I’m Fat, Not Incompetent!

Being a plus sized woman is difficult in today’s modern world.  Society’s expectations are at a record high, and we have the need to meet those expectations of people we have never actually met, much less like.   I have never been much the PTA mom type.  It’s just not my thing.  It makes me want to vomit….the eyes, the judgy group whispering and staring, the rich women who need to flaunt their financial status to feel complete in the world, the gluten police group, the shooting school spirit out of my ass through a rainbow group.  I never really felt like I could be accepted or be one of them.  But why did I find myself caring what they thought?  I tug at my shirt to pull it down, I adjust my fat sucking yoga pants to keep everything tucked just where I want it.  God, I would rather crawl out of my skin and die then be here.

Now take away the PTA part and let’s look at the office environment.  Pretty much the same exact cliques and the same judgmental bull crap that comes with it.  What are you looking at Susan, it’s called a fat roll, I have them, I hide my awesome inside of them.  This was never really a conversation I had but it sure seems like it.  When I started gaining weight, I noticed just how different people treated me.  Whether this was society’s inability to accept sub par appearance or a drop in confidence, suddenly I was viewed very differently.  It was harder to position myself in marketing or sales role because I wasn’t the image the company wanted to present to the world.  When we would go to lunch as a group, it was the awkward feeling when you slide into a booth and feel the table pressing into your ribs but don’t want to call attention so you sit there, in misery, and find comfort in whatever plate of awesomeness is coming up.  It sucks and at the time, I had no idea how to reverse what was happening to my body.  Let’s rewind just a bit.

Back in 2014, I found myself desperately trying to save a marriage that I had recklessly damaged, my back refused to cooperate and made days of even walking seem impossible.  Weight was coming on faster than anything I had seen.  No one would have believed just months prior, I was teaching 2-3 hours of high intensity aerobics nightly. 10 pounds this month, another 8 pounds, 5 more pounds, 120 pounds later, I was so disgusted.  What in the hell did I let happen.  I hated myself.  Looking in the mirror was awful.  That woman wasn’t me.  She was a worn, beat down, weak, gross reflection of the person I once saw as confident, poised and radiating.  Who was this woman in the mirror?  Come to find out, she was a woman with PCOS and Central Hypothyroidism and after the trauma and stress she put herself through in the previous year, her adrenal system went crazy and stress shut down the most important hormones she could ever need.  She was about to go on a journey to figure out her health that would leave her completely defeated, confused, angry and filled with bitterness.

Fast forward…In the journey of discovering what the hell was wrong, I learned so much about my own health, I knew others needed to know this too.  I dug in so deep, I wanted to learn as much as possible and share with everyone.  I became certified in 4 separate nutrition courses, read over 50 books on health, nutrition, silent disease.  I got back into teaching zumba, which I loved but my back still didn’t love me.  I was determined to find the answers I needed and in the journey, help a few others on the way.  I became a weight loss coach in 2017 and decided that was my calling.  I knew about nutrition, I knew what was causing the obesity epidemic, I also knew what it was like to desperately want to lose weight and feeling like a complete failure.

Present day, I have completed 4 graduate level nutrition certifications, I have studied chronic illness, thyroid issues, PCOS, diabetes, growth hormone deficiency, MTHFR mutations, I can have some pretty incredible conversations about all of this.  I love talking about it.  For the last two years, I have busted my ass proving myself and showing I know what I speak of, I have watched numerous men and women drop 50 pounds or more with my help and I can get you exactly where you want to be if you jump in full force.  Most recently we learned that I have a genetic mutation which causes Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency.  What does that mean?  It means my body cannot use fat for energy.  When the MCADD enzyme is missing or not working well, the body cannot use certain types of fat for energy, and must rely solely on glucose. Although glucose is a good source of energy, there is a limited amount available. Once the glucose has been used up, the body tries to use fat without success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here I had been cutting out carbs and eating healthy fats to speed up my metabolism.  I ate that way for about a year and 3 months before finding out the MCADD diagnosis.  All that extra fat I was eating could not be used and had no place to go but stay in my system.  I had NO idea what was going on but I knew there was something the doctors had missed.  Do you know how defeating it is to bust your ass working out daily, eating right, journaling like a mad woman, obsessing over food, only to gain weight and not see any results?  It’s fucking maddening!

I hated myself.

Fat waste of a human.

You know nothing, you are a fat, miserable failure.

These were the lovely thoughts that flooded in every morning when I opened my eyes.  Sometimes I would be out in public and walk by a not so friendly mirror and break down at what I saw in the reflection.  I truly thought when my husband was still working at his previous job that his avoidance of home, his drinking, all of it was to escape this fat, ugly, worthless woman sitting at home.  Why in the hell would anyone want to rush home to me?  People always talk about those who fight depression and not understanding how selfish they can be when they take their own life.  If you have never had those negative thoughts screaming at you, twenty four seven, blasting your ear drums, self deprecating thoughts that would cripple you and sometimes I laid in bed thinking how much better it would be without me in the picture, if you’ve never experienced that, you have no idea just how suffocating those thoughts can be. Spoiler alert** I didn’t give into the thoughts or the devil that was controlling me.  I consider myself beyond blessed to have friends and family that I could confide in about my feelings.  I was safe on that spectrum.  But I was still hurting, I was still the incompetent fat girl trying to help others.  Cue the laughter.

I would go head to head with any competitor and challenge their knowledge on obesity related diseases, nutrition, the chemicals in our foods, I would kick their ass all the way down main street.  But no one would even look at me.  Unless it was in disgust.  Who the hell is this woman giving advice about losing weight and being healthy, she’s a fat cow.  I actually had a competitor tell a client of mine that I shouldn’t be offering my services being this heavy.  Of course, this was my head again…my mind…she is a real bitch sometimes.  But the truth was there, people had watched me live this healthy life the last year and no results.  Suddenly my clientele went from thriving to NOTHING.  I could not give away my services.  This has shaken me to my core and it is not fair.  Now that we know what is actually the problem, of course, we have a better chance of fixing it but that doesn’t change the fact that people have dismissed me.

How could I know anything about food except for eating it.  Who was I to give advice on exercise….So many people would talk to me for a few days, we had multiple conversations, and they ultimately said they just couldn’t afford my program.  I understood, I was there too.  But the next day, I see they joined a different program, one that is way more expensive, one that doesn’t offer all I am able to offer, and one that doesn’t have someone who has spent the last few years committed to nutrition education.  I realized this was not about skill.  I could not be seen as competent and obese.  The two would not relate.  This crippled me for months.

I haven’t signed a new client in 9 months now.  I had no confidence.  I let the words and negative thoughts consume me and I gave up.  It hasn’t been until recently that I realized, you know what….I am fat.  I have fat, I am a fat woman.  But I am not incompetent.  I am overweight but I get results to every single person who works with me.  Not once did anyone ask me how I was doing.  If I was struggling, If I needed help.  I was on my own and I vow to never leave another person alone to figure out their bullshit scramble of health issues that only moves the scale up.

The more women I talk to that share their experiences, the more I realize, we are a society of judgmental assholes.  Instead of looking for a way to help, we snicker, we take a photo, we make crude jokes on the web.  Instead of asking if maybe they are fighting the same fight, we put them down.  We find a reason to put them beneath us.  Guess what, we may be overweight.  We may not fit in all the chairs, we may not be comfortable in the booth at the restaurant, but we are not morons.  We are not incapable.  We are not broken.  So please do me a favor and the next time you see someone who is overweight but busting their ass trying to help people, realize they are likely going through something.  If they are helping others, they are determined to end this epidemic.  You can call me fat all day long, but you do not get to call me incompetent because of my size.  For all the plus sized women and men reading this, you are NOT alone in your fight.  It took me 4 years to get the right diagnosis, do NOT give up.  I believe in you enough for both of us.  Let’s change the narrative.  My journey still has about 100 pounds that need to worked off and I have no intentions of stopping or giving up.  One day at a time, One pound at a time, One meal at a time.

 

xoxoxo-

Courtney

WHAT IS INSULIN RESISTANCE AND HOW IT CAN AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT

I’ve had my own issues with hormones. I was eating right, exercising regularly, but no matter what, I couldn’t lose weight. I was even gaining weight and looking puffier.

I was doing everything right, but something just wasn’t clicking with my body. The weight just stayed put.

So, I started doing research on my own. A lot of it.

I focused on learning more about leptin (the “starvation hormone”) and insulin and what happens when your body becomes resistant to them.

I needed to discover what could cause my body to stop losing weight when I was working my butt off to lose it. What I discovered completely changed my approach to weight loss. And I now realize just how important hormones are in maintaining and healthy body and a healthy weight.

Here’s what I learned about insulin resistance and weight gain, how it can affect your body, and what you can do to reverse it.

WHAT IS INSULIN RESISTANCE, ANYWAY?

Before we dive into what insulin resistance is, you first need to understand what insulin does.

Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating your body’s blood sugar levels. Insulin moves sugar into your fat cells to protect your body from high blood sugar levels.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in your pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin every time you eat. But, insulin secretion is the highest when you eat food that is full of sugar.

If you’re constantly eating a high amount of sugar, insulin levels will remain high, and your body will eventually become resistant to insulin.

Your body stops responding to insulin and your body cannot burn fat for fuel. Instead, it causes you to store more and more fat, causing you to gain weight.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INSULIN RESISTANCE

Everyone’s body is different and the way excess insulin impacts you may be different to how it affects your friends.

However, there are some common signs and symptoms that suggest you might have an insulin resistance problem.

YOU CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY

The most obvious and common sign that you have insulin resistance is the inability to lose weight. No matter what you try, you can’t seem to shake those extra pounds. And the weight will mostly be concentrated around your belly.

If a healthy diet and regular exercise routine is not doing the trick, it’s best to see your doctor or naturopath. They’ll be able to test your insulin levels to see if this is the problem. They’ll also be able to see if you’re leptin resistance – the two often go hand in hand.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

When you’re healthy and everything is working right, your blood pressure should be around 120/80. This means your heart is delivering the right amount of pressure to your blood vessels.

If your blood pressure is higher than 120, it means those blood vessels are under a lot of pressure. They’re not built for this and high blood pressure can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and even stroke.

Insulin resistance creates a sodium imbalance in your bloodstream. This leads to an increase in the volume of blood rushing through your veins. The larger the blood volume is, the more pressure gets put on your blood vessels.

Have your blood pressure checked and if it’s higher than normal, ask your doctor to check your insulin levels.

OTHER SYMPTOMS

Other symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Dizziness when fasting or when you go too long without food
  • Feeling irritable when you are hungry

HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES AND CHOLESTEROL

Triglycerides are the fats that get stored in your body, to use for energy—eventually.  When they’re high, it means that your bloodstream is storing too much fat instead of burning it for fuel.

In most people, this results in both weight gain and higher cholesterol. When your insulin levels aren’t breaking down blood sugar and fats in the bloodstream, they start to build up.

This results in high cholesterol levels and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. Why? Because high cholesterol and high triglycerides increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INSULIN RESISTANCE AND WEIGHT

Which comes first, weight gain or insulin resistance?

If you lead an unhealthy lifestyle (eat too much sugary food, don’t exercise, don’t manage your stress properly), your fat levels will increase. Then the fat that your body stores, especially around your abdomen, can trigger insulin resistance.

How so? Well, abdominal fat releases a considerable amount of chemicals called adipokines. And, apparently, those chemicals counter the effect that insulin is supposed to have on your body.

So, your weight gain can cause insulin resistance which then results in insulin resistance causing more weight gain.  One of the best programs I found has been our Ultimate Portion Fix.  This program works to regulate portion sizes, keep blood sugar steady throughout the day and boost your metabolism.  If you are tired of fighting an uphill battle alone, reach out.  I would love to help you!

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New Mom’s Guide to Losing Baby Weight

No fitness and weight-loss plan to help you lose baby weight is complete without nutritional adjustments. Getting back to your pre-baby weight may be your first goal; however, the most important thing to consider at this time is fueling your body for this next stage of motherhood.

We’ve compiled the most updated expert recommendations to commonly asked questions asked by new mommas who are eager to lose baby weight.

How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

Fun fact: Your body uses more energy to produce a sufficient milk supply for your little one than it did throughout the pregnancy. In fact, your body requires more calories — approximately 500 calories for the first six months depending on body fat and extent of breastfeeding — than your pre-pregnancy needs. That’s about 200 calories more than your doctor likely advised you to consume during the second and third trimesters.

La Leche League International advises breastfeeding moms to wait at least two months before making a specific effort to lose weight in order to allow your body to recover and ensure a steady milk supply. But you may be able to start a program for losing baby weight sooner if you aren’t breastfeeding or if your doctor gives you the OK.

For those impatient mommas, know that breastfeeding women naturally lose one to four pounds per month without even lifting a finger. OK, to be fair, you’re doing quite a lot to nourish and care for your baby; it’s incredibly demanding work to nurture a newborn! Add that on top of the burn from your new workout routine, and you can safely lose weight while you continue to bond with and nurse your baby.

Just like any other stage of your life, your diet should be healthy, balanced, and varied. An adequate intake for nursing mothers who are trying to lose weight is ideally at least 1,800 calories or more to continue producing a healthy milk supply. Mothers who are unable or choose not to breastfeed don’t need these extra calories.

To find out how many calories you should eat to nurse, stay healthy, and start losing weight, Portion Fix can be adapted easily to meet these needs for new moms following a variety of Beachbody On Demand programs.

To determine which calorie bucket you fall into using Portion Fix, follow this formula:

  • Current weight x 11 = Caloric baseline
  • Caloric baseline + 400 + 500 = Maintenance calories during lactation
  • Maintenance calories during lactation – 750 = Calorie target

*If your maintenance calories or calorie target is less than 1,800 calories, round up to 1,800 to ensure adequate nutrient intake to meet your daily needs — especially if you’re within the first six months of breastfeeding (to ensure a healthy milk supply).

how to lose baby weight, baby weight, lose weight, weight loss

What Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

There are no “magic” weight-loss foods for nursing mothers, so using the food lists in the Portion Fix guide is a great resource when choosing healthful options.

To maintain a balanced diet while increasing your total daily intake if you’re breastfeeding, it’s best to introduce additional foods from all macronutrients instead of loading up on foods from just one category (no matter how hard that pancake or ice cream craving strikes!).

You can approach this in one of two ways: If you’re using the Portion Fix Container System, we recommend jumping up two buckets. So if you were in Plan C, go to Plan E.

Another option is to add a container from each group:

  • Start with one more protein (red)
  • Add another healthy fat (blue)
  • Add a carb (yellow)
  • Add a fruit (purple)
  • Add one more oil or nut butter (tsp.)
  • Eat two more veggie (green) portions.

This will help you meet these four criteria: healthy, balanced, variety, and — if necessary — adequate intake (the 500 additional calories needed during lactation).

An important point to remember when losing weight while breastfeeding: Slow and steady wins the race. Gradual weight loss can help ensure you’re receiving enough energy to produce breastmilk as well as keep that milk supply safe.

By keeping your milk “safe,” we mean avoiding drastic, rapid weight loss because this may interfere with the quality of your breast milk. Chemicals and pollution in the environment combined with ones we encounter day to day, such as toxins in cosmetics, certain plastics, and pesticides in our food, are fat-soluble and stored in adipose tissue (fat cells). As you lose weight, fat is broken down and these toxins are released.

Your body is extremely efficient and can clear many of these toxins before they reach your little one through breast milk; however, if your weight drops too fast, it could be a larger burden on your system and higher toxin levels may end up in your milk.

Incremental amounts of toxins from normal exposure haven’t been shown to affect babies’ brains or development so there’s no reason to stop or avoid breastfeeding. But it’s best to be mindful of these sources and choose safer alternatives such as natural cleaning supplies, re-usable BPA-free water bottles, and organic produce. Overall, the antibodies, nutrients, and other benefits of breastmilk far outweigh any potential risks.

how to lose baby weight, baby weight, lose weight, weight loss

Nutrition Tips for Moms Who Want to Lose Baby Weight

Stay hydrated

Mothers often feel extreme thirst while nursing. First and foremost, keep a glass or bottle of water by your side throughout the day, and drink enough to satisfy your thirst. According to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes, adequate intake (AI) for water during lactation is 3.8 liters (about 16 cups) a day of total water, which is made up of the water in food plus 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) as total beverages, including drinking water.

If you’re working out, you may need additional water, depending on your sweat rate and the intensity and duration of your workout. Clear, light-colored urine can help indicate proper hydration.

Is it safe to have caffeine and/or alcohol while nursing?

Need a little coffee or tea in your life? According to La Leche League International, a little bit of caffeine shouldn’t pose a problem for most mothers and babies. The kicker is to keep it to a reasonable amount, less than 24 ounces (approximately 285 milligrams caffeine) of coffee, and possibly hold off until three to four months postpartum, as this is when the baby develops the ability to metabolize caffeine. If you notice your baby is fussy, wide-eyed and too alert, forgo the tea, coffee, chocolate, and other sources of caffeine.

If three to four months sans caffeine seems horrific, especially in your sleep-deprived state, just think back to the nine (plus) months you went without alcohol. Which begs the question, “Is it safe to ‘pump and dump’ or even have a glass while breastfeeding?”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s advised to avoid habitual use of alcohol during the nursing stage; however, moderate use with ample time before the next feeding or pumping (at least two hours per drink) will allow the body to process and rid itself of the alcohol.

But alcohol clearance time varies for each individual, so be mindful of your unique response. In addition, alcohol can modify the taste of breastmilk, which your baby might reject. This could ultimately reduce his or her nutrient intake.

Are supplements safe?

In all likelihood, the intensity of your post-pregnancy workout routine won’t constitute a need for any specific sports-performance supplements. Nursing mothers should always consult their medical professional before beginning any fitness program or taking any supplement or meal replacement product, including those created by Beachbody, such as the Performance line and Shakeology).

Eating more food will most likely supply the additional macro and micronutrients necessary for milk production, as long as the meals are balanced and contain a wide variety of foods to supply a range of vitamins and minerals.

In general, women who are nursing compared to non-pregnant/non-nursing women need additional vitamin A, folate, iodine, and zinc. Other vitamins and minerals of concern include vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and certain B vitamins. Your doctor may suggest a post-natal multivitamin or specific supplements according to your personal health needs.

The Bottom Line

Remember that while some days you may feel desperate to get your old body back, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Try to make slow, incremental changes as your body and mind adjust to this major life change.

Eating healthy and exercising will not only make you feel better in the long term, but it’ll also make you a better mom because you’re taking care of yourself. What’s more, as your baby grows, he or she will see and mimic your active and nutritious lifestyle — and that’s a gift that will just keep on giving.

 

Originally published on the Beachbody Blog on  

Eating Healthy On A Budget

If you compare the price of organic meat to non-organic, or a bag of almonds to a candy bar, you would think that healthy eating is only for the rich and famous. But when you look at the big picture, eating healthy is much more affordable than you might think.

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Bill Down While Eating Healthy

The first, and possibly most important, step to eating healthy on a budget is to plan your meals and snacks. The second is to write a grocery list and then stick to it. And the third is to prepare your own meals as much as possible.

Those three basic principles will take you far, but we’ve got a bunch more tips to keep your food and your finances healthy.

D.I.Y. Making Homemade Waffles

1. D.I.Y.

To get the most bang for your buck, tap into your inner Martha Stewart. To begin with, cook your own dinners and pack your lunch instead of eating out. Next, think outside the box — figuratively and literally.

I’m not suggesting you churn your own butter or make your own pasta, but a lot of packaged foods can usually be made more cheaply and healthfully at home — like popcorn. Instead of buying the portioned-out bags of microwavable popcorn, just buy a container of loose kernels, dump a couple tablespoons in a brown lunch sack, fold it over, and pop it in the microwave for two minutes. It’s still convenient, and quite a bit cheaper! You also have full control over what you add to it. Olive oil and sea salt is definitely a healthier option than a chemical-laden artificial butter.

Other examples:

  • Instead of buying frozen waffles, make your own.
  • Skip the packaged cookies, and bake your own instead, using healthier ingredients.
  • Make your own salad dressings and dips.

Buy Whole Foods Mom Buying Greens

2. Buy Whole Foods

A tip you may have heard before is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s because most of the processed/prepackaged foods are stocked in the middle aisles, while the healthier foods are kept in the outer aisles.

The whole foods you’re looking for include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy

Buy Foods Whole Woman Cutting Apples

3. Buy Foods Whole (Not Pre-cut)

Buying whole fruits and veggies is much cheaper than buying them pre-cut. This also applies to meats and cheese. Buy of a block of cheese, and shred it or slice it yourself. Buy a whole chicken, and prep and freeze it instead of buying individual chicken breasts. Buy grains in bulk (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.).

Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options Variety of Beans Foods

4. Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options

Meat is not the only source of protein. There are a lot of healthy protein options that are much less expensive than meat, like:

  • Beans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Edamame
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu

Stock Up on Canned Frozen Foods Frozen Peas

5. Stock Up on Frozen Foods

Frozen fruits and veggies are still just as healthy — as long as no sugars or other unhealthy ingredients have been added. You can stock up on it when it’s on sale and, unlike fresh produce, you won’t find yourself throwing half of it away when it turns moldy in your refrigerator. Money-saver all around.

Choose In-Season Produce Variety of Vegetables

6. Choose In-Season Produce

It’s economics 101 — supply and demand. The fruits and vegetables that are in-season are easier to get, so they’re less expensive. Don’t know what grows when? Check out this seasonal ingredient map. You can also consider growing some of your own fruits, veggies and herbs by starting a container garden.

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

7. Make the Most of Your Leftovers

Don’t throw away leftover food at the end of a meal! Pack it for lunch the next day. Freeze it, and have dinner for another night. You might even want to invest in a vacuum sealer like FoodSaver® to keep your leftovers fresher, longer.

Look for Discounts Cutting Coupons

8. Look for Discounts

Discounts are everywhere; you just have to look:

  • Participate in your store’s customer loyalty savings program and use coupons.
  • Check out your local farmer’s market, where prices can be as much as 50 percent less than stores.
  • Look into rebate apps, like SavingStar®.
  • Check out online retailers, like Thrive Market. They can offer up to 25 to 50 percent savings.

Make the Swap Yogurt Cup

9. Make the Swap

Sometimes it’s just an even swap. Instead of buying white rice, buy brown rice. Instead of buying regular milk, buy a non-dairy option. Instead of buying regular yogurt, buy Greek yogurt. A lot of times, the prices are about the same for the healthier alternatives.

Eat Out for Less Father Daughter at Restaurant

10. Eat Out for Less

It’s easy to save money at restaurants when you eat healthy. Stick with water instead of pricier, and often calorie-loaded, alternatives. Skip the appetizers and desserts. You can even order just an appetizer instead of a pricier entree. Or order a big meal, and share it with someone else.

10 foods that will spice up your sex life. Natural libido boosters recommended by nutritionists.

Originally shared via Parisa Hashempour @ bodyandsoul.com.au JANUARY 21, 20197:38AM

It’s the middle of a sweltering summer, which means you may not feel like getting hot and sweaty under the duvet with your significant other. Plus, thanks to factors like hormonal changes, low energy, stress, alcohol, drugs and even low self-esteem, at certain times in our lives, our libido can feel as though it’s lagging a little. In fact, research from The American Sexual Health Association has shown that 30-50 percent of people will deal with having a low sex drive at some point in their life.

If you’re feeling this way, team Healthista has got your back. We spoke to three experts about the best natural libido boosters and ways to rev up your sex drive. So in the words of Marvin Gaye, ‘let’s get in ooonnnn.’

Oysters.

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Unsplash.Source:BodyAndSoul

Zinc for a bit of chemistry

Oysters – that age old libido-boosting remedy that has staff at seafood restaurants rolling their eyes daily. Well, there might just be something to it. All thanks to one little mineral – zinc. Nutritionist Rob Hobson explained that ‘oysters are the historical sign of aphrodisiac because they look like female genitalia – this view was especially common in the Edwardian days when they were incredibly cheap to buy. These days, we know it actually has more to do with the high zinc content in the shellfish. If you have low levels of zinc this could lead to a low sex drive as it helps with testosterone production. It’s especially helpful for men as they also use the mineral to make sperm cells – so it’s also something to consider if you’re trying to get pregnant.’

Nutritionist May Simpkin agrees that zinc is a good call if you’re looking to up your libido. ‘Zinc is such an important mineral because it’s involved in so many chemical reactions in the body. If you want to really maintain your health and performance you’ve got to have a lot of zinc. That’s why when you don’t eat meat (which is a really great source of zinc) you’ve got to find it elsewhere and it’s not always easy… Oysters have really high levels of zinc but there’s also beef and lamb and sometimes fortified cereals will even have it as well. But if you’re not a meat eater I would say try and eat nuts, chickpeas and mushrooms.’

NHS guidelines suggest women have 7mg of zinc a day. If you feel as though you might not be getting enough zinc from your food, it might be an idea to try a supplement.

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Vitamin E to increase sex hormones

Another micronutrient that can help with testosterone production is vitamin E, found in plant oils, nuts, seeds and wheatgerm. ‘If you’re lacking interest in sex or lacking desire, I recommend Vitamin E. Vitamin E is important for sexual desire because it increases testosterone levels, which therefore increases stamina and also raises desire. For men, it also raises sperm count and motility which is important as well. Increased testosterone levels also help with blood flow, oxygenation of the body and this makes it one of the key vitamins to enhance sexual performance,’ said Hay.

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Good cholesterol to help your hormones

Good cholesterol is found in flaxseed, soy foods and fatty fish and Simpkin explained that it is essential in keeping our hormones balanced. ‘Cholesterol is actually the building block of our sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. So the whole concept of eating zero cholesterol and reducing it to very low levels could damage this. Eating foods that are high in good cholesterol helps in the production of female hormones and that does include testosterone, even though as women we have less testosterone – but that is what gives you that oomph.’ So Simpkin recommends getting your hands on foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and even eggs.

‘That’s why there is so much hoo-ha about statins [medication taken to help prevent heart attack]. They reduce your cholesterol level but they can sometimes reduce them too low and then you just don’t have enough to make all your sex hormones so then your hormone levels are all haywire.’

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Fish oil to fix your mood

Nutritionist Rick Hay clues Healthista in on another great way to improve energy levels. ‘Research has shown that Omega 3’s and their benefits on mood and their ability to decrease anxiety and depression which in turn means that if these two are decreased your desire will be increased. Bio-Fish Oil can help to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine will improve mood but also help to trigger arousal. Omega 3 can also help with the moisturization of the skin and also help to moisturize mucus membranes which help to reduce dryness and create lubrication during menopause and hormonal changes.’

Dried Ginseng slices, capsules and roots. 7: iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

Ginseng for an energy boost

And if you’re looking for a natural remedy boost – Hobson has the herbal remedy for you. ‘Ginseng is known to have a restorative effect and improve physical and mental energy as well as stamina. In China, it’s always been revered as a libido booster and I think that’s down to its energy boosting quality. Ginseng might be great for somebody that’s got a low sex drive that is linked to stress or fatigue to boost their overall wellness and energy levels. You can either have this herb as a tea or a capsule.’

St John’s Wort. Image. 8.Source:BodyAndSoul

St John’s Wort for a pick-me-up

St John’s Wort is another natural remedy that’s been described as being helpful for a flagging sex drive. While Hobson explained that a lot of natural remedies for libido are anecdotal rather than based on stacks of scientific evidence he does say that ingredients like this have stood the test of time. ‘Remedies like this have approved health claims, just down to the fact that they’ve been doing this job for a very long time. St John’s Wort has always been something that has been regarded as helpful as a natural alternative for depression. The idea is that if you treat your depression, you’re more likely to get your sex drive back.’

Chamomile. 9 iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

Chamomile for a good night’s kip

Simpkin stressed that getting enough rest is essential for revving up your sex drive. ‘If you’re constantly fatigued and you’re constantly lacking in sleep you’re going to be exhausted and that’s going to have an effect on your energy levels which is not going to help your libido.’ Hay suggests products which include ingredients that help aid sleep such as chamomile. ‘Chamomile seems to have the ability to connect to GABA receptors in the brain which promote the production of melatonin – a hormone that helps you sleep better.’

10 Gingko.Source:BodyAndSoul

Gingko for better blood flow

Hay explained exactly how herbal remedy Ginko helps to improve your blood flow and why this makes it useful to improve libido. ‘It’s a botanical and as a herbalist, I’ve used it for many years successfully with my clients. Ginkgo aids blood circulation and it’s crucial to have good blood circulation to the sexual organs to help with good sexual function. BioCare Ginkgo Biloba is one supplement that I recommend. Ginkgo also reduces platelet aggregations which means that it helps to clear blood vessels and promotes vasodilation [which helps with blood flow to sexual organs]. Ginkgo contains terpenoids and ginkaloids, these are the chemical factors that help Ginkgo to produce its sexual enhancement results – it’s one of my favorite botanicals.’

11iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Peanut butter for a protein punch

Energy levels have a huge impact on mood particularly with getting you in THE mood. Simpkin revealed that the most important thing you can do for your energy levels is to learn to control your blood sugars. ‘Control them so that your energy levels are not dipping. Make sure you’re combining your protein with carbohydrates and avoiding processed sugars like cakes, sweets and biscuits. They’ll give you a boost but you’ll come crashing right down as your blood sugars are removed and that’s not going to help with your energy levels.’

To avoid these energy dips, Simpkin suggests opting for foods that are high in protein. ‘You want to eat something that will release sugar more slowly, a good snack would be nut butter with oat cakes.’

 

How to Help Your Diet Become a Way of Life

Many weight-loss attempts start out with grand intentions — “I’m going to lose weight and eat better (this time will be different, I swear!)” — only to revert back to old eating habits within a week or two. So how can you give your desire to eat healthy and lose weight some sticking power? Try these five tips to help turn your weight-loss plan into a strategy for healthy eating for the long haul.
1. Don’t give up your favorite foods.

You shouldn’t have to say goodbye to your favorite foods. In fact, having a small treat may help you stick with your diet. The key to fitting your favorite foods into your eating plan is to find clever ways to incorporate them. One way to do this is to make lower-calorie versions of foods like French fries and brownies. Another trick is to be mindful of your serving sizes when it comes to more indulgent foods. Love pasta? Try adding vegetables to bulk up your serving instead of doubling up on pasta. Of course, your diet should be full of mostly healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains—but make room for some of your favorite, more- indulgent foods too.

2. Eat foods that keep you satisfied.

If you feel hungry all the time, it’s going to be hard to stick with a healthy-eating plan. Research shows that when you’re hungrier, you’re more likely to eat too fast at your next meal. Eating too quickly can lead to consuming extra calories because your body doesn’t have time to register feeling full. While portion control is super-important for losing weight (and keeping it off), you shouldn’t hear your tummy grumbling all day long. Two nutrients that can help keep you full are protein and fiber. Good protein sources include plain Greek yogurt, chicken breast, tuna, tofu and almonds. And to get more fiber, munch on whole fruits and vegetables. Not only is produce high in fiber, but it’s also generally low in calories. That makes it filling and diet-friendly—just what you’re looking for when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

3. Start with small changes.

There’s no need for dramatic shake-ups, like eliminating whole food groups. Instead, start with tiny diet tweaks that over time can become permanent changes. Think of doable things, like packing a wholesome afternoon snack, such as carrots and hummus or an apple, instead of hitting the vending machine. Small changes add up and can help you make healthier eating a way of life, rather than relying on short-term crash dieting.

4. Don’t try to be perfect.

We often have grand ideas about implementing a new diet—like the promises you make about eliminating sugar, never taking from the breadbasket or always having vegetables at dinner. Instead of trying to be perfect, be realistic.  Make your eating plan one that you can actually stick to. You don’t have to eat perfectly to lose weight; you just have to eat well. Set a goal for the week, like adding a serving of vegetables to dinner, or packing a healthy lunch one or two days—and go easy on yourself if you slip up. Eating indulgences are bound to happen. And when they do…

5. Get right back on track.

If you have a diet slip-up and go overboard on chocolate or pizza, don’t beat yourself up! Just get back on track again as quickly as possible. Remember that one meal doesn’t undo all of your healthy efforts—but when you give up your diet entirely because of one slip-up, that’s when the weight can start to creep back on. If you have a minor setback, understand that it’s one small blip on the radar. Get right back to your healthy eating habits and right back on track for long-term success.

4 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Vegetables

Pop quiz: How many vegetables do you eat in a day? If you’re well below the two to three cups that doctors recommend, well, you’re in a very crowded club. A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nine out of 10 American adults are missing the mark, when it comes to eating their veggies.

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That’s an especially hard stat to swallow when you consider that “vegetables are the most nutrition-packed food group,” said Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, a registered dietician in Chicago and nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs. “They have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical plant compounds that can protect us against all kinds of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

Does eating salad feels like a chore? Chomping on carrot sticks feel like a snore? Instead, try adding vegetables to dishes you already eat regularly, suggests Wendy Bazilian, PH, RD, a San Diego-based nutritionist and author of The Superfood Rx Diet“This approach is kind of like playing a game: finding new ways to put together a dish so you can have a delicious meal — and well-lived life.” And as you eat more vegetables in familiar dishes, you may grow to love their tastes and textures — and eat them even more, she says.

Be a Sneak! Think your fave foods can’t be veggified? Try these 4 tips:

1. You crave: fried rice. Reach for: cauliflower.

Any trip through the grocery store will confirm that, when it comes to subbing in veggies, cauliflower is king. The versatile veg is easy to mash, roast and — yes — even rice. After washing and drying the head of cauliflower, simply chop it up either by hand or pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice, says Blatner. Every serving of this cruciferous vegetable packs almost half of your daily value of Vitamin C, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein.

Recipe inspiration: Fried cauliflower rice with carrots, cashews and corn or rainbow cauliflower rice bowl recipe

2. You crave: burgers. Reach for: mushrooms.

You’ve seen mushroom burgers on plenty of menus, but did you know that you could put diced mushrooms directly into the meat patty? “Even the heartiest meat lovers rarely notice the difference,” says Bazilian, because the mushrooms add both moisture and umami. For most recipes, you can swap about one-third of the meat for diced mushrooms without having to make any major changes, Bazilian says. And that sneak will lower the burger’s saturated fat and calories, while upping its fiber.

Recipe inspiration: Beef and mushroom burgers

3. You crave: pasta. Reach for: zucchini.

Zoodles are all the rage these days — with reason, says Blatner. Spiralized zucchini has a spaghetti-like quality that’s versatile enough for most pasta dishes. Yet it’s less calorically dense than traditional pasta and won’t give you the usual blood sugar spike, says Bazilian. It also boasts a good amount of potassium, which can help control blood pressure and may lessen your risk of stroke. You can find zoodles in the freezer aisle at the grocery store or, to make the shape at home,  use a mandolin or spiral vegetable slicer to cut the squash into ribbon-like strips.

Recipe inspiration: Asian sesame zucchini noodles or zoodles and turkey meatballs

4. You crave: mac and cheese. Reach for: butternut squash.

This comfort dish usually gets its richness from a double whammy of cheese and butter. But subbing in some pureed butternut squash can add a similar silky creaminess — with far fewer calories and less saturated fat, says Blatner. Butternut squash is also high in fiber and potassium, and it lends a subtle sweetness to the dish. “It’s really phenomenal,” she says. Subbing in some pasta made from chickpea, lentils, or black beans can add some fiber and protein.

Our latest program, The Ultimate Portion Fix, has over 300 pages of recipes to incorporate your favorite foods and healthy alternatives the entire family will enjoy.  Send us a message if you are ready to change your nutrition!

MTHFR…..what did you call me?

A question I get asked almost weekly is what exactly is MTHFR or I have this mutation what does it mean?

MTHFR is an enzyme that adds a methyl group to folic acid to make it usable by the body. The MTHFR gene produces this enzyme that is necessary for properly using vitamin B9. If you have the defective gene, your body can not process multiple things correctly or detox properly and it can lead to multiple health issues. If you have a double mutated gene, you most likely received it from BOTH parents and your siblings will be highly likely of having the defect as well. I tested positive for double mutation and so did my son, which means his dad also has it and quite possibly those on his father’s side. My family definitely has it but no one has jumped in to exploring like I have. This is something you should take action against as it will wreak havoc and can be the hidden issue behind so many other disorders and diseases.


What Happens When the MTHFR Gene Is Defective?Those with a defective MTHFR gene have an impaired ability to produce the MTHFR enzyme (estimates range from 20%-70% or more). This can make it more difficult to break down and eliminate not only synthetic folic acid but other substances like heavy metals.
Since folic acid can’t be converted into the usable form, it can build up in the body, which can raise levels of homo-cysteine. High homo-cysteine levels are associated with a higher risk in cardiovascular disease. This also affects the conversion to glutathione, which the body needs to remove waste and which is a potent antioxidant.
In short, we are just learning the extent to which this can affect health, but there is strong evidence that because of the affect on methylation, it can increase cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk, risk of fetal development problems and more. It can also possibly contribute to or exacerbate other problems like autoimmune disease, mental issues and more.

What are some things I can do if I have the MTHFR gene mutation?

Here’s ten tips for you!

  1. Avoid taking folic acid blocking or depleting drugs, such as birth control pills or Methyltrexate
  2. Avoid taking proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec or Prevacid or antacids, like Tums, which may block essential Vitamin B12 absorption
  3. Have your homocysteine measured, which if elevated may indicate a problem with methylation or a deficiency of B12 or folate.  If your homocysteine is elevated, limit your intake ofmethionine-rich foods
  4. Avoid eating processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid.  Instead eat whole foods with no added chemicals or preservatives. Avoid ENRICHED foods and everything that says Folic Acid. You want to eat natural folate.
  5. Get your daily intake of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard or arugula, which are loaded with natural levels of folate that your body can more easily process.
  6. Eat hormone-free, grass-fed beef, organic pastured butter or ghee, and eggs from free-range, non-GMO fed chickens.
  7. Remove any mercury amalgams with a trained biologic dentist.  Avoid aluminum exposure in antiperspirants or cookware.  Avoiding heavy metal or other toxic exposure is important.
  8. Make sure you supplementing with essential nutrients, like methyl-B12, methyl-folate, TMG, N-acetylcysteine, riboflavin, curcumin, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and probiotics.  If you are double homozygous for MTHFR mutations, you should proceed very cautiously with methyl-B12 and methyl-folate supplementation as some people do not tolerate high doses.  Introduce nutrients one by one and watching for any adverse reactions.  Use extreme caution when supplementing with niacin, which can dampen methylation.
  9. Make time for gentle detox regimens several times per week.  These could include infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, and regular exercise or sweating.
  10. If you have a known genetic mutation, share the information with parents, children and other family members and encourage them to be tested, too!  The easiest way is to order  through 23andMe for only $99 online.

My Experience with Meditation – That led to Wine

Ohhhhmmmmmm…….

Breathe in…..hold your breath….exhale.  The wonderful art of meditation, keeping women sane for many years.  Due to my bodies reaction to stress, my doctor recently suggested I start meditation to allow my body to fully relax at the days end and at times when life may get a little stressful.  As a mom and wife….this can be tricky and leave you thinking, WTF?!  I wanted to share my experience as I tried meditating and see how many others can relate.

Yes, I work from home but I still treat my business like a business.  I have set hours and yesterday was my day off.  A truly wonderful day, spent with my husband, spent by the pool, enjoying life and loving that I get to do what I do.  After school is out, we do the regular routine…homework…snack…walk the dog, omg mom I am still hungry snack and dinner.  A round of FortNite is also in there at some point.   “Now is the time, I can do this, I can completely relax and clear my mind for 10 minutes” I tell myself as I prepare to sit on my yoga mat and mediate.  I close my eyes and start my breathing.  Long inhales, holding my breath and slowly exhaling, seems easy enough.  I begin my silent mantra “I am more powerful than my stress, I am in complete control, I will…why the hell is the dog in here trying to crawl in my lap. Dammit Tucker, go in the other room.  Try this again.  Close my eyes, start breathing.

“MOM, MOM, MOM where are you?”  MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Me – “WHAT!?”

Child – I am hungry

Me – we ate dinner, go get a piece of fruit

Child – that was dinner, it was at 5pm, that was like a late lunch

Me – no that was dinner, go ask your father to make you something and leave me alone for a few minutes

Stomps off….end scene.

Inhale…..MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!

Me – Seriously dude, what is it that can not wait 10 minutes?

Child – dad won’t make me French fries, how much oil do I use in the fryer.

Me – Absolutely not, it is too late and too dangerous to cook fries.  GO eat something healthy, it’s late.

Child – I’m going to starve in this house

Me – Can you starve quietly

How in the hell do moms meditate?  Note to self, send doctor a note and tell him he is out of his ever loving mind if he thinks this is going to work.  I still have 7 minutes, let’s see if I can get in the zone.   Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, what the hell is the dog doing now…he is eating the cat, move on.  Inhale…exhale.  This is nice, I could do this.  Did I pay the electric bill, dammit woman focus. Yes I did….inhale, exhale, inhale, my butt cheek is cramping up, how do people sit like a pretzel, this is stupid.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, french fries do sound so good, I haven’t had french fries in forever, damn, focus, inhale, exhale, inh…

Spouse – hey babe, how do you usually cook the fries, whoa are you like channeling your inner sex chakra?

Me – there is no sex chakra and it’s too late for fries

Spouse – there should be a sex chakra, would it help if I stood in front of you naked?

Me – I’m going to punch you in the nuts if you don’t leave and keep the kids out.

Spouse – so sex later then?

Me – rolls eyes, then says to myself hell yes we are.  A lady has needs after all, just can’t give away all my secrets.

Again, maybe if press my hands together in the prayer position it will help.  My tailbone is really hurting, how do people sit in the floor for this long.  This has been an eternity, I know I’ve been down here at least 20 minutes.  Looks at clock…6 minutes.  Are you kidding, ONLY 6 minutes in this chaotic hell, suffering on the floor?  Fine, start over, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inha….

Front door opens then slams shut.  Apparently no one realizes their own strength around her and slams doors for NO reason

Other child – where’s mom, I need her MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM ( I think they believe I will respond better with long drawn out calls)

Me – yes, I am in my room, can it wait?

OC – No, I need gas money.  And can we go fishing for a while tonight?

Me – I gave you $20 yesterday, how are you already out of gas?

OC – I might have used a couple bucks to get something to eat.  Now I am really on empty and need gas though.

Me – Fine, take my card and get $20 THAT’S IT!

Me – God, please let me child make money at his new job.  They are going to have to put me in a home if this doesn’t stop.  God – welcome to parenthood child HA HA HA

I have realized that my 10 minutes is up, I am not relaxed and now I am sitting in a pretzel shape and my leg has stiffened so I am unable to actually extend my leg.  Finally manage to untwist myself and stand up…BUTT cramp holy hell.  How long was I down there, it seemed like an eternity.  Crawl over to the bed and use the base to push myself back up into a standing position, look over and see the dog has claimed his spot on my yoga mat, dragging his ass and balls all over the end where I typically lay my face.  Nice job Tucker, Nice.  This dog is really an asshole.

Grab my marker, write down on my planner board – buy more Lysol spray, or new yoga mat.

Go back into the living room to resume chaos and the spouse and child are screaming at the TV as they watch basketball playoffs.  The cat is tangled up in the blinds as she tries to take on a fly.  Spoiler alert…the fly won.  I look at the boys and smile, I soak in what beautiful chaos that is my life and thank God for blessing me with such wonderful mini versions of myself and my husband.  I will try again tomorrow and see how it goes.  They say to meditate alone, quietly, in a time when you can focus…WHO THE HELL has that when you are a parent and entrepreneur?  My next mediation will have wine….that’s a great idea.

Me – Siri, make a note to buy a new lock for the bedroom door and a bottle of wine tomorrow