Monthly Archives: October 2013

Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are a very controversial and sometimes touchy topic for some people. Most of us have been  led to believe that carbs=bad, therefore, we should restrict our intake. I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong or that you are bad for believing in the hype, after all, it’s not your fault.

Carbohydrate- noun-any of a class of organic compounds that are polyhydroxy aldehydes or polyhydroxy ketones, or change to such substances on simple chemical transformations, as hydrolysis, oxidation, or reduction, and that form the supporting tissues of plants and are important food for animals and people. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carbohydrate)

 

Our bodies use carbs to make glucose, which provide the body with energy. Our bodies will do one of two things, utilize it immediately, or store it for later use. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, complex and simple.

A complex carbohydrate is best defined as, foods that are fibrous and starchy. Think potatoes and beans, or, breads and veggies. Fiber can be found in whole grain, fruits and vegetables.

Simple carbohydrates are best defined as anything that has sugar in it, naturally or added,( which also mean they are less nutrient dense foods).

There is nothing wrong with Simple Carbs in moderation. It’s all a balance now isn’t it? I tend to try and stick with the Complex Carbs not only because for me, I am getting more bang for my calorie buck (due to fiber content etc..) it seems to satiate me longer and give me the best amount of energy sources.  Which leads me to another important tip, it’s very important for you to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet as well. Many,  MANY people have NO idea how much fiber they take in and when they decide to track it, find out they are eating very little if ANY fiber at all. Girl! You need to regulate yourself somehow! Get on that fiber! Fiber also tends to fill you as well, so if you are eating something that is high in fiber, it will tend to satiate you longer.

Fiber rich foods: Oatmeal, bran, fruits (in the form of berries), dried beans, peas, whole wheat bread, brown, rice, most veggies, couscous, bulgar etc..

I, personally, usually take in between 25-40 grams of fiber a day. Yes, that much. Now, I am not saying that is how much you need to take in, but you do need to figure out the amount that is right for you. I would honestly say, no less than 18 grams and right around 25 would be prec’. I would also gamble to say if you are getting less than 18 grams per day, you may need to rethink your food choices, as I can not imagine they are the most nutrient dense choices out there.

Now back to carbs. For a period of time, I bought into the low carb craze and tried out Atkins, South Beach et al. Following those plans left me feeling depleted and yuck. Satiated? Yes, energetic? NO. The reason why most people do well with weight loss on low carb is because they are consuming more in the way of proteins and fats which are MORE filling and satiating. It’s simple science. So the reason why you saw weight loss was NOT because you gave up carbs or severely restricted them, it’s because you were getting full, which led to eating LESS, which led to a caloric DEFECIT (because we all know that at the end of the day, calories in vs calories out is what gives us a loss) due to the higher protein and fat intake. However, I know that many people will dismiss this or try to argue  their way out of it, or STILL swear by the fact that carbs are bad and LESS is best. NO.

 

Most healthy adults should aim to get at least 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates. So if you are taking in say 2000 calories a day, you should be aiming to eat roughly 900-1300 calories from carbs (which will vary depending on your sex, your height/weight and most importantly your activity level) Remember that carbs are 4 calories PER gram. This is where I tell you that you must  make sure you are eating a well balanced diet when taking all things into consideration. Athletes tend to aim for a higher carbohydrate count for sustainability and energy.

Carbs are NOT the enemy and carbs ARE NOT bad for you. I will not preach about the good carbs vs the bad carbs, because I truly believe food labeling is something I strive hard to not do. Foods, ANY foods, which are used smartly and for the right reason are fine. Yes, even WHITE BREAD and chocolate. At the end of the day, you have to live with ALL your choices and the end result is something only YOU can decide what it will be. I can give the tools to help you, but you steer your own ship.

Next time I will talk about fats, calories and how all of these tie together (protein, carbs, fats, fiber), when trying to figure out how much and what you should be taking in on a daily basis.

 

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Let’s Talk Protein.

As many of you already know Protein is a very important macronutrient and even more important if you are weight training, are a runner or any kind of athlete for that matter. Your body needs it. Let me break down in a little more detail exactly what Protein is and what it does for you.

Proteins are made up of Amino Acids, you can also think of Amino Acids as building blocks. Some Amino Acids cannot be made within our bodies. The Amino Acids that cannot be made within our bodies are called Essential Amino Acids. They are called Essential because it is essential that our bodies have them.

When referring to Nutrition and what we eat we have two categories, Complete Proteins and Incomplete Proteins. The difference between the two are as follows:

Complete Proteins: These provide ALL of the essential amino acids, you may also have heard them called high quality proteins. Some examples of high quality proteins are your meats, fishes, eggs, poultry, milk and cheese. CHEESE!! OMG, I love cheese!

Incomplete Proteins: It does not contain all the amino acids, it could be missing one or a few(think plant based). Two quick examples would be something like rice and beans. If eaten separately they are both lacking amino acids to make it a complete protein, however, if you eat them together (like us Latinos) you will then get a more adequate amount of amino acids. One interesting fact I found out was that you do NOT indeed need to eat incomplete proteins together to form a complete at one sitting, you can eat them throughout the day and your body will combine them naturally (http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html).

If you follow that link you will also see down at the bottom it gives recommended daily amounts of protein broken down by age. Please try and remember that those are baseline numbers, especially if we are talking about athletes, body builders etc.. At which point I say amounts of protein may vary, but like I have said in previous post 1g per protein by bodyweight is a good rule of thumb (however, with that being said, take into account that I lift weights and I am active. If you are sedentary and do very little in terms of exercise, you can scale that number back to about .8grams). I am 140lbs and I take in roughly 140 grams of protein daily. Some days I take in more and some less, but by weeks end I typically go by a daily average of about 135-140 grams.  Which leads me to the next topic of, can you get too much protein and how does the body break it down.

Your body can digest and absorb about 95% of the protein you ingest. The rest is broken down (which is roughly 5%) and used in other energy pathways. The absorption happens at various rates. There is much controversy on how much or how little protein one actually needs, depending on who you talk to. Some would say that you only need as little as .91 grams/weight (I still stick by my .8). Do your research, trial and error with your intake a bit to figure out what is right for you.

More times than not, I am shocked when I hear people give me a break down of their daily intake and it is severely lacking in protein. What most people do not realize is that the majority of their diets are made up of  carbs and fats.  This is why I say it is very  important to log your food for a while. This way you can see for yourself where your macronutrients are and where you are lacking or eating too much of. I realize some of you just don’t want to be bothered with it or could care less. I strongly caution you against this train of thought. Even if you are not looking to lose weight, don’t you at least want to know that you are fueling your body properly to ward off any future problems? Don’t you want to feel better? More energized? What have you got to lose? The 1/2 hour it may take you to find the food app on your phone and set it up? That’s it. After that, you are good to go. All you need to do is log your food as your day progresses, and the end of the day, it’s all there right in front of you. What you ate and what percentages of each macronutrient you consumed in your day. I mean then,  it won’t be a question of why am I not losing, gaining, still hungry, not hungry etc..you just open up your handy dandy little app and evaluate what you need to do going forward.

I really want to help you help yourself. Next time, I will focus on carbohydrates, what they are, why we need them and the pros and cons of having too little or too much.

Oh! Before I go real quick. I get asked what the difference is between Whey Protein and Whey Isolate (these are protein supplements that may be used to get your  protein requirements in for the day IN CONJUNCTION with the rest of your intake coming from whole foods).

Whey Protein- is the most popular and cheapest source out on the market. It is also the one we are most familiar with, and whey comes from milk, is the quickest and easiest for the body to digest. Whey contains between 70/80 % protein and roughly 5% comes from lactose (which is good to keep in mind for those of you who are lactose intolerant)

Isolates- These are more expensive and probably is the most purest of both forms, containing about 95% protein. They also contain little to no lactose and generally are lower in fat than whey.

Is one better than the other. In my opinion NO. Unless you have a lactose issue, go for the cheaper  variety of whey. If you are a protein snob and are watching your fats AND you are lactose intolerant AND have money to just burn..sure, go for the isolate.

Kbye!

88 Days Left..Really?!

I feel like this year has just flown by! Worked 12 hours last night, woke up and hit the gym. YES, I did. I know a hot topic for a lot of us is, “Well, I just don’t have time” and you  know what, nobody wants to hear me preach about the importance of making time. I feel like I do it often on here, but I cannot make myself any clearer. You just have to. I can be honest for a sec and say that when I first wake up, I am in NO mood ready, willing, or happy about going to the gym. I’m just not. I don’t force or rush myself out the door- my ritual usually consists of getting up, making coffee and throwing in 2 Eggo Multigrain Waffles into the toaster oven. If you know anything at all about me, know this, I am a creature of habit. I pretty much eat the same things over and over again. Does it get boring? No, not really, because, like I said..I am a creature of habit. I enjoy knowing what I am going to have and how it fits into my daily macro allotment. Anyway, I will eat, sit outside if it’s nice, browse and just relax and slowly wake up. The longer I’m awake, the better the idea of hitting the gym sounds to me. I can’t say I get excited, but there is a certain amount of enthusiasm that builds up over the course of the 30 minutes or so that I am sitting there thinking about what I’m going to do for my day’s workout.

Today I knew I wanted my focus to be on my shoulders. I LOVE working my shoulders and maybe that is because that is where I show progress the quickest and it’s easiest to see there. Either way, I do love a good shoulder workout. This is what I did:

DB Lateral Raises 4×12

Diamond Push-ups- 2×12 (I actually did these dead last)

Presses on the Hammer Machine-4×12

Db Front Raises 5×5

Barbell overhead Press- 4×8

Single Arm Cable front raises 5×5

cable upright rows- 4×12

Single Arm Cable lat raises-5×5 (which were supersetted with the single arm front raises)

great workout and very glad I went and got it done. NO cardio. Not a lick. I just did cardio on Sunday yo’, you know how I feel about cardio! On a side note, I was looking for a tshirt to throw on after my shower and I found my one running tshirt that has a ton a reasons why I run splashed across the front. I had a little teary eyed moment. I did. I had the strongest urge to just go out for a quick run. I did. I still think running is a part of who I am, because I do have feelings that reappear out of nowhere at times. Almost a longing , but for right now, it’s on the back burner. I’m really okay with it at the end of the day. I will go back to it, just maybe with a different perspective on it. So there you have it, I worked, I slepted and I got up and got my workout done.

I took a few pictures because taking pictures of myself (selfies If you will is a way that I gauge my progress. It isn’t because I’m conceited or I’m full of myself, CONTRARE to what others may think, it is merely another tracking tool for me) to see how my progress is coming along. Lately I have been feeling down on myself. I feel like maybe I’m not doing something right, I feel like my progress has been slow and honestly, I have been feeling discouraged. Which, btw are all NORMAL feelings to have. I took a look at the pictures and I realized that I am indeed going in the right direction and that I MUST be doing at least a little something right. I can smile on the inside a little bit more knowing that I continue to learn and I continue to work on myself and figure out what does and does not work for me. Everyday, all of this..it’s a learning process. I just hope to achieve my goals and inspire people along the way.

I turn 41 on Monday and although it is not as bad as turning 40 was, it is just a reminder that time does go by very fast. I am trying to do the best that I can to be the best version of me possible. I’m trying to learn all that I can and passing it along to those that want the help or that are interested. I LOVE helping people and I LOVE seeing the progress they are making. I want to prove to everyone out there that just because you are *older* does not mean you cannot achieve anything you want- whether it’s with your body or elsewhere. I want people to stop listening to the hype about all the reasons and excuses WHY they are overweight or WHY they can’t work out. You are NOT a failure and YOU CAN do this. Take a good look at yourself and figure out what you are going to do to make the changes necessary to be the best version of you possible.

I want to quickly add that there is also a lot to be said about being comfortable with the SKIN YOU ARE IN. If YOU are truly HAPPY with where you are at in your life, what you see in the reflection of your mirror, how you treat people and what you put out into the world, then you GO!!! Continue to strive for that every day of your life. Remember that everyone is going through their own struggles and battles in their lives. Take a minute to smile at people, say hello and brighten their day. People make mistakes in life, we are often misread, and often times we are forgotten about on a daily basis. Try to be aware of those that maybe you think you should be giving a little extra attention to, even if that person is YOU.

Be you..be true and live your life to it’s fullest.

Down to 90 Days..

I cannot believe I have made it this long. Well, yes I can, but I have done it with very little effort and have learned so many things along the way. The biggest piece I have learned is that life is about balance.  Balancing the good and the bad and  to just keep moving forward through all your ups and downs.

I want to talk a little about metabolic issues today. There is much controversy regarding metabolic damage (Metabolic Damage:”This is a condition where the nervous, endocrine, and immunological systems lose their ability to function properly due to extreme weight loss measures or repeated dieting. In functional medicine we call it neuroedocrineimmune dysfunction because these systems are not separate at all, but have overlapping communication and integrated function” -Jade Teta ND, CSCS). Some gurus simply believe it just does not exist, and then there are those that believe it truly does exist, because they are living examples of it.

The people I have read first accounts and stories of as well as people I know in real life are what I like to call “Perpetual Dieters”, they spend more time dieting than not dieting, and because they are constantly suppressing their system, losing weight becomes next to impossible for them. “I’m only eating 1000 calories a day and I’m not losing, I just don’t understand it” I see this ALL the time. Which is most often followed up with, “Please tell me what to do, BUT, note, that I cannot eat carbs due to the intolerance I have” Let me let you in on a little secret- you are NOT carb intolerant. NOT. (again, I must put in my little disclaimer of- I am NOT speaking of anyone with a true documented medical condition- celiacs et al..and when I mean documented, I mean not SELF dx’d, I mean you went to the Dr. and were officially tested for said conditions). What I like to tell these perpetual dieters is that first and foremost you really need to work on re-setting your *system*. What does this mean? This means that you must spend some time slowly upping your caloric intake to where it really should be. Which will vary according to a few different variables such as, your age, your weight, your height and your activity level. Then I tell them, if your not moving, you NEED to get moving, be active, exercise!! Which is followed by “Well I do cardio every single day, I am moving”, which leads me to say the unthinkable..ready for this? Hold on to your hats……”STOP DOING THAT MUCH CARDIO!!!” just stop.  What I would really prefer is for you to stop cardio all together for a period of time. NO cardio is NOT evil or bad and I know that some will argue with me until they are blue in the face. However, combining excessive amounts of cardio on top of EXTREMELY low calories is NOT beneficial to you. Sure, it may work at first, why? Because you are shocking your system and it’s something new. Trust me on this, you WILL eventually hit that stall. The  point where you stop losing weight and you may even start gaining- which makes people assume they must need to lower their calories even more and do yet even more cardio. NO. Just stop.

My advice is to cut back your cardio to maybe a few leisurely walks a week, some stretching and start picking up some weights. What I will warn you though is that stopping cardio cold turkey and eating more right away will make you retain water like nobody’s business and therefore you will see the scale numbers go up. Take it slow, I would first start dropping the cardio little by little (keep your calories the same right now), I would focus on eating more protein and fiber for awhile to keep you feeling satiated. Did you know that  you should be eating at least 1g of protein per your bodyweight? Some may argue it should be lean body mass vs total body weight..I say 1lb per your bodyweight. So if you weigh 125, it would be 125 grams of protein a day, 140 would be 140 grams per day and so on. I would also strive to be sure you are getting at least 25-35 grams of fiber in your diet daily as well. Most people really struggle with this, I highly encourage logging all your food to get a grasp on your macronutrients.

THEN start upping your calories little by little and at the same time, start incorporating those weights. Do not be afraid of lifting weights. I cannot stress this enough. If you are a woman NO, it will NOT make you look bulky and ugly. Put that thought right out of your pretty little head right now. Lifting weights will make you a little fat burning furnace, long after you have stopped your workout. Lift heavy. Period. There is no such thing as *toning* it is a myth people. Nobody spot *tones* anything. ANYTHING!!! You want to look leaner and stronger, pick up the weights and get to it. I cannot stress this enough. “Well I have back issues, I have shoulder issues, I can’t lift weights” YES you can. You may have to do a little more research to be able to sub out exercises, but you can do it. STOP MAKING excuses. JUST STOP. I have seen many people face many adversities and still keep going. They don’t give up. They continually strive to be the best them they can be. I have friends that have back problems, that have had back surgeries, you know what? They are still out there everyday fighting the fight and doing what they need to do. You have to first figure out why you keep making up excuses to why you can’t do what you know you really need to do. The only one stopping you is YOU.

My goal is to try and continue to get the message out that low calorie/extreme cardio diets are NOT the way to go. They are ruining your body. Get off the cardio machines and move some iron. I have come from a background of distance running as most of you know that have been following me. I have spent years running and years of depriving my system of the food and calories it needed thinking that is what I was supposed to do. I eventually burned out, hard. I was starving, my body was starving and my running began to become something I no longer loved. I hated it. I no longer wanted to associate with other runners that I knew, it made me sad and it made me jealous. I felt like a failure and without my running, I felt like they had no need to be my friend anymore, because the one thing we had in common, I put on the wayside for awhile. They stopped talking to me and I them. I spend a great deal of time physically and emotionally repairing myself. Emotionally because I felt like a huge failure. I felt like a fake. I used to say how much I loved running and it was who I was. The truth is, I ran myself into the ground. Do I miss it? I miss it a lot some days. Maybe I will go back some time, but right now, it isn’t my focus, and truth be told, I do very little cardio right now. Maybe 2/20 minute sessions a week at the most. My body has thanked me for it and you know what? My body is in the best shape it has ever been in. NOT because I run, but because I stopped and I started seriously weight training. Is running bad? NO! Of course not! What I will say, is if you are a runner, please be sure you are EATING enough to sustain your body and your runs. This was my biggest problem. I simply was not eating to fuel my runs. It took me a few months to really be okay with not running. I was very much like “Well, if I’m not running, then who am I?”.. I’m a wife, mother, friend and most of all an individual person that is separate from the rest. I have dreams and desires and things I want to do.

As you know, I personally follow a macro nutrient based lifestyle. This is what I like and what I prefer, so I will often refer to this lifestyle throughout my posts. I have had people ask me how it works and can I teach them. It’s very easy and very freeing. Step one is figuring out your macro breakdown do this by going to: www.iifym.com once you go there go to tools and figure out your numbers. Then it will then break down what your macros should be based on your daily caloric intake. Once you have that all figured out you are set to go. Like I have said in previous posts, you will need to log your daily intake- I highly suggest you get yourself a food scale so that you can be precise in your calculations and logging your food. If you find that your calories are MUCH higher than what you are used to (which I suspect it will be), my suggestion would be to start out slow until you work your way up to where you should be. You may have some initial weight gain, but that will even out and stop AND some may even find that they lose right off the bat. Either way, stick the course, do not give up. Stick with it day in and day out. Give it 10 days, once you make it 10 days, give yourself another 10 days..it will become a habit, I promise. Diet followed with a good strong exercise/weight training  regime will give you results. I promise.

If you have any questions, please post them and I will be sure to get back to you.

 

Victorious

Strength for the body, mind + spirit. 1 Cor 15:57

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