Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Exercise is a Gateway Drug

It has now been researched and shown that willpower or ability to follow through on what our mind wants to do, not only fluctuates greatly throughout a day with mental and physical fatigue but also gets depleted or strengthened over time. 

Habits by nature take time to fully develop, which we need to accept from the start, but what the research shows is that each successive habit takes less and less time and "feels" easier and easier to develop. Meditators have known this for millenia see the mind as very similar to your body and muscles in that they get stronger or weaker depending on if we have a disciplined practice of a habit. Our minds need some form of training to remain strong and disciplined enough to maintain the habits that bring us our healthy and happiness.  It starts small with one tiny habit like exercising 30 minutes 3 times a week, even walking, but it can multiply to transform your life into all the success and happiness you've dreamed of.  What is your gateway habit?

In sports we expect that if a body has been conditioned in one type of sport it is usually going to pick up the next sport a lot faster, because they are considered athletic.  Their muscles, structure and abilities are at a higher functioning level. Well the mind is no different, and not just in intellect, i.e. smarter, intellectually inclined people can learn new things faster.  It is even true for habit formation through the principle of discipline.  Like that transferable athleticism, our mind builds up transferable discipline or willpower that can be used on any target you wish. However just like your body, if you drop off from practicing your main or gateway habit, your mental discipline will weaken and all your habits and "willpower" will likely go to shit.  For us this means that if we drop our exercise routine, most likely other healthy habits like our eating, our sleep, or even our interpersonal habits like being kind to others will start to drop off so we cannot think in silo's but stick with the integrative path. One muscle effects the rest, and one habit effects the rest so we need to get back on the horse and take care of ourselves. Discipline is discipline. 

The cumulative ease of habit formation is a huge incentive for people setting out to change their life and get in shape.  We intuitively know that the first few weeks of getting in shape or starting any habit are the toughest, but instead of seeing just the exercise rewards to motivate us forward, we can envision a whole network effect of healthier habits offering a much greater inspiration. Open to the bigger picture, we are doing more than just exercising at Unite.  Think, "With this one habit I am enabling many. With this one workout I am creating the possibility for a greater version of me."

This is what we mean in Unite's Eating Philosophy when we say "Upgrade your diet everyday". There is no time off really in the sense of allowing yourself to be unmindful or non-disciplined about what you are doing. But that is not a problem because the view is that there is always a new and exciting way to practice discipline and progress on your life's path. Even choosing to indulge in a delicious but not nutritious baked good or beer can be practicing discipline, if you practice keeping it to 10% or practice mindfully seeing how it makes you feel before, during and after. Discipline in habits is the how, the way, not just the objective what you are doing.

This is not just a health and wellness phenomenon either, although exercise is a proven gateway habit because of the big physical, chemical lift you get from it.  New habits that can spring up could be study habits, cleaning your home, improved sleep, communicating with your partner or child, the habits are whatever you want to work on to improve the quality of your life.  But it all starts with that first gateway habit to train your mind in the joy of discipline. The world rewards those that can consistently turn their attention back towards their goal, the process, the higher ideals they want to live into.  This is practice, it is everyday, and it takes time, so spend more time returning to your focus and less time beating yourself up or trying to forget that you are not practicing your habit by covering it up with pleasure and distraction.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eat Like a Nutritarian

What actually constitutes a healthy diet? There is so much new research everyday and more and more developments in the field of nutrition, that it can be hard to answer this seemingly simple question. 
As a nutritionist my job is to deduce from all the information being thrown at you and provide you with simple, evidence based theories that have remained true time and time again. Because nutrition is also a fairly new field, it wasn't until recently that we have had more assurance in some of our "truths" in regards what makes up a healthy diet.

We have been told from day one that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Duh!! It's a broken record already. How can we use that information in a different way, other than just vaguely knowing that these foods are healthier? We have to revolutionize the way we look at these foods and what their purpose is. If you knew that eating broccoli every day would cause you to never get cancer EVER in your life, then I'm going to bet you would find a way to incorporate it into your diet. But just saying broccoli is good for me isn't very motivating. 
In our Unite Fitness Eating Philosophy we stress eating the majority of your calories through nutrient dense foods. (e.g., fruits and vegetables). This is at the top of our food pyramid and is the foundation for helping our clients find their best weight. These foods will not only support a healthy metabolism, but they will provide you with the right fuel to live a vivacious and long life. We know so much about nutrition and its powerful effects to create disease or protect against disease. However, the question that seems unanswered to the majority of our population is what constitutes a diet that is actually disease protecting versus one that is disease promoting? What degree of nutritional excellence is necessary to make a diet therapeutically disease reversing? How do we measure the quality of our diet or the degree of nutritional excellence we are obtaining?
There's a new dietary term coined by nutrition guru Dr. Joel Fuhrman (nutritionist for Whole Foods Market) and it's called being a "Nutritarian." Fuhrman says the quality of a diet can be judged on three simple criteria:

  1. Levels of micronutrients 
  2. (vitamins, minerals, phyto-chemicals per calorie)
  3. Amounts of macronutrients 
  4. (fat, carbohydrate, protein) Meeting individual needs, without excessive calories that may lead to weight gain or health compromise.
  5. Avoidance of potentially toxic substances
  6. (such as trans fats) and limited amounts of other potentially harmful substances (such as sodium).
Dr. Fuhrman is revolutionizing the way we as eaters think of food. We need to start looking at what human beings need to support living a long and healthy life.

  • It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to have a low glycemic index.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to be low in animal products.
  • It is not sufficient for the diet to be mostly raw food.

"A nutritarian understands that food has powerful disease–protecting and therapeutic effects and seeks to consume a broad array of micronutrients via their food choices"
Let's begin  to look at food in how the nutrients will benefit you. As if you're picking out a vitamin in the store, let's choose a food and do our research on what the food will provide us, both good and bad. If I read a nutrition label and don't recognize or understand an ingredient I will immediately pull out my smart phone and look it up. I make sure I am staying responsible with what I put in my body.

A quick way to assess the nutrient density of foods is to look at the ANDI score at Whole Foods Market.  ANDI stands for "Aggregate Nutrient Density Index." An ANDI score shows the nutrient density of a food on a scale from 1 to 1000 based on nutrient content. ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities.
Don't just let food keep you alive, let it keep you alive and well, make everything you eat count!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do You Eat Like an Animal?

When I feed my yellow lab Jackson he devours it. No chewing really, just crunch and swallow and done in under 30 seconds.  I can put his standard boring food or a steak and he treats it all pretty much the same, how fast can I get it in my belly and look for more. I love him but I cannot help but look at him with disgust every time.

Seriously have you ever caught yourself throwing such a huge handful of popcorn in your face that it overflows your mouth? I have. Or eating so freaking fast, like its your last meal on earth, that your stomach hurts and you have to lie down? Sometimes we cannot even recall what we ate for lunch because we worked right through it oblivious and uncivilized. Or we don't appreciate the color and beauty of the worldly array of food prepared for us because we were so completely lost in the latest episode of Modern Family.

What happened to our Western Society that we turned into such animals.  Many of us don't even grocery shop, cook our meals let alone sit down face to face with people to eat and chat unless its at a restaurant. You might not think this is particularly a problem, that only the quality and quantity of the food matters, but the message hear is that they are inter-dependant. If you aren't mindful about the entire process of eating then you will eat more poorly and be clueless to the lessons your body and mind are telling you about the food you just ate.  I am here to try to inspire people to get back to food basics.  To deeply enjoy natural healthy foods and respect the art of eating again.

There are only three steps and words you need to remember to change it all around:
Know it... Enjoy it... Feel it

Know as much as you can about your food and continually try to learn more.  Work backwards.  What are the ingredients in each dish? Macronutrients categories and amounts? General caloric densities? Nutrients contained? and you keep going deeper into Organics? Sources? etc. Get curious. Given the state of our food system, the more you know the more you will naturally want to know more as there is a lot of cheap food to watch out for.

Usually we move so fast through life trying to get more things done thinking that this will bring more  happiness.  Ehhhhhh!!!!! Wrong.  There is no need to rush when we could be taking better care of ourselves which will pay back much better dividends. I mean where are we rushing off to all the time really. Slow down and know what the hell you are putting in your magical body or it won't be looking or feeling too magical.  

It's our ability to enjoy life and be preset to everything we are doing that brings us more happiness, i.e. really paying attention, learning from both the healthy experiences and painful ones.

Here is a quick powerful exercise that both gets our mind fully into our food.  It also reminds us of just how magical the world is when we use the powers of our five senses to their full capacity.

First, prepare a healthy, all natural, balanced, colorful meal based on our eating philosophy. Take a moment with each ingredient, really look, smell, taste and touch it.  What does the plant look like? Where does it come from? We have lost touch with what the plants that grow our food even look like so google ones you don't know. 

Once the meal is plated as beautifully as you can go through each of your senses mindfully to get a full experience of the food.  You could also do this with takeout or at a restaurant of course. 

  1. See it (don't smell it yet): look at all the shapes , colors, textures, shine and overall feeling of the entire plate
  2. Smell it (close your eyes): try to distinguish the ingredients, odors, warmth, feeling of each dish
  3. Taste it: try to break it down and describe it as sweet, savory, sour, spices, flavors
  4. Hear it: listen to the chewing for sounds of crunching, munching, slurping, etc. which adds to the experience and knowing the contents: fats, fibers, etc.
  5. Feel it : as you chew, swallow and afterwards notice the texture for creamy vs crunchy, warm or cold, light or heavy in belly, etc.

Then just notice what emotions or states come about in mind, i.e. wired, sleepy, wanting more, satisfied, etc.  Really the only extra step is connecting how your mind and body feel after eating to the food you just ate.  We forget often times and the crappy food gets off scott free for making us feel crappy. Just holding a strong belief that food and mood are very much a cause and effect relationship should help tremendously.

Art of Eating Tips:

  • Eating Out - restaurants can really enhance your attentiveness to all the amazing details of your meal and your partner or friend just keep it special 1-2 nights per week.  Make sure it's a quality, quieter restaurant where you can focus on food and each other.
  • Recreate a restaurant experience at home. Get excited, cook something special, plate it nicely, add candles, pour wine, etc. really get into it.
  • Catch yourself when you are stuffing your face, eating in the car, etc. each time and those times will naturally become fewer and farther between.
  • Pause every few bites and drink water to slow the process down, help digestion and tune into the food qualities using the See, Smell, Taste, Hear, Feel right in the moment.

Upgrade Your Family's Thanksgiving to Slim Down

Turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, sugary cranberry sauce, buttery stuffing and pie, lots of pie! This is what comes to mind when we thing of celebrating Thanksgiving with our families. We give in to the idea that we will spend hours indulging in some of the most calorie filled foods, only to vow to "be good" for the weeks that follow before we do it all over again around Christmas. 

From the cheese ball and crackers before to the pumpkin pie after, Thanksgiving meals can weigh in at more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to the Caloric Control Council. That's more than twice the number of calories most of us should eat in an entire day, and enough dietary fat for more than three days!

But Turkey Day needn't leave you feeling so stuffed that you need to loosen your belt at the end of the day. If you're cooking this Thanksgiving, then you're in control of your own destiny because you can decide how much butter, cream and sugar goes into each and every dish. By making some smart substitutions for each recipe, you can easily save calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. A few years ago I began to experiment with upgrading my favorite family holiday dishes into less guilty versions, that were just as tasty. The responses I received from my friends and loved ones were the confirmation I needed to continue to find more ways to indulge guilt free and pain free. These recipes have now become our family traditions for years to come. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article to try some of my favorite recipes!  

Juliet's 3 Tips and Tricks to a Better Thanksgiving Dinner. Cheers to no longer feeling disgusting!

  • Make your side dishes gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in what products (stuffing, breads, crackers etc.). Gluten acts like a glue in our belly (it literally is used as a glue to make things like envelopes stick together) You can imagine how it makes everything stick together in our digestive tract. Want to feel like there's a big boulder sitting in your belly? Want the feeling like you have to hunch forward after your meal, because it hurts to stand? Then keep enjoying your gluten. I on the other hand decided about 3 years ago to try a different path, as I realized gluten wasn't making me feel my best. I brought home a gluten free stuffing and as I reached for my second helping to my great surprise there was none left. My family had eaten every last bit. They were so impressed that my stuffing tasted just like theirs, "even better" they said. As I left my relatives home that evening they requested that for now on we only have gluten free stuffing. SCORE!!!

  • Make your side dishes mostly vegan. This is a great trick to decrease your calories. Substituting heavy creams for lower fat milks or even better for veggie/chicken stock. Using olive oil instead of butter can decrease your calories and fat significantly and you'd be surprised at how little of a taste difference it makes. I began to make all of my desserts vegan and to be honest I think they taste better! There is also a psychological difference when you know that what your eating isn't as bad for your health. You tend to enjoy yourself more and can really be in the moment with your food.

  • Decrease your sugar. Go ahead blame the bird for making you want to fall asleep at the table, but just know that you are pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. It is a total myth that turkey makes us sleepy. Over dosing on sugar and carbohydrates is really what contributes to this state of comatose. Decreasing my gluten definitely helped me with this feeling, but what really does the trick is substituting refined sweeteners like white and brown sugar for lower glycemic sweeteners. My favorite is Coconut Palm SugarClick here for some other great alternatives. Making your cranberry sauce or baking with these sweeteners are so much better for your health and your waistline. My gluten free, vegan, pie made with coconut palm sugar is the biggest hit of our thanksgiving!

Click the links below to get some awesome recipes for your staples sides this Thanksgiving:

Gluten free/vegan apple, walnut stuffing
Vegan/gluten free /sugar free pies
"Mashed Potatoes" - Made from cauliflower. You won't believe how real this tastes!
Sugarless cranberry sauce

Monday, October 15, 2012

4 UFD Stories

Bravery is not being fearless it is showing up to face it

The inaugural UFD race was just an amazing experience for all involved that we wanted to share a few stories and pics to inspire you to participate next year and bring a big team along with you.  

Many people were intimidated and for some the price was too high.  While we are going to lower the prices with bigger numbers now that we are on the map, the difficulty of the race is really more fear than the course being impossible as these stories will show.  Next year however we will be dropping the team number limit (so you can have more than three), as well as, the competitive timed race aspect (we will still have a clock for self timing/reporting) as everyone gets a trophy just for finishing.


- What was your reason for signing up? How did you decide to do it?
It was a challenge from my personal trainer and after questioning it for a while I finally gave in and just took it on having faith in his opinion and my abilities.

- How did you train for it? Did you feel prepared?
I trained with my personal trainer and started running outside on the weekends with my brother-in-law who is a elite runner.  They both really kicked my ass and I felt like I wasn't getting better but it was just because they were so good.  Definitely train for this and with people at a higher level than you.

- Did you have any concerns/fears before the race? how did it turn out? did you overcome them? 
I wasnt sure I was going to be able to do it. I've only been training for a year.  My biggest fear was coming in last but I sucked it up and kept going. I ran the Tough Mudder a few weeks before UFD and actually blew through it feeling great. The UFD on the other hand really forced me to pause and  I was just dead by the end, like I couldn't have given any more. 

- What did you learn about yourself or gain from doing this fitness event?
I am stronger than I think, but I still have a long way to go!

Ashley Vogel

- What was your reason for signing up? How did you decide to do it?
I’ve never been very athletic and only started working out in January when I joined the Fusion/Unite studio in New Jersey. When I saw the email about UFD back in July, I thought, with more 3 months, I want to put to the test all the training I had done over the past 10 months.

- Did you have any concerns/fears before the race? how did it turn out? did you overcome them?
Leading up to the race, I did not feel well prepared at all, but after completing the decathlon, I was pleasantly surprised in my performance. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to complete the 10 fitness challenges, since strength is my weakest point, however I powered through, and can happily say that I didn’t give up, and completed all 10 challenges.

- What did you learn about yourself or gain from doing this fitness event?
I realized how much I truly love trail running, and when you are with friends its even more amazing. After crossing the finish line, I felt like I could keep running!

- What advice would you have for someone considering this event?
Just have fun!


- What was your reason for signing up? How did you decide to do it?
When I first heard about the decathlon, I thought it was clearly something designed for the fittest people in the region, and I was nowhere close to being able to complete it.  But then my friend Mara decided to compete and I was inspired by her courage. I began working out in January and lost a lot of weight. Reflecting on how far I had come with my training in just 8 months, I decided to sign up as a motivational goal to keep me focused.  

- How did you train for it? Did you feel prepared?
How could I be prepared? Just 9 months earlier, I weighed in at Fusion/Unite studio at 267 pounds and was only able to run .72 miles in 12 minutes.  I might as well have been walking!  I was already comfortable with each of the exercise challenges, since most were part of the regular Unite strength training routines. Using the RunKeeper app on my phone, I set small distance goals for myself and began running outside a couple times a week, in addition to regular workouts.  

- Did you have any concerns/fears before the race? how did it turn out? did you overcome them?
Most of all, I was afraid of the box jumps.  I didn’t think I could jump that high, and definitely not 50 times but then I watched myself in the mirror as I jumped and to my surprise saw that I was clearing the top of the box by a few inches. 

- How did you feel when your wave was called vs when you crossed the finish line?
I was a bundle of nervous energy before my wave was called. Ultimately, I kept telling myself, this is just like a long workout.  I can do this.  The feeling of crossing the finish line was amazing. It was so cool to run across the finish line and see my friends and family there cheering.  I felt on top of the world!

- What did you learn about yourself or gain from doing this fitness event?
I have heard Gavin say this to me before, but this event really drove it home for me: I can accomplish any fitness goal I set for myself.  I really do believe that now.  And it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities about the kind of person I can be.  I am more determined than ever to continue my training, take on more races and take off another 40 pounds of fat over the long term.


 - What was your reason for signing up? How did you decide to do it?
I signed up on a fluke-- I told a friend I'd do it if she did, thinking she'd say no...but she actually registered!  The ironic thing is that she had a complication and couldn't compete.

How did you train for it? Did you feel prepared?
At first I was really worried about the run-- I'd done a few 5ks, but 6.25 miles sounded like a lot.  So I went distance running with a local running club about 10 weeks before the race.  I did my regular workout schedule,which includes 3-4 Fusion/Unite workouts per week, and some yoga.  I also did all 3 practice sessions hosted by the race-- those were EXTREMELY helpful because running after weights is different from just plain running.  The coaches showed us the proper form to use for each challenge and what we learned made working with them a lot easier & less exhausting.  

- Did you have any concerns/fears before the race? how did it turn out? did you overcome them? 
In spite of the fact that I did train for the race, I was incredibly nervous. I had never attempted to do anything even remotely similar to this event, so I was worried I'd look like an idiot, etc.  I was beside myself the entire morning of the race, so once they called our wave, I was relieved to be able to finally turn my brain off and let my body do its thing.  The finish felt like an primal, childlike level of happiness that I don't normally experience in day-to-day life.

- What did you learn about yourself or gain from doing this fitness event?
I went into this knowing rationally I could finish it, but had no actual faith in my own abilities.  What really surprised me is how much fun I had going through the course, and a big part of that is thanks to my teammate Bridgid.  I learned that taking on these super hard challenges can actually be enjoyable.  I also learned that there is no need for heroes in fitness, its all for all. 

- Did anything surprise you in this event?
EVERYTHING about this entire experience surprised me. The fact that I registered, showed up, enjoyed it and even finished in the top of my wave, everything was unexpected.

Is Snacking Good or Bad?

Snacking is a source of contention within the world of nutrition experts. Some say it increases your metabolism and energy throughout the day, others say it increases the likelihood of taking in more calories than you need and doesn't allow your digestive system to ever rest since you are always digesting the last meal.

So is snacking good or bad?

Here are 3 great tips to decipher what is right for your body in the world of snacking.

Tip #1: Snacking is Optional 

It is not a requirement to be healthy and fit to snack everyday. Be aware of what your body needs. Eat when you’re hungry, not because you think you have to. Notice your body’s rhythm and what it likes. For example many peoples' metabolisms are elevated in the beginning part of the day, therefore they get hungrier and find themselves needing a snack between major meals. Don’t deny yourself food for fear of calories. You want to fuel your body when it tells you to. The same holds true for eating after dinner, a time when most of us are not hungry at all, but eat anyways. This puts stress on the body and your metabolism.

Take a week or two to experiment with only eating when you’re hungry. Taking notes and tracking can be helpful for you to see truly what your body's natural hunger is like.

If you tend to get very hungry between meals, eating more frequently may be a good solution for you—and at the bottom of this post, I’ll have some tips on how to do that in a healthy way. But if you don’t get hungry between meals, there’s no reason you need to take time out every two or three hours for a snack.

Since snacking is optional , how do you manage your hunger and meals in a way that promotes a healthy metabolism?

If you do get hungry between meals, but find it difficult to arrange your schedule to accommodate a meal break every two or three hours, there’s another solution: Eat bigger meals! But don’t be fooled, you must be careful to not overload your body’s ability to digest and burn off the calories. Increase the protein and/or fat in the meal in order to get the desired effect. If you increase your carbs (pasta, rice, refined grains, etc.) this plan can back fire.

One reason that people get so hungry between meals is that they make their meals unrealistically small. Let’s say that you need 2,000 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight and you only eat a 200-calorie breakfast bar. Logically, this should get you through about 10% of your day…or about two hours. If you were trying to make it five hours until lunchtime, you’d want to eat more like 400 or 600 calories for breakfast.

It is imperative that your meals are balanced and nutritious, other wise you will feel hungry, even if you have eaten sufficient calories. The body’s blood sugar needs to be balanced to keep hunger at bay. Eating meals and snacks containing protein, healthy fats, and slow-burning carbohydrates, such as those you get from whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans will help you to keep full.

Tip #2: Snack on Real Food, not Snack Food 

The other big mistake I see people making is reaching for so-called “snack foods” like chips, crackers, bars, cookies, and other highly processed and largely nutrient-free items. Aside from the built-in portion control of those little 100-calorie packages, I can’t see any advantage to these non-foods. They add toxic chemicals to your system and make it very hard to shed fat. 

Tip #3: Plan Ahead and Take Food With You!
Make a commitment to your health and begin to plan ahead and take food with you. Whether you are traveling or just headed out to a normal work day, decide how long you are gonna be gone for and how much food you will need throughout the day. Keep things in your desk at the office, like packs of nuts and canned tuna or salmon. Always have something in your bag that can hold you over incase you get starving. Doing this will prevent you from grabbing some unhealthy crap that doesn't support your goals. 

What Are Healthy Snacks? 

Here are just a few great ideas on what to snack on. Watch Coach Juliet in her kitchen as she takes you through even more snacks to enjoy.

Apple with nut butter
Organic turkey or grass fed beef jerky
Greek Yogurt with berries and almonds
Organic String cheese
Roasted or steamed veggies with EVOO
Veggies and hummus
Lettuce wraps with chicken or turkey 
Dark chocolate 
Pumpkin seeds
Protein powder for smoothies or mixed in almond milk
Lara bars (only if before or after intense exercise)
Go Raw bars (only if before or after intense exercise)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why Belly Fat is So Hard to Lose

"I just can't seem to lose my belly!" We hear it time and time again. It's one of the most annoying issues for most of us. Your arms are ripped and your legs are toned, but that belly seems to be stubborn and stick around. So why is it that no matter how hard you try, that muffin top still shows it's stuff?

Good news!  There’s plenty you can do to better understand what’s going on in your body. Once you do, you’ll be better equipped to battle the extra belly fat that seems so reluctant to leave your side(s).

The Biology of Belly Fat
The number one reason it’s so hard to lose belly fat: hormones. With women, menopause comes and a drop in estrogen occurs; this decrease alters where the body stores fat, making women more prone to gaining visceral belly fat. 

Other hormonal imbalances are decreased levels of leptin (an appetite suppressant) and increased levels of ghrelin (an appetite stimulant). These imbalances are caused by a lack of, or disturbed sleep. Ever notice if you don't sleep well, the next day you are extra hungry? Your hormones are out of whack and will cause you to crave more food. 

Another hormone known as insulin is also affected big time by the kinds of foods you're eating and the timing of your meals. Skipping meals or waiting too long will lower your blood sugar, at which point you will feel starving and reach for food. If you turn to the wrong foods or over-eat, you will overwhelm your system and spike your blood sugar, which in turn allows you to store fat, not burn it.

Additionally, the stresses of life – kids, college tuitions or the mortgage – can lead to an increase in cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which also triggers your body to store fat around the middle.

Belly Fat Busters
Estrogen, cortisol and other hormones are pretty hard to contend with, so doing what you've done in the past is most likely not going to work as well as it once did. You’ve got to change it up, from the way you eat to how you move.

Forget the elyptical for an hour. Slow aerobic cardio actually increases your cortisol levels and prevents you from losing your belly. Try high intensity interval training for your cardio and increase your strength training to speed up your metabolism and increase muscle tone. 

Foods That Pack on Belly Fat
Packaged foods, partially hydrogenated oils and enriched flours are not your friends. Above all, remember this one concept: trans-fats. Avoid it at all costs. Researchers have found that the trans-fats found in margarine, packaged cookies, crackers and pasta increase fat in your midsection, and can actually redistribute fat from other parts of the body to the belly. Sugar is also responsible for a your midsection problems. Sugar spikes your insulin and sends your precious blood sugar on a crazy roller coaster ride, where your body has no idea what to do other than to store more fat. This includes too much fruit. Fruit is fructose which is a form of sugar and has a similar effect to white table sugar when abused. Eat your lower sugar fruits like apples, pears, berries, peaches, plums and nectarines.

Foods that Burn Belly Fat
Eat more monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, olive oil and seeds. Other fat burners include avocados, green tea and whole grains. Sea vegetables and algaes are also very helpful and contain important trace minerals that help to detox the body and fight excess fat. Put them on your grocery list, and keep your fridge full and your body running on these healthy sources of energy. Your trimmer tummy will thank you.  

Fall Clean Eating Challenge

Feeling sloppy and fat?
Fall pants not fitting?
Can't seem to buckle down and change your summer eating habits?

Yes, yes and yes??? Then join us for the Fall Clean Eating Challenge 

A terrific way to kickstart weight loss, identify potential food sensitivities/allergies, and put an end to your summer fro-yo addiction, our 7-day clean eating challenge is just what you need if you're looking to hit the reset button after a long summer of BBQ's and parties. 

During the 7 day program, you'll be focusing on foods and drinks that will help you regain balance, eliminate the things that are placing stress on your digestive system, and therefore your whole body. This is nothing like the "Master Cleanse" or similar programs that require you to fast or rely on powders or pills. You will be eating real food that you enjoy.

*Vegetarian, vegan, paleo, dairy free, gluten free etc.. all are welcome in this 7 day challenge. 

Program begins Monday, October 8th

The 7-Day Fall Clean Eating Challenge Includes the Following: 

· A specific meal plan with options to follow every day of the challenge 
· Recipes for all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert)
· A shopping guide/ list (veg and vegan friendly as well as meat)
· Helpful tips to get you through the week with ease 
· Unlimited e-mail support from us during your week, so that all your questions and concerns can be addressed 
· A follow-up nutrition session with Mackie or Juliet following your week to keep you on track. 
· To keep the momentum going, and to get you on a path toward a lifetime of good health, we are offering 15% off  all other nutrition services for all who participate in this challenge.  

Total Cost for the 7-day Fall Clean Eating Challenge: $47