Fitness & Wellness

Detox Before The Holidays

Detox Before The Holidays

If you want to boost your immune system and prepare for the holiday season, consider a mild and healthy detox. It can be as simple as intermittent fasting. The simplest technique is the 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours where you can eat. It’s mild, yet gives your system a rest. There are other techniques to detox that don’t involve harsh changes or chemicals to rid your body of toxins. Those juice only fasts or chemical fasts to flush your system can actually cause you to have less energy when you need it the most.

Getting plenty of water is a good start to a detox.

Start your morning with a big 12 ounce glass of water, preferably well water or spring water that’s pure and free from the chemicals found in most city water. While some detox techniques suggest you have it warm and others suggest you add a few spoonfuls of lemon juice and a bit of sea salt, just getting your system started with pure water is what’s important. Have plenty of water on hand to drink throughout the day. It’s critical to flushing your system.

Go for more natural hygiene products.

If you’ve ever read the ingredients on your shampoo or personal hygiene products, you’ll see a whole list of ingredients that look a lot like a chapter from Chemistry 101. Less is more in this case. Go for castile soap without additives. Get a good luffa and start your shower. Alternate your water from hot to cold and back again for a few minutes then scrub, scrub, scrub. Soap up the luffa and scrub your body starting at your feet and working toward the heart. It gets your lymphatic system moving as it exfoliates the skin.

Cut back on coffee, sugar, processed foods, gluten and dairy.

Cut back slightly on meat if you normally eat a lot. Choose grass-fed organic beef and pork, while going with wild fish. Include loads of fresh vegetables in each meal. Cutting out sugar can also mean cutting back on fruit to one piece a day. It limits the sugar that can compromise your immune system. Say no to dairy, soy and even corn. These are inflammation producing foods that can also cause excess mucus. While it’s not necessary to stick with raw foods, having a bowl of veggies ready to snack on helps.

  • Cleansing juices, such as beet juice or a ginger, lemon or cayenne pepper mix, should be included in your diet once a day.
  • Get plenty of exercise and sweat out those toxins. You’ll not only feel great after a workout, you’ll burn off stress hormones, too.
  • Make sure you have adequate fiber in your diet during this type of detox. Fiber is what helps move those toxins out of your system in waste.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is healing and rejuvenating. Go to bed before midnight and get up earlier. Sleep in a dark room to boost the effectiveness and turn off all electronic devices.

How To Keep Motivated

How To Keep Motivated

In order to keep motivated, you need to first identify what your motivation was to start a program of healthy eating and exercise. Everyone’s motivation is different. It may be that you tried on your favorite outfit and found there was no way you could close the zipper or that you had a health scare. Some people find that class reunions, the holidays or weddings are incentives to get back into shape, while others just want to see the glow of pride in spouse’s and children’s eyes when they introduce them to friends.

Make sure the motivation is yours, not someone else’s.

I hear it all the time, “My spouse thinks I need to lose a few pounds.” or “My mother, sister or whoever influences your life, says I’d be better looking if I lost ten pounds.” I normally tell these people they’re doomed to fail if they don’t have a personal motivation that drives them. Getting into shape is tough and if you’re doing it for any other reason than your own desires, the follow through dwindles after a few weeks. You either see it as a benefit or you don’t. Your motivation should help set the fire under you and if it’s someone else’s desire, it won’t.

Making your doctor’s suggestion your own.

If your doctor suggests you shed pounds for your health, your motivation really isn’t that the doctor said it, but that you want to live longer and enjoy children, grandchildren and life in general. While your doctor pointed out the importance of exercise, in order to stay motivated, you need to think of all the reasons you want to be healthier and live longer. Do you want to be a burden to others? Is enjoying every minute of life to the fullest important? Living longer and healthier means having the time and energy to do more things. Focus on what you want out of life and how working out and eating healthy can help you achieve those goals.

Track the results that mean the most to you.

You do need to track the number of repetitions you do and the number of sets, but keeping statistics on weight loss isn’t important if one of your goal was just to get healthier and not necessarily to lose weight. Are you exercising for better health? What tells you that you’re fitter? Improving your strength is one way to check it, checking your endurance (like tracking how many stairs you can climb without needing to rest) or even noting your blood pressure. If a goal is to look better, take measurements once a week. Using charting can help you focus on your goal and those successes can keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

  • Remember, there are other benefits to eating healthy and exercising regularly besides boosting your overall good health and weight loss. For instance, looking younger and feeling younger is one of those. That can keep you motivated.
  • Another great motivation is the benefit that regular exercise and a healthy diet has on your brain power. Not only will it help you at work, it reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by up to 50%.
  • If you’re feeling grumpy and stressed out after a day at work and feel like skipping your workout, remember that exercise is a great stress buster. Not only does it burn off the hormones of stress, it stimulates the body to replace them with “happy hormones.”
  • For those working on weight loss, one tried and true method is to buy clothing in a smaller size. While your ultimate goal may be several sizes smaller, get it just one size smaller for a quicker success that boosts your motivation.

Foods That Are Good For Your Heart

Foods That Are Good For Your Heart

If you go to one of the many farmer’s markets in Brentwood, CA, you’ll find many foods that are good for your heart. Best of all, these are grown locally, often organic and fresh. One perfect example is fresh berries. Berries are chock full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help fight chronic disease. They also have soluble fiber and phytonutrients to strengthen the heart. Add some to your salad, use them to sweeten plain yogurt or just grab a handful as a snack.

Go nuts for nuts for a healthy heart.

We’re so lucky that 80% of the almonds produced are grown in California. That’s because almonds, just like walnuts, another nut grown in California, are super good for the heart. Nuts are high in protein, high in healthy fat and have other substances that keep your heart pumping strong. The healthy fat is unsaturated fat and Omega3 fatty acids. They contain fiber that lowers cholesterol, vitamin E-a plaque fighter for the arteries, L-arginine that makes your artery walls flexible and reduces the risk of clotting and plant sterols that lowers cholesterol. Seeds, like flaxseed, also have many of the same benefits.

Fresh vegetables are available all year in our area.

Whether you’re a fan of asparagus or simply love red peppers, you’ll be doing your heart a favor. Broccoli is great for all parts of your body and all systems. It has vitamins E and C, plus potassium, calcium, fiber and folate. Asparagus also contains folate and fiber, plus it has many other nutrients, including beta-carotene that the body turns into vitamin A.

Create inexpensive meals and get heart healthy at the same time with dark colored beans.

Garbanzo beans, lentils, kidney beans, crowder peas, navy beans and lentils are just a few of the beans that not only are a source of vegetarian protein, they’re also good for the heart. One study showed that people who ate beans at least four times a week had a 22 percent reduced risk for heart disease than those that ate them less than once a week. One reason is the soluble fiber in beans that binds the cholesterol. Another may be all the protective nutrients and phytochemicals in beans, many of which are also in berries and chocolate. The more beans you eat, the less like you will be to gas up and bloat.

  • If you drink between a half cup and a cup of red wine every day, you lower your risk of heart disease. For those non-drinkers, grape juice is also good. They both boost good cholesterol levels. Whole grapes also have those benefits, plus they add fiber to your diet.
  • Oatmeal is heart healthy, too. It lowers bad cholesterol and has heart healthy soluble fiber.
  • Switch to fresh spinach instead of iceberg lettuce for your sandwiches. Fresh spinach contains high amounts of vitamin k, magnesium, carotenoids, magnesium, iron and fiber, plus so much more.
  • Don’t forget to top your meal off with some yellow or orange fruit like papaya, cantaloupe or oranges. They have high amounts of beta-carotene, plus fiber, magnesium and potassium.

Favorite Low Fat Snacks

Favorite Low Fat Snacks

If you’re checking every box for the ingredients and composition of fat, carbs and protein in the snack aisle, you probably won’t find the best low fat snacks. Start looking in the fresh fruit and veggie section and open your mind to some great possibilities. Consider eating pineapple, it’s cholesterol free and fat free. One cup of pineapple contains 131 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C. It provides heart-healthy fiber, potassium, vitamin A and iron. Fresh pineapple comes with a punch, the stinging in the mouth caused by its bromelain. Cutting out the core first helps reduce the sting, just like mixing it with cottage cheese, which neutralizes it a bit but also adds fat.

Grab some other fruit or raw vegetables.

You’ll definitely reduce the fat in your diet when you munch on raw fruits and vegetables. Avocados are one example of fresh fruits or veggies high in fat, even though it’s a healthy fat. Don’t fall into the trap of eating dried fruits, you’ll eat more because they aren’t as filling as fresh fruits. Grab some broccoli, fresh carrots, a sliced apple or a bowl of blueberries to fill you up, not out. If you want to stay fuller longer, add a little fat to the mix with some nut butter to slather on fruit slices.

Create a low fat dip to go with those vegetables.

Seriously, some people actually just love the taste of fresh veggies, but for most people, they’re not acceptable without a little dip. Find ways to reduce the fat in the dip. For spinach dip, use Greek yogurt, a small amount of low fat mayo, packaged dry soup mix and spinach to accomplish that. It’s delicious, makes you want to eat more vegetables and lower in fat.

Whole grain crackers can be a good low fat snack and combined with fruit or vegetables, very filling.

There are a lot of whole grain snacks available on the market, like Triscuit Whole Grain Baked Originals, Annie’s Cheddar Squares or Carr’s Table Water Crackers. Whole grain granola mixed with fresh fruit is also another option. Consider stuffing a pita pocket with some salad as one of your snacks. If you’re getting snacks for a group, one pita cut in half, stuffed with salad and then each side cut into six pieces is a simple way. Think veggie flatbread Subway when it comes to flavor.

  • If you want to stay fuller longer, consider adding some healthy fat to your diet. Avocados, whole eggs and nuts are some examples of healthy snacks with healthy fats.
  • Extra protein is also filling. Consider a lean piece of chicken wrapped in a lettuce roll.
  • Consider a boiled or baked potato. Don’t pile on the butter, sour cream or other topping, but try it warm or cold, whole and with a bit of salt. It will fill you up without adding extra fat.
  • Some tuna packed in water is also a good option. There are snack size packets available at most groceries.

Runner

Staying Healthy This Fall

Runner

We may have far better fall and winter weather than many people throughout the country, but here in Brentwood, CA, staying healthy as the weather turns from warm, sunny and dry to overcast, chilly and damp still affects your health. That’s why I put together a health protocol that’s good for Brentwood residents and really no matter where you live. Warm weather means more activity, more sunshine and can even mean healthier foods and less comfort food. So how do you combat the natural instinct to huddle up in the house and much on empty calories?

Make a schedule and stick with it.

As the weather changes, so does your inclination to stay active. When the sun isn’t shining and the sky is overcast, it’s easier to sleep in and skip your workout. Start preparing to combat that urge and create a schedule. Plan for rain! If you run as your exercise, create an indoor workout to use for those days when it’s too foul out, rather than trying to muster through the weather. You may not feel like going to the gym and want to just curl up and stay in bed, but fight the urge by sticking with the schedule.

Eat healthy and look for seasonal foods to help you do it.

You’ll immediately recognize the fall and winter fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’re at farmer’s markets and cost less at the grocery. Winter squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, beets, cabbage and pomegranates are a few of the fall bounty. Resist the urge to eat high calorie comfort foods. As the temperature cools and the days get shorter, it’s built into us to seek out higher-calorie foods and eat more. Early man needed to gain weight as winter approached and foods became scarcer, but you don’t. One huge benefit of choosing fall and winter produce is that it’s kinder to the budget.

Get adequate sleep but don’t sleep too much.

You often hear that people need more sleep and shouldn’t be burning the candle at both ends, but did you know that getting too much sleep is also bad for you? Hypersomnia is just as bad as insomnia for your health. Too much sleep can have the same effect on your overall health as too little. If you’re getting more sleep than 7 to 9 hours a night, look to your health first, to make sure there’s no physical reason. Lots of times, we camp in bed on the weekend in the winter. It may be a sign of SAD—seasonal affective disorder. If there’s no actual physical reason, other than it just looks gloomy out, having a sleep schedule will help.

  • Drink more water. When it’s hot outside, drinking water is easy. You feel thirstier and that cold water quenches that thirst. You won’t feel as thirsty in the fall and winter, but you still need to stay hydrated.
  • Look for ways to move more. The more active you are, the more you’ll want to be active. It’s too easy to get into a rut. Start making changes like taking the stairs, parking further from the grocery or taking a few minutes walking break away from the computer.
  • Do your best to soak up sunshine on those sunny days. It doesn’t have to be traditional exercise. Raking the yard, cleaning the windows and doing outside work can serve two purposes.
  • Warm up with herbal tea. There’s so many that boost your immune system, such as chamomile tea, ginseng, holy basil and even green tea can help keep you healthier.

How's Your Sex Drive

How’s Your Sex Drive

If you’re wondering why your sex drive isn’t as strong as it used to be, take a look at your lifestyle. Too much alcohol, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, stress and other factors can take their toll in the bedroom. A healthy sex drive is also linked to how you see yourself. If you feel unattractive, you probably won’t feel like having sex. Feeling sexy often means looking sexy in many people’s minds. Exercise and eating healthy can get back those muscles or sexy curves quickly.

What you eat makes a difference.

You may hear that oysters create a boost to the sex drive, but never understood why. Not just oysters, but clams and scallops, too, have nutrients that can boost testosterone and estrogen levels, so that can be a boost. Look for food with loads of zinc, like lobster or crab. Zinc increases the flow of blood to sex organs. Nuts and seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, just as salmon is. These also boost blood flow to the genitals. Apples, garlic, dark grapes and berries are also beneficial to the sex drive.

You’ll boost your circulation with regular exercise.

Exercising on a regular basis not only increases your circulation, to keep muscles, nerves and blood vessels at their best, that increase also helps reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. You’ll boost your performance in the bedroom with your added energy when you workout regularly. Not only that. Exercise can be a great stress buster. Stress is definitely not an aphrodisiac. In fact, it’s a huge mood buster. The less you have, the more you’ll look forward to pleasure in the bedroom.

You’ll feel sexier when you lead a healthier lifestyle.

One study found that when people started a program of regular exercise, they immediately improved their self-image. They didn’t even have to see results to achieve that. Imagine how good you’ll feel about yourself when you make other changes, like a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and drinking more water. When you feel good about yourself, you feel sexier.

  • Feeling confident not only boosts your self-esteem, it also improves how others see you. That confidence translates to looking sexy and that definitely improves your sex life.
  • Regular exercise can increase your energy level. You’ll energy to spare at the end of the day. That’s a huge boost in the bedroom.
  • Eating healthy and regular exercise can help lift your spirits. It’s often part of a program for depression. Depression can cause a lag in your sex drive and interfere with your pleasure.
  • While alcohol may reduce your inhibitions, too much can interfere with any desire you have. It leaves you feeling numb when you really want a heightened sense of arousal.

How To Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

How To Change Your Attitude Toward Fitness

Whether it’s eating a healthy diet or putting in your time working out, it really helps if you love it. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to sabotage your fitness plans. The only way to change that outcome is to change your attitude toward fitness. You need to find ways to look forward to eating healthy without feeling like you’re being deprived or suffering and find ways to workout that you really enjoy.

Start with your attitude toward eating healthier.

If you ban all the foods you love and focus on eating ones you hate, you’ll last only a few days on a healthier diet. Rather than giving up everything you love or consuming foods that you don’t find a happy medium. Find recipes for healthier foods that you actually like and don’t worry about eating a small amount of your favorite food. Getting fitter and eating healthier isn’t an all or nothing proposition. You can have a small piece of cake once in a while…just not the whole cake or a big slice every meal. Try making some of your favorite foods healthier, such as substituting applesauce for oil or sugar in baked goods.

Choose a workout you like.

Hate running? Don’t run! It’s that simple. There are hundreds of ways to increase your exercise and get a good workout. Don’t focus on ones you hate. If you love dancing, dance like there’s no tomorrow and incorporate your workout into it. Do you enjoy being with others and a more social activity, choose a group workout and take a friend!

Make sure your effort for fitness is truly yours.

If you’re taking up a life plan of healthy eating and exercise, don’t do it for anyone else but you! The reason has to be important to you. If your doctor tells you to start a program or you’ll be faced with ill health and an early demise, the decision for a healthier lifestyle is still yours. You decide how important being healthy is. Don’t workout to impress friends or eat healthy to do that. Most people focus on their own lives. The decision must come from your desires.

  • Start. You can procrastinate doing anything until the right time comes. Just do it! Even if you can’t get in a full workout at one time, try doing short ten minute sets throughout the day.
  • Don’t make counting calories or carbs your life’s work. You can be too immersed in the details and miss the big picture. Focus on eating whole foods and avoiding processed ones to make it easier.
  • Don’t skip a workout because you’ve had a tough day. That’s when you need to do it the most. It burns off stress!
  • Plan ahead for those nights out with pals. If you want a drink, have one and then switch back to water. Eat slower and consume more salad, but don’t turn down your favorite food, just fill up on healthy ones first.

What To Look For In A Personal Trainer

What To Look For In A Personal Trainer

Do you know what to look for in a personal trainer? Finding the right one is important to your fitness program and progress. I’ve spent years identifying the problems faced by people like yourself and have found some glaring problems with many training programs. It’s hard to admit, but I’ve even had to correct some of my own. However, I’ve refined the programs to eliminate those things and can present some of the things you need to address when you’re looking for the best trainer for your needs.

The bodies of men and women aren’t alike.

Many trainers use a program that doesn’t acknowledge that there’s not only a difference in how men and women look, there’s a difference in how they lose weight and the road blocks to weight loss, plus how they should exercise. Even health studies were focusing primarily on men without facing the fact that women have different needs. Women’s bodies have more body fat. It’s part of evolution to help during pregnancy. It occurs with the difference between the amounts of testosterone and estrogen. Men normally lose weight faster because of this, especially in the first three months. However, women do have one advantage. Visceral fat—belly fat—is lost quicker by women and not as much of a problem as it is for men. Training men and women differently takes into consideration the differences hormones play for each sex. Make sure your trainer does this.

Most personal trainers create individualized programs but seldom account for people who want to go beyond just good fitness.

If you can train a person for the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness competition, you can train anyone to be their best. I work with all levels of fitness, which includes the exclusive group that enter competitions. Knowing what works to create the healthiest, most attractive body for that group is hardest, but all the hours spent learning gives people who just want to look their best the advantage of that studying. See if your trainer works with competitive bodybuilders.

Some personal trainers just focus on exercise, but fail to include nutrition help.

You simply can’t out exercise a bad diet. Even if you worked out for hours and practically lived at the gym, you wouldn’t be the best you that you can be if you spent all your lunch hours munching on burgers, fries, malts and cake. It’s just not possible. The body needs the right building blocks to be strong and you’ll only get that from clean eating. I address all those issues with clients to help them reach their ideal. Make sure your trainer provides a plan of nutrition.

  • Some personal trainers, even those who train competitors, forget that not everyone wants to have a competitive body, but just want to look and feel good. Look for a trainer that listens to client’s goals.
  • Look for a trainer that will drive you toward the best you possible without discouraging you.
  • Find a trainer that adjusts your program when you reach new heights and makes you want to drive even harder for the next level.
  • Look for a trainer that considers your lifestyle and schedule when creating the perfect program for you.

Is Detox Important

Is Detox Important

If you’ve felt sluggish, fatigued and find you’re turning to loads of coffee, sweet treats and even fast foods to boost your energy, only to be disappointed, it may be time for a detox. Most health specialists will agree with this, but not necessarily how to do the detox. A detox simply gives your body a break and allows it to cleanse itself of toxins. These are short-term interventions that promote health and make weight loss far easier.

There’s a better way than a water diet and supplements.

Rather than go for the odd detox that involves cabbage juice and lemon or just water and supplements, you can get the same effect with a healthy whole food diet. Eating healthy is the optimal detox you can do every day. While you might enjoy a fruit and vegetable smoothie for a meal, it’s not necessary to get your body back to healthy functioning. You can kick off a healthy eating habit with more salads, smoothies and vegetables. Incorporating more herbs like wheat grass, barley grass, coriander and food with malic or citric acid—like oranges and grapes, plus adding food with selenium—like mushrooms and sunflower seeds, improve the nutritional base, plus add detoxing benefits.

One thing is certain, exercise helps play a vital role.

When you exercise, you boost your circulation, sweat out toxins, strengthen your body and improve your lung capacity. It also aids in the natural process of detoxification. Starting a program of regular exercise helps you sweat out many toxins in your body, plus building strength. You can improve your health by ensuring you don’t sit too long. If you’re at a desk all day, take a break every hour for five minutes to walk, move or even do a quick five minute in-office workout (sweating not necessary—just moving). Studies show that moving briskly every hour lengthens your life—even if it’s just running up and down stairs or walking quickly around the room.

One thing all detox sites agree with is drinking more water.

Trying to survive on just water for several days isn’t necessarily the best route to take for detoxing. (Although, some studies show that intermittent fasting can slow the aging process and may make you healthier.) Increasing your water intake to 8-eight ounce glasses a day is healthy. Your body is composed mostly of water. It’s necessary for to maintain the body’s functions. Drinking water before a meal can reduce your appetite and often cues that say you’re hungry are really misinterpreted thirst cues. Water helps flush out toxins.

  • Try switching to herbal tea or green tea instead of coffee. Coffee is good for you in small amounts and can help flush the liver, but in larger amounts, increase your risk for osteoporosis, raise your blood pressure and even damage the liver.
  • Try cutting out all sugar and products made with sugar for a week or longer as part of your detox program. It’s harder than you think, but is a boost to healthy eating.
  • If you consistently eat a healthy whole food diet, your body can detox itself in four hours with no special additions to your diet.
  • If you choose to switch to smoothies for a detox, always include vegetables and fruits of different colors. Each color has phytonutrients that help make your body healthier.

Should You Wait Until Monday To Start

Should You Wait Until Monday To Start

I’ve heard every excuse in the book for postponing starting a workout program. One of my favorites is “I’ll wait until Monday to start.” Just like waiting to start that term paper when you were in school or waiting to do your taxes, waiting even one extra minute to start getting fit is just an excuse to postpone it. Unlike the term paper or taxes, there’s no defined deadline, so with exercise, Monday never comes. It’s always next week. Also unlike taxes and the term paper, fitness isn’t a one shot deal where you start and are finished in the same day.

Another excuse, which I truly understand, is that life is too hectic now to start.

There are all types of reasons for a hectic life. It could be an upcoming special occasion, work related or saddest of all, a sick family member. All of these are stressful events. Here is where some people disagree with me, but scientific study shows it’s true. People in stressful situations need to carve out time for themselves to workout, even if it’s just ten minutes at a time throughout the day. Exercise actually shouldn’t be a chore, but a way of taking care of yourself and lifting some of the stress. Exercise is a stress buster that can build energy and help you sleep better at night so you can handle all the problems and stressful issues life hands you.

Affordability is an issue for putting off fitness.

Doing jumping jacks costs nothing but time. If you’re reading this, you’re on the internet, so you have access to some good programs. Even if you can’t afford a personal trainer or a personalized internet program, you can create an exercise program that will help you feel and look better. While it may not be the best and quickest way to fitness, doing something is FAR BETTER than doing nothing. Everyone should be moving more throughout the day to keep their bodies healthy, no matter what their financial level.

Some people think there’s no hope because they’re far too out of shape.

One of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever read had to do with a man that was so severely overweight, he was almost homebound. He had to rest after just walking a few steps. The weight took a toll on his body, especially his limbs. When he received the word from his doctor that he was going to be crippled because of his weight, he decided to do something about it. At first, his goal was just a few steps a few times a day. Within the month, he made it out his door and eventually to the corner. He started eating healthier and as he moved more, he started shedding pounds. Today, he’s lost 3/4ths his body weight and competes in marathons. If he can do it, anyone can do it.

  • When it comes to eating healthy, starting immediately can head you on the road. While you might not know exactly what makes up a healthy meal, you probably know that cake and fries aren’t the healthiest and a salad would be better.
  • You don’t have to have a fancy program to begin. Just move more and do a few exercises that you know or that you found online as a starter.
  • Taking a walk is exercise, so plan to spend your lunch hour walking to lunch. Throughout the day, make sure you get up and move once every 50 minutes. Your body needs it.
  • Find ways to incorporate more movement in your life. Park further from the store. Take the steps rather than the elevator. If you’re more than three floors up, take the elevator part of the way and walk the rest.