‘Tis the season for overconsumption. Here are some things to keep in mind at your holiday parties.
Excessive alcohol intake contributes to obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart and liver disease, long and short-term memory are affected, as well as athletic performance.
Alcohol contributes to obesity:
In addition to alcohol being a high-calorie substance, it lessens the body’s ability to burn fat. Fat storage is promoted—particularly in the belly (hence the word “beer belly”)—a health danger zone. Alcohol can also stimulate the appetite.
Alcohol is potentially more harmful while dieting:
Blood sugar levels may drop with resultant fatigue and further impairment of concentration, reflexes and driving skills—and maybe even dieter’s resolve!
Women are more prone to alcohol’s ill effects due to their lower body weight, smaller livers, and lesser capacity to metabolize alcohol. As we age, our ability to handle alcohol decreases.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP AVOID HARMFUL DRINKING:
- Request half ounces of alcohol in cocktails and mixed drinks. Dilute them and keep topping them off with non- alcoholic drinks (ie club soda, water, seltzer )
- Go easy on “light beers”. At 4% alcohol, on average, they are still high in alcohol compared to regular beer, which is 5% alcohol.
- Slow your rate of drinking. Chugging or drinking fast (shots) is the major cause of illness and death from alcohol poisoning.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Food slows the rate of alcohol absorption.
- Keep track of the number of drinks and know when to stop. Stick to a set limit.
- And finally, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! Appoint someone to be the designated driver or call a cab.
CHEERS….Have fun at your holiday parties and keep your weight loss and health goals in mind. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Have you heard of stevia?
It is a natural sweetener that is derived from the stevia plant. It is a replacement for artificial sweeteners that is beginning to gain ground in the health and diet market because it is both natural and virtually calorie free.
It seems to be a better option for dieters and diabetics than the more controversial chemicals like saccharine (Sweet’N Low), aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), and even sucralose (Splenda).
Stevia is sold under the brand names: Stevia Extract In the Raw, SweetLeaf, Only Sweet, PureVia (owned by Pepsi-Cola), and Truvia (owned by Coca-Cola).
POSITIVE RESEARCH ON STEVIA
Stevia extract is “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The American Diabetes Association also reports that stevia doesn’t have any significant effect on blood sugar and can be “a good option for [diabetics] who are trying to cut calories and still enjoy a sweet taste.
And, a two-year study of 147 adults with mild hypertension showed that stevioside (one of the two main sweet-tasting components of stevia) not only improved their blood pressure compared to the placebo group, but had no significant side effects.
Animal studies have shown that low doses of stevia appear to increase levels of HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, in male rats and it seemed to help prevent heart disease in mice.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF STEVIA
When it comes to possible negative side effects, some users have reported mild nausea or feeling overly full. Also, stevia is 100-250 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group, in 2008 wanted the FDA to require more testing before granting it the “generally recognized as safe” status because of some animal studies done in the 1980s which linked very high doses of stevia with adverse effects on fertility and reproductive development and possible genetic mutations in rats. However, as shown above, more recent studies with lower doses have shown no adverse side effects.
HOW OTHER ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS COMPARE TO STEVIA
None of the big 3 artificial sweeteners that stevia replaces have any of the positive side effects that stevia does, but, aside from possibly sucralose, they don’t seem to be guilty of causing cancer in humans as previously thought. Here are a few interesting facts about them.
Splenda is the newest artificial sweetener of the bunch and is marketed as being natural and “just like sugar”. However, it is not natural, it is a lab-created chemical compound containing chlorine. Incidentally, it was an accidental lab creation. This sweetener was discovered in 1976 by scientists in search of new insecticides!
The CSPI recently downgraded its safety rating of sucralose from “safe” to “caution,” which means that the additive “may pose a risk and needs to be better tested.” They changed it because of a recent study from researchers in Italy that found that sucralose caused leukemia in mice.1
NUTRASWEET, EQUAL (aspartame)
Another accidental byproduct discovered in 1965 during experiments to develop a peptic ulcer drug, aspartame has long had a bad reputation for causing cancer in mice. However, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) pointed out in 2007 that the rat studies involved intakes “far greater than humans could consume in foods and drinks”.
So, although they are chemically created and obviously quite dangerous to mice, Nutrasweet and Equal (aspartame) are probably okay for humansto consume in limited amounts.
SWEET’N LOW (saccharine)
Yet another accidental lab creation, saccharine is a coal-tar derivative that dates back to 1907. Although studies in the 1970’s showed that saccharine cause bladder cancer in rats, according to the National Cancer Institute, recent studies have shown that there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans.2
The moral of the story is that—unless you happen to be a mouse or a rat—the big three artificial sweeteners are probably okay to be used in moderation. However, with all of its positive research and no animal studies that show carcinogenicity like the others, Stevia clearly appears to be the best sweetener option. It can be found at more and more stores these days. Give it a try some time. But, keep in mind that overuse of any kind of sweetener can perpetuate cravings for sweets, so they all need to be used sparingly.
FOR THE SALSA
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1-inch/2.5 cm piece cucumber, finely chopped
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
FOR THE EGGS
4 sprays olive oil
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. To prepare the salsa, put the tomatoes, scallions, cucumber, and Tabasco sauce in a small pan and set aside.
2) Lightly spray 4 ramekins with oil and place a spoonful of the prepared salsa in the base of each dish. Carefully break an egg into each ramekin dish. Place the dishes in a roasting pan half-filled with hot water and sprinkle the top of each egg with pepper. Heat the remaining salsa in the pan gently.
3) Bake the eggs for 8 to 12 minutes, or until cooked to personal preference. Stir the chopped cilantro into the reserved salsa and serve with the cooked eggs.
- 3 cups brown rice
- 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1/4 cup water
- chili powder
- 1 lb. chicken breasts
- chili powder
- onion powder
- garlic salt
- cayenne pepper
Toppings (all optional)
- sour cream (light)
- baked corn tortilla chips, crushed
- cheese (low fat mozzarella or cheddar)
- Follow directions on the package to make 3 cups brown rice.
- Rinse and drain black beans.
- Warm in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water on low.
- Season with seasonings to taste.
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, season with spices.
- Saute in pan until cooked through.
- Assemble: brown rice, black beans, chicken and toppings.
I feel fantastic and can wear clothes I haven’t been able to wear for years!
Working one-on-one with my Genetix Program [Coach] has definitely kept me on track for quick, successful progress. I have lost 40 pounds in 3 ½ months- over half-way to my goal weight without going hungry.
I hate to break it to you—and I especially hate to break it to myself—when it comes to weight loss, running is best.
In a long-term comparison study of runners and walkers, calories burned through running led to 90% more weight loss than calories burned through walking.1
So, that’s the bad news. But here’s the good news.
1) Running does actually give you a “runner’s high”. Most people are aware that exercising produces endorphins, which flood our bodies with a feeling of euphoria. But now scientists have also found links between moderate to intense exercise and morphine-like brain chemicals called endocannabinoids, which activate the same receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of marijuana. WHAT?!?!
2) Running continues burning calories even after you’re not running anymore. (That’s why it is better for weight loss than walking). High-intensity exercise like running stimulates more “afterburn” than low-intensity exercise, meaning that your resting energy expenditure stays elevated much longer after you run than after a walk of the same distance.
3) Running makes your brain grow and age better! Running stimulates the creation of new nerve cells and blood vessels within the brain, an organ that tends to shrink as a person ages.2 Running also boosts your ability to learn and recall information according to another study .
To be clear, running is not required to lose weight on Genetix Program. But exercise is always helpful in complementing your weight loss program. So, even if you can’t see yourself running, walking will still be beneficial.
If you do choose to run, try to do it in a park or other quiet area, if possible. Another study found that people running in parks experienced brain activity similar to that seen during meditation, but people running on streets experienced frustration.
Talk to your Genetix Coach before starting or changing any exercise program. They can guide you to the safest and most efficient routine for you. You can do it and we can help!
Winter hasn’t officially started yet according to our calendars, but if you live in the Midwest or other northern states this year, it clearly feels like winter has begun.
This is the time of year when we just want to hibernate under a warm quilt and munch on some goodies while we sit around a warm fireplace. It’s not like the summer when you can go outside in the warmth of the sun and enjoy a walk or some other activity. Our brains are not engaged in a project or a goal outdoors. We stay indoors and become bored or watch television and feel bored, so we want to start munching on something to entertain ourselves.
I have had many clients ask me, “Why am I getting the munchies so much lately?” Some of the reason is the weather and some of it is the season.
The beautiful Christmas season is when we spend a lot of time planning and preparing for parties and gatherings with friends and family. What happens at most of these gatherings is…eating. It is such a temptation to all of us. We are making dishes to share or we are faced with them when we get there. Don’t panic! Take each event one day at a time so it doesn’t overwhelm you.
You can balance each day and still make healthy eating choices. The key is to prepare your mind and prioritize what you want for your body. You can persevere through all the parties by putting it into perspective. Remember, it is about seeing friends and family and not about what you can or cannot eat.
Keep your attitude positive and make the healthy choices. Your body has an amazing regenerative ability, but the food you eat is what unlocks that power. Eating junk food is like putting sand in your gas tank and wondering why your machine won’t run!
Stay positive and make your health a priority. When spring comes you will be happy that you didn’t hibernate and you won’t come out looking like a bear.
So, here’s my story of choosing to laugh in the face of my own distorted self-image.
This morning, I had planned on leaving about 5 minutes earlier than usual so that I could get to the office in time for this beautiful holiday breakfast, complete with adorable children singing, but it didn’t work out how I wanted. In fact, I left 10 minutes later than I normally do.
It’s not because I woke up late, for I woke up earlier than usual. It’s not because my son was slow in his normal morning routine, for he actually got ready quickly for my benefit.
So why, you ask, did I end up leaving late from my house today? It’s because I got stuck in my shirt and couldn’t get out. Yes. You read that correctly.
You see, my younger sister, who is very petite, likes to give me “hand-me-downs” to wear to work. I didn’t try on this particular shirt when she gave it to me. Instead, I looked at it, decided it would likely fit, and planned to wear it this morning.
With about 20 minutes before my planned departure time, I got dressed. I put on the shirt and a pair of pants. The shirt fit, but I wasn’t a fan of how it fell (ladies, you know how this is).
So, fast-forward 5 minutes. I decided to go with another one. I unbuttoned the shirt, and went to take it off. I tugged at the sleeves, and suddenly… OUCH! They would NOT budge off my arms. The more I pulled, the more those sleeves pinched my triceps. The time kept moving, I was near tears, and finally, I squeezed out of it. It took me 10 minutes to get out of that shirt, another 2 to put a new one on, and 6 to cry about it.
Don’t worry, my son was on time to school. Barely.
I’ve always had a self-conscious issue regarding my arms. People look at me like I’m nuts. I’m a fitness trainer who practices what she preaches, meaning I’ve made it a point to look the part, to walk the talk.
That being said, I haven’t always been this fit, and a part of me sometimes still sees the pudgy, post-pregnant young woman with BIG arms in the mirror. Never mind that my shirts are all a size small (unless they came from my mother, she still buys me mediums, but that’s a whole other story), and my pants are a size 4—today was one of many days throughout the year that I felt like I had HUGE arms, and that’s all I could see.
When I got to the building and told a certain someone about this experience, he looked me in the eyes, and he laughed. And he couldn’t stop laughing. It’s not because he was insensitive to my feelings. It was because of the visual I had given him of literally being stuck in my shirt. So he kept laughing. So I pouted. And then I laughed.
The point of this story is, pretty much every single person we know struggles with something, whether it is physical or mental, that other people MIGHT think they’re crazy for thinking because they don’t see it the same way. Whether it’s something that can be changed, can’t be changed, will be or won’t be changed, we have GOT to have the ability to just laugh at ourselves sometimes. Because sometimes, these things that we don’t like about ourselves, that appear to be ridiculous to everyone but yourself, are actually ridiculous. Period. Even if you can only recognize that for a fleeting moment.
The shirt now happily resides in a furious-looking ball on the floor, where it will serve as a reminder that in order for me to feel better about myself, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, pushing forward, and not get lazy.
As long as I don’t get carried into full-on dysmorphia (because believe me, I am by no means making light of any actual disorder), all I have to do is keep telling myself that I’m not the giant-armed beast that I sometimes see in the mirror. I’ve come a long way, I won’t let it get the better of me, and most importantly, I am not alone, and everyone who loves me will love me and laugh at me regardless of any perceived imperfections.
Sing along with us…
On the first day of my diet my true love gave to me a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 2nd day of my diet my true love gave to me 2 stalks of celery and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 3rd day of my diet my true love gave to me 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 4th day of my diet my true love gave to me 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 5th day of my diet my true love gave to me 5 Hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 6th day of my diet my true love gave to me 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 7th day of my diet my true love gave to me 7 gallons of skim milk, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 Hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 8th day of my diet my true love gave to me 8 Zumba classes, 7 gallons of skim milk, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 9th day of my diet my true love gave to me 9 cups of yogurt, 8 Zumba classes, 7 gallons of skim milk, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 10th day of my diet my true love gave to me 10 quarts of water, 9 cups of yogurt, 8 Zumba classes, 7 gallons of skim milk, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 11th day of my diet my true love gave to me 11 diet crackers, 10 quarts of water, 9 cups of yogurt, 8 Zumba classes, 7 gallons of skim milk, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diets pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
On the 12th day of my diet my true love gave to me 12 months of fitness, 11 diet crackers, 10 quarts of water, 9 cups of yogurt, 8 Zumba classes, 7 gallons of water, 6 sugar-free candies, 5 hard boiled eggs, 4 chicken breasts, 3 diet pops, 2 stalks of celery, and a vegetable that looks like a tree.
Genetix Program’s team of doctors, certified coaches/trainers and nutritionists can help you make healthier lifestyle choices through daily phone coaching to achieve lasting weight loss. You can do it and we can help!
I have tried many of the popular weight loss programs. I had short term success with some but I would fall off the program before I reached my goal.
The Genetix Program is different because I have a personal coach who I am in touch with daily to keep me on track and motivated. Marg Short is like my conscience and she will not let me fail!
I have lost 30 pounds so far and she has kept me on track during vacation and several other trips. She also kept me on track while I was going through some stressful situations.
I feel great! My skin feels healthy and I have less joint pain. Unlike some programs, no food group is omitted from the program so I rarely have cravings, and if I do, Marg has suggestions to help me overcome them. I love that I am eating wholesome fresh foods available at my local store.