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What a Difference A Day (or 7...) Makes!

At the end of one week, from my last post 'Competition Countdown', my legs and ab muscles are coming into view a bit more. I compared my measurements to what they were on the April 22nd photo shoot done on my birthday ('Aged To Perfection' May 2017 archives): down 4"! I haven't changed my diet but I have started doing 15 minutes of cardio on the Elliptical 3/X week. I try not to eat past 8 pm and when I do, it is a small portion of protein, like a hard-boiled egg. I am also much more active with work, now that the gym is open and I am working with members. This has significantly upped the NEAT factor (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis, explained below in my Diet Support Group outline). Every day I stay with the program brings me another step closer to achieving my goals. Below are a couple of update posing videos that show the progress with movement presentation (lots of work STILL required, though I have 94 days to go):

It was nice to see another competitor working on his posing routine as well (in background).

Of course you know that I am busy at work as a Personal Training/Member Experience Manager, so I get approached on a daily basis with endless questions about my diet/training routine. I LOVE training people. A big part of that is helping people discover, and develop, inner strength they may never have known they possessed. This is extremely gratifying, especially when it comes to women, and older women in particular. They may have lived most of their lives believing that women are the weaker sex and have never developed their full potential because of this. Proper strength training challenges this mind-set, and not just on the physical level. It is a total game-changer.

Yet, getting to the point where a person can see beyond the immediate of "How do I lose weight?" and "What can I eat while dieting?" is really the most difficult part. It's a process that takes time and commitment. Yes, I'm sort of sounding like a broken record. How many times have I already said this in my blog...and then followed it up with "Start by writing down your goals and begin a food journal." Oh, the groans and moans of complaints I hear when I say this! Those who utilize these simple tools are 50% more likely to succeed so there IS a reason for doing this. Seems most want the results without the effort - again, why we so often hear: "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be in great shape!" Also why those that live this lifestyle stand out. To help address these challenges, I am starting a Diet Support Group in my gym designed to help provide additional assistance to those who are serious about changing the direction of their health and fitness, and want to stop the yo-yo dieting FOREVER.

I am presenting the outline I've devised for my first meeting and while it may look like a lot of information, that's due to the fact that written formats always appear to be lengthy. It follows a logical progression and I will break it down into smaller steps over the course of this post and the next few with explanations for why I chose the format I'm using. So, let's begin!

Reminder: Bring a notebook!!!


Name Fitness/diet/health goals: 3 separate categories! Write your answers down!

Why are these important to you? What is the motivation for each category of your goals? What is the emotional trigger, where is the pain? Why now? Why here?

How has your current state impacted you and your loved ones?

When was the last time you were (insert goal)?On a scale of 1 - 10, how important is this to you? Why the number you chose (as opposed to higher or lower)?

How will your life be different when you reach these goals? What is a day in your life like then? What will you do that you cannot do now? What will change? What does this mean to you?

How will you reach your goals - what are you willing to commit to? How long do you think it will take?

How will you handle challenges, and what are obstacles that you need to overcome? What has kept you from reaching these goals before and how will it be different this time?

How will you deal with set-backs? How will you maintain your goals?

What are some habits, or people, that keep you away from achieving these goals?

These questions are designed to help you think about your relationship with food, as weight gain is not just about a sedentary lifestyle and weight loss is not just about working out. Everyone is in a different place with their diet and most want to learn to eat a clean, healthy, balanced diet regardless of how much weight loss/gain is involved. Keeping a journal is a very important part of this process and should not be skipped! Losing weight and changing dietary behavior is a process that cannot be rushed. IT WILL TAKE TIME. Cultivate patience - you WILL need it! Learn from the process and let it create new habits so that you don't yo-yo diet throughout life, always gaining or losing weight. Being able to remove 'I need to lose weight' from your To-Do List will free you in more ways than I can begin to say! The Power of Goal-Setting:

Those who utilize this technique are 50% more successful at reaching goals. Helpful tips on goal-setting (from Stacey's Blog at, archive date 1/01/2017:

  • Make sure your goal is challenging. I don't know about you but I get bored easily. I also want to feel that something is within my ability to achieve. This can be a fine balance to reach. Start small and as you build your confidence, increase the level of difficulty. Like learning to walk before you can run, push yourself to reach beyond where you are already. If you want to get into better physical condition but have been a sofa slug for the past 12 years, just get your butt up during commercials for one week. Then, agree to limiting viewing times to an hour less each day over the course of 2 weeks. May not seem like much but you are setting yourself up for long-term success. Be aware of whether or not your goal seems too challenging though be sure this is not falling into the gray area of resistance to change!

  • Your goal needs to be attainable. Goes hand-in-hand with challenging. If you make your goal too challenging, you may get frustrated and quit. This is something many do unwittingly to sabotage efforts from the start so be aware.

  • Your goal is specific. If you're saying 'I want to lose weight' but this hasn't worked before, make sure you include the amount. I want to lose 20 lbs. is very specific and very measurable and can be broken down into stages that are easy to track.

  • Your goal has a time-frame. Using the example above, it could be that your goal is to lose 20 lbs. in 6 months. That can be broken down to about 3 1/2 lbs. a month, equating to a daily calorie deficit, or increased energy demand, of approximately 380 calories. This goal incorporates all of the above tips: it is challenging but attainable, very specific and includes a time-frame.

  • The final tips are to keep goals framed in a positive light and to be flexible in the attainment of your goals. Particularly when it comes to losing weight, when we start seeing the process as torture in all the food we can't eat, it's important to remind ourselves that food choices are unlimited and our creativity is truly the only limiting factor. Break out of the box and explore the possibilities. Allow for wiggle room and don't view anything less than strict adherence to the goal as a failure. If I had given up on achieving last year's goal the first time I bought a binge food, it would have been a failure. It's only when you quit that's it's a failure. Even when I bought that binge food, my thought process about what I was buying was changing: I said I didn't want to do it yet there I was and I knew I was going to write about it, as well as post After photos at some point so how did I want to deal with the aftermath of proceeding? Knowing the consequences to my actions reduced the portion size I purchased and also stopped me from eating every last crumb. While I still bought the binge food, there was a small victory in there and staying in tune with the positive aspects helped me stay on track, not beat myself up over it, remain honest about it and continue building my self-esteem and confidence in my ability to stay with a challenging goal.

Examples of additional support:

Creating Visualization boards for goals (Pinterest can be a good source for this). Utilize Mike Dooley's 'Love Your Life in 30 Days' :

The group will discuss this and add additional ideas; I will keep minutes on all group discussions and share applicable feedback. How to determine your caloric needs/energy expenditure:

When trying to gain or lose weight, it's important to know what is realistic and this begins with a good idea of what your daily caloric needs are. I like this method, by Jane Kirby of The American Dietetic Association:

Determining your body’s total dietary energy needs takes a bit of math, so grab a calculator. This method of determining your caloric needs is easier and almost as accurate as checking into a research lab and submitting yourself to scientific scrutiny by a white-coated nerd with a clipboard and a stopwatch.

  1. Estimate your basic energy needs:

  2. Multiply your current weight (in pounds) by 10 if you’re a woman or 11 if you’re a man. Or use the formula in table below, which factors in your age in addition to your sex.

  3. For example: Sue is a 45-year-old female who weighs 155 pounds. She calculates her BMR like this:

155 pounds ÷ 2.2 = 70.45 kilograms

70.45 kilograms x 8.7 = 612.92 calories

612.92 calories + 829 calories = 1,441.92 calories

So Sue’s BMR — or the number of calories that her body needs at complete rest to function — is roughly 1,442 calories.

If you figure Sue’s BMR by using the shortcut method, her needs are about 1,550 (155 pounds x 10 = 1,550) — a bit higher than the full calculation, but still in the same ballpark.

Use this Chart for gender/age factor:

* Men

18 to 30 [15.3 x weight (in kilograms)] + 679

30 to 60 [11.6 x weight (in kilograms)] + 879

Older than 60 [13.5 x weight (in kilograms)] + 487 * Women

18 to 30 [14.7 x weight (in kilograms)] + 496

30 to 60 [8.7 x weight (in kilograms)] + 829

Older than 60 [10.5 x weight (in kilograms)] + 596

Determine your activity factor value. Find the description in the following table that best matches your lifestyle. If you have a desk job but fit in a dose of daily exercise (at least 30 minutes), consider yourself in the light or moderate category.

If, Throughout Most of Your Day, Your Activities Include: Category Activity Factor Sitting or standing; driving; painting; doing laboratory work; very light 1.2 sewing, ironing, or cooking; playing cards or a musical instrument; sleeping or lying down; reading; typing Doing garage, electrical, carpentry, or restaurant work; light 1.3 house-cleaning; caring for children; playing golf; sailing; light exercise, such as walking, for no more than 2 miles Heavy gardening or housework, cycling, playing tennis, skiing, or dancing; very little sitting moderate 1.4 Heavy manual labor such as construction work or digging; playing sports such as basketball, football, or soccer; climbing heavy 1.5 1. Multiply your basic energy needs by the activity factor value that you determined from above.

Using Sue as an example, she multiplies her BMR of 1,442 by 0.3 because her activity level is light — running around after her kids, taking care of the house, and fitting in a 2-mile morning walk with her neighbors every other day. Sue needs 432.6 calories for her activity level.

1,442 x 0.3 = 432.6 calories

2. Determine the number of calories that you need for digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Eating food actually burns calories. Digesting food and absorbing nutrients uses about 10 percent of your daily energy needs. Add together your BMR and activity calories and then multiply the total by 10 percent.

The calculation for Sue’s calorie needs for digestion and absorption looks like this:

1,442 calories + 432.6 calories = 1874.6 x 10% = 187.5 calories

3. Total your calorie needs.

Add together your BMR, activity, and digestion/absorption calorie needs to get your total calorie needs — that is, the number of calories that you need to maintain your current weight.

To maintain her current weight of 155 pounds, Sue calculates her total calorie needs like this:

1,442 calories + 432.6 calories + 187.5 calories = 2,062 total calories."

NOTICE: The example using Sue shows her total daily caloric needs to be 2,062 calories TO MAINTAIN HER WEIGHT. To lose weight, she needs to reduce the daily intake. The standard guideline uses a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat. This can be done fairly easy by eliminating 250 calories from daily intake and increasing exercise to up energy requirements by 250 calories for a 500 calorie per day deficit. This would equal a 1 lb. loss/week. This is a perfectly acceptable starting point and is the easiest way to begin.

How You Really Burn Calories

The total number of calories you burn in a day comes from three sources:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This is the number of calories your body uses simply by being alive. Even if you were to lay in bed all day, your body burns them. Roughly 60% of the calories we eat in a day go toward maintaining baseline biological processes.

  • Thermic Effect of Food : The amount of energy it takes to digest, absorb, and store food. The rate varies from person-to-person, and from food-to-food (protein is the most 'metabolically expensive' macro-nutrient, with up to 30% of its calories being burned during the digestive process.) But on average, TEF accounts for about 10% to 15% of our daily calorie burn.

  • The third element is Activity Thermogenesis (AT). This category has two components: exercise -any kind of moderate-to-vigorous session in or out of the gym; and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which basically includes everything else. Standing, walking - any movement - all contribute to NEAT.

If you only think of exercise as the activity you do in the gym, then you’re missing out on huge fat burning potential. Researchers have been studying this for years. What they’ve found is that NEAT can have an enormous impact on the total calories a person burns—as many as 2,000 per day. If you’re serious about fat loss, NEAT is an effective, scientific approach that can work for your body.

Oftentimes, we choose to compare types of exercises, for instance: Weights are better than cardio. High-intensity training (things like HIIT) is better than slower bouts of treadmill time. But fat loss is not about a single meal or workout. It’s the combination of efforts. You already know that a killer 30-minute workout can burn hundreds of calories—but so can a few hours at the mall. For example, an 180-pound guy can burn about 285 calories just by taking a one-hour leisurely walk.

Just because you aren’t out of breath doesn’t mean your activity doesn’t count. In fact, the opposite is true: All of the ‘light’ activity you do can tip the scales pretty heavily in your favor.

For example, in 2005, Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic recruited a group of 20 people. Half of them were lean, while the other 10 were obese, self-proclaimed 'couch potatoes.' After tracking them for 10 days, researchers found that the obese people sat for 164 minutes longer during the day than their slimmer counterparts. What’s more, the skinnier group stood for about 152 minutes longer than the obese group. From these findings, it was determined that if the obese subjects did nothing more than stand or stroll as much as the lean group, they would burn an additional 352 calories per day. That’s more than 350 calories (nearly 15 % of the average daily intake requirement for a male over 30) burned without adding any specific exercise at all.

But even if you’re not among the couch-bound, NEAT plays a bigger role in your life than you think. Levine wrote in a 2004 review in the American Journal of Physiology: “NEAT, even in avid exercisers, is the predominant component of activity thermogenesis and is the energy expenditure associated with all the activities we undertake as vibrant, independent beings.”

Put another way: Even the most highly committed workout-a-holic will still spend more of their life away from the gym than in it. Your habits during those non-training hours can either work for,or against you.

Combining NEAT and Exercise

NEAT can help you work toward your weight loss goal. Just make sure you don't erase all the calorie-burning benefits of your workouts by being less active the rest of the day (compared to a non-training day). Let's assume you expend 200 calories during an exercise session and then you use this as a reason for not being as active the rest of the day, justifying it because you worked out. Your NEAT levels may go down by 200 calories (or more!) the rest of the day because you have given yourself permission to be less active due to the workout.

Your body doesn’t like being in an energy deficient state so when you’re dieting and exercising, your body is going to try and resist that by decreasing your NEAT levels, whether that’s by less standing, walking or general moving around. What can you do to combat this subtle sabotage? You could wear a pedometer and try to maintain the same level of activity every single day, particularly on days you do workout. Just be aware of your activity levels on days you workout, meaning activity outside the gym. You can use your Anytime Fitness app to track movement as well.

Making NEAT Work for You

Pay attention to how much time you spend moving - or not - during the day. Track how you spend your time in half-hour intervals. Mark each activity into one of three categories: sitting, standing or moving.

When your log is complete, take a look at each item - especially the ones categorized as sitting. Think of ways you could make those tasks more active. For example, those conference calls you have to be on at work—could you take them standing up, or even strolling around your office?

A guideline to aim for is 135 minutes of NEAT time during the day - this may sound like a lot, though it's only slightly less than 10 % of the day. Even standing counts. Small activities burn more calories than you’d think. Vacuuming the house for 30 minutes burns 143 calories. Cleaning the garage for 30 minutes burns 122 calories. Stand at your desk while working for an hour and you’ll burn 98 calories. Everything you do in your garden burns between 100 and 200 calories an hour. So does pacing or walking the dog. See every step you take as a small win. Did you know that Physical Activity researchers found that taking a 5-minute walking break every hour could burn an extra 660 calories per week?! Multiply that over one year and you could lose about 9 -10 lbs. just by adding up the 5-minute walks.

The take-away is that fat loss is not just a byproduct of working out or diet. There are other efforts you can do that when added up over time can have a significant impact and help you truly understand how to make fat loss programs work for you.

The average weight-loss guideline is 1% - 2% of your weight per week, explaining why a heavier person will lose weight faster (to a point) while a lighter (including leaner) person will lose weight at a slower rate. Reminder: It's not all about what you do in the gym. Any movement to up your activity level SHOULD NOT be discounted! Even if your heart rate does not go up significantly during movement, you could still be using a fair amount of calories for energy. The idea is to minimize sitting time. Look for ways to do what you do sitting with additional movement. Avoid using your work-out as an excuse to sit around the rest of the day! Keep moving!

Food and Nutrition

Understanding food labels: This is intended as a General GUIDELINE and is based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet. As we can see from the example above for determining one's daily caloric needs, the General Guideline is set higher than may be applicable for a large percentage of the population. Understanding food composition: There are 6 categories of nutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein, Lipids (fats), Water, Vitamins and Minerals. Let's start with the macro-nutrients - meaning, your body uses large amounts of them. This is a very basic overview with the main goal being to point out the importance of having a balanced diet that includes the proper proportion of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Think seriously on this if you decide that the latest fad diet sounds like a good idea. If you are diabetic or have other special physiological circumstances, you could be doing yourself a major disservice. Ultimately, dieting does not work. Learning to eat healthier is the goal while keeping your daily caloric intake in-line with your energy needs. Protein:

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body (4 calories/gm). It's used to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. The body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. But the truth is, we need less total protein than you might think though we could all benefit from getting protein from better food sources and being sure we are getting complete proteins. Proteins are essentially amino acids, and while there are hundreds of amino acids that exist in nature the human body only utilizes 22 of them. Our bodies can produce all but nine of the amino acids that it needs. These nine are called essential amino acids and must be consumed through food. All foods contain differing combinations of amino acids, making a balanced diet essential. In general, animal proteins like meat, dairy, and eggs contain all the essential amino acids. Vegans/vegetarians are capable of getting all the required proteins from a plant based diet but may need to educate themselves fully on food composition before adhering to meatless diets. Protein can be converted by the body into glucose for energy, but it takes twice as much effort as converting carbohydrates or fats into glucose.

Our bodies need a modest amount of protein to function well. Extra protein doesn't give you extra strength. We've all heard the myth that extra protein builds more muscle. In fact, the only way to build muscle is through exercise.

  • Fish: Fish offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in general, less fat than meat.

  • Poultry: You can eliminate most of the saturated fat by removing the skin.

  • Beans: Beans contain more protein than any other vegetable protein. Plus, they're loaded with fiber that helps you feel full for hours.

  • Nuts: One ounce of almonds gives you 6 grams of protein, nearly as much protein as one ounce of broiled ribeye steak.

  • Whole grains: A slice of whole wheat bread gives you on average, 3 grams of protein, plus valuable fiber. Always read labels, as brands vary by ingredients.

  • Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and tofu are also good choices - just use plain (no added sugar), raw, grass feed, organic and non-GMO.

The Drawbacks of High-Protein Diets

People on a high-protein/low-carb diet approach often mistakenly assume they can eat as much protein as they want. However, nutrition experts urge caution. The reasons have to do with how high-protein/low-carb diets are thought to lead to weight loss. When people eat lots of protein but few carbohydrates, their metabolisms change into a state called Ketosis, where the body converts from burning carbs for fuel to burning its own fat. When fat is broken down, small bits of carbon called Ketones are released into the bloodstream as energy sources. Ketosis, which also occurs in diabetes, tends to suppress appetite, causing people to eat less, and it also increases the body's elimination of fluids through urine, resulting in a loss of water weight. Additionally, high-protein diets like the Atkins regimen, may trade short-term benefits for long-term health consequences. Among the risks: the body produces ammonia when it breaks down protein. The long-term health risks of higher levels of ammonia in the body are not known.

Also, there is evidence to suggest that people who eat high-protein diets typically excrete excess calcium in their urine. This suggests that the body is releasing stores of calcium into the bloodstream to counteract an increase in acids caused by protein consumption (as calcium neutralizes acids). Long term and continued calcium loss could lead to osteoporosis. Additionally, there are the obvious concerns. Carbohydrate foods that are shunned by those on low-carb diets include fruits and vegetables, which are the best sources for vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants - nutrients that help prevent disease. By contrast, animal foods that are high in protein are usually also high in saturated fats, which increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several types of cancer.

The American Heart Association warns: "Reducing consumption of [carbs] usually means other, higher-fat foods are eaten instead. This raises cholesterol levels even more and increases cardiovascular risk." The AHA also notes that by concentrating on protein sources and skipping carbs, dieters may be getting too much salt, nitrates and nitrites, and not enough calcium, potassium, or magnesium, which are typically found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Carbohydrates: The role of carbohydrates is to provide energy, as they are the body’s main source of fuel (4 calories/gm), needed for physical activity, brain function and operation of the organs. All the cells and tissues in your body need carbs, and they are also important for intestinal health and waste elimination. Once in the body, carbohydrates are easily converted to fuel. Carbohydrates are often maligned for contributing to weight gain, but they are needed for your body to function well. However, because some types of carbohydrates are better for your health than others, choose your carbohydrates wisely. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, also called simple sugars, include sugars founds in fruits, vegetables and milk, as well as sugars added during food processing. Complex carbohydrates, also called starches, include whole-grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Most complex carbs contain fiber, which aids digestive health and increases satiety, reducing overeating and weight gain. Additionally, high-fiber foods help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. You may have heard of the Glycemic Index, commonly used by diabetics, which has to do with how much a food increases blood sugar levels once it is ingested. The key here is not how quickly the food enters your system but the effect it has on blood sugar levels once eaten. Carbohydrates that cause sudden and high spikes in blood sugar should be monitored. These tend to be processed foods with added sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. Also, how a food is cooked can effect its sugar content as well as how ripe a piece of fruit is. For example, an extra ripe banana is far sweeter than one that is just ripe enough to eat so don't assume that they will affect your blood sugar levels in the same way, as one will cause a higher spike (the extra ripe one, of course). Eat some fruits and veggies and you will take in fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested. This means you cannot get energy from fiber, yet fiber is great for moving foods through your digestive tract, so you want plenty of it in your diet. Fiber also creates satiety, making you feel fuller on smaller amounts of food. Fats: Fats have more calories per gram (9) than the other macro-nutrients; think of them as energy-dense nutrients that are a perfect source of sustainable energy when you need some endurance. Like carbs, there are different types of fats. Saturated fats, like butter, are solid at room temperature; unsaturated fats, like vegetable oils, are liquid at room temperature. The primary role of lipids in your body is to provide energy for muscles and body processes. About half of the fuel your body needs when at rest or during everyday activity comes from lipids. If you consume more calories than you need in a day, the excess energy is stored as lipids in adipose cells. In between meals and during exercise your body relies on these fats stores to provide energy.

Lipids are also used to insulate and protect your body. You have a layer of fat just below your skin that helps to keep your internal body temperature regular despite the external temperature. Your vital organs, such as the kidneys, have a layer of fat around them that acts like bubble wrap to protect them from injury. Without this lipid layer, every bump and bruise could hurt your organs.

Lipids in your body are essential for proper digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Bile acids produced from lipids in your liver allow fat and water to mix in your intestines and aid in the breakdown and absorption of food. Lipids are then needed to transport the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, from your intestines to your blood stream. Your cells use these vitamins to maintain the health of your vision, skin, bones, teeth and blood.

The essential lipids, linolenic acid and linoleic acid, are vital to your health; they cannot be made in your body and must come from your diet. They are used in the production of cell membranes and hormones, as well for maintaining vision and supporting the immune system. These lipids provide structure and support for the walls of every cell in your body. Communication between cells is also dependent upon lipids in your cells' membranes. Cholesterol is a type of lipid needed to produce important steroid hormones in your body. Estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and the active form of vitamin D are all formed from cholesterol and are needed to maintain pregnancy, develop sex characteristics and regulate calcium levels in your body. According to the American Heart Association, about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your blood comes from your diet, from animal foods such as egg yolks, cheese and shrimp, and the other 75 percent is formed in your liver and cells.


Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. Water can be a miracle cure for many common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and much more. We can go for weeks without food, but only about 3 days without water!

Water makes up nearly 85 % of your brain, about 80 % of your blood and about 70 % of your lean muscle. Because there are a lot of tissues that have less water, the over-all average is about 50 percent.

Water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, difficulty focusing on a computer screen or on a printed page. This mere 2% drop in hydration can also cause a drastic effect on sports performance. Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. No less important is the ability of water to transport waste material out of our bodies. Water is essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but due to increased oxygen levels, you will also have more energy.

Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. This is a condition where the body's cell are never quite hydrated enough, leaving them in a weakened state, vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body's overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases. The Micro-nutrients:Vitamins and Minerals

These micro-nutrients differ in basic ways: Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure. Why does this matter? It means the minerals in soil and water easily find their way into your body through the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume. But it’s tougher to shuttle vitamins from food and other sources into your body because cooking, storage, and simple exposure to air can inactivate these more fragile compounds.

Many micro-nutrients interact. Vitamin D enables your body to pluck calcium from food sources passing through your digestive tract rather than harvesting it from your bones. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron. The interplay of micro-nutrients isn’t always cooperative, however. For example, vitamin C blocks your body’s ability to assimilate the essential mineral copper. And even a minor overload of the mineral manganese can worsen iron deficiency. Vitamins assist bodily growth and development. They also play important roles in metabolism, immunity and digestion. There are 13 essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K and B vitamins such as riboflavin and folate. The best way to meet your vitamin needs is to eat a balanced diet containing a variety of foods. If you can't meet your needs through food alone, you may require dietary supplements. Always consult your physician or a licensed nutritionist first.

Although water-soluble vitamins have many tasks in the body, one of the most important is helping to free the energy found in the food you eat. Others help keep tissues healthy. Here are some examples of how different vitamins help you maintain health:

  • Release energy. Several B vitamins are key components of certain co-enzymes (molecules that aid enzymes) that help release energy from food.

  • Produce energy. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin engage in energy production.

  • Build proteins and cells. Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid metabolize amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and help cells multiply.

  • Make collagen. One of many roles played by vitamin C is to help make collagen, which knits together wounds, supports blood vessel walls, and forms a base for teeth and bones.

Your body does not store water-soluble vitamins because they dissolve in bodily fluids. However, contrary to popular belief, some water-soluble vitamins can stay in the body for long periods of time. You probably have several years’ supply of vitamin B12 in your liver. And even folic acid and vitamin C stores can last more than a couple of days. Generally, though, water-soluble vitamins should be replenished every few days. Just be aware that there is a small risk that consuming large amounts of some of these micro-nutrients through supplements may be quite harmful. For example, very high doses of B6—many times the recommended amount of 1.3 milligrams (mg) per day for adults—can damage nerves, causing numbness and muscle weakness.

The following list includes water-soluble vitamins:

The B List:

  • Biotin (vitamin B7)

  • Folic acid (folate, vitamin B9)

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)

  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)

  • Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin B12

Vitamin C

Eating a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, each day helps prevent deficiencies. Fat-soluble vitamins, which include A, D, E and K, circulate in your blood. Your body also stores many of them in your tissues, and these stores can last for three months in a well-nourished person. Your body cannot store zinc, and your kidneys expel unused amounts through urine. You need a steady supply of zinc - 8 to 11 milligrams per day for adults - to stay healthy.

The fat-soluble vitamins - A, D, E, K - keep your eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system in good repair. Here are some of the other essential roles these vitamins play:

  • Build bones. Bone formation would be impossible without vitamins A, D, and K.

  • Protect vision. Vitamin A also helps keep cells healthy and protects your vision.

  • Interact favorably. Without vitamin E, your body would have difficulty absorbing and storing vitamin A.

  • Protect the body. Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant (a compound that helps protect the body against damage from unstable molecules).

Because fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body for long periods, toxic levels can build up. This is most likely to happen if you take supplements. It’s very rare to get too much of a vitamin just from food.


Major minerals:

  • Calcium

  • Chloride

  • Magnesium

  • Phosphorus

  • Potassium

  • Sodium

  • Sulfur

One of the key tasks of major minerals is to maintain the proper balance of water in the body. Sodium, chloride, and potassium take the lead in doing this. Three other major minerals—calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium—are important for healthy bones. Sulfur helps stabilize protein structures, including some of those that make up hair, skin, and nails. However, having too much of one major mineral can result in a deficiency of another. These sorts of imbalances are usually caused by overloads from supplements, not food sources. Here are two examples:

  • Salt overload. Calcium binds with excess sodium in the body and is excreted when the body senses that sodium levels must be lowered. That means that if you ingest too much sodium through table salt or processed foods, you could end up losing needed calcium as your body rids itself of the surplus sodium.

  • Excess phosphorus. Likewise, too much phosphorus can hamper your ability to absorb magnesium.

The following list includes trace minerals, needed in smaller quantities:

  • Chromium

  • Copper

  • Fluoride

  • Iodine

  • Iron

  • Manganese

  • Molybdenum

  • Selenium

  • Zinc

Trace minerals carry out a diverse set of tasks. Here are a few examples:

  • Iron is best known for ferrying oxygen throughout the body.

  • Fluoride strengthens bones and wards off tooth decay.

  • Zinc helps blood clot, is essential for taste and smell, and bolsters the immune response.

  • Copper helps form several enzymes, one of which assists with iron metabolism and the creation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood.

The other trace minerals perform equally vital jobs, such as helping to block damage to body cells and forming parts of key enzymes or enhancing their activity. Trace minerals interact with one another, sometimes in ways that can trigger imbalances. Too much of one can cause or contribute to a deficiency of another. Here are some examples:

  • A minor overload of manganese can exacerbate iron deficiency. Having too little can also cause problems.

  • When the body has too little iodine, thyroid hormone production slows, causing sluggishness and weight gain as well as other health concerns. The problem worsens if the body also has too little selenium.

The difference between “just enough” and “too much” of the trace minerals is often tiny. Generally, food is a safe source of trace minerals, but if you take supplements, it’s important to make sure you’re not exceeding safe levels.

Articles and advertisements often tout vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as a way to help slow aging, fend off heart disease, improve failing vision, curb cancer and a host of other claims. Laboratory studies and many large-scale observational trials (those that query people about their eating habits and supplement use and then track their disease patterns) have noted benefits from diets rich in certain antioxidants and, in some cases, from antioxidant supplements. However, results from randomized controlled trials (in which people are assigned to take specific nutrients or a placebo) have failed to back up many of these claims. One study that pooled results from 68 randomized trials with over 230,000 participants found that people who were given vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin A had a higher risk of death than those who took a placebo. There appeared to be no effect from vitamin C pills and only a small reduction in mortality from selenium, though further research on these nutrients is needed.

These findings suggest little overall benefit of the antioxidants in pill form. On the other hand, many studies show that people who consume higher levels of these antioxidants in food have a lower risk of many diseases. This may be due to lack of controls in supplement manufacturing, meaning there is no way for the public to be certain that what they're buying is actually what the label claims it to be, as well as the exact source and purity of the substance! Remember that supplements represent a multi-billion dollar industry, and one with little governmental control.

The bottom line? Eating a healthy diet is the best way to meet your nutritional needs.

While the above is a very basic introduction to nutrition, it is intended to remind one of the importance of a healthy and balanced diet approach as fad diets, or severely reduced calorie diets, will inevitably affect optimal performance and vitality. They also tend to set the stage for increased cravings, leading to diet derailment. Choosing a balanced approach while practicing patience and consistency, ultimately leads to success with weight and dietary goals.

The Importance Of Self-Talk: Do You Sabotage Your Fat-Loss? This is an excerpt from Stacey's blog at, 'Why We Sabotage Our Own Fat Loss' Archive date: 5/17/2016

"It's easy to say we want to lose weight, get fit, eat better, become healthy. However, there are emotional consequences to these lofty aspirations that we may not even realize we harbor... Facts:

  • We don't understand what a realistic time frame is for accomplishing these goals and so we become frustrated when it doesn't happen fast enough and we give up. Deprivation sucks and most people don't know what to eat and how much they can eat for success and after a couple weeks with no results, the frustration drives us over the edge of the diet plate and right back into the fast-food lane. Too bad, because it usually takes about 2 weeks to start seeing results!

  • We don't change our relationship with food and the very act of eating, which many people view as entertainment, something to do out of boredom, and also conditioned response. Think Pavlov's dog...

  • We don't know how to create a healthy, pleasing, satisfying diet that will help us keep our lean bodies when we get them. Instead, we forage based on what will taste good and until we learn about new foods that taste even better than the junk food we're used to, we again sense deprivation in dieting, equating it to bland and boring.

  • Our expectations of what our lives will be like when we lose the weight are skewed. This is why I found the statement "If I had a body like that, I'd rule the world" preposterous. Do you think you will be magically transported to super-model status, where the world falls at your feet when you walk by? Like the song 'The Girl From Ipanema'...When she passes, each one she passes goes "ah"? You will enjoy the attention your new body gets you, but it may also make you uncomfortable. You may have stayed overweight for many years as a way to be invisible. You may get irritated that people seem to now view you as a physicality without a brain, like just another pretty face. And, there will be haters-mostly women. This is such a shame.

  • We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to see a diet through but without the proper time frame, expectations, actions and food that we enjoy and can eat for the rest of our lives, to make lasting changes we can stick with, we will fail. We know this. That's why we always ask others who are successful "What did you eat?" It could have been Nutri-System - which some may choose, others wouldn't consider - but what happens when you go off the System? What will you eat to keep your new physique? If you don't do the proper work-learning about nutrition, practice mindful eating, work on changing dietary habits and then staying on track with your new program so that it becomes the habit-you're going to end up spinning your wheels while staying in place. Which is to say, getting no where.

  • We continue to fall prey to the latest diet fad or craze-don't you get tired of being inundated with the same BS lines that promise to deliver miracle results yet just line someone's pocket with your money? And you know by now diets don't work. It's about lifestyle change-pure and simple.

  • We may have been carrying extra LBS. for years and somehow still think we can lose it in a week/month/insert your own unrealistic time frame. Your body has developed a set-point and you will have to work HARD to change that. Yes, it can be done. How bad do you want it? Be prepared to work that hard.

  • This one is not entirely your fault. The food industry puts a lot of nasty little ingredients in processed food to get you addicted to it. I have long felt that they are actually very clever because how long do we expect this overburdened planet to produce high-quality, fresh, healthy food? Get you addicted to crap early on and you'll never even want to eat a single healthy thing! You probably already know a lot of these people-maybe you're one of them! But getting past the cravings these processed foods cause can be worse than experiencing the DT's, considering you still must find something to eat, though one certainly doesn't need alcohol to survive.

You probably understand that your life won't become something movies are made of when you reach your goals and maybe this sad realization, considering all the effort it takes, causes you to wonder what the point is. I'm hearing 'We want to have our cake and eat it too' and this is just the part of us that resists change, even when it is for the best. Food is a drug and acts upon your body and mind as such. Think of becoming the best, healthiest version of yourself, starting with what you put in your mouth. Start questioning labels. Understand what those ingredients are and how they affect your body and health. You've heard the saying 'We always have at least 84 problems we're dealing with in our lives at any given moment.' Just means that when we start to think along the lines of "...If/when I can move to a bigger house/get a better job/get married/fill in the blank, my life will be better/perfect because...", we need to realize that nothing is ever perfect in life and even when we get into a place where we thought we would find our own Nirvana, we discover Nirvana comes with its own set of issues. When one issue is resolved, another one will take its place to always keep the count at 84! But, I can tell you that whatever the number of issues you have on your plate, not having to deal with constantly dieting is extremely liberating. Ridding yourself of food obsession will allow you to deal more effectively with life and whatever it throws at you. And finally-how you look is certainly not the most important aspect of losing weight and becoming healthy, so don't pass judgement on others-whether they be fat or thin!"

Other Mindset tips:

All-or-Nothing thinking is a common mindset of habitual - if you constantly see yourself as either being on a diet (and avoiding food you love) or off the diet (and eating "forbidden foods" with abandon), you're thinking in black and white, and probably get angry and tell yourself you screwed up in a big way(again). Then you feel devoid of confidence and beat yourself up over it (AGAIN!). Do this enough and you will see losing weight as an impossible task and may even abandon your weight-loss goals right then and there. You end up wallowing away the rest of your day with your head hung in shame (or in the refrigerator) and dread what you'll see when you find the gumption to step on the scale. This only sets the stage for more difficulty getting back on track when you slip up. When repeated over time, this kind of thinking creates a consistent barrier to success.

There are choices between all or nothing. Try not to view your day (or week) as ruined instead of accepting that one decision was just one mistake - forget about it and move forward.

If you take the above all-or-nothing thinking a step further into 'over-generalization', you eventually get to the place where you believe that you just CAN'T achieve success on a diet because so far, you have failed. IT IS A PROCESS AND TAKES TIME. When you completely give up - this is when you can't. That is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE but remember: it isn't that you can't. You just somehow decided to believe you can't. Most likely it is truly that you aren't ready to commit to the changes and the work that it will take. Yes, this IS tough love. Avoid mental filtering. You feel great as you start to lose weight, you start getting compliments and then you get one negative bit of feedback from someone and your mind focuses on this. You dwell on it. You start to feel horrible. Snap out of it buttercup! This is about YOU, You, You, no one else. And, sometimes the people will do whatever they can to keep the status quo (even family, friends, spouses). Always remember why you are doing this - part of why writing your goals down and daily re-committing to them is so important. Post them where you can see them as you start every day. Try not to see yourself as a fat person only, meaning you become so wrapped up in the weight, and the constant battle with losing it, that you only focus on the negative things you don't like about yourself. Fat is a temporary condition. You are a person with unique gifts and talents and people love you because of who you are. Those who don't? Do you really care what they think? Work on becoming the best you that you can be while remembering that you are so much more than how you look. Try not to jump to conclusions about what you think others are thinking of you. We tend to believe that others see us as we see ourselves and when we hold ourselves in a less than favorable light, we tend to project this. Weight-loss is largely a game of playing positive, so put those rose-colored glasses on and rock them. Try not to over-identify with failures. When self-confidence becomes so eroded through diet failure, we start to think that we only accomplish things when there isn't much competition from others. Or, we may feel that we should be able to do more than we can, and we find additional ways to beat ourselves up. Are you seeing the pattern with negative thoughts and how your weight-loss success truly starts with your thought process?!! Can't, Shouldn't and Must Not thoughts:

"I can't eat that. I shouldn't eat this. I shouldn't go into that bakery" translates into 'you're punishing yourself. You're living life in deprivation.' These are all negatively charged words that bring on guilt and stifle motivation. When you think in absolutes, such as "I can't ever have a milkshake again" - you set yourself up to fail. You're trying to live in a world of extremes and absolutes, a powerful mindset that self-imposes limits and rules which can take on a mind of their own. They do not serve you in any positive way. Not only do they make you feel like you're missing out, it becomes your reality.

Words like these require no action, so when you use them, you hit a dead end—you're stuck with no way out. In reality, you always have choices, you just have to consider the consequences. This is what motivation is all about. "I don't drink milkshakes" speaks your conviction, while "I can't drink a milkshake" is a reminder that you're missing out. One study found that people who speak in terms of "I don't" instead of "I can't" are perceived by others as having strong convictions. You will also begin to feel this way when you replace "I can't" with "I don't." Know why you've chosen this, make sure it is for healthy reasons and it will become your new reality without the sense of rigid deprivation.

Be careful with personalizing events in your life. Emotions such as sadness, guilt, frustration, anger, anxiety helplessness, and fear of disappointing or hurting others are among the many emotions we can bring on ourselves when we personalize the events of our lives. It's the perfect example of how thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to emotional eating. We may become clever at doing this because it becomes an excuse for binge eating and straying away from our diet and weight-loss goals.

These are all part of the dynamics involved in weight-loss that make it so difficult for many people to reach and maintain their goals. It is NOT just about losing weight. There is usually work to be done on many levels as weight gain is typically a symptom of things going on in our lives that we need to attend to. For permanent weight loss, see the journey as it relates to the inter-connection of mental, physical and spiritual. What are some negative things you say to yourself and how can you flip them into words of self-encouragement? A few 'Get Started' tips: Ditch your trigger foods. This is usually a comforting food triggered by an emotion, a food not eaten for vitality or nourishment. Don't keep these around the house. If your spouse or children complain, tell them you are all getting healthier together and challenge them with assisting in finding those healthier replacements. Offer a reward for the best recipe submission - anything other than food! Rethink portion sizes. Knowing that what is served when dining out is usually much more than what is actually necessary means you may have to take a closer look at how much you serve yourself until you get the feel for what is a realistic portion size. MyFitnessPal app has a great source and this app syncs with the AnytimeFitness app! Do Not Skip Breakfast and aim for 3 meals a day with strategically placed snacks of good quality. Smaller meals eaten more often during the day may lead to overeating unless you take the time to do food prep and pay close attention to the calorie/macro content of each mini-meal. If you absolutely must indulge, do so with thoughtfulness and aim for no more than 150 calories of an 'indulgence' food, like shifting from a nightly bowl of ice cream to a 150-calorie portion of low-fat frozen yogurt, or a square of chocolate. A diet is sustainable, not meant to be painful. Become a creature of habit and eat the same healthy breakfast and lunch most days during the week, savoring new foods on the weekends. Too much variety in a diet can interfere with satiety cues and lead to over-eating. Make sure your week day meals are balanced and nutritious. Continue to be aware of portion size and calories once you reach your goal weight. This will keep you on track. Make sure you base your daily needs on your new weight and continue to evaluate a food's content until it becomes automatic.

If you made it all the way to here, congratulations! I know this is a lot of information but you now have a one-stop-shop with many different tools you can use for reference. I'd love to hear your feedback/additional tips, etc. While my gym is rapidly becoming known for a wonderful source of support in an extremely positive environment, I offer additional support through as well. Just contact me and let me know how I can help!

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