Exercise: Too Long, Too Frequent, Too Intense

In recent years, exercise gurus are seeing so many people who exercise for long periods of time, 3-5 times a week, yet there are little to no changes in their bodies. They might lose a tiny bit of weight, but gain it back as they get discouraged with the results and begin to slack off in their training.

Why does this phenomenon happen? The more you exercise and cut calories, the more you’ll lose weight, right?
This, after all, is what has been preached at us for years!

As fitness experts look into why typical training and dieting isn’t working for the majority of people, they’ve found that too much exercise and cutting too many calories is causing a stressed physiology. Most programs ask for a person to exercise for too long, too frequently, and too intensely, and it’s destroying those with even the best of intentions.

The metabolism starts to shut down when a person consumes too few calories, and then add the stress of too much exercise, and you have a very discouraged person on your hands because their weight stays pretty much where it’s been.

What is a person’s natural reaction to not losing enough weight even with lots of exercise and cutting calories? Well, they do even more exercise, and cut calories even more!

The right way to lose weight is to do intense reps of exercise in very short periods of time (15 minutes!!), and no more than 3 times a week. It’s called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. While you’re able to exercise with correct form and intensity, you give it all you’ve got, and when you need to rest, you rest, then start back in as soon as you can. Does it work? Oh yes! This is my go-to type of training these days. It creates results quickly, and provides peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to live in the gym the rest of your life.

Small Goals

goals
Hey! Just checking in to see how you’re doing, and maybe give you a little “kick in the pants” :). I need some encouragement every once in a while, and I’m betting you do too!

Health goals, just like any goal in life, can be overwhelming at times. If you feel bad all the time, are low in energy, or have a lot of weight to lose, just looking at the end goal can be so daunting.

I would encourage you to break any goal you have into small bits.

For instance, if you have 50+ lbs. to lose or even 5, why not break things down into just enough to handle for this week, or maybe just even TODAY. Seriously, days turn into weeks so fast, that focusing on just today might be enough. Could you exercise for 15 minutes today, or cut out one bad meal for a good one? Drink more water? Sure you could! I’m here to cheer you all the way!

I try to make my goals super simple as well. Instead of having a major carb-laden snack like chips or crackers (that usually end up making me feel nauseated later anyway), I go to the fridge and get some celery and almond butter. Do I really want that as a snack in place of the carbs? Nope. But once I get it ready and start munching, it actually tastes awesome!

I promise you that the little changes add up fast, but doing nothing won’t get you anywhere at all!

Whole Wheat Flour: The Big Hoax

bread-1329360-1279x1074 There’s a huge hoax in the world of health information today, and it has to do with a common household staple. You’ve already guessed by now from the title — I’m talking about wheat.

So if you eat wheat, hopefully this post will make things clear —- hopefully clearer than mud anyway :).

By in large, studies have shown that 73% of shoppers believe that wheat flour and whole grain flour are the same thing. Even labels are deceiving, stating that certain healthy products are “made with whole grains”. When you turn the package over, and look at the ingredients, they might say something like: wheat flour, whole wheat flour, or enriched whole wheat flour.

Why is wheat flour not the best thing to be eating? Well, if you look on the list of ingredients I mentioned above, that means that the natural vitamins and minerals have been stripped from the wheat, and the mill has enriched it, or replaced a few of them back.

Like a friend of mine says, if you had 21 dollars, and a robber came and took all 21 of your dollars, and then returned 3, would you feel “enriched”?

That’s exactly what happens when flour is enriched. The mill strips 21 nutrients from the natural grain, and then replaces 3 of them. It doesn’t sound so great now, does it?

So why is it done in the first place?

Well, natural grains are prone to going rancid, so when a mill refines the flour, it increases the shelf life for quite a long time.

Often, the “enriched” or “replaced” vitamins and minerals are also synthetic, and not even the natural ones originally found in the wheat in the first place! The companies can claim that a product is whole wheat or whole grain if at least 5% of the wheat is whole grain.

Why would this be a problem? Well of course if a natural food is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, it’s a lot less nutritious and you’re just eating junk food disguised as healthy food.

“Unbleached whole grain flour” is also a very misleading term. Whole wheat flour is never bleached in the first place, so this term only serves to make you feel better about the junk you just bought.

So what conclusion should you come to if you’re looking to eat wheat in a healthy way?

In the US, simply look for “whole wheat grain flour” as the first ingredient on the package. Don’t trust the flashy front label to tell you whether it’s made from whole grains or not, look on the ingredient facts on the back of the package.

This may vary in other countries. In the US, if the ingredients say “whole wheat flour”, it must contain the complete whole grain. In Canada, the whole grain will be labeled “whole grain whole wheat flour”. In the UK, it will be labeled as “wholemeal”.

If you’re concerned about getting the best nutrition available, avoid these ingredients:

Wheat flour
Enriched wheat flour
All-purpose flour
Unbleached wheat flour
Bread flour
Cake flour
White flour

Hope this helps with all the confusion.

Talk to you later,
Deborah Leaverton

The Battle of Motivation vs. Habit

Is motivation the real thing that gets people to change? That’s something I’ve had to think about for a while. I brought it down to real life.

How often do I feel motivated to clean the kitchen, do the laundry, or cook? For me, that answer is, “rarely”. How often do I feel motivated to make healthy choices or exercise. Again, my answer is, “rarely”. Now you might want to just call me lazy, and you might be mostly right :).

The fact is, with the exception of feeling more comfortable in a clean house and not embarrassed when people stop by, or feeling good about my health because of exercise and a good diet, these sorts of things don’t really cause me a lot of joy.

I cook because my family likes to eat LOL (don’t tell them that…although I’ve told my husband on numerous occasions that I could give up cooking forever and it wouldn’t bother me a bit!), yet I continue to do all of these things daily.

The thing I’ve had to do in my life because of the lack of motivation, is to develop good habits.

When you make a good habit into a daily habit, it changes who you are.

“You are the culmination of your habits.”

Exercise, as I mentioned above, is a perfect example of something that I wanted to change.

You see,  when it comes down to it, motivation is a myth. How do I know that? Because even if you’re motivated for a while, it wears off.

It’s not just you or me. Did you know that even after an athlete consistently trains for years and years, most of them only feel motivated to work out half the time?

A habit is something you do automatically,  and that’s what athletes do. They train whether they feel like it or not. It’s just a part of who they are.

You can set goals for yourself, and setting goals will help a lot, but there will never be a permanent change unless you learn how to make them a habit in your life.

The real struggle with changing bad habits into good ones, is to figure out how you can convince your brain to make permanent habits that will bring lasting change to your body and health.

If someone could make you change your habits so that you enjoy making healthy choices and exercise, they would have hit the jackpot!

Turns out, someone already has! Don’t believe me?

Way back in 1949, a man from Harvard University, by the name of Donald Hebb wrote a book called The Organization of Behavior.

He was a teacher that was known for his ability to help troubled students make incredible changes by making small changes in their habits and behaviors.

He felt that he was held back by the Canadian school system, and after his wife was killed in a car accident, he decided to leave his teaching position and focus on human behavior and how to change it.

Why should this make any difference to you now? Well, transport yourself to the future — a great diet, exercise, and lifestyle consultant by the name of Tyler Bramlett has used Hebb’s principles to help you and me change our bad habits as easily as possible.

It has taken him almost 5 years to figure out the best way to help people change their habits as effortlessly and permanently as possible!

Check it out below.

=====> 27 Habits <=====

To good habits for life!
Deborah Leaverton

A Small Positive Change Forever

bottles-774466_640Have you ever wondered why you keep falling off the health bandwagon over and over? Even more important, how can you get healthy and stay that way?

Everyone knows that you can’t just do pushups for a while, then stop, and expect that your body will stay as strong as it was before. You also know that you can’t just eat healthy for a while, lose some weight, then eat a bunch of junk food, and keep your weight where it was.

So how can you make positive changes in your life, and stick with them forever?

I think the best way is to make very small changes over time.

A lot of people jump into a diet and exercise program, all excited that something will finally work for them, but a week or so later, the excitement has rubbed off, and they quit.

I’m pretty sure a lot of that has to do with toxic shock syndrome — no, not a dread illness you’ve heard of, but often the shock of changing everything  at once is way too much.

How about instead, you write down 10 things that you would like to change to get healthier. They could be things like

  • Adding exercise 3-4 times a week
  • Drinking half your body weight in ounces every day (if you weight 200 lbs., drink 100 ounces a day)
  • Eating 6 small meals a day
  • Eliminating excess sugar
  • Eliminating carbonated beverages
  • Eliminating artificial sweeteners
  • Adding healthy fats
  • Cutting our processed foods
  • Taking time to relax
  • Going to bed at a decent time

If you do all of the 10 things listed above all at once, you will probably quit almost as soon as you’ve started. It’s too much, too overwhelming, and most likely a recipe for disaster.

If your focus truly is to become healthy, why not try to take each thing you’ve put on your list, and take a whole 30 days to implement each one. For instance, to me, exercise was the more important thing on my list when I first started my journey. So I purposefully set out to find exercise that I could enjoy, and made sure I got into the habit of doing it.

The funny thing about habits is, you will actually miss that activity after 30 days if you don’t do it. Trust me, it truly becomes part of your life the longer you do it.

After the first thing on your list truly is a habit, try adding one more. If you chose exercise as your first goal, you might have realized that you’ve already begun drinking more water. So now your next challenge will be to make sure you’re getting enough water for the next 30 days, and so on.

Now don’t get frightened on me here …. but your goal is to make very small changes that you can stick with FOREVER. If something should come along to make you misstep, don’t panic. Take a few minutes to reevaluate what caused your failure, and what you will do to change it. That’s it.

Be mindful          Be purpose driven      Be intentional

Don’t make excuses for yourself. Own your decisions. Find out what you can do to make things easier on yourself.

If you have a job where you travel a lot, or work late and can’t have supper, then come home and go into a big sugar binge, what could you do to change that? Most of us can’t change a work or travel schedule, but we could take along a bottle with a protein drink in it, or have a handy healthy snack in our pocket so we’re not starving.

Make a plan and stick with it and you’ll be happier (and healthier) for it!

Make some healthy, lasting, lifestyle changes!
Deborah

 

The Stinkin’ Truth About Acid Reflux

heartburn

A huge problem for most of us as we age, is heartburn and acid reflux problems. I used to have it so bad, that even drinking water would start the painful burning! Pardon me if this is TMI, but I regularly had acid shooting up into my mouth. That’s a dreadful feeling and taste for sure!

When I went to the doctor, he prescribed a strong acid reducer. It worked sometimes, but as time went on, neither that, nor the OTC meds helped for long.

It’s easy to believe that if acid is shooting up into your mouth, or you’re clutching your chest in agony from heartburn, that your stomach is making way too much acid. That’s why a doctor will prescribe you an antacid – a medication to reduce acid in your stomach.

This is actually a horrible solution, because as you can see in my case, and other cases, the acid problem gets worse and worse.

Listen to what a friend of mine said about her GERD (acid reflux) and the medications that her doctor gave her:

“When I got up, I got the package inserts and stuff out for the medicine I’ve been taking for my acid reflux and was sitting at the kitchen table with it for a good while.  Bob (husband) asked me what I was doing and I said I was trying to decide if I was going to put that poison in my body today or not.  I finally decided not to take it and went and got one of my Pepcid Complete to take instead.  Why this decision, you ask?  Well, because, last night I happened to look down at my feet and I didn’t recognize them!!!!  My feet and ankles were swollen, and that can’t be a good thing!!  That was the final straw.  In the list of stuff that might happen (side effects), I’ve had muscle aches and cramps, bones hurting, itching (my left palm itches a lot lately), and now the swollen feet and ankles.”

If you see from what she said above, she grabbed the Pepcid that she used to take instead of the prescription, because it has less side effects than the prescription.  She’s terrified not to take anything because of the side-effects of going off the meds quickly, and the horrible discomfort of the heartburn.

What’s the shocker? Research shows that heartburn and acid reflux is due to your stomach not having enough acid in it, not too much!

So why does the acid come up into the esophagus and mouth? Well, when not enough acid is produced, the food that we eat ferments in our stomach, instead of digests.

I would hazard a guess that most people with heartburn and acid reflux are also constipated. When the food sits in your stomach and ferments, you will have gas and bloating.  The gas and bloating pushes the stomach up into the diaphragm, and then into the upper valve so that acid goes up into the esophagus.  There’s enough acid in this fermented mess to burn esophageal tissues leading to what is called “acid reflux” or heartburn.

The only way to make this situation better is to supplement your meals with HCI (hydrochloric acid). This is the exact same acid that your stomach makes. Especially when your adrenals are out of whack, your stomach quits producing the acid it needs to digest the food, leading to heartburn and the whole digestive mess that is very common to us as Americans.

HCI is readily available, and it only takes a few tablets along with your meals to end your digestive nightmare!

The best kind I’ve found is Metagest from the Metagenics Company. I take at least one with my meals, or if it will be a heavy meal, I take several.

So, back to my friend with the acid reflux problems…..did she listen to my advice? Even when I told her the relief I got from HCI? No she didn’t. She told me it was nice that I had gotten help, but she wasn’t interested. Am I discouraged? No, just dreading hearing more of her GERD stories….

What about you? Do you want to join me in actually digesting your food, instead of it sitting in your stomach fermenting into a smelly mess?

To your health,

Deborah

Beci’s Story

Beci has been a friend of mine for a long time. She wanted to share her story with you, and hopefully will be an encouragement on your health journey!

I’m such an advocate of eating healthy as the #1 goal, then adding exercise as you can, especially if your weight has caused mobility issues. These two things will always work, 100% of the time. It might not be the fancy way of doing it, but it will always work when done correctly. So over to Beci….

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“Hi, my name is Beci. I’m a 57 year old woman and I’ve struggled with my weight since forever, it seems. About a year ago I developed osteoarthritis (accompanied by high grade cartilage loss) in my knees.

Last October I ventured into the Gastric Bypass venue, thinking it was time. I was 319 then. If GBS is for you or has helped you, more power to you. I personally found all the information overwhelming. Even so, I talked to many friends about it, who had done the surgery.

In the end, several things made up my decision. First and foremost: my family and friends were more con than pro. Secondly, and this may seem silly, but not ever being able to chug water again (and I *love* water) really had me thinking “eh?”. But most importantly, I was told I had to lose 10# to qualify.

When I went back a month later I had lost 19#. I’m no stranger to losing and gaining weight. But this time, with my knees, I knew I needed to not only lose weight but also keep it off.

Losing that 19# was the jump start I really needed. How’d I do it? Funnily enough, exercising is almost out, due to my knees. So I’ve been asked countless times how I lost 50# by sitting on my butt. 🙂

I don’t really always sit. The dishes won’t do themselves. Nor will the laundry. Or the housecleaning. The body is a constant mass of motion. However, I did adopt the 20 Minute Meal ideal. That’s where you take small bites of your food, eat slowly, put your utensils down after every bite, drink lots of water before and during, and stop when you’re feeling satisfied and not full.

What do I eat? I have a limited budget so I’m not eating WW or Jenny Craig-type meals. I’ll have a small bowl of Rice Chex with fresh strawberries, plus a hard boiled egg for breakfast; a chicken/mayo/pickles/diced red grapes in a wrap for lunch; fish, rice and veggies for dinner. Just eat .. but eat only until you’re satisfied. Trust me, you’ll know.

No, don’t deny yourself. Once every six months I’ll treat myself to Caribou.The thing with eating well is that the stomach starts to acclimate itself to those things. When I had Caribou at my six month mark, I barely drank it.. the sweet was upsetting to my stomach. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of sweets. Or I was, before. If I feel a need now, I’ll find something. It’s usually a small bowl of vanilla yogurt and frozen fruit.

A biggie and a must: try to include some protein with every meal. Eat from salad size (8″) plates and not the regular size plates (10″). You’ll eat less.. but you’ll eat more of what’s good food you.

No, I’ve never taken drugs to help me lose weight, whether prescribed or OTC. Forget the doctors or what anyone else says — only YOU know your body and you can’t fight its stubbornness.

I’ve lost 50# … then nothing for two months. I never let it get to me…we all reach plateaus. Just keep doing the good stuff. Sure, I have a scale but I don’t let it consume me. I’ll step on it every couple of days, just for fun.

Don’t get discouraged. You have to love yourself *no matter what*. You are beautiful…always. One day at a time. You can do it! :)”

– Deborah Leaverton

Are We In Control Of Our Food Cravings?

craving

One of the most common complaints I hear from people when it comes to dieting is that they do well for a few weeks, but then it seems like after one bad weekend they just can’t get back into it.  Well, there may be a scientific reason behind this.

While it is true that dieting is extremely psychological, we may not be in control of our cravings.  Let me explain.  Inside all of our digestive systems live millions of different kinds of bacteria.  While this may be kind of disgusting to think about, these bacteria play a very important role in our digestive processes.

Each bacteria plays a role in the breakdown of different foods.  For example, one type of bacteria may break down carbs/sugars, while a different type may break down protein in meat.  Most people understand this much.

However, what you probably didn’t know is that the type of foods you eat affect which types of bacteria populate the majority of your gut.

For example, when you eat healthy, the bacteria that break down these healthy foods actually reproduce and multiply, making up the majority of the bacteria in your gut.

Inversely, if you eat fatty, greasy, high sugary foods, the bacteria in your gut that feed on these substrates will multiply and make up the majority of the bacteria in your gut.

So why is this a problem?  This is where my research comes in.

The bacteria in your gut get hungry just like we do.  Remember, since these bacteria only feed on certain substrates, they need certain types of food otherwise they die and can no longer reproduce.

So how does a bacteria that feeds on greasy fat survive if you’re eating fruits and vegetables?  Well, if these bacteria make up the majority of the bacterium in your gut, they send signals to your brain in the form of chemicals in your blood telling your brain to eat that food.

How does this equate for you?  Well, do you ever crave sugar?  Fat?  Grease?<

While these bacteria don’t know what foods contain fatty grease, your brain does.  These bacteria trick your brain into craving certain foods in order to satisfy their hunger.

So in reality, your cravings for bad food may not be your fault.  HOWEVER, we can combat these bacteria in a number of ways.

First, start by eating healthy foods.  Fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, etc can help you grow the healthy bacteria in your gut that feed on these complex sugars while slowly starving the bad bacteria that feed on simple sugars.

The longer you stay on a good diet, the less you will crave bad foods (we normally just say we have acquired the taste for these foods when in reality the healthy bacteria in our guts are signalling our brain to eat good foods).

Second, you can promote the growth and reproduction of healthy gut bacteria by taking probiotics.  It seems that in the last few years probiotics have exploded in today’s grocery stores.

You can find probiotics in Greek yogurt.  But beware, buying flavored Greek yogurt is full of added sugars.  I suggest buying plain Greek yogurt and then adding your own natural sweetener or fruit.

Also, make sure you check the yogurt container so that it says “contains live colonies of bacteria x.”  This way, you know you are getting healthy bacteria that will feed on the bad bacteria in your gut and promote healthy bacteria health.  If it doesn’t say that it contains live colonies, then it is full of dead, worthless bacteria.

So to summarize… your cravings for fast food or fatty/sugary foods may not always be your fault.  However, you can control what you do or don’t eat.

Remember, falling off of your diet for one night is not the end of the world.  But, beware that after that you may crave more of that food initially since the bacteria that feed on that type of food are thriving and are sending chemical signals to your brain to consume these foods.

The longer you stick to your healthy diet, the less you will crave bad foods and the more your body will respond to good foods.  So the next time you have a craving….are you going to let some little disgusting bacteria control your actions?

Posted by permission and researched by Jordan Mitzel, Athletic Trainer

Welcome!

Hi, my name is Deborah Leaverton. I’m a wife and mom, I homeschool my children, teach individual piano lessons, and have been an entrepreneur for the past 9 years.

My parents were always interested in natural health, some of which was fueled by their own health struggles, and even though they never found success for their chronic health problems, it put a desire in me to think that there was that possibility that the body can indeed heal itself when taken care of properly.

I’ve had so many failures as I’ve tried to deal with my own health problems that I’ve faced the past 15 years. My list includes severe fatigue, chronic debhilitating migraines, weight gain, depression, lots of stomach and gallbladder problems, panic attacks, and the list goes on.

For the past year and a half, I’ve had a great amount of success in dealing with my health problems naturally and have been losing weight — and keeping it off too! That really excites me, and I will be sharing my successes and failures with you on this blog. For more details about my journey, please visit my About Me  page.