Dumping That Last Bit of Body Fat

Dumping That Last Bit of Body fat
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I’m often asked about the best ways to eliminate stubborn fat so I figured it’s time to do an in-depth series on the subject. There’s much to talk about and it would hard to cover everything in a single blog-post.

Let me start this discussion on clarifying exactly what I mean by “stubborn” body fat. This is that last layer of fat, typically around the midsection, inner thighs, and hips that persists after dieting and exercise has effectively leaned out the rest of the body.

To say this fat can be stubborn is an understatement. There’s no doubt that men and women alike can find that losing the last bit of fat to be extremely frustrating. This often conjures up thoughts of considering liposuction or other invasive techniques which aren’t always in your best interest.

Now before you go down that road it’s best to understand what makes some fat more stubborn that others and how to best go about reducing it. The reality is most people don’t understand the differences and thereby go about trying to lose that last bit of fat incorrectly.

The different types of fat in your body…

To put in bluntly, not all fat is created the same. The reason for this goes back to evolutionary processes where we evolved to hold onto certain fat stores as part of a built in survival mechanism. Quite simply we’re designed to store fat much more efficiently than burning it, especially so with women. After all the continuation of the species often depending on it.

Without getting into extensive detail on all the various levels and types of fats let me try and keep this simple for the purpose of this blog-post. I’ll have to get somewhat technical for a minute but stick with me.

What makes some fat stores different than others has to do with the receptors located on the fat cells themselves. Stubborn fat simply has different cell receptors compared to fat located in other parts of the body.

Understand that in order for fat to be removed it must be burned. It doesn’t get zapped, melted, or simply eliminated through the digestive tract like some quick-fix products will lead you to believe. Stored body fat is simple fuel and must be used for energy production and therefore “burned” off.

The process for “releasing” this stored fat is one where hormones attach to the receptors at the fat cells and work with activators to open the doors and release into the bloodstream. From there the fat can be shuttled to muscle cells where it can be burned for energy production.

Ok this is where it gets really interesting and somewhat complicated depending on how you look at it.  I’ll do my best to explain what makes stubborn fat different without losing you.

Basically, there are two major groups of receptors in fat cells, alpha and beta.

Beta receptors are the active ones which respond well to the adrenal hormones and work to active lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat). These are the good guys.

Specifically, it’s nor-adrenaline which is the hormone that lights them up. Adrenaline could do the same thing except it’s only transmitted through the blood stream. The sister hormone nor-adrenaline is actually transmitted through the central nervous system and therefore it can reach fat cells (which lack major arteries or veins) through nerve endings.

This will all be important later on in discussion through this blog – series . For now just know that beta receptors are the good guys and it’s nor-adrenaline that lights them up.

Alpha receptors on the other hand are antagonistic to fat burning. These are the bad guys. Alpha receptors, specifically A2′s, block lipase in the fat cell and decrease the generation of nor-adrenaline at the nerve sites.  All you need to know is alpha receptors aren’t conducive to fat loss.

On a side note, I should point out the prolonged low-calorie dieting causes an increase in alpha receptors. This is a seldom discussed reason why “yo-yo” crash dieting makes it so hard to lose fat with each repeated attempt. Ok, you already know that crash dieting sucks so let’s move on. Diets don’t work folks – lifestyle management is the key .

I tell you all of that so you could get your head around this important difference.

Stubborn fat tissues have fewer beta receptors and more alpha receptors.

In short, they’re not giving up the fat very easily. Stingy they are for sure. To make matters worse stubborn fat tissues are also typically high in estrogen receptors and therefore very “estrogen sensitive.”

More on that in a minute…

Just know that some fat tissues have more beta receptors and therefore “let go” of their fat stores much easier. This is one of the reasons why when you see someone who’s lost a lot of weight it’s most noticeable in their face, neck, arms, and chest for example.

The last bit of stubborn fat you’re carrying around your waist, hips, or thighs is “wired” to be much more stingy with being released while simultaneously being designed to easily store fat due to the high number of estrogen receptors.

All this plays in to how you’ve got to go about your attack plan.

Before we get into specific strategies for breaking through and attacking this fat, let’s discuss how stubborn fat stores are most frequently increased.

What causes an increase in stubborn fat?

Ok, we all know that if you consume way more energy (calories) than your body needs, it responds over time to storing the excess as fat. That’s obvious.

What you may not know however are the ways in which stubborn fat stores can specifically be increased. Let’s get past the concepts of a crappy diet as it invariably leads to weight gain and insulin resistance issues over time.

More specifically you need to be aware that excess estrogen or exposure to estrogenic chemicals (xenoestrogens) can directly contribute to stubborn fat stores (or your inability to reduce them).

Excess estrogen often occurs due to the inability of the liver to break down and detoxify estrogenic substances or chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body.

I’m not going to get into all the chemicals and by-products of plastic that contain xenoestrogens, but it’s worth investigating and doing some homework. This could be the subject of a future blog-post.

From a dietary perspective what I will say is you’re best served to eliminate or significantly reduce your consumption of processed soy products and omega-6 vegetable oils like canola and corn.

I’d also suggest eating as much organic food as possible, thereby minimizing exposure to estrogenic substances like petroleum based fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and hormones found in conventional meat, poultry, and diary – yes folks DAIRY !  Yes , dairy not only causes an inflammatory affect – it causes significant resistance to proper fat breakdown ( weight loss ).

I know it’s wishful thinking to avoid plastic altogether in this day and age, but I’d certainly look for ways to reduce your exposure to foods packaged in plastic. Look for “BPA free” containers, water bottles, and the such.

Personally I’ve gotten into using a lot more glass storage, including mason jars and glass shake machines for my protein shakes, in spite of the awkward looks and  jokes and I get from my not so informed co-workers.

Summary of how to prevent stubborn fat stores…

- Avoid repeated low-calorie “yo-yo” type diets which only serve to increase the number of A2 fat cell receptors (the bad guys).

- Avoid estrogenic foods and xenestrogens that contribute to excess estrogen in the body.

- Look to consume as much ORGANIC produce, meat, and dairy as possible.

- Dump the plastic when possible and look for “BPA free” containers for storage or water bottles.

- Avoid excess alcohol consumption (yes this increases estrogen, more in part 2)

- Follow a clean diet that works to stabilize insulin and improve sensitivity.

- Manage stress and get adequate sleep (hands down the most important lifestyle change)

- Exercise regularly ( everyday – minimum 3x per week )

In part two of this blog , we’ll move into dietary and supplemental strategies that can help get rid of stubborn fat.

As always feel free to send me your comments and questions .

What is preventing you from losing weight

If you’re frustrated not seeing the weight loss you desire this could very well be the most informative blog post I’ve written to help you understand the big picture.

In all the years I’ve been coaching others on nutrition and weight loss I’ve seen this one misconception trip people up more than any other.

With the countless ways you’re pitched on how to lose weight from fat diets, pills, shots, etc, there’s something being left out. The majority of these so called solutions don’t address the single biggest question you should be asking yourself…

Why did I gain excess body fat in the first place?

In my experience most people are working towards a weight loss solution backwards. Instead of identifying the root of the problem and coming up with a game plan to address it, we tend to pick one solution after another and hope that it will work.

Step back for a second and just think about all the different ways you’ve tried to lose weight. To help drive this point home make a list of everything you’ve tried. Maybe some of them worked for a moment while others didn’t.

The important thing is to recognize that if a solution didn’t work long-term it was nothing more than a quick-fix.

I hate to see people repeatedly beat themselves up for “failing” on a weight loss routine when the reality is they simply had a flawed strategy that didn’t address the root of the problem.

I’ll bet right now the majority of your weight loss attempts in the past have been centered on either one or both of the following:

Significantly restricting the calories you eat in some way (going on a “diet”).
Using exercise to increase the number of calories you burn.
Now certainly caloric restriction and exercise can play a very valuable role in a fat loss routine. The problem is the focus tends to get stuck on only these two pieces of the puzzle. The end result is typically the strategies being used incorrectly (most often in excess) when weight loss slows down or comes to a halt.

We think if the scale stopped going down it means we either need to further restrict calories or exercise more. This is a big mistake. More often than not this only makes things worse.

Read the following TRUTHS on fat loss and let them really sink in…

Fat loss is NOT a matter of simply eating less and exercising more!

Caloric restriction will ALWAYS eventually trigger a primal response mechanism where your metabolism down-regulates and adjusts to the decreased energy intake.

Fat loss is 100% controlled by the hormonal balances in your body.

Let’s go back to the original question on why you gained excess body fat in the first place?

Sure you can probably point to poor dietary habits and perhaps a lack of exercise. At some level you had more energy (calories) being consumed than your body was burning off. Common sense will tell you if you got fat it was because your body didn’t need the extra energy you were giving it.

But let’s step back for minute.

Understand there was more going on than just some simple math equation of calories in versus calories out. At the root level of all this you were altering the hormonal balances and chemical signals in your body.

Weight loss is NOT an issue of calories alone!

You need to start thinking about what triggers your body to store fat before you can understand the fix to reversing it.

The following factors can all play a role in triggering your body to store excess body fat.

  • Consuming more calories than your body needs for energy demands.
  • Consuming a diet that is high in starch carbohydrates and processed/refined sugars.
  • Prescription drugs that can alter hormonal balances
  • Not consuming enough calories which signal the body to conserve energy instead of burning it.
  • A loss in lean muscle tissue either from neglecting resistance training or over –restricting calories.
  • Excessive stress, either physiological, psychological or a combination of both
  • Consuming foods that contain unnatural ingredients (hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, etc) which block chemical signals your body uses for appetite, hunger, and fat utilization.
  • Consuming soft drinks that rapidly deplete your body of calcium, a key player in fat loss.
  • Consuming excess caffeine with exhausts and weakens your adrenal glands.
  • Consuming excess alcohol or other empty calories with no nutritional value.
  • Not drinking enough water (failing to remain adequately hydrated).
  • Hormonal imbalances at any of the glands regardless of the cause.

At no place did you see cardiovascular exercise mentioned as a reason why you got fat in the first place. Sure it will play a role in the overall solution to removing the excess fat, but you didn’t get fat by simply avoiding it.

What every one of the above factors has in common is the altering of hormonal balances and chemical signals in your body.

Whatever has happened to cause you to gain excess body fat, whether through lifestyle choices or internal disruption outside of your control (illness, disease), the bottom line is hormonal balances are out of whack.

You MUST identify the hormonal imbalances and treat the root cause of your weight gain before you can ever expect to find a solution that works to lose the weight and keep it off.

Work from the inside out instead of the outside in!

For the purpose of this discussion, we’re not going to get into illness and disease that disrupts hormonal balances which is outside of the influence of lifestyle choices. That’s a whole other issue.

Taking that out of the equation, I’m going to tell you flat out that if you’re overweight you’ve got issues with hormonal imbalances, primarily with insulin, cortisol, and leptin.

The lifestyle choices you’ve made with diet, exercise, stress management, etc, have altered your insulin sensitivity. This just means your cells are no longer receiving insulin like they’re supposed to. Insulin resistance is at the core of weight gain and type II diabetes.

The reality is this insulin problem spreads to the other glands of your body (adrenals, thyroid, lymph, etc) and throws your entire inner workings out of whack.

You MUST address the insulin resistance problem if you’re going to be successful with losing weight and keeping it off.

So the question obviously becomes how do I do this?

This is where a lot of people get tripped up. Making “healthier” choices with your diet and starting to exercise is certainly a step in the right direction, but you can get hung up here if you’re not careful.

At the root of the insulin problem is your body’s inability to deal with sugar. Simply making a move to replace junk foods and processed/refined carbs with “healthier” carbs is going to be an exercise in futility.

Let me be clear on this. If you’ve got a sugar problem you MUST take a sledgehammer approach to fixing it. Don’t kid yourself into believing you can switch to “whole grain” bread, wraps, pasta, or whatever and fix your insulin and blood sugar problems.

You’ve got to get the starches and processed foods out of your diet long enough to fix the root problem with insulin imbalances. This doesn’t mean you can never have them again, but if want to fix the problem you have to give your body a “reason” to start fueling off fats instead of sugar.

This is why I’m such a big proponent of a Metabolic typing . Consuming a diet of lean proteins, vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, healthy fats, and whey, works extremely well with reversing insulin resistance.

Don’t worry about counting calories or any of that stuff. Simply eat from these foods and give your body the opportunity to heal.

Excess body fat is a sign of things being out of whack on the inside. If you want to heal weakened glands and remove toxicity from your cells, give your body foods that heal.

Starches and whole grains don’t heal. Fruits, vegetables, and easy to assimilate proteins heal.

We can dance around this all day but that’s the bottom line.

Yes, when you pull the starches and processed sugars from your diet you’ll go through withdrawal symptoms. Know going in that your body will fight you on this move. You’re addicted to sugar and the normal chemical signals are all fouled up.

There will be discomfort before comfort in this process. There’s no way around it and no quick fixes.

Thirty days though can literally change your life. Commit to removing the foods that are keeping you stuck and condition your body to change. You can do it!

At the end of the day it all comes down to a decision.

Will I continue to jump from one diet and weight loss solution to the next or work once and for all on fixing the root problems?

Stop fixating on calories and how much exercise you’re doing. Heal your body with natural, whole foods and use exercise to simply assist with the removal of unwanted body fat.

You can do every fad diet, take whatever shots, pills, etc, but if you don’t address the root problems with hormonal imbalances and fouled up signals in your body you’ll wind up right back where you started from.

Heal your body and the weight will come off naturally. It’s the ONLY way that works in the long haul.

Through proper lifestyle management and your own Metabolic typing balance , you cant Lose – no pun intended !

WEIGHT LOSS – The Number one Reason why We Fail

WEIGHT LOSS -The Number One Reason Why we Fail

We all know there are no magic bullets when it comes to losing weight and getting fit and trim. Savvy marketers are constantly trying to pitch you that they have the answer you’ve been looking for, but let’s be real, the majority of these products are just gimmicks.

Obtaining a healthy body weight is all about your decisions. The decisions you make with what to eat, whether or not to exercise, sleep, water consumption ,managing stress, and other healthy lifestyle habits.

If there was a secret it’s that all these pieces fit together as components in the big picture. You can’t simply watch what you eat but neglect exercise for example. Likewise, there’s a common saying that “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.”

Getting to your ideal bodyweight is all about putting together the various factors that regulate fat storage so they work synergistically together.

Forget about the next fad diet, pill, or exercise gadget. Stick with the basics and don’t go overboard with trying to follow any routine you can’t live with long-term.

Sure there are fat loss strategies like dieting techniques that can be extremely helpful, but they’re all meant to be done in short windows of time.

Things like intermittent fasting, low-carb cycling, and the like are great ways to jump start a weight loss program or break through a plateau. But remember, these techniques are simply tools to use, not lifestyle eating plans.

That’s why I’m such a proponent of Metabolic typing ,  or better phrased, “way of eating.” Metabolic Typing  is really not a diet but rather a philosophy on how to eat for optimal health and leanness.

I’ll be straight up with you, I’m not 100% Primal. I’ll still eat the occasional side of pasta or bread at dinner, but it’s the exception and not the norm. When I’m trying to lean up I simply get more aggressive at pulling out the grains and starches – and dairy is not even a consideration .

There’s a lot to be said with the simplicity of a Metabolic typing diet. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the idea is to center your diet on natural whole foods like our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have consumed.

Things like lean proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, greens, and healthy fats make up the bulk of the diet. What’s missing is the large amounts of grains and starch carbohydrates that make up the majority of the standard Western diet. Sugar in almost all it’s forms are considered cautious carbs .

Gone also are the processed and refined sugars and carbs that we all know serve no beneficial role in our diet. There are no complicated formulas to follow and no counting of calories, points, etc.

You simply eat from these foods whenever you’re hungry and only enough until you’re no longer hungry….not stuffed full! There is a big difference here obviously.

People who transition to a Metabolic typing way of eating will frequently report that they have strong sugar cravings, they’re hungry all the time, and suffer from irritability. It’s important to understand this is a natural part of the process of weaning yourself off all the starches and sugars.

Your body will adjust to fueling off of fats and natural sugars like fructose and glucose but it simply takes time. You have to train your body on the inside just like you do outside with exercise.

Think about it for a second…you can’t transition from bagels, fruit juices, muffins, and the like without experiencing some withdrawal systems. Stick with it for a few weeks though and a magical thing happens…

You all of sudden don’t experience the sugar cravings, your appetite levels out, your energy increases, and you start to feel really good!

The point is there will always be discomfort before comfort when making a major shift in your diet. Expect it going in and know its part of the process. The problem is most people throw in the towel too soon and go back to their old way of eating because it gives them false sense of feeling better.

The “Missing Link”

My reason for bringing up the Metabolic Typing ,  which you’ve probably heard me preach about before, is to preface the discussion today on “the missing link” in our diets.

Before I give you what the “missing link” is, I want you to ponder the following.

Imagine eating 10 pounds of food or more a day and still staying lean and healthy. Sounds impossible right? Think again.

It may sound crazy but researchers have concluded that’s exactly what our hunter-gather ancestors may have eaten, and surprisingly they showed almost no signs of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Of course I wouldn’t advise anyone today to eat 10 pounds of food in day because the food in our society lacks one major ingredient that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate in abundance.

What is it?

The missing link is FIBER!

Now before I get into the numerous benefits of eating more fiber in your diet along with making a recommendation on how much, let’s look closer at the history of fiber.

Skeptics will often cite we don’t live as hunter-gather’s any more so how can you come to the conclusion these people were healthier?

The reality is there are still places on earth where people live as hunter-gatherers. The African bushmen are a perfect example. Dr. Dennis Burkitt, a famous English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and their “civilized” western counterparts.

Dr. Burkitt found that the average bushman had a stool weight of almost 2 pounds and the “civilized” men had an average stool weight of only 4 ounces. That’s 87% smaller! Not to be gross, but this is a big deal. The difference came down to the amount of fiber in their diet.

Today, the average American eats about 8 grams a fiber a day. Any coincidence that we also have epidemic levels of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative disease? I would say not.

Compare that to the bushmen, the closest thing to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who ate upwards of 70 grams or more fiber a day from roots, berries, leaves, and plant foods.

Does that mean we have to eat huge amounts of fiber like this to be healthy and lean? Of course not, but you could certainly benefit a ton from increasing your intake.

Let’s look at just how valuable fiber is.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that fiber along with omega-3 fatty acids (both severely lacking in our diets) are two of the most important things we could consume to help avoid degenerative disease.

The reason is fiber slows the rate at which foods enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits the body through the digestive tract. That keeps blood sugar and cholesterol in the right balance and quickly eliminates toxins from your gut. The fiber is also very helpful in reducing your appetite.

Research on fiber has shown some very positive impacts on reducing the risk of disease. In one study I read they found butyrate made from gut bacteria from certain types of fiber acts as a “switching molecule” that turns on an anticancer gene.

How much fiber should you consume daily?

A good rule of thumb is to aim for somewhere between 30 to 50 grams of fiber daily. It may seem like a lot but it’s very doable with a healthy diet and some additional help with a fiber supplement, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

What kind of fiber you consume is definitely important. There are two categories for fiber…insoluble and soluble.

Soluble fiber- think of this as fiber that combines with water to make a gel like substance in your GAstro- intestinal tract. Foods with the best sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some grains like oatmeal and oatbran. The bacteria in your gut metabolizes the soluble fiber in these foods and helps create a healthy GI tract.

Insoluble fiber- think of this as fiber that serves as sort of a scouring pad to clean out the walls of your intestines and colon. Insoluble fiber is what helps with constipation. Foods with the best sources of insoluble fiber include wheat, corn, nuts, flaxseed, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables.

Truth be told most grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, have a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both are beneficial but the soluble fiber is what does most to improve GI tract health.

Inside scoop on some fiber trickery being used by food manufacturers…

You may not hear this little secret being talked about very often so pay attention. Food manufacturers have been quick to pick up on the public’s awareness on the health benefits of fiber. And since the majority of these foods are processed and refined they have very little if any natural fiber. They’ve found a sneaky little work-around to this problem though.

What is it?

Inulin.

Pick up just about any product in the supermarket that isn’t a whole food but yet claims to be “high in fiber” and chances are you’ll find inulin on the ingredients list.

Inulin can be extracted from food (usually from chicory root), or it can be created synthetically. Food makers use inulin to replace fats, flours and sugars, slashing calories and carbohydrates from their products.

Since we don’t have the enzymes to break it down, inulin is “classified” as dietary fiber. And because inulin is such a fine, white, powder-like substance, it’s easily incorporated into a wide range of foods and beverages, quickly cranking up their fiber counts.

But if you’re looking for that appetite-squelching, belly-filling effect that you get with typical fiber-rich foods, you won’t find it with inulin. It’s different from natural soluble fiber that swells in your stomach and keeps you feeling full. It also doesn’t have the ability to lower blood sugar levels or reduce cholesterol like natural fiber can.

Bottom line…you’re being duped!

I wanted to share this bit of insight with you so you wouldn’t be fooled by products containing inulin being pitched as high in fiber. On a related note, the new type of “clear” fiber supplements out on the market today mostly contain inulin. That’s why it dissolves so easily in water.

Did you really think it would give you the same benefits of the fiber that gels up and is thicker when added to water? It’s not, save your money and invest in a high quality fiber supplement.

A good high quality fiber supplement will have both a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. You want to avoid the ones that contain a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

The standard orange flavored Metamucil and new clear products are not really worth using in my opinion since the servings are very low in total fiber grams (like 2-5 grams per dose).

I personally look for a fiber supplement that contains around 9-10 grams of fiber per serving. This is the amount that will produce the most benefit and help you get closer to your 30-50 grams for the day.

My two favorites are as follows:

Advocare Fiber Drink

My first choice and personal favorite. The Advocare Fiber drink (citrus or peaches and cream flavor) tastes the best out of any high fiber supplements I’ve tested.

One pouch of this fiber drink contains 10 grams of fiber. As an added benefit it also contains a digestive enzyme complex (lipase, cellulose, protease), along with probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum).

I typically drink one packet first thing in the morning upon awakening or sometimes use my second option listed below.

Trader Joes “Secrets Of The Pysllium” Fiber

While not as pleasing to the taste buds as the Advocare fiber drink, the Trader Joe’s product contains blond Egyptian psyllium seed husks with 9 grams of fiber with the 2 tablespoon serving. An excellent fiber supplement product that uses high quality psyllium seed husk.  It’s also very low in sugar.

Fiber powder supplements versus capsules…

For those who want to get around drinking their fiber supplement and think they can take fiber capsules instead, you’ll want to reconsider. I don’t recommend fiber capsules.

The reason is the capsules contain gelatin which has the potential to gum up and cause blockage in your guts, especially when you’re not drinking enough water. My advice, suck it up and drink down your fiber in water.

Here’s a quick tip…when you mix your fiber supplement in water remember it’s going to gel up pretty quickly so don’t play around while your drinking it. The longer you wait, the more sludge like and thick it’s going to get. Personally, I put my fiber powder in large glass of water and pound it down.

If you’re gagging trying to get down your fiber drink it’s because you didn’t use enough water or you’ve waited too long and let the fiber gel up.

A possible “super –fiber?”

While I’ve not personally tested, I’ve seen some interesting research on glucomannan. This fiber is soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous. It comes from the root of the elephant yam also known as konjac. Dr. Oz is a big proponent of this fiber and that certainly has got my attention to research further.

Final word of caution on fiber consumption…

A lot of people shy away from adding fiber to their diet because they’re afraid they’ll be running to the bathroom all day. If this happens it’s a pretty good sign your digestive tract is fouled up. It should be all the more reason to work slowly on increasing fiber along with getting serious about cleaning up your diet.

If you’ve not been eating a lot of natural, whole foods you’ll want to slowly increase your levels of fiber to give your GI tract time to cleanse itself out and heal.

The most common side effects of consuming too much fiber too soon is gas and bloating. I’ll remind you though; this is not a problem when your GI tract is functioning properly.

All I can tell you is it’s definitely worth it to get serious about increasing fiber in your diet. If you’re looking to lose weight it can be one of the most useful tools in your arsenal

Movement patterns for athletes/ how it’s really done

Observing sports is a great way to appreciate human structure and function. High-level athletes teach us  plenty about optimal performance—and even dysfunction. Watching skilled athletic movement at the collegiate or professional level stimulates us to ask questions and scrutinize our existing training methods. This article identifies a need to introduce movement patterns as part of a well-balanced training and conditioning program. Practicing movement creates adaptations that are authentic to our physiology and can transfer to sports and daily activities.

What Is a movement pattern?

From a mechanical perspective, movement patterns can be defined as “the physiological state of maintaining optimal body-wide tension against an external force while producing gross movement patterns.

Movement Pattern Drills

Movement patterns are categorized into three thresholds. Each threshold has six guidelines for proper regression and progression. Threshold one is beginner level, threshold two is intermediate, and threshold three is advanced.
These six guidelines govern all drills:

  1. Orientation: where the athlete/client is in a field of gravity. For instance, standing, seated, kneeling, side-lying, etc., are all different orientations to gravity, and each one challenges the body differently.
  2. Action: what gross movement pattern the individual is performing (if any). There are three broad choices:   stationary force (push, pull, twist)  level change (squat, lunge, bend; vertical jump or hop)   locomotion (walk, run, shuffle, skip, jump, hop, carioca, etc.)
  3. Device: the tool chosen to load the movement. Examples include barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbells, sandbags, Bulgarian bag, ViPR™, cable, bungee, chains, weight vest, sled, body weight, another person and many more.
  4. Footprint: where the feet are positioned and where they are moving. For example, a client can place his feet shoulder width apart, staggered, balanced on one leg, etc. Foot position and movement are important because they influence all ascending reactions.
  5. Handprint: where the hands are positioned and where they are moving. For example, a client can place her hands at chest height, waist height or overhead. She can push or pull bilaterally, unilaterally or in a reciprocating manner. Moving the hands in different directions stimulates varied lines of pull, which benefits human tissue. Handprint is important because it influences all descending reactions affecting the body. ( kinetic )
  6. Threshold: acute variable manipulation. This is a personal trainer’s last check and balance to make sure drills are programmed appropriately for each individual. Acute variables include volume, tempo, load, speed, range of motion (ROM), complexity of motion, base of support, surface and many more. Essentially, threshold includes all the variables you can manipulate.

It is extremely important to program proper training stress application so that the individual limits his or her risk for injury while maximizing structural adaptations.
Threshold One: Beginner

Threshold-one introduces a low-level neural, mechanical and metabolic challenge. It is extremely important that the individual begin to acquire neural sensitivity (on and off muscle action) with low movement complexity and at little metabolic cost. Low neural and mechanical challenge imposes a tolerable stress as one begins poor movement patterns.

Here is an example of a threshold one movement pattern.

Threshold-One Movement Pattern #1

Prerequisite. If a client exhibits upper and lower crossed syndrome, initiate a corrective strategy prior to performing this drill.

Preparation. Choose an anchor on which you can ward down and up. Using a partner may not  be the best option. Equipment and door frames are suitable anchors.

Movement.    Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart.
Raise one arm to shoulder height, and place the hand on the anchor ( door or machine )
Push medially at shoulder height and hold for 2 seconds.
Release, and repeat the sequence with the opposite hand.
Descend into a squat and perform the pattern again while maintaining a level change.
Perform a second descent into the squat if desired.
Repeat the entire sequence as you stand back up.

Benefits of This Drill:
It engages the body’s stability mechanism and teaches sensitivity to up and down regulation.
It is a great way to introduce vertical core training.

Perform without the squat.
Progression

Assume a staggered stance for a more advanced level .

For more examples of progressions on movement patterns feel free to contact me at garyjasmin.com

Gary Jasmin is a Naturopath, Posturologist, CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Metabolic Typist.
For more interesting articles on health, wellness and fitness feel free to browse his newsletters at garyjasmin.com

The great diet debate

THE GREAT DIET DEBATE——————–         When it comes to what you should eat to be healthy, the basics are obvious. Eat natural foods that God provided for us 80 percent of the time or better and chances are you’re going to be a pretty healthy individual.

If you get caught up trying to over-analyze which natural foods are best to eat you’ll be missing the big picture. Sure, I have my opinion on the type of diet that is optimal for human performance and health but not everyone is going to agree with me.

I get it, and you know what, that’s ok. I’ve long been on record promoting a Metabolic Typing lifestyle that resembles what our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have consumed. I’m not 100% with following Met Typing but it’s the basic foundation for my daily food intake.

There are individuals who would argue we shouldn’t be eating animal proteins at all (raw vegans, vegetarians, etc) and I certainly respect their beliefs and opinions.

If that works for them great, but it simply doesn’t work for me. Therefore I tend to stay out of the senseless debates over trying to PROVE one way is better than another.

I’ve tried going without animal proteins for a while and can tell you with absolute certainty that it doesn’t work for me long-term. I lose strength and energy in a hurry when going through detoxification and rejuvenation phases of consuming only fruits, greens, juices, and the like.

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the benefits; remember I’m doing it for a reason (detoxification and cellular rejuvenation), but to use vegetarian or raw vegan strategies from a lifestyle perspective would require me to sacrifice lean muscle, strength, and a host of other trade-off’s I’m simply not willing to make.

When I follow a slightly modified Metabolic diet (sometimes consuming beans, whole grains, and dairy for example) I feel and function my best. The closer I follow the strategy the better I feel and perform with my workouts.

That’s pretty much all I need to know.

This is the best advice I can give you regarding nutrition and dietary choices…

Listen to your body and provide it with the nutrients and fuel that makes you feel best, helps you maintain your ideal bodyweight, and provides you with the energy to live the lifestyle YOU desire.

You have to decide what’s best for you and experiment a little. When someone tells you what you should or shouldn’t be eating out of an ideology or belief you need to take it for what it is….an opinion.

After hundreds of years of scientific research on nutrition and health there’s only a few blanket statements of certain truth we can hang our hats on. If you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables you’re going to improve your health, that’s number one.

There’s no denying that majority of essential phytonutrients and antioxidants our bodies need are found in foods that were created through the process of photosynthesis. The farther down the food chain we go, the less of these nutrients we end up consuming.

It’s all pretty much common sense if you think about it.

If you eat meat from an animal that consumed green foods made from photosynthesis, you’re still going to get some of the nutrients. If you eat a food that wasn’t part of that chain or better phrased was processed and refined in some way, you’re far less likely to get the essential nutrients you need.

The biggest problem with our diets today is we’re eating too much processed, refined, and altered foods.

For a lot of people they may be eating sufficient calories to provide their body with energy to go through their everyday tasks, but they’re literally starving at a cellular level.

For these people, they’re functioning and doing ok (no significant health problems), but on the inside at the smallest root level (cellular), they’re breaking down and speeding up the aging process.

Health is all about supporting your cells with BOTH the energy needed to support function and nutrients to support elimination, detoxification, and rebuilding. Whatever you eat must accomplish these functions or you’re losing in some way.

With all my years of researching and studying nutrition science, health, and human performance I can tell you it all comes down to moderation with pretty much everything except plant foods.

For years we’ve had so called experts tell us was bad for our health. The latest research often tends to contradict what we’ve been told in the past or what worked for previous generations.

For example, we’ve been told for how long that saturated fat is bad for our health and leads to heart disease? I’ve been hearing this preached for as long as I can remember. The problem is not only is the research inconclusive but it also defies the logic of past generations.

Throughout history from our hunter-gatherer ancestors all the way to our grandparents, people have been eating animal fats.

Growing up in this country I knew lots of old farmers well into their eighties who drank whole milk everyday and ate more than their fare share of animal proteins. Why weren’t they dropping dead of heart attacks but today we’ve got people in their thirties and forties doing so?

The answer in my opinion is more complex than just trying to isolate out one thing (saturated fat) and tagging it as the culprit.

What these people were NOT eating a lot of were things like processed and refined foods, genetically modified foods, and loads of starch carbohydrates.

We could drill down into this all day long but we’re likely to come to the same conclusion.

Health is more than just the foods we eat….its a reflection of how we live.

You simply can’t omit factors like physical activity and exercise, stress, moderation with toxins (alcohol for example), sleep, etc.

We love to try and pin-point out one factor like diet and say such and such way is the key to optimal health. It just doesn’t work that way.

I know several people for example who are vegetarians with pooch bellies and they’re seemingly always sick and coming down with something. Is this optimal health?

They’ll say Gary you really shouldn’t be eating animal protein (and the preaching begins), but when I ask them how do you explain I rarely get sick, have a lean and muscular physique, energy, strength, etc, I’ve yet to hear a logical explanation.

It always circles back to some sort of ideology and not something I can firmly grasp as a strategy that I’d be “better off” if I followed it.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

Whatever works for you, works for you!

It doesn’t matter what anybody says, myself included, when it comes to what type of diet you should follow.

If what you’re doing works for you and your healthy and functioning in a way that allows you to live your life to the fullest, far be it from me or anybody else to tell you to do something different.

But if you’re NOT looking or feeling your best, you’ll have to decide what’s going to help you improve your health and function in a way that allows you to live the way you want to live.

That means you’ll certainly want to do your homework, but at the same time you’ll have to experiment to see what works best.

If I went 100% raw vegan for example I could rationalize that I’m giving my body the absolute best nutrients from exclusively fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to argue that fact but would it mean I’d live ten more years, or be able to live the way I wanted to live?

There’s no certainty that I’d live longer so I can put that part to rest pretty easy. The second part of the question comes down to individual preference and beliefs.

There’s little question in my mind that if I went 100% raw-vegan I’d probably drop down to under 200lbs and lose half of my lean muscle and strength. Some people may be comfortable with that kind of trade-off, I’m not.

Remember, it comes down to how do you want to live and what’s important?

For me I’m not willing to trade the hypothetical increase in longevity (and make no mistakes it is hypothetical), to be weak, thin, and void of the pleasure of eating some meat now and then.

Only you can decide what you want for your life.

The purpose of this discussion is to get you to see that individual diet choices should be a reflection of what works best for you on all levels, and not a decision that’s made based on somebody else’s opinion or beliefs.

I’ve personally found that I live and function at my optimal levels when I’m following a Metabolic type diet. But then again I don’t have any internal conflicts and guilt about eating an animal either. If I did I could see how there would be a dilemma.

I’ve found that I feel better when I’m not consuming grains, milk, and a lot of starches. My body seems to thrive on fruits, veggies, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and omega-3 fats. Sure I would never have tried this dietary strategy without first believing in the science and the rationale, but I also came to this final conclusion by experimenting with it on a personal level for years . As a champion bodybuilder , I stretched the extremes in both high calorie and low fat dieting. Never did I feel like I was missing out . One follows the path that works for our individual metabolic needs . Food patterning should have a positive metabolic effect , there is no other way. Listening very closely to your body is key to liberation .
( more on this topic in another article)

I can tell you I’m far from alone in drawing the same conclusion. Experiment with a Metabolic type diet and see for yourself.

If something else works better for you and allows you to live your life to the fullest, great!

In the end it’s to each his own.

What is Pregnenolone and why is it so important

What is Pregnenolone and why is it so important
———————————-
The pregnenolone steal is a name given to the hormone production deficit of certain hormones when the stress hormones, cortisol and cortisone, are over-produced.

The majority of our hormones start with cholesterol as the raw material, which converts into pregnenolone as the first step. It then goes on to produce many hormones, including the estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone, and the stress hormones.

If the body demands more cortisol because of stress, the body will convert more of the pregnenolone to cortisol at the expense of the other hormones (except progesterone, which is on the pathway to cortisol). The lowering of the testosterone and estrogen levels is called pregnenolone steal.

The stress doesn’t necessarily have to be psychological in nature either. In fact, physiological stress is more likely the culprit though you may not even know it. Most if not all people will downplay the amount of mental and emotional stress they’re under although it’s more commonly recognizable- don’t underestimate stress and it’s incredible effect on your body.
It’s HUGE !!!

However, stress on the inside (physiological stress) due to digestive system imbalances, insulin imbalances, a poor diet, lack of sleep, and all types of inflammation are typically completely hidden to the human eye and from our normal sensory awareness .

Sure you may not feel all that great, have low energy, suffer from a lack of libido, and know something is “off,” but you’ll probably be in the dark with what’s happening. People are quick to pick up on the fact that their diets are poor, they’re not exercising enough, sleeping enough, etc. But what they don’t know is what it’s doing on the inside. The results over time are very serious and sometimes it can lead to disastrous health problems.

Pregenenolone steal is a perfect example of this. You don’t see it on the outside although it will manifest itself into very real effects on the body.

The first step towards dealing with pregenenolone steal is to start with the factors you have the most control of.

Diet and nutrition

Clean up your diet immediately and start a nutrition routine of mostly whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy omega-3 fats.

You need to start looking at the food and drink you consume as having the potential to heal or do further harm. Greens, fruits, and vegetables have any amazing ability to heal the human body at the cellular level. Don’t overlook this critically important component.

You must rejuvenate and heal the weakened glands and organs like the adrenals, livers, and thyroid. Remember medications and pills don’t necessarily “heal.” They may treat the problem and be part of the overall solution, but they don’t have the ability to create new cells and rebuild tissue.

Exercise routines

Start an exercise routine that includes resistance training, aerobic exercise, and something for stretching/flexibility. The key thing with exercise is balance. You can’t just do hours of cardio for example and expect to see positive results. Please don’t kid yourself into believing you can just do Yoga or Pilates without extra cardiovascular work.

Far more often than not, when pregnenolone steal occurs in people who are already exercising it’s either because they’re doing too much (over-training which drives up cortisol production), or because they’re neglecting resistance work on the muscles.

Sleep and recovery

If you’re not getting adequate sleep for whatever reason sooner or later you’re going to pay for it. There’s no way around it. Fail to get adequate rest and recovery for even a couple nights in a row and your body views it as physiological stress driving cortisol levels up.

Do this on a repeated basis, night after night, and you’ve opened up the door to insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue, and a host of other problems. As a CHEK Coach I run into this with my clients every day , and cannot stress enough how important it is for them to take this seriously.

Just know you’ve got to remedy any sleep problems or stress and inflammation will be a constant.

Stress management

Obviously if you have prolonged mental or emotional stress (chronic stress) stemming from problems at work, problems at home, anxiety, fear, etc, it’s going to take a toll on your body.

The longer you’re in a state of chronic stress, the greater the likelihood of you developing adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and other health problems. Once again there are numerous ways to resolve mental and emotional stress, the key thing is that you simply find ones that work.

Medical treatment

This is where it gets tricky. You’d think it would be no problem to go to a physician and get help with treating hormonal imbalances. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A lot of general physicians won’t touch hormonal issues. They just don’t get it most of the time.

They’ll either tell you to do better with the above factors (obvious things you could have figured out), or say that everything is “normal.” Look, this is a hot topic that gets me fired up with the medical community.

Instead of going on a rant, I’ll just say this….If any doctor tells you that your blood tests all came back “normal” but you don’t feel “normal,” go find another doctor and don’t stop searching until you find one that will take the time to treat you.

Once again go find a physician who knows his/her stuff on hormonal issues if you suspect you’ve got adrenal, thyroid, or other hormonal imbalances. I’m not a doctor and therefore have to make the obligatory disclaimer that I’m not saying to go self-treat yourself with any medication.

Finally , my only suggestion beyond slowing things to manageability is to take the time to re-evaluate your lifestyle and be open to change. The truth is that if you persist at the level of defiance you will pay one way or another .

If you want to be sure your at a safe level , please ask me for a Physiological assessment questionnaire .

Gary Jasmin is a CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Naturopath, Posturologist and Metabolic Typist.
For more interesting articles on
Health , Fitness and Wellness feel free to browse his Newsletters at garyjasmin.com

Gary Jasmin
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Naturopath- Posturologist
Exercise Physiologist
C.H.E.K Exercise Coach and Practitioner
Holistic Lifestyle Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.garyjasmin.com
www.prescriptivefitness.ca
514-962-7348

Prescriptive Fitness website

Hi, this is Gary.  On this page you’ll find more information about my Prescriptive training system . One of the main differences that Prescriptive Fitness  personal training programs  - is the use of our comprehensive client evaluation and assessment model to help personalize our programs.
 
The Prescriptive Fitness plan includes questionnaires, a one-on-one interview, and a series of assessments to help screen for possible hormonal imbalances along with other hidden weight loss obstacles .  It also involves screening for muscular imbalances and postural deficiencies which could ultimately diminish results in a fitness program unless identified and corrected. 
 
The main objective of the Prescriptive fitness plan  and all the testing, assessments, and evaluations that are offered is to help develop a truly personalized PRESCRIPTION  for seeing the results you want.  Having the right information is half the battle. Putting together a program that gets you where you want to go requires taking all the factors of your unique body make-up into consideration.
 
Listed below you’ll find the 10 KEY FACTORS for weight loss – Performance or general fitness success which are evaluated in our programs. 
 
1. Cardiovascular Factor
 
The health and function of your cardio-respiratory system is an important element in any fitness or weight loss program. We’ll evaluate for any potential risk factors along with establishing a baseline of your current level of conditioning.
 
Specific cardiovascular exercise prescription can be provided according to your unique needs and goals. We provide VO2 testing in the studio as an added service for our clients.
 
Improvements in your cardio-respiratory system helps the body become more efficient at transporting oxygen and nutrients to your cells. This is essential for fat loss while also improving your overall health and fitness.
 
2. Lean Muscle Factor
 
How much lean muscle you have plays a large role in your hormonal balances and metabolism. We will determine your lean body mass (how much of your body weight is made up of muscle) then help you determine the best type of resistance to use in your strength training program.
 
At Prescriptive Fitness  we use a variety of resistance methods to fit your needs and personal preferences. These methods include bodyweight training, resistance bands, kettle-bells, sand bags, free weights, and cable pulleys , stability equipment and gravity training systems .
 
While everyone’s personal preferences and needs will be different, the development of lean muscle is a primary focus for all of our clients regardless of age or fitness level.
 
3. Stress Factor
 
The amount of stress you’re currently under has a significant impact on the health and function of your adrenal system. We’ll evaluate your risk factors and look for possible indicators of hormonal imbalances. Our holistic lifestyle coaching system is very effective and is renowned for its results .
 
Stress can come in many forms, both mental and physical, so we’ll examine several components of your daily life. Identifying any issues with mental, emotional, or physical stress will help us to ensure optimal results in your program.
 
If adrenal health issues are found we can refer you to our Holistic Lifestyle coach who is trained in  assessment and treatment .
 
4. Insulin Resistance Factor
 
The insulin resistance factor is an extremely important component if your primary goal is weight loss. By evaluating your past and present dietary habits along with BMI (body mass index) we’ll be able to identify signs of a potential insulin imbalance known as insulin resistance or low insulin sensitivity.
 
Insulin resistance is caused by too much carbohydrate in the diet (high blood sugar) over long periods of time. Insulin resistance is a marker for increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If insulin resistance indicators are present we’ll help you make the necessary changes in your diet for correction and when necessary refer you to a physician on our advisory board for further testing.
 
5. Digestive System Health Factor
 
The health and function of your digestive system is an often overlooked component in a fitness or weight loss program. The ability to digest food properly and assimilate nutrients is essential for lean muscle development and fat burning.
 
Digestive system imbalances will have a negative effect on performance, recovery, fat loss, muscle development, and overall health. We’ll evaluate for any signs of potential imbalances and if enough risk factors or indicators are present we’ll refer you to a Metabolic advisor that specializes in food allergy/intolerance testing.
 
6. Postural & Muscle Imbalance Factor
 
Regardless of your specific fitness or weight loss goal we want you to have optimal health, function, and movement. Any limitation in function or movement will at some point in time create diminished returns or a plateau in your training program.
 
That’s why we start each client’s program off with a comprehensive kinetic chain assessment and postural examination. Through a series of exercises and evaluations we’ll identify any possible muscle imbalances or postural deviations that could inhibit results in your program.
 
If any imbalances are found, your trainer will prescribe specific exercises and stretches for corrective measures. When treatment is likely to be outside the regular norms we will refer you to our in house POSTUROLOGIST . His training and expertise is bar none one of the very best in Canada .
 
7. Nutrition Factor
 
Supportive nutrition is an essential component in any fitness or weight loss program. We’ll evaluate your current dietary intake and make recommendations to best meet your specific goals. Our approach to nutrition is through the world famous METABOLIC TYPING SYSTEM.
 
Additional education and instruction is provided through one-on-one nutritional consultations, metabolic profile assessment, nutrition seminars, workshops,  and website resources.
 
Prescriptive Fitness  provides an extensive array of support on nutrition and lifestyle changes to help our clients see optimal results in their program.
 
8. Metabolism Factor
 
If your primary goal is weight loss we can help you determine your individual caloric needs with pin point accuracy through a metabolic profile assessment. By determining your specific rate of metabolism we can help you build a personalized diet around your calorie needs for weight loss.
 
A metabolic profile assessment is also a valuable tool in assessing the function of your thyroid and identifying any possible imbalances. If your test indicates a slow metabolism we can refer you to a physician on our advisory board that specializes in thyroid hormone testing.
 
9. Mental/Emotional Factor
 
At Prescriptive Fitness we put considerable emphasis on the importance of evaluating the mental/emotional factor in your program. This covers everything from emotional/impulse eating, lifestyle issues, eating disorders, depression, etc.
 
10. Deep abdominal wall and spinal stability .
We’ve all heard about core and its importance to all of our movement patterns.  Here at Prescriptive Fitness we pride ourselves on our expertise in evaluating and treating all core dysfunction . Wether it’s a bulging disc or sacroiliac issue that has shut down the use of some important muscles , post rehabilitation or a post pregnancy situation – we are well prepared for all cases of core  re- adaptation and reprogramming .
 
Our series of assessments, questionnaires, and screenings are designed to help identify any areas of concern. Your program will be built with specific consideration to any behavioral/lifestyle modification that is needed. When necessary we can refer you to a specialist on our advisory board for additional treatment and care.
 
Sign Up For Your FREE Newsletter today !
 
If you haven’t already done so, sign up for your FREE Newsletters by simply filling in the web-form . There’s no obligations to sign up on one of my programs and you won’t find any high pressure sales tactics. I give you my word on it.
 
This is a completely risk-free opportunity to discover what specific steps you need to take in order to see the results you’ve been looking for. If there’s a hidden obstacle like a hormonal imbalance that may be keeping you from losing weight this could be the first step in uncovering it – if your tired of living with aches and pains and are searching for a solution – if your trying to organize your lifestyle or simply want to shed some weight,
We are happy to help you and we’re one click away .
 
As always I’m here to help in any way I can. If you have any questions at all about my programs feel free to e-mail me or call .
 
I look forward to meeting you !
 
Sincerely,
 
Gary Jasmin
President and owner of
Prescriptive Fitness Concepts
 
Gary Jasmin is Naturopath -Posturologist , CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Holistic lifestyle Coach, Metabolic Typist Advisor ,
and a certified Personal Trainer.
 
Feel free to contact me at :

How much damage does stress really cause – the facts

Learning how to handle mental and emotional stress is of utmost importance. Our central nervous system, as well as our adrenal glands, can be pushed into overload by difficult life events. Mental and emotional stress can put us into a fight or flight response from which it may be difficult to recover. Fight or flight responses are generated by our sympathetic nervous system. An example of fight or flight response would be your automatic, uncontrollable response to an automobile accident.
A chronic over-stimulation of our sympathetic nervous system can lead to suppressed immunity and adrenal exhaustion. I will describe some of the physiological effects of mental and emotional stress and provide a few techniques for managing difficult , sudden situations.
 
Chronic Stress: A Daily occurrence 
 
Chronic sympathetic nervous system overload is a common experience for most of us.  Running out the door in the morning without eating, coffee cup in your hand,  getting stuck in traffic and having too much work to possibly accomplish in one day creates CHRONIC  SYMPATHETIC OVERLOAD,  thereby lowering our immunity.  A single parent trying raise children,  maintaining a home, keeping a full-time job,  as well as taking care of themselves can result in sympathetic overload- I can think of so many personally .  We all experience these mental and emotional stressors.  Are they preventable?  Is there any way to get away from all these sources of stress?  Absolutely not.  Our lives generate unavoidable stresses. Perhaps more so these days given the economy and more added responsibility . I for one can relate due a very heavy schedule and being a father .
 
Responding to Stress
 
What we do have control over is how we respond to stress.  With mental and emotional stress there is a sequence of events that determines how we  respond physiologically.  It is within our conscious control to determine how these UNAVOIDABLE  stresses effect us on a biochemical/hormonal level.  We all need to have effective means for stress reduction.  It could be meditation, exercise, yoga or tai chi.
 
Perception, Response, Internalization
 
Perception, response and internalization come together to form the body’s physiological reaction to an event.  First, we perceive an event. Second, we respond to that event in a positive or negative fashion. And third, we internalize the event. Internalization is where we can get stuck. If the response is negative, we may internalize the experience negatively. If our perception of the event is negative and we begin to internalize the event in a negative fashion, this internalization process can damage our nervous system and hormonal system.
For example,  imagine you are driving on the highway and are suddenly forced off by a car that cuts into your lane. You barely miss being in a  accident.  In general  you may have one of two responses. You may swear and curse and feel angry towards the driver who put your life in danger.  You will probably internalize the event and be upset and angry, maybe even for the rest of the day. Another possible response is to feel relief that you didn’t get hit and that no one was injured. You may think the other driver simply didn’t see your car or  was forced to turn to avoid something or someone  on the highway.
It’s easy to see which example would have a potential negative effect on your health.  Staying angry for a whole day doesn’t hurt anyone other than the person holding on to the anger. With a negative perception and internalization of events the physiological reaction in the body can be long lasting. The healthier psychological response carries with it fewer long-term physiological effects.  The event itself will cause a stress response involving the stress hormones adrenaline, epinephrine and cortisol. A scare like this will also put your sympathetic nervous system into a fight or flight response. These responses will last only a matter of a few seconds or minutes if we don’t internalize the event negatively. After these initial responses the body will reset and normalize.
Our individual perception and internalization of life events determines the positive or negative effects they will have on our health.
 
Shifting your concept
 
Another importan  mental strain on cortisol and the sympathetic nervous system is concept shifting. Concept shifting occurs when we have to change our focus or shift our attention too often.  This can occur in a busy work environment when you are trying to complete a complicated task and you are distracted by phone calls and other sudden interruptions.  Forcing the brain to constantly shift from one subject to the next can be stressful and have a negative impact on cortisol.
Whether at work or at school, constant concept shifting will increasingly stress your cortisol levels and sympathetic nervous system.  There are some positive things to be said about flexibility in thinking and being able to shift your  attention to meet different demands. Nonetheless, your body perceives constant concept shifting as a negative stress.  To the extent possible, it would  benefit you to organize your schedule so that concept shifting is kept to a minimum.  Since we can’t really change most of the situations that need  concept shifting,  we can counter balance the negative effects by incorporating behaviors that improve cortisol levels and reverse the  sympathetic overload. This includes exercise and relaxation techniques like gentle stretching, yoga, meditation, and of course keeping our blood sugar stable! 
Yes – that’s right ! KEEPING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR STABLE !
Simply take responsibility and address the cause before you become the cause. 
Over the past 30 months I have assessed over 100 of my clients and friends using a questionnaire to help determine their physiological Loads.  It is  astounding  how after qualifying most of them as high risk stressors , they disregard my advice and continue forward with the same  symptoms not realizing that their health is heavily compromised . The shortsightedness leads to poor digestion , poor sleep-wake patterns, adrenal overload , and illness . Sure we live in tempered times and it takes an extra kick to finish the day , but really ! At what price ! Hormonal imbalance is usually a bigger sign or symptom of latent stage deterioration . Usually at this stage , they have crossed the Abiss and are well on their way to complete physical breakdown . 
I’ve always preached to listen to your body – this would include food , sleep and stress . 
 
 
Gary Jasmin is  a CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Posturologist , Naturopath , Metabolic Typist .
For more interesting articles on Health , Fitness and Wellness feel free to browse his Newsletters at garyjasmin.com

Weight loss and resistance starch Who do you believe

I Had a client recently inform me about a recommendation that a registered dietician gave to her friend on consuming more foods with resistance starch.
 
Now granted I don’t know all the reasons why the dietician made this recommendation and I certainly don’t want to discredit the dietary prescription. However, the general idea my client took from the recommendation was perhaps she should do the same since they’re both focusing on weight loss goals.
 
Positioning resistance starch as a weight loss aid is a whole different story and something I don’t want to see people getting mislead with.
 
 
You may be asking yourself what in the world is “resistance starch?” This is a relatively new buzz word being thrown around by experts advocating the consumption of certain starches.
 
In short, resistance starch is simply fiber that passes through the small intestine without being digested. Instead it gets broken down in the colon by bacteria through a process of fermentation. When fermentation occurs the starch is broken down and produces a certain type of fat called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
 
One of the short-chain fatty acids that’s produced is something called butyrate. Advocates cite studies that show butyrate helps protect colon cells thereby decreasing colon cancer risk along with improving insulin sensitivity. I won’t contest this in context but there’s a bigger picture here to consider.
 
Let’s look at the foods which contain resistance starch.
 
The best sources include beans, whole intact grains, potatoes, and something called Hi-Maize corn starch. Here’s the kicker, foods like legumes and whole grains contain somewhere around 5% of their starch as resistance starch.
 
So while a very small portion of the starch can go to the colon and be fermented to produce short-chain fatty acids, what happens to the rest of it? You guessed it….the remaining starch is broken down in the small intestine to produce glucose (blood sugar) to be used as the body for energy.
 
This is where you have to be really careful about jumping to conclusions without looking at the big picture. For the sake of discussion let’s say that 5% of foods like beans and whole grains contain resistance starch which can help with insulin sensitivity, satiety, and glucose tolerance.
 
What about the other 95% of their content?
 
If you’re overweight and suffering from insulin resistance or low insulin sensitivity, the last thing you want to be doing is loading up on starches. The excess blood sugar caused by the 95% that’s being converted to glucose in the small intestine can negate the benefit you’d get from the 5% that doesn’t.
 
This is NOT a blanket statement to say that you should never eat high fiber foods like legumes, whole grains, and potatoes. I have always stated that  a lot of this depends on individual factors like insulin sensitivity, energy demands, rate of metabolism, and others. Some people do well with these foods in their diets and others don’t, period.
 
I believe that ALL natural, whole foods can be beneficial; some just need to be consumed in moderation more than others depending on the individual.
 
Having said that…experience has shown me that individuals who are overweight typically have some degree of low insulin sensitivity or full blown insulin resistance. This means they tend to do better with less starch in their diet with more of the fiber coming from greens and plant sources.
 
The big lesson here is that you don’t always want to take claims on face value and run with it. You need to experiment with what works best for you. There shouldn’t be a perception though that just because a food contains “resistance starch” that it all of a sudden becomes a weight loss “neutral” food. Unfortunately, I’m seeing this exact position being pitched and soon it will be rammed down our throats – no pun intended.
 
I’ve written  on the issues that phytates and lectin found in grains and legumes can have with irritation and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This isn’t to say these are “evil foods” and should be avoided at all costs. I think I make my point quite clearly.
 
It’s just a lot of people do tend to feel better and see better results with shrinking their waistline when these foods are cut back or eliminated from the diet.
 
My advice is to start with Metabolic  type diet of mostly lean proteins, greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. This also includes adding fiber to your diet from things like psyllium husk or flaxseeds.
 
There’s no question from my research and personal experience that increasing fiber content in your diet is one of the most impactful things you can do for weight loss. I just wouldn’t recommend you get your fiber from eating a bunch of beans and whole grains if you’re overweight.
 
Start with a Metabolic  type diet as a foundation then you can add starches in with moderation and see how your body responds.
 
So there you have it…the inside scoop on resistance starch. The next time you see a food label or advertisement promoting this, you’ll know the whole story.
 
Gary Jasmin is a CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Posturologist, Naturopath and Metabolic Typist.
For more interesting articles on Health , Fitness and Wellness feel free to browse his newsletters at
 

Tips on choosing foods

Quite frequently I come across useful tips and little known facts on health, fitness, and nutrition. Some I pick up during research and others are forwarded by friends and colleagues.
 
I thought it would be a good idea to start a series where I shared the inside scoop on this stuff. Quick little bits of info that you may not have known. Hope you pick up a thing or two and enjoy reading the article.
 
Of course with any natural remedy, alternative treatments, etc, some will work for people and not others. I won’t be telling you to throw away your meds and go eat tree bark or anything like that, but I’ve got to do the disclaimer thing you know.  Be smart and for heaven’s sake always consult with your physician when needed. Ok, that’s out of the way.
 
If you come across anything you’d like me to share or review by all means please forward my way. I always love hearing from everyone. Alright, without further ado here are the “did you know?” tidbits for part today’s article.
 
 
1. How to double shelf life for berries and keep them from getting moldy and soft…
 
I had picked this up some time ago but was recently reminded of this great tip by a friend of mine. As you probably know I’m a big proponent of eating fresh berries…any variety as they’re all bona-fide super fruits in my book.
 
 
 
The problem is a lot of berries will either get moldy or soft when left in the fridge. This dissuades people from buying large quantities. But here’s some inside scoop.
 
When you get your berries home wash them with vinegar. That’s right vinegar…it kills any mold spores or other bacteria that may have been on the surface of the fruit. Take a large bowl and add one part vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) and ten parts water.
 
Don’t worry about being exact, just about a shot glass full will work. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Place in a strainer when you’re finished and rinse off with tap water.
 
Raspberries and blackberries will last a week or more this way, strawberries up to two weeks. Give it a try, it works!
 
#2. Choose cardboard over plastic milk containers
 
While I’m not a big milk drinker this is a good tip as I’m down on plastic for just about any food or drink container.
 
 
 
Milk retains its nutrition better in fiberboard cartons than in clear plastic because when exposed to fluorescent light, low-fat or skim milk loses 90% of its vitamin A in 24 hours.
 
Granted most plastic milk containers are now darkened to keep out the fluorescent light. I’d still lean more towards fiberboard over plastic. I’m not a super fanatic with this stuff but I do believe you’re better off consuming food or drink from wood or glass over plastic.
 
I’ve seen some alarming studies on plastic which is used in tons of food and food storage products these days. I don’t know how big of a deal it is but call me crazy….I’ll pass on storing or consuming food and drink from plastic when possible.
 
On a side note, if you use Tupperware don’t put it in the dishwasher. Exposing plastics to high heat is not a good idea. Once again I’m not an expert on this but you’re probably better washing by hand.
 
#3. Never cook meat, especially chicken, in the microwave…
 
It’s always best to grill, bake, roast in a crock pot, etc, your meats and never attempt to use a microwave.
 
 
 
You can use a microwave to “re-heat” but don’t try cooking meat for the first time with it. Why? Because microwave ovens cook food through molecular friction, leaving the surface temperature too uneven to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella.
 
#4. Quick fixes for leg cramps…
 
Anyone who has ever woken up in the middle of the night with an agonizing leg cramp will appreciate this little tip. The next time it happens you can help alleviate the cramp by pinching your upper lip for 20-30 seconds.
 
 
 
Sounds weird but this comes from Dr. Donald Cooper, a former US Olympics team doctor. Not tried it myself but it’s worth a shot.
 
Another thing to try is contracting the muscle group opposite the one that is cramped. For example if you get a calf cramp, contract the opposing muscle group under your shins (anterior tibialis) by drawing your toes back towards your body.
 
This confuses the muscle through something called “reciprocal inhibition” where two opposing muscle groups can’t contract at the same time.  
 
Useful tip # 5
 
Another useful tip on preventing low back stiffness from sitting in a chair too long . Stand up , draw your navel toward your spine and begin stretching hour hamstring .
Bend both knees ever so slightly and extend one leg forward and tilt your pelvis forward while holding in your belly button . Extend both arms leaning on the fully extended leg and hold for approximately 30 seconds – repeat with the other leg.
If they are still tight , repeat the stretch again .
 
 
Gary Jasmin is a CHEK Coach and Practitioner , Posturologist , Naturopath and Metabolic Typist.
For more interesting articles on Health , Fitness and Wellness feel free to browse through his Newsletters at  garyjasmin.com