How To Quit Junk Food

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Junk food tastes annoyingly good. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability with a specialized balance of sugar, fat and salt.

But while junk food tastes like another…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results.

Wondering what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re in good company, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices.

Here’s the rundown on what classifies as junk food:

  • Junk food has little to zero nutritional value
  • Junk food is processed and packaged
  • Junk food is high in sugar, fat and salt
  • Junk food is high in calories
  • Junk food is rarely eaten out of hunger
  • Soda pop, convenience foods, packaged snacks, frozen treats…

4 Steps to Quit Junk Food

Imagine being 100% free of junk food for the next 30 days. How would your weight improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action!

Step #1: Get Rid of It

Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that currently resides in your home, office and car. Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories.

Step #2: Stock Up on the Healthy Stuff

Don’t worry, you aren’t going to starve now that your junk food has been cleared out. Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads or burrito bowls (like the recipe below) are great items to have on hand. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate.

Step #3: HALT!

When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep.

Step #4: Stick With It

The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be even easier than the second…and so on.

The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.

Yours In Health,

Brian

3 Dinners You Can Throw Together After Work

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Having a busy day with work and errands and meetings? You aren’t alone. Most of my clients complain of simply not having enough time at the end of their day to cook a healthy dinner.

This I’m-too-busy-to-cook mentality leads to unhealthy dinner choices from restaurants and fast food chains. And like I’ve told you before, you can exercise every day but if you eat too many calories then you won’t achieve the results that you want.

Today I have 3 quick dinner solutions for you to use on those busy weeknights when you’re tempted to grab a less-than-healthy dinner from a to-go joint. These dinners are both tasty and fitness friendly, so you can stay on track with your results.

Go-To Quick Dinner #1: Honey Mustard Chicken

  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Combine the mustard, garlic, marjoram and honey together and evenly spread the mixture over each chicken thigh. Place the chicken in a glass casserole pan.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Enjoy!

Go-To Quick Dinner #2: Leftovers Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk or broth
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup chopped and cooked meat and/or veggies (use leftovers!)
  • Olive oil spray
  1. In a large bowl beat the eggs, milk, thyme, and meat and/or veggies.
  2. Place an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot and coat with the olive oil spray. Pour in the egg mixture.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are set. Place under a broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the top is golden. Cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy!

Go-To Quick Dinner #3: Pan Fried Salmon

  • 4 (6 oz) skin-on salmon fillets
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  1. Dry the salmon fillets with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium-low and press the salmon fillets in the pan, skin down. Press down firmly for 10 seconds on each fillet.
  3. Cook for about 7 minutes, until it lifts easily out of the pan without sticking. Flip and sear the other side for 20 seconds. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these quick-n-healthy dinner recipes that are designed to keep you on track and eating healthy even on the busiest of days.

Remember that exercise is vital to getting and staying in phenomenal shape – and I’m here to help you do just that. Call or email me now to get started on my best fitness plan.

Yours In Health,

Brian

Cut back on sugar (28 day plan)

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If you love sweets then you know how easy it is to eat more sugar than you should. You’ve probably had a doctor warn you to cut back and know that you have at least a few pounds to lose.

Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more sugar that you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth, it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!

Don’t lose heart! It is very possible to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a way that that’s painless and practical. I have a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on sugar consumption without going crazy. By reducing the refined sugar in your diet you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Let’s do this!

Image result for count sugarCut Back Sugar: Week One

In this first week your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much sugar you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording down everything you consume.

This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally sugar grams at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the sugar content of everything you consume and record it.

By the end of this week you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Two

In this second week your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of sugar in beverages, often without even noticing. You know which beverages in your diet contain sugar, from your reporting last week, so target and cut out these beverages.

Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages without adding sugar, it has a more pleasing flavor than powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners like splenda or aspartame as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.

In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink 8 ounces of water before, during and after every meal and snack.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Three

In this third week we are now going to focus on eliminating the food in your diet that contain refined sugars.

What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.

This week target and eliminate the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.

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Cut Back Sugar: Week Four

You are on the home stretch! As you enter week four you should already be noticing your clothes feeling a little looser, and your energy levels should be stabilizing. During this week I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take notice of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in sugar.

This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.

The key now is to maintain your new, low-sugar, habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Going forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked back on sugar then go through this four week process again to get back on track.

Start now and you can achieve a substantial drop in body fat before summer.

Yours In Health,

Brian

4 Guilt-Free Pasta Recipes… YUM!!

Image result for pastaIt’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta.
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…

Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?!

Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Rub the inside of each spaghetti squash half with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

Image result for fall vegetablesGuilt-Free Pasta Recipe #2: Zucchini

Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.

Make Zucchini Noodles:

  1. Wash the zucchini and remove the green skin with a veggie peeler. Run the peeled zucchini through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
  2. Top with warm spaghetti sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #3: Butternut Squash

While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency.

Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.

Make Butternut Squash Noodles:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the narrow part of both squash off and peel off the skin. You should have 2 nice solid pieces of squash (no hollow section). Run this through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
  2. Toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.
  3. Serve immediately with the spaghetti sauce of your choosing. Enjoy!

Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #4: Asparagus

Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein.

Make Asparagus Noodles:

  1. Wash one bunch of asparagus spears. Resist the urge to chop off the tough stalks, these are your handles! Cut off the asparagus tips and save. Hold onto the tough stalks and use a vegetable peeler to peel long asparagus noodle strands into a large bowl. Mix in a Tablespoon of fresh dill.
  2. In a small bowl combine 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey and a dash of sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus noodles. Sauté for 2 minutes then remove from heat. If you’d like, sauté the asparagus heads by throwing them in the pan after 1 minute. Toss with the dressing.
  4. Serve the noodles warm and garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy! Eating healthy, low carb meals like these are what it takes to have that lean, sexy body that you want. But don’t forget that a fit body also requires a consistent, challenging exercise program!

Yours In Health,

Brian

Getting Past Mental Roadblocks

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Getting Past Mental Roadblocks
As the second month of 2016 reaches the mid-way point, where do you stand with your resolutions?

Have you made progress or did your motivation sizzle out?

Most people wait around for motivation to strike them like a lightning bolt. Well, I’ve got news: motivation isn’t something that happens to you – it’s something that you create for yourself.

If you don’t feel motivated to achieve your goals, it is likely due to mental roadblocks that hold you hostage. Read the following 21 Mindset Tips and prepare your mind for success.

  1. Success comes first in the mind, so visualize yourself accomplishing your goals.
  2. Remember, you are the only person who can hold you back.
  3. Forgive yourself and love yourself despite past failures.
  4. Decide what is important in your life, and focus on that.
  5. Conquer each negative thought the moment it enters your mind, when it is weakest.
  6. Give up the idea that things won’t go right unless you worry about them.
  7. If you bring the body of your dreams to the point of resolve, then you’ll soon be living in it.
  8. Look towards your future, if you believe the best is yet to come then it will be.
  9. You become what you think about most.
  10. The margin between success and failure is very small and easily bridged by determination.
  11. Start your day by accomplishing your hardest task first.
  12. Set small attainable goals, rather than one monumental goal.
  13. Convince yourself that exercise is fun, and it will be.
  14. Know your big reason why.
  15. Create a motivating play list of songs to use as the sound track to your workout sessions.
  16. Every decision you make leads you either closer toward achieving your goal, or farther from it.
  17. If you think you’re a fat person, then you’ll stay fat. If you think you’re fit, then you soon will be.
  18. Once you’ve set your goal, your attitude either pushes you toward accomplishment or failure.
  19. If you don’t know exactly where you want to go, you will likely end up someplace else.
  20. You can have the body of your dreams, but first you must give up the belief that you can’t.
  21. You can only have two things in life: excuses or results.

I hope these mental tips help. Apply them to your daily life and start to realize your health and fitness goals!

Yours in Health,

Brian

The Culture of Overeating: A Survival Guide

Certain foods are powerful.

They cast a spell over the most well-meaning dieter, and cause logical people to overeat until their sides hurt.

They occupy your thoughts to the point of obsession as you try to ignore a plate of cookies.

And when it’s all said and done, they accumulate on your body in the most obtrusive way as a result of dozens of unused calories.

Why does food hold such power? And, most importantly, how can you control your eating?

The End of Overeating

David A. Kessler, MD set out to answer these pressing questions in his instant bestseller, The End of Overeating. Despite being a pediatrician, a former FDA commissioner, and former dean of the medical schools at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Kessler struggles with his weight.

Observing the current obesity epedemic, he knew that he wasn’t alone.

Dr. Kessler, with the insight of some of the brightest minds in medicine and science, discovered the following three reasons that most of us are compelled to overeat.

  1. An Irresistable Combination Rewires Your Brain: Think of your favorite treat – most likely it can be broken down into the basic building blocks of sugar, fat and salt. This combination is known of as the ‘three points of the compass’, a combination that has been shown to literally alter the biological circuitry of your brain.

    Sugar, fat and salt give food a high hedonic value which gives you pleasure. This pleasure reinforces you to return to your favorite foods time and time again.

  2. The Food Industry Targets You: Everywhere you go you’ll see the clever work of the food industry, tempting you with highly palatable creations. Food has become a science, and your taste preferences the guiding light.

    The food industry has one goal – to get you hooked. By constructing food items that are high in sugar, fat and salt they know that you will come back time and time again.

  3. Conditioned Hypereating Becomes a Way of Life: Humans are conditioned to seek more reward. When readily available, hyper palatable food become our reward a pattern of hypereating quickly emerges. Dr. Kessler describes the cycle:

    “Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, and the cues that signal them, promote more of everything: more arousal…more thoughts of food…more urge to pursue food…more dopamine-stimulated approach behavior…more consumption…more opioid-driven reward…more overeating to feel better…more delay in feeling fulll…more loss of control…more preoccupation with food…more habit-driven behavior…and ultimately, more and more weight gain.”

Breaking the Cycle

The good news is that you don’t have to remain trapped in a cycle of overeating. The following three tips will put you back in control.

  1. Set Your Rules: In order to resist overeating in today’s tempting food environment, you must eat by a set of self-imposed rules. Predetermined rules take away the need to make food decisions in vulnerable moments.

    Dr. Kessler thinks these rules should be, “simple enough to fit with your busy life, but specific enough to remove uncertainty from the food equation.”

    For suggestions as to what rules you should adopt, let’s turn to another authority on eating, bestselling author of ‘In Defense of Food’, Michael Pollan:

    • Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
    • Pay more, eat less. Look for quality of food over quantity.
    • Eat meals. Cut out snacking, stick with structured meals.
    • Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does. Gas stations are great for fueling your car, but the food they sell are not suited to fuel you.
    • Try not to eat alone. Eating can become mindless when alone, leading to overeating.
    • Eat slowly. Eat foods that have been prepared slowly – that means no fast food.
  2. Make Negative Associations: When was the last time you peeled a lemon and ate it whole? Probably never. That’s because your taste buds have a negative association with the sour taste.

    Our taste buds have traditionally been our guide when it comes to food selection, but this must change for you to successfully avoid overeating. Since the food industry purposely crafts food items to please your taste buds (not waistline) what tastes good can no longer dictate what you eat.

    It’s up to you to create negative associations with unhealthy food – despite their pleasing taste. Here are some negatives to focus on:

    • Those extra calories will accumulate around your waist.
    • Your health will suffer.
    • You will become more disspointed with your appearance.
    • You’ll feel sluggish.
  3. Give Yourself a Real Reward: The bottom line is that we eat unhealthy food as a reward, even though it causes more harm that good. It’s time to give yourself a truly benificial reward – exercise.

    Exercise is a healthy reward that will not only release endorphins into your system, but will also give you the benefit of weight loss and improved health.

I truly believe that you can overcome your pattern of overeating with healthy eating and regular exercise.

Yours in Health,

Brian

Eat More to Weigh Less???

Eat less, move more and you’ll lose weight and improve your health right?  Not so Fast!  ‘Health Professionals’ have been trying to sell this one for a while, yet obesity is at an all time high, heart disease is still rampant and people are still failing at fat/weight loss.  You’ve definitely heard it, definitely tried it and if you’re here, you didn’t get the results you wanted.  So where do you go now?

Lose 10 lbs in 10 days!

When consulting with new clients I often hear about diets they’ve tried: fasting days, juice cleanses, very low calorie diets and the rest. But after all the ‘quick fix’ plans have been tried and have failed, it’s up to me to pick up the pieces.  What most novices don’t realise, is that the quick fix diet plans can work for the short term, maybe between 4-6 weeks and after this it will be unlikely that any progress will continue. These diets usually cause some sort of long term damage in the body, which if left unchecked, will make future fat loss efforts almost impossible.  Not to mention putting back on all the weight they lost and then some just a few short weeks after ending the diet.

Most people don’t eat enough food to support their essential bodily functions on a daily basis, so the body thinks its being starved, yet it learns to survive. Survival does not mean losing weight, but the exact opposite, holding on to it’s emergency energy reserves (fat) at all costs.  Add a couple of training sessions on top of this and you begin to steal more energy from the body, thus starving it even more.  At this point your body will look for ways to make itself more efficient, burn less calories and store more emergency reserves (fat) until the starvation period ends. In real terms this means several vital functions and organs in the body will begin shutting down processes to save on energy. The body will begin to sacrifice costly tissue (muscle) in order to burn less calories and your metabolism will slow down. This means it becomes harder to lose fat and any weight you do lose will likely be your muscle mass deteriorating.  Yes you guessed, you’re on the road to skinny fat!

Eating more for fat loss

When I tell people that I suspect that they’re not eating enough for fat loss, the first look I get from them is one of confusion.  If you really want to lose weight/bodyfat, enough to actually reach your goal and not just lose a few kilos, you need to make sure your plan is sustainable and set up for the long term. If you set out of the gates setting up a plan for rapid fat loss, chances are you’ve cut your calories ridiculously low and committed yourself to an unsustainable training plan of several sessions a week only to to find after a few weeks nothing changes any more. Chances are, you don’t know why this is happening, so I’m going to break it down for you.

Survival of the fattest

The human body, first and foremost is set up for survival. It’s only in recent years (the last 70 or so) that humans have had an abundance of food whenever they’ve needed/wanted it. Before this, real food was rationed, relatively expensive or scarce, so our bodies have been evolutionarily hardwired to store energy (glucose and fat) whenever there is an abundance. Now we have an abundance of food, an increase in calorie density due to processed foods and a distinct lack of nutrients due to the ever growing list of ‘food like products’ the average human body is storing fat faster then ever.  Years ago this would have been an evolutionary advantage, but today it’s leading to death and disease at an alarming rate.  The traditional medical community and government initiatives are trying their best to stop it but have no hope despite their best efforts.  This is because they prescribe the same off the shelf diet advice as most ‘fat loss guides’ and Amazon best sellers; reduce your calories and exercise more.

Calorie Balance and Nutrient Density

Fat loss, no matter how we break it down does come to calorie balance. At some stage during your body transformation plan you will need to control and reduce calories but in my opinion it should never be the first variable you change during your fat loss plan.  Yes calories are important, but where they come from matter a lot more.  All of my clients know that I am against diet club culture that advocate a point system that allow you to have a bag of crisps at lunch or a piece of chocolate cake for dinner as long as it fits into your points plan.  Yes people that have a lot of weight to lose will see some change using this sort of plan because it adds some form of routine to their lives, but they end up putting all the weight back on and them some because the system is flawed.

One of the quickest ways to begin to heal the body is to provide it with nutrients both macro and micro.  So while you’re paying attention to your protein, carbs and fats, you also need to make sure you maintain a healthy vitamin and mineral balance.  People that exercise also deplete minerals at a much faster rate and have a higher vitamin turnover rate so it’s likely that you’ll also have to be on top of you’re supplementation in order to support the body in your athletic endeavours.

Take home message

If you feed your body too many calories, it will store fat.  If you feed your body foods with low or no nutrition, you will store fat, damage your health and age prematurely.  If you reduce your calories too low and exercise too much, you will lose muscle not fat and will damage your metabolism, damage critical glands and organs in the body and make fat loss crawl to a halt. If you don’t have a balance in micronutrients, macronutrients and minerals, your performance will drop, you’ll feel rubbish and fat loss will be an uphill struggle.  On the other hand…

Once you give your body enough nutrients, water and minerals from real food and quality supplementation, you’ll feel great, have an abundance of energy and support your survival.  When your body understands that survival is not an issue, it will begin to be your best ally in the efforts to drop body fat and create a performance machine.  When you focus on good nutrition and supplementation, you’ll probably find that your can eat more than you’ve ever eaten and still lose or maintain your weight.  Focus on improving your life, maximising your health and nourishing your body.  The rest will follow!

Yours In Health,

Brian

Beware: Know The Facts

How much thought do you put into what you eat?

If you want to get into great shape then you’ll be interested to know that 80% of your fitness results are attributed to your diet.

In our fast-paced society, eating is often done with little or no thought as to what exactly it is being ingested. Excess body fat is a direct outcome of this hurried, poor nutrition. Even if you have the best intentions with your diet, you are likely frustrated and fed up with extra pounds.

I don’t blame you for being confused about what you should eat. The media surely doesn’t help. One day the talking heads want you to give up all fats. The next day carbs are the culprit, and then acai berries become the holy grail of weight loss.

The food manufacturers increase confusion by printing misleading labels and bogus health claims.

Sometimes it seems like the whole system is set up to confuse and frustrate us into buying the latest and greatest packaged food.

The bottom line is that your physique is largely a result of what you eat, so the foods that you put into your body should be carefully selected.

It’s time to re-examine what you eat.

It all starts with reading nutritional labels. The nutritional content and ingredient list will give you everything you need to know about the quality of the food item.

I’ve outlined 5 ingredients that should raise a red flag when you turn over that package and find them listed:

Red Flagged Ingredient #1: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is a manmade sugar, derived predominantly from genetically modified corn. The sweet concoction has been shown to promote binges and hysterical hunger, and wrecks havoc on your blood sugar levels, promoting fat storage.

The introduction of HFCS into our food supply directly paralleled a 47% spike in Type 2 Diabetes cases as well as an 80% increase in obesity. Food manufacturers use HFCS in many mainstream products, including the following:

  • Sauces (including ketchup)
  • Yogurt
  • Energy Bars
  • Soft Drinks / Fruit Juices
  • Processed baked goods
  • Cereals
  • Crackers
  • Ice Cream
  • Salad Dressing
  • Most packaged snack foods

Red Flagged Ingredient #2: Hydrogenated Fat / Partially Hydrogenated Fat (Trans Fat)
Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats have undergone such extensive processing that the chemical structure has changed from a “cis” shape, which the human body recognizes and utilizes, to a “trans” shape, which is foreign and destructive to human physiology.

Check each food label for the word ‘hydrogenated’ and avoid it diligently. Cutting out hydrogenated fats is a simple set towards looking and feeling your best.

Red Flagged Ingredient #3: Aspartame
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that was denied 8 times by the FDA before being approved in 1973. Many scientists objected the approval, claiming that aspartame hadn’t been proven safe for use as a food additive.

MIT neuroscientist, Richard Wurtman, researched the effects of aspartame and concluded that it promotes cravings for foods high in calories and carbohydrates. Though aspartame is calorie-free it still causes insulin to be released, which job is to stow away sugar – when this sugar is not available, the result is often hypoglycemia and severe hunger. Not exactly a recipe for weight loss.

Red Flagged Ingredient #4: White Sugar
White sugar comes from the juice of a sugar cane plant that has undergone an intensive refining process. In this process all of the enzymes, fiber, vitamins and minerals are destroyed, rendering it nutritionally void. White sugar is also extremely high in calories, which your body loves to store away in fat cells.

Refined sugar has been linked to a weakened immune system, hyperactivity, ADD, mental and emotional disorders, dental cavities, hypoglycemia, enlargement of the liver and kidneys, and an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. All that and it leads to weight gain.

Red Flagged Ingredient #5: White Flour
White flour comes from natural whole wheat that has been stripped of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This results in a nutritionally void product that is packed with calories that release quickly into your system, creating a spike in blood sugar. As you know, this promotes fat storage and leads to hysterical hunger and cravings. You don’t need that.

Once you cut these 5 items out of your diet, you’ll be pleased with the results. Expect to lose weight, to have more energy and to feel better than you have in a long time.

If you’re serious about looking and feeling your best through purifying your diet, then focus on eating real food items. Real foods include lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Remember, while nutrition is vitally important for weight loss, true results are achieved through a combination of both nutrition and challenging, progressive exercise.

Yours In Health,

Brian

Where Did The Time Go?

The number one reason why people don’t exercise is that they don’t have time.

At least that’s what they tell themselves .

I know we are all busy. Between getting to and from work, balancing responsibilities and having time for yourself, there’s little left over for workouts.

With the holiday season upon us your busy schedule is sure to get even busier. There will be parties, shopping, decorating, cooking and family gatherings. It’s no wonder that exercise quickly takes a backseat to holiday activities.

You don’t have to succumb to weight gain this holiday season. Escape the time crunch excuse in three easy steps:

Step One: Schedule Your Workouts: You’ve heard this before, and it makes so much sense. If you treat your exercise time with the importance of a work meeting then you’d never skip a workout and you’d be in amazing shape.

While the scheduling concept is brilliant in its simplicity, you have to put it into practice to reap the benefits. Pull out your calendar and a pen. Don’t laugh, I’m serious! Just do it. If you want to get into shape it starts with committing to a revised
schedule with a set exercise time.

Identify three 40-minute time slots and mark them on your calendar. That is when you’ll exercise.

Remember this: if the thought that you should exercise this week is floating around in your head, but you haven’t anchored it down to a specific time and date, then it will quickly disappear.

Step Two: Get the Most from Each Minute: The days of endless, mind numbing cardio are over. A great workout can take place in under an hour, when done correctly. The idea is to burn more calories each minute. This is done through short, intense bursts of exercise.

Use the following three tips to bring your routine up to the next level:

  1. Be Unstable: Use your entire body, and target your core, by performing exercises that engage stabilizing muscles. To do this use an exercise ball, a balance board, a balance disk, or you could simply stand on one leg.
  2. Add Resistance: The more resistance that you incorporate with your routine translates into higher intensity and more calories burned. Some ideas for adding resistance include: carrying dumbbells while doing lunges, wearing a weighted vest while walking or jogging, or putting a weight between your feet while doing leg raises.
  3. Use Intervals: Interval training is an amazing tool for creating short yet effective workouts. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Interval training is simply alternating between different short bursts of activity.

    Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to focus on your legs and abs and to also get an effective cardiovascular workout. This would be a great interval routine for your goals:

  • Lunge while curling dumbbells, 15-20 repetitions
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Squat while pressing dumbbells overhead, 15-20 repetitions
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Crunches on an exercise ball, 15-20 repetitions
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Leg raises off the end of an exercise bench, 15-20 repetitions

Step Three: Tell a Friend: When you attempt to lose weight or meet a fitness goal on your own, the odds are stacked against you. Sure, you could do it over time – but it’s a long and lonely road. A road lined with detours that threaten to undermine your progress. A better option is to exercise with a friend, co-worker or loved one. This will give you a person to keep you accountable to and will help motivate you when you are not “feeling it”.

Yours In Health,

Brian

The Culture Of Overeating….

Certain foods are powerful.

They cast a spell over the most well-meaning dieter, and cause logical people to overeat until their sides hurt.

They occupy your thoughts to the point of obsession as you try to ignore a plate of cookies.

And when it’s all said and done, they accumulate on your body in the most obtrusive way as a result of dozens of unused calories.

Why does food hold such power? And, most importantly, how can you control your eating?

The End of Overeating

David A. Kessler, MD set out to answer these pressing questions in his instant bestseller, The End of Overeating. Despite being a pediatrician, a former FDA commissioner, and former dean of the medical schools at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Kessler struggles with his weight.

Observing the current obesity epedemic, he knew that he wasn’t alone.

Dr. Kessler, with the insight of some of the brightest minds in medicine and science, discovered the following three reasons that most of us are compelled to overeat.

1.An Irresistable Combination Rewires Your Brain: Think of your favorite treat – most likely it can be broken down into the basic building blocks of sugar, fat and salt. This combination is known of as the ‘three points of the compass’, a combination that has been shown to literally alter the biological circuitry of your brain.

Sugar, fat and salt give food a high hedonic value which gives you pleasure. This pleasure reinforces you to return to your favorite foods time and time again.

2.The Food Industry Targets You: Everywhere you go you’ll see the clever work of the food industry, tempting you with highly palatable creations. Food has become a science, and your taste preferences the guiding light.

The food industry has one goal – to get you hooked. By constructing food items that are high in sugar, fat and salt they know that you will come back time and time again.

3.Conditioned Hypereating Becomes a Way of Life: Humans are conditioned to seek more reward. When readily available, hyper palatable food become our reward a pattern of hypereating quickly emerges. Dr. Kessler describes the cycle:

“Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, and the cues that signal them, promote more of everything: more arousal…more thoughts of food…more urge to pursue food…more dopamine-stimulated approach behavior…more consumption…more opioid-driven reward…more overeating to feel better…more delay in feeling fulll…more loss of control…more preoccupation with food…more habit-driven behavior…and ultimately, more and more weight gain.”
Breaking the Cycle

The good news is that you don’t have to remain trapped in a cycle of overeating. The following three tips will put you back in control.

1.Set Your Rules: In order to resist overeating in today’s tempting food environment, you must eat by a set of self-imposed rules. Predetermined rules take away the need to make food decisions in vulnerable moments.

Dr. Kessler thinks these rules should be, “simple enough to fit with your busy life, but specific enough to remove uncertainty from the food equation.”

For suggestions as to what rules you should adopt, let’s turn to another authority on eating, bestselling author of ‘In Defense of Food’, Michael Pollan:

•Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
•Pay more, eat less. Look for quality of food over quantity.
•Eat meals. Cut out snacking, stick with structured meals.
•Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does. Gas stations are great for fueling your car, but the food they sell are not suited to fuel you.
•Try not to eat alone. Eating can become mindless when alone, leading to overeating.
•Eat slowly. Eat foods that have been prepared slowly – that means no fast food.

2.Make Negative Associations: When was the last time you peeled a lemon and ate it whole? Probably never. That’s because your taste buds have a negative association with the sour taste.

Our taste buds have traditionally been our guide when it comes to food selection, but this must change for you to successfully avoid overeating. Since the food industry purposely crafts food items to please your taste buds (not waistline) what tastes good can no longer dictate what you eat.

It’s up to you to create negative associations with unhealthy food – despite their pleasing taste. Here are some negatives to focus on:

•Those extra calories will accumulate around your waist.
•Your health will suffer.
•You will become more disspointed with your appearance.
•You’ll feel sluggish.

3.Give Yourself a Real Reward: The bottom line is that we eat unhealthy food as a reward, even though it causes more harm that good. It’s time to give yourself a truly benificial reward –exercise.

Exercise is a healthy reward that will not only release endorphins into your system, but will also give you the benefit of weight loss and improved health.
I truly believe that you can overcome your pattern of overeating with healthy eating and regular exercise. Call or email today to get started on a program that will truly change your life.

Yours In Health,

Brian