Archive for: nutrition
Okay, I know exactly what you are thinking, “Here we go again, there’s something else I have to give up in order to lose weight.” It’s no wonder the weight-loss industry is booming as fast as our collective bellies are growing — sucking you into the latest diet fad or weight-loss product promising to shrink your belly once and for all. Gismos, gadgets, pills, and powders may have caused more harm than good. They are that “something shiny” that distracts our attention away from a common sense approach to losing belly fat. Let’s see if we can bust a few myths along with a few unwanted inches.
As a teenager, I had my share of traumatic moments…haven’t we all? My most devastating moment came was when I asked my mom for my first 2-piece swimsuit. My ultra-conservative father would only agree to it with his prior approval. There I stood in the glare of fluorescent department store lighting awaiting a thumbs up or down. Finally, my over-inflated teenaged humiliation was replaced with jubilation when I was approved for my first bikini. Unfortunately, for most of us, men and women alike, the burgeoning summer season creates its own grown-up trauma when a slip into our swimsuits reveals more belly than brawn. This week, we’ll explore some surprising ways to banish our bellies.
Are you one of those perky morning people who wakes up refreshed and ready to take on the day with a smile on your face, a head full of ambition, and a can-do attitude? If you had met me several years ago, you would have agreed that I was the polar opposite: grumpy, crabby, sleepy, sneezy…my own little version of the seven dwarfs! My family and co-workers knew to keep their distance until I came to life, which was usually around 10am. If you make more enemies than friends in the morning, maybe it’s time to look at better ways to fuel your day which may lead to a sunnier disposition and a slimmer you.
I’ve always been a fan of clever marketing — you know those commercials that get your attention with funny lines, edgy graphics or memorable characters? My favorite spot lately is the guy who goes around telling people to feed their lawns. The hook is that he’s got a really cool, thick Scottish accent that gets your attention when he says, “Feed you’re lawn, Feed et!” Now, instead of the mundane spring task of seeding and fertilizing your lawn, you feel like Braveheart rallying his troops to slay the enemy in an epic battle of grass versus dandelions. With that image in mind and summer weather on its way, maybe it’s time we “burn the fat…burn et!”
One of my favorite classic skits from Saturday Night Live was when comedian, Billy Crystal, played Fernando, a superficial and overtly sexual latin night club performer who greeted everyone with the phrase, “Dahling, you look mahvelous.” His character lived by a personal credo that it was always “better to look good than to feel good.” Maybe we all have a little Fernando in each of us with our desire to look good. While I don’t believe we are all vain and self-absorbed like Fernando, could it be that we put a bigger price tag on our outward appearance than our inner health? This month, let’s focus on ways to feel good from the inside out starting with our body composition.
Here is an article from a friend of mine after having this discussion at a conference a few weeks ago on nutrition for military, police, fire fighters — our tactical athletes. The need for more carbs for highly active people but it goes deeper than that:
Nutrition and the Tactical Athlete
As a firefighter understands fire, the warrior must understand war. Maintaining combat effectiveness via proper training and nutrition is a big part of this.
Nutrition is the one factor affecting each person multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall health and fitness level. Scientists agree that 70+% of diseases known to man are caused by lifestyle factors and many can be treated via lifestyle changes. Nutrition being the number one approach.
For the tactical / endurance athlete this fact does not change. Being fit does not mean being healthy and the level of proper nutrition should address both of these factors.
The level of combat readiness literally translates into life and death. This fact makes the tactical athlete an extreme endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep, MRE’s and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands.
Combat is high stress. The modern day tactical athlete often operates night and day for months without rest. This massive amount of stress not only results in mental breakdown leading to PTSD but also physical breakdown leading to physical injury and less combat effectiveness. This high stress results in elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol causes 3 main problems in the warrior. One, lowered immune functions thus making the warrior more susceptible to illness, two, protein breakdown from muscle to keep blood sugar steady which leads weakness and to number three, increased body fat.
The three issues can be offset with proper nutrition in the field. For years ultra-endurance athletes have developed techniques and products for maintaining endurance days on end during a race. Polysaccharide gels, powders and liquids aimed at keeping blood sugar levels steady along with hydration and electrolyte balance are the key. A tactical athlete must maintain steady blood sugar, water and electrolyte balance. MRE’s do not do this and often have the reverse effect of maintaining combat readiness.
How does a tactical athlete maintain steady blood sugar? First, start by figuring your personal caloric needs. Google is full of BMR calculators. Second, plan to eat 65–70% of your diet from a polysaccharide source. (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans). Third, calculate your caloric intake of starchy carbs. 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories. Finally, use an online resource to calculate the carbohydrate intake from your food.
Example: BMR = 2000cals per day. Add 600 calories per day for moderate activity levels = 2600 calories per day consumed. 2600 x .65% of carbohydrate = 1690 calories from starchy sources. Each gram is 4 calories, 1690 / 4 = 423 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day. Finally to calculate how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat I suggest the online resource myfitnesspal.com.
There is much more to understand regarding nutrition. But, much like a firefighter studies and understands fire those whom wish to become or are tactical athletes must study and understand nutrition. We will further expand on this topic in the next edition.
Dr. Stephen Erle is the training director for the civilian BUD/s program, SEAL Training Adventures, as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and team physician for a Virginia University. In addition Dr. Erle instructs tactical athletics, sports medicine, sports nutrition and tactical combat casualty care medicine (TCCC). He can be reached for comment at Steve@SEALTrainingAdventures.com.
I’ve been working on a number of home improvement projects lately. This weekend I tackled the kitchen, walk-in pantry and guest bathroom — Ugh! What astonished me in cleaning out cabinets was all of the stuff I’ve accumulated from wedding gifts, to inherited treasures, to just plain junk. The hardest part of de-cluttering for me is letting go of things. It is a family characteristic to keep things if they pass two basic tests: could it be worth money or will I potentially need it someday. Forget the fact that just a minute ago I didn’t even know I owned it! Maybe you’re guilty of the same behavior especially when it comes to your health. You may not know what your health is worth until you lose it. As we close out April, let’s do some spring cleaning of our own and find out what your health is worth, now and later.
You do not build muscle while you are exercising in a fitness center. The body builds muscle soon after you workout once it can get over your workout routines, using power and size in order to deal with the additional intensity. Typically the ideal time the body has for the purpose of recovery as well as muscle development is actually as you sleep. Using the best bodybuilding supplements at night will certainly actually assist you to develop more muscle whilst you sleep.
Tysen Ober is a 23 year old soldier who recently returned from an overseas deployment to Kuwait. With no job, no school, and no relationship awaiting his return, Tysen knew this was his moment to do something big. And boy is it big! Tysen will be running 3,500 miles from California to Maine to raise money for wounded warriors. His hope is to inspire others to “get out, get active and get involved in giving back to this country.” His drive and vision inspired me to talk about how far we can all go with the right attitude (see the bottom of this article for ways to support Tysen’s quest).
Nutrition bars are increasingly popular. but you may need to take a closer look at the labels. You might be consuming more sugar and calories then you would from a candy bar, you might be surprised to see what else is in them! Check out my Fox & Friends First segment for what to look for if you are supplementing your diet with these bars.
My advice, skip the bar for real, non-processed food like hard boiled eggs, apples, milk, yogurt and almonds. The only bar I lift is a barbell.
It must be a right of passage for most kids, watching classic Disney films like Cinderella, Snow White, Dumbo, and Pinocchio, just to name a few. In true Disney form, there is always a hero or heroine who must overcome his or her fears to defeat the evil witch, monster or various inanimate objects brought to life by overzealous animators. To this day I can’t tell you everything that happened in those movies as my view was inevitably obstructed by the clever hands-over-eyes technique employed whenever something scary was about to happen like the Evil Queen who tempts innocent Snow White to bite into a poisonous apple. “This is no ordinary apple. It’s a magic wishing apple,” says the queen, enticingly. Fortunately, for us, our apple crunching outcome is far more positive. As apple trees begin to blossom, check out the amazing health benefits of apples.
With four rambunctious children in the house, my parents always found creative ways to burn off our endless energy/wear us down in the evening. One of my favorite memories was going to the old fashioned drive-in movie theatre in town possibly because it was the only time we were allowed to dress in our pajamas in public! We cuddled under blankets and watched The Jungle Book. Big old Baloo was my favorite character, a lumbering bear who didn’t have a care in the world and yet was full of wisdom for a wide-eyed jungle boy named Mowgli. One thing for sure about Baloo was his ability to enjoy the “simple bare necessities of life” from back scratches on the bark of a tree to picking “a pawpaw or a prickly pear.” Maybe Baloo was onto something - the right prick can be painless and may just heal what ails you…”You better believe it baby.”
In desperate need of a warm up, we ventured down to sunny Florida last week. Mark’s parents have a lovely home there and it has become our winter respite. Our daily routine includes tennis, golf and a swim in the pool which includes a walk by the neighbors Gardenia bush — my favorite flower. In fact, Gardenias were the centerpiece of my high school prom bouquet. While other girls had corsages, my date went all out with a bridal like bouquet that he insisted I carry it all evening. Okay, awkward! Even though the details of the dance have faded, I am amazed at the power of scent to trigger memories. It’s no wonder aromatherapy has become such a beneficial tool in our wellness arsenal. What better way to celebrate the bloom of spring than with the power of the flower.
Did you ever read the book, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling? It was my favorite book growing up. Every summer I would lose myself in the mishaps and adventures of young Harvey, a spoiled rich kid lost at sea after falling off a luxury ship. Hoisted aboard a fishing vessel, he begrudgingly matured through discipline, responsibility and self-reliance. Little did I know that Harvey was based on a real person, Arthur Parker, and the two authentic fishing vessels, the We’re Here and the So Are We. It turns out the ships and many of their crew were my husband’s ancestors, go figure! Mark can date his American heritage back to the 1500’s. Knowing your roots isn’t just entertaining, it’s also vital to your health especially when it comes to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
I’ve always had a pretty wild imagination so it was no surprise when my mom enrolled me and my sister in an after school program called “Peter Pan Players.” We were encouraged to channel our energy, both physical and mental, into interactive games. One time, we were asked to close our eyes and share what we envisioned. I described, in exhaustive detail, a horse drawn carriage gliding through a snow kissed forest with sleigh bells ringing out a haunting melody…ever sight and sound imaginable until the teacher finally had to stop me. When she got to my sister and asked what she saw, Marie frankly stated, “I can’t see anything, my eyes are closed!” It was obvious that we were wired very differently. How about you? Let’s delve a little deeper to learn more about our brains and behavior.
Learning to fish is a rite of passage for most kids, boys and girls alike. I remember catching my first fish on Kelly’s Island in Ohio while on our annual summer camping trip with family and friends. My elation turned to terror when I watched my poor little prize gasp for breath while it flopped around the bottom of the boat. With my arms flailing and my fish’s fins flapping, I managed to release the hook and return him to the water. Apparently, fishing was not my calling. It did, however, teach me good lessons in patience, coordination, boating and even a bit about biology. There are very few things that panic both fish and people more than the inability to catch our breath. As we continue our A’s of April series, let’s look at how we can improve our odds against asthma.
Here is an interesting discussion topic on the Paleo Diet. Many love it — some hate it. Decide for yourself…
Over the past few years, I have been asked about the Paleo Diet Plan. Having not tried it myself and only reading reviews by critics and previews from the authors, I did not have enough information to make a good judgment on the Paleo Plan. After researching information for a recent article on Health Screenings for Military.com, I met with several doctors and the author of The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf and have found the Paleo Diet to be a viable solution for many people (typical Americans) but it may not be for everybody. This article gives some of the PROs and CONs of the Paleo Diet.
Staying in shape only works when you combine workouts with good nutrition, and even if you eat healthy foods, you might be eating too many of them.
A way to safeguard your weight is to use tools that battle the supersized meals in our society. Here are some of my favorite tools and two segments from Fox & Friends where I demonstrate how to use them.
Like most military families, I moved a lot as a kid. By the time I was in 3rd grade, I had lived in 6 different houses. Fortunately, the last house my parents bought was on a beautiful lake in the midwest. It was an idyllic place to grow up and a great opportunity for a budding entrepreneur. Since we lived on the outskirts of town, it was easier to find odd jobs around the neighborhood. My neighbor, Uncle Art (his preferred nickname versus addressing him as “Mr.”), had a rolling 3 acre lot that required meticulous attention. It was my job to mow, trim and rake it several times a month for the generous compensation of $25 per day. To a teenager, cash was king, however, to an allergy sufferer it was a brutal endeavor. Now that I mow my own lawn, I’m thrilled to report that I can do it allergy symptom free. If your allergies bloom along with the spring flowers, relief may be in sight.
You read articles, watch videos and listen to the experts. But 100% of what you hear isn’t necessarily accurate. We often get channeled into a mindset that certain aspects of health and/or fitness work or don’t work. Here are five of the most common myths busted!