5 Simple Ways to Boost your Metabolism

Nature works in different ways. This goes the same for every person’s body and metabolism. Each of us vary in terms of metabolic rates since we do different types of work, some would be glued to their office chair most of the time and some would be doing more labourous work.

So why do some people easily gain weight and others have a difficult time gaining some?

Metabolism is our body’s own “personal trainer. It’s a process that works naturally to support you in shedding unwanted fat and burning calories. Enzymes in your cells break down food then convert it into energy. This enables your heart to keep on beating, your mind to thinking whenever you’re at work, or even when you engage in a group exercise class.

The idea here is that metabolism is a subjective matter. The faster a person’s metabolism works then the more she can burn those calories. It also means that the more you burn then the easier it is to shed those kilos off.

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Here are 5 simple yet effective ways to improve your metabolism:

1.) Start your Day with a Hearty Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The big idea here though is the quality and quantity of your food in the morning. Always keep in mind that a hearty breakfast is better since it will make you full for hours and prevent you hop on starvation mode.

A combination of lean protein coupled with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats is what works best. The old reliable would be hard-boiled eggs and cup of oatmeal. You can also add some berries and a teaspoon of omega-3 fish oil. Remember to consume a quantity that will make you full for the next few hours even before thinking about lunch.

2.) Remember Fiber

It’s a best practice to include vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. This will enable your body to flush out toxins more easily. The idea here is that consuming organic fruits and veggies are considered more effective since they are grown without pesticides. These chemicals block your thyroid function. Your thyroid is your body’s personal thermostat and gauges how fast your metabolism runs. Whether it’s organic produce or not, it is a must to have your greens during lunch and some fruits to complement your breakfast.

3.) Strength Training

Did you know that muscle weighs more than fat which means it uses more energy as well? Most women in their 30s and 40s tend to increase their resting metabolism by 100 calories per day through strength training. This can be achieved spending 40 minutes twice a week for 3-4 months. The great thing about training twice weekly? It keeps your thermostat running at an ideal rate even if you don’t visit the gym daily.

4.) Make Calories Work for You

It’s a fact that if you trim those calories in your diet plan, it will deliberately affect your metabolism. The body’s metabolic process will think that times are lean and puts a hold on fat-burning to conserve energy. The solution would be to eat enough calories at least to match your resting metabolic rate. It’s a tricky situation but keep in mind that eating the right food, which give you sufficient calories is key to making those calories work for you.

5.) Protein First

Do you even wonder why your personal trainer promotes a protein-packed diet for you? It’s because your body digests protein more slowly compared to carbohydrates. A high-protein meal also boosts your metabolism. During thermogenesis, your body uses around 10% of its calorie intake for digestion, which means it takes longer to burn protein than fat or carbs. With this in mind, your body tends to expend more energy-absorbing nutrients in a high-protein diet.

 

Do you want to learn more about creating a diet plan or a exercise routine that will boost your metabolism? Let’s get started towards your fitness goals. The Team at The Naked Truth Fitness would be more than happy to talk to you about your personalised eating plan. Click here to know more.

5 Benefits of Joining Group Exercise Classes

It’s a norm that when you hit the gym for the first time, you are somewhat unsure on where to start. Some people encounter a difficult time doing an exercise or using a machine, some don’t know the proper form of an exercise, and other would simply spend time on the treadmill while browsing on their phones.

If you’re new to the gym or you just don’t know where to start once you hit the floor, introducing yourself to group exercise classes could be the quick fix for you. While there’s always an option to hire a trainer to teach you or tag a friend along to support each other, joining a group class will be a good start for your fitness goals.

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Here are 5 benefits that you will get once you join a group exercise class:

1.) Group Classes Mean Fun

It’s a given that there’s a social factor when you join a group class. It’s one of the most exciting and enjoyable approach to do exercises. Whether it’s a Bootcamp class, High Intensity, Zumba or a group spinning session, you’ll have fun with other gym members who are motivated to reach their fitness goals but want to enjoy their stay at the gym as well. Now let’s turn on some upbeat music!

2.) Exercising with a Group Motivates You More

As we mentioned earlier, group classes should be fun, and a bonus is that you have the opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have fitness goals as well. It’s true teamwork at play – an enthusiastic instructor and group class buddies support each other during their routine. Joining a group class will bring the best out of you and complement your gym mates as well.

3.) There’s a Variety of Exercise Classes

Several newbies in the gym tend to lose interest once they feel everything is routine. Joining a group fitness class will suck the boredom out of you in an instant. You can choose classes such as Pilates, HIIT, cardio kickboxing, and Zumba among others. Another advantage of joining a wide array of group classes is that you have the chance to work out several body parts while increasing your metabolism.

4.) An Instructor Guides You as a Group

Being part of a group exercise class allows everyone to learn from an expert instructor how to execute exercises properly. This is important specially for new gym members who want to feel at ease in doing certain routines with fellow newbies. As an instructor coaches you as a group, you can also share a tip or two to other newbies who would join the class soon.

5.) There’s a Standard Structure or Routine

Joining a group class doesn’t ask too much from a beginner. You can hop in and have a great workout without really thinking of a plan. Every class has an instructor that leads the way from warm-up phase, to the actual workout, and a cool-down session. The great thing about having an instructor throughout each group class is that you can ask questions about the advantages of doing such exercises.

 

TNT Fitness offers a group exercise class called the Ultimate Class. It is packed full of the best exercises to shed kilos and get you in the best shape of your life. Would like to learn more about the Ultimate Class? For more information or to register for women’s only bootcamp click here.

Busting 4 Common Myths of Strength Training for Women – PART 1

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In regards to strength training for women there are so many myths floating around it’s not even funny. These myths make it so hard for any woman to know exactly what to do when it comes to exercise, in particular strength training, to get the best results. This is when confusion and disappointment sets in, as their goals are not achieved.

In part 1 of myths of strength training for women we look at the following four topics:

•    Strength training will make you bulk up
•    High repetitions, low weight will work
•    Strength training for women should be different to men
•    You can spot reduce fat

There is a lot of information out their which is not fact at all and leads women in all sorts of directions. Here, we answer all those myths to set you back on track. Strength training is actually pretty straight forward if you know the research backed facts about strength training and get rid of all the false information.

Myth 1: Strength training will make you bulk up
We hear this time and time again; no you will not bulk up and become the muscly hulk that you think weight or strength training will cause you to become. There are specific reasons why females cannot do this and if they are, then they must be taking something to cause them to look that way, it is just not a natural phenomenon amongst females.

So, why is it that females cannot bulk up like our male counterparts? Well, females do not have the testosterone levels that males do. Sometimes, males do not even have the amount of testosterone needed to develop that hulk looking physique we know you are all thinking about.

Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for the increase in muscle size and mass in males and as females we only have the smallest amount of this hormone. The female sex hormone is estrogen, which we have heightened levels of and controls the feminine aspects of our bodies, which ensures a lean and toned physique rather than excessively large muscles. Yes we will get strong, but not big!

Lightweights induce muscular endurance where as heavy weights will induce muscular strength, which causes your muscles to get stronger and not necessarily bigger. The stronger your muscles, the higher your metabolism and thus the more calories they will burn. The fat layered on top of your muscles will be burned and reveal your muscles to give you that ‘toned’ look. A pound of muscle tissue takes up less room in your body than a pound of fat tissue does, an of course it is more metabolically active (think calorie furnace) than fat too!

Remember ladies; strength training is great for that lean toned look and you will definitely not become bulky and too muscly. All toned females will participate in some form of strength training to allow their bodies to develop that way. If you too want to get lean and toned, start strength training today!

Myth 2: High repetitions, lightweights will work



Many ladies think that lifting heavy weights will not allow them to loose weight or body fat, rather light weights, low sets with high repetitions is what has been drilled into everyone. Even some personal trainers believe this, which according to research is not right.

By strength training with lightweights for high repetitions you are only training your muscles for endurance and not building your muscles up for strength. Strength is where the calories are burned, as you need more muscle to do so. Heavy weight for low repetitions with build new muscle tissue and increase strength.

Lifting heavy weights for lower repetitions and high sets is much better. As we have mentioned, heavy weights are what will build and develop your muscles to be stronger and more efficient. This means you will have greater muscle mass, higher metabolism, greater capacity for burning calories during and post workout and thus reduce body fat all at the same time. The leaner someone is, the higher their metabolism. Essentially, building and strengthening muscle is important for your metabolism, which will help regulate and manage your weight.

So change your ways and stop fretting about walking past the cardio section and into the weights room. Try to opt for heavy weights not light; unless you are training your muscle t endure something or a long period of time the lightweights are not doing you any good in achieving your weight and fat loss goals. Even if you are a little older, lifting heavy relative to the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition will get you to where you need to be in regards to managing your weight. A little more muscle wont hurt; in fact it will keep you lean, strong and more able to participate in the things you love for longer as you get older! Not a bad reason to lift heavier than usual.
Myth 3: Strength training for women should be different to Men

Again, the answer is no. There is no reason as to why female’s strength training should be any different to males. That ladies, is a definite myth. Yes, we may not have the ability to lift as much in some cases but it does not mean the exercises we use to strengthen and build our muscles should be any different. Think lunges, squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups and many more. Men can do these and so can women. While males will quite possibly do these types of exercises to get bigger muscles, females can do them too but instead develop lean, dense, tight and toned muscles to get that look most females are looking for.

Again, those sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play a big role in how the male and female body responds to strength exercises. Yes there are women specific programs, but that is only to do with the small programing differences needed for women to get he best results more efficiently, not necessarily in the types of exercises.

It is all about the woman’s goals whilst training in the gym, doing heavy lifts may be appropriate for eth female involved and if it is the best way to achieve that goal then by all means she should lift heavy and utilise the same exercises that a man might. Its not about your sex or gender, it is about your goals.

Women have just as much of a right as men do to be in the weights rooms. Unfortunately it is common for men to dominate this area yet so many women can benefit from the effects of strength training. So, move over guys the ladies are coming through!

Myth 4: You can spot reduce fat

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately not ladies, spot reducing is impossible. Fat will deposit where it wants to deposit and all you can do is eat and exercise correctly and hope that the fat from those areas will be burnt, as fat storage around the body is genetically predisposed. Your genetics may be programed to store fat in certain areas first and thus when loosing fat, come off other areas first, say arms, then legs, them stomach, then chest and then your bottom. But everyone is different and this order of where fat is lost or gained first varies. No amount of targeted exercise will alter how your fat disappears.

What you can do to help yourself is eat well and strength train to increase muscular toning and reduce fat by recruiting lots of muscles and burning more calories.

Your diet and eating habits contribute 80 – 90% of your fat loss and thus focusing on what you are eating an when if an important factor. In combination with strength training you will see the best results.

By increasing your muscle mass you will have a leaner more toned looking physique in the particular areas you’re looking to target. With more muscle comes an increased metabolism, which will influence the burning of fat, which can aid in reducing whole body fat percentage, but not target specific areas. The best types of exercises to induce this effect are compound exercise. Compound exercises are those that utilise the whole body as they activate major muscle groups as well as the smaller stabilizing muscles.

Four common myths on strength training for women, BUSTED! Ditch the myths and follow the facts, and you should notice a difference in how your body responds. Make sure you read part two of myths of strength training for women answered to find out more on what other information you have been told that is not fact but fiction and ruining your success.

The Benefits of Exercise for Baby Boomers, Seniors and Retirees

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As we age, there are certain declines in bodily functions that occur, particularly to the female body. These changes cannot necessarily be stopped, however, we are able to prevent them from developing or occurring later rather than sooner. No, it is not through a pill or some form of medication.  It is through the power of healthful eating and regular exercise. Yes, exercise! Exercise can be just as powerful if not better than some medications in reducing or preventing the effects of certain health issues that develop as we age.

Many difficulties and chronic diseases, which develop as we age, are a result of inactivity or sedentary lifestyles. As a result your chronological age (numbered) may be 55 but your biological age (physical) may be 35 due to an active lifestyle and vice versa for a sedentary lifestyle.

Regular exercise should be an important factor in the lives of senior and retiree women over the age of 55. There a multitude of health benefits that result from participation in regular cardiovascular and strength based exercise.

Participating in physical activity has shown to help with reducing the symptoms of menopause, risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis just to name a few. We will go into more detail on these benefits in the following.

 

  1. Bone healthBone health is an important factor for females as they age as they are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones due to decreased bone mineral density (BMD). BMD is the density of calcium and other minerals within the bones that keep them strong. A combination of reduced exercise, physical activity, dietary calcium intake and aging impacts the development of osteoporosis.

By undertaking weight bearing exercise such as walking and stair climbing over the lifespan and into older age you can increase or maintain your BMD to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

  1. Muscular healthMuscular health pertains to the strength and endurance of the muscles which work in accordance with your nervous system and skeletal system within your body that allow movement and stability in everyday and leisure activities.

    Keeping your muscles strong means you are able to functionally complete daily tasks and leisure activities due to increases stability from your muscles. You are also able to maintain or increase your metabolism with increased muscle mass and strength and thus will reduce the risk of putting on weight if you maintain your healthy eating regime as you age.

  2. Cardiovascular healthCardiovascular health pertains to the function of your heart, blood, capillaries and blood vessels – veins and arteries – which work to pump blood and thus oxygen and nutrients around the body in order to function optimally in daily tasks, physical activity and exercise. It is also responsible for removing carbon dioxide and other waste products from the body.

    Cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and heart valve dysfunction are leading causes of death as we age. A healthy cardiovascular system can reduce the risk of cardiac disease.

    Increased levels of physical activity and exercise can aid in reducing the risk of developing or dying from cardiac disease. Exercise enhances the function of your cardiac muscle (heart) plus increases blood flow to your heart and other muscles throughout the body.

  3. HypertensionHypertension is excessively high blood pressure, which places undue stress on your arteries as the blood struggles to pass through. It is characterized by a resting blood pressure of Systolic blood pressure (top number) greater than 140mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of greater than 90 mm Hg, taking anti hypertensive medications or being told by your GP on more than two occasions that you have high blood pressure (BP).

Regular exercise can aid in the reduction of high blood pressure over time. In individuals with hypertension aerobic exercise can lead to reductions in resting BP by 5 to 7 mm Hg. Aerobic exercise should be emphasized on most days of the week and supplemented by moderate intensity resistance training 2 – 3 days of the week.

  1. Metabolic diseaseMetabolic disease is the combination of multiple (at least three) health issues pertaining to cardiovascular disease risk factors. These include abdominal obesity, diabetes, hypertension, being female, high cholesterol and high blood triglycerides. Together these risk factors pose a greater risk to health than they do alone.

    Changes in nutritional intake in combination with moderate increases in physical activity and exercise can help to combat metabolic disease. This includes at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity on most days of the week.

  2. DiabetesType 1 diabetes is a result of autoimmune destruction and type 2diabetes is a result of excess body fat.

    Type 2 diabetes usually develops, as we get older and is characterized by an increased level of fasting glucose due to a deficiency in insulin secretion or inability to utilise insulin. Sustained elevated glucose levels places your body at risk of disease.

    In those with type 2 diabetes glucose levels can be controlled through regular exercise. Regular exercise can increase glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and thus decrease insulin requirements.

    Those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can also reduce their risk of developing the disease through exercise participation. It is recommended that moderate intensity exercise be completed for at least 150 – 300 minutes a week in order to aid in reducing the risk of or controlling type 2 diabetes.

  3. FallsThe risk of having a fall or multiple falls can occur, as we get older due to a natural decrease in muscle mass and strength. Decreased hip, thigh and core strength can predispose an individual to increased falls risk.

As we age it is important we partake in regular exercise that works to increase the strength of our core, hips and thighs to maintain stability during everyday activities. Having strong muscles also allows us to quickly respond to certain actions such a slips and trips, which we would usually respond to automatically.

  1. StrokeStroke can occur as a result of a blockage or hemorrhage in the brain stopping blood flow to the brain tissues and thus limiting bodily function.

    Eighty percent of strokes are preventable and are caused by lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, and blood pressure. Exercise can help to prevent stroke as well as aid stroke survivors. Moderate aerobic exercise such as walking is recommended and can reduce the risk of women having a stroke by 20 percent.

  2. ArthritisOsteoarthritis is a common occurrence as we age due to degradation of the cartilage between the joints causing swelling, inflammation and pain.

    Exercise can reduce the symptoms of arthritis by increasing mobility and strength in and around the joints.

    Regular balanced exercise is important for those with arthritis and should engage in various types of exercise such as strength, aerobic and mobility training. Activities such as swimming, water aerobics, walking, strength training and tai chi are effective low impact forms of exercise.

  3. Mental HealthAnxiety and depression will impact most people at some point in their lives and as we age this becomes more apparent. Exercise can be an effective form of therapy for these mental health issues and improve your mood and mental fitness.

    Regular moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise such as walking or jogging can reduce tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep patterns as well as self-esteem. As little as five minutes can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

A variety of different types of exercises should be completed on a regular basis. This includes aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching. Each type of exercise has an important role in maintaining and improving optimal function of your body as you age.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise encompasses activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, stair climbing and even dancing, gardening and housework. This type of exercise works to improve the function of your cardiovascular system, which includes your heart, blood and blood vessels – arteries and veins – that together keep blood and thus oxygen pumping around your body!

Strength training

Strength training encompasses lifting free weights, machine weights or utilizing your body weight to improve your strength and posture in addition to improving bone strength and reduces the risk of injury. It is best to try target multiple muscles within the body in order to strengthen the whole body.

Stretching

Stretching encompasses exercises such as yoga and Pilates, which move through the joints range of motion and work to improve range of motion (ROM) and flexibility. Completing this type of exercise helps to reduce injury and soreness.

It is important to note that these health benefits as a result of regular exercise are integral to a long and healthy lifespan. Late life exercise has been accepted to have positive benefits for strength, aerobic fitness and ROM/flexibility. The next few articles we provide you with will go into more depth on how regular exercise is essential for particular benefits for senior and retiree women over the age of 55 as they age, in order to have a full and happy life.

Resources:

  1. ACSM’s Introduction to Exercise Science, Jeffery A. Potteiger, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011
  2. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Eighth Ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010
  3. Health Promotion for Older Women: Benefits of Nutrition and Exercise Programs, Ronni Chernoff, Et Al, Vol 18, No. 1, Sept 2002

Fitting Fitness and Exercise Into a Very Busy Schedule

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You have a million appointments and things to do. You feel as if you can’t possibly fit any more into the day than you are already. You work hard to stay organized and to get things done, but yet you know that you need to make fitness a priority. So how do you do it? How do you try to squeeze in exercise time when you can barely tell what end is up? How can you make fitness a priority when you have so many other things to do?

The reality of the situation is that you must make this a habit. This is about lifestyle change and that means that this becomes an inherent part of your life, not just a short term solution to fix a problem such as weight loss. You have to change the way that you view exercise first if you want to get it to become an important part of your life. Once you enjoy it and look at it as a positive thing rather than a chore, you will get a lot further.

You might feel like between work commitments, family and social events you simply have no time for exercising, but you might be surprised at how easy this transition can be. The more prepared you are to take on this task, the easier it will become. Try to focus on the positive outcomes rather than making this about a chore. If you can get to that point and really start to see results in terms of better health, a changing body, and reaching your goals then you will be much more likely to stick with it.

As you work to embrace fitness and make it a pivotal part of your life, here are some effective ways to do so. It may not be as hard as you might think, and in the end you are in charge of creating a fitness routine that works well for you and gets you to where you want to be.

  • Schedule your workouts like any other appointments: If you make this an appointment like any other, then you are going to stick to it. You probably aren’t in the habit of skipping doctor’s appointment or client meetings, and so if you approach this as another appointment you are not going to skip it. This is on the calendar and this is something you are committed to and then the rest will follow until you hit the gym without ever giving it a second thought.

 

  • Consider getting in exercise time early in the morning or late at night: Throughout the course of your day you likely handle a lot at work and a lot at home—and therefore you may need to extend your day a bit. Consider waking up an hour early or stay up an hour later to get the workout in. Never cut yourself short on sleep but perhaps give up something else so that you can get in a workout a few times a week. Most of us tend to think of this as prime time for relaxing, but a workout can give you so much more and it can make the most out of your day.

 

  • Try to squeeze in some activity throughout your day whenever possible: It may be that you take the stairs to move throughout your building rather than ride the elevator. It may be that you park further away from the building so that you are forced to get in some activity. Maybe you take a few small breaks throughout the day to help you to get in a power walk or even lift some weights if they are available to you. It’s quite amazing what a few minutes here and there throughout your day can help you to accomplish.

 

  • Set goals to help you to make this your new habit: If you know that you want to be to a certain weight or point in your life by a certain date, then set yourself up for this. Set goals to help pave the way towards what you are doing all of this for. Set short term and tangible goals to help you to stay focused, and then reward yourself when you reach them to stay motivated. This will help you to find time no matter what else you have going on, and you will love how inspired you feel to stick to the plan.

Accept this as your new norm and don’t let yourself waiver, even if times get tough. You will love how great you feel when exercise is an inherent part of your life. It may take some effort on your part to squeeze in the exercise, but it’s so worth it in the end. Stay focused, embrace this as a positive part of your life rather than a chore, and find the time necessary to make fitness a wonderful part of your health and well being.

If you’d like to talk to Chad about Learning how you can fit a simple, fast and effective exercise program into your lifestyle Click Here

Do You Look Bloated? Avoid These 3 Foods to Beat the Bloat

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Holiday pictures are right around those corner….those office Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve celebration photos just waiting to be snapped.

I know you don’t want to look bloated, so I am going to give you 3 foods to avoid, and 3 foods to eat instead.

And besides holiday temptations, around the holidays people tend to be more stressed out anyways due to family obligations and end of the year deadlines and eat things that cause them to bloat…and being bloated drains your energy.

So here are 3 foods to avoid so you can keep your energy up, and keep a double chin and bloated belly at bay.

Belly Bloaters:

1. Frozen Dinners: Sodium is usually added to most frozen dinners to increase shelf life and boost flavor, but they usually have WAY too much sodium for a single serving and they can cause you to retain water and feel bloated.

2. Beer: Beer is carbonated, so it will bloat your belly….and research has shown that alcohol can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which also causes belly inflation.

3. Diet Soft Drinks: Besides being carbonated like beers, diet soft drinks are full of artificial sweeteners that your body has a lot of difficulty digesting, which causes even more bloating.

Try to avoid frozen dinners, beer, and diet soft drinks for the month of December…and save room for all of the delicious foods that will be waiting for you during the holiday parties and family dinners.

Here are some things to eat instead:

Bloat Beaters:

1. Bananas: Bananas are packed with potassium, which acts as an antidote to the bloating effects of sodium. If you had some really salty food and are feeling gassy and bloated, grab a banana and watch the bloat disappear.

2. Peppermint: Peppermint has been shown in studies to help fight off cramping and gas and is a great stomach soother. The next time you are feeling gassy or have an upset tummy, make yourself a cup of peppermint tea. It’s great for these cold winter months also.

3. Cucumber: Cucumbers are perhaps the best bloat beaters out there because they contain quercetin, which reduces swelling and is a great anti-inflammatory. Make a simple cucumber salad or cut up some cucumber pieces and add it to a glass of water for a quick and refreshing drink.

Hope you found these tips useful….my favorite belly bloat trick is the one I mentioned above…adding cucumber pieces to water.

I like to take a big bottle of water with me everywhere I go, and adding cucumber gives it a delicious flavor and I find myself drinking more water because of it.

What You Should Eat To Improve Thyroid Health

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this article has been taken from MindBodyGreen.com written by Dana James, you can read the original article here

You knew you had a thyroid issue. It just took your labs a couple of years to catch up. If you were lucky, you were prescribed magic pills and you shed your excess weight, your energy bounced back, your bowel movements became regular, and your bouncy shining hair landed you in a Pantene commercial.

If you weren’t so lucky, the pills didn’t work. You felt like a frumpy, fatigued and constipated version of yourself. Caffeine and sugar became your energy crutch.

Then some glowing beauty arrived. She handed you a green juice with kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger and lime. You sucked up this godlike elixir feeling it re-energize every cell in your body. Green juices became a daily practice. You felt invigorated.

You started reading blogs about food and your thyroid. Then you saw it: don’t eat raw cruciferous vegetables if you have a hypothyroidism. WHAT? I mean, what was in your green juice? Raw cruciferous vegetables. How could these babies be bad for your thyroid? They were making you feel so good.

But as you continue reading, you see contradictions. Eat broccoli, kale and spinach to help boost glutathione levels to restore thyroid function. You’re confused. You push the green juice away in disgust! You eat a gluten-filled sandwich because you feel sorry for yourself and the blogs told you not to eat gluten, but you just don’t know anymore!

As a nutritionist and a woman who reversed her own sub-clinical thyroid condition in three months, I’d like you to have a broader picture of food and your thyroid.

Here’s what to eat (and why) to improve your thyroid function:

1. Cruciferous vegetables.

Eat them raw, cooked or juiced. I know you’ve been advised not to eat them raw, but doesn’t it strike you as strange that plant foods with the richest source of cancer-preventing phytonutrients would inhibit thyroid function? It did to me. If this was true, what was the mechanism behind it and where was the research on humans?

Back in the 1950’s, scientists questioned if certain foods had goitrogenic properties, which is the ability to produce a goiter because they suppressed thyroid function. Cruciferous vegetables were implicated because their raw glucosinolates (the precise phytonutrients that are cancer protective) might inhibit the intake of iodine. Might inhibit the intake of iodine? If that’s the reason, you’re missing out on a whole host of benefits from eating cruciferous vegetables on the possibility that they might knock out iodine. The far more sensible approach is to ensure sufficient iodine levels (see point 3).

In terms of human research, studies suggesting a strong link between cruciferous vegetables and thyroid disease are limited. Type “raw cruciferous vegetables” and “thyroid” into the ncbi database and you’ll find one incident from 1945 when a Chinese woman who ate 3.3 pounds of raw bok choy daily for several months and suffered myxedema. The vast majority of the research supports the consumption of cruciferous vegetables to prevent thyroid cancer.

Ask questions any time plant-based food is implicated in a negative health condition. Ask how it works and where the research on humans is, then make your decision.

2. Brazil nuts.

These are the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential in converting thyroxine to its active form, T3. Sometimes people with Hashimoto’s are advised to avoid selenium. You need selenium for glutathione production to help decrease thyroid antibodies. Snack on three Brazil nuts per day.

3. Sea vegetables.

Sea vegetables are rich in iodine. Iodine attaches to tyrosine (an amino acid) to form thyroxine. If you have insufficient levels of iodine, it becomes a rate-limiting step in the production of thyroid hormones and you’ll inhibit your thyroid function. Snack on nori dusted with sea salt, make nori wraps filled with avocado, wild salmon, sweet potato, sprouts and mache, add hijiki to a kale and pumpkin seed salad, eat wakame in a miso soup or add dulse to a butternut squash soup.

4. Chlorophyll.

Drink a shot of chlorophyll upon waking to help boost energy levels and remove heavy metals that may be inhibiting thyroid function.

5. Maca.

Helps to balance the hypothalamus and pituitary, which release TRH (thyroid-releasing hormone) and TSH respectively. These hormones regulate thyroxine levels. Maca also contains zinc, B vitamins and iron, which are all required for optimal thyroid production.

6. No gluten.

If you have Hashimoto’s, you must avoid gluten, because it can initiate thyroid antibody production. I’ve seen TPO levels drop from the 1000s to less than 30 just from removing gluten.

7. No soy protein isolate.

While the research on fermented soy and thyroid function is mixed, soy protein isolate should be avoided. This means no junky soy foods like soy cheese, soy yogurt, energy bars with soy protein isolate, soy burgers and soy-based “meats.”

Eat clean and smart, take the right supplements, manage your stress levels and avoid environmental toxins, and you’ll have the ability to potentially reverse your thyroid condition.

To understand more about your thyroid, I recommend reading Dr. Amy Myers’ post on Ten Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem.

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight While on Holidays

While I count the days until my first holiday in over 4 years, I’m planning on not gaining any weight. Yes, I plan on eating delicious food and drinking while soaking in the incredible history, landscapes and traditions and sunshine of Bali, Indonesia. Here’s how to lose weight and keep your fat-burning metabolism revved up while on vacation.

how good is coconut water - so refreshing

Step #1 – Eat more protein: Lamb, chicken, steak, calamari, salmon, eggs, turkey, pork, and even some dairy products have played a main role in my diet. Research shows that animal protein boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight. So don’t skimp on protein, ever, especially on holiday. It also keeps you full, longer. I’ll be honest, I love food, and I know that not everyone will do this on holiday, but it is NOT that hard if you prepare, if you eat a high-protein diet, and you learn to enjoy real food treats (the locals know how to do it, with their traditional eats that you can get in the market…delicious!).

Step #2 – Stay Active & Have Fun: Get up on your feet. Walk the area. Take in the sights and smells and sounds of where you are visiting. Kick off your day with a short workout. Even on the busiest of holidays you always have time for a 4-Minute Success Session, even if it’s “just” 8 rounds of Punisher Squats done in place in your hotel room. No excuses! You can do it. Even your kiddos will have fun joining in for a few minutes, and then you can head off to Disney parks, the beach, Grandma’s, or tours of the city you are visiting knowing that your fat-burning metabolism will be running as fast as possible even as you “take the rest of the day off”.

Step #3 – Ignore What I Said in Step #1…some of the time… And have a reward meal day…once per week. Save up your treats and indulgences for one day. (But keep your protein intake up 7 days a week.) Enjoy your favorite holiday treats. Take the kids for ice cream, or a banana split as we used to enjoy with me back in the early 80’s when we’d spend Sunday evenings sitting around the fire in the backyard with a big bowl. Make memories through special occasions. But remember, not every meal has to be a cheat with treats. Besides, too much junk makes you tired. Stick to Step #1 most of the time, and then get your camera ready and cherish the moments of these extra-special meal occasions. These 3 simple steps, taking very little effort, will help you lose weight for life, while working and while on vacation.

Why You Need Protein in Your Diet

 

Why You Need Protein in Your Diet

 

Protein is an essential nutrient found in animal products, nuts, and beans. The name protein name comes from the Greek word protos, which means “first.” Your body uses proteins in your diet to build new cells, maintain tissues, and synthesize new proteins that make it possible for you to perform basic bodily functions.

To visualise a molecule of protein, close your eyes and see a very long chain, rather like a chain of sausage links. The links in the chains are amino acids, commonly known as the building blocks of protein. In addition to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, amino acids contain a nitrogen (amino) group. The amino group is essential for synthesizing (assembling) specialized proteins in your body.

The human body is packed full of proteins. Proteins are present in the outer and inner membranes of every living cell. Here’s where else protein makes an appearance:

  • Your hair, your nails, and the outer layers of your skin are made of the protein keratin. Keratin is a scleroprotein, or a protein resistant to digestive enzymes. So if you bite your nails, you can’t digest them.
  • Muscle tissue contains myosin, actin, myoglobin, and a number of other proteins.
  • Bone has plenty of protein. The outer part of bone is hardened with minerals such as calcium, but the basic, rubbery inner structure is protein; and bone marrow, the soft material inside the bone, also contains protein.
  • Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a protein compound that carries oxygen throughout the body. Plasma, the clear fluid in blood, contains fat and protein particles known as lipoproteins, which ferry cholesterol around and out of the body.

About half the dietary protein that you consume each day goes into making enzymes, which are specialized worker proteins that do specific jobs, such as digest food and assemble or divide molecules to make new cells and chemical substances. To perform these functions, enzymes often need specific vitamins and minerals.

Your ability to see, think, hear, and move — in fact, to do just about everything that you consider part of a healthy life — requires your nerve cells to send messages back and forth to each other and to other specialized kinds of cells, such as muscle cells. Sending these messages requires chemicals called neurotransmitters. Making neurotransmitters requires — guess what — proteins.

Finally, proteins play an important part in the creation of every new cell and every new individual. Your chromosomes consist of nucleoproteins, which are substances made of amino acids and nucleic acids.

6 Best Sources of Protein

1. Fish (Line Caught)

It is recommended to consume at least two servings of 75 grams or ½ cup of fish each week. Choose fish such as char, salmon, herring and rainbow trout.

Most fish contains about the same amount of protein as meat, and provides Omega-3, iron and vitamin B-12, important for energy. It’s also a healthy swap for some popular meat options. For example, ounce for ounce, a salmon steak has one fourth the saturated fat of beef steak.

Amount Protein Content Calories
198g (salmon) 41g 400

 

2. Eggs (Free Range & Organic)

One medium egg contains just 70 to 85 calories and about 6.5 grams of protein. That means three eggs provides 19.5 grams of protein: the average woman needs about 50 grams a day, so that’s almost half of your daily intake. (Actual protein needs depend on your weight and level of activity; talk to your healthcare professional to get specific requirements for you). Eating a three-egg Spanish omelette, or three scrambled or poached eggs on toast, will keep you full for hours.

Amount Protein Content Calories
1 medium egg 6.5g 189

3. Lean meat

If red meat is your preferred source of protein, choose the leanest cuts to reduce the added fat. Lean options such as steaks and extra lean ground beef may cost a little more but the benefits are priceless.

Amount Protein Content Calories
210g 66.2g 372

 

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet recommends 175 grams of lean meat a day. Following this diet can lower your blood pressure by 8.9/4.5 mmHg, reducing your risk of heart disease by 15 %and your stroke risk by 27 %.
4. Nuts and legumes (Soak Prior to Cooking & Eating)

Legumes can be considered the perfect food. They contain more protein than any other plant food, are high in complex carbs and low in fat. A cup of cooked lentils will provide nearly 18 grams of protein, comparable to a serving of T-bone steak.

Nuts are a great source of protein and good fats (mono and polyunsaturated). They are also a slow-burning food, leaving you feeling full longer. Studies have shown that nuts can even help people lose weight.

Amount Protein Content Calories
Almonds raw 1.2g 0.2g 7
Lentils 198g 13.5g 152

 

5. Poultry (Free Range & Hormone Free)

Chicken and Turkey are a great sources of protein and low in saturated fat, especially if you choose skinless white meat. A 3-½ oz piece chicken breast will provide you 21 grams of protein. In addition to protein, poultry provides good amounts of B vitamins and zinc. Turkey even provides other nutrients that are being studies for their connection to alleviating depression.

Amount Protein Content Calories
140g (chicken) 43.4g 231

 

6. Low-fat dairy (Biodynamic & Organic)

Dairy is not just important for bone health. The protein in low-fat dairy products, such as Biodynamic yogurt and milk (available at health food stores), also helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand recommends adults have 2-3 servings of milk and alternatives every day. Two cups of Biodynamic milk each day will not only boost your protein intake, but will also provide adequate vitamin D.

Amount Protein Content Calories
Yogurt Natural Plain 200g Tub 12g 176