Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

 

 

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Coffee: Who can drink it and who should avoid it?

cup of coffee

Coffee is one of those things – you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 4x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half are “fast” metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol
  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and health risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
  • Increased sleep disruption
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases
  • Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality”)
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

 Should you drink coffee or not?

 There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmia (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • People who are pregnant
  • Children
  • Teens

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Affect your sleep?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte

Serves 1

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)

Instructions
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.
Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/coffee-good-or-bad/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-wake-up-call-on-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938

http://suppversity.blogspot.ca/2014/05/caffeine-resistance-genetic.html

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-coffee-should-you-drink/

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired 

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

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.  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 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 aka REAL 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.  Aim for 1 serving of 5 different colours per day.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – 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 uber-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 to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe. Put your fork down in between bites. Eat undistracted at least once per day. Yes that means put your phone down and focus on eating one bite at a time!

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?

Thought so!

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 don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong 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.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding a tbsp of nut butter and/or a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

Summary:

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

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Serves 1

handful spinach

1-2 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 banana

1-2 tbsp nut butter

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

2 cups unsweetened almond milk or water

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit, fats or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

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

 

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

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

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, 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.

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas 

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
●Slices of lemon & ginger
●Slices of strawberries & orange
●Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
●Chopped pineapple & mango
●Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

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

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?

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:
●Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
●Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
●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. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which 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”.

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.

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.

Here is a quick and easy recipe you can try.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

In 2018 I will…

Get Fit With Les

How many of you have been writing down your resolutions or saying out loud ‘In 2018 I will…’  What are some of your goals/intentions/resolutions for this year?

The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time.  Most people are full of excitement and are motivated for a ‘fresh start’ on January 1st.  Most New Year’s resolutions are health based with people vowing to take better care of their bodies in the coming year. AWESOME! GREAT!  But don’t become like 90% of people who fail at keeping their resolutions after 4-6 weeks, if you need help sticking to your goals, get help! Hire a personal trainer, find a workout buddy, hire a financial planner, sign up for a meal delivery service,  whatever you need to do to reach your goals-do it now!

I don’t know about you but this past year has flown by, perhaps it’s because I became a…

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3 WAYS TO REDUCE THE “MIDDLE-AGE BULGE”

Blog Title 3 Ways to Reduce the -Middle Age Bulge-

As health and fitness coaches who work primarily with people over 50, this topic comes up quite frequently in session.

Client A – “How do I get rid of this (as client points to mid-section)?”

The answer to this is never quick and easy. But there are things that are in your control that can make a difference right away.

There seems to be something that happens to us humans when we reach middle age.

It may seem as though the body takes a bit of a drop off and things change all of a sudden.

You may feel that your clothes are getting tighter.

The weight loss battle becomes more like an uphill battle and the things that worked in the past, just don’t seem to work as well as they used to.

What is the cause of this?

It is safe to say that it is rarely one thing that causes this. Instead we usually see a combination of factors that lead people to this point.

Factors like;

• Lean muscle loss. It is estimated that we lose on average 5lbs of lean mass (the kind of mass we want to keep) for every decade after 25. If you do the math that is 15lbs of lean mass by 55. If our weight were to stay exactly the same, that means we would have increased by 15lbs of fat.

• A decrease in metabolism. On average a 2-4% decrease in resting metabolic rate (RMR) each decade after 25. Although this doesn’t seem like much, it really adds up.

• Overestimating how well we eat/Underestimating our intake of indulgences or foods that generally don’t help us.

• Inactivity/sedentary lifestyles. Never before in history have humans sat down so often (i.e. TV, eating, work, driving, etc.).

• Hormonal changes (i.e. menopause, andropause).

• Inability to train intensely due to growing injury/mobility concerns.

• Medications. 

• and more.

Tackling one’s health and fitness goals takes a multi-faceted approach (nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, etc.), but the path to success in anything starts with one step. Below we outline 3 actions you can take today that will help you to reduce “the middle-age bulge”.

1. Eat lean protein and vegetables at every meal (focus on breakfast for even better results).

This is a foundational habit that we teach all of our members. To see change now and in the long run, master the basics first. By eating protein and vegetables at every meal you can see a dramatic change in your waist line.

Here are 2 reasons why you will want to implement this into your daily routine.

• Increased Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF). BLOG IMAGE 3 Ways to Reduce the -Middle Age Bulge- Calories Out

When we ingest food, our digestive system must work to break it down, absorb and assimilate its nutrients. This work has a cost in calories. The amount of calories burned in this process is referred to as the Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF). In other words, eating itself can increase your metabolism. Protein and vegetables are at the top of the TEF scale. Having protein and vegetables at every meal will help you burn more calories almost immediately.

• Steady blood sugar levels.

Keeping blood sugar levels steady can help to improve insulin sensitivity and help with your overall food quality and quantity throughout the day. Imagine a day of work where you aren’t hungry. You’re not thinking of food and craving the homemade cookies that your co-worker brought to the office this morning. You go into lunch and dinner calm and ready to enjoy a slow paced and relaxed meal (as opposed to scarfing down every last bit on your plate and going for seconds).

Eating lean protein and vegetables at every meal can lead you towards this kind of eating. Not having these at each meal, can potentially keep you hungry through the day, craving foods you know you probably shouldn’t eat and even cause you to overeat without realizing it.

Lean Protein All-Stars;

• Red meat

• poultry

• lean pork cuts

• wild game

• fish/seafood

• eggs

• plant-based proteins (beans, lentils, tofu, etc.)

Non-Starchy Vegetables:

• Leafy greens (spinach, swiss chard)

• carrots

• tomatoes

• zucchini

• broccoli

• bell peppers

• cauliflower

• asparagus

• etc.

BONUS TIP: Have an unconventional breakfast that includes a harder to digest protein and vegetables for even better results. This might be a challenge for most people but will certainly deliver results.

Think this idea is crazy? Try the more conventional option. If you’re ready to challenge yourself and try something new, try taking off “a big chunk”.

• Ready to take off a big chunk:

1-2 palm sized lean steak cut.

1-2 fists of stir fried vegetables or spinach salad

• Something more conventional:

2-3 egg omelette with 1-2 fists of vegetables (spinach, tomatoes, onions, garlic, asparagus, etc.)

(Please note that we have not discussed carbohydrate or healthy fat consumption. This would be a topic for another conversation altogether. At Evertrain we do not necessarily advocate low-carb diets as a long-term solution.)

Do a quick audit of one week’s intake of calorie drinks. It’s not uncommon to see an extra day(or two)’s worth of calories that come from drinks alone.

2. Drink calorie-free drinks. 

Although we are not big believers in counting calories as a means to predict weight-loss, it is important to know the basics of calories in vs. calories out.

BLOG IMAGE 3 Ways to Reduce the -Middle Age Bulge-.pngIn other words, if you’re taking in more calories than you are burning you might find it challenging to lose inches around the waist.

What you really want to do is make sure that the calories that you take in are actually helping, not hurting your efforts. If losing inches around your waist is a goal, you want to be eating mostly nutrient dense foods that are lower in calories compared to calorie dense foods that are lower in nutrients.

Most drinks with calories (we’re not referring to smoothies that replace a meal), are low in nutrients and high calories. And more often than not, these calories are not helping your efforts to thin down your waist line.

Making the Move to Calorie Free Drinking

For most people this is a big challenge. So if you’re not ready for this drastic of a change, even small changes can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.

For example, if you are used to having 2 large coffees per day with 2 creams and 2 sugars, try a measurable and consistent decrease.

•Aim for 2 mediums per day.

•Aim for 1 cream and 1 sugar.

•Replace sugar with a natural sweetener like stevia.

•Try 1 or 2 days in the week where you drink herbal tea instead.

If you’re really ambitious and want to see big changes, move from calorie drinks to drinks like herbal tea (with nothing added), black coffee, and water.

At the end of the day, the calories we take in from these calorie drinks are not helping us move closer to our goals. If you want to see a reduction in the inches around your waist, this is usually one of the fastest ways to see change.

3. Reduce/eliminate foods that your body doesn’t agree with. 

Food allergies, intolerances and gut health problems are extremely common. Symptoms can pop-up in several forms such as; bloating, gas, discomfort, etc. To add to this, by eating foods our body doesn’t agree with we are causing damage to our intestinal tract. With time this will lead to a host of other problems.

Copy of BLOG IMAGE 3 Ways to Reduce the -Middle Age Bulge- Food Intolerances

Some of the most common food allergies in adults are;

• eggs

• dairy

• tree nuts

• peanuts

• seafood/shellfish

• wheat

• etc.

It can be hard to figure out which foods your body disagrees with. The best way to do this is to collect data, analyze and make an outcome based decision.

For example, if you suspect that dairy is causing you to feel gassy, bloated and may be preventing your fat-loss goals, collect some data.

1. Take notes of how you feel after eating anything that contains dairy for 3-7 days. Write down anything you think can be related (emotional, physical, mental). You can’t be too detailed.

2. Observe what you wrote down. 

3. Analyze the data you’ve collected (i.e. my digestion is completely off whenever I eat cheese).

4. Make an outcome based decision. In other words, based on the objective information you now have, make a conscious decision on what to do next (i.e. reduce my dairy intake to on occasions). 

Many of the clients we’ve worked with either didn’t know they had food intolerances or knew and chose to simply not address them. Once we worked on reducing or eliminating their intake of these foods, we noticed a big decrease in inches around the waist.

This was for 2 reasons;

1. With improved gut health, they were able to better digest, absorb and assimilate nutrients. This led to losing belly fat.

2. They were simply less bloated.

Consistency is the Key

It’s important to know that any change you choose to make, has to be done consistently to have the desired effect. We recommend taking one of these habits and doing it every day for 2-4 weeks. Then once you’ve gotten this down pat, layer on another (just make sure you don’t stop doing the previous one). Overtime you’ll begin to add new habits that will actually last and become the new norm.

Committed to Your Success,

The Evertrain Team

Evertrain Lifestyles Inc. is an Ottawa based fitness and nutrition coaching business that specializes in working with people over 50 looking for a long-term solution to their health and fitness goals. Their coaches are passionate about teaching their members about the importance of safe, injury-free exercise and creating habits that last. www.evertrainlifestyles.com