The Scale Doesn’t Determine Your Health

Diet concept

Are you obsessed by the number on your bathroom scale or do you avoid it like the plague? If you’re eating well and focusing on mindset and movement, it can be frustrating to see the scale move in a way you don’t like. Daily scale check-ins shouldn’t be part of your routine.

Being a healthy woman isn’t about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline. We need to start focusing on what matters—on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves

Michelle Obama

Unfortunately, many of us use a morning weigh-in to determine our mood and self-worth for the day. But there are so many things that go into what number is displayed (and none of it correlates to your value!). So, read on for some reasons to limit your weight check-ins to once a week or less. The scale doesn’t measure…

Your Health

Scale weight is not a true measurement of your health. It is simply one of many variables you should be considering to determine your level of health and feeling your best.

Fluids and Waste

When you wake up after fasting – usually for around 12 hours, you’re completely dehydrated and at your lowest weight of the day. This is why you may have heard it recommended to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you’ve voided, and before you eat or drink anything.

You can also experience daily weight fluctuations of 1-3+ lbs due to waste that could be lingering in your large colon. Who knew poop could be so heavy? Be sure to keep the bowels moving with plenty of fluids, plant-based fibre and targeted supplementation, if necessary.

Muscle vs Fat

Your scale doesn’t just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, organs, water, and as you just learned – poop!

When you lose weight, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost body fat as the average bathroom scale has no way of telling you what bodily tissues you’ve lost. Losing weight on the scale does not always translate into healthy fat loss off the scale.

For instance, the scale can’t tell if you’ve gained muscle.

The more muscle you have the more energy your body burns, even when you’re just sitting around – due to the fact that it’s a metabolically active tissue. That’s one reason why a fit, active person is generally able to eat more than say the chronic dieter who is unknowingly breaking down and losing muscle.

Building muscle also makes it possible to drop clothing sizes (and lose inches) without a significant change, if any, in scale weight.

Think of it like this… a pound of muscle is like a small, compact brick, whereas a pound of fat is like a bulky, lumpy pillow. So that’s why when you gain muscle and lose fat, your figure appears slimmer and more firm – but your scale weight may not change much.

Hormones

For all the ladies out there…it’s not you, it’s your hormones!

Some women can gain up to 10 lbs right before or during their period. No joke! This is because of the natural drop in progesterone just before your period often causes digestive issues like water retention and constipation. And, let’s not forget how heavy poop can be!

Our bodies also tend to lose magnesium in the days before menstruation, which drives our insulin levels up leading to an increase in food cravings – especially for sugar.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that manages blood sugar levels is also a fat storage hormone. Read more about balancing your blood sugar here.

Bottom Line

Your changing scale numbers have nothing to do with your long-term progress. They are just part of the overall health optimization journey.

Simply do your best to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle and understand that daily weight fluctuations are completely normal!

Are Konjac Noodles Healthy?

 

For the last few years, I’ve been passing by these noodles packaged in a liquid in the grocery store and never picked them up. I didn’t know how to prepare them or use them in a recipe, so I passed right by without much thought.

 

More recently, I saw a recipe that included shirataki noodles and the nutrient content showed it to be low in carbohydrates. I wondered how that was possible since the recipe included noodles. My curiosity got the better of me and I purchased a package to investigate and try it out.

 

Here is what I learned.

 

What are Konjac Noodles?

 

Konjac and shirataki noodles are both made from the starchy corm of the Konjac plant. It is a traditional food originating in Japan in the 6th century. They are made from the glucomannan fiber from the plant that is ground into a flour and then used to make the noodles. This is an excellent source of soluble fiber and “prebiotics” which are helpful for increasing the good bacteria in the gut.

 

 

The noodles are usually packaged in water, and they are mostly made of water. They have a somewhat gelatinous texture, but that wasn’t a problem for me personally. They are very easy to prepare as it just involves draining off the liquid and giving them a good rinse. To remove any odor from the packing fluid, plunge into boiling water for about a minute.

 

They don’t have much of a taste on their own, so they take on the flavour of the food they are cooked in. Therefore they are best used in soups and stir-fry dishes. See this pad thai recipe here.

 

What are the Health Benefits?

 

There are a number of health benefits that are associated with consumption of the glucomannan fiber.

  • Assisting with weight loss – while consumption doesn’t cause you to lose weight, it helps you to feel full so that you are likely to eat less.
  • Reducing constipation – the high level of fiber is beneficial for reducing symptoms of constipation. On the flip side, overconsumption can create undesirable digestive impacts such as loose stool and bloating.
  • Improving cholesterol levels – numerous studies on konjac fiber use have shown cholesterol-lowering benefits
  • Improving blood sugar management – supplementing with konjac showed improved fasting glucose

 

 

Are There Any Concerns?

 

While the konjac noodles seem like a miracle discovery with few calories and carbohydrates, I would caution you to consume them in moderation like you would any other food. You need a balance of macronutrients to feel your best and you don’t want to get too much of any individual food (even healthy ones).

 

Bottom Line

 

I suggest that you give this food a try. Especially if you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above.

 

Make sure you follow the preparation instructions to eliminate any remnants of taste from the packaging liquid. And keep an open mind. Like any new food, it can take a few tries to get used to it. And, don’t go crazy and eat tons of it every day.

 

Feel free to try any of your favourite soup or stir-fry recipes to do your taste test. Or, give this pad thai recipe a try.

Mental Strategies for Weight Loss

 

Do mental strategies really work for reducing weight? Science shows definite health benefits from mindfulness and meditation. And in this post, I will describe how you can use it to help manage your weight and cravings.

 

“Meditation” is the practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm down, ease stress, and relax. And practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate.

 

Stress Reduction

 

Seventy-five to ninety percent of doctor’s visits are due to stress. That’s a staggering number! But what does stress have to do with weight and cravings?

 

 

Chronic stress creates chronic inflammation and also increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It can negatively impact sleep as well. And all 3 of these have massive effects on your physical and mental health as well as your weight.

 

In one study, people who took an 8-week mindfulness program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale” than those who took a stress management program that did not include mindfulness.

 

Other studies show that mindfulness has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression. While mindfulness isn’t always a cure, it can help to improve moods.

 

In particular, mindfulness can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. And in a previous post, I’ve described how stress can sabotage your weight loss efforts in other ways as well.

 

Mindfulness Studies

 

 

Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including mindfulness, have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index).

 

How does this work?

 

One way it works is due to mindful eating which is…

  • a “non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.”
  • a practice of being more aware of food and the eating process.
  • listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are.
  • not allowing yourself to be distracted by other things while you’re eating, like what’s on TV or your smartphone.

 

People with higher mindfulness scores reported smaller serving sizes of energy-dense foods. In other words, more mindful eating = less junk food consumed.

 

Mindfulness can also help reduce cravings and binge eating leading to more successful weight management.

 

Digestion and Gut Health

 

 

Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in the gut microbiome. This means that mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques could be a way to help prevent these negative changes in your gut.

 

For instance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is linked to stress and imbalanced gut microbiome. In one study, people with IBS who received mindfulness training showed greater reductions in digestive symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.

 

What is the link between poor gut bacteria diversity and difficulty with weight loss? Studies have shown that psychological stress creates imbalanced gut bacteria, increasing inflammation which is associated with weight gain. So, theoretically, mindfulness techniques designed to reduce stress can help with weight loss as well.

 

Bottom Line

 

Science shows amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation for weight loss and more.

 

Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, what benefits have you noticed? If not, would you consider trying it? I have made it fun and easy with my Mindset Challenge.

 

If you want to be notified when my next Mindset Challenge is being held so that you can join, send me a note here and I will add you to my list!

 

BONUS Tips – stress reducing support…

 

Books:

The Energy Bus

The Happiness Advantage

 

Videos:

Introduction to Emotional Freedom Technique video

https://www.thetappingsolution.com/tapping-101/

 

Meditate in One Minute or Less Everyday video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtG8No-MMOM&list=PLerdqrUWzOkd7m9HQj1yfJiI09pwVhPcD&index=10

 

Apps:

Calm App

https://www.calm.com/

 

Headspace App (free 10-day trial)

https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

 

Podcasts:

Daily Meditation Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/daily-meditation-podcast/id892107837?mt=2

 

Hay House Meditations Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hay-house-meditations/id955266444?mt=2

How Do I Get the Right Amount of Protein?

 

When we think of protein, we often think about building muscle. But there is so much more to it!

 

From producing important molecules for cellular function and repair, to supporting strong hair, skin, and nails, to assisting with weight management and moods… protein is essential.

 

However, even though it’s essential, everyone’ protein needs are different. How do you know how much is right for you and then how can you be sure you’re actually getting it?

 

How much protein is enough?

 

The minimum recommendation to prevent deficiency is 0.8 g/kg (or 0.36 g/pound) per day. So, for a 68 kg (150 pounds) healthy non-athlete adult, this is about 55 g protein/day.

 

However, this is a minimum, not an optimal amount. It’s not enough for athletes whose bodies demand more, seniors who are trying to maintain muscle mass or those recovering from an injury. In this case, your protein intake should be closer to 1.3 g/kg (or 0.6 g/pound) per day.

 

Can you get too much protein?

 

Eating too much of anything, including protein, can be a problem. For instance, in the case of excess intake, extra protein can be converted into sugar and stored as fat in the body leading to weight gain.

 

 

Also, a common concern about protein is that higher intakes will harm the kidneys. If your kidneys are healthy, they are more than capable of filtering out excess amino acids from the blood. And plant proteins are especially safe for kidneys. The problem only occurs in people who already have kidney issues.

 

Can protein help me lose weight?

 

 

Protein can be helpful for weight loss because it isn’t broken down as easily or quickly as carbohydrates or fat. This is because of its thermic effect. In other words, it requires more energy to digest, absorb, transport and store than the other macronutrients. That means you burn more calories breaking down protein than when metabolizing fats or carbohydrates.

 

As a result, protein can help to keep you fuller for longer and therefore consume less food overall.

 

Protein in specific foods (in descending order)

 

 

  • A 3.5 oz chicken breast – 31 g
  • A 3.5 oz can of salmon – 20 g
  • ½ cup cooked beans (legumes) – 6-9 g
  • A large egg – 6 g
  • ¼ cup nuts – 4-7 g
  • 1 medium baked potato – 3 g

 

Bottom Line

 

Protein is an essential nutrient that we all need. Getting about 0.8 – 1.3 g/kg (0.36 – 0.6 g/lb) per day is an appropriate range. If you’re a healthy non-athlete adult, you can aim for the lower level. If you’re an athlete, senior, or recovering from an injury, aim for the higher level.

 

With protein, it’s best to have just enough to meet your needs.

 

Are you one of those people who needs more protein? Let me know in the comments. And if you need help to figure out what is best for you and your goals, please book a free discovery call with Bonnie here.

What Is the Keto Diet and Should I Try It?

 

The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet has recently gained a lot of popularity because of some of its health benefits. Many of you know people who have lost weight using this approach and have asked me for my thoughts, so here they are.

 

The Keto diet is a very low carb, very high-fat diet and it has been shown to help some people lose weight (yes, even with high fat!). It can also help improve certain health conditions, like epilepsy.

 

It is based on training your body to burn fat (through “ketosis”) instead of glucose.

 

What is “ketosis?”

 

Carbohydrates (sugars & starches) that break down to glucose are the preferred fuel for your brain and muscles. They will use glucose first, whenever it’s available. This is why maintaining stable blood sugar impacts your attention, mood, and energy level.

 

However, when glucose is not available for fuel, your body starts making compounds known as “ketones.” These are your body’s backup fuel made from fat. The term ketogenic actually means “the generation of ketones.”

 

After being on a low carbohydrate diet for a period of time, your blood level of ketones starts to increase. This is the metabolic state known as “ketosis.” It’s the depleted supply of glucose as fuel that’s the trigger for the body to turn fat into ketones for fuel instead.

 

NOTE: “Ketosis” from a ketogenic diet is not the same thing as the dangerous condition known as “ketoacidosis.”

 

Keto and Weight Loss

 

 

With a high fat intake, it may be surprising to know that studies show that a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss.

 

For example, one study showed that people lost 2.2 times more weight on a ketogenic diet than those on low-fat or calorie-controlled diets. How is this possible?

 

One reason is that eating fat and protein is filling. It helps release satiety hormones that tell us that we’re full and satisfied, and we don’t need to eat anymore.

 

And by eating enough fat and protein to go into “ketosis,” you will likely feel fuller for longer so that you eat less food overall. And of course, this helps with weight loss.

 

Keto and Your Health

 

 

Some studies show other health benefits of the ketogenic diet.

 

Changing your metabolism can have health effects that are beneficial for some people.

 

Keto Basics

 

 

Not everyone should go on a keto diet. Make sure you speak with a trained healthcare practitioner before you try it. It can have side effects, including the infamous “keto flu.”

 

The traditional keto diet is restrictive and can be difficult to stay on for a long period of time. It involves eating macronutrients in the following proportions:

  • 60-75% of your calories from fat,
  • 20-35% from protein, and
  • 5% from carbs.

 

The foods to focus on for a ketogenic diet are meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb vegetables (e.g. cucumber, celery, peppers, zucchini, leafy greens, etc.).

 

The main thing to avoid are foods that are high in carbs. These include sugary foods and desserts, grains, fruit, legumes, starchy vegetables, and alcohol.

 

Keto Concerns

 

Using any kind of restrictive diet has limitations and can be done in an unhealthy way. For the keto diet, because of the limits placed on carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, many people lack adequate amounts of fiber and micronutrients and some experience other unwanted side effects. And, the keto diet can be hard to adhere to long-term.

 

Due to these concerns, my preferred nutrition plan includes a modified form of these principles that is much easier to sustain with a delicious variety of foods and similar long-term benefits. This is what I teach in my Finding Foodease Program.

 

 

>>>>>>>>>Click here to learn more about the Finding Foodease Program and gain access to earlybird pricing.

 

Bottom Line

 

The ketogenic diet is very popular since it can be helpful for weight loss, and other health conditions.

 

It’s not for everyone and can result in missing important nutrients in your diet. So, make sure you check with a knowledgeable practitioner to help you before you begin.

 

Do you want a FREE 20-minute consult to help? Book your call with Bonnie here.

What’s Blood Sugar Got To Do With It?

 

Do you only think that blood sugar matters if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or metabolic syndrome??

 

Well, it actually matters to everyone, not just those with diabetes or inflammation. For example, do you struggle to maintain a healthy weight? Are you eating healthy and exercising, but still don’t have the energy you need to get things done? Then you’ll want to read on to learn more.

 

What is Blood Sugar?

 

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. And you need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

 

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

 

Your body works to balance it between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood.

 

When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body then keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin takes excess sugar out of your bloodstream and puts it into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy (or for storage if your body doesn’t need it right away).

 

Why Does Blood Sugar Level Matter?

 

Your body aims to keep your blood sugar at an optimal level. High enough, so you’re not light-headed, fatigued, and irritable and low enough that your body doesn’t require excess insulin to remove sugar from the blood.

 

Prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar levels can lead to “insulin resistance.” This is when your cells are so tired of responding to insulin that they start ignoring (or resisting) it. In the long term, this ultimately this leads to diabetes.

 

 

What does all this have to do with weight loss and energy levels?

 

Well, when you eat excess sugars or refined starches, your blood sugar rises too much. The result is that your body overreacts with insulin. This causes the subsequent crash in energy (causing fatigue) and cravings (making weight loss challenging).

 

In this case, your cells aren’t getting the glucose they need at the rate they need it to sustain your hunger and keep up your energy levels. So, let’s look at nutrition and lifestyle factors that will help to keep your blood sugar stable so that you can achieve your goals.

 

Nutrition recommendations

 

 

REDUCE REFINED SUGARS AND STARCHES that you eat. You can start by eliminating sweet drinks and having smaller portions of dessert.

 

INCREASE FIBER to help slow the pace of sugar being absorbed from your meal (i.e. reduce the “spike” in your blood sugar). Fiber is found in plant-based foods (as long as they are eaten in their natural state since food processing removes fiber).  Eating nuts, seeds, and whole fruits and veggies (not juiced) is a great way to increase your fiber intake.

 

CINNAMON has been shown to help cells increase insulin sensitivity. Not to mention it’s a delicious spice that can be used in place of sugar.

 

Want some inspiration? Sign up to receive my blood sugar balancing dinners recipe book here.

 

 

Lifestyle recommendations

 

EXERCISE also helps to improve your insulin sensitivity; this means that your cells don’t ignore insulin’s call to get excess sugar out of the blood.  Not to mention, when you exercise, your muscles are using up that sugar they absorbed from your blood.

 

MANAGE STRESS because it also affects your blood sugar levels. If you think about the “fight or flight” stress response, what fuel do your brain and muscles need to “fight” or “flee”? Sugar! When you are stressed, your body uses cortisol to release stored forms of sugar back into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. This can lead to a similar spike and crash in blood sugar as eating refined starches causes! Simple tips to manage stress are meditation, deep breathing, or gentle movement.

 

GET ADEQUATE SLEEP since it goes hand-in-hand with stress. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you tend to release stress hormones, have a higher appetite, and even get sugar cravings. Sleep is a crucial, often overlooked, factor when it comes to keeping your blood sugar stable. Make sleep more of a priority – it will do your blood sugar (and the rest of your physical and mental health) good.

 

 

Bottom Line

 

Your body is on a constant 24-hour quest to keep your blood sugar stable. The body has mechanisms in place to do this, but those mechanisms can get tired (resistant).  Long-term blood sugar issues can spell trouble.

 

There are many nutrition and lifestyle factors you can use to help keep your blood sugar stable. Minimizing excessive carbs, eating more fiber, exercising, reducing stress, and improving sleep are all key to having stable blood sugar (and achieving your goals).

 

Not sure where to begin? That’s perfectly normal! Click here to book a FREE discovery call with Bonnie to learn more about how you can get the help you need.

Top 5 Snacks for Weight Loss and Energy

 

I’ve reviewed many diet journals and one of the trouble spots is often … reaching for unhealthy snacks that create fatigue and further cravings throughout the day. There are many things that can lead to this, but regardless, we all deserve a satisfying and tasty snack that can tide us over to dinner, right?

 

But don’t think that I’m going to tell you that you need to resort to “tasteless cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying” snacks. Let me give you my best weight-loss and energy supporting snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!

 

What’re my criteria? They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein, healthy fats and/or fibre.

 

Nuts and Seeds

 

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening! In fact, studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner. But just to be clear, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones (i.e. the ones that are coated with sugar that we don’t need).

 

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

 

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help keep you satiated and full of energy? At least 10% of the fat in almonds is not absorbed by the body, and they can also help to boost your metabolism!

 

Pro Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag. A snack of nuts (and more) are included in my free 5-day sugar-free meal plan and guide with all the recipes you need to make 5 days of tasty meals in a flash.

Fresh Fruit

 

 

As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier.

 

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, and it is possible to overdo it, but whole fruits (I’m NOT talking juice or dried fruit here) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber. They also contain a high nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

 

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the “blood sugar spike” that leads to later crashes in energy and cravings.

 

Try a variety of fruit (lowest in sugar are berries!) and pair that with a handful of nuts.

 

Pro Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen. I buy them in bulk at Costco so that I always have them on hand. Plus, they’re already washed and chopped for you.

 

Chia seeds

 

 

This is one of my personal favourites…

 

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

 

Not only are they nutritious, but they also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up). I often have this for breakfast!

 

Pro Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of unsweetened nut milk, stir and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit, nuts, coconut flakes and/or cinnamon and enjoy!

 

Hard Boiled Eggs

 

 

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

 

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good number of vitamins and minerals.

 

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk. Yes, that’s right!

 

Pro Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs on the weekend and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack all week!

 

Vegetables (with or without dip)

 

 

I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

 

Veggies are easy to carry around, contain fibre and water to help fill you up, and of course vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

 

Super quick options are a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes. Give them a quick rinse and they’re ready to go… no chopping!

 

Pro Tip: Use a bit of dip to keep things interesting. Have you tried sunflower seed butter on celery? That’s actually my favourite! Actually, I have a lot of favourite dips! If you want to know all of them, join my private Facebook community here and ask me!

 

Bottom Line

 

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” or like “cardboard,” or “boring.” Trust me. You’ll be satisfied between meals and have even energy throughout the day so that you can get everything done that you need to with greater ease.

 

Do you want more customized meal planning done? Do you have a health issue you would like to discuss or want to figure out how to balance your personal health goals with the rest of your family? Click here to book a free 20-minute call to discuss your needs in more detail.