Over the last few weeks I’ve done a few speaking events for various organizations and have worked with multiple new clients. I find that it’s really helpful to cover the basics again and again. In fact, the coordinator at one of the events at which I spoke last week compiled a list of questions from her staff, printed them out on a pice of paper for me, and asked me to address them if I had time. All the questions were anonymous. I had no idea who was asking what, so I got to see some really great questions. Most of them had to do with diet, and a good handful of them had to do with hormones. Hormones and diet go hand-in-hand, and even though some people didn’t realize they were asking hormonal-based questions, in many cases blood sugar level swings, food cravings and belly fat are a matter of out of whack hormones.
Here are a few things I’ve talked about over the last few weeks. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful. If you ever have a question, let me now. I’ll keep it anonymous, of course, and chances are, other people would like to know the answer, too!
1) Foods higher in fiber will generally keep you feeling fuller longer. High fiber foods don’t necessarily come with a label. In fact, the really good ones never do. Vegetables and fruit are great examples of foods that are higher in fiber, especially if you eat the skin. When a food is higher in fiber, it takes longer to break down. The longer a food takes to break down, the fuller you’ll feel. If a food (or drink) breaks down very quickly (like a sugary cookie or candy) you’ll probably feel hungrier sooner – even if you ate more food.
2) Eat often, even if you’re not hungry. I recently worked with a client who ate breakfast at 7:00am, lunch around 12:30pm and dinner around 7pm. She wasn’t really a snacker, and didn’t eat particularly unhealthy. She also liked to cook, so there was no problem with processed foods. She did not, however, eat often enough. I can’t stress enough that if weight loss is a goal, you need not just eat healthy, but you need to eat often. Do not go more than four hours without eating. In fact, if you’re just starting a new healthier diet, try to eat every three hours. Eat smaller portions of mini-meals made up of protein, carbs and fat.
3) Cut back on caffeine, especially coffee, if you are gaining belly fat. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, but excessive caffeine consumption can really throw off your cortisol (stress hormone), which will throw off your insulin (aka fat-storage hormone). When your body feels stressed out, it likes to store fat. You can help minimize this by easing off of your morning Joe.
4) Interval training helps burn fat all day long. When you exercise at varying intensities, from low to high over and over again, your body turns into a fat-burning machine. I have lots of free workouts on my website, and I also just launched a new company called Bootcamp Social yesterday. Bootcamp Social is a traditional bootcamp by day combined with a bunch of great social events. The fitness element of Bootcamp Social will involve lots of interval training. If you happen to live in Chicago and are looking for a great way to stay fit this summer, join me and a handful of other incredible instructors.
5) Water can boost your metabolism. If you are even slightly dehydrated, your metabolism could be operating 3% slower. Drink water, drink it all day long, and if you exercise, drink a little more.
6) Avoid fats that oxidize, but don’t avoid fats in general. Fats are usually fragile – especially if they’re a polyunsaturated fat, like corn, canola or soybean oil. Most of these oils have been sitting on a shelf, exposed to heat air and light and are probably rancid, literally. Eating oxidized oils is not good for your body on a cellular level. You know the way rust damages a car? That’s what I liken oxidized oils doing to our body. We break down faster, age quicker and are generally less healthy. If you’re going to cook or bake at higher heats, use a stable fat like coconut oil or even butter. If you’re making salad or need a quick dressing, use olive oil. Eat lots of avocado, nuts and seeds, too. Avoid cheap fats.
7) Try to correct food comas. If you feel really sluggish after you eat, or within an hour of eating – and it’s nowhere near bedtime – you may have a) eaten too much or b) eaten too much carbohydrate. This is why I’m not a big fan of sandwiches or wraps at lunchtime. Both are generally empty carbohydrates and have a tendency to spike blood sugar levels if eaten on their own. Rice bowl, big plates of pasta, bagels or pastries throughout the workday are also a no-no in my book at least. If you want to stay productive and energized all day, it’s ok it eat carbs, just not empty carbs.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. It comes out every Monday. Next week will include a couple great juicing recipes. Very cleansing and detoxing! Just what your body – everybody -needs.
How can I help you reach your ideal weight, create a juicing plan or get you fit? Check out my weight loss and fitness coaching services and let me know.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.