Category Archives: healthy weight week

Healthy Weight Week Day Three: What the Heck Can I Eat? – Part Two


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I am sitting here with my Green Smoothie (recipe to come), contemplating the foods I feel are the absolute best modes to optimal health and nutrition. There are so many foods that I know you should NOT ingest, as it will not lead to a healthy weight or lifestyle, so we will start with this list first. I will then move on to the list of foods that should be consumed in order to reach a healthy weight. However, remember that the foods on the DO NOT EAT list can be eaten every now and then if you have no other health issues such as diabetes or insulin troubles, obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol. If you are exercising, getting enough sleep, getting plenty os sunshine and addressing emotional problems in an effective and natural way, I don’t believe eating these foods, every now and then, will set you off track.

Foods That Will Lead to an Unhealthy Lifestyle and Weight

Below are the foods that I have seen (and have been proven) to contribute to unhealthy lifestyles. These lifestyles obviously lead to unhealthy weights, minds and bodies. Try to eliminate, or at least reduce, your intake of these items.
Photo courtesy 4pack.wordpress.com

All Processed Foods – This really is a no brainer, as most of you who are reading this have already eliminated as many processed foods as possible, or are slowly integrating into a whole foods diet. Most of these convienice foods contain GMO (genetically modified) ingredients, of which we have yet to see any good research to indicate their safety. Knowing that all of the man made foods have ended up being unhealthy, I would suspect that these ingredients are unhealthy as well.
Controlled studies using genetically modified ingredients have only been performed on animals; however a mass experiment is being performed on the majority of the public with these foods, and we will only expect to see the results in the years to come. Please, don’t eat man made or altered foods (“mother nature knows best”), and don’t become a part of this worldwide experiment. Most of the animal studies performed with GMO ingredients have shown liver and kidney toxicity and low birth weight.

Artificial Sweeteners – Again, another man made product. When will we finally realize that sometimes man does not know better than the earth, and start realizing that there are natural ways to bring about the same results? Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) and sucralose (Splenda) are commonly used for weight control in popular diet foods (all of which are processed heavily) or as in little packets in coffee or tea.
Artificial sweeteners have actually been shown in controlled, scientific studies to increase the chances of gaining weight and developing obesity. Two groups of rats in this study (performed at Purdue University) consumed artificial sweetened foods and beverages, while the other group consumed a diet of regular sugar. Those that consumed artificial sweeteners gained significantly more weight than those eating regular sugar. Another study involving 18,000 people showed that those who drank at least one diet drink a day increased their chances of gaining weight.
Isn’t it suspicious that with the rise of diet drinks and artificial sweeteners in our food, weight and BMI has increased on average? I don’t think it is as suspicious as it is just plain obvious.
Photo courtesy SixWise.com

Certain Grains – As you are probably aware, I’m not a huge fan of grains. Our bodies are really not designed to eat grains, and our evolutionary history makes this known to us. We survived for millions of years without them, but the advent of agriculture only just brougth them into our diet 10,000 years ago.
Most grains consumed in this country are refined and processed, such as white flour, white rice, white potatoes and corn. These carbohydrates will turn into sugar very quickly in our bodies and lead to weight gain, insomnia, diabetes and other illnesses. Findings by Weston A. Price suggest that grains lead to tooth decay. Whole grains will stimulate your insulin levels as well and will turn into sugar quickly due to the high carbohydrate content. Consuming the grain in its whole form is recommended over refined carbohydrates and grains, but only in small amounts, if at all.
Unfermented Soy


That’s right–soy milk, tofu and veggie products are not good for our weight. It’s a pretty bold statement, seeing as how the market is flowing with soy products, advocating its health properties. Soy is an incredible and powerful health food, but only when it is prepared the correct way.
Unfermented soy contains isoflavones genistien and daidzen which has been showed in numerous studies to supress thyroid function. In fact, the research suggests that excessive intake of soybean products can lead to hypothroidism. This leads to a supressed thryoid function and a sluggish metabolism.
If you continue to consume processed foods, and you want to eliminate soy, be sure to read the label CAREFULLY. My body doesn’t react to soy very well, and it is highly allergenic; however, it is in everything. Just look in your pantry or on the grocery store shelves at some processed food products, and examine the ingredients. 8/10 times you pick up an item, you will see the word “soy” in the ingredient list. This is a cheap crop that the government loves, and most of the time is genetically modified, which, if you remember earlier, can affect your health and weight in a negative way.
Traditionally, soy used in Asia was fermented (in the forms of natto, tempeh and miso) and were, and still are, used as side dishes, not as a main course or a staple. The majority of Asia’s protein intake does not come from soy; rather, it comes from fish and pork. If you continue to use unfermented soy, try and get it unprocessed (very hard to do) and organic. Then, consume it only once or twice per week. However, I DO NOT recommend consuming it, even if it is organic.
Non-Organic Produce

Photo courtesy SCU.edu

Today as I write this, a news report is spreading across the world about conventional strawberries containing carcinogenic pesticides, and that these pesticides are now being linked an increased risk of children being diagnosed with ADHD.
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a study carried out by the University of of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha concluded that exposure to certain pesticides in women caused a higher incidence of thryoid problems, more specifically and under active thyroid and thyroid disease. This quickly leads to weight gain as the thyroid is our main metabolism controlling gland.
Another research study performed at the Danish Research Center found that rats who were fed an organic diet, compared to those fed conventional, were slimmer and were at lighter weights. Along with this was a higher amount of Vitamin E in their blood stream (a powerful anti-oxidant that is important for anti-aging) and slept better (research is showing that less sleep is associated with unhealthy weight gain).
Most conventional meat, dairy and eggs (those that you find in the supermarket) are loaded with growth hormones that can affect your own hormones and your metabolism. These animals are also fed a high amount of grains, something that they are not designed to eat. These grains are high in genetically modified ingredients and omega-6 fatty acids (inflammatory fats) that can lead to weight gain. Currently Americans (and other such countries) are consuming a high amount of these fats. However, there are ways to find healthy animal protein.
Foods That Contribute to a Healthy Weight

All of the foods mentioned below have a common theme–they’re all whole foods. Whole foods are superior to processed in every way, and can help you not only with your weight, but with your over all wellness lifestyle.

Organic Vegetables
Photo courtesy Guardian.co.uk

Raw vegetables are probably one of the most important foods to me, as they supply so much nutrition that is bioavailable such as calcium, vitamins A, C, E and sometimes D, fiber, protein (however incomplete) and antioxidants. Not only are these beautifying foods, they fill you up (due to their water and fiber content) and provide your body with the right amount of nutrition to support your metabolism.
You want to make sure that your vegetables are raw, with only certain vegetables being cooked (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach), but even then having them steamed, instead of boiled. Boiling your vegetables in water leaches the nutrients into the water, which does not provide them for your body. Cooking food denatures many nutrients and also kills them, so other leafy greens and vegetables need to be eaten raw. Juicing or making a green smoothie is a great way to get your 4-6 servings in a day (some experts recommend 1 lb of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight, per day).
It is also important to buy as many organic vegetables as you can, as pesticides can lead to weight gain, can be carcinogenic and also contribute to a variety of other disorders. Some vegetables are higher than others when it comes to pesticide load, so if you can only buy some organic and not all, choose to buy the ones higher in pesticides as organic.
Organic Fruit

Photo courtesy AboutOrganics.co.uk

Fruit is a great food, as well, but shouldn’t be consumed in excess; or, at least, you shouldn’t consume more fruit than vegetables. Raw fruit is best, but dried fruit (as long as it isn’t heated to a temperature above at least 115 degrees) still contains the same amount of nutrients. Raw, fresh fruit will fill you up faster than dried fruit, but take what you can get.
Fruit contains sugar called fructose, which is damaging to the body and metabolism if consumed in excess, and most importantly if it is consumed in a free form (such as HFCS). The fructose found in fruit allows the fruit to be low on the glycemic index, making it a slow acting carbohydrate, not contributing to elevated insulin levels. Too much fruit, however (as with too much of anything), will lead to high insulin, contributing to unhealthy weight gain.
Try to buy fruit organic, or at least buy the ones highest in pesticide resdiue as organic. Those would be anything that has a thin skin (as pesticides can leach through the skin, making peeling the fruit almost worthless) such as apples, pears, peaches, grapes, strawberries, rasberries and cherries. Avocado and bananas are lower in pesticides due to their hard outer layer that cannot be eaten. Avocado, by the way, is an easy digested fat and helps support your metabolism (you can actually eat fat and stay slim and healthy!).
Free Range, Organic Meat, Dairy and Eggs

Photo courtesy ExeriencesInLiving.com

Buying organic animal products is incredibly important if you consume them regularly. These animals are not treated with artificial growth hormones, antibiotics and are not fed genetically enginered grain. Plus, if you get these products free range (meaning they have the freedom to graze out on the land and eat grass–which is what they ARE designed to eat), then you have a complete protein full of omega-3 fats, something that helps out the metabolism, as well.
Raw dairy is something that I’m very passionate about, and I have blogged about this before. Even though it is whole milk, the fat makes you very satisfied and is easily digested. In fact, raw goat’s milk can digest very quickly, usually in 30 minutes. A good digestion system is crucial for maintaing a healthy weight, as good bacteria help eliminate fat and bacteria that could affect your weight negatively. Raw milk and dairy products contain an abundant amount of good, beneficial bacteria, whereas pasteurized milk does not. Find a farmer near you for free range, organic animal food; or, find a farm that can legally sell raw milk.
Animal products provide a complete protein, which is essential for your body (the body cannot make these proteins on its own, or from plants). Quinoa is a complete protein, and a seed; however, I believe animal protein is the best source. If your body responds to a more vegetarian type diet, it is still advised to consume some egg or milk protein (and, of course, raw).
Organic, Sprouted Grains


The best way to eat a grain is to soak it and/or sprout it. Only do this if you find your body handles grains well, and if you are a type of person who needs more carbohydrates in our diets (some need more fat and protein, some thrive well on a more vegetarian type diet, and some are mixed). I have blogged about how to soak and sprout your own grains here. If you are cutting out grains, but not carbohydrates, then you might consider trying quinoa and buckwheat. These are highly nutritious seeds that are a good replacement for rice or gluten free, grain free baking flours. They sprout and cook quite easily (you can even eat them raw!).
Sprouted grain bread is coming into many supermarkets these days, and you should find them in the refrigerator section. You could also make your own sprouted bread using wheat berries, which is quite simple. I haven’t tried using just sprouted buckwheat, but I just may one of these days for all those who choose (or have to) to not eat gluten.
Stevia


This is my favorite sweetener of all time, as it is non-caloric, doesn’t affect insulin levels and actually has some good research to support some health benefits. Because it doesn’t contain any calories, you will be taking in less energy than you would sugar. I don’t always believe the “calories in, calories out” saying, or the “a calorie is a calorie”, because many foods contain different compositions, of which can either help you lose or gain weight at the same amount of calories. However, sugar DOES contribute to weight gain due to its rapid insulin raising effects, as well as having around 768 calories per cup.
To replace sugar in a recipe when using pure powdered stevia, a teaspoon generally equals a cup of sugar. It’s incredibly sweet. Make up for the missing bulking agent that sugar provides, if needed, with additional ingredients and/or liquid (still experimenting with this). This spring, I am thinking about starting my own stevia plant so I can have stevia all year long.
The Fat That Makes Your Slim

In the last post, I left off with a food item that would surprise you as my favorite weight loss/healthy weight promoter. You might have already guessed it, but I’ll take a drumroll anyway…
[drum roll noise]
Photo courtesy Loladisenio.com

…Coconut! Yes that saturated and tropical fat that has nourished many a people is actually a very terrific weight reducer and metabolism booster. Coconut in general is extremely healthy, providing fiber and medium and short chained fatty acids. The fiber and the fat will keep you very satiated. The medium and short chained fatty acids are also immediately turned into energy in the body, rather than being stored as fat. Other fats and oils, such as polyunsaturated vegetable oils (soy, canola, safflower, corn, etc.) are stored as fat more easily.

Coconut also increases metabolism due to its fat. Studies show that supplementing with straight up coconut oil actually contributes to weight loss. This, again, is due to its short and medium chained fatty acids. Yesterday, when I was making homemade coconut milk, I started to nibble a bit at the fresh coconut meat. Immediately I noticed my core body temperature increasing and my energy levels rising. I started doing some moves in that kitchen!
Fresh, shredded coconut is recommended, as well is coconut oil. Coconut oil is growing among consumers, making it available at some grocery stores. You do want to, however, purchase organic and unrefined. This will provide the best taste and you will be insured that it is from a good, organic source. One brand of coconut oil that I LOVE is Jarrow Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
You can take coconut oil as a supplement, and some people swear by 1-3 tablespoons a day. Yes, a day. I thought that was a bit excessive as well, but when I consider how it speeds up the metabolism and even decreases appetite (in a healthy way), I started to think that perhaps it was a good recommendation. Find what your body does best on, and stick to it.
You can also use coconut flour as a gluten free, grain free baking flour. I go by Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Flour as it is organic and makes my baked goods taste so good. You need to use more eggs in a recipe than you would for traditional wheat flour (a lot more), giving you a high protein baked good. Protein burns more calories and helps build more lean, healthy muscle, anyway. There is a lot of protein in coconut flour, as well as fiber (both nutrients help keep you feeling full and can support healthy weight loss efforts).
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So there you go, the long awaited “Food List” in order to build a healthier, slimmer body; at a healthy weight, full of energy, life and vitality. Start doing your own research on what I have written about here, make your own conclusions, listen to how your body reacts to certain foods and get healthy!
This is The Healthy Advocate.

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Healthy Weight Week Day Two: Your Exercise Program



Yikes! Exercise might seem scary for some–heart pounding moves that promote sweat, burning muscles and a tight bod. OK, I couldn’t think of a third promoter of exercise that sounded bad. Actually, all of those sounded quite good to me, and might to your, too, if you exercise regularly and feel the benefits of your daily movement.

Exercise not only promotes a healthier body figure and weight, but it also plays vital roles in various other physical and mental parts of your body. Daily movement and exercise influences cells in your body, preventing them from erosion and death, and also aids in proper mental agility and function. First I will go over what exercise does for your body, before I get into what exercises to do for the health of your body.

  1. Exercise promotes better sleep. If you are looking for a natural way to help you sleep at night, without the use of over the counter or prescription drugs (which can lead to dependancy), then exercise is your way to go. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day (45-60 minutes is optimal, depending) will provide an energy expenditure that will promote a tired sensation at the end of the day, thus promoting sleep. This will also last for many hours, preventing you from awakening during the middle of the night.
Besides the obvious effects exercise has on sleep, we also find it affects our circadian rhythms. Our circadian rhythms are the biological rhythms that occur throughout a 24- hour period. The circadian rhythm is mainly focused around our sleep hormone, melatonin. This hormone rises in the evening when darkness sets (making us feel tired and sleepy), and decreases during the day. This hormone is secreted much more strongly when exposed to natural sunlight, as proper sun exposure to the eyes and skin during the day help influence a stronger increase in the hormone at night.
Studies have shown that regular physical activity increases the level of melatonin that issecreted at night. A study performed at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, found that exercise increased levels of melatonin secretion, especially if the exercise was performed later in the day. However, I believe that exercise in the morning to be optimal. But, if you are trying to fall asleep naturally, break up your exercise routine during the day, morning and afternoon. Exercising too close to bed time, inversely, will actually inhibit your sleep, according to this study.

2. Healthy exercise promotes a better mood, and helps fight depression.
Exercise is one of the most powerful natural “drugs” available, and it is incredibly effective in combating depression and mood disorders. When we put a healthy exertion on our bodies, as through exercise and movement, we start to release hormones in our brain, namely serotonin and endorphins–“feel good” hormones). The endorphins that are released have similar effects as morphine, but without the risk of dependancy. Neurotransmitters are also released to provide the transport of the hormones throughout your mind and body, elevating your mood. Too much exertion, however, can have an opposite effect.
The Mayo Clinic also states that exercise boosts mood by elevating body temperature (a warmer body temperature has a calming effect) and increasing the immune system, which has been linked to mood, as well. A study reported in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine used exercise as the only treatment for depression, and found that depression symptoms were cut almost in half in the subjects who participated in the 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions.
3. Fights cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Exercise lowers insulin levels and makes your bodies cells more sensitive to insulin. I believe insulin resistance to be one of the culprits behind the rise of degenerative and preventable diseases seen in America today. Lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to these complications, and exercise has been shown numerous times to prevent these illness, and even some controversial evidence suggests it can help reverse them (I am NOT condoning a treatment plan–only an alternative preventative strategy!).
4. Makes you smarter. Exercise has been shown to grow new cells in the brain, and also strengthens the inner cortex within the brain associated with cognition and attention. Using exercise as a tool for ADD or ADHD (learning disabilities that I really don’t believe exist) along with other healthy approaches (diet, sun exposure, proper sleep and hydration, etc.) can be incredibly beneficial. It always amazes me to see that moving your body every day can actually grow brand new, physical parts of your brain. This is very important as we age, and even for us college students (and all students, everywhere)!

5. Helps fight off illness. Exercising activates the immune system, helping your body fight off illness. The #1 issue people have when they get colds or the flu is that there immune system is down or not functioning properly. Exercising and eating right improves the immune system dramatically.
6. Promotes a healthy body weight and appearance. To be healthy, and to weight less (or more, depending on your needs), it is absolutely crucial that you apply exercise to you life. It is a valuable key nutrient that helps speed up your basal metabolism (how many calories you burn at rest), activates your growth hormone secretion (from the pituitary gland in the brain) and leads to greater flexibility and strength by toning the muscles and bones.
Like I said before, exercise is a powerful natural “drug” that most people have available to themselves and that can even replace dangerous, and often expensive, conventional drugs. Many stuides already show that antidepressants don’t work, so why risk the side effects and pay the price (mentally, physically AND monetary)?
Since I am talking about how to move into a healthier weight with exercise, let’s go over the types of exercise that are best. Each type of exercise won’t address weight loss, but will, overall, make you healthy. A proper balance of each type will keep your insulin and weight levels low, your energy high and your muscles and body toned and fit.
  1. Interval Training. This is a really cool type of exercise that I’m extremely fond of. Recent research has shown that interval training is the best way to burn fat. This exercise combines intense cardio bursts with periods of rest in between. In fact, the “rests” are actually smaller, less intense movements of the intense cardio movements. Let’s say you are walking. For 30 seconds you will do intense sprinting across your path. Then you will go back to walking for 60-90 seconds. Then, you will do the same sprints (bursts of cardio) for 30 seconds. Now back to the walking for 90 seoncds, and so on and so forth.
According to Darrin Steen, health and fitness expert, our bodies continue to burn more calories at rest up to 8 hours after an interval training exercise! This is amazing, seeing how after most aerobic cardio, like light jogging, your body’s metabolism slows back down again. However, your metabolism stays elevated much higher after an interval style cardio exercise. You can jump rope, do jumping jacks, or perform sprints for this exercise– anything that will be intense enough to do for 10-30 seconds. 20 minutes of this exercise is usually enough to compare to an hour’s worth of jogging (cardio bursts and rests).
Push yourself HARD during the 10-30 seconds of burst activity to start seeing results and reduction in your weight, to to see a more toned, fit body. Your body produces adequete amounts of growth hormone with this type of exercise which slow down the aging process, increases muscle mass and aids in reducing fat. Doing too much of this good thing will cause an opposite effect and make your body store more fat by producing cortisol, the stress hormone. 20-40 minutes every other day is fine. However remember–this exercise is best performed every other day, so that you can incorporate other forms of exercise into your lifestyle and to prevent injury.
2. Resistance training. This type of exercise involves using weights, or your own body weight, as resitance in sculpting your body and your muscles. Lifting weights is the common way to go, but you can also find something handy and heavy to use instead. To have a lean body, to have a muscular body, to be fit and have a sculpted look, resistance training is a must. Watch the video below to see an example of this type of exercise.

Please start off with smaller weights if you are just beginning.
Building muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest, helping you lose weight faster. However, like interval training, this should be done every other day. Exercising the same muscle groups day after day can result in injury. It’s always important to alternate your exercise routine for optimal health.
3. Core exercises and flexibility. These exercises (yoga, pilates, stretching techniques) focus on the core abdominal muscles, promotes balance and flexibility. It is always important to round your exercises off with stretching, and even more important to incorporate a flexibility routine, like yoga and/or pilates, into your practice. My favorite form of yoga is Vinyasa yoga, which combines cardio moves with yoga poses.
The Take Home

Like I said before in my descriptions of the exercises above, it is always important to involve every single one into your healthy lifestyle. Only doing cardio for hours on end will result in energy drainage, increased production of free radicals and cortisol (thus increasing the rate of aging, disease and fat storage), and will provide no enjoyment in the long term. Starting off with just cardio is also more likely to deter you away from exercise later on due to the energy burnout.
For optimal fat burning and muscle building (and for a healthier you), alternate interval cardio with strength and resistance training throughout the week. If you are already at a healthy weight, don’t have insulin or cholesterol problems and don’t need or want to gain/lose weight, then 3 times a week of exercise will suffice. I like to strive for physical activity every day, but only push my body to the point it feels where it needs to go. Listen to your body, and your body will thank you.
On Friday I will have Day Two posted, telling you about healthy foods that will boost calorie burning, help sculpt muscles and promote optimal nutrition. It isn’t just about reducing or adding calories–exercise is a critical nutrient that will help sculpt your body in a healthy way.
I wonder how many times I can use the word, “healthy”, in a paragraph? Count them all up in this post and win a prize! 🙂
This is The Healthy Advocate.

Healthy Weight Week and Free Hypnosis CD Giveaway!


Hello everyone! It is Tuesday, May 11th 2010. I hope the week is going very well for all of you (and if it isn’t, let me know!).

I’m doing a quick post today to let you know about a “Healthy Weight Week” that I am hosting over at my other blog, The Healthy Advocate.

The reason why I am posting this on my beloved hypnosis blog is because on Day 1, I wrote about how to put yourself in the right state of mind in order to lose weight, gain weight or maintain a healthy weight. Or, perhaps, you are only trying to eat healthier and love to exercise. I put all the information you need in the post about first changing your mind through self-hypnosis.
If you are starting a program to lose weight, become healthy, stopping an addiction,shaping your body, attracting love or wealth–whatever it is–you first need to start off with the correct foundation, in your mind, before jumping into action. This is because you want your mind to already believe that you have accomplished your goal (and therefore you need to have a goal in mind already), making it much easier to take action.

Please take the time to read the post about how to get into the correct state of mind, as I give you steps on how to do self-hypnosis in order to achieve this desired state.
GIVEAWAY!!

I’m giving away a free download for my hypnosis program, “Hypnosis for a Healthy Lifestyle” (picture above). This is such a powerful program, and my favorite of my hypnosis CDs and mp3’s. It contains 9 tracks along with a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ booklet which contains a meal planning and exercise guide.
If you want this, please give me a comment below (2 entries) and I will include you in the giveaway. You can also subscribe to my newsletter, at HypnoticSubliminals.com for an 3 extra entries. You can also tweet this blog post on Twitter (2 entries). You have to put either @gemfan2012 OR @HypnoticSubliminals in the tweet.
This is a $29.95 value, so get your entries in if you want to love eating healthy, love to exercise and begin shaping your body to a healthier and slimmer figure. Check out the program here for a free sample of the hypnosis download. Good luck!