Saturday 25 February 2017

Nutritional Physiachiatry: Your brain on food

     Think about it. Your brain is always “on.” It takes care of your thoughts and movements, your breathing and heartbeat, your senses — it works hard 24/7, even while you’re asleep. This means your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.
Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.
     Unfortunately, just like an expensive car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. If substances from “low-premium” fuel (such as what you get from processed or refined foods) get to the brain, it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.
     It makes sense. If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.
    Today, fortunately, the burgeoning field of nutritional psychiatry is finding there are many consequences and correlations between not only what you eat, how you feel, and how you ultimately behave, but also the kinds of bacteria that live in your gut.

How the foods you eat affect how you feel

       Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions. What’s more, the function of these neurons — and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin — is highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in your health. They protect the lining of your intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well you absorb nutrients from your food; and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.
         Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics. Other studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, which are staples of the “Western” dietary pattern. In addition, many of these unprocessed foods are fermented, and therefore act as natural probiotics. Fermentation uses bacteria and yeast to convert sugar in food to carbon dioxide, alcohol, and lactic acid. It is used to protect food from spoiling and can add a pleasant taste and texture.
         This may sound implausible to you, but the notion that good bacteria not only influence what your gut digests and absorbs, but that they also affect the degree of inflammation throughout your body, as well as your mood and energy level, is gaining traction among researchers. The results so far have been quite amazing.

What does this mean for you?

Start paying attention to how eating different foods makes you feel — not just in the moment, but the next day. Try eating a “clean” diet for two to three weeks — that means cutting out all processed foods and sugar. Add fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha. You also might want to try going dairy-free — and some people even feel that they feel better when their diets are grain-free. See how you feel. Then slowly introduce foods back into your diet, one by one, and see how you feel.
When my clients “go clean,” they cannot believe how much better they feel both physically and emotionally, and how much worse they then feel when they reintroduce the foods that are known to enhance inflammation. Give it a try!


Leptin. Ever hear of it?

Let me ask you a question: Did you know that there's literally ONE  solitary hormone that can either make or break every weightloss goal you set?  In fact, if you don't learn to control this hormone, you might as well forget about losing fat at really is that big of a deal. 
The hormone?  
 Leptin (derived from the Greek word leptos, meaning thin), is essentially the "master" hormone that more or less controls EVERY other weight loss hormone in your body... and your ability to burn fat as a whole.You see, when you have leptin on your side, fat loss becomes easy.  When you don't, losing even a single pound can become virtually impossible.And here's the unfortunate news:  just about everyone is unknowingly fighting a losing battle with leptin each and every time they attempt to lose weight.
You see, the REAL underlying reason you’ve failed to lose weight in the past isn’t for lack of trying, you don’t have bad genetics, and there’s nothing physically wrong with you... the truth is that you failed simply because you didn’t know the simple ways to control your #1 weightloss hormone... leptin.  
With that said, it's pretty easy to see why so many folks, and perhaps you're one of them, downright struggle to shed their unwanted body fat, month after month, year after year.
Let me explain... 

First, in order to burn fat, your body depends on these two things:
1) high levels of leptin
2) highly sensitive leptin "receptors" (which acts as the "lock" to leptin's "key") 
Now for the bad news...
Anytime you go on a diet and reduce your calorie intake, leptin levels plummet and fat burning is dramatically reduced to a snail's pace. 
Because leptin's main function is to protect your body against starvation, and in the midst of decreased food intake (i.e. dieting), your body unfortunately views your stored body fat as a huge asset to survival. After all, body fat provides a vast supply of stored energy and warmth, both highly-valued resources when food is in short supply. 
You see, when you go on a diet, your body isn't aware of your hopes for a slim, tight waistline or your desire to drop 20 lbs in time for your high school reunion or summer beach season.  In fact, the only thing it does know is that your calorie intake is now below "normal"... and to your brain, that's a big red flag. 
The result: reduced leptin levels and dramatically decreased fat burning. 
In fact, research has shown that leptin levels drop by as much as 50% after just 7 days of dieting.  That puts you at only 50% of your fat-burning potential just one WEEK in to your fat loss plan, and it only gets worse with each passing day. And if that wasn't bad enough, with every pound you DO struggle to lose, leptin levels fall even further, making it even more difficult for you to continue to lose fat.

Because, as mentioned, in the face of calorie restriction, your body views stored body fat as an asset to survival. The more fat you lose, the more "danger" your body senses, and the harder it is to strip away that next pound. 
Hello, fat loss plateaus! 
Now, I hate to continue to be the bearer of bad news, but the scenario I just explained is actually only HALF the problem.The other unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of people are ALSO suffering from a condition known as "leptin resistance" due to years of high body fat levels and a diet full of processed foods.Leptin resistance simply means that even at high levels, leptin is no longer able to properly signal fat burning to your body, dramatically decreasing its fat loss effects.That's a pretty disheartening truth for the fat loss enthusiast, but as I mentioned earlier, there IS something you can do about it.
Let me ask you this:
What if I told you there was a drop-dead simple way to keep leptin levels high as you lose weight, while also increasing your body's sensitivity to the hormone?  Is that something you might be interested in?You see, if you could do that, you could essentially keep your body in a fat-burning state all the time... high leptin levels = high levels of fat burning... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Can you just imagine how much MORE fat you'd burn if your body was no longer limiting your rate of fat loss on a daily basis?

BOTTOM LINE :  The best way to keep your leptin levels high is to eat . Don’t count calories,make calories count.  

Sunday 19 February 2017

The Proper State of Mind for Achievement

          The fact is ,you will never reach your ultimate fitness and health potential by merely showing up at the gym three,four or even five times a week,taking some supplements,and eliminating junk food from your nutrition plan.If you approach your health and fitness goals at that level only,here’s what you will discover: you’ll be able to stick with an intense exercise program for only a few short weeks at a time, then you’ll “sabotage “ your program, and you won’t know why. You’ll “eat good” for a week or two, then you’ll “blow it”. You’ll decide to take a break. Take some time to refocus,remotivate yourself. Month’s later and much heavier you decide to try again. But this time things will be different. You join a different gym. Try the latest diet. This time things will be different. But their not. You repeat the same cycle again. The fact is you’ll never “get it together” long enough to really make any significant changes.Eventually,you’ll get so frustrated you’ll give up. Maybe you’ll try again. Maybe you won’t. In a nutshell ,you’ll fail.
           So, those of you who truly want to discover the secrets to success must accept that reaching your full potential requires much more than simply “going through the motions”. You have to learn how to “program” your mind so you can create a clear vision of your future that is exciting to you.The more clear that vision of your “future self”, the more you will desire to make it a reality. On the other hand if you don’t have a clear picture of what you want ( which most people don’t) , you’ll find trying anything new or challenging extremely difficult. It all comes down to one thing. Your mindset!
          We all have three mindsets: a history-based mindset,a present-based mindset, and a future-based mindset. What type of person you are and how successful you are at an endeavour has a lot to do with what type of mindset you allow to dominate your thoughts, decisions,communications, and actions. Make ,no mistake, what mindset you choose to have determines  who you are and what you can and can’t do! Notice I said choose. What mindset you’ve got now does not have to be the one you “live with”. You can change it, but you have to make a conscious decision to do so!
           Most people have a strong history-based mindset because, generally, people are too comfortable-they “take it easy”. A persons whose actions are dominated by a history-based mindset sub-consciously believes most of everything that is important, pleasurable,or meaningful in their lives has already occurred. The future goal of these individuals is….well…basically…to return to their pasts! These folks spend a lot of time reflecting on “the good old days”-talking about parties,the big game, when they used to be in great shape,etc. They would rather look backwards than forwards,because it’s easier to reminisce about where they’ve been than to try to figure out where they’re going. Quite often these reflections of the past ,are a bit different than the reality of the past. If you know what I mean!
        People with a history-based mindset are reluctant to accept new ideas or opportunities , and they have trouble sticking with anything challenging ; hence ,they make crummy workout partners.Moving forward in any meaningful way actually takes them further away from where they want to be,which is where they were. Get it?
        What’s worse is history-based individuals are very uncomfortable with the growth of others because it threatens the structure of their lives,which is devoted to any activity that does not produce a positive result. These people lives are filled with non-productive activities –they waste time and basically waste their lives.
        My guess is you wouldn’t even be reading this if you weren’t at least relatively serious about improving yourself. Thus , it’s not very likely you’re the type of person who’s dominated by the past.;however,I’ve discovered that far too many people who want to lose weight and improve their health are dominated by their present-based mindset,they aren’t obsessed about going back in time, but they aren’t nearly focused enough on the future. These people have tremendous potential to improve ,rapidly. They just need a push in the right direction-they need to be “focused” to make a conscious decision to look forward instead of focusing so much  on the here and now.  
      People whose daily actions are governed by a future-based mindset are continually growing. They constantly  take on new and bigger challenges. They are always creating, modifying and improving their future vision. What has happened to these people in the past is not ignored or denied-those experiences are used to develop skills that help them get where they want to go.
      When you develop a strong future –based mindset,your subconscious propels you towards constant growth and improvement- you don’t have to force yourself to set goals,you just automatically do it. And every time you accomplish an objective it’s  not the end- it’s the starting point for the future progress and improvement
      Try this: focuse on a crystal-clear vision of how you’d like your body to look in the future. See yourself with toned muscles,your posture is perfect-shoulders back,chest up,chin out and a look of confidence,control and satisfaction on your face. Vividly imagine what you will feel like,as you look in the mirror and see the reflection of your dream physique! Be sure to do this mental exercise the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning. Everyday .
       Now, close your eyes for approximately three to five minutes and focus even more intensely on this future image of yourself. While you’re imagining your future self ,your mind will automatically be determing what has to happen between “now” and “ then” in order for you to reach your goal. And , for that to happen,maybe you need to stop making excuses  about why you can’t find time to exercise,about why you can’t stick to a healthy nutrtion program .
        The real problem is not that you’re to busy to train,nor that you have poor discipline,the problem is… don’t really want it. And the reason your desire isn’t there because you haven’t yet developed and exciting and positive vision of your future self. What doe’s your future self look like ?


Wednesday 15 February 2017

My “Dieting doesn’t work “ Rant !

      Tuesday evening I watched a show on channel 4 called “Super Slimmers: Did they really keep the weight off?”. If you have ever struggled with your weight please find this show and watch it. It is fact based,and backed up by science on what actually happens when you diet and why the weight will come back on. True , the information is more than thirty years old, but finally we are getting to the truth about the weight gain epidemic. They do leave a few questions unanswered, but that may be down to time constraints. While I’m on the subject of dieting let me share with you a couple of things about the insanity of dieting. Let’s say you are in your late 20’s or early 30’s. You realize you haven’t been managing your finances very well (your weight) and you need to do something about it before it’s too late. So you call in a financial advisor ( a diet ). He explains to you that with his financial plan (diet) you will make some money ( lose weight) and you will lose some money (gain weight). He tells you that 12% of the people who use this plan ( people who keep the weight off for more than two years) end up better off . Here comes the big “BUT”. But , 88% of the people who use this plan end up much worse off ( people who put the weight back on plus some ). You come to find out that ,this is the industry standard. What would be your response ? Knowing this would you sign up? I hope not. Well that’s what happens when you diet. Losing weight is easy. Losing fat is the hard part.
                 Please remember this. The biggest problem with being overweight is not the way you look.  If you are 2 stone or more overweight you are already sick. The weight gain is the end result of things starting to go wrong, not the cause of it. The excess weight is the by product of hormones and vital organs starting to malfunction . You can put a stop to it. You do have the power to do it. It’s in there. It’s never too late. The only thing worse than being overweight for 5 years is being overweight for 5 years and one day ! It’s not complicated. It may be hard but it’s not complicated. Here is the winning formula. Guaranteed !
 Resistance Training + Some Cardiovascular Work + Proper Nutrition = Permanent Weight loss and Good Health ! There it is. Follow that formula and I personally guarantee you will accomplish everything you have ever dreamed about. IT’S NOT COMPLICATED.       

Sunday 12 February 2017

Keeping prediabetes from becoming diabetes

   When I’m seeing a new client, I am especially alert to certain pieces of their history. Do they have a strong family history of diabetes?  Did they have diabetes in pregnancy? Are they overweight or obese? Do they have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? Have they been diagnosed with Metabolic SyndromeX ? 
    Why do I care about these things? Because they may be clues that the patient is at risk for developing adult-onset (type 2) diabetes, and that can lead to multiple major medical problems.
   Many people have heard of type 2 diabetes, a disease where the body loses its ability to manage sugar levels. Adult-onset diabetes most often affects people with known risk factors and can take years to fully develop, unlike juvenile (type 1) diabetes, which can develop randomly and quickly. 

Here is why high blood sugar is a problem
      Untreated or undertreated diabetes means persistently high blood sugars, which can cause horrible arterial blockages, resulting in strokes and heart attacks. High blood sugars also cause nerve damage, with burning leg pain that eventually gives way to numbness. This, combined with the arterial blockages, can result in deformities and dead tissue, which is why many people with diabetes end up with amputations. The tiny blood vessels to the retina are also affected, which can cause blindness. And don’t forget the kidneys, which are especially susceptible to the damage caused by high blood sugar. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure requiring dialysis and/or kidney transplant. But wait! There’s more. High blood sugar impairs the white blood cell function critical to a healthy immune system, and sugar is a great source of energy for invading bacteria and fungi. These factors put folks at risk of nasty infections of all kinds.
       These facts scare me. Not just because I’m the Professional Personal Trainer who gets to help manage these not-fun issues, but because I’m responsible for the health of my client and must take these things into consideration when I’m designing the client’s exercise and nutrition program.
      So what can we do? If we know who is at risk for diabetes, and it takes years to develop, we should be able to prevent it, right? Right!
Keeping prediabetes from becoming diabetes
     A recent in-depth article by endocrine experts declares prediabetes a worldwide epidemic (which it is).1 Prediabetes is defined by fasting blood sugars between 100 and 125, or an abnormal result on an oral glucose tolerance test. What can we do to treat prediabetes? The authors reviewed multiple large, well-conducted studies, and all showed that prediabetes can be targeted and diabetes delayed or prevented.
   One of the largest studies was conducted here in the U.S.. Over 3,000 people from 27 centers who were overweight or obese and had prediabetes were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
1.standard lifestyle recommendations plus the medication metformin (Glucophage);

2.standard lifestyle recommendations plus a placebo pill; intensive program of lifestyle modification. 

      The intensive program included individualized dietary counseling, as well as instruction to walk briskly or do other exercise for 120 minutes per week, with the goal of some modest weight loss.
     Investigators followed the subjects over three years, and the results were consistent with those from many other studies: the people in the intensive lifestyle modification group (nutrition counseling and exercise guidance) were far less likely to develop diabetes in that time span than those in either of the other groups.3,4,5 Want numbers? The estimated cumulative incidence of diabetes at three years was 30% for placebo, 22% for metformin, and 14% for lifestyle modification. The incidence of diabetes was 39% lower in the lifestyle modification group than in the metformin group. As a matter of fact, they shut down the study early because it was deemed unethical to keep the subjects in the placebo and metformin-only groups from proper treatment.
      The authors of the prediabetes review also looked at the multitude of other studies that more closely examined what kinds of diets are useful and concluded that “The consensus is that a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, monounsaturated fat, and low in animal fat, trans fats, and simple sugars is beneficial, along with maintenance of ideal body weight and an active lifestyle.”
It’s really just common sense.
A word about medication
     For people who won’t or for whatever reason cannot change their diet and lifestyle, I do recommend a medication. For people who are on the cusp of diabetes and who have multiple risk factors or other diseases, medication really is indicated. There are also people who want to add a medication to diet and exercise in order to boost weight loss and further decrease their risk, and that’s fair as well.
    I know that using medications for prediabetes is controversial. Other doctors have warned that the label “pre-diabetes” is over-inclusive and that it’s all a vast big-pharma marketing scam. It’s true that we have to be informed about what we’re prescribing and why. But based on what I’ve seen in my career, I definitely do NOT want to develop diabetes myself, and if you’re at risk, believe me, you don’t either. So, consider the pros and cons of everything, talk to your doctor, and decide for yourself what action you want to take. The fact is, that whenever possible , healthy eating and regular exercise is always the best the option.

Success Fitness Training

Professional Personal Fitness Trainer