My Solution to “A-G-I-N-G Disease”

WHO SAID YOU CAN’T LOOK & FEEL YOUR BEST?

Are you a woman between the ages of 40 & 69 who wants to look and feel better in your skin? Are you frustrated with undesirable weight gain, especially around the middle; feel like crap; have uncomfortable gut issues; are forgetful; experience mood changes, skin changes, joint pain, and many other symptoms? Do you dismiss these signs and symptoms as “A-G-I-N-G Disease”?

You see, my whole life caught up with me in my 40’s. What worked in your 20’s and 30’s no longer applies. I created IzzyFit’s Mid Life Tune-Up in response to my own personal health challenges in my 40’s in addition to struggles that my clients, friends, and loved ones face. I have to work out and eat differently just to keep up with all the hormonal and health changes I experience. It is frustrating at times, but I really believe that it’s a wake-up call for all of us to become wiser, challenge our mindsets, and re-assess how we want to live our lives. Do you want to be like most people, who accept the status quo–that your symptoms are all normal and an acceptable part of the aging process–or do you want to feel better and open doors to the “what ifs”?

2014-07-04 11.53.27 (1).jpgTHE HEALTH CRISIS: HERE’S THE DEAL

Over the last 100 years, our world has evolved more rapidly than ever before. Our genetics have not had to time to catch up with our changing biology, physiology, and environment: 

  •  1 in 6 Americans have an autoimmune disease, and rates are rising

  •  1 in 3 have pre-diabetes or diabetes

  •  50% Americans are affected by chronic disease

  • 25% of these individuals have multiple chronic diseases

We can’t keep doing what we are doing and expect to maintain or significantly change our health and/or quality of life. There is no magic pill that addresses the root of the problem. Nutrition can be confusing, which is why you need to start with a clean slate and figure out what works for you. You must become the CEO of your own health and be willing to try something new or different to make sustainable changes. 

Learn more about how you can benefit from my Mid-Life Tune Up program on my NEW WEBSITE –> HERE

Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Healthy lifestyle, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Your Best Body Ready: Plan for a 30-Day Paleo Reset.


Post-It® Note on Apr 29, 2017, 9_56_18 AMWhile it may not always feel like it, summer is right around the corner. I’ve been speaking to many women who are frustrated with their weight loss resistance and/or the changes to their bodies due to the aging process. Concerns include abdominal weight gain, lack of energy, brain fog, memory concerns, lack of focus, gas, bloating, skin issues, and hormonal imbalances. If you’re progressing successfully towards your health goals or feel great there’s no need to read on. Otherwise, please listen up.

I have been using the 30-Day Paleo Reset diet as a template for 2 years and now customize it based on my body’s constantly changing needs, and those of my clients. It is a sustainable program because I feel my best when I stick to it. It’s time to find what works best for you.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.07.37 PM

What is the 30-Day Paleo Reset? 

The 30 Day Paleo Reset is designed to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, burn fat, identify food sensitivities, reduce allergic reactions, boost energy, regulate blood sugar, and stabilize mood. Chris Kresser, the founder of the Kresser Institute and best selling author of “The Paleo Cure”, developed and tested this template. I and my clients who use it enjoy better health and experience positive weight management results.

What’s the program?

For 30 days, you’ll be eating liberal amounts of meat, poultry, organ meats, bone broth, fish, eggs, starchy tubers, non-starchy veggies, fermented veggies/fruits, traditional fats, sea salt, and spices. You can eat moderate amounts of processed meats (such as bacon), whole fruit, nuts & seeds, green beans, coffee or black tea (1 cup before 12 p.m.), dark chocolate (1 square), vinegar, and occasional restaurant foods that fit this plan. At the end of the program, I’ll show you how to re-introduce (some) of the foods you love back into your diet unless you prefer to continue the program as is, because you feel so much better! Continuing to work together is optional.

Expect to incorporate other healthy habits such as exercise, stress reduction, and improving sleep to name just a few.

Pricing and registration? Special price expires May 19th. 

Choose the option that works best for you:

A. We can work one on one (in person or via telephone) for $199.

  • Includes one 60 minute planning session, and three 30-minute coaching sessions, diet plan, grocery list, recipes, access to me via e-mail/text, educational resources, motivation and support.

B. Create or join a group for $69/person.  There is a 4 person minimum per group, unless arrangements are made to accomodate a smaller group. I’ll put a group together if enough individuals are interested. Start date will be May 8th or 15th for this option.

  • Includes one 30-minute individual consultation, and three 30-minute conference calls to answer questions and discuss (can be recorded if all participants agree), diet plan, grocery list, recipes, access to me via e-mail/text, educational resources, motivation and support via e-mail, and texting.

Contact me at izzyfit@me.com with questions or to get started. I will send you information to help you get started and process payment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What makes this program different from many others?

The program seeks to address the root cause of many underlying health issues by targeting the gut. It additionally integrates other scientifically proven lifestyle habits in rebalancing and optimizing health. Strategies that work for one may not work for the other. In this program, you have access to me as your coach via individual and/or group sessions to address your personal challenges. You have the option to customize your plan as needed/to accommodate individual health needs.

Q. Do I need to take supplements to get started?

A. There are no required supplements.  Recommendations for specific supplements based on your individual needs may be made during the program, depending on your current regimen.

Q. Who is this program good for?

A. Anyone wanting to lose weight or improve health.  I can customize the diet plan for those who also struggle with a digestive order, Diabetes, blood sugar problems, autoimmune disorder, high blood pressure, obesity, Thyroid Disease, HPA Axis Dysregulation, cholesterol/heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, acne and skin care conditions.

Q. What is required of me?

A. Be prepared to challenge your mindset, maintain a positive attitude, and follow the plan. You will be setting goals that are aligned with your vision of what’s possible and realistic for the next 30 days.

Q. What will help me succeed?

A. Committing to the process, setting goals that include exercise and stress reduction, a positive mindset, meal planning, and persistence will help you succeed. Here’s one of my client’s texts (edited for privacy) … notice how focused, goal oriented, and persistent she was even 6-weeks after completing one of my 28-day “Be Healthy” programs.

“Hi there! Long text warning! I am sticking to my health goals: 1) eating nutritiously & consciously 95% of the time (… when I don’t, I don’t feel my best, I’m working that out); 2) attending kettlebell classes 3-4X/week …- I’m setting an intention to get Russian Kettlebell Certified this September!; 3) I’m meditating daily; setting intentions; … . Izzy – this is a HUGE year for me. I am so excited! Also, I love the USANA supplements.😃Thank you again for your program and all of your words and words of encouragement!”

Q. I’m weight loss resistant and have tried everything. What if this does not work?

A. This is *not* a fad diet. You must follow through with this plan to find out what works for you and maintain long-term healthy lifestyle habits. Most people notice improvements in different areas of health at different times throughout the program. Based on how your body responds, we may need to tweak your plan further or change it. If you still don’t notice improvements, I can refer you to a health care or a functional medicine practitioner who will perform lab work to assess your health issues.

Q.Eliminating these foods are too overwhelming for me. Can I still do this plan? 

A. Yes, you can eliminate foods in groups (gluten, dairy, soy, etc..), but it may take much longer for you to get needed answers. You may need to work with me individually as your coach beyond the 30 days.

Q & A  from the Kresser Institute’s program guidelines

Q. This program will require a lot of work. How can I maintain this for 30 days? 

A. I recognize this will be a dramatic change for many of you. The best way to do it is to just dive right in. Begin right now. If you procrastinate or delay, it just gets harder. I will provide resources and suggestions on the best way to make this work for you based on your life circumstances. This is why working with a coach is helpful.

Q. How quickly can expect results?

A. The first few days can be hard. Your body will be going through withdrawal. Sugar and wheat, in particular, are addictive and you may notice symptoms like mood swings, strong cravings, irritability, and fatigue as your body adjusts to life without them.

But at some point, you will recover and start feeling better than you did before you began the program. Your energy will improve, your skin will clear up, your digestion will smooth out, your sleep will get deeper, your moods will stabilize and you’ll start shedding some pounds (only if you need to, usually). Aches, pains and mysterious symptoms you’ve had for ages will – seemingly miraculously – begin to improve.

This program has the potential to change your life. Though it may be difficult, the results are worth the effort.

Q. I thought fat was bad for me. Shouldn’t I limit it?

A. The biggest mistake people make on this program is not eating enough fat. You’re eliminating a lot of foods from your diet (bread, grains, beans, etc.), and you have to replace those calories with something. Healthy fat is that something. Healthy fat doesn’t make you fat. Food toxins like wheat, fructose and seed oils – along with other aspects of the modern lifestyle – make you fat. Fat is the preferred fuel source of the body and can constitute up to 60-70% of calories in this program. We’ll work together on finding the best macronutrient breakdown for you.

Q. A little cheat here and there can’t hurt, right?

A. In general, once you’ve figured out your ideal diet, this is true. But this isn’t the time to cheat. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. One piece of bread or one glass of milk could re-start the inflammatory process and throw your body back into the chaos that led you to this in the first place. If you can stick this initial period out, it will get easier. At some point, you won’t even miss those foods you think you can’t live without.

Q. Shouldn’t I be counting calories and calculating macronutrient ratios?

A. Try to relax into this as much as possible. Don’t overanalyze what you’re eating. Enjoy your food. Make cooking fun and leave time to savor your creations.

Q. This is too hard. How can I make it easier?

A. No man (or woman) is an island. Making big changes is hard, and the more support you have in doing this, the easier it will go. See if you can enlist your spouse, significant other or a good friend to do this with you and create a group (They may not be eager to join, but they’ll thank you later.) Have a “paleo pot luck”. Invite friends over to cook with you.

Q. I’ve got a trip planned or I’m going out on a date. What do I do?

A. First, check out the “On the Go” guide for ideas on easy-to-pack Paleo snacks. If you know you’re going out to dinner with some friends this weekend, choose a place that can accommodate your needs. Call ahead and ask if they have gluten-free items on the menu. Pick a place that has meat and vegetable dishes, and order a salad on the side.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re starving because you haven’t planned in advance, and then eat a bagel with cream cheese because that’s all that’s available. If you’re going on a road trip, stock up on paleo-friendly snacks. This is all possible, but it does require some planning and foresight.

Contact me at izzyfit@me.com to get started or to ask me questions and feel free to visit my website at izzyattai.com.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthy lifestyle, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Reframing “weight loss” with a new “health gain” campaign

Losing weight and maintaining it are two different goals. The truth is that you don’t need to be healthy to lose weight quickly, but you need to be healthy to maintain long-term weight loss. I believe this is part of the problem with many weight loss approaches and the reason why our society is struggling with an epidemic of chronic and inflammatory disease and obesity.

Why quick start weight loss programs are not enough

While there are benefits to healthy starts, cleanses, and detox programs, the benefits beyond the initial few weeks won’t last unless your primary goal involves making life long changes. “Health gain” fuels lifelong habits, which means that change requires the need to alter your life and ways of thinking and behaving.

Proper nourishment combined with optimizing cellular health is a life long plan

As of 2012, CDC reports state that about half of all adults, 117 million, had one or more chronic health conditions. One in four adults had two or more chronic health conditions. The common link in chronic disease is inflammation, and what we eat can trigger inflammation. Therefore, we should consume anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocado, and quality organic meats and fish, not the processed stuff that fills up our pantries. Keep in mind that you are what your food eats and/or is sprayed with. Think about that. Begin by keeping it simple. Eat quality foods that energize and sustain you, and supplement the nutritional gaps with a quality multi-vitamin. This is a lifelong commitment that will help support all systems needed to foster “health gain.”

We need more “Health Gain” and less “Weight Loss”

NIH statistics indicate that 2/3rds of American adults are overweight or obese. Perhaps people are quitting their weight loss efforts too soon because many approaches don’t properly nourish or energize, and do not address the underlying nutritional deficiencies common in our typical American diet, which is nutrient-poor, calorie-dense, and too high in carbohydrates. This way of life fuels sugar addictions, cravings, and inflammation. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of “Eat Fat Be Thin,” the typical American diet tends to lead to nutritional deficiencies in omega 3 fats, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D, which affect our metabolism. By focusing on gaining health we ultimately get our bodies functioning optimally so it naturally sheds unwanted weight.

aspen-pic

Consider doing your own research by learning more about the new CellSentials  and how they work. If you need help in the “Health Gain” department check out my website or contact me to schedule your free 20-minute consultation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simple Strategies For Safer Fitness and Better Sports Performance

Let’s face it…we aren’t getting any younger, but many of us like to think we can leap into our activities as if we were in our 20s. I live in an active neighborhood where it’s not uncommon for folks over the age of 35 to go from exercising at the gym to playing tennis, skiing, jogging and engaging in lots of other activities. Implement these two strategies consistently to perform better and greatly reduce your risk of injury.

Always use a pre-warm up routine – Do you have one? Warming up with light aerobic activity and dynamic stretching – targeted to your activity – is a much better bet than static stretching and not stretching at all. Dynamic stretching is among the best ways to prime the body for physical activity, so why do I see so many folks jumping onto the tennis court or ski slopes with some or no warm up? To be clear, playing a few shots from half court may help you get a feel for the ball, but it is not a warm up routine that is focused on keeping you safe and injury free. If you get a chance, watch the tennis pros warm up. They stretch, jog, get a massage and take a number of pre-work steps before stepping onto the court. Of course we don’t need to take it to that extreme, but just 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching can do wonders.

No matter what your sport or activity is, create a dynamic warm up routine focused on the muscles and joints you will use. For example, prior to each tennis match you will see me gyrating and moving around (while my husband mocks me) to focus my warm-up routine on the ankles, calves, hips, quads, shoulders, back, and neck muscles. Check out my youtube video of a practical, easy, tennis stretching routine.

What is dynamic stretching? A dynamic stretch routine uses stretches that are “dynamic,” meaning you are moving as you stretch, as opposed to more traditional stretching where you touch your toes (for example) and hold a static position.

Secondly, master physical recovery – You’re only as good as your recovery. Have you ever tried running a race when your legs were tired, playing tennis when your elbow hurts, or swimming when your workout the prior day nearly killed you? How did that work out for you? Instead of trying to “work through” soreness or other challenges, try these three:

  • If your body needs rest, then rest . Use yoga, walking, and other low intensity exercises to bring it down a notch.
  • Don’t overdo it before your matches, meets, etc.. Doing more does not always yield better results.
  • The older you get, the more recovery you need. Take 1-2 days off per week or at least get into a restorative yoga class or stretch for 20-30 minutes. At age 46 I may be as active as I was in my 20’s, but my performance only improves when I prioritize my recovery.

 

 

Posted in Fitness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Join Izzyfit’s 7-Day Meditation Challenge! 12 Minutes of Meditation per Day for 7 Days.

Challenge your minds, find peace, live in the moment!

Image (1)

What is Meditation? A state of deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent or imagining something that gives us peace and satisfaction.

Why meditate? Meditation is scientifically proven to decrease stress, reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia; enhance ability to pay attention,  improve creative thinking, health, and increase quality of life.

Does it really help? Many successful business leaders of Fortune 500 companies and famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Ford, Tony Robbins, the CEO of google are all meditators for a reason. Professional athletes like Joe Namath, Barry Zito, Arthur Ash, Kobe Bryant have spoken out about the benefits of mindfulness. Perhaps successful people know something about being successful.

Why I’m doing this and dragging you along? 

I started meditating about 5 years ago. First during yoga and then as a stand alone activity. My mind was terribly difficult to calm so I hated it initially. I couldn’t sit still, my mind wondered off constantly, and I found deep breathing difficult. My first instinct was to conclude that yoga and meditation were perfect for non-athletes and that I should revert to my most comfortable release, intense exercise. Despite my reluctance, wellness experts and resources I read pointed to yoga/meditation as one of the solutions for just about any wellness/stress related problems. As a wellness professional, I needed to drink the Cool Aid. I began to listen…….

I became more accepting of the benefits and that they were worth the effort. I accepted that this would be a long journey for me, not unlike how I learned to play sports. Through breathing exercises and meditation before competitive sports, I felt more relaxed, which improved sports performance. Overtime, it helped me tackle my fear of public speaking, improve ability to focus, feel more relaxed, decrease anxiety, and live in the moment more often. It’s a work in progress, but the only way to improve is to start, make it a priority, and incorporate it consistently in your routine. It’s a journey without failures or successes. Life is too short to be constantly living in the past or future. It’s about the now or never and finding happiness.

Don’t have 12 minutes? That’s why you need it! Don’t let your monkey mind get in the way. Until you know what a monkey mind is, you will never control it. Once you know what a monkey mind is, consider yourself a meditator.

DETAILS

Dates: Monday November 16th-Sunday November 22nd

How do I get started? I’ll post virtual resources on my IzzyFit Facebook page and/or e-mail them to you, if you prefer, including which free app to download on ITunes and short video resources to educate and motivate you. The app will give you a guided meditation for 12 minutes, 1x per day.

Who?  Anyone who wants to do something for themselves.

Requirements:  

  1. Commit to sit quietly for 12 minutes per day.
  2. Have access to Itunes.
  3. Free (breathing and sitting still costs nothing)

To start: Commit to IzzyFit’s 7-Day Meditation Challenge by Liking IzzyFit business page on Facebook and/or e-mail me at izzyfit@me.com if you prefer to receive daily e-mails, type in subject line “Meditation Challenge” and tell me you’re in.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Learn From the Best – Lessons About Performance and Mindset A Discussion With Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce

Kara:Ashley pic

Recently I sat down with Kara Lynn Joyce to see what I could learn from her about being healthy and performing the best you can. To get this out of the way up front, let’s summarize some of her key accomplishments:

  • 4-time Olympic silver medalist
  • The only swimmer in US history to win the NCAA 50 and 100 yard freestyles events 4 years in a row
  • 1 of only 7 U.S. women in history to qualify for 3 Olympic teams

Kara is so pleasant and easy to talk to, that it’s hard to detect her competitive edge, until you see her swim. Kara is no stranger to success in the pool, is one of America’s most accomplished female swimmers and costar of the documentary film “Touch the Wall”, with our neighborhood’s own Missy Franklin.

My daughter was so inspired by “Touch the Wall” that we set her up with swim lessons with Kara, and got to talking about what the everyday athlete can learn from Kara’s experiences. Here is just a handful of the wealth of information and guidance Kara had to share.

You Have To Want It

According to Kara, one key to her success was setting specific, actionable, daily goals for her practice sessions, coupled with an inner confidence and belief that she could push through any performance peaks and valleys that occur over an athletic career.

She stresses that the athlete has to want it, not the parents of the athlete. Statistically, your child is highly unlikely to become an Olympian, attract an athletic scholarship, or make a professional team due to mom or dad’s pushing and prodding. Kara urges parents to inspire children by having them enjoy athletics, strive to perform up to their own potential. If your child is excited to record a personal best time even by placing last in his/her heat, that’s a big win and should be celebrated.

I loved daily practices” and Kara tells me that she didn’t need to be motivated or pushed by her parents to practice or to compete. In fact, Kara’s relentless inner drive simply to catch up to her oldest brother in the pool is her first recollection of a positive but highly competitive inner drive that said, “He is not going to beat me.”

My absolute favorite advice from Kara was an inspired bit she told me about persistence. “Persistence is about finding the burning fire and passion inside. If it’s not there you can’t force it.”

Sometimes You Have It, Sometimes You Don’t And That’s Ok

Kara’s inner confidence and seemingly complete lack of self-doubt, total commitment to her vision, and relentless work ethic paid off. It seems to me that if you are missing any one of those factors, your chances of success in any endeavor, whether athletics, weight loss or work diminish greatly. Nobody can debate that coupling these factors with a 6” feet tall frame, size 11 feet, and large hands makes for a body built for speed in the water, but if you subtract the mental fortitude from the equation you are left with the capability, but not the ability to succeed.

By age 14, Kara knew she had something special to work with. How? Because she caught up to her 18 year old brother in the pool. From there it was more hard work that led to state and national victories and qualifying for the Olympic trials.

Those of you who work with me know that I stress consistently that you have to want to make changes before you are ready to begin your first steps towards success. Waiting and hoping is not a strategy for success. You have to want it, and work for it.

You Need a Support Network

The foundation for Kara’s own path to Olympic success was laid early on, in a supportive family environment. “As a child I was never in an environment that fostered doubting myself. Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t do it”.

Many families’ spend their free time, including weekends, to shuttle children to and from various activities, often at great expense. Through all of that, it’s important to keep things in perspective and ensure that your family really, really wants to be making those sacrifices. Kara proved to be the real deal, on a global scale, but that is the exception, not the rule. Kara said, “I always felt supported by my parents, was driven to excel, given the best avenue for success, and what I did with it was entirely up to me.” That bears repeating “. . . and it was entirely up to me.

Kara stressed the benefits of receiving consistent support and a positive environment to foster growth and confidence. Anybody who has seen our own Grant Seavall guiding swimmers – both young and formerly young – can catch a glimpse of the kind of support that I think Kara would be proud of.

I asked Kara to try to distill down her most important lessons learned (aside from “try really hard” and that type of cliché advice). She came up with 3 right on the spot without hesitation:

  1. Your best is always good enough.
  2. Pick your battles.
  3. If I’m not having fun, it’s not going to be worth it.

With all of that said, here are some thoughts, in her own words:

IzzyFit: As a recreational athlete, what can we take away from your mindset? Are you motivated by fear of failure or success?

Kara: “I’m motivated by the desire to succeed. I always wanted to anchor the relays and wanted the pressure to relieve her teammates. Positive feelings feeds positivity.”

IzzyFit: I see children struggling with eating breakfast before swim meets and reaching for junk food at concessions before, during and after competition. At a recent meet, my daughter was “rewarded” for winning 1 out of 14 heats by having her choice of a free cotton candy or potato chips. How important is proper nutrition?

Kara: “Nutrition is very important and becomes even more important the older you get. Consistency is key. I was never given money for concessions, and so I packed apples, bananas, bagels, and sandwiches. I never ordered pizza, ate fast food, or even had processed food growing up. My mother always made home cooked meals.”

Kara now age 29 remembered one time she had pizza at age 26 before a 50 freestyle and did not have a good race. While in 9th grade, “I had the worst practice after a fatty meal and after that made good nutrition my choice.”

IzzyFit: What do you think is important for kids to remember about taking care of themselves?

Kara: “Kids need to take ownership. They need to want to eat good food to perform better, eat tons of fruits and vegetables, and eat quality food. I’m used to responding to my body’s needs. For example, it’s very difficult for me not to take a nap when I’m tired. Kids need to learn to respond to their body’s needs for sleeping, eating, and recovery. There’s no right way for everybody.”

IzzyFit: How much fun did you have as a swimmer?

Kara: “I loved practice, working hard, competing every day and needing to prove myself. I could not have made it this far if I hated practice and didn’t have fun everyday.”

This in fact is arguably one of the reasons Kara retired from swimming after the 2012 Olympics. “I didn’t have the fire anymore,” she said. “You can’t go all out every day in your life. I had my peaks and valleys, did everything I could in the sport.” By the last Olympics, Kara knew that her best race wouldn’t get her on the podium and her best was good enough for a 12th place finish, an accomplishment that she is proud of. She now teaches kids at Swimlabs in Highlands Ranch and nationally through weekend clinics.

Izzy Attai, M.S., CPT is a Wellness Coach, Weight Loss Expert, & Certified Personal Trainer specializing in optimizing lifestyle choices in fitness, nutrition, and mindset. Contact her at izzyfit@me.com.

Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Healthy lifestyle, Motivation, Nutrition, Positive mindsets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutrition Wisdom: Life Lessons From a Random Woman on a Random Flight to Nigeria

Nigeria 2Why are Americans less healthy than many undeveloped nations? In the United States, the CDC reports that chronic disease are responsible for 70% of deaths each year, compared to only 24% in Nigeria, a less developed country. Let’s take a look at valuable insights about this topic from a Nigerian woman who sat next to my husband on a flight to Africa. Here is what he wrote from his discussion.

“I am flying high above Mauritania in east Africa.

When I woke the lady next to me, a Nigerian woman in full traditional/local clothing (complete with the large/colorful head wrap) saw me taking my Usana vitamins and she said “Good for you, taking your vitamins. Americans must take a lot of vitamins.” I got to talking with her and asked her what she meant. She said she visits America about twice each year, and she said “You don’t have food in America, only products with names.” It was fascinating to hear a Nigerian woman make these observations in her words more or less:

  1. American “food” is not nice, not seasonal and probably leads to all manner of chronic health problems.
  2. Unlike food in Nigeria, your food is not fresh.
  3. My food does not come in a package. If we want chicken, we go to the market and they make you pieces of a chicken from the chicken coup, and then we buy our vegetables and so on.
  4. You feed your children death in a box with frozen this and manufactured that.
  5. We buy our food a few times each week, not one time every month like your big stores.
  6. We eat seasonal fruit and a lot of it every day.
  7. We start our day with a glass of warm water, not liters of coffee.
  8. I have observed that more housewives get cancer and I read that it’s because they are at home using western style cleaning products and inhaling their fumes. We tend to clean with natural products like citrus mixed with water and soap. We also do not clean everything constantly, and we leave our windows open more often.
  9. Her hand cream is shea butter from a shea tree at the shea farm, not “infused with shea butter” at an american factory, as she put it. She showed me a small packet she carries without any brand name. She has an advantage because shea grows locally”
  10. We have less to be stressed about.”

 

 

Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthy lifestyle, Nutrition, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Slow Down to Eat: 8 Old Fashioned Steps to Eating

Our busy lifestyle is contributing to poor gut health and before you brush that aside as new age mumbo jumbo, read on.

Rushed and stressed, we eat on our way out the door, barely chewing our food yet wondering why we don’t feel full, have undesired GI issues and continue to gain weight or fail to lose it. If not dashing out the door with food in mouth and coffee in hand we eat while checking e-mails or watching tv, losing track of the volume and calories going in – classic distracted eating. On top of that, the death of the sit-down family dinner means less opportunity for positive interactions without the rush, and more time spent eating alone whether it is mom and dad, the kids or all of the above.

This lack of time together and rushed eating is a perfect storm.

If you have school age kids, observe how quickly they eat breakfast (if they eat at all) before rushing out the door for school. Ditto for dinner time en route to the X-Box, sports practice or other activity. Does the family enjoy meals together and feel blessed to be eating in the first place? What state are you in while this is taking place? Calm and at peace?…I doubt it.

 

Eating alone

Eating alone

How It Impacts The Gut:

All of this rushing around and distraction activates stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that trigger our sympathetic nervous system — the so-called “flight or fight response.” When this happens while we are eating the perfect storm ensues – poor digestion, high volume / distracted eating without feeling full, stress and contributes to an array of gut-based illnesses or dysfunction.

When feeling stressed or rushed, there is less time to chew foods and so they do not breakdown as intended during the digestive process. This cycle continues almost daily, hindering our stomach’s ability to do its job.

Many gut-health experts agree that how we chew our foods, our state of mind while eating and what we are doing physically while eating can and do compromise digestion. This can lead to undesirable issues such as gas, bloating, increased gut permeability (leaky gut), and absorption of nutrients. Medical research demonstrates that when we eat too rapidly or eat under mental or physical stress, bad things happen.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when eating. Create a daily intention for what is doable for you and build on it.

Prioritize sit-down family dinner

  1. Have a Seat. Sit down to eat for 20 minutes. Start with 10 min if needed.
  2. At a Table. Not the couch, the bed or the floor.
  3. With Your Family
  4. Turn if Off. Avoid watching TV, emailing, texting, sexting, instagramming, facebooking or whatever else you do other than sit calmly and eat.
  5. Set the Mood. Try to create a calm environment during meals. Think about the morning rush in the kitchen. Try to temper that with some ground.
  6. Chill. Slow down – everything – such as breathing.
  7. Do What Comes Naturally. Chew what’s in your mouth … just do it 20+ times. Try it.
  8. Be Grateful – you have food.
Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthy lifestyle, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Successful strategies to keep your healthy goals for the New Year.

This year take control of your health goals, take consistent action, and live the lifestyle you want. I coach folks all over the country on how to lose weight and improve fitness, and I consistently observe that those who are most intentional, persistent, and positive experience the most reliable and impactful results. The key is to identify and implement strategies that resonate best with you. Here are 10 possible action plans that many successful people employ to stay the course and achieve the results they desire. They are just a few of the strategy options I employ with my clients.

images2015

  1. Expect realistic change.Want to lose weight? Healthy weight loss typically varies from 1/2 lb -2 lbs per week depending on how much you have to lose and how well you apply yourself.  Start your exercise regimen where it’s comfortable, progress, and build up weekly. Actions must be maintainable easily in the long run or they won’t be effective and you will hop from one diet or fad to another.
  2. Set realistic goals. You didn’t get to where you are overnight. It takes time to create a new you. Recognize that your life may need to change before your body does.
  3. Write your goals down and make it visual.Put things like your ideal clothing size or a picture of the body you desire as your screen saver. Post pictures above your desk or wherever will drive you to action daily.
  4. Make incremental goals. Reward yourself when you achieve each step in your growth process. It sounds old fashioned but it really works.
  5. Know your WHY. Why are they your goals? What’s most important to you, and why is it important? Dig deep and then deeper. For example, I want to lose weight so I can feel confident in my bathing suit or have more energy to keep up with my kids.
  6. Be accountable for feelings and actions. Reflect on how you want to feel? Ask yourself the following questions: Will this move me forward? Do I feel great or lousy after I drink too much alcohol? Am I more or less stressed after I workout? Every action has an emotional and physical result.
  7. Plan ahead. Plan your weekly menu the weekend before and post it in your kitchen for your family to view. Keep healthy snacks on hand to grab and go. Eat a healthy snack before attending a party and plan to stop eating when you feel full.
  8. Perfection does not exist.  Expect that the plan will not be executed perfectly.
  9. Get clear on your priorities. If exercise or relaxation is not important enough then other priorities will prevail.  Schedule exercise or relaxation as an appointment with yourself and learn to say “No” to whatever does not align with those priorities.
  10. Get an accountability partner. Find someone who can check in with you regularly and make sure you’re staying on track (a personal trainer or wellness coach could serve that role).

Want help with achieving your lifestyle goals in 2015? Contact me at izzyfit@me.com to get more information on my Reset Challenge beginning Jan. 5th. or to create a customized wellness coaching program for you.

Posted in Fitness, Health and Wellness, Motivation, Positive mindsets | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Tips for Overcoming What’s Holding You Back from Living a Healthy Lifestyle

As a member of Thrive Team I blog on various wellness topics. Find my most recent blog on the Thrive-Team website.

http://www.thrive-team.com/2014/10/what-it-takes-to-make-healthy-lifestyle-changes/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment