Sugar

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I found an interesting discovery today. At my work we always have treats, birthdays anniversaries, somebody’s leftovers from home… and I have always been able to say, “No, thank you.” to them, until recently. I work right next to our break room, so when I need water or need to use the restroom I walk past these sweet treats- which of course happens very frequently throughout the day. Lately it doesn’t matter what is there, chocolate, cake, cookies, bars, anything I see I want to eat. It’s very frustrating and I feel like my will power is slipping so I decided to google a solution and in the process I may have found a cause to my problem! Did you know that craving sugar can actually mean you have a different underlying problem? I want to share with you some symptoms, problems, and solutions I found when you are craving sugar.

First if you are stressed, tired and have frequent headaches while craving sugar you may have a thyroid problem. The solution to this is to drink more water to help flush out your system, cut back on caffeine and switch to herbal tea, and ban processed foods because they take longer to digest. Also be sure to get lots of rest because sleep optimizes energy levels, reduces appetite, and cuts back on your sugar cravings!

Next, if you can’t get through the day without bread or sugar and you have recently been on antibiotics or taken antacids, you may have a yeast infection. Antibiotics take away your good bacterium that neutralizes our stomach acid that tackles the bad bacteria, we crave sugar and bread because our body converts these to glucose. Sugar makes the yeast multiply, which just makes the cycle continue. To eliminate this you need to cut all sugar from your diet and try taking a probiotic or even yogurt twice a day for several months can help with this problem.

You could also have an adrenaline overload. The signs of this are irritability when hungry, stressed or dizzy when standing, frequent sore throat, constant thirst, or frequent urination. This occurs when you are constantly under pressure, your glands will become sluggish and we turn to sugar for a quick burst of energy. To help prevent this you should graze on high protein meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels steady- and of course, reduce your stress levels if possible!

A few other options for your need of sugar may be… you are not feeling emotionally supported and might need acceptance, pleasure, or love. Your body could be lacking certain nutrients and you are actually craving chocolate because of a deficiency. One of the biggest issues though, is stress and anxiety and your cravings then are called emotional eating. Try taking a brisk walk if you are experiencing this and your urges should dissipate!

We do need some sugars for our body to work appropriately but too much sugar is definitely a bad thing. Excess amounts of sugar ages you, lower your immune system, increase inflammation, disrupt normal brain function, and also can lead to diabetes and obesity. So, we are human and do need to indulge once in a while but be cautious to how often you are spoiling yourself- it could be something more serious than just a quick sugar fix or it could potentially lead to more harmful side effects.

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Counting Steps

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So you won’t to get healthy but don’t have the time to do- or you don’t even know where to start?! Sound familiar? Of course, everybody has been there before, but there are easy ways to get started without taking up to much time! Counting steps is a really great way to start. You can find an inexpensive step counter on amazon for about $2 or you could invest in something like the Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband if you plan to get serious. This is around $90 but it monitors your heart rate, your sleep activity and you steps! After you get your step counter set yourself a daily goal that you want to hit every day- in our office we have competitions to see who can walk the most steps in a week! I work in an office sitting at my desk ALL DAY LONG… so this is hard for me to get my steps in. In order to make my goals I do things like choose the stairs instead of elevators, park in the farthest parking spot at the grocery store, take the long way to the bathroom, and sometimes when I can get up early enough I even choose to walk to work. There are little things throughout your day that can really add up if you just make a conscious effort.

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Other ways I have found to help burn a few extra calories when there is no time in the day to go to the gym:

Turn on the radio while your cleaning- and don’t be afraid to crank it up! Do a little butt shake while doing the dishes- and feel free to sing along. An upbeat song and a boring chore can go together quite nicely to get the task done and dancing will definitely burn some extra calories!

Going for a bike ride with your child? Skip the bike and jog behind them instead. Have a younger child who doesn’t ride bike, take them in the wagon, pulling a wagon seems to be more strenuous than pushing a stroller. What about that older child that rides to fast for your jogging abilities?! Well then just ride alongside them with your own bike; biking can be just as good of a cardio workout as running.

Stretch while watching television! It is a mindless thing that won’t interrupt your program, I promise! You can also do things like crunches during the show and during the commercials get up and do a few jumping jacks, or some mountain climbers.

Also things that can save you money and give you a workout are about the best choices possible! Instead of taking your car to the car wash and spending $10- wash it yourself! Get the kids involved too, turn it into a water fight if you want to. Chances are if you have children and you don’t have time for exercise you often miss out on playing with the kids as well, use opportunities like this to spend some time together, my son LOVES cleaning toilets- and of course I love that he loves it! Cleaning the house is something that we enjoy doing together and after everything is done we play games since I did it in half the time with his help!

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You should also consider waking up a few minutes earlier and going for a run, etc. before the rest of the family even wakes up. I am one who likes to sleep as much as I can so waking up was hard for me to think about at first. I now actually wake up and hour and a half earlier every morning from what I used to so I can get to the gym, shower, and make breakfast before anybody else wakes up and as crazy as it may sound I have MORE energy than I did when I slept in! I not only feel better about myself for doing it but I am also able to stay awake at work now- no Mountain Dew needed! Exercise does give us more energy, so even if you just try waking up 20 minutes early to head out for a brisk morning walk, give it a try, you might be surprised!

21 Day Fix

Another weight loss program that I have been on the fence about trying is 21 Day Fix by Autumn Calabrese. This consists of a 6 total work outs on 2 DVDs that are designed to burn massive amounts of calories in just 30 minutes! The 30 minutes is what gets me every time- I, like many of you, do not have time to work out, so anything I can get done in a short period of time while still getting results works for me! The workouts are total body cardio, upper, lower, Pilates, cardio and yoga. In addition to the workout you also implement an eating plan. This is not a diet though it is a color coded system that you use their containers they provide you with to get a better control on portion sizes. You get a green container for veggies, purple for fruits, red for protein, yellow for carbs, blue for healthy fats and cheeses, orange for seeds and dressing and a Shakeology cup to mix your drinks- and if it fits in the container, you can eat it! You get the whole package deal here, a workout and a diet plan- to be honest I am not sure why I haven’t tried it yet, possibly the money situation, these diet fads can get to be pretty spendy! I would be happy to hear any results from people who have tried this program before to see if it is worth the money!

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Kill it with Cardio!

I hate running. Always have- truly I think I always will! But I know that cardio is very important for a healthy lifestyle. Although cardio can be great for weight loss it also gives you stronger heart and lungs, increased bone density, reduced stress, reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, temporary relief from depression and anxiety, more confident in your looks, better sleep, more energy, and you also set a good example. Whew! That’s a lot! Thank goodness cardio isn’t just about running! There are many things that we can do that gets our heart rate going and that is what cardio is all about.

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One of the best options for cardio is rowing. The motion of rowing engages your lats, biceps, forearms, deltoids, lower back, glutes, thighs, hamstrings, and calves. Rowing at a medium intensity for one hour can burn between 400-800 calories too! Strength training can also be used as cardio. When doing things like squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, or knee jumps you will get your heart rate going and give you more than just muscle! Cycling is another switch from just running and you can actually burn a lot of calories without realizing just how much work you’re doing! My favorite cardio work out is swimming. This truly gives you a full body workout and since you are forced to concentrate on your breathing it is a great workout for your heart and lungs. Swimming laps at a slow pace can burn between 400-650 calories an hour, but the best part is that it’s easy on your joints and it’s a low impact cardio that almost anyone can do!

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Daily Meals

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There are so many confusing tips these days on when to eat, how much to eat, how often to eat and anything to do with eating really! It is hard to know exactly which ones you are supposed to follow. Although these may not all be the best responses to the answers I want to share with you some of the things that I have come up with. First off, how often to eat: most of us grew up with the three meals a day routine, breakfast, dinner and supper, and I am willing to bet a majority of us have also heard the, “eat small meals several times a day” as well. This last tip actually is a myth! Eating raises your metabolism while you digest your food but it is actually the total amount of food that matters and not the number of meals. Eating too often can actually be harmful because keeping your body in a full state is not natural. When we don’t eat for a while our body goes through a cellular process called autophagy which cleans waste products out of our cells so fasting or not eating from time to time is actually good for you! Studies also show a rise in colon cancer (as high as a 90% increase!) for those who eat 4 meals a day compared to 2. Yikes!

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So go back to your old routine of breakfast, lunch and supper…also eat breakfast for supper, sure done that, but why not eat supper for breakfast!? Go ahead it isn’t going to hurt; it is actually beneficial to eat a bigger meal in the morning and a smaller meal for supper. So that leads us to our next question, when should I eat? Breakfast should be consumed within an hour after waking up. Breakfast raises your metabolism so eating right away gets you a good jump start on your day. You should also never eat before you go to bed. This has also been quite a controversial issue, you do not want to eat too early in the evening and kill your day by snacking before bed since you ate too early and are now hungry, but you do not want to eat to late either because it increases your blood sugar and insulin, prevents the release of melatonin and decreases your quality of sleep. Eating at least 2 hours before bed can help prevent this from happening. So 1 hour after you wake you should have started eating, and 2 hours before you sleep you should be done- most beneficial tip is eat all your meals within 12 hours. For me, I wake up at 6 eat my breakfast by seven have my lunch at 12 and eat supper by 6, I am done eating my meals within 11 hours and I am sleeping before 10 so that leaves 4 hours before bedtime to regulate my body- simple as that! But, we still have the how much to eat question! You can see my previous blog on “Calories” to decide an appropriate amount for yourself, but as far as when you should consume these calories throughout the day the only tip I have is, if you are going to indulge yourself, do so in the morning!

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Fruit=Gas

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Alright, so I have recently noticed that apples make me burp. No matter how slow I eat them, how little air I take in while eating, I still let out a nice little burp when I am done. I told my co-worker it was from the apples and she giggled, and so we decided to google it so I could sound intelligent and not get laughed at when somebody else notices! It was true and I found out another piece of vital information while googling it. Apples contain high levels of fructose and it can be hard for your body to digest that. Fruits like apples, bananas, cherries and peaches all contain fructose and can cause gas. They also can contain high levels of fiber which can also be difficult to digest. Eating one may not be a problem but any more can cause serious gas and even bloating. But I love apples, so then what?! Here is the information I am surprised I have never heard before! Don’t eat fruit with your meals. Fruit should be consumed separately from your meals on an empty stomach, consuming fruit with a partially digested stomach causes greater gassiness. Always try to eat fruit one-two hours before and after any meals you consume and this will help to prevent the gas and/or bloating!

A few other things to avoid if you want to eliminate bloating and gas:

Canned soup since your body will dilute the sodium with water which leads to retention and canned soup has a lot of sodium!

Cruciferous veggies like brussel sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower because they contain raffinose which is a sugar that produces gas (however these fruits are very good for you so only avoid if you plan on spending a day at the beach and want to skip out on the bloat!).

Dairy contains lactose which is tough for the tummy to digest- the worst is foamed milk.

Heavy starches also cause gas and water retention so pass on the potatoes!broccoli_gives_me_gas_card-p137350256368285723envwi_400