Friday, February 12, 2016

Not All Sugar Is Sweet

A friend of mine recently shared some YouTube videos with me regarding sugar consumption. I was interested to learn more about how the body processes fructose in particular. The first video is a very informative hour-long lecture. The second is very short but shocking.

Much of the food we eat is converted by our digestive system to glucose. Glucose is the substance our bodies use for energy. The system is disrupted when we consume fructose, specifically high-fructose corn syrup. HFC is found in many processed foods and can be a "hidden sugar", meaning it can be found in things that do not taste sweet such as ketchup and salad dressing. Fructose is metabolized exclusively in the liver in a very similar process as to how alcohol is processed. As a result, damaging by-products are made in the liver and the accumulation of these by-products can cause cirrhosis. 

One of the by-products in the liver is uric acid. An overabundance of uric acid leads to hypertension. I always knew drinking soda caused high blood pressure but I did not know about the specific bio-chemical process that made that happen. Of course, too much uric acid is also the cause of gout.

Fructose consumption can sabotage your hard work to lose weight. HFC changes the way our brain signals hunger. It does not stimulate the hormone ghrelin, which tells our bodies we have eaten enough. Our brains and bodies do not get the satiety signal so we want to eat more. Eating more fructose continues the process. Chronic fructose exposure can lead to all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome - hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Not only that, but fructose is stored as fat instead of glycogen! So you are eating more because your satiety signals are not stimulated and the calories you consume immediately turn to fat. Yikes - not where we want to go.

Just a note, fruit naturally contains fructose. In this form, it is unlikely you will consume too much fructose because is not concentrated, as in HFC, and it is combined with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The second video shows a healthy blood sample before the client eats sugary foods and a second blood sample after sugar consumption. It looks like the sugar causes the cells to clump together, preventing oxygen and energy flow to the muscles. Wow! Might not want to drink that artificial fruit-juice drink before exercise class.

Read labels, choose wisely and be aware of what you are drinking and eating. 
It can literally save your life.

Stay Active and Enjoy HFC-Free Food

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A New Baby!

I am very excited to announce the birth of my granddaughter. 
Welcoming Juniper Joy Howard!
Saturday, January 16
8 lbs 2 oz     20 inches 
Mom and Baby are happy & healthy and Grammy Ann is overjoyed!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Upcoming Surgery

This week I am sharing an update in my personal life. I have a large uterine fibroid impacting my abdominal cavity and it must be removed. I will have surgery next Tuesday and will take six weeks for recovery. It is possible I will feel well enough to blog before then, but I am planning to take the needed time to rest and recover. I look forward to sharing more health and fitness advice with all of you toward the end of February.

Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers for an uneventful surgery and recovery.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and Enjoy Your Food

Friday, January 1, 2016

Beginner Mistakes To Avoid

The new year brings renewed motivation to exercise. As you start (or restart) a fitness program this month, avoid these common pitfalls.

You do too much too soon
If you go from couch potato to working out intensely five days a week, you can end up hurt. Instead, start with two or three workouts a week and gradually build to more advanced workouts and greater frequency.

You focus only on weight loss
This sounds like good motivation but it's a problem because it takes time. This also implies an end. Focus, instead, on getting fit and look at other, more immediate positive benefits of exercise, such as feeling more energetic and sleeping better.

You take the wrong approach
Before you decide on any one workout style, consider what has worked for you in the past. If you're not a fan of crowds, a gym might not be the best approach. You might choose personal training or a home DVD workout. If you're motivated by others, a group class will keep you coming back regularly. CrossFit might work for you or maybe you prefer yoga. You must enjoy your workout to be consistent.

You have unrealistic expectations
Results, typically don't happen quickly. Weight loss and fitness involve time and work. Consider how long it's taken you to get out of shape. Some people expect results in a week and then quit when they don't see it. Getting your body IN shape can take more time than it does for your body to get out of shape.

You learn by watching others
Copying the exercise form of another gym member or a person in class other than the instructor can result in bad habits. In addition to not knowing the proper form, the other person may be at a different level than you. Ask a qualified trainer to show you how to use a machine or perform an exercise before doing it yourself.

Get Started, Keep Moving and Enjoy Your Food

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

 Merry Christmas! 
Thanks to all of you in my private training, group fitness and blog communities who have helped make 2015 a fabulous year for Priority Fitness Burbank. 
I've had a wonderful time getting to know some of you better and helping you prioritize fitness in your lives. It's great to see progress and have fun working out together. 
Anticipating many more times of fun and fitness in 2016. Look for more Saturday Boot Camp sessions in late spring.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Healthy Indulgences

To splurge or not to splurge? That is the perennial weight-loss question, especially at this time of year. Create a mindful strategy and enjoy guilt-free treats this Christmas.

It's important not to use indulgences as a reward for eating healthy. It's better to own the reality that you ate a special food and that it has an assigned place in your healthy life than to justify its consumption because you ate well all week long. It's not about earning a privilege. It's about living a balanced life that fosters good health. Here are a few supportive strategies:

Limit the indulgence to a meal or part of a meal. This way, your day still includes ample nutrition versus having a "cheat day" of indulgent foods and no nutrients. You'll be more likely to follow up the next day with a full routine of nutritious foods and not feel like you fell off your program.

Plan for it. Plan for your special holiday meals and treats. It's something to look forward to. And because its planned, that does away with the guilty feeling. When you plan for an indulgence, it lets you thoughtfully select the food.

Make it worth it. If ice cream sounds good, don't buy a diet or low-sugar brand. Go for the good stuff with a short ingredient list of real foods - not junk and chemicals. The good stuff will truly satisfy and you can relish each bite.

Our everyday nutrient-filled foods are vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains and healthy oils. You can include indulgences in your balanced life of healthy eating. Remember that food is for our pleasure not our punishment. Be mindful with food choices and, above all,

Enjoy Your Food

Friday, December 11, 2015

Four More Survival Tips for Health Under Pressure

Last week, I talked about lifestyle changes that can help our bodies stay healthy in our fast-paced culture. I mentioned eating a whole-foods breakfast, taking vitamins, keeping healthy snacks at work and reserving three minutes in the morning to prepare for the day. Here are a few more ideas for creating a balanced week.

6. Set a timer to trigger 10 to 15-minute breaks every two hours. This will help keep your body's ultradian rhythms on an even keel, priming your body and brain to operate at peak effectiveness throughout extended days.

7. Take a weekly yoga, meditation or relaxation class. The more your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system is activated, the more you need to cultivate your parasympathetic (rest-relax-digest-and-connect) nervous system for balance.

8. Keep a water bottle with a splash of juice or a slice of cucumber within reach at all times. That little touch of flavor sets up a "return to substance" relationship between your brain and the water. You'll drink more, stay better hydrated and function better as a result.

9. Use your commute to decompress. Meditate, breathe or listen to something calming rather than being in continuous contact with your handheld or to-do list.

Don't Just Survive, Thrive!
Keep Moving and Enjoy Your Food