Need a Better Booty?

 

Not getting the booty exercise results you are aiming for can leave you feeling like you should be joining Saggy Butts Anonymous, rather than reaching for that sexy new bikini you bought last year.

While you may not be striving to be as ‘Bootylicious’ as Destiny’s Child, you may be wondering how can I increase my glute strength? How can I get a perkier butt? How can I lose the chicken butt?

Getting the right butt exercise results is the #1 thing that I see girls struggle with. Either they are quad dominant or hamstring dominant, and they do not know how to change this. Any attempts to build a perky butt just results in their thighs getting bigger or leaving them with back pain.

What are you talking about Courtney?

My bad, let me explain.

When you are quad or hamstring dominant, it means that you transfer the force of your workouts into these areas instead of your butt, so you do not see the booty exercise results that you should.  This is part of the reason I had so many issues for a while, my glutes simply would not fire.

If you have ever finished a booty workout and found that the next day either your hamstrings or quads are suffering, then you more than likely fall into this category.

Or, you could be suffering from sleepy butt syndrome…

WHAT IS SLEEPY BUTT SYNDROME?

When you sit for extended periods of time (as is extremely common in many lines of work), your booty can fall into a kind of ‘booty amnesia’. This is otherwise known as sleepy butt syndrome.

Your gluteal muscles ‘sleep’ due to being inactive and overstretched, and other parts of your body such as hips, shoulder and pec muscles become overactive to compensate.

This can transform into your workouts, and we can relate this back to being quad or hamstring dominant as well.

Not activating your glute muscles effectively means that other parts of your body do all the hard work, and your butt just gets… well… lazy…. and you have consistently weak glute muscles.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR GLUTES ARE NOT ACTIVATED?

As I mentioned earlier, you will certainly know if you are not activating your glutes if you wake up with sore hamstrings or quads after a butt workout.

You may also have that tired and achy muscle feeling in your butt after prolonged periods of sitting.

And now I hear you asking – “how do you work your glutes?”

HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR GLUTES

Focusing on contracting your glute muscles is key when you are doing butt-focused exercises.

Taking a moment to tense and contract your butt before and during exercises will help activate your booty.

One glute activation exercise that you can do whenever you are standing around is this:

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent
  • Focus on your glutes and use them to lift one leg out to the side. If you are not feeling it in your butt, then try again.
  • Lower the leg slowly, still working your butt. Then change legs. Do a set of 15 for each leg.

You can try this exercise while cooking dinner, or even in the morning while you are waiting for the coffee to brew.

Some great exercises that you can do for butt exercise results are:

  • The clam
  • Single-leg glute bridges
  • Superman flutter kicks
  • Straight leg hydrants

WHAT DOES GLUTE ACTIVATION DO?

Glute activation ensures that it is indeed your glute muscles that are working. Unless you are powering the movement you are doing through the glutes, your body might rely on your hamstrings or quads to do the hard work.

Glute activation helps you fix hamstring domination or quad domination problems.

Some other things you can do to help are:

  • Including hip bridges and glute isolation movements into your workout warmup.
  • Focusing on mind-muscle connection
  • Doing glute isolation exercises at the end of your workout.
  • Working with a foam roller to reduce quad tightness

You may also want to consider booking a session with a personal trainer, so they can check if you have any bad workout habits that are letting you down.

WHAT IS THE BEST BOOTY WORKOUT?

I’ve had a bunch of questions from my girls and Instagram followers about specific butt isolation workouts. Girls tend to ask what exercises lift your buttocks and what exercises make you bum firmer.

Well, luckily for you, I have a great bootylicious workout that you can start today! Check out our 80 Day Obsession program. 

These workouts are great isolation exercises for your booty. They are easy to do in the comfort of your living room or bedroom too!

I recommend doing these workouts and following the timed nutrition, and you should start seeing results within a couple of weeks.

And if you want a little more help, let’s chat about joining one of my accountability groups. This will give you a better understanding of mentally connecting with your muscles for more effective workouts, learning how to eat for muscle gain, and accountability to keep going strong. .

NOW, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Now that you have a better idea on how to get those butt exercise results you have been dreaming about, it is time to get to it.

And please do not forget, you are beautiful no matter how big or small your butt is, and no matter how many songs about big butts you hear!

Have a bootylicious workout!

 

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

New Mom’s Guide to Losing Baby Weight

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

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

How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

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

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

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

Another option is to add a container from each group:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nutrition Tips for Moms Who Want to Lose Baby Weight

Stay hydrated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are supplements safe?

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

 

Originally published on the Beachbody Blog on  

Eating Healthy On A Budget

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

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Bill Down While Eating Healthy

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

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

D.I.Y. Making Homemade Waffles

1. D.I.Y.

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

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

Other examples:

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

Buy Whole Foods Mom Buying Greens

2. Buy Whole Foods

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

The whole foods you’re looking for include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy

Buy Foods Whole Woman Cutting Apples

3. Buy Foods Whole (Not Pre-cut)

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

Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options Variety of Beans Foods

4. Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options

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

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

Stock Up on Canned Frozen Foods Frozen Peas

5. Stock Up on Frozen Foods

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

Choose In-Season Produce Variety of Vegetables

6. Choose In-Season Produce

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

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

7. Make the Most of Your Leftovers

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

Look for Discounts Cutting Coupons

8. Look for Discounts

Discounts are everywhere; you just have to look:

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

Make the Swap Yogurt Cup

9. Make the Swap

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

Eat Out for Less Father Daughter at Restaurant

10. Eat Out for Less

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

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.

 

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

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

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

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

Oysters.

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Unsplash.Source:BodyAndSoul

Zinc for a bit of chemistry

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

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

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

4Image:BodyAndSoul

Vitamin E to increase sex hormones

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

5 iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Good cholesterol to help your hormones

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

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

6iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Fish oil to fix your mood

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

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

Ginseng for an energy boost

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

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

St John’s Wort for a pick-me-up

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

Chamomile. 9 iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

Chamomile for a good night’s kip

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

10 Gingko.Source:BodyAndSoul

Gingko for better blood flow

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

11iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Peanut butter for a protein punch

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

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

 

How To Reduce Your Appetite

Having a big appetite can be very frustrating, especially if you’re trying cut back on your food intake and lose weight. So why do you have such a big appetite? How do you reduce your appetite?

There are usually 2 main reasons why people have a greater appetite than normal:

  1. You don’t eat enough fiber; and / or
  2. You are leptin resistant.

This isn’t the always the case for people. If neither of these sound like you, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice.

You Don’t Eat Enough Fiber

Fiber breaks down more slowly than other nutrients (even protein and fats). I know you’ve probably heard this before, but high fiber foods really do make you feel fuller for longer. I have actually experienced this first hand.

When I first started counting calories and macros, I was eating low carb and high protein and fats. I didn’t even think about counting fiber. I was hitting my macros but I was absolutely starving. When I looked back, I was only eating around 10g of fiber per day. And for women, it’s recommended that you get a minimum of 22g per day.

After I increased my fiber intake (I now eat around 25-30g daily), I was no longer hungry, even eating at a calorie deficit. I was actually so surprised at the difference it made!

The problem with eating low carb is that all of the fiber is really in the carb heavy foods. Protein is great for your body but has zero fiber, and the same for most fats. Also, lots of processed carbs are also low in fiber. So even if you’re eating high carb and all your carbs are from unhealthy sources, you’ll still have the same problem.

If you are having issues with a big appetite, I highly encourage you to track your fiber intake for 1 week to make sure you’re getting enough. Remember the absolutely minimum for a woman is 22g.

High Fiber Foods

Try incorporating these foods into your daily diet to help boost your fiber intake.

  • Apples– I know a lot of women are scared to eat fruit because of the sugar content. But 1 apple only has about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber, which is a huge amount!
  • Chia seeds– 1 tablespoon of chia seeds has 5.5 grams of fiber! I always have 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in my smoothie every morning and it keeps me full until lunch.
  • Sprouted bread– bread gets a bad wrap because of the carbohydrate content (and obviously because they are a grain). But 1 piece of a healthy sprouted grain bread  4.1 grams of fiber and only 12 grams of carbs.
  • Oats– 1/3 cup of oats has 5.5 grams of fiber and 34.5 grams of carbs. See how minimal the carbohydrates in bread are!? Having 1/3 cup of oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for breakfast is almost half of your daily fiber intake.
  • Pears– these are another really high fiber fruit. One medium pear has 6g of fiber and 100 calories.
  • Avocado– yes avocado is high in fats but also surprisingly high in fiber. 1/4 of an avocado has 2.5g of fiber.
  • Lentils– 1/4 cup of cooked lentils has 4g of fiber.
  • Beans– 1/4 cup cooked black beans has 3.7g of fiber (most other beans are high in fiber too!).
  • Peas– 1/4 cup cooked peas has 2.2g fiber
  • Broccoli– 1/2 cup cooked broccoli has 2.3g fiber.

How Leptin Resistance Causes Hunger & Weight Gain

The Hormone Leptin

Leptin is a hormone that controls when and how full you feel. When you are eating and you start to become full, your fat stores start producing leptin, which then signals your brain to stop eating because you are full.

Leptin Resistance

If you are leptin resistant, it means that your body no longer responds properly to leptin. This happens when you eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar. When you eat these things, your fat stores are continually releasing leptin so your brain stops reacting to it.

As a result, you may never actually feel full and will be hungry all the time.

Symptoms of Leptin Resistance

You may have leptin resistance if you experience the following:

  • Overweight
  • Food cravings and hungry after meals
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low energy

How To Reverse Leptin Resistance

  • Eat a high protein and high fiber diet.
  • Cut out processed carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Get good quality sleep and 8 hours per night.
  • Minimize stress.

For more information on leptin resistance and how to fix it, please have a read of this blog post by Wellness Mama.

Eating all of your micronutrients

Loading up on micronutrients not only keeps you full but also eliminates your cravings.  When the body is not lacking anywhere, there is no need to create cravings which leads to better food choices and less snacking.  A great way to keep your nutrients in check and reduce cravings and hunger is with daily Shakeology.  This has been my saving grace to end over eating and mindless snacking.

Summary – How To Reduce Appetite

If you do have leptin resistance, you need to get this sorted otherwise it will be difficult for you to manage your appetite and lose weight. Even if you don’t have leptin resistance, it’s still a good idea to reduce your sugar and processed carbs, and increase your fiber and protein intake. And of course good sleep and minimizing stress is extremely important!

Also be sure to include as many of the high fiber foods I mentioned above in your daily diet. Starting your morning off with some oatmeal, chia seeds, berries and yogurt is a great way to get a good dose of fiber in the morning. Apples are a great high fiber snack so if you’re trying to increase your fiber intake, try to have this as a mid morning snack. And then include vegetables and lentils for your main meals.

As I mentioned above, this may not work for everyone. If you have tried these things and it still doesn’t fix your appetite issues, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice.  The worst thing you can do is take a pill that claims to reduce hunger or block your appetite.  Many of these have harmful substances that lead to metabolic issues and a long term fight to regulate your body back to where it should be.