Archive for July 10, 2013

Brain Ammunition and a Looks Healthy But Isn’t

I’m adjusted to being home – because I love my home – but I miss the beach!  Here’s a pic of all the girls in our beach house, 3 are my daughters (1 daughter couldn’t make it) , 2 are friends. That’s Erin, daughter #4 Shelby, me, SaraRose, daughter #1 Megan, daughter #3 Macy.


In case you’re wondering, even when we’re on vacation, we don’t buy chips, crackers, cookies, or any kind of snackie/munchie junk foods to keep in the house “for the kids”.  I don’t buy them cigarettes either.  It’s all poison.

I have some brain ammunition for you today.  Hopefully, this helps cement the notion that food, weight, and health ISN’T about calories;  it’s about the nutrients and ingredients in food and the hormonal and systemic effects they have on your body.  If you keep thinking that food is just about calories, saying no to Bad Foods that call you is almost impossible.  You can always reason with yourself that you’ll somehow make-up for it later.  You can’t, because  every bite has an effect.  Every nutrient or every chemical has an effect.  Sugar, flour, bad oils, chemicals, they have negative effects EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU EAT THEM.  There is no starving away, or exercising away their effects.

Interesting article in The Telegraph that says that even though Britons are eating 600 calories less a day than in 1980, they’re heavier than ever.  It goes on to say they’re eating less red meat, more cereal, and more skim milk than ever, yet weight rises.

I did a post a while ago on Americans that said essentially the same thing.

Folks, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE CALORIES!!   It’s about the foods and the hormones.  High carb foods, like sugars and grains (even Healthy Whole Grains), stimulate the release of Insulin, which is an ANABOLIC hormone; that means it stores and builds.  It’s main job it to shuttle glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells of the muscles and liver. Unfortunately, our body only wants to store a few TEASPOONS of glucose, so anything over that gets turned into TRIGLYCERIDES and stored in fat cells.

downloadFoods loaded with chemicals, like every processed, refined, restaurant/gas station food out there, STIMULATE your hunger.  They’re CREATED – in laboratories –  to make you want more. As if that weren’t bad enough, these chemicals have various and sundry health destroying effects.

If you eat a diet high in fat and protein, and low in sugars and grains, you won’t have a lot of insulin in the bloodstream, sweeping up excess glucose and making triglycerides.   Fat (from animal sources, avocados, olives, nuts, etc)  doesn’t stimulate Inuslin production.  Protein stimulates very little insulin production (unless you’re diabetic, which changes everything.).  Nutrients get used – for thousands of jobs –  and Fat gets burned.  Both Fat and Protein trigger Satiety hormones.

Let’s look at a couple “Looks Healthy But Isn’t”, 🙂

Skim Milk:  When the Fat was separated off, so were the fat-soluble nutrients (vit A,D,E and K), ONLY synthetic A and D were added back in. W/o fat, they’re mostly UNABSORBABLE chocolate milk(hence the term “fat-soluble”).  W/o the fat, it’s an odd blueish color, so Skim Milk Powder, full of OXIDIZED CHOLESTEROL, is added to make it look more appealing (even Organic does this); there’s 12.3 grams of carbs, O grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and just 80 calories per cup.  If low fat/low cal were good for us, we’d have a winner.

But study after study DOESN’T show an association with low fat/low cal and low weight/good health.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  The Harvard School of Public Health studied over 12,000 kids between 9 and 14 and found a correlation between those who drank skim milk and weight GAIN, not weight loss or healthy weight.  Researchers at UVa posted a similar study with similar results just last week.

Fat SLOWS the absorption of milk sugar (lactose) from the gut to the bloodstream, and allows for LESS insulin to be called for.   Fat ALSO signals SATIETY hormones.  We all want Satiety Hormones triggered, or we’ll just keep eating.

How bout low fat ice cream, as in Breyers Fat Free Chocolate?


Honestly, does that look remotely like food to you?  A half cup has 90 calories, 0 fat, and 22 grams of carbs.  BTW, those mono and diglycerides are partially hydrogenated fatty acids, but the company who patented them had them classified as EMULSIFIERS, not fat.  Brillant move on their part.  The “ice structuring proteins” are a fermented yeast product.  Weird.  And the Polydextrose and Maltodextrin are sugar alcohols – known and labeled as potentially causing “stomach distress”.  (This definitely happens to me and I stay away from any artificial sugars now – good bye stomach bloat!) Anyway, here again, no fat to signal satiety hormones or slow the absorption of the sugars into the bloodstream = Weight Gain.  Loads of ingredients that actually STIMULATE  hunger and desire for more.  This won’t in any way help you lose weight or get healthy, just the opposite actually.

If you’re struggling with your weight and/or your health, that means you need to try something different than what you’re doing.  Honestly, if you’re “dieting”, you’ve already struck out.  Low calorie, small portions, high carb-chemicalized foods actually INDUCE you to keep eating and become fat-making machines.  There was an article in the June 25th  Wall Street Journal about the American Diabetes Association stopping a planned 13 year study early because the low fat/low cal diet they had obese diabetics on was actually CONTRIBUTING to heart disease.  Read that sentence again.  Here’s another nail in that coffin: after 9 years of these obese diabetics living on an average of 1200 calories a day (high carb, low fat), the average weight loss was just 13 pounds.  Nine Years, 1200 daily calories, 13 pounds lost.  A lot of food misery for very little benefit.

Ditch the belief system that tells you to starve yourself and over-exercise to lose weight and fight disease.  It’s not true.  You need fats, proteins, tons of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and some dairy. You need to space out your meals and not eat all day.  You need foods that supply the nutrients your body uses, and you need to stay away from the sugars, grains, bad oils, and chemicals that cause weight gain and disease.    You need to eat Real Whole Foods, and so do your kids.

Stable, Consistent, and Peaceful

swim all day and don't loseStable, Consistent, and Peaceful.   Those are words Joel Osteen uses in a sermon about how to react in tough, difficult circumstances.  Those are also words that apply to eating for health, no matter what’s going on in your life.

Eating well, for your health and your weight, is a day after day, week after week, month after month, endeavor.  Eating well for 3 days, or 5 days or 2 weeks, means pretty much nothing. It’s just not “Big Picture” enough.    It’s the ACCUMULATION of  Daily Habits that make or break our body.  That whole 80/20 thing?  What exactly is 80/20?  Do you use some sort of math formula to figure that one out?   Are you “pretty good” , except for when you’re not?   Being “pretty good some of the time” might work if you’re real young and fairly fit; but if you’re a little older, and only moderately active?  Or inactive? Then you probably won’t reverse auto-immune conditions, heal your skin, feel stable, fix your blood sugar, or lose much weight.  Sorry.   It’s serious consistency that really makes us healthy: mentally and physically, and spiritually.

Here we are again – it’s all mental! Fix your mind on being Stable, Consistent, and Peaceful No Matter The Circumstances!  On vacation?  Eat well.  Traveling?  Eat well.  At a party?  Eat well.  Busy week?  Eat well.  Long day?  Eat well.  Stressful event?  Eat well.  Weekend?  Eat well.

Get in the HABIT of having healthy foods in your house.  Break the HABIT of keeping snacky, junky, munchie, trigger foods in your house.  NO ONE NEEDS crackers, chips, ice cream, or desserts on a regular basis, or ever.  Not you, not your spouse, and NOT YOUR KIDS.  If they’re hungry, access if they’re eating enough at meals, or if they need another actual MEAL mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  Leftovers?  A sandwich?  Fruit and nut butter?  Nuts or cheese?  A big glass of whole milk?  Real Whole Foods that keeps blood sugar stable and triggers satiety hormones;  just the opposite of pretzels, crackers, or sweets.

On the other hand, if YOU’RE hungry between meals, why?  Did you really not eat enough (fat and protein), or are your brain chemicals used to their “fixes”.  It’s one or the other, because you should be able to go hours without eating.  People all over the world have done it forever. If however, you’ve TRAINED yourself to eat all day long, you’ve got some physiological and psychological habits to break. pretzel woman

Eating well – EVERY DAY – is EASY when you get off the Diet Roller Coaster.  Fill your plates with plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables.  As long as you’re skimping, trying to eat lite, counting calories and fat grams, food will be an obsession.  Eating well consistently – weekends, parties, vacations, will be IMPOSSIBLE.  The sense of deprivation will get you every time.  Think about your past patterns and the results they’ve yielded.  Eat Real Whole Foods, and their is NO sense of deprivation.  Your body and mind are satisfied.  Get rid of the False Notion that Real Traditional Fats will make you gain weight.  Delete the “healthy whole grains” spiel.   Try something different – just for a while, try and see the difference in how you look and feel.

If feels really good to NOT be obsessed with food.  It feels really good to NOT self-castigate for food binges or a bloated stomach.  It feels really good to NOT be obsessed with the scale because there’s no “bad eating days”.  It feels good to be normal.  It feels great to eat Real Whole Foods.

The Mood Cure and Beach Eating

what'sthepaleodietVacation’s almost over – for now – and it’s real life again for a few days before my Nutritional Therapy 4 Day Weekend starts next Thursday.   Here’s my work-out wrap up for the week:

Thursday – 12 sets of Back (machine rows, rows with dumbbells, rear flies), 3 set Biceps, NO LEGS because they were tired; biked in AM and PM.

Friday – 100 machine quad extensions, 5 sets shoulder press, 5 sets wide hand push-ups, 5 sets pull-over/crunch; walked on beach for an hour, AM bike ride;  paddleboard in ocean for an hour(HARD).

Eating at the beach went pretty well. ( check my What I Eat page ) Wish I hadn’t eaten the chips those two nights, or the cheese cake on Thursday, but Oh Well.  The big family dinners were a lot of fun; and for the most part, I stuck to foods that make me feel good. ( Two of my sisters and their families are here in Duck too, different houses, but close enough to hang on the beach every day and have dinner together every night. My sisters eat clean too!)   I’m always working on my brain and hoping that some day I’ll get to a point where I could no more eat flour or sugar – EVER –  than I could munch on a cigarette.  (I always come back to cigarettes, don’t I?  I just think they’re gross.)

I finished a GREAT book, The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.  Have you heard of it?  Fantastic!  She’s a Psychotherapist and Clinic Director who believes, after decades of dealing with addiction, that Mood is HIGHLY influenced by the foods and supplements you eat /take or don’t eat/take.  She explains that our Neurotransmitters: Seratonin, Dopamine, GABA, and moodcureEndorphins, are made from AMINO ACIDS, which are the building blocks of Proteins, and that 60% of the Brain is made from Fatty Acids.  She has a questionnaire in the book to help you determine which of the neurotransmitters you may be deficient in, how they affect you, exactly what to do about it, and not do:)  I’ll be adding a few amino acid supplements to my routine, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Honestly, when you look at the statistics of the amount of people, both adults and children, who are on drugs for anxiety, depression, or behavior, and the SUCCESS rate of these drugs ( 30 – 50%, placebos work better) and the SIDE EFFECTS of these drugs (they’re serious), doesn’t the alternative of the right foods, the right supplements, and exercise, sound better?

I know I’ve harped on this before, but there’s a direct correlation between the Standard American Diet, which is full of Sugar, Hydrogenated Oils, Flours, and Chemicals – 4 Huge sources of Toxins to the body and brain –  and the Mood and Health of Americans.  (Let’s not forget Weight either.)

Learning about, and cementing-in the negative effects of bad foods ( which this book talks about in detail) helps to make the whole Healthy Eating thing much easier.  And really, that’s the SECRET to being healthy and having a good body weight: when you eat Real Whole Foods because they appeal to you, and avoid processed, refined foods because they Gross You Out. 

Off to start packing!

Exercise on Vacation? YES!

me sprintingIt’s a beautiful morning at the Beach – Yes!  We had quite a bit of rain thru Tuesday, but all of us have managed to be outside – a lot – and prove the odd fact that burning is possible on cloudy days:)

I got a question about my workouts when I’m on vacation, actually, it was a comment that I must take a “vacation” from working out when I’m on vacation.  NEVER!  I LOVE to workout!  I feel stressed when I DON’T workout, and I’m lucky to have a husband who feels the same way, so when we travel, we workout together.  And when we Don’t travel together, we STILL workout.

By the way, have you seen how cute my husband is?me and mark


This week has been a “normal” workout-vacation/weekend away- workout routine:  lift every morning, do sprints a few times, ride bike and walk EVERYWHERE.  I rarely waste a moment on a cardio machine when I’m away, as I’m a huge sightseer and bike riding, walking enthusiast.  Seems like a more efficient use of gym time this way.

I haven’t talked too much about exercise, because I’m trying to drill in that when it come to health and weight, FOOD RULES.  All these years of Main Stream advice about  “burning calories through exercise”?  It’s not true.  Trust me.  Not only does science show this, but as of this date, July, 2013, I’ve worked in gyms for 26 years.  Exercise does not make you skinny, or cover up bad eating. Exercise can make you HEATLHY, and if you do the right things, it can give you a great shape, but you’ll never Out-Exercise a Bad Diet.  Ever.  What’s the typical calorie burn of an hour or so of exercise?  Maybe 400 calories?  There’s 3600 calories in a pound.  You won’t even access much fat for fuel if you have lots of sugar/glucose and insulin in your bloodstream (as in, you just ate a big bowl of cereal or oatmeal and then went to the gym).

That being said, I think Exercise is maybe one of the best, most fun things in the whole world! It’s a blessing and a gift from God.  I love my classes, I love my gym, I love my clients, I love to train, I love to move;  it all feels good to me.  When my kids were little, it was my escape.  Now that they’re older, it’s still my escape!  By the way, here’s a picture of me and girls from a couple months ago-


Want to know what I’ve been doing this week? Here’s the scoop:

Sunday – 13 sets of squats w dumbbells, 13 sets of chest (press from different angles) 4 sets of abs, biked almost an hour in the morning, and again after dinner

Monday – 13 sets of hamstrings (deadlifts and ham curls), 13 sets of biceps, 4 sets of abs, 8 driveway sprints (we’ve got a STEEP, but short hill) , biked almost an hour in the morning, and again after dinner

Tuesday – 13 sets of leg extensions/quads, 13 sets of shoulders (overhead presses, lat lifts, front delts, push ups),  4 sets planks,  bike rides in AM and PM

Wednesday – 10 sets of glutes (warrior 3 weighted squats, deadlifts, weighted glut squeezes), 14 sets of triceps (OH extensions, french presses, tricep pushups), 10 hill sprints, AM and PM bike rides

All my gym workouts have lasted between 30 and 40 minutes, short and sweet.

No great water workouts, because the water’s AWFUL!  We tried to paddle board yesterday, but between the wind and the waves, there’s not much fun to be had in the ocean.  It’s one of those years where almost no one’s in the water:(   Thank goodness for the pool:)

So that’s it in a nutshell.  Next week I have 4 days of a Nutritional Therapy Workshop in a hotel, I’ll be sure to post my food and workouts then too.

ps – have you checked out my What I’m Eating page?  I’m updating that every day I’m on vacation.


Work On Your Daily Habits

woman eating chocolateOkay, time for another Pep Talk post:) Because I keep getting emails about unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, or binge type eating.

If you feel out of control when it comes to food, it’s time to start eating with your head and not your stomach.  There’s two things you need to do.  The first is focus on the different effects food has on you.  Does it have cancer causing properties?  Does it raise blood sugar and insulin?  Does it have hydrogenated fats that cause disease?  Is it loaded with simple sugars and flours that cause bad skin, depression, and belly bloat?  Get in the habit of always looking at the INGREDIENTS, and then judge them as to whether or not they’re SAFE for your body.  Put bad foods in the same category as cigarettes, because that’s where they belong.

Start connecting every single morsel you put in your mouth with it’s effects – whether you see or feel that effect immediately or not.   Believe that food has an enormous effect on our health and weight, and our kids health and weight.  Calories don’t matter – ingredients matter.

We’ve been trained and conditioned to think of food in terms of want and desire and calories.  Advertising tricks us into thinking that nothing is more important than taste.  Advertising tricks us into thinking chemicalized diet foods are good for us because they’re low in calories.   The only foods with advertising budgets behind them are foods created in labs, but no food created in a lab actually nourishes our body or actually creates a “thin” physiology.  Foods high in carbs and chemicals and bad fats ruin our liver, our thyroid, and our hormones.  They screw up our brain neurotransmitters.  There’s just no positive benefits.

Who’s promoting clean meats, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds? There’s not a great profit margin behind Real Whole Foods, so Big Business isn’t going to be spending billions making them attractive to us.

Next, you’ll need to identify and then focus on your bad habits.  Here’s a few common examples:  you always stop at Starbucks or your favorite convenience store every morning britnystarbucksfor coffee and pastries;  you need a sweet after lunch or dinner; you eat out of the candy jar at someone’s desk at work; you always participate in junk food fests during meetings; you like to chill at night by watching TV and eating ice cream, chips, or cookies, you enjoy a glass of wine or beer several times a week.  I could go on and on, but you get the point.  We’re all creatures of habit, and the ones contributing to our undesired weight or poor health need to be stopped.  Unfortunately, they become deeply ingrained in our brain neurons and resistant to change.  I can help with this.   Email me if you’re ready to break your old patterns and begin new ones.

So that’s it in a nutshell.  If you want to change your health and your body, you’ve got to change your mind first.  Get rid of old thought patterns and behaviors and replace them with new thought patterns and behaviors.  You can do it, it’s easier than you think once you make a plan.  I use a very concrete system of identifying behaviors and working on them, one or two at a time, using a calendar and a LOT of interaction and support.  If you want to do this on your own, don’t buy another DIET book, buy a HABIT book, because it’s daily habits that screw up attempts to change eating patterns, even if you do believe that bad food is bad for you.

Whatever you do, don’t give up.  You might feel like you’ve tried a hundred times and failed a hundred times, but failure is just learning what DIDN”T work, right?  You have plenty of willpower and strength in other areas of your life, right?  You pay your bills, get to work on time, do what needs to be done around your house, meet deadlines and time schedules.  You can be successful at eating or NOT eating certain foods.  Go back to my two points:  change the way you think about food, and work on your habits.  Being healthy and losing weight if you  need to is 100% attainable.  The trick is to make new habits and thought patterns normal and natural, like brushing your teeth, not smoking cigars, or washing your hands:  something you do without really thinking about it.  Just part of your everyday thinking and life.  Other people do it, why not you?