Omega 3 Fish Oil and Weight Loss

A lot of people still don’t know there are fat burning foods that can actually increase the number of fat calories your body burns each day? These are known as free foods and are generally low in calories; in fact some of these foods are so low in calories that your body actually burns more calories metabolising them, than the total amount of calories in the food it’s self.

Although fat burning foods are important for anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off for good, they’re vital if you’re one of these people who find it hard to lose weight. No matter how much exercise you do or how hard you diet, your genetics and metabolic make up play a vital role in determining how fast and how much weight you lose.

Genetic differences also affect how much weight you gain when you eat too much. One study of 12 groups of identical twins was overfed for 100 days. One set of twins gained 29 pounds. A second set, however, gained only 13 pounds even though both sets of twins were overfed with the same number of calories. Of course, fat burning foods won’t compensate entirely for genetic differences this ultimately comes down to a balanced calorie controlled eating regime and excersie. They will however make fighting fat a lot easier in the long run.

Types of fat
There are two types of fat “good fat” and “bad fat”

Actually there are 4 types of fat: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated and Tran’s fat, but they can still be catorigised as good and bad.

Monounsaturated (good fats)
Monounsaturated fats are considered good fats and are said to help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure and to help control diabetes.

These good fats are found in food like; olive oil, peanut oil, cashews, canola oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts and chicken fat.

Polyunsaturated (good fats) omega 3 and omega 6
Polyunsaturated fats are also considered good fats and are said to reduce triglycerides, inflammations and tumour growth. They also help to improve immune function and help protect against sudden death from heart disease.

Polyunsaturated fats can be broken down into two categories: Omega 3 and Omega 6

Omega 3 is found in foods like Olive oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, hempseeds, salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, sardines, and herring.

Omega 6 is found in foods like safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, nuts, beans and soft margarine.

Saturated (bad fats)
Saturated fats are bad fats; they raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact they are twice as potent at raising your bad cholesterol levels as polyunsaturated fats are at lowering them. It is difficult to eliminate these fats from your diet but one way to reduce them is to choose fat free milk and other dairy products.

Saturated fats can be found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cheese, palm and coconut oil.

Trans (bad fats)
Tran’s fats are the ugly fats; they raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). They increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Tran’s fats can be found in foods like crackers, cookies, cakes, shortening, margarine, hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils that have been subjected to heat-damage during cooking.

Omega 3 fish oil and weight loss
A recent study that was published in the international journal of obesity, researchers wanted to find out if by supplementing the diet with omega 3 fish oil (good fat) would increase the number of fat calories burned in a single day.

The two groups were fed exactly the same diet apart from one group were fed 6 grams of fat in the form of butter, olive oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil, the other group were given 6 grams of omega 3 fish oil.
The fish oil group were given 8 capsules per day, 2 in the morning, 3 at lunch and 3 in the evening.

The Total daily intake of omega 3 long chain fatty acids was 1.8 grams. The outcome of the test results were fairly conclusive.

The table below shows you the changes in fat oxidation, body fat, and metabolic rate after three weeks for the groups with or without fish oil

  With fish oil Without fish oil
Measurement of body fat -2 pounds -0.7 pounds
Measurement of daily metabolic rate 1775 calories 1710 calories

These results show that the group who were supplementing with fish oil burned about 1.1 milligram of fat per kilo per minute. This is roughly 26% higher than the other group who weren’t supplementing with the fish oil.

One of the key reasons as to why omega 3 fish oil has such a powerful effect on fat metabolism is that the insulin levels were 50% lower when subjects used the fish oil. Insulin is a hormone that reduces the use of fat for fuel, while also promoting fat storage in the presence of excess calories.

Insulin increases the activity of an enzyme known to promote the storage of fat.

Insulin inhibits the action of hormone sensitive lipase, which is responsible for breaking down stored fat and preparing it for use as energy.

Insulin also activates an enzyme, which, along with fatty acid synthesis, is responsible for converting carbohydrate into fat.

Simply put, high levels of insulin make it less likely that your body will use stored fat as a fuel source. The drop in insulin levels when subjects used the fish oil would have allowed more fat to be used for energy.

Conclusion
Any good doctor or nutritionist will tell you that the best way to get any nutrient is to eat a very balanced diet. In the case of Omega 3 oil this would be in the form of fish, sadly due to the pollution levels found in our oceans today eating large portions of fish every day is not advisable.
The frustrating truth is that there will never be an easy quick-fix method of losing weight that is safe and simple. However, with a little research into the workings of the body, it becomes clear that there are many small things you can do which add up over time to aid weight loss and make you feel better about yourself. Taking a fish oil supplement is a good idea for anyone wanting to make positive steps towards weight loss.

The Rising Cost of Obesity and How Everyone Can Afford Shakeology

You either pay now, or you pay later. Your health is too important to gamble with, and when you think about the vitamins, medicine, monthly medications, doctor visits, specialists… the list goes on, you ARE paying, one way or another.

I spend very little money on “medicine”… basically Ibuprofen and Gas-X is what you will find in my cupboard. The occasional cold medicine may creep in, but that is rare. I don’t spend any money on vitamins or nay other supplements… no need for them.

So, what is the benefit and value of drinking Shakeology every day?  Before I answer this, let us discuss the price of “saving money” on food.

THE PRICE OF BUYING CHEAP FOOD

There is so much high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil in almost all processed and fast foods in this country. There’s artificial ingredients in a TON of foods and drinks that people consume daily. Most people don’t realize is that they are filling their precious bodies with low quality foods that are made in factories, loaded with chemicals, lacking in nutrients, and packed with sugar, fat, and/or salt. I want to believe that people don’t realize the damage they are doing to their bodies, rather than believe that people know and just don’t care (although I’m sure there are people that aren’t really concerned about what they put in their bodies).

We DO pay a price later when we regularly eat unhealthy processed and non-organic foods—for doctor or hospital visits, diagnostic testing, medications, and other services that arise from both minor and chronic diseases caused by a poor diet.

Did you know that almost three quarters of Americans are overweight and over one-third are clinically obese? And, get this, one-third of children born today will be diabetic in their lifetime AND, for the first time in the recorded history of humans, the life expectancy of our population is declining! Seriously? We NEED to do something about this!

There are non-monetary costs of eating poorly too—like fatigue, depression, obesity, and a bunch of other minor health complaints.

I want you to remember this:

  1. The REAL cost of eating unhealthy foods is in the damage to your health and resulting medical costs.
  2. Eating whole fresh foods does NOT have to cost more OR be complicated.
  3. With some adjustments in your lifestyle, you CAN afford

The biggest reason to invest both effort and money in eating healthy food is so you can fully live each and every day of your precious life. Because I eat well, and work out, I can be super productive, effectively run and manage two businesses, and enjoy my life. I have never felt better and I wouldn’t go back to eating crap food, ever! I have the occasional treat, but it is rare and most everything I eat/drink has nutritional value.

Also, studies by the American Dietetic Association have found that eating well to lose weight is no more expensive than eating unhealthily over the long term.

Making the lifestyle change from eating cheap processed foods to healthy whole foods requires you to change some deeply engrained and habitual ways of thinking, learn new ways of eating, possibly find new places to buy your food, and spend a bit more time planning and prepping your meals. BUT, I ASSURE YOU THAT IT’S WORTH IT.

YOU CAN AFFORD SHAKEOLOGY!

Some people try making their own smoothies from scratch or use a cheaper protein powder instead of Shakeology. While I understand, and totally respect their efforts to make better nutritional decisions, if it were up to me, everyone would give Shakeology a (risk free) try for 30 days. No matter what “protein” shake you are drinking, it is no comparison to Shakeology. I wholeheartedly believe that. I’ve experienced the effect over the last 18 months and I can compare it to other shakes I have tried over the years. Beachbody has a bottom of the bag guarantee—if you don’t like it, you can get your purchase price refunded with no questions asked.

What do I tell people when they say, “I can’t afford Shakeology”? I tell them that they really CAN—even if they’re on a tight budget.

  1. Save $13 on shipping with the Home Direct program. Home Direct is Beachbody’s automatic shipment program for all their nutritional supplements. There are two perks to this program—your Shakeology order shows up before you run out so you consistently feed your body serious nutrients AND shipping is reduced from about $15.00 to $2.00.
  2. Order the bulk bag (NOT the packets)of Shakeology. When you buy the single bulk bag, you get 30 servings; when you buy the single serving packets, you only get 24 servings. That’s almost an extra week of Shakeology, folks.
  3. Save 25% AND use the money you save by subscribing to On Demand All Access. Beachbody just announced that they are adding the Annual All Access On Demand and Shakeology Challenge Packto their permanent Challenge Pack portfolio and keeping it at the same introductory price of $160 USD. Here’s what this means—you pay $160 and you get your first month of Shakeology AND a ONE year subscription to On Demand which has a ton of workouts you can live stream. After that, your discounted Shakeology is delivered to you through the Home Direct program (with discounted $2 shipping). So you’re getting all those workouts for an entire year for about $80…close to the same price you used to pay for ONE program. The money you used to spend on fitness programs can now be used for your Shakeology!
  4. Get your Shakeology for FREE by sharing it with others. As a member of Team Synergy, you have the potential to get your Shakeology for FREE. We have many coaches whose monthly goal is solely to make enough money to have their Shakeology paid for by the commissions they make from selling it to others.
  5. Use the money you used to spend on multivitamins and other supplements.Think about how much you are spending on vitamins and other supplements (like digestive aids, weight loss supplements, energy drinks or supplements, etc.). Shakeology contains over 70 superfood ingredients, including natural appetite suppressants and energy boosters, so you no longer need all the other stuff.
  6. Use the money you used to spend on snacks and meals you’re replacing with Shakeology. Shakeology is so much more than just a protein supplement—it’s a meal replacement—so don’t forget to factor in the food you’re not eating into your budget figures. I can tell you that I was spending much more than $5 per day on the breakfast, lunch and/or snacks that I ate in place of Shakeology.
  7. Adjust your grocery purchases. Include Shakeology in your food budget and find ways to save on your other groceries. For instance, buy single ingredient foods that are in season (buy extra and freeze for use in the off season!)and take advantage of those weekly sales.
  8. Use the money from the coffee drinks and/or juice smoothies you’re no longer buying. Coffee houses and juice bars are NOT cheap. When I started drinking Shakeology, I stopped craving the coffee drinks because it gave me all the energy I needed AND satisfied my sweet tooth. And, I no longer needed to stop off at the juice bar when I was out and about. (Besides saving money, I also saved time and calories.)
  9. Make adjustments in other areas of your household budget. There are so many other places you can save money in your life—like spending less on cocktails, dining out, bottled water, gum and candy, cable TV, clothes, and those little frills that add up (like makeup, hair and nails). If you’re serious about your health, you WILL make the effort to make sacrifices in other areas.

WHY SHAKEOLOGY IS A GREAT DEAL

There are MANY indirect ways that you are getting value from drinking Shakeology. Here are a few I feel are most important:

  • When you feel better, you perform better in ALL areas of your life.
  • You will have fewer sick days.
  • Your energy levels are HIGH.
  • You’re more motivated because Shakeology helps us reach our weight loss goals (it’s the secret weapon!).
  • Your junk food cravings are almost non-existent.
  • You don’t feel like you’re suffering because it feels like you’re having a treat.
  • It’s SUPER convenient and easy to grab on the go.
  • You will NOT be paying later, because you’re investing in yourself NOW.

Oh, and with the On Demand All Access membership, there is absolutely zero need for a gym membership (or the gas/time it takes to get you there and back), so there’s some more savings for you.

Learn more about Shakeology HERE

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.

Surprising ways you’re sabotaging your digestion without realizing it

And proven ways to fix that heartburn, belching, stomach ache and bloat. 

There are many factors involved in indigestion, says clinical nutritionist Marta Anhelush, however these are the most common.

Indigestion cause #1: Low stomach acid

‘Our stomach acid is absolutely vital to aid proper digestion, especially when it comes to protein rich foods such as meat or fish, which some people find hard to digest,’ says Anhelush.

‘Unfortunately, the popular view is that we often have high levels of stomach acid, leading to indigestion, where in most cases it is actually the opposite.

‘Drinking too much with your meals is also quite common and makes things worse by diluting all the digestive juices’.

What to do instead: There are some foods that actually stimulate stomach acids, thus aiding digestion.

‘Bitter foods such as rocket, watercress, chicory, turmeric or artichoke, dandelion and burdock in supplements, can stimulate the production of digestive juices, including bile to help you digest and absorb fats,’ says Anhelush.

If you have the small problem of not being able to stomach bitter foods, one study suggests the solution is to, well, eat more bitter foods and your tastes might change. Research in August this year from The American Chemical Society asked participants to eat bitter foods three times a day for a week and rate their bitterness and astringency. Over the course of week, their bitterness and astringency ratings for the same foods reduced, and they rated them as more palatable.

Photo: iStock

Indigestion cause #2: Eating too fast

Our modern, busy lifestyles mean that we often have little time to cook a meal from scratch, let alone sit at a table and eat it in peace, without any distractions, explains Anhelush.

Instead, we often eat on our way to work, in front of our computers or televisions.

This sends the wrong messages to your brain, so rather than producing digestive juices, enzymes or bile and stimulating contractions of the digestive tract, your body is producing stress hormones and increasing brain activity to process the information coming from your surroundings.

‘As a result, we end up not only with indigestion, but also other symptoms such as bloating, distension or flatulence’.

What to do instead: Stop eating in front of the telly or your work computer, obviously. But also practice calmer eating.

‘Before you start your meal, take a couple of deep breaths, then really think about what’s on your plate; what does it look like; what does it smell like – involve all the senses,’ says Anhelush.

‘That will send messages to your brain that the food is on its way, which will kick start your digestion, while helping you feel more satiated sooner’.

Picture: iStock

Indigestion cause #3: Too much sugar and refined carbs

Eating too many sugary and refined carbohydrate rich foods such as sweets, pasta, potatoes and processed foods feeds the unfavourable bacteria in our stomachs.

‘These bacteria ferment the food in the small intestines producing a lot of gas. The gas creates a lot of pressure in the intestine and this leads to stomach contents refluxing into the oesophagus causing irritation to the oesophageal lining, burning and pain,’ says Anhelush.

What to do instead: Even if your diet isn’t particularly high in sugar, you may benefit from taking probiotics if you have indigestion.

‘If you suffer from any digestive discomfort like indigestion, it is very likely that you may have an imbalance in your gut bacteria,’ says Anhelush. ‘In order to improve digestion in the long term, taking a high strength probiotic can re-balance the gut.

‘Beneficial bacteria help you to digest and absorb nutrients, while also supporting bowel movements and immunity.’

Research from Japan published in November last year found that giving patients with indigestion probiotic-rich yoghurt could help alleviate indigestion.

If you’re opting for a supplement, ‘Look out for a product from a reputable brand that use human-strain, acid resistant bacteria that have been thoroughly researched,’ says Anhelush.

‘Good strains include Lactobacillus acidophilus, bifodobacterium bifidum or Bifidobacterium lactis. The dose matters too, so make sure you get a product with at least 10 billion of bacteria’.

Image: iStock

Indigestion cause #4: Eating too late

‘All of our organs have a daily pattern, including the digestive tract, which tends to be more active during the day,’ says Anhelush.

‘At night, our body needs to recuperate, repair damaged tissue; our brain needs to process all the information and emotions from the day before, which means there is no time for digestion.

‘If we eat late and go to bed soon after, that food is likely to be sitting in the stomach and not being digested well, causing indigestion’.

A study published in The Journal of Gastroenterology found that those who had their dinner three hours or less before bed were more likely to suffer with acid reflux than those who left fours hours or more between their last meal and going to bed.

What to do instead: You can always try eating earlier, but that’s not always practical if you work late and is nearly impossible during the party season when dinners out might dominate your week.

Instead, try a tea that could help digestion. ‘Good combinations for digestion include fennel, cardamom, chamomile, ginger, burdock or peppermint. Make sure you get a good quality and organic tea. If you have digestive symptoms, I would recommend to brew two teabags to get a more therapeutic effect.’

Picture: iStock.

Indigestion cause #5: Snacking between meals

Digestion is a really long and demanding process which means it can take even up to 8 hours for your whole meal to move from the stomach to the large intestines, depending on the type and quantity of the food.

What to do instead: ‘I would highly recommend leaving a longer gap between your meals, generally aiming for three main meals without snacking,’ says Anhelush. ‘That will give the body enough time to properly digest and absorb nutrients.

‘If you feel that the pain is worse on an empty stomach and improves after eating, it may be a sign of something more serious like ulcers and should be checked with your doctor.’

Image: iStock

Indigestion cause #6: Talking while you eat – but only sometimes

‘If you are eating lunch at your desk, in a busy office, and talking about tasks, deadlines and other things that may stress you out, it will make your indigestion worse,’ asserts Anhelush.

‘On the other hand, if you are eating at a table, with your friends or family, feeling relaxed and eating slowly whilst having a nice conversation, it is a completely different scenario.

‘Eating is, and has always been a social activity, so as long as we are eating mindfully and enjoying our food, I would encourage having company’.

Image: iStock

Indigestion cause #7: Not chewing properly

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but don’t worry we’re not going to tell you to chew everything 50 times.

What to do instead: ‘It takes far less time to chew a banana than a piece of steak,’ says Anhelush. ‘Rather than counting how many times you should chew it, try to always chew it until it’s completely mushy; imagine baby food consistency’.

Image: iStock

Indigestion cause #8: The food

Like, hmmm Christmas dinner for example?

‘Generally rich foods that are high in protein, carbohydrates and sugars are more likely to cause indigestion,’ says Anhelush. ‘Christmas dinner is a perfect example of overindulgence in plenty of rich foods – processed meats, chocolates, dairy and gluten heavy foods are often culprits of digestive symptoms.’

Other foods that can cause or indigestion for some people include tea and coffee, hot spices, chocolate, tomatoes and citrus fruits can also aggravate symptoms.

What to do instead: ‘It may be worth doing a challenge by excluding tea, coffee, spicy food, tomatoes and citrus foods from your diet for a few days and then re-introducing one at a time to see if any of them worsen your symptoms,’ suggests Anhelush.

‘Digestive enzymes taken with meals can work really quickly, speeding up digestion and reducing uncomfortable symptoms,’ says Anhelush. ‘Look out for a good quality supplement that contains a range of enzymes that help digest proteins fats and carbohydrates including bromelain, lipase and amylase.’

‘Also herbs such as peppermint, liquorice and ginger are very soothing and can have a calming effect if your indigestion manifests as an irritated tummy.

‘Having reflux can also irritate the delicate tissue if your oesophagus so using a soothing and healing herbs in a liquid or a powder that can be mixed into a drink, can be really beneficial,’ says Anhelush.

‘The best herbs to include are slippery elm, licorice, marshmallow and aloe vera. They help to coat the digestive tract, providing a protective layer, hence reducing irritation’.

Image: iStock

Indigestion cause #9: Your drinking habits

Alcohol that is high in sugars such as cocktails and flavoured wines, may aggravate or cause indigestion, Anhelush asserts.

‘Yeast and gluten-based alcohols such as beer and cider as well as alcohol high in sulphites such as red wine can also be strenuous on the digestive system and our detoxification pathways’.

What to do instead: No one is suggesting you give up alcohol for New Year’s (don’t worry), but you can drink more smartly at this time.

‘Keep hydrated if you do drink alcohol and arm yourself with a nutrient dense meal beforehand full of dark green leafy vegetables and high-quality protein such as organic chicken or wild fish,’ Anhelush advises.

You could also trying gently detoxing your body throughout the Christmas period. ‘This can reduce your chances of weight gain and feeling generally fatigued and run down,’ Anhelush suggests.

‘Green vegetables and fruits really are your friend at this time as they are packed full of nutrients and support the detoxification process of rich food and alcohol from your body.

Smoothies made with kale, spinach, broccoli, and apples can be a great way to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs.

‘As it is winter time, you can also put green vegetables into a soup for lunch or dinner, adding in herbs such as coriander, which is highly detoxifying and full of plant chemicals’.

It’s also worth noting that studies have found indigestion and heartburn medications may have an adverse effect on blood alcohol levels when taken with alcohol, so talk to your doctor if you’re on them.

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!

Mistakes You’re Making When Trying To Lose Belly Fat

Mistakes You’re Making When Trying To Lose Belly Fat

We’re on a journey to self-improvement, and we all have specific parts of the bodies we’re trying to work on. Some women want lean, long legs, some want a firm booty. Most women tell me they want to lose belly fat instead.

Belly fat is a common problem for women. Many ladies want to burn the fat in their lower abs and love handles. If you want to slim down, but you’re struggling to lose belly fat, keep reading. These problems might be holding you back:  

Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

Eating when you’re hungry is essential to a healthy, lean body. Being hungry is never any fun! But, it is so, so easy to eat mindlessly when you’re bored, stressed, or binge-watching Gilmore Girls (please don’t try to follow their eating habits!).

When you think you’re hungry,stop yourself.  Drink some water,preferably a full 16-20 ounces, and then re-evaluate your stomach cravings in 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry, pick something healthy to snack on. Here are a few easy, healthy snacks to go for:

  • Chopped bell peppers
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • One apple and two tablespoonsof natural peanut butter
  • Mini carrots or celery slices with hummus
  • Nuts but be careful asthese can really increase calories without realizing. 
  • Beachbars or Shakeology

Here’s one tip: Portion out what you’re going to eat ahead of time. That entire bag of pretzels in front of you won’t close itself!  Also, keep snacks prepped and ready to grab and go. So much of our success comes down to preparation.

You’re hydrating with the wrong thing — alcohol.

In my experience, a little extra stomach fat and drinking lots of alcohol often go hand in hand. Alcohol is full of empty calories that will never fill you up. Plus, we all know it often leads to that mindless snacking we talked about already.

It isn’t just the extra calories with alcohol that contribute to belly fat. The infamous “beer belly”is real. Alcohol impacts your midsection more than the rest of your body.  If you are doing great all week long but spend the weekend drinking, you are going to stay in the circle of not getting the results you are looking for.

You are using creams or wraps to lose belly fat and want it gone now.

Girlfriend, hold the eff up!  Creams, wraps, body sprays, they will never work to get rid of fat.  You must eliminate grains, processed foods, and sugar if you truly want to get that killer 6 pack. 

And as far as timing…..

Want a flatter stomach in 3 days or even a week? Weight loss and creating a lean body takes time and patience. Remember, Victoria Secret models train and watch their diets every single day, not just for a short period of time.

I understand the desire to change your body quickly. Seeing physical changes is so exciting! Unfortunately, expecting quick results can just slow you down. It is easy to get discouraged when you don’t see the fat falling off after a few days. Stick with it! You can do it!  You will have times when you lose weight but not inches and weeks where you lose inches but no pounds.  Keep going, it is not a fast process.  Those who lose super fast almost always gain it back.

You’re doing the wrong exercises for belly fat.

You guys know I love my cardio as it is so great for leaning out your legs and keeping a slimmer look. But doing cardio only will not get rid of belly fat. 

To get rid of belly fat, you need to do resistance training.  Stop being afraid of weights.  You will not bulk up.  You will burn a crap ton more calories as muscles burns far more calories than fat. Any type of resistance training helps (even if it’s on the lighter side,such as Pilates). But generally, HIIT combined with Lifting gets the quickest results. I have an awesome workout you can try at home here.In my personal experience, high intensity cardio such as Zumba or kickboxing also helps a lot.

I also make sure to include ab exercises in my workout routines. Some people say that they don’t need to do abwork to see definition (and this can be true if your workouts consist of heavy lifting and Crossfit). But I prefer to do ab exercises because:

  • Ab workouts can help improve your posture.  When our core is weak, it leads to our pelvis rotating and glute muscles not firing correctly.  This leads to low back pain and hip issues.  Not fun.
  • Ab workouts target more than just abs without even realizing it

Working on your abs also helps to increase your flexibility.

You don’t have a nutrition plan.

Why am I mentioning food again?  Because it is that damn importnatn.  ?
When you eat foods that turn to sugar once digested, guess where that is going to rest in your body?  Yup….belly. Also legs and hips but really for the belly.

Eliminating processed foods is the easiest way to achieve great results. This is truly the key to getting rid of your stomach fat and getting flat abs. Major key components I teach all my clients:

  • Eating enough for your body type and activity level.
  • Eating only when you are hungry
  • Eating healthy, whole foods
  • Eating veggies with every single meal
  • Drinking water before each meal
  • Once you finish dinner, do not go back in the kitchen to snack.  Dinner means done.

You’re positive it is really fat, not bloat.

If your stomach only seems bigger at the end of the day, after a big meal, or on your period, you might not have stomach fat to lose. Instead, you might just be bloated.

Bloating affects everybody at some point in their lives. Here are some things to do when your stomach is is bloated:

  • Drink lots of water! Eating a lot of salt and sugar throughout the day often leads to a bloated stomach in the evening. Just keep in mind that your stomach expands with too much water intake as well.
  • If you are new to healthy eating, sometimes your body can react negatively for a few days or a week. Try portioning your fresh food throughout the day, so you aren’t eating it all at once.  Keep your fiber and water balanced together.
  • Write down what you’re eating to see what’s causing your bloat. Some foods, especially beans and lentils, can cause bloating. Try to limit those foods, especially the day of a big event!
  • Poop….we all do it but some of us don’t do it regularly.  If your gut health is poor and you are not able to absorb nutrients the way your body needs, it will fight back with constipation, bloating and gas.  The first step in all of my programs is a cleaning phase.  Restoring gut health and create a system that ignites your metabolism.
  • Hormones, especially excessive estrogen.  Women carry excess estrogen right in the middle section.  I use a couple different supplements and adaptogen herbs to lower my estrogen levels.  We also cover this in great detail to get you on the road to success.
  • Exercise. Seriously, light exercise can really help with digestion and bloating. 

Losing belly fat requires a healthy lifestyle, so it won’t happen overnight. To get the best results, make sure you’re eating healthy food, exercising properly, and drinking lots of water. You CAN reach your goals!

Think about everything that goes in your mouth and keep a diary of it. Monitor how each food affects you and if it causes bloating, gas,etc.  The most important piece that helps me is being held accountable.  It all comes down to doing the best practices every single day!  You can do this, and I am here to help you!