What Do You Think ALL Autoimmune Diseases Have In Common?

More and more people are being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. These diseases can destroy healthy cells and cause abnormal organ growth and serious dysfunctions.

There are over 80 different autoimmune disorders. Some of the more common conditions include:

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Addison’s disease

Celiac disease

Graves’ disease

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Pernicious anemia

Rheumatoid arthritis

Systemic lupus

Type 1 diabetes

Autoimmune diseases manifest with a wide variety of debilitating symptoms that can affect the blood vessels, connective tissue, endocrine glands, joints, muscles, red blood cells and skin.

For many of you that are suffering with autoimmune conditions, you already know that the body can fluctuate between remission and flare-ups. One day you’ll feel great and the next day you’ll feel as if you’ve been hit by a Mack truck!

Folks suffering with autoimmune conditions often have some similar complaints:

  • General fatigue
  • Chronic low-grade fever
  • Overall malaise (ill feeling)
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes

In modern medical medicine, there is no known cure for any autoimmune disorders. The medical protocol includes subduing the immune system to control the autoimmune response and to suppress the symptoms.

Dr. Mark Hyman warns, “Using anti-inflammatories like Advil, or steroids, or immune suppressants like methotrexate, or TNF alpha blockers like Enbrel can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, psychosis, osteoporosis, muscle loss, diabetes, not to mention overwhelming infection and cancer.”[1]

Modern medical treatments for autoimmune conditions can create even more problems than the disease itself.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.”[2]

I’m going to suggest that this attack is NOT a mistake. The body is designed perfectly. If the body is attacking itself there must be a valid reason for it. This is the ONE thing ALL autoimmune conditions have in common: the body’s immune system is attacking it’s own cells, organs and glands.

But why?

Why would the body attack healthy cells and try to destroy them as if they were foreign invaders?

The first thing to consider is that maybe those cells are not as “healthy” as we think.

Your food becomes your blood and your blood feeds and creates all of your cells. If your food is doused with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemicals, those foods (and chemicals) are going to be absorbed by your body on a cellular level. That means those chemicals are becoming your blood and eventually will become your cells. Make no mistake about it, the chemicals sprayed onto our food supply are dangerous. They are considered a threat to the health and functioning of the human body, and yes, your immune system will attack cells made from those chemicals! It is NOT making a mistake.

Another aspect to consider is intestinal permeability, or Leaky Gut. The digestive system is a key component in dealing with autoimmune conditions. If the gut is not toned and healthy, tiny food particles can leak into the body without going through the proper digestive channels first. Once again, the immune system will attack those foreign particles. It is NOT making a mistake.

A third consideration could be that the digestive system and body as a whole, is overwhelmed with viruses and bacteria. Those pathogens are inhabiting your bodily tissues and affecting your health on a cellular level as well. It’s one of the reasons why I recommend specific anti-viral herbs and “de-bugging protocol.” You can read more about that here: Got Parasites?

There’s a LOT to consider when it comes to healing autoimmune conditions.

Here’s a recap of my top 3 things you can do to support your body and heal an autoimmune condition naturally:

  1. Eat Organic, Non-GMO, Naturally Raised Foods – always remember, “You are what you eat.” If your food is doused with dangerous chemicals, your blood and cells will become toxic particles, and your body will attack. Eat clean!
  2. Heal Your Gut! – If your digestive system is weak, leaky, and highly permeable, you’re setting yourself up for an all out war from your immune system. There are many ways to start healing your gut; drink bone stock, use astringent herbs to tone and tighten the intestines, and demulcent herbs to soothe inflammation. Glutamine and probiotics are another way to keep things working correctly. Plus incorporate stress-free eating behaviors so you can actually digest the food you are eating.
  3. Get the Bugs Out – Many folks with autoimmune conditions have underlying infections caused by excessive bacterial overgrowth, worms, viruses and other pathogens that make their way into your body and set up house. As these pathogens discover all of the great places they can thrive in your body (blood, bones, cells, glands, organs), your immune system will attack them.

It’s time to stop the suffering and start living again!

[1] http://drhyman.com/blog/2015/07/24/10-strategies-to-reverse-autoimmune-disease/

[2] https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000816.htm

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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7 FOODS THAT REDUCE BLOATING

Bloating sucks. It makes you feel lethargic, unmotivated, it causes even stretchy pants to feel tight, and it can lead to an incredibly uncomfortable feeling for hours on end. Belly bloat can happen to everyone – it doesn’t matter if you’re crazy fit with abs. Your belly can still bloat. 

Luckily, bloating is one symptom everyone can do something about! For most people, it’s as simple as being mindful of what they eat.

But before we dive into the foods that reduce bloating, let’s first look at what causes your gut to rebel.

WHAT CAUSES BLOATING

Belly bloat is caused by many different things ranging from underlying health conditions and medications to the types of food you eat. However, some causes are more common than others.

For most people, belly bloat is caused by three main factors: dehydration, food intolerance, and hormone changes.

FOOD INTOLERANCE

The human body is interesting and no two people respond to food in the same way. Food that one person’s digestive tract breaks down without a problem can cause major bloating in another.

However, many people see issues with dairy, grains, and even salt intake. If you’re getting enough water, but still having major bloating issues, it could be time to look into your diet.

Don’t worry…we’ll go over some foods that reduce bloating in a bit.

DEHYDRATION 

Unfortunately, most people are in a state of constant dehydration. In our busy lives, it can be tough to make sure we drink enough water each day.

When you don’t drink enough water (half your body weight in ounces of water), your body starts holding on to the water already in your system. This causes your belly to bloat, but may also cause your joints to feel stiff, fingers to swell, and leave you feeling sluggish.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to check if you’re hydrated or not: the pee test. When you’re drinking enough water, your pee should be mostly clear. If you’re dehydrated, it’ll be dark yellow.

Next time you go to the bathroom, pay attention to what’s in the toilet bowl. If your pee is deep yellow, start drinking more water. You’ll probably see an improvement in your bloating too!

HORMONE CHANGES 

Yes, if it’s that time of the month, it’s completely normal to experience bloating. When your hormones go crazy right before your period, your body responds by creating gas.

For most women, hormone-caused bloating will end when their period does. However, if it doesn’t stop, you’ll need to evaluate what else could contribute to your belly bloat.

Yep. Some workouts can leave you feeling bloated, and you know why? It’s because of your breathing.

When you take in air quickly after getting your heart rate up, it’s not uncommon for those fast breaths to leave your stomach feeling full. This is because you’re also swallowing some of the air as you breathe in.

If you feel bloated while working out, try belching. It may sound gross, but you’ll feel better almost immediately. Don’t hold it in—it will just make you feel more uncomfortable during the workout.

FOODS THAT REDUCE BLOATING 

Believe it or not, eating the right foods can not only help reduce bloating quickly, but they can even keep you from bloating in the first place. Here are a few of the best foods to start incorporating into your diet.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR 

Apple cider vinegar, more commonly shortened to ACV can work wonders for your gut. The vinegar helps soothe gastric upset by balancing the production of stomach acid in your gut.

Best of all, it boosts the good bacteria inside your digestive tract which helps your body break down all sorts of foods. The more you can digest completely, the less likely you are to feel bloated after eating.

YOGURT

Dairy may upset in some people, but yogurt can be a different story. Yogurt has tons of beneficial probiotics that can help promote a healthy gut and digestive system. These same cultures are found in dairy-free yogurts as well, so you can still reap the benefits if you’re lactose intolerant.

If you can’t handle dairy (or even if you can), I recommend taking a good quality probiotic every day!

BANANAS 

Potassium and sodium must be in balance in your body. 

Since bananas are naturally high in potassium, eating them on a regular basis can help give your body the resources it needs to reduce water retention and get rid of excess sodium from other foods.

Incorporate bananas into a smoothie for a delicious breakfast treat or grab one as a snack to help relieve bloat in the long-run.

CUCUMBER 

Since dehydration is one of the leading causes of bloat, it’s only natural that foods high in water content would help. Cucumbers are the perfect hydrating food to add to your diet without increasing sugar or your daily calories significantly.

Slice one up and eat it in a salad or add a few slices to your glass of water for a nice crisp taste. And don’t forget to keep drinking lots of water!

AVOCADOS 

Avocados are a wonderful source of healthy fat, but they also pack a punch when it comes to reducing the symptoms of bloat. Like bananas, avocados are naturally high in potassium and can help keep your gut happy when eaten regularly.

KIMCHI OR SAUERKRAUT 

Fermented foods help improve your gut health as they’re jam-packed with prebiotics designed to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy.

Both kimchi and sauerkraut are traditionally fermented and full of many of the living cultures found in high-quality yogurt, but without the sugar. Both kimchi and sauerkraut make the perfect toppings for salads, but can also be enjoyed on their own.

The key here is making sure you purchase living kimchi or sauerkraut. If the label says that it’s been pasteurized, the beneficial living cultures will have been killed off before the food hit the shelves.

GINGER 

Sometimes, you need foods that reduce bloat quickly rather than foods that help prevent it over time. Ginger is one of the best.

This natural spice has been used for thousands of years to soothe upset stomachs and reduce bloating and inflammation in the gut. Make your own ginger tea for a fast-acting bloat-busting elixir. Even better, you’ll be better hydrated!

Where does fat go when you lose weight?

“What’s the best diet for weight loss?”

“How do I lose fat, not muscle?”

What is water weight?”

With more than two in three adults in the U.S. overweight or obese — and about 50 percent of those folks actively trying to lose weight — it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information about weight loss.

The foundation, of course, is a healthy, balanced diet with consistent, challenging workouts.

But have you ever wondered where all that fat that you’re working so hard to lose actually goes?

Where Does Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

While burning more energy than you take in is the root of weight loss, when fat is burned, the vast majority of it is exhaled as carbon dioxide into thin air. (mind=blown)

According to Australian researcher and physicist Ruben Meerman, Ph.D., and colleagues, 84 percent (or 8.4 of every 10 pounds) of fat burned is exhaled as carbon dioxide.

The remaining 16 percent leaves the body as water through urine, sweat, tears, breath, and other bodily fluids. And no, before you ask, you can’t lose weight simply by breathing more.

(Pro tip: Need some ideas on how to lose that fat? Here are 100 Ways to Lose Weight.)

Woman eating french fries

Where Does Fat Go When You Gain Weight?

Ever wonder where fat goes when you gain weight? If so, consider yourself lucky because most of us know exactly where it goes. (Hello, face and hips!)

In younger women, excess fat tends to accumulate in adipose tissue located around the hips, thighs, and buttocks (think: “pear-shaped”), as well as the breasts. Females store fat all over but tend to carry it predominantly in the hips, thighs, and buttocks when they’re younger (i.e., premenopause). During and after menopause, excess fat increasingly begins to accumulate around the abdomen.

Men tend to take on more of an “apple” shape, storing excess fat predominantly around their belly region. Unlike women, this typically doesn’t change during their lifetime — bad news for those growing beer bellies.

Of course, if you’re doing strength-training workouts like those in Body Beast and eating well, you’re probably gaining weight that isn’t fat: It’s muscle.

Contrary to popular belief, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat — a pound is a pound regardless of its composition. The confusion stems from the fact that muscle is more dense than fat, so it appears to weigh more by volume. In other words, a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.

So, if you’re getting stronger and you’re smaller in size, but you’re seeing the number on the scale go up a bit, it’s likely due to the “lean mass” (aka muscle) you’re building.

The Two Types of Body Fat

Just as all bodies are not created equal, not all body fats are equal, either. Pears, apples, and other shapes aside, the color and the location of your body fat are probably just as important as the amount you’re packing when it comes to your health.

You’ll be pleased to know not all body fat is bad. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of body fat:

White Fat

White fat makes up the majority of fat in your body. Its primary purpose is energy storage, but white fat also pads and insulates the body, helping protect vital organs and maintain body temperature. It also produces a form of estrogen and several appetite-regulating hormones.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy body fat percentages range from 20 to 32 percent for women and 10 to 22 percent for men.

While body fat percentage can provide information regarding overall health and disease risk, getting an accurate reading typically requires expensive, hard-to-find equipment.

The good news is that body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference correlate well with fat mass percentage in large populations.

Waist circumference, which is an indicator of belly fat, should be less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within normal range, while those above are classified as overweight or obese.

Keep in mind BMI alone can be misleading for some individuals. If you’re muscular, BMI is a useless measurement, as it doesn’t distinguish between lean mass and fat mass, for example.

As such, it’s a good idea to consider additional factors like body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as insulin levels, when discussing your health with your doctor.

The Two Types of White Fat:

1. Visceral fat

Visceral fat is found deep within the abdominal cavity, close to and surrounding vital organs like the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. When such organs are surrounded by fat, they have a hard time doing their jobs effectively.

But perhaps the most insidious quality about visceral fat is that it’s metabolically active, releasing hormones that can lead to inflammation and promote insulin resistance, which can increase your risk of diabetes. This kind of fat is also associated with a higher risk for heart disease.

Men are at greater risk for packing on visceral fat since they tend to store fat predominantly in their abdomens.

2. Subcutaneous fat

Subcutaneous fat lies just beneath the skin. When you “pinch an inch,” it’s subcutaneous fat you’re grabbing.

You might hate the appearance it sometimes takes — such as muffin tops and dimpled thighs (aka, cellulite) — but subcutaneous fat is less dangerous than visceral fat. It’s also beneficial in moderate amounts, as it both protects and insulates the body.

Of course, too much subcutaneous fat can be problematic, too, since carrying excess weight puts stress on the body, including the joints, heart, and circulatory system.

Brown Fat

While white fat stores energy, brown fat converts energy from food to heat. In other words, brown fat burns calories, which is why it’s often referred to as the “good fat.”

Brown fat is more abundant in newborns and young children, and significantly decreases with age. Adults who manage to hang on to more of this beneficial fat tend to be leaner and have greater insulin sensitivity.

Research suggests there may be ways to boost your brown fat stores in adulthood. A study on mice showed that exercise can convert white fat to “brown-like” or beige fat.

Beige fat is another type of fat — distinct from white and brown fats — that also burns calories, like brown fat.

Another study on humans showed that regular exposure to colder temperatures may activate brown fat to burn more calories.

Short of moving to colder climes, this may not have a practical application in your daily life, but understanding the process of how white fat turns into calorie-burning brown (and beige) fat may help scientists find new ways to fight obesity.

3 Tips to Lose Body Fat

1. Cut back on added sugar and sweetened beverages

Studies show that excess sugar, particularly the high amounts of fructose found in sweetened beverages, can increase the accumulation of visceral fat.

Instead, quench your thirst with plenty of water; not only is it better than any kind of beverage with tons of sugar and additives, but your body also needs it to stay strong and healthy.

Not a fan of plain water? Dress up your water by adding your favorite fruits or herbs like mint and basil.

2. Pay attention to portion sizes

It sounds simple, but we all know looks can be deceiving, particularly when high-calorie foods come into play. If you’re not sure what a healthy portion looks like, try using Portion Fix containers to take the guesswork out of mealtime.

And don’t forget to vary your diet — quantity and quality are key elements to a healthy, balanced nutrition plan. Make sure you’re eating foods from all of the food groups.

3. Exercise regularly

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training like LIIFT4 top the list of the most effective forms of exercise for fat loss, but just about any exercise can make a difference.

The key is to do it regularly and to combine it with a balanced, healthy diet. Together, diet and exercise cannot only help you lose weight, but they also prevent weight regain once you hit your goal.

Originally published through the Beachbody Blog : https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/where-does-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight

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.

The Shocking Number Of Calories In Your Favorite Coffee Drink

If you’re not ordering regular coffee, there’s a good chance your morning cup has more calories than you think

For many, a cup of coffee is an integral part of their morning ritual.Shower, pack lunches, drop the kids off at school, pick up a cup of coffee and head to work.

Unfortunately, if we aren’t careful, this ritual can sneak hundreds of calories into our mornings. As you can see in the infographic, the calories in your drink can add up quickly, depending on what you order. Not only can the calories make a dent in your daily allowance, but also, most of them come from sugar.

In fact, many of these drinks have the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke; in some cases, it’s twice as much.

If you’re not careful you’re going to start your day with a sugar spike, which can leave you feeling drowsy — pretty much the opposite of what you want from your morning coffee.

Not only that, but if you order the same drink every weekday morning — say, a white chocolate mocha — this can add up to over 2,000 calories a week!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite coffee drinks. By using the tips outlined below, you can successfully reduce the amount of sugar and calories you consume in your coffee:

Nix the Whipped Cream

Removing the whipped cream on top of your drink can save you about 70 calories and half the fat.

Lighten Up the Milk

Instead of 2 percent or whole milk, opt for nonfat milk or coconut, soy or almond milk. Oftentimes, dairy alternatives will have no-added-sugar options, too.

Drink in Moderation

By reducing your drink size from 24 to 16 ounces, you can cut a third of the calories. A switch to 12 ounces will cut sugar and calories in half. Plus, do you really need a drive-through coffee every morning (and afternoon)? Making that cup of joe at home will help your health — and your wallet.

Ditch the Syrup

Instead of using flavored syrups for flavoring, add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to help add flavor.  You can also add a drop of your favorite flavor extract.

 

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.

1025X746 More Vegetables Blog 01

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!

How Fitness Professionals Stay on Track

Fitness professionals may seem like super humans who never struggle with making healthy diet choices, showing up for workouts or pulling off that unforgiving outfit. But … surprise! They’re just like us! They’re busy professionals, wives, moms, friends and community members who have lives—beyond the gym and produce section. 

Fitness professionals are able to stay on track because they arm themselves with effective daily habits. 

Here are some tips shared by Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of Health, Exercise Science and Yoga Studies at San Diego Miramar College, and a yoga teacher, certified health coach, and senior adviser with the American Council on Exercise. 

Pairing: Add a Good New Behavior to an Established Habit
Pairing involves taking a consistent, established habit and adding in a new one until it sticks. Matthews always does squats while she’s brushing her teeth in the morning and at night. “Brushing is a consistent habit and during a two-minute brush, I can do about 30 squats. So that’s 30 squats in the morning and 30 at night,” she says. Because she uses the principle of pairing, you’ll never find her just brushing! Another idea: Try balancing on one foot while you’re washing dishes! 

Park Farther Away and Take the Stairs
Matthews lives by the motto of grabbing any and all opportunities to add more movement into her day. Research supports that these seemingly small habits and actions can add up to big health gains, Matthews says. 

Get a Head Start on Hydration While Balancing the Body’s pH
Even though she’s a professional, Matthews admits that she never liked drinking water. So she found a more enjoyable way to hydrate. Every morning, she drinks a mug of warm water with lemon, which can stimulate digestion and help balance the body’s pH. This warm beverage in the morning helps minimize her coffee and caffeine intake, which is an added bonus. 

Plants Are the Base
Instead of focusing on calories or stressing over what to restrict, Matthews makes plants the base of her diet. Most of her meals are made from veggies, occasionally mixing in some seafood. Making plants the base ensures that she’s eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. 


Take Time to Breathe or Meditate
Matthews doesn’t leave her room in the morning until she’s taken some time to sit still and focus on her breathing—for a minute or 15 minutes. “Meditation isn’t sitting on a mountaintop,” she says. And it doesn’t even require sitting! The focus is to be mindfully aware, be still and listen to the movement of your breath. If you do this in the morning, it can help you start the day in the right place mentally—and it ensures that you actually do it! 

Here are some tips from Arielle Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, CDE, a registered dietitian nutritionist with over 10 years’ experience specializing in health communications, human performance/sports nutrition, diabetes education and children’s nutrition. 

Make Healthy Food Convenient 
Set aside a day to prepare healthy foods that you can just reheat and grab. With unhealthy food choices all around us, it’s easy to choose them out of convenience. “If healthy food is just a grab-and-go option, healthy foods will be the easy choice,” Lebovitz says. 

Write It Down
Don’t just keep your intentions in your head. “Before I go to bed every night I write down three things I want to prioritize and accomplish for the next day,” Lebovitz says. This helps her remain mindful of her goals and how she’ll accomplish them. She jots down anything from doing a 30-minute workout in the morning to adding mushrooms to an egg scramble. 

Here’s some helpful input from Nev Nelson, certified personal trainer, certified health coach, NFHS certified, and tennis player and coach. 

Keep Each Morning the Same
Nelson wakes up early at the same time almost every day (on weekends, one hour later) and does the same thing every morning to establish routine and habit. She changes into her workout clothes at the start of the day and puts in her headphones to get her motivated to work out. 

Eat More Often

Most of us are conditioned to think our food intake has to happen within three square meals per day. Nelson eats more than three times per day. She eats smaller meals every two to three hours, which keeps her metabolism going and prevents her from overeating. We all know skipping a meal can make you ravenous at the next! 

Don’t Journey Alone 
Everyone, even professionals, needs support. Nelson has an exercise group that holds her accountable. Whether it’s an exercise class you love, a running club or even just one good friend who will keep up with your workouts, be sure to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your wellness gals.

And last, but certainly not least, here are some tips from Emily Ann Callahan, MPH, RD, owner and consultant, EAC Health and Nutrition, LLC. 

Find 30 Minutes per Day
The top excuse for why people don’t work out is lack of time. No matter how busy you are, you can probably find 30 minutes in your day. Callahan aims to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. That’s easy on her gym days. “But on the other days, I try to at least get outside for a 30-minute (or two 15-minute) walks,” Callahan said. Everyone can find 15 minutes! 

BYO Fruits and Vegetables
If Miller knows she’s going somewhere where healthy options might be slim pickings, she packs her own fruits and vegetables. This helps her stay on track with including a fruit and/or vegetable in every meal.

If you would like to join a challenge group and get the ultimate accountability and support you need to succeed, drop us an email and let’s chat!