Jet lag is a pretty awful thing and almost all of us have experienced it at some point in time with travel. There is nothing worse than finally getting to your destination after several hours of travel and then feeling the dreaded symptoms of jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag can include irritability, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headache, depression, as well as many other unpleasant effects. Jet lag happens when your body switches abruptly to a different time zone, completely throwing off your internal clock causing the above symptoms.
Below lists the best ways to treat and prevent jet lag:
1. Synchronize your watch to the new time zone
One of the very first things you should do once you take your seat on the plane is to change your watch to the time zone you are traveling to. This will get you into a mindset of the new time and you won't be constantly reminded of how your time zone has altered when you check your watch.
2. Go to bed and wake up with the new time zone
Try as best as you can to wake up and go to sleep in line with your new time zone, this will help to prevent you from waking up way to early or way too late, and help you to get a better sleep so that you will have good energy for your trip. Note that if you will be in the new time zone for only a couple of nights, it might actually be better to stick to your regular bed time and wake time if possible.
Exercise is one of the best ways to beat off the symptoms of jet lag. It doesn't even have to be a long workout, just getting your heart rate up for a few minutes can shake off those jet lag symptoms to increase energy and mental alertness.
4. Eat with new time zone
This goes along with getting adjusted to the new time zone. Try to eat at the same time you did with your original time zone to keep you energy up and to prevent hunger and irritability.
5. Avoid alcohol on your flight
Alcohol can make jet lag worse according to the World Health Association. The only drink you should have on the plan is water to keep you hydrated.
6. Drink water
Flying can lead to dehydration because the air is much drier in the airplane causing you to lose fluids. Make it a game and drink as many cups or bottles of water that you can on the plane. Yes, this does mean you will have to get up to use the restroom, but that's a good thing! You should be getting up at least once an hour on flights to prevent blood pooling in the lower legs which can lead to swelling, pain, and even a blood clot.
7. Consider a power nap
A short nap, 25-30 minutes can be very helpful for situations where you haven't slept and you get to your destination in the morning and you have a full day ahead of you at your destination. A power nap must be kept short to prevent you from getting into deep stages of sleep, because if you wake up during deep stages of sleep this will make you feel groggy and sleeping too much might make it harder to fall asleep later.
8. Eat healthy
When you are tired and cranky the last thing you might be thinking about is eating healthy. Avoid carbohydrates and sugar when you are traveling because these foods are only going to make you feel more sluggish and tired, as well as cause your blood sugar to go high and then dip low leading to more irritability. Instead stick to vegetables (which will also help to keep you hydrated due to their high water content), healthy fats, and protein.
9. Consider taking melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate your internal clock. Melatonin is the hormone that helps to make you feel tired at night time, and is also the hormone that tells your body it is time to wake up in the morning. Try taking melatonin 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep to help boost your natural melatonin and help you get to sleep even when you might be feeling wired from the travel day. Read more the benefits of taking melatonin for jet lag here from the Mayo Clinic.
Main take aways...
The best thing you can do is make yourself follow the new time zone as if nothing has changed. The worst thing you can do is think to yourself, "It's 9 am here but really it's only 5am for me" - no no no, you can't think this way, it will only make you feel more lethargic and blah. The above recommendations are for travel greater than 3 days, if you are only traveling for a day or two then it is probably a better idea to try and stick to your original time zone if possible.
It seems like just about everyone has tried to lose weight at some point in time, and it can be super frustrating when you think you are doing everything right yet you aren't losing any weight - or you might even be gaining weight! Seriously the worst. There is usually one or more factors contributing to this, the trick is figuring out what you need to change to see changes on the scale and with how your clothes fit.
Below lists the top 11 reasons you are not losing weight:
1. You aren't moving enough
If you have a job or lifestyle where you are sitting most of the day and getting less than 5,000 steps (aka you are sedentary) your body is not going to burn many calories beyond your resting metabolic rate. This means it will be harder and take longer for you to lose weight. Being more active during the day can be as simple as standing rather than sitting or walking rather than driving. These little changes add up over time and can lead to tons of calories burned without you even realizing it. One great way to track your daily movement is to use a fitness monitor to track movement and calories burned, or even just an app on your phone to track steps. Tracking something is better than tracking nothing.
2. Your thyroid is sluggish
Your thyroid is a major factor regulating your metabolic rate, and if you have a sluggish thyroid, this will translate to a sluggish metabolism. This generally happens over a long period of time so you may not be able to tell the effects right away, but if you have a family history of hypothyroidism it might be a good idea to get this checked out.
3. You are eating too many carbs
Too many carbs are a problem for most individuals because they are super easy to overeat and they don't keep you full for very long - bad combination for your weight loss efforts! Carbs also stimulate the fat storage hormone insulin, so every time you eat carbs you are stimulating this hormone whose main function is to store calories. If you are going to eat carbs, aim for carbs that are high in fiber such as vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
4. You are eating too much in general
Overeating will cause weight gain, whether this be too many carbs, protein or fat. It is much harder to overeat protein and fat because these foods are incredibly filling and satisfying, but if you overeat past the point of feeling full then it can happen with these foods as well. Also, if you are combining high fat foods with high carb foods, this is the exact recipe for weight gain and is what I advise patients of mine who are trying to gain weight - for example, quesadillas and burritos as a no no when trying to lose weight!
5. You aren't strength training
This doesn't mean you have to go and lift heavy weights everyday, just using your body weight is enough. This could be as short as a 15 minute circuit to an hour long yoga class. Strength training exercises will help you to both maintain the muscle you have as well as build more muscle. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, meaning the more of it you have, the more calories you burn at rest and with exercise.
6. You are not incorporating high intensity interval training
High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to lose fat faster. This is because not only does it cause you to burn calories during the exercise, but it also causes your body to continue to burn calories even after the exercise is done - up to 72 hours after! The greater the intensity, the greater the burn. A great way to monitor your intensity is to use a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker.
7. You are overly stressed
Too many circulating stress hormones in your body favors your body to not only hold onto fat, but also to gain fat. This is another reason why when you are stressed it can be hard to lose weight. Read more about the effect of these stress hormones here.
8. You aren't sleeping
Not getting enough sleep or not getting enough good sleep will definitely make it harder for your to lose weight. Sleep is when your body is able to recharge itself, build muscle, and regulate hormones. Lack of sleep increases hormones that make you hungry, stressed, anxious, and moody. Make a point of giving yourself an adequate amount of time to sleep or risk having to experience the above symptoms as well as weight gain.
9. You are drinking too many cocktails
A glass of wine a couple of nights a week is totally fine, it may even prevent you from snacking on other things. However, when you start drinking more than one drink a night those calories can add up and cause weight gain. The worst offenders are cocktails with high sugar ingredients or sweet wine. Stick to dry wine and spirits on the rocks or spirits with a zero calorie mixer.
10. You aren't drinking enough water
If you are even a little dehydrated, this can make you feel hungry which may cause you to overeat when really all you needed was a glass of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink 64 ounces of water per day, more if you are exercising. Water also helps to take space up in your stomach making you feel more full, so try to drink a glass or two of water before meals.
11. You are eating too little
The worst thing you can do is to eat too few of calories. Not eating enough is actually more common than you think and is only going to make you gain more weight in the long run. If you are constantly feeling hungry, this is a clue that either you are not eating the right foods, or you are not eating enough. If you are eating protein and fat and very low carb and you are still very hungry - you need to eat more! Start with adding an extra serving of protein, fat, or fiber at meals if the above scenario is true for you. For example, say you typically eat 3 eggs for breakfast and you are still very hungry after 2 hours. Fix this by adding another egg, a tablespoon of coconut oil, or throw in a tablespoon of chia seeds for some fiber.
Main take aways...
There is almost always one or more factors that could be stalling your weight loss goals, and it will almost always be one or more of the above. Don't let these factors stall you anymore!
It seems like everyone is confused about cholesterol. Should we worry about cholesterol, should we not worry about cholesterol, how do we lower bad cholesterol, how do we increase good cholesterol. The answers to these questions are constantly changing and it can be very confusing as to what to do about cholesterol - and I'm not convinced that cholesterol is even a great indicator of heart disease. That being said, there are certain things that you can do that everyone agrees on can lower your risk for heart disease, as well as lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
Note: "Good" cholesterol is HDL cholesterol and it is considered good because it helps your body process the bad types of cholesterol. "Bad" cholesterol is both triglyceride cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is bad because high levels are associated with heart disease (high triglycerides also can cause pancreatitis).
Below lists the top ways to improve your cholesterol levels:
1. Exercise most days of the week
Exercising daily is one of the very best things you can do for yourself in general, and research has found that exercising daily is good for your heart as well as increasing good cholesterol and decreasing bad cholesterol. Exercise is one of the first things I recommend when a patient has abnormal cholesterol levels because it is a highly effective treatment. Read more about the benefits of exercise on cholesterol levels here.
2. Decrease consumption of processed foods
Processed foods basically means anything that comes in a package. Processed foods are almost always low in fiber and other nutrients due to the fact that they are highly processed which removes vitamins and fiber. These foods that are devoid of nutrients are doing nothing to help your cholesterol, and if anything are hurting your health. The worst processed foods contain trans-fats, which are chemically altered fats that have shown to negatively affect your health and cholesterol levels. Processed foods also tend to be inflammatory, and inflammation is basically the root cause of all disease including heart disease. Read more about diet and heart disease risk here.
3. Increase fiber intake
Fiber has amazing health benefits, one of them being its ability to decrease bad cholesterol levels - most notably triglyceride cholesterol. Fiber is able to decrease levels because it binds to the bad cholesterol in the body and physically removes it from your body when you go to the bathroom. Aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Great sources of fiber include chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, raspberries, beans, and vegetables. Read more about this here from the Mayo Clinic.
4. Decrease simple carbohydratesSimple carbohydrates mean these carbohydrates have little to no fiber. These include rice, tortillas, bread, etc.When I have patients cut these foods out or decrease their consumption of these foods, I see dramatic changes in their cholesterol for the better.
5. Increase omega-3 fatty acidsI will actually prescribe omega-3 fatty acids for patients of mine who have very high bad cholesterol (specifically triglyceride cholesterol). But you don't have to have bad cholesterol to take these as a supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely good for you notably because they lower inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon and grass-fed butter.
6. Quit smokingIf you smoke, quit now. Smoking decreases good cholesterol and increases bad cholesterol. There is literally no benefit of smoking and this is just one more reason to quit. This study showed that good cholesterol raised after individuals quit smoking. Read more about the effects of smoking here.
7. Decrease sugarThe worst offenders are soda, candy, pastries, pies, muffins, and cake because these are all basically pure sugar and will also increase weight gain and are high risk for developing type 2 Diabetes. Aim to get less than 25 grams of sugar per day.
Main take aways...
Exercise daily, eat lots of vegetables and natural foods that don't come in packages and you will be on the right track to a healthy heart and a healthy body in general.
Many individuals view sleep as a luxury and not a necessity, which could not be farther from the truth! Make sleep just as important as exercising and eating right, because it is just as important if not more important for your health.
Below lists the top 10 reasons to make sleep a priority:
Studies have found that a good sleep is necessary for focus and attention. If the brain is not able to reset and relax adequately, this leads to decreased ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Focus is necessary for almost everything, whether this be studying for a test, or driving a car.
Getting quality sleep translates to a better workout because sleep is when your muscles recover and heal themselves. If muscles are not able to rebuild overnight, your muscles are going to have a very hard time becoming stronger. Not only that, if you try to workout after no sleep or a bad sleep, your workout is likely going to feel much harder than normal - which can be very frustrating as well!
Think about how much crankier you are when you don't get a good sleep - it's not your fault! Lack of sleep causes your hormones to go hay-wire, leading to more anxiety and stress in the brain. Sleep deprivation causes anxiety because your brain is not able to shut itself down and reset. It is imperative to get good sleep to prevent anxiety and stress and is why sleep is my number one recommendation to those with anxiety.
The hunger suppressing hormone ghrelin is significantly decreased when you are sleep deprived. This means you are going to be hungrier if you didn't sleep well, making you more likely to overeat. If you are trying to lose weight, you must aim to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
When your brain is able to sleep, this means all of your neurotransmitters and hormones are primed and ready to give your mind and body energy to tackle tasks for the day. Think about how much more productive you are when you get a good sleep compared to when you don't get a good sleep.
Research has found that lack of sleep is inflammatory to the entire body. Read more about this here. Inflammation is basically the root cause of almost all disease, and we want to prevent chronic inflammation in every way we can - sleep is a great place to start.
Sleep is when the brain can rest so that we can store information we have learned. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep causes changes in the brain that makes memories form. Read more about this here from The Division of Sleep Medicine from Harvard Medical School.
When your brain and body are able to fully relax, this allows for energy the following day. A bad sleep or lack of sleep can cause us to feel lethargic and fatigued, which leads to less productivity as discussed above. Some scientists think that we sleep to conserve energy, which we can use for the day - read more about that here.
When you are sleep deprived you are obviously going to feel tired, right? So what do you reach for that is going to give you instant energy? Well, besides coffee :) it's sugar! This is why it can be hard to fight off sugar cravings when you are lacking sleep. Your body craves sugar because it needs that extra boost to function when you are sleep deprived. The problem with sugar (among many others) is that the energy surge is only temporary, and is not long-lasting. This can lead for a need of constant sugar refueling throughout the day.
10. Problem solving
During sleep, different parts of the brain are able to make connections, leading to ideas coming together to form solutions to problems you may be trying to work out. This may be why we tend to wake up with great ideas or solutions to problems after sleeping. Read more about this here from the National Sleep Foundation.
Main take away...
Sleep is incredibly important for both your mind and body, make it a priority to get a good sleep tonight.
Having low energy is the worst! Feeling sluggish and fatigued can also make you feel depressed, down, and unproductive - not good! We all feel a little low energy at times which is fine, but there are definitely ways to kick start your energy back into high gear quickly!
Below are the top ways to increase your energy right NOW:
Light in general has a powerful effect on our body. Just getting ten minutes of natural sun light helps to energize our mind and body and decreases fatigue. Light shuts off the production of melatonin, which is the sleep inducing hormone produced by the body. If you feel like you are starting to get sluggish around 3pm, go outside to get some direct sunlight.
This one is already pretty well known, but it works! Caffeine kick starts the nervous system to increase focus and attention. Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to start having an energizing effect and it can take 60 minutes or longer to exert its peak effect, so don't worry if you don't feel energized immediately. Be aware that caffeine can stick around in your system for 6 hours or more so make sure you don't drink it too close to sleep time.
3. Avoiding Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates make you sleepy because they calm the nervous system and increase serotonin, the mood stabilizing neurotransmitter. Why do you think carbs are the main food of choice for stress? Because they calm you down.Carbs also spike your blood sugar and then bring it down sharply, leading to fatigue and low energy.Instead stick to protein and fat to keep you on an even keel and also to prevent blood sugar spikes and low that comes with eating carbs.
Exercise stimulates your mind and body and boosts neurotransmitters involved with focus and attention. This could be as simple as a ten minute walk, to a thirty minute high intensity interval training workout. Try it!
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue, and most of us are walking around slightly dehydrated. Aim for 64 ounces of water per day, more if you are working up a sweat with your workout. A good way to remember to drink water is having a glass as soon as you wake up, a glass before every meal, and a glass after every meal. Always bring a water bottle with you to the gym, if you have water available then you are much more likely to drink water during your workout.
6. Power nap
A 20-30 minute nap can actually boost your energy afterward. Just make sure you don't go longer than this because too long of a nap can get you into a deeper sleep which can make you feel groggy if you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep. Taking too long of a nap can also interfere with your night time sleep. Make sure to set an alarm to wake yourself up!
Laughing has been found to increase positive energy and boost happiness. Watch a funny movie or show or get together with a good friend for a good laugh.
8. Chew peppermint gum
Chewing gum has been found to increase alertness and the smell of peppermint has been found to help with attention and focus. Get the benefits of both by popping a stick of peppermint gum the next time you are finding your mind wander.
9. Cold shower
At the end of your morning shower blast some cold water on your face for at least 30 seconds. The cold water shocks the system (in a good way) to boost attention immediately. You don't even really need to test this, just think about splashing cold water on your face and you know this works to make you alert!
10. Deep breathing
Taking deep breaths increases oxygen to the brain and slows down your breathing. This decreases stress in the body by calming the central nervous system, and in effect allows for greater attention and focus.
11. Listen to music
Listening to upbeat music helps to boost your mood and your energy. If you are feeling sluggish, turn on your favorite artist and your headphones and get a quick energy boost. Click here for a list of upbeat tunes to get your energized.
You've been working out really hard and eating healthy, and you still feel like you aren't making much progress, what gives? This is a very common situation I see in practice. Well, when we look a little closer at your day-to-day life, normally there are a few situations where unhealthy foods lurk and you might indulge and forget about what you ate or drink, or think it was just a bite - that adds up quickly without you even realizing it.
Below are the most common sneaky situations that derail your diet:
1. At work
If you spend a good amount of time at work, this place can sabotage your healthy diet. Treats and desserts are extremely common at work, whether it be a birthday, a holiday, a Monday, a Friday, basically any day of the week can be a day to bring donuts or cookies in. These treats add up and they also make you hungrier and crave more sweets after you eat them. It can also be difficult to say no to sweets just out of peer pressure, "you're not going to take anything?" or "why aren't you eating any of the cake I baked?" Don't worry about being polite here, just say thanks but no thanks, I don't eat sweets. Done with discussion.
2. Your kitchen
If you know your freezer is stocked with ice cream and you have chips in the cupboard, there's a good chance that those treats will be eaten sooner rather than later. The best thing to do is to not buy them in the first place. If you don't buy the unhealthy foods, you won't have the option to eat them. And if you are craving the desserts so much you will to drive to the store to get them, that barrier to entry will definitely cut down on the likelihood of eating the treats.
3. The smoothie shop
I love a good smoothie, however, smoothies are typically very high in sugar. Smoothies are super sneaky because they are marketed as healthy, however, most not only have sugar from fruits but also add high sugar yogurts and juices. Tropical fruits are the highest in sugar which include bananas, pineapple, and papaya, so avoid smoothies that list all of these as the main ingredients. If you are going to get a smoothie, go for berry heavy smoothies which have the lowest sugar and most fiber, or go for a green smoothie that lists only one or two fruits, this will ensure that you are getting less sugar in your drink.
4. The movie theater
I've never come across a movie theater that served healthy food. The usual suspects include hot dogs, popcorn, hot tamales candy, etc. The best scenario would be to not snack at all while at the movies, the second best would be to chew some gum, and other options if you have to munch on something could be apple slices or almonds, or even a protein bar.
5. Happy hour
Going to happy hour can sabotage your healthy lifestyle in a couple of different ways. Number one is the type of drink you are ordering. Avoid beer, sweet wine, and basically any cocktail on the menu because all are high in sugar and empty calories. Instead go for spirits with a zero calorie sweetener, lite beer, or dry wine. The second obstacle with happy hour is the food - usually the happy hour menu is filled with salty, carb heavy foods and calorie dense dips. Try not to go to happy hour hungry, and if you do want to order some food, then go for high protein sources such as meats, cheese, nuts. Avoid the wings and anything fried such as mozzarella sticks or french fries.
6. The party
Whether this be a birthday party, a baby shower, or a wedding party, any kind of celebration gathering is code for desserts galore. Who ever celebrated with an omelette?! You never know what the food will be at a given party or event, but odds are that the majority is not going to be very healthy. Best thing you can do is not go hungry. If you go hungry and there isn't much healthy food, you are going to gorge on the unhealthy stuff, and I've never been to a party that didn't have cookies or cake readily available. Stick to the protein sources and vegetables, can't go wrong with those choices.
Of all the meals, brunch tends to be the greatest diet disaster. Brunch items tend to be the most whimsical and over-the-top with the pie-filling french toasts, or ice cream pancakes. The typical drinks served at brunch are also a dessert - i.e mimosas which are typically a glass of orange juice with a splash of sparkling wine. This doesn't mean you should never partake in brunch, just have a healthy meal in mind or check out the menu before you go.
8. The coffee shop
If you get anything but black coffee, you are likely going to get a cup of sugar. Not to mention all of the tasty pastries the coffee shop has on display. Even a fat free or "skim" latte has a great amount of sugar (skim milk has about 12 grams of sugar in a cup). Pair a skim latte with a muffin and you probably just doubled the total amount of sugar you should have for the day - and it's just the morning, yikes!
What should you do?
It can be helpful to right down everything you eat, every bite, every sip, and see how these small bites and sips can turn into hundreds of empty calories and sugar into your body.
Anxiety is one of the most common mood disorders (if not the most common) and definitely one of the top conditions I've seen in practice. I always ALWAYS advise lifestyle changes as first line treatment, which include exercise and eating healthy foods, but when that is not enough I will recommend certain supplements before jumping straight to medication.
I don't love anxiety medication in general because some of them can lead to serious problems, such as addiction (ie. Xanax), and most can cause too much of a calming effect. Anti-anxiety medications also come along with a whole list of side effects (some more pronounced in certain individuals than others) and can end up causing more problems than what the individual started with. So for someone with mild to moderate anxiety, lifestyle changes and supplements are a great way to get your mood back in check.
Here are my 9 top recommendations of supplements to help decrease anxiety:
1. Vitamin B12
What: Vitamin B12 helps with the production of major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which work to modulate mood and decrease anxiety. Read more about this here.
Dose: 1,000 mcg daily as methylcobalamin sublingual, lozenge, or spray
How to take: Morning
2. Vitamin B6
What: This vitamin assists with the production of the major neurotransmitters that regulate mood, which include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Vitamin B6 specifically assists with the production of serotonin's direct precursor, 5-HTP - so the more the 5-HTP, the more serotonin that can be made. Read more about Vitamin B6 here.
Dose: 2.5 mg daily as pyridoxal-5-phosphate
How to take: Once or twice daily
What: This amino acid activates GABA in the brain to induce calm without sedation. Read more about this here.
Dose: 100+ mg daily as L-theanine
How to take: With food
4. Lemon balm
What: This is an herb that may help to decrease stress and induce more feelings of calm. Read more about the calming When combined with valerian root it's anxiolytic and anti-insomnia effects may be pronounced - read more here.
Dose: 600 mg or 60 drops tincture daily as Melissa officinalis
How to take: Once daily
What: This is an amino acid that helps to boost dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that help to calm the mind and decrease anxiety. Read more about L-tyrosine here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-4x daily as L-Tyrosine
How to take: With food
6. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids
What: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the brain which may help to lessen anxiousness and perceived stress by the brain. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 2,000+ mg daily as combined DHA/EPA
How to take: With a meal
What: This supplement helps to boost GABA in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting calm and relaxation. Read more about this here.
Dose: 200 mg nightly as Passiflora incarnata
How to take: 60 minutes before sleep (can make sleepy)
What: Chamomile as a supplement has been shown to be an effective treatment of decreasing anxiety. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-3x per day as Matricaria recutita or chamomilla
How to take: Bed time (also good for promoting relaxation before sleep)
What: This compound is the direct precursor to serotonin (main neurotransmitter involved with stable mood) and helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Read more about 5-HTP here.
Dose: 100 mg 1-3x daily as 5-Hydroxytryptophan
How to take: With a meal
Always speak to your health care provider before trying any supplement and be cautious whenever trying a new supplement because you don't know how you will react.
Diet is always the most important in terms of a healthy body, but exercise can be a great addition to help sculpt your body. Unfortunately, a good majority of individuals exercise regularly but don't see results, and may even end up gaining more fat than what they started with - no bueno!
Here are crucial tips, powered by HealthyBot, on how to optimize fitness to increase fat burning and help you reach your body composition goals.
To put it simply, you want as much muscle as you can because muscle is what increases your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at any given time. Gain muscle and minimize muscle loss by adding strength training exercises to your workout routine. This could be any variation of strength training: yoga, barre, pilates, heavy lifting, etc. Another benefit of strength training is that it will cause you to continue to burn more calories even after the strength session is over.
Real Life Example: I had two female patients one day. One was 130 lbs and had 18% body fat and her resting metabolic rate was 1450 (resting metabolic rate is the bare minimum amount of calories you will burn in a day) which means her body was mostly muscle. The second patient was 170 lbs and had 47% body fat (meaning about half of her body was fat) and her resting metabolic rate was 1150. This means that even though the 130 lbs patient weighed 40 lbs LESS, because she was mostly muscle and very low fat, she burned about 300 calories more per day than the patient with almost 50% fat. To put this in perspective, to burn 300 calories it would take about an hour of exercise. This is an example of why you want to build and preserve muscle because it is what will determine how many calories you burn daily.
Just say no to steady-state cardio
This type of exercise is really a waste of time in terms of weight loss. It is inefficient because it leads to muscle wasting rather than muscle building and you really don't burn many calories from it. With steady-state cardio you also stop burning calories once you stop the exercise - this is unlike high intensity interval training or strength training which causes you to continue burning calories for hours after the workout.
Note: Any type of cardio is good for your heart, stress relief, and improved mood - however not good for weight loss.
10,000 steps per day
This means you are moving around more so than sitting, those little movements everyday will add up to you burning more calories. Even just standing rather than sitting will activate more muscles and cause you to burn more calories. Aim to get up and move around at least once an hour, if you subtract 8 hours of sleep, this means you have 16 hours to move. Increase walks throughout the day by walking 10 minutes around the block before work, walking at least 10 minutes at lunch time, and walking after dinner for at least 10 minutes - walking after eating also helps with digestion, another added benefit!
Real life example: All the time I have patients come back from vacation saying they walked a lot but barely did any other exercise and definitely did not follow a healthy diet. More often than not, they end up losing fat and gaining or maintaining muscle. How does this happen?! Well, when you are on vacation you tend to be moving around more, you are constantly on the go, and you are walking all over the place. Don't underestimate the power of walking and movement, it really can make a big difference. Another reason can be due to a more relaxed state and less cortisol production while you are on vacation. Elevated cortisol comes from too much exercise and/or too much stress, and cortisol favors muscle breakdown and fat accumulation. Good reason to book your next vacation!
High intensity interval training (aka HIIT) means you are doing short bursts of exercise followed by short periods of rest. HIIT has shown to be the most efficient and effective form of exercise because it helps you to build muscle and burn more calories even after the workout is done, and is under 30 minutes. This should be done every 48-72 hours, maximum 3x per week because too much high intensity back-to-back doesn't allow your body to rebuild itself and can lead to muscle breakdown and loss - which you know from above is the last thing you want for your metabolism.
Mix it up
Doing different types of exercise means your body is never able to adapt to a workout and keeps your body guessing. Mix up your workouts weekly or every 2-3 weeks. If you continue to do the exact same exercises for longer than a few weeks, your body gets really good at doing these exercises and is not challenged anymore because it knows what to expect. When your body goes on autopilot and is no longer challenged, it will stop burning as many calories.
Give your body at least one day off from exercise per week, it needs this rest time to heal and rebuild muscle. Also too much exercise will cause high levels of cortisol in your body. High levels of cortisol in your body favors fat accumulation and muscle wasting - not a good combo! On your rest day(s) walking and stretching is still great - a rest day does not mean you have to sit on the coach all day.
Sleep is so important because it is when your body rebuilds and makes muscle. It is absolutely necessary for muscle growth and the prevention of muscle breakdown. Someone who is exercising regularly will need more sleep than someone who does not exercise - good excuse to sleep in! Exercise will also allow you to sleep better, and is one of the best ways to increase the quality of your sleep - just make sure you are done exercising at least 2 hours before you want to go to sleep because exercise revs you up and makes you alert, which is the last thing you want before you try to sleep.
Italian food is one of the most beloved foods across the world - and for good reason! It is based on using super fresh ingredients with plenty of olive oil and herbs. However, Italian food is also known for its heavy pasta and cream based dishes which are definitely not helpful for staying healthy and fit. As with any restaurant, it is all about making the right choices and choosing the dishes that will fuel your body and not work against you.
Here is how to order healthy at an Italian restaurant:
Who doesn’t love brunch? Just because you are eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip your weekly brunch with friends! It’s all about making the right choices so that you can enjoy a meal outside of your kitchen once and a while.
Here are the best choices for brunch that you should be able to find one or more of on any brunch menu:
Board Certified Nurse Practitioner in California. Blogging about health, fitness and mindfulness.