s resolutions have weight loss goals that they would like to reach.  The important thing to remember is that you’re not going to lose the weight fast.  Unless you literally have hours to spend in the gym most days, and you watch EVERYTHING you eat you’re not going to lose 5-10 pounds per week.  This is simply not a practical way to live your life, most people either don’t have the motivation, or are just too busy!  At Body Balance Healthy Living we recommend a practical approach that won’t yield fast results, but you will lose weight consistently.  Expect to lose 2-3 pounds per week on average, and if you have a lot of weight to lose, you can expect to lose about 100 pounds in a year.  The goal is to follow a comprehensive fitness program, and eat healthy.  Here are the 5 things you NEED to do to lose the weight this year.  Good luck, and always remember, even if  you don’t lose a pound, if you’re exercising you ARE improving your health!

#1-Keep Calories Under Control-no doubt about it, if you don’t  keep you calories under control you won’t lose weight.  It’s so easy to bring in extra calories in our current environment that it’s downright difficult sometimes.  Body Balance Healthy Living highly recommends that you write down everything you eat and how many calories you consume in a day.  It’s tedious at first, but with time, it becomes easier.  Patterns will emerge that will make things more manageable.  Furthermore, you don’t need to keep a food diary forever, eventually you should be able to go on auto pilot and have a pretty good idea how many calories you’re bringing in.  Shoot for 1500-2000 calories per day and adjust if necessary.

#2-Eat Healthy To Support Your Metabolism, Fuel Your Day, Fuel Your Workouts, and Recovery From Workouts.  Think about it, if you’re not bringing in enough calories (energy) you’re going to be tired and worn out.  Your workouts will suffer, and you will be more susceptible to pulling or straining a muscle, which can easily put you behind a few weeks.  You may also get cramps which aren’t any fun.  Lastly, your metabolism will crash which will make weight loss even tougher.  You need to eat to lose weight!

Eat every 2-3 hours, eat breakfast, have small meals (200-400 calories), get your fiber (at least 25 grams per day), get your protein (at least 10 grams per meal), and have a post-resistance training meal to support recovery.

#3-Follow a Comprehensive Fitness Plan-The 4 components of a comprehensive fitness program are: #1-resistance training to build muscle, support your metabolism, and burn calories for days, #2-cardio training to burn calories on the spot, #3-flexibility training to improve range of motion, prevent injuries, and improve recovery from workouts, and #4-fun, social activities to take the tediousness out of working out, and give purpose to your workouts.

#4-Readjust Your Goals When Necessary, And Don’t Give Up-Chances are there will be set-backs.  Sometimes life just happens, but don’t let it sabotage your efforts.  When life inventively happens, roll with the punches and readjust your goals accordingly.  The most important thing is: DON”T GIVE UP.  When the dust settles, get back into the habit of exercising and eating healthy.

#5-Keep a Journal, and Review it Periodically for Motivation-When writing in your journal be sure to write down how you feel on a daily basis.  On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being I FEEL GREAT) how did you feel for the day.  How were your energy levels?  As you develop the habits of exercising and eating healthy you will start to feel better and have more energy.  When your motivation starts to wane, look back and read some of your passages.  The days and weeks when you put exercising and eating healthy high on your priority list I can virtually guarantee that you will have more energy, be more productive, and feel better.

The single most important thing you can do for your health is EXERCISE REGULARLY!  Never forget this when you’re making up excuses not to workout.  If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t follow a fad diet that drastically cuts your calories, or requires low or no carbs.  These kinds of diets are extremely irresponsible because the reason they work (however temporarily, you’ll most likely put the weight back on over time) is because they don’t require exercise, which is, unfortunately, appealing to a lot of people.  You won’t be able to exercise when you’re on these types of diets because you won’t have the energy and you will probably injure yourself if you do try.  Don’t diet, eat healthy to achieve your weight loss goals for the new year.  Good luck and if you need further guidance please contact Body Balance Healthy Living, we’re here to help!