Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fat to Burn Fat

The macronutrient called "fat" comes in many varieties. Here is what they have in common: they are 9 calories per gram. They come in vegetable varieties, animal varieties, and yes, man-made varieties. So, what kind of fat burns fat?
Think of it this way. A fat in an animal has already gone through that animal's processes and has become fat cells within a body. How do you think your body sees something so fatty that it is predetermined as extra weight on another animal? These fats are called saturated fats. They are usually the artery-plugging type that don't do a whole lot for you. The exception would be fat from fish. These lean little plant eaters create more good-for-you fats that actually FIGHT the cholesterol from saturated fats! The fish oil goes under the same category as the vegetable oils, plus the benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are linked to a reduction in diabetes and heart disease.
Then, there are fats that come from vegetables: olives, avacados, grapeseeds, and flaxseeds. These fats are called unsaturated fats, and the body processes these fats very well. Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, are the healthiest kinds of fats to drizzle over your food because they, like fish oils, attack bad fats that get stuck in the arteries. Now, keep the whole calorie thing in mind and DON'T over do it! Using a sprayer for oils can keep the amounts low while packing on flavor and getting the health benefits of the oil.
The other source of Omega-3? Good nuts. Enjoy a serving or two of RAW, UNSALTED walnuts or almonds every day for a serving of Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.
Now, for the ugly side of fats. It was discovered many years ago that in order to increase the shelf life of fast food and prepackaged food, that unsaturated fats can be given an extra hydrogen molecule. These would become man-made fats, called trans fats or partially-hydrogenated fats. This is NOT food, and the body does not see it as such. Any amount of partially-hydrogenated oil should be seen as the enemy and should be avoided. It causes immediate inflammation in the body because it is not recognized as a food, and it goes straight to the arteries. The body can not process or expel it because it is unrecognizable. Trans fats have become the bad guy to nutritionists and doctors, finally to lawmakers, and eventually to food manufacturers. Trans fats are actually illegal in some states. Fast food restaurants have gone back to natural oils, as have many pre packaged foods. There is no reason for partially hydrogenated anything to go in to your body. Consider it a poison and do not purchase any product with these. There are plenty of other options!
Poly and Mono UNsaturated fats=the good
Saturated fats=the bad
Partially hydrogenated ANYTHING=the UGLY
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Finding My Center

I was going to post today on healthy and unhealthy fats. I hope to get to that later today or tomorrow. For right now, I am too angry to focus on anything but the absolute insanity of our Texas state legislators. How DARE they mess with kids and old people? How DARE we put up with it? While they give tax breaks to the wealthiest Texans and big oil, they are choosing to try to destroy public education, and send grandma out into the street.
I encourage everyone to know how their legislator voted. . Not only that, but we need to remember that at the next election time. Turn off the TV when the attack ads come on and remember the truth: that our legislators do not care about the future because they will be dead and gone. As long as the rich get richer, they could care less about your kids. And your grandma.
These people are obviously blinded by greed. They don't have to answer to their constituents, because they don't care how their constituents feel. I think the public has made it abundantly clear that this is not ok with us. But they have this attitude of being greater than us, and they have the overconfidence that they will be reelected, especially if there is an R after their names. Say NO. Voice your anger. Voice with your vote. Be diligent. Stick up for your kids and your grandma, because they won't.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Basic Nutrition Part 2: Protein

Protein gets a lot of buzz. It's the miracle food that builds muscle, right? Well, sort of. Proteins are a series of amino acids necessary for the body to build muscle and lean tissue. Proteins are incomplete, meaning some but not all of the necessary amino acids, in vegetables and whole grains. Proteins are complete in animal products and soy products. That is why soy is so valuable in a vegan or reduced animal diet plan. There are other ways to create whole proteins by combining incomplete ones, listed here .
There are other ways of getting protein, like in a whey powder form. Just remember that more processed foods have less nutrients and more additives. OR, they could have dangerous additives, such as EAS Muscle Milk, which has had problems recently with large amounts of cadmium (a lethal metal substance) found in the drinks and powders.
Protein is great because it keeps the body satiated longer than most carbohydrates. The down side is that a lot of them have large amounts of fat, too. Some are healthy fats, which I will get to next time, but fats are very dense and can add calories quickly.
The healthiest animal sources of protein are poultry breast and low mercury fish (wild salmon, light tuna). The healthiest soy option would be tofu. Do not limit your diet to all protein, or even mostly protein because the body does not like to use protein for energy. So, if your diet is out of balance with protein taking too much of a lead, you may feel less energy to get the workout done. The other downside is that the kidneys and liver do not like too much protein. Extreme protein dieting can lead to ketosis, which is a serious kidney condition.
Of course, the other thing to remember is that any calorie the body doesn't need becomes fat. So, if you are ingesting a ton of protein and the body does not have any reason to build that much muscle or need those amino acids at that time, then fat stores will increase. Muscle is built from exercise, and no amount of ingested protein can change what your body wants to build.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Basic Nutrition Part 1: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the topic of debate in many dietary circles, though people that actually know what carbohydrates are have no reason to debate them. They are, quite simply, sugars and substances that grow from the earth. They are the main source of energy in the human body, and they are stored in the muscles and used for brain power. The confusion comes when you start asking "what kind?" and "how many?"
Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram. The simplest ones, like fructose (fruit) are changed into glycogen instantly and burned very quickly. Slower burning carbohydrates, called complex carbohydrates, work in the body longer. Why is this important? Well, for quick energy and a calorie less likely to stay with you, a simple fruit works great. For a snack that stays with you longer and probably has more fiber, choose a complex carbohydrate, like long grain oats or wild rice.
Fiber is found in many natural carbohydrates and it is important because it A. sticks to fat cells so that some of them will not be absorbed by the body and B. flushes all that extra stuff out of the body in the form of feces. Yes, fiber-filled carbohydrates are your friend. They get rid of the bad stuff, or some of it.
So, when you are choosing carbohydrates, remember that fruits are quick burning, so they won't add weight to your thighs, vegetables are so low in calories and high in vitamins that they are the jackpot of carbohydrates, and whole grains stay with you longer and rid the body of nasty fatty substances. Also, think about that big cookie full of sugar. A carbohydrate? Yes. A lot of calories? Yes. A lot of nutrients? NO. That big cookie is the vast wasteland of carbohydrates. It won't provide you with anything but extra calories, and a lot of them at that. Think about this. A cucumber has seven calories. SEVEN. You just burned that reading this article. A cookie has a couple HUNDRED calories. Which has more bang for your fill? Yeah, you guessed it. Vegetables are best when you mix up tons of colors. Colors mean different vitamins. Cookies are best when you just need a little something sweet on a special occasion. No, they don't need to sit around the house staring at you. Enjoy one, and be done. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains make the body function the way it should, make you feel like a million bucks, and aid in BRAIN and organ well as prevent disease, etc, etc.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Just know how to use this powerful weapon!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Drat. I have stitches and am currently not allowed to sweat. Or swim. What's a girl to do in May in Texas? I will have to turn the air down and keep everything to my lower realm of aerobic capability. I just hope it won't deter my fitness level to much. I will let you know. So, I got stitches this past Tuesday, and no sweating until another 2-3 weeks! That's a long time!
In an unrelated note, I saw a girl today who was obviously suffering from anorexia nervosa. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and encourage her to get some help. It often makes me wonder how these eating disorders affect the people who live around and work around the sufferer and how much they can do to save someone who is so deep into a depressed mental state. She was about my height and probably around 90 pounds.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diastasis Recti: Surgery and Recovery Part 3

So, I have been slowly recovering for eleven months. I don't think everyone's surgeon is as thorough and intense as mine was. I also don't think others get the individual attention that I have gotten for the past year. My doctor goes above and beyond to check on recovery.
Exercise is a vital part of my life, and I lost a lot of strength. I started the road to recovery with light body weight exercise and yoga. It was amazing to me how weak I was and how inflexible I had become. The abdominal wall functions differently now, and is still not able to completely hold my weight. I can not, for instance, hang from my hands. It even took me a while to be able to leave the ground again. You don't realize how much you have to hold in the abdominals for basic movement until you lose that mobility. Balance was another issue. My back was in a rounded and stiff position for about 16 weeks before I felt like I was at least standing straight, and I still do not have much mobility hyperextending the spine past vertical. Yoga is my best friend in redeveloping this. Being able to be in plank position again was a big goal of mine. I can now hold plank for a couple of minutes, but still nothing like I used to be. It is like I inherited an all new body. My tummy is all pulled in tight and sewn together, but it lost its mobility and strength.
Today, I went back in for a follow up. You can see and feel all of the stitches that hold down the hernia repair mesh. One of them that is prominent has caused a lot of discomfort over this year, so my doctor offered to snip that one stitch out in a simple office visit. Well, it was not such an easy thing (is it ever?), and he could not get the stitch out. The local anesthesia caused the tissue around the stitch to swell too much. So, he covered that area with some of my tissue he pulled over, and then covered it with a synthetic tissue. I am again in a hunched position and hurting, but after what I have been through, this is a walk in the park. I hope this is the last process.
My doctor prescribed some tape-like medicine for the scars. It is called Cordon. I wear it over all of the scars every day, and in about 8 weeks, the scars have become flat and the redness is much reduced. He says the end result will be barely detectable scars. That's a wow, right? The scars run from hip to hip with a dip down the hip bone and straight across the lower pelvis, also a cut vertically in the lower pelvis, and a new navel.
So, in all, Diastasis friends, I would recommend this surgery to people who have a diastasis as advanced as mine was, and who have a hernia in it. Otherwise, I would recommend Julie's process (, and help from a post natal trainer (like me!). It is a VERY extensive process to get the surgery, and should be elected as a last result or emergency.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Paradigm Shift to Weight Management

In our culture (American), it has occurred to me that people want to lose weight for the following "reasons:"
1. Anger, resentment, frustration at one's self.
2. A feeling of being out of control
3. For someone else (spouse, friend, job)
4. Because the person "has to" or will die
And using these reasons, the typical American person will find one or more of these so-called solutions to achieve smallness:
1. Punish one's self through starvation, over-restriction, stressing the body, over-exhaustion, or by taking something unnatural or dangerous.
2. By leaving it up to someone else to do it for that person
3. By coming up with a quick fix, leaving the conscious awareness of weight loss out of the equation.

As a personal trainer and weight management coach, I have seen all of this and until recently, I have taken personal responsibility for people that have suffered through all of the above reasons and have tried all of the solutions. The thing of it is that I have taken the responsibility for all of those who have failed. Gosh, I would say to my conscious self, I have tried everything with this person, and they are not succeeding! I've used all of my knowledge from all of my trainings and readings. And I can't fix this person!
Therein lies MY problem. It is not my job to FIX anyone. I will never enter a person's mind or spiritual world and make the leap of faith for them. I will never be able to physically connect that person's mind, body, and spirit. That part I can share with others, I can suggest to others, and I can counsel with others, but I can not do it for anyone else.

Here is the real solution.
The mind, body, and spirit are necessarily connected through a personal relationship with one's self and with God (or another name for the Creator of the person). The person must see that he or she is a miracle of God and is a precious commodity unto this earth. Only through self love, self worth, and self respect can one make the conscious, rational decision to make the extra weight go away. Then, the person is ready to do the work involved. Then, the person becomes conscious of what it takes in and what it expends out. Then, he or she is ready to ask a coach, a mentor, a peer to help without the ego getting in the way. Then, he or she can do the work without the excess of stress, anxiety, and anger.