Anything food or supplement related

HOW TO LOWER STRESS THIS CHRISTMAS

It is coming up to the busy holiday time called Christmas.  But how do you lower your stress response this Christmas season?

Thanksgiving has passed and the stores are filled with sales for the coming gift-giving season.  Can you feel the stress already?!

Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree?

When you are suffering from fatigue, you are probably wondering how to get through the next few weeks of the holidays without burning out.  After all your to-do list is getting bigger each day it seems.

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after escaping the danger.   In today’s culture, our stress response is chronic and does not just happen once in a while.

The main stress hormone is called “cortisol.”  After your adrenaline kicks in, it’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning upon waking, and slowly declines in the  afternoon preparing  your body for sleep.

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?  No wonder you feel tired if you are in chronic stress mode!

Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!


How to Lower Your Cortisol with Food and Nutrients

  1. The first enemy of cortisol balance is sugar.   So it would be wise to reduce this ingredient in our diets for better health and lower your stress response.

  1. High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.  Also because fatigue is part of your health complaints, then consider cutting out caffeine and using an alternative drink instead.

  1. Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty.  The body requires water for so many functions including giving you more energy.  Don’t stress yourself by being dehydrated.

  1. Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn't just help reduce the stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.  These include foods that improve gut health such as probiotic rich, fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut along with prebiotic fiber foods found in legumes, whole grains, and some fruits and  vegetables.

Lifestyle Habits to Lower Cortisol

Lifestyle is a big factor in your stress response. 

The following habits you can adapt to reduce stress:

Mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.

Exercise. While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels.  Taking a brisk walk will relieve your stress.  But be careful to not overdue it or you will be stressed from the intensity of the exercise.

Sleep.  Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.  It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night and adapt a sleep routine.

Self Care.  Habits like deep breathing, going for a massage, meditation, reading a good book, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol levels.

Nurture Relationships. Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is so important.  Staying connected to positive people will inject you with positive energy that helps reduce stress.

Conclusion

Fatigue is linked to an increase in cortisol levels. 

Elevated cortisol levels have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.  In doing so, you can reduce your levels of fatigue and find more energy in your day.

In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine.  Increase your intake of  water, fruit, vegetables, probiotics, and prebiotics.

Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, and have more fun.

In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

Continue Reading

How Improving Gut Health May Help Increase Your Energy Levels

Improving your gut health is important for better absorption of the nutrients in the food you eat.  Absorbing your nutrients will provide you with energy to get through your day.  So if you are suffering from fatigue, this is a clue that you may have an imbalance in your gut.

I knew that this was true for me especially when I would eat foods I could not digest well and felt very lethargic and experienced brain fog a few hours later. 

Your gut is also known as your digestive system and includes the ecosystem of microbes that must exist in balance in order to digest and absorb nutrients in your small and large intestine, as well as detox out of your body substances that will only cause you to feel unwell.  The health of your gut influences the health of your entire body.

Your fatigue issues can tell you a lot about the health of your gut.

A Greek physician also referred to as the Father of Medicine was named Hippocrates who said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

Recent research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role to pay in many diseases than we used to think. These would include but not limited to allergies, pain and inflammation, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is open to the outside world and acts as a barrier to toxins. It is here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients through our gut.

The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We're just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain called the gut-brain connection.   Have you also heard of "the adrenal-gut connection"?  This is regulated by the HPA axis which is the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis. 

The adrenals which sit on top of your kidneys are very connected to the health of your gut.  When you are stressed the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland to tell the adrenals to produce cortisol.  Cortisol that is pumping constantly will give you energy but will also interfere with the balance of your gut bacteria which consists of both good and bad bacteria that must exist in a balanced ecosystem in your gut for optimal health and increased energy.

So being constantly stressed is not good for the health of your gut. Also getting enough sleep and exercise will help to reduce the cortisol levels and therefore may help to bring your gut back into balance.

 Let's talk about the roles that your gut and gut microbes play in your overall health. Then I'll give you tips to improve your gut health naturally.

Click Here to book a call with me and discover how I may be able to help you get your gut back into balance.


The Gut - Health Connection

Your gut’s first pillar of health is its main role as a barrier. Your gut is a long tube with a job to let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out of our body.

The role of your gut is super-complex and can break down in so many places.

For one thing, your gut can "leak." That means the lining of your intestines can open and allow undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins to enter our bloodstream.  This can wreak havoc on your whole system causing you to feel unwell and and have a variety of symptoms in including fatigue. 

The result of this irritation causes inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases. Inflammation is a cause of many fatigue issues.  It has been at the root of a lot my own fatigue issues even though I did not know it at the time.

Now do you see how your fatigue issues can be linked back to the health of your gut?

FUN FACT: About 70% of your immune system lives in and around your gut.

Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health.

The second pillar of gut health is its role of producing and maintaining the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make B vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar.

So, keeping your gut microbes happy is the second pillar of gut health!

How to improve gut health

There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health. It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving ourselves junk food. You can start with eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Try that for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body (and gut) feels.

You may also want to eliminate other gut irritants. Dairy and grains are common gut irritants. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your energy levels.

By eating nutrient-dense foods, you allow ample macro- and micro-nutrients into your gut to maximize the chance for absorption. These nutrients help your body to build and repair your gut lining, and every other body part as well. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods include dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and veggies, liver, and fish.

The second pillar of gut health is our microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, you can help to replenish your gut microbes.

These are found in fermented foods like:

  •  kombucha,
  • kefir,
  • miso,
  • sauerkraut, and
  • kimchi. 

Make these a part of your daily diet.  If you do have food sensitivities you can try fermented foods such as dairy in the form of Kefir or bread in the form of sourdough.

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Fiber helps us to:

  •  eliminate toxins and some also
  • act as food for your good microbes called prebiotics 
  • help you absorb and digest your food better.

What foods have a lot of fiber?

Some examples are: fruits, whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds

Summary and Main Points to Remember:

The function of your gut is key to your overall health. There are two pillars of gut health: maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes.

The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber and eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/does-all-disease-begin-in-the-gut/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them

Continue Reading

Four Steps on Reading the New Nutrition Facts Tables

Nutrition Facts for a loaf of bread.

Do you read the nutrition label on the side of your food packaging?  Why does it matter?  Maybe you have not connected your fatigue issues to the food you are eating.  However, I do believe you probably are eating as healthy as you can and just are not sure what the nutrition facts mean to you.

The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of most packaged foods. It’s often found close to the ingredient listing.

The purpose of it is to help consumers make better nutrition decisions. When people can see the number of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. in food, they should be able to eat better, right?

Whether you like the Nutrition Facts table or not, let’s make sure you get the most out of it, since it’s here to stay!

 Here’s my four-step crash course on reading the Nutrition Facts table.

Step 1: Serving Size

The absolute most important part of the Nutrition Facts table is to note the serving size. Manufacturers often strategically choose the serving size to make the rest of the table look good.

Small serving = small calories/fat/carbs. So, it's tricky.

All the information in the table rests on the amount chosen as the serving size. And, since every manufacturer chooses their own, it’s often difficult to compare two products.

In Canada, in the next few years, serving sizes will be more consistent between similar foods. This will make it easier to compare foods.

The new labels will also have more realistic serving sizes to reflect the amount that people eat in one sitting, and not be artificially small.

Let’s use an example - plain, unsalted walnuts from Costco.

As you can see, right under the Nutrition Facts header is the serving size. That is a ¼ cup or 30 g. This means that all the numbers underneath it are based on this amount.

FUN EXPERIMENT: Try using a measuring cup to see exactly how much of a certain food equals one serving. You may be surprised at how small it is (imagine a ¼ cup of walnuts).

Step 2: % Daily Value

The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the recommended daily amount of each nutrient the average adult needs. Ideally, you will get 100% DV for each nutrient every day. This is added up based on all of the foods and drinks you have throughout the day.

Please remember that the % DV is a guideline, not a rigid rule.

You don’t need to add all of your %DV up for everything you eat all day. Instead, think of anything 5% or less to be a little; and, anything 15% or more to be a lot.

NOTE: Not every nutrient has a %DV. You can see it's missing for things like cholesterol, sugar, and protein. This is because there isn't an agreed "official" %DV for that nutrient. The good news is that the new Nutrition Facts tables will include a %DV for sugar. Keep your eyes out for that.

Step 3: Middle of the table
 (e.g. Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and protein)

Calories are pretty straight forward. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts has 200 calories.

Fat is bolded for a reason. That 19 g of fat (29% DV) is total fat. That includes the non-bolded items underneath it. Here, 19 g of total fat includes 1.5 g saturated fat, (19 g - 1.5 g = 17.5 g) unsaturated fat, and 0 g trans fat. (Yes, unsaturated fats including mono- and poly-unsaturated are not on the label, so you need to do a quick subtraction).

Cholesterol, sodium, and potassium are all measured in mg. Ideally, aim for around 100% of potassium and sodium each day.

It's easy to overdo sodium, especially if you grab pre-made, restaurant foods, or snacks. Keep an eye on this number if sodium can be a problem for you (e.g. if your doctor mentioned it, if you have high blood pressure or kidney problems, etc.).

Carbohydrate is also bolded because it is total carbohydrates. It includes the non-bolded items underneath it like fiber, sugar, and starch (not shown). Here, 30 g of walnuts contain 3 g of carbohydrates; that 3 g are all fiber. There is no sugar or starch. And as you can see, 3 g of fiber is 12% of your daily value for fiber intake.

Proteins, like calories, are pretty straight forward as well.   Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts contains 5 g of protein.

Walnuts are a great source of fiber.

Step 4: Bottom of the table (e.g. vitamins & minerals)

The vitamins and minerals listed at the bottom of the table are also straightforward. The new labels will list potassium, calcium, and iron. Yes, potassium will drop from the middle of the table to the bottom, and both vitamins A & C will become optional.

Manufacturers can add other vitamins and minerals to the bottom of their Nutrition Facts table (this is optional). And you'll notice that some foods contain a lot more vitamins and minerals than others do.

Conclusion

I hope this crash course in the Nutrition Facts table was helpful. While you can take it or leave it when it comes to making food decisions, it’s here to stay. And it will change slightly over the next few years.

Do you have questions about it? Have you seen the new labels with a %DV for sugar? If so, leave me a comment below.

Continue Reading

Is Everything You Know About Healthy Eating Wrong?

What do you know about healthy eating?

There is so much nutrition information and diet advice on the internet and in magazines!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Even though how much you eat is important to some extent (see my previous article on Three Ways to Avoid Overeating), this has gotten way too much attention. While this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health. 

Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink


The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important and is only part of the story. 

Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. 

You can eat a ton of veggies and it will be so much better than eating a ton of bread and pasta! 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Consume all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).  It is the amino acids you are wanting to absorb that build your muscles.
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” (e.f.a.’s) - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads.

Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don't need to overdo it here.  

Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues?

Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means:

  • take smaller bites
  • eat slowly, chew thoroughly
  • and savour every bite.

Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. 

Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Yup!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And what about smoothies when you are on-the-go?

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!).

A green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. 

And don't gulp it down too fast.  Try to chew a little bit to mix your saliva enzymes with it before you swallow.

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does, try adding in ground chia seeds and some almond butter or slices of avocado.

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.


Continue Reading

Is Your Changing Metabolism the Cause of Your Fatigue?

Photo by Maaike Nienhuis on Unsplash

​Photo by Maaike Nienhuis on Unsplash

Remember your metabolism is the way your body uses nutrients and oxygen for energy and everything you do.

It seems as we get older, this process seems to slow down.  This affects your energy, body temperature and physical fitness.

You may feel tired, cold or feel that you've gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.   You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Since I have turned 52, I have noticed a huge difference this year.  There is no just letting myself go.  It takes real work now to feel good.

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow your metabolism?

There are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don't worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it's so complicated I'm only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  1. low thyroid function
  2. your history of dieting
  3. your size and body composition
  4. your activity level
  5. lack of sleep

I will briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food. 

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you're eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one. 

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have. 

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to...

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you're also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Losing sleep also affects your energy and weight gain leading to major fatigue issues.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

CLICK HERE to join my support group for tired women.

Continue Reading

Does What You Eat Make a Difference?

It's not how much you eat but what


Does what you know to eat make you tired and fat?

There is so much nutrition information and diet advice on the internet and in magazines!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health. 

Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important and is only part of the story. 

Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run, it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we?  You can eat a ton of veggies and it will be so much better than eating a ton of bread and pasta!

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat. 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Consume all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).  It is the amino acids you are wanting to absorb that build your muscles.

Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” (e.f.a.’s) - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads. 

Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don't need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues?

Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means:

take smaller bites

eat slowly, chew thoroughly

and savour every bite. 

Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. 

Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Yup!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And what about smoothies when you are on-the-go?

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!).

A green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. 

And don't gulp it down too fast.  Try to chew a little bit to mix your saliva enzymes with it before your swallow

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does, try adding in ground chia seeds and some almond butter or slices of avocado.

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.


References:

http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

Continue Reading

What is Metabolism?


This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean? And how is it related to fatigue?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  1. Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  2. Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  3. Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate:

 “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) -- how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

“total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) --  measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too! 

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.  This type of exercise for you would look like walking, swimming, biking or climbing stairs.  Other aerobic exercises could make you more tired if you are suffering from fatigue at this time.   So best to stick with gentle aerobic exercise.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. 

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.  If you lack good quality sleep, you can gain weight because your metabolic rate slows down. Lack of sleep stresses our bodies.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Continue Reading

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Did you know that overeating can cause an energy drain and make you feel very lethargic for the rest of the day?

I have been to family gatherings and watched a couple people pass out on the couch from eating too much food.

It is literally their body shutting them down to have the energy to process the food.

This is the time of year for eating out, traveling and spending time with friends and fun food!

Don’t you just love those summer backyard BBQ’s and annual potlucks?

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people,

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge at these special gatherings.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

I have to admit that I do not eat as much in the summer as in the fall and winter.  How about you?

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(challenge: turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

 

Join my private Facebook Group for Tired Women Over 40 ===> Click Here

 

Luana

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

Continue Reading
Close Menu