Category Archives for "Weight Loss"

25th February 2020

The Best 9 Anti Inflammatory Foods & 6 Foods To Avoid

Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines; It’s a fact. 

Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be devastating for our health. This is especially true when it becomes chronic, but even low levels of inflammation on a chronic basis can create problems and lead to disease.

Inflammation is often thought of as the root cause of all disease. This makes sense when you consider that it has been closely linked to obesity, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes - just to name a few.

​Inflammation is a vital part of our immune system's response to injury or infection. It’s our body's way of triggering the immune system to spring to action to repair damaged cells or tissues and defend our body against foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. 

Without inflammation, wounds may become septic and infections deadly. But if the inflammatory process continues for too long, or if inflammation occurs in places where it’s not needed, it can become a problem anywhere in our body or brain.

Luckily, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep inflammation under control.

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

An anti-anti-inflammatory diet can help control inflammation, but what does it actually consist of? 

There are two main components to an anti-inflammatory diet. Part of it involves avoiding certain foods that create additional inflammation - I’m sure you are familiar with most of these… white sugar, fried foods, rancid oils, and white flour top my list. But in general, processed foods high in salt, sugar, trans-fats, and refined carbohydrates should be avoided. Alcohol is also a big no-no

Here is my top 6 list of foods to avoid.

  1. ​ Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (found in sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks, pastirs and lots of cereals)
  2. Artificial Trans fats. (think margarines)
  3. Vegetable and seed oils.  
  4. Refined Carbohydrates (think white devils.  White bread, pasta, rice potatoes and grains)
  5. Alcohol
  6. Processed meat ( sausage, ham, cold meats )

​When these kinds of foods are eaten in excess, higher markers for inflammation are often seen.

The other part of an anti-inflammatory diet involves what you should eat - healthy, nutrient-dense, natural foods, especially antioxidants. These foods can lower markers of inflammation in our bodies. So which foods are they? Pretty much any food that is natural, nutrient dense and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and colour. To keep inflammation in check, do your best to choose a wide variety of delicious, antioxidant-rich foods.

Let’s take a look at my top 9 anti-inflammatory foods that help control chronic inflammation.

24th January 2020

Mindful Eating

What Does “Mindful Eating” Really Mean?

The term “mindful eating” seems to be tossed around a lot in connection with losing weight.

Mindfulness is a Buddhist meditation practice that involves bringing all your awareness to the here and now, to the sensations in our bodies and our breathing, for example, rather than letting much of our attention slip away in contemplation of the past and future or of thoughts and images that are not real. The assumption is that when we act with full awareness, our actions are more likely to achieve what we intend, and that when we feel with full awareness, we are more likely to feel fulfilled.

Many people eat semi-consciously, on autopilot, chewing and swallowing food without really tasting it or focusing attention on the next bite before they have enjoyed the present one. Others talk, read, or watch television while they eat, directing their attention incompletely to their food.

One consequence of this type of unmindful eating is overeating and, of course, the end result of that is being overweight or obese.

Have you ever mindlessly shoveled in quantities of popcorn or chips while watching a movie or staring at a television screen? Another consequence of unmindful eating is missing the full sensory pleasure of food and enjoyment of meals.

A famous exercise in mindfulness training is putting a raisin in your mouth to see how long you can keep it there without chewing and swallowing it, while focusing all your attention on its taste and texture. Try it for some firsthand mindfulness practice.

Have you noticed that when food is really good, conversation at the table is reduced to a minimum as people concentrate on the enjoyment of the moment?  As a result, they are likely to eat less and enjoy their meal more.

Breaking mindless habits of eating requires motivation and practice.  When food is served to you, take a moment to fully appreciate its appearance and aroma before starting to eat. When you first taste it, try to give it your full attention.

Eating mindfully means slowing down, expressing gratitude for the food we are eating, being satisfied with food, and paying attention to why we eat. Try rating your level of hunger, before, during and asfter the meal.  This will help to regulate how much food you eat.  If you get into the habit of mindful eating it will help steer you away from unhealthy relationships with food and that it heightens the pleasure of the experience.

FUN MINDFUL PRACTICE

  1. Prepare everyone’s favourite healthy snacks.  (chopped apples, fruit,
  2. Set the table for the family or friends
  3. when everyone is seated, explain that you will all be eating mindfully
  4. Ask everyone to close their eyes
  5. Ask everyone to notice their level of hunger for example
  6. Observe where that feeling of hunger is coming from
  7. rate how hungry you are between 1-10
  8. Bring their food plates to the table
  9. Ask guests to imagine that when they open their eyes, they are looking at food for the first time!
  10.  Ask guests to look at their food and imagine they have never seen it
  11. Note the shape and colour with curiosity
  12. lift up food and hold it, how does it feel
  13. Smell it and note the aroma.  Is it earthy, sweet, spicy, sour or fragrant.  is the aroma strong, or faint
  14. Notice what’s happening inside your mouth in anticipation of eating
  15. Is it difficult to resist eating it
  16. bring it towards your mouth, does your tongue offer the food a place to sit
  17. place the food in your mouth, rest it on your tongue, but don’t chew it for a moment
  18. At last, slowly begin to chew your food, savouring it’s flavour
  19. Notice the texture and taste, observe the flavours
  20. Is it sweet, sours, salty or bitter?  Is it crunchy or smooth, or creamy
  21. How does it sound.
  22. Swallow your food and observe what happens as it moves down into your stomach
  23. Are you left with an aftertaste?
  24. Now after swallowing, rate your hunger from 1-10
  25. remember to eat all of your food slowly!
  26. Take a moment to appreciate all the food you have eaten, where it came from, how the food miraculoously gets absorbed by the body for growth and energy

20th September 2019

Sleep and Sex

An under-the-covers look at whether getting turned on turns off your ability to fall asleep

There are two things that your bedroom should be designed for: having sex and sleeping.  So to be clear, its not to be a playground for your kids and pets, nor is it a place to do the ironing.  But that begs the question: How can having sex (an act that is, at its core, meant to be arousing) get you ready for serious shut-eye?  I mean, imagine falling asleep on 'the job'! Im sure you haven't ever done that!  It turns out that the two actions go hand in hand. More sex helps you sleep, and more sleep boosts your sex drive.

Yes, sex can actually make it easier to fall asleep. This is mostly because of the hormones that are released during the act. Sex boosts oxytocin (a hormone that makes you feel connected to your partner) and lowers cortisol (a stress-related hormone). Plus, having an orgasm releases a hormone called prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. All of that leads up to a nice, drowsy state that's perfect for a nightime cuddle and falling asleep.

There’s an added bonus for women, which is that sex boosts estrogen levels, enhancing your REM stage and giving you ​a deep sleep. ​It's good for men too.  You sleep deeply after intercourse, ​win win!!

​Your sleep habits could be helping or hurting your sex life. If you or your partner aren’t sleeping well, whether due to stress, one person keeping the other up with tossing and turning, or a condition like sleep apnea, your sex drive is going to go way down. lose lose!!

If a lack of sleep is hurting your sex life, the answer might lie in having more sex!  Win win!!! That’s because sexual satisfaction is a great ​for relieving stress, as well as a way to feel more intimate with your partner—and when you feel less frazzled and happier in your relationship, those feelings will contribute to better sleep (and the cycle goes on and on!). So, instead of lying in bed, worrying about why you can’t fall asleep, turn to your partner and initiate sex. 

17th September 2019

Sleep Tips

  • Carve out at least 30 minutes of wind-down time before bed in which you do something relaxing, such as read a book. Dim the lights in the house slightly for an hour or so before bed.  
  • Disconnect from close-range electronic devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets, as the light from their screens can alert the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • In order to calm your mind, do a breathing or relaxation exercise. Use an App if you are not sure how to do this (there is one in the resources section
  • If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music. Lying in bed awake can create an unhealthy link between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, you want your bed to conjure sleepy thoughts and feelings only
  • Wake up at the same time every day. Even if you have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired in the morning, try to get up at the same time (weekends included). This can help adjust your body's clock and aid in falling asleep at night.

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    2nd September 2019

    How to Avoid Bad Decisions

    ​​​You may be surprised just how much small daily decisions impact the willpower you have for important choices. And most importantly, it turns out there are simple choices you can make that will help you master your willpower and make better decisions on a more consistent basis.

    Amazing But True

    In a research study published by the National Academy of Sciences, psychologists examined the factors that impact whether or not a judge approves a criminal for parole.

    The researchers examined 1,112 judicial rulings over a 10-month period. All of the rulings were made by a parole board judge, who was determining whether or not to allow the criminal to be released from prison on parole. (In some cases, the criminal was asking not for a release, but rather for a change in parole terms.)

    Now, you might assume that the judges were influenced by factors like the type of crime committed or the particular laws that were broken.But the researchers found exactly the opposite. The choices made by judges are impacted by all types of things that shouldn't have an effect in the courtroom. Most notably, the time of day.

    What the researchers found was that at the beginning of the day, a judge was likely to give a favorable ruling about 65 percent of the time. However, as the morning wore on and the judge became drained from making more and more decisions, the likelihood of a criminal getting a favorable ruling steadily dropped to zero.

    After taking a lunch break, however, the judge would return to the courtroom refreshed and the likelihood of a favorable ruling would immediately jump back up to 65 percent. And then, as the hours moved on, the percentage of favorable rulings would fall back down to zero by the end of the day.

    This trend held true for more than 1,100 cases. It didn’t matter what the crime was — murder, rape, theft, embezzlement — a criminal was much more likely to get a favorable response if their parole hearing was scheduled in the morning (or immediately after a food break) than if it was scheduled near the end of a long session.

    What Is Happening Here?

    We now call this phenomenon 'decision fatigue'. When the judge on a parole board experiences decision fatigue, they deny more parole requests.

    When your willpower is fading and your brain is tired of making decisions, it’s easier just to say no and keep everyone locked up than it is to debate whether or not someone is trustworthy enough to leave prison. At the beginning of the day, a judge will give each case a fair shot. But as their energy starts to fade? Deny, deny, deny.

    Decision fatigue happens every day in your life as well. If you have a particularly decision-heavy day at work, then you come home feeling drained. You might want to go to the gym and workout, but your brain would rather default to the easy decision: sit on the couch. That’s decision fatigue.

    ​​Its funny but, as it turns out, your willpower is like a muscle. like all muscles in your body, your willpower can get fatigued when you use it over and over again. Every time you make a decision, it’s like doing another squat at home or rep in the gym. And ​as your muscles get tired at the end of a workout, the strength of your willpower fades as you make more decisions.

    ​What Can You Do To Avoid It?

    ​Plan the night before

    There will always be decisions that pop up each day that you can't plan for. That's fine. It's just part of life.  But for most of us, the decisions that drain us are the ones that we make over and over and over again. Wasting precious willpower these decisions — which could be automated or planned in advance — is one reason why many people feel so drained at the end of the day. For example, decisions like…What am I going to wear to work? What should I eat for breakfast? Should I go to the dry cleaner before or after work? And so on.  All of those examples above, can be decided in 3 minutes or less the night before, which means you won't be wasting your willpower on those choices the next day. Taking time to plan out, simplify, and design the repeated daily decisions will give you more mental space to make the important choices each day.

    Do The Most Important Things First

    Is it getting in shape? Is it building your business? Is it writing that book you have inside of you? Is it learning to eliminate stress and relax?  Whatever it is for you, put your best energy toward it. If you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier, then do that. Start your day by working on the most important thing in your life.  I've written previously about the importance of morning routines and time management, this research on willpower is just another reason to work on the most important things first.

    ​Stop Making Decisions and Start Making Commitments 

    I think advice like, “you just need to decide to do it” gets dished around too much.  Yes, of course you need to decide to do the things that are important to you, but more than that you need to schedule them into your life.  We all have things that we say are important to us.

    “I really want to scale my business.”  “I really want to lose 40 pounds.”  "I really want to get started on XYZ.”

    Unfortunately, most of us simply hope that we'll have the willpower and motivation to make the right decisions each day.  Rather than hoping that I'll make the right choice each day, I've found much more success by scheduling the things that are important to me.

    For example, my schedule for writing is Monday - Friday, not weekends . On any given Monday, I don’t have to decide whether I'm going to ​exercise . It’s already on the schedule. And I’m not hoping that I’ll have enough willpower to make it to the gym. It’s just where I go on Mondays at 3pm.

    If you sit back and hope that you’ll be able to make the right decisions each day, then you will certainly fall victim to decision fatigue and a lack of willpower.


    ​Don't Make Decisions On An Empty Stomach

    It’s no coincidence that the judges became better decision makers after eating. Now, if you cram french fries into your veins every day, then I doubt that you'll enjoy the same results. But taking a break to feed your brain is a wonderful way to boost willpower.

    This is especially important because although it’s great to do the most important thing first, it’s not always possible to organize your day like that.  When you want to get better decisions from your mind, put better food into your body.

    Simplify Your Life

    Whether you are trying to reach the highest level of performance or just want to start eating a healthy diet, the biggest frustration for most people is the feeling that you need to use willpower on an hourly basis.  Find ways to simplify your life. If something isn't important to you, eliminate it. Making decisions about unimportant things, even if you have the time to do so, isn't a benign task. It's pulling precious energy and willpower from the things that matter.

    Willpower is one area of life where you can most certainly improve your output by reducing the number of inputs.


    Lesson Essentials:  Weekly Schedule

    Download and print this document to ​fill it​ out at home.