When you need to lose those last few pounds

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight before (and that would be 99.99% of us, right??) then you know it’s those last few pounds that seem like they are stuck like glue to our bodies!! What gives? It’s not like those 5 or so pounds are going to rock our worlds, or that our abs need to be shredded duuuude!…but then again it’s so much more rewarding to know we met our goals completely and can enjoy the results of  not giving up. There are times that we really want more results. Like for example, if you have a special event coming up; or training for an endurance event; or training to take the stage for a fitness competition or you want to rock your wedding gown! Whatever the reasons (and they are all important if they push you!), did you know that your best solution is what you would typically not do? It’s simply to EAT MORE FOOD!!!!

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and a gasp was heard!

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not going crazy or trying to throw you off track. It’s when we change things up again that our bodies take notice and in return, change things up. You will drop weight again. I know most people think this type of thinking is completely nuts and many are too wired into the dieting mentality to give it a go (and just keep repeating the maddening deprivation and binge cycle) but if you trust me and take this challenge for yourself, you’ll be dancing into your next success phase.

In order to help you understand what I’m saying is legit, I’m going to share with you how and why your body won’t change within the last few pounds of our target weight loss.

I have to repeat that this is for those of you who need to lose the last few pounds and not starting out or following a current plan that is working. This helps those of us who have hit a weight loss plateau while already eating at a calorie deficit and still not happy with our results.

#1: Hormones can wreak havoc on us

Hormones are whack. Seriously, I wish I had a dime for every time my (or someone’s I’m working with) hormones are responsible for an issue or struggle. When our bodies are working hard to digest and metabolize our foods, hormones are involved. They are responsible for shifts in our results depending on how much and what we are eating. This becomes a bigger issue when we continue to cut more calories in order to lose weight. It sounds pretty simple that cutting calories will lead to more weight loss, YES? But I have to tell you that it’s not that simple. And hormones are responsible.
Logically, our brains may want to lose those last pounds of YUCK sitting on our bodies but our body actually does not. Our endocrine system (hormones) don’t understand that you’re not simply dying, and it’s main purpose is to help us not die! That’s really pretty cool that our body has our back (so to say). It helps to understand these basic principles so we can confidently change up what we are doing when it’s not working any longer. When we continue to restrict calories and nutrition, our body isn’t aware how long the starvation phase will continue. As we lower our caloric intake, the hormones can start to increase our appetites (hello BINGE FEST!) to help motivate us to EAT MORE (and the choices are usually not good!) and we wonder why we turn into the HANGRY monsters! #hormones As this is happening, you know what else is going on? Our body then slows down our metabolism (uh oh!) and promotes the breakdown of lean muscle tissue in order to conserve for the emergency of keeping our body fat supplies around longer.

It sounds like the drama scene in any action packed movie; everything is working to stop the good guys goal.

Let’s talk about the hormones responsible for appetite. The first one is called, “ghrelin” and is produced in our guts. (yayyy!) This hormone promotes hunger and can increase when we are in a fasting period. The second is called, “leptin” and is produced by adipose tissue (or FAT). This hormone decreases our hunger; it shows up in fewer amounts when you have less body fat available to produce it.

When energy levels are restricted, it puts more stress on our bodies. As this happens, it increases the hormone “cortisol”. This stress hormone helps us in tough situations. Think the “fight or flight” scenarios or when we are in actual danger. (cue horror movie type music). It becomes problematic, however, when we are constantly stressed out within our daily lives. What happens? It starts to suppress the hormone “leptin” (remember that one was helping to decrease our hunger) and it also saves more body fat stores by helping our bodies to break down more muscle protein as a source for fuel.

This is exactly what we don’t want. If we don’t know what’s going on within our bodies at these stages, we actually start to harm ourselves with what we believe is helping us “lose more weight”.

Not that we need one more areas to go wrong, but super low-calorie diets and super low body fats have been shown to reduce our blood sugar-regulating hormone, “insulin”. Insulin helps to metabolize and regulate our thyroid hormones and helps to prevent muscle protein breakdown.

So when you add this all up it equals chaos going on in our endocrine system. Any questions? Beuhler?

BLOGGING IS THE ONLY WAY!

 

#2: Metabolism slows down .

Let’s talk about our metabolism when we undereat. Like I said before, it seems pretty basic to think restricting more calories will simply result in more weight loss, right? WRONG! Our bodies require a specific amount of calories to just run efficiently to help in our bodily functions and in keeping us alive. #bonus This is referred to as our BASAL METABOLIC RATE, or “BMR”. It is basically like the fuel you put into your car or it won’t run. We know we burn calories when we are working out and being more active, but we also burn calories when doing anything, nothing and sleeping too!

It’s when we don’t eat enough, however, energy levels are lowered and our basal metabolic rate (BMR) does too. Why does this matter? Because it’s at this point that energy becomes less prevelant and our results slow down and eventually stall.

 

#3: You are not active

Your BMR is where most of your calories are burned (about 70%). The next is the daily stuff we do that seems almost boring; things like walking around, talking, crossing off tasks on your “to do” list. If you are low on calories, your body will then try to conserve energy and reduces this energy burn. Simply put; you burn less calories all the time.

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Now that we know…what do we do??? 

As you know from above, just start to eat more. When we lower our deficit in calories, then these problems also lessen. Let’s talk about a study on women who were fed 1200 calories per day for 3 weeks.  This is nearly 600 calories less than the average intake for most women.  The study showed an increase in the hormone, cortisol in these women. Let’s compare another study on overweight men and women who were restricted just 200-300 calories a day less than the average daily intake. In this study, and combined with exercise, the results did not show an increase in cortisol (stress hormones). When we are eating enough to fuel our body’s needs throughout the dieting and exercise plans, we create less stress on our bodies and this makes it easier for us to maintain the caloric deficit without adding undue increases in cortisol levels.

It’s suggested at this point to increase your calories by 200-300 a day until you start to see results again. For example, if you’re following a plan that is 1,500 calories a day and not seeing the results you want, go up to about 1,700 calories and see if that creates better results. If that doesn’t work, then go up again to 1,800 calories and continue adding another 200 or so calories per week until your plateau is cracked.

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When you break it down, 200-300 extra calories are not much more foods but will give you better results in the long run. It may mean adding in a piece of fruit and some raw nuts into your day. Choose the right balance of foods to keep your macros balanced as you are adding the extra calories.

The focus should be on long term results at this point and not a temporary loss (and ultimately that dreaded gain soon after). Since what you’re currently doing is no longer working, you really don’t have much more to lose (or do you??) 🙂

Have you ever gone up in your calories when you hit a plateau? If so, please share with me below! I’d love to hear your story!

Why sugar can make or break your health goals

I know that summer is winding down to a close. I know this because school is already in session. But the weather is still hot and the season is still enticing us with the foods we are choosing to eat and the drinks we drink.
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It’s important to understand the who, what, where and how of the foods we eat and how they affect our bodies. I understand the struggle of needing more willpower. But in all actuality, our long term results are not reflected by our short term habits. In order to create long term results, it’s important to understand exactly why we should do what we should do and how to create balance instead of deprivation and overindulging.

When someone suffers from insulin resistance, it means that they have cells that don’t the insulin effectively. The cells then have trouble absorbing the glucose and this causes a buildup of sugars in our blood. When the blood glucose levels are higher than normal (but not quite high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes), the result is a condition known as “pre-diabetes”.

We don’t know exactly why some people develop insulin resistance, while others don’t, but there are a few tell tale signs. One; being overweight or obese are leading factors. Two; being sedentary (lack of movement during the course of every day) can also cause the symptoms that lead to pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. When you add the two together; overweight and sedentary lifestyle, the risks rise.

So back to my first point about summer and how it ties in with insulin resistance. The summer season brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, which make it easier to eat healthily but it also brings some risks. Knowing these risks and learning how to deal with them will help our bodies run efficiently and our habits may begin to motivate those around us. #bonus

So what tastes better while lounging around on a lazy summer day than some fruity cocktail drinks and some ice cream treats? I know…pretty tempting, right? Unfortunately, these are dangerous foods for our blood sugar levels. We are simply trading in a few minutes of pleasure (drug like high) when we indulge in these cold and sugar-loaded treats, for a dangerous road that may lead to long term chronic illness.

The danger comes when we choose to continue to indulge in too much sugar, because our bodies respond by producing more and more insulin. When there is too much insulin in our bodies, it trains our cells to become resistant and thus forms the insulin resistance problems.
Now, I realize these facts alone aren’t enough to stop us from eating ice cream and indulging in sugary drinks and snacks…me neither! But moderation is the key to lasting results and long term better health. Still with me? We can have our cake and eat it too…but we also need to be smart about how much we are eating and how we eat it.
One more thing I’d like to mention today to bring this all together. I’m sure you’ve heard about the glycemic index, right? This is simply a way of categorizing foods according to their effects on the levels of glucose in our blood. Pretty cool, right? A food that has a high glycemic index will cause more glucose to build up than a food with low glycemic index.
I know, I know…knowledge is truly powerful!  If we want to help control our blood sugar levels, then we should focus on eating foods with a low glycemic index. It’s also important to note that when we eat foods with a high glycemic index (because I’m all about moderation and not deprivation), just make sure to eat it with a low glycemic food to help slow the effects on our blood sugar levels.
What are high glycemic foods? Think, white flours, white sugars, white rices, and white potatoes. (I know, they are “healthy” but that doesn’t mean they don’t fall into this category).
Low glycemic foods are ones that contain more fiber and protein. Think “clean eating” and you’ll be on the right path. This category includes choices like beans, whole grains, lean proteins and nuts.
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In conclusion to this information overload (or maybe you already knew all of this), it’s important to follow the 80/20 rule of thumb. Follow a diet full of clean, whole foods 80% of the time and indulge in your favorite treats 20% of the time so you can have the best of both worlds. Being healthy, looking our best and feeling awesome are really great trade offs to cutting out those indulgent periods. Just by becoming more aware of these facts and the glycemic index will help us eat better and reduce stresses on our bodies. When you choose to indulge in a high glycemic treat like ice cream, for example; make sure to enjoy it at the end of a meal that contains low glycemic (clean eating) foods. And a bonus would be to have it on a day when you have done some resistance training.
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As the summer season comes to a close (and really throughout the entire year), have your occasional treats, and make sure they are strictly occasional. Your body and taste buds will thank you in the long run!

Reach your goals – once and for all

What’s the secret to success? I struggled for many years in my desire to achieve my health, fitness and weight loss goals; as well as business, personal and success goals – only to be deterred time and time again. Have you ever struggled before in this way?

I often wondered ‘when do the results finally happen’ and ‘why are there people that we know who continuously achieve their goals while others struggle in their own self-defeating patterns?’

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Now I’m not saying that I am a success story in these areas; but I have learned many lessons over the past 20 or so years and thought it might help someone to hear what’s worked for me.

Think for a moment that exciting feeling when you begin something new. It may seem as though you have the secret to finally figuring it all out and the sky’s the limit in this phase. And why not? At this point of our journey, everything is fresh, new and sparkly (that’s my description but I think you get the point!). It’s at this point when we haven’t yet run into any challenges or encountered any hurdles so it can almost seem a bit skewed from reality. Nonetheless, we set out with our new plans and vow to change our lives; change the world and take on whatever may have held us back in the past.

Everything seems possible in this moment and it’s at this time (whether we are embarking on a new fitness/health journey; starting a new business venture; beginning a new relationship; etc) that we must decide WHY we have chosen this challenge/change. What is so important about these specific goals and what needs to change in our lives at this time in order to make this happen? You may be wondering what any of this has to do with starting something new. The first few steps help to set the foundation for changes and the new success that we so desire. Think for a moment, if we don’t start with the WHY; then what changes from today? If we consider the fact that adding changes; saying ‘yes’ to anything different than what we are currently doing, we will ultimately be saying ‘no’ to other areas of our lives that may or may not be acceptable.

Once the reasons are set and we start moving forward, there will eventually come resistance. We will run into days when we don’t ‘feel’ like doing what we planned; we will run into days when unexpected surprises pop up and we need to juggle and deal with these surprises; we will run into days where we are overly stressed, tired or downright tired of going through the daily motions that seemed exciting in the beginning.

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It’s at this point of resistance that we make a decision; and it’s at this point of our journey that makes or breaks our success in the new plan. If we decide to give in to the resistance and slow down our progress (which usually means we are skipping our workouts/ eating on the fly/ passing on the new habits we set up for our success) then we are deciding that the results are not worth the sacrifice. Right? That’s pretty powerful if you sit and let it sink in. However, if we decide to push through the resistance and do what we planned on doing no matter what; (and this can seriously SUCK some days!) then we are making the decision to continue to fight for what we want to achieve irregardless of the struggle.

Now this part of the journey is actually another critical point that may seem uneventful; maybe even ‘boring’, but it’s going to make the most change of all. Doing what you said you’d do at the times when you don’t feel like it (or enter any excuses you’ve made here…no, they are not “reasons”) will actually be pushing your old bad habits further away. Imagine when you get up to do the workout or eat the meal when you could easily have passed it by because of your “excuses”; you are pushing through boundaries and setting a new “normal” for you to accept. This means that the next time an excuse pops up and you push forward again, you are quite literally, taking steps into unchartered and new success territories. Does that make sense? Because it’s kind of fabulous when you start to “get it” 😉

The last and most crucial next step in forming lifelong habits is in changing old, negative thought patterns about ourselves. Most of us don’t believe that we are “worth” the time, energy, money it takes for us to reach our ultimate goals. If we are constantly berating ourselves; telling ourselves we aren’t worth it, we don’t need it as much as we thought or worse yet; that we are “ugly, stupid, fat, etc”…these are POISON to our results. The negativity we may have learned over the years will keep us stuck in our miserable states because we believe that we are less than anyone else in our lives. This is CRAP and needs to end today! If you have issues that are deep rooted from childhood or past experiences, I suggest searching for a reputable therapist to help you get beyond those issues. If your issues are simply from habits that you’ve created, it’s time to change your mindset and surround yourself with positive people, books, audio and lessons to create a better quality of self-acceptance and love.

The New Decade Begins!!

Knowing that when you put these practices into place, you will not only achieve new results..you will become obsessed with them because they feel fantastic! You are a beautiful, blessed and unique YOU and it’s time to take back your happiness and start to believe in yourself – once and for all. Do this, and the rest will start to fall into place. You will become the type of person whom you’ve always felt was “lucky” or “entitled”.