I’ve spent the last four years of my life learning all I can about health and fitness and tracking down photos of cats that look like Ron Swanson. If I had a time machine, these would be the things I would have told myself at the beginning of my journey:
1. Calorie counting promotes obsessive behavior.
Sure, calorie counting can help you get a better picture of how much you’re eating and if you’re snacking on junk food when you’re not hungry, but you shouldn’t do it regularly.
2. Weight loss isn’t necessarily the same thing as fat loss.
You may be thrilled when the numbers go down on the scale, but the scale is unreliable. What you weigh depends on a number of factors, including the breakfast that’s digesting in your stomach, the salt content in your body, the amount of water you’ve drank that day, among other things. When the scale decreases, it could be just a fluctuation in those variable. Or, if you’re not doing enough strength training, you could be losing valuable muscle mass, which leads to a slowdown of your metabolism and fat gain in the long run.
But when you get rid of fat and replace it with muscle, you may not gain or lose any weight, but you’ll be slimmer since a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. More on this subject here. [Read more…]
When you change your eating habits, it can take time for you to adjust. When I started this challenge, I had trouble making sure I was getting enough healthy calories, and I was really hungry all day. Slowly, I discovered that I needed to eat enough protein and foods like nuts and pistachios and almond butter in addition to my intake of fruits and veggies in order to stay full.
Binge eating, or overeating a large amount of junk food in a short time, is a real problem. I got a lot of questions from readers about this topic every day on my Tumblr.
Eating everything in sight can be both an emotional response, or a response to hunger. Remember, the key to good health is eating PLENTY of good food! Starving yourself is NEVER the answer.
Here are five ways to stop binge eating: [Read more…]
I like starting my day off with a detoxifying fruit water because it’s a delicious way to cleanse your system. By allowing the fruit to soak in your water overnight in your fridge, your water becomes infused with nutrients and flavor of the fruit. I’ve assembled the best of the best detox waters that contain anti-aging properties and help flush toxins from your body. (Another way to flush ze toxins? WORK OUT! Right now I’m doing a 30 Day iPhone App Workout Challenge, come do it with me!)
I also took kickass photos with my brother’s camera, and may or may not have told the cucumber water to “work it” and show off that “smize.” I now realize that I’ve been definitely watching too much Top Model recently. But I can’t stop! It’s so addicting! You watch one episode and you can’t stop!
Tips for making these detox waters:
- These recipes are single-serve and make one glass. But you can refill your glass with water as many times as you’d like, and I usually make it in the morning and then keep refilling my cup with water and they last all day!
- Try using sparkling water instead of normal water and serve at special occasions in champagne flutes
- If you want to make a 2 liter pitcher, fill half of the pitcher with fruit. I would recommend also throwing in a little ginger root, which has anti-inflammatory compounds and aids in digestion. Don’t add ginger to a single glass– it’s a bit overpowering and requires a pitcher. [Read more…]
What if I told you that by spending 30-45 minutes at the gym running intervals would help you lose fat faster than walking on the treadmill for four hours?
Welcome to the wonderful, time-saving world of high intensity interval training!
What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
It’s a kind of exercise that aims for maximum fat loss in a short period of time, and it combines two kinds of training:
- High Intensity Training. Working out at maximum effort in order to reach VO2 max, which triggers the afterburn effect that makes your body burn calories up to 48 hours after your workout ends.
- Interval Training. Alternating periods of low-intensity with moderate-intensity. This builds lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism, and burns more calories than steady state cardio (working out the same duration for a set period of time.)
By combining these two types of training, you get HIIT!
What are the benefits of HIIT?
1. Increased metabolic rate. Who doesn’t want that?
2. Increased calorie burn during and after your workout. The afterburn effect from high intensity training is magnified by adding intervals into the mix.
3. Improved mitochondrial function. HIIT actually improves your body at the cellular level, improving mitochondrial function and energy levels in our body.
4. Increased fat loss. Intervals combined with intense exercise boost your metabolism and the afterburn effect, promoting fat loss.
5. Shorter workouts save you time. Research has show that 27 minutes of HIIT 3x/week produces the same set of anaerobic and aerobic benefits as doing steady state cardio 60 min/day for 5x/week! [Read more…]
Hey guys! I’m feeling sick today, but happy to report that I’m still keeping with my clean eating even though instead of cooking I just feel like sleeping. Forever.
Until I remembered I had a blog post to write.
So I thought I’d tackle a really important issue in the health world: [Read more…]
The 80/20 rule exists because we’re not perfect human beings, and sometimes we just want chocolate or ice cream.
What is the 80/20 Rule?
Basically, 80% of what you eat on a regular basis should be healthy and 20% can be less than healthy, and you’ll still see results.
Problems arise when you start trying to justify all the junk food you eat with this rule, and don’t actually know the true percentage of junk food you end up eating.
4 Tips for the 80/20 Rule
1. Know what 20% is. If you eat 5 small meals per day, then approximately each meal is 20%. However, if three meals are larger, than those two snacks are going to be a smaller percentage. For example, my percentage breakdown is more like breakfast (35%) morning snack (5%) lunch (30%) afternoon snack (5%) and dinner (25%). So with the 80/20 rule, you can’t really eat unhealthy for major meals, but you can eat less healthy for snacks. [Read more…]
Need a good reason to do my clean eating challenge?
I’ll give you twenty.
Here are 20 DANGEROUS ingredients that are found in packaged foods — even “organic” packaged foods that are supposedly “healthy”!
Found in Silk products, So Delicious products, and a whole bunch of supposedly “healthy” milk substitutes like almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. This is considered an “organic” ingredient and is in health foods.
WHY IT’S DANGEROUS: Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D. is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She’s published 18 peer-reviewed studies that link carrageenan to harmful effects on the human body, such as stomach problems and inflammation and cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. This ingredient is harmful and could cause a number of diseases. STAY AWAY FROM IT! [Read more…]
Clean eating is more than just a trend — it’s a way to help prevent illness and improve your quality of life.
Here are four benefits of eating clean:
1. Prevent Illness and Cancer. If you read my list of 20 Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid, you’ll know that most packaged foods are packed with carcinogens and
artificial dyes that could jeopardize your health and well being. Instead, take an active role in preserving your health and switch to the clean eating way of life!
2. Eat clean for weight loss. Eliminating junk food and refined sugar from your diet means that it’s easier to maintain or lose weight. Also, good foods help keep you fuller for longer, and the longer you go without junk food, the less likely you will to be to crave them. Getting to a healthy weight also reduces the risk of getting certain diseases.
2. Eating a variety of different whole foods gives you more nutrients in your diet. When all you eat is whole, good foods, you’re more likely to reach your goals for eating vitamins and minerals! Eating clean helps you get more essential nutrients and micronutrients, which help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Cutting out artificial ingredients improves cell function. Your energy levels will improve thanks to the fact that you’re feeding your body good, whole food. Your mitochondria will thank you!
In essence, clean eating is a way of eating that emphasizes eating whole foods and more fruits and veggies than there are stars in the sky. It also aims to cleanse your body of the ugly artificial ingredients and toxins found in fast food, soda, and all the unhealthy junk that has become a staple of the modern diet.
Clean eating is not about calorie counting, it’s about eating intuitively and fueling your body with good foods in order to promote health, weight loss, and the end of illness.
Here are the main rules of clean eating:
- No processed foods. Eat whole foods, and if you absolutely must buy something from a package, they can’t have more than five ingredients, and they cannot be ingredients you don’t recognize.
- No refined sugar. No granulated sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no sugar replacements like Stevia, which sometimes contain harmful chemicals and weird ingredients.
- Cook your own meals. If you eat out, you don’t know what’s in your food. Not to mention, it’s more cost-effective and healthier to eat at home and cook your meals from scratch! “Convenience meals” come with a high cost on your health and your wallet.
- Eat 5 or 6 small meals per day. In order to stabilize blood sugar and keep your metabolism up, eat 5 to 6 small meals per day. I like having three main meals and then two small snacks in between breakfast/lunch and lunch/dinner. More about this in the 30 Days!
- Eat WHOLE foods. Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store and center your meals around plant-based foods.
Let it be noted that there will be exceptions to these rules, but these are the basic parameters of clean eating!
Are bread and dairy “clean”?
The truth is, bread and dairy fall under the “subjective zone” of clean eating. Eating clean means doing your best to eat whole unprocessed foods and avoiding artificial ingredients, and some people consider bread and dairy products to be processed.
Since we’re getting into the nitty-gritty zone of clean eating, feel free to follow what makes sense for you.
I generally do eat bread and dairy in moderation and with specific stipulations.
Here are my specific exemptions, you’re welcome to follow them:
- Soymilk & Almond Milk = Good. Dairy Milk = Questionable. Why? Because The China Study found a correlation between dairy and cancer cell development. Plant-based is better, and I still drink soy and almond milk in moderation (i.e. just for smoothies!) because it’s not “officially” clean.
- Minimal grains, but ONLY whole wheat or raw oats. If you cut out ALL bread, then what are you going to eat? Not having sandwiches/veggie wraps/etc. means basically cutting out a huge part of the healthy diet. White flour is unhealthy, but whole grains are full of fiber to fill you up.
- No refined sugar, but honey is OK in moderation. No refined sugar means no white granulated sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no other artificial sweeteners or sugar replacements. Honey, on the other hand, contains whole nutrients and is absorbed more slowly by the body than sugar. Honey is sweeter than sugar, which means you can use less of the product, and honey also contains antioxidants that inhibit cell damage. However, honey should still be consumed in moderation.
Eating clean is not a diet
It is a lifestyle change.
After my strict clean-eating-only thirty days, I plan on continuing to stick as close to the clean-eating mentality as I can for the rest of my life.
It takes approximately 28 days to improve willpower and ingrain healthy habits.
So what are you waiting for? Start now!