Crazy Diet Is Just Wrong!

We all want to feel fabulous, every day- not just when we’ve had a holiday or after a day or two at the spa!

Who should we trust for reliable, real life, do-able advise? All we want is to feel energetic pain free, and not fall apart before our time!

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Problem, there’s so much conflicting information out there, we feel overloaded, confused and overwhelmed. What do we do? We decide to do NOTHING!

I was talking to one of my heart group today… He has, as many older adults have, more than one condition to manage. Diabetes, Heart Disease and Asthma.

While exercising we were discussing food choices and fat loss. I found myself trying to help him and the others in the group to calm their confusion, and make them feel enthusiastic about food again.

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Conflicting advise only makes us restrict everything, feel deprived, give up and then binge.
Sound familiar!?

Diabetes Nurse –
” restrict fruit and sweet foods – eat more carbs”
Heart Nurse –
” restrict fats and carbs – eat more fruit and veg”
Fitness Instructor –
” restrict sugars and starchy carbs – eat more fruit & veg, protein and healthy fats”

Which advise you you follow?
I’m biased!

Over the next few days I’ll explain what happens when you follow each version of these ‘Ideal’ diets and why you need to abandon food fads ‘Sold’ to you in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. I can hear you saying, so it’ll all change again in 5 minutes, yes it will. I want it to, not to confuse and make you even more worried about what you eat- but as good scientific studies are completed we will understand why Diabetes, Obesity and Heart Disease are modern plagues.

You will see that by swapping foods, moderating portion sizes and staying active (not exercising to exhaustion) you can make real changes to your health status. So if you’re trying really hard, avoiding every food you like to eat and still cannot shift a pound, or you have less than 10lbs to lose and are getting no-where or maybe you are training hard and can’t send any change fir your effort…. Watch out for the next few posts.

Take Aways- think about what type of foods and when you crave them. (We’ll discuss your answers)

Your body is an intelligent, complex and intricate machine – we need to listen to it more and look after it better. It’s the ONLY place you have to live!

Please subscribe to my blog Thanks Jax.

Metabolism Workshop 2013

Last Friday evening a few of my clients and I got together to discuss some new and many established ideas around boosting and fixing challenged metabolisms.

It was an interesting evening, as usual my note pack was more like a short book – 90 pages – sorry if you printed it out!

[follow my blog and you can ask for the password to get access]

Some interesting questions led us to discovering practical ways to solve sleep problems, cravings for sweet foods and controlling blood sugar plus many more.

I will try to address the common themes that came out of our evening- as I know they affect many of us living in this modern, Stressful, time pressed world.

Last week I attended LIW – leisure Industry Week show at the National Exhibition Centre. 2 days of which were also the REPs ( register of exercise professionals) National Conference.

It was an informative 2 days, full of great lectures from people that have been in this industry, researchers, practitioners, and teachers for as long as me! (that’s YEARS)

So much of the current research supports exactly the ideas I buy into. It’s always nice to know you’re still on the right track – no silly gimmicks or fads- just good science.

The Geek in me loves the technical, chemical and data but the Teacher in me demands the practical application for real people.

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Question 1.
Sleep- what tips do have to improve it?

Question 2.
Why is it so important for fat loss?

Question 3.
How do I know when I need more?

Let’s look at Q2 first- because if you don’t know why it’s vital for your health, why bother about it?!

So, sleep well and you will….
– think clearly
– be at the top of your game every day
– have energy without stimulants
– train harder
– recover quicker
– have less cravings
– balance your hormones
– improve your digestion
– normal hunger patterns

Sleep is the natural re-set for your body. It’s when your body repairs, rebuilds and recovers from whatever you do through the day. Without proper deep, uninterrupted sleep- not the shallow, restless few hours that most of us get! – our systems struggle to work properly.

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Poor Sleep leads to…..
– imbalanced hormones
– cravings for sweet and starchy snacks
– a feeling that you are never full
– fuzzy head
– bad time management
– belly fat
– low energy
– low motivation
– need for stimulants like caffeine, etc
– use of sleep button
– no appetite through the day
– tendency to binge at night

So you can see sorting your sleep is as important as any nutritional or activity plan you decide to follow!

So here are my tips….
1. Blackout your bedroom
2. No electricals near your bed (2m)
3. Keep it cool
4. No screens for 60mins before bed
5. Mood lighting for 60mins before bed
6. No stimulants 3-4 hrs before bed
( caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks, exercise, etc)
7. Practise relaxation breathing techniques
8. Leave work tasks out of the bedroom
9. Read fiction
10. Supplement Magnesium
11. Always Hydrate
12. Learn to Meditate

If you find you wake through the night, have trouble getting to sleep or feel dreadful most mornings you need to address your sleep issues.

Bad sleep will hinder your fat loss and really mess up your hormones. Don’t think because you manage on 4-6 hours that you don’t need more, sleep studies show that we ALL need about 8 hrs good quality sleep. Within that you will get periods of lighter sleep and long periods of deep sleep.

There’s an App for that….
Use your smart phone or tablet (temporarily) to measure your sleep patterns- you will see over a week or so your waking pattern. Change your environment- internal (nutritional) and external (environmental) and see what works for you.

Sleep better – you will Feel the difference!

So follow my blog and get access to the password protected stuff as well as my answers to your questions.

3 Metabolism Tools

3 Easy Metabolism Tools

Use these tools to get healthy, get leaner, boost performance faster and ultimately boost your metabolism.

Tool #1 – Get Enough Sleep

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Sleep is perhaps the most under appreciated element of health, strength and fat loss.

It is responsible for the resetting and regulation of your hormonal system and for that reason it is critical in helping you to create a hormonal environment that supports a fast metabolism and rapid fat loss.

General Recommendations: Sleep a minimum of 6 hours per night with a goal of averaging 7.5-9 hours. Get the highest quality sleep you can by sleeping in a pitch black room and avoiding television and other bright dynamic lights for at least 30 minutes before bed.
If you have trouble falling asleep, focus your thoughts and decide you want to sleep, ALLOW yourself to sleep, practise belly breathing to get into a relaxed sate.
If your mind is racing – you will need to find coping skills to reduce your stress levels, but gentle music might help calm your thoughts.

I use a sleep app, with added features that also track my health, diet and activity status. The stats help me identify stressors and how best to remove them.

Tool #2 – Drink Lots Of Cold Water

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Most people don’t drink enough water to support their metabolism and detoxification. To start with you must drink enough water in order for your body to function properly.

In addition to quantity, by drinking your water cold (exclusively before meals, not after) you can accelerate your metabolism even further. This is accomplished through a process called thermogenic homeostasis.

What this means is your body likes to be a certain temperature, 98.6 degrees to be exact. When something forces your body to cool down below this temperature your body will react by producing heat.

This production of heat requires calories and so will increase your metabolism.

General Recommendations: Drink 32oz (1L) of fresh cold water first thing in the morning and 16oz (0.5L) of fresh cold water before each meal. Do not consume cold water after your meals as this can negatively affect digestion.

Tool #3 – Start Walking Daily

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Walking is perhaps the best add-on fat burning exercise EVER!

In addition to your HIIT and other Metabolic training walking will help flush blood through your muscles and help your body deal with the waste products of high intensity exercise.

By walking every day you can reduce stress, clear your head, get fresh air and absorb some much needed sunshine.

General Recommendations: Start by walking a minimum of 15 minutes every day. From there work up to 20+ minutes of brisk walking daily, preferably in an outdoor setting where you can get fresh air and sunshine.

Think about how you could walk at lunchtime…. Fresh air, an opportunity for a mind clearing break and your daily vitamin D!

Fasting- A Cautionary Tale

THE STARVING THYROID?
If you have been diagnosed or suggested that you may have under active thyroid – READ THIS STORY.

Jason was a very successful personal trainer and like many others in the field, he was a self-experimenting. He had typical symptoms of Thyroid fatigue. He was practicing intermittent fasting and was also going through some very stressful times in his life.
Could these factors have been the cause of his symptoms and lab results? A little bit of fasting here and there shouldn’t cause this, but if you take it to the extreme, it’s definitely possible.

Our bodies sense starvation in times of extreme caloric deficit. When this perceived starvation happens, one way that the body protects itself and preserves energy is by lowering energy expenditure via the thyroid.
Normally, a healthy thyroid converts T4 hormone to T3 (which, again, is the active form of thyroid hormone). A sick thyroid often converts T4 to reverse T3 instead.
This might be happening to Jason.

To prove this was happening he stopped fasting and ate more, had lab tests while he was on the T3 (Cytomel) thyroid replacement. On the T3 replacement, his symptoms were variable, but overall better than they had been before replacement.
The tests and assessments
ordered the same thyroid panel as before.

RESULTS
Now, only T4 was abnormal. As expected, since normally a thyroid gland secretes mostly T4 (inactive compared to T3) with only some T3. The T4 is then converted to the active T3 in other parts of the body. Since Jason was taking exogenous T3 (Cytomel), his body wasn’t making the T4 anymore, which is why it shows as low.

Time to test the thyroid fatigue hypothesis.
The prescription
PART 1: WEAN OFF THE CYTOMEL
This would be the tough part. Cytomel (T3 – liothyronine) was the only thing during Jason’s illness that made him feel better.

PART 2: FIX THE DIET
I thought Jason’s problems were caused by low calories (and maybe even carbohydrates too). He needed to stop the long fasts and consistently eat at least his calculated caloric needs for the day.
We couldn’t fix the underlying problem without this step.

THE OUTCOME
After 2 months, more labs tests.
While Jason was somewhat discouraged with these lab findings, He was going in the right direction. He continued to eat well and maybe even take it easy in the gym for the next month.
He took NO T3, no matter what. The next set of labs had to be accurate.
After 2 more months he had more lab tests.
Jason was off T3, and his symptoms were mostly resolved.

SUMMARY
Jason was complaining of fatigue. He’d been to multiple doctors who diagnosed him with various conditions. He was inappropriately started on thyroid replacement without fixing the underlying cause.
By addressing the real problems — metabolic down-regulation because of stress and inadequate food intake — Jason was able to come off medication and on to a new, healthier path.

What can we learn from Jason’s story?
If you are constantly fatigued, see your doctor.

Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) may be a symptom of something else, and it doesn’t always have to be treated with thyroid replacement.

Find the actual problem.
In Jason’s case it wasn’t his thyroid, it was his low calorie intake.

Look at your allostatic load — the sum total of all the mental, physical, and emotional stressors in your life. You may be more stressed out than you realize — and if so, your body will give you clues.

Listen to your body..