Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Caffeine Controversy
According to the AMA it suggest that one to two 8oz cups of coffee per day is a safe amount. In reality caffeine tolerance varies from person to person. In order for an individual to hear their body’s real signals, you have to remove caffeine long enough to tune in. Because caffeine is addictive, even this temporary caffeine withdrawal can be a real source of anxiety and discomfort for many people.
Ninety percent of Americans consume caffeine every day, including children. So whether you have a one-cup or one-pot-a-day habit, it may be time to look at your caffeine use. Is it time for you to take a brief holiday from caffeine? If you are having trouble with the idea of giving up your daily caffeine, you have good reason. Caffeine is addictive on many levels, not the easiest being its role in social, historical, commercial and private ritual. If you’re not sure whether or not you are addicted, take my quiz to find out.
QUIZ Answer YES or NO to the following questions:
* Do you use caffeine to facilitate a physical activity (for example: waking up, exercising, having a bowel movement, concentrating)?
*Do you have to have caffeine in the morning? Can you substitute hot water with lemon?
*Do you crash or have caffeine/sugar cravings in the afternoon or early evening?
*Do you grow irritable, have headaches, feel disembodied if you miss your caffeine fix?
*Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night?
*Do you have difficulty waking feeling refreshed?
*Do you need caffeine to heighten the effects of other substances; eg nicotine, alcohol, sugar?
*Do you feel your social routines would suffer without caffeine use?
*Does the idea of going without caffeine seem impossible to you?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, the time may be to examine your attachment to caffeine. Anytime a person feels that they cannot be themselves without using a substance, it raises a big red flag. In my opinion, caffeine tolerance relates largely to how well an individual detoxifies. Since we detoxify occurs mostly in our sleep, the very thing caffeine works against. Habitual or excessive caffeine ultimately sabotages the body’s defenses.
The caffeine cycle - energy boost, then the let down. Adenosine a neurotransmitter helps you feel drowsy by slowing down nerve cell activity within the brain’s center. During sleep our bodies and brain detoxify and heal, adenosine levels have a huge role within our picture of health. Caffeine fools your fatigue factor. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors on the nerve cells and speeds them up and constricts the blood vessels in the brain. This is why caffeine is used to treat headaches. Caffeine also triggers an upswing in cortisol (a stress reliever hormone) and dopamine (a motor skill hormone), all which activates the pleasure center of our brain.
When the rush is over and adrenaline levels drop, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, headache, and weariness take over, setting yourself up for a big caffeine and sugar craving. Caffeine is a habitual forming drug, and over time it takes more and more caffeine to produce the desired effect. Caffeine’s effects last up to three to four hours but will sustain in your body for as long as 8 hours. Habitual users will experience real caffeine withdrawal symptoms within hours of reducing the intake, usually headache and a drop in blood pressure, nausea, fatigue, irritability, anxiety and depression.
No one is asking you to quit caffeine completely, just move towards a healthier relationship with it. But be prepared caffeine is not an easy drug to quit. One idea is to start with a half-n-half system. You can start by brewing half caffeine and half-decaf at home or ordering it half-calf at your local coffee shop. Switch to an afternoon of green tea one that contains 50% less caffeine than coffee. While you slowly cut down on your caffeine consumption you will build a better support system for your body.
Other thoughts: Recognize that caffeine is not food or a fluid replenisher. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach increase stomach acid, which can cause peptic ulcers, heartburn and add sugar to sweeten it, upsets insulin and cortisol levels. Drink a glass of water upon rising and then eat a high protein breakfast, then if you still want your cup of coffee - remember half-calf.
Go to bed earlier. Allow yourself a strict 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is important to detoxify and heal the body. Guaranteed to lessen the need for that 2nd or 3rd cup of caffeine.
Increase your optimal nutrition levels with a multivitamin. Caffeine robs your body of necessary minerals so be sure to take a complete supplement. This may also help your fatigue in the afternoons.
Drink more water. Caffeine actually dehydrates you. Drink more water and this may eliminate the cravings for more caffeine, water will also assist in the detoxification process.

Examine your caffeine addiction. If you really need caffeine to feel like yourself, or the idea of going without it throws you into a state of anxiety, ask yourself what’s really going on. Is there something else that can fill that need? The goal is to have the power to choose what you ingest not to have it control you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Looking ahead in 2009-one month at a time....

Whew! You survived another holiday season. My kids and I enjoyed baking cookies, making candy, attending many holiday functions full of delicious foods. Not to mention a few birthday parties that included cake and ice-cream. Now all I want to do is hibernate until spring. Or maybe several of you have decided that this is the time to set 'New Goals' for the new you. You have told yourself that you are going to the gym everyday, you will start to run and you will cut back on your food intake -- you will loose weight.

Wait - Hold It - Stop - before you set those standards to high - remember my theory 'S.M.A.R.T.E.R': Simple, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic, Time, Evaluate, and Reward. Here are a few simple tips that may guide you through this next month.

Daily Exercise: Start your first week with only 10 minutes of walking. Then increase only by 5 minutes the second week. By the third week increase it by 5 minutes, and by the fourth week you will increase your walks up another 5 minutes. By the end of the month you will be walking a total of 25 minutes and your body will crave that ritual.

When choosing condiments, switch to non-fat or skip it all together. This includes the cheese. You will save as much as 250 calories.

Breakfast choices: Skip the doughnut case and choose a whole grain bagel and apple, or ready to drink smoothie or yogurt. The complex carbs and protein will provide you with longer lasting energy.

If you must go to the drive through for lunch, choose a broiled chicken sandwich and skip the fries. If it is fries you crave order the kids meal and enjoy.

When hitting your local coffee shop, order it 'Skinny'. You will cut as many as 30 fat grams with just one word.

Your pet's exercise program has probably slowed down. Grab a coat and hit the sidewalk. Once around the block and you will feel invigorated-a double bonus- your pet will love you too.

With the colder months upon us we tend to forget about hydration. In reality water is crucial this time of year. Keep water close by, in the car, on the desk, next to your coffee table, just seeing it there will remind you to take a sip.

If you are still trying to make that first step with exercise, join a local walking group. It is a chance to meet new folks and stay accountable. Check out my facebook and join our group Eagle Fitness Club for group walks and running events.

Now go ahead and reward yourself for a job well accomplished.

Take this time as another month to stay on task. Don't think you need to do it all this. It took some time to get where you are today and it will take time to get where you want to go. A friend once told me that you must do what you love so that you will keep doing it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Answers to questions you may be asking

I am asked many questions daily, ranging from nutrition, cardio training, weight training, stretching routines just to name a few. Here is what I have to say:

“My father-in-law eliminated all breads and pasta from his diet. He lost 30 pounds. I love bread, and I don’t think I could do with out it. What should I do?”

We need bread and pasta in our diet! Carbohydrates provide us with pure energy, as well as a great source of fiber for everyday balance. Take a look at your nutrition label and note the first four ingredients, be sure they include a whole grain substance, along with 4 grams of fiber per serving. Secondly I recommend we start simple when it comes to wanting to lose a few pounds. Look at your habits, do you over eat? Do you under eat? Do you eat at least 2 fruits a day? How about your water? Start with improving only one of these habits, when it becomes a daily part of your life you can work on something else.

“I want to get back into the gym, where do I begin?”

If you are not the usual gym doer and perhaps you are doing absolutely nothing right now begin with something super simple, “walking”. I once gave a client of mine the simple challenge of 5 minutes each day for 7 days. If she felt good about her 7 days then she could move up to 10 minutes each day for 7 days, then 15 minutes. The idea behind something so simple is to establish a routine.

“Every day I am riding the Elliptical Trainer or I run on the treadmill” “I eat a very healthy diet, yet I can’t loose these last 5 pounds, what more can I do?”

A couple of things come to mind and one of them is Restorative. Try a simple stretch class which should include a rest period or try adding in just a “plain-ole rest day”. Give your body a chance to catch up and repair itself. The other thing that comes to mind is do you have 5 pounds to loose? Maybe your body needs some reshaping. Try something new, such as core work, a Pilates class, or yoga. It might be just what your body needs.

“When I get home from work I fix a nice dinner, but then after dinner I can’t seem to stop eating.”

There is a simple remedy for the after dark overeater. Eat more during the day! Usually we start off our day with a decent breakfast, and then we get so busy we may only have a snack for lunch or skip lunch all together. When 3:00 o’clock comes around we reach for a caffeine fix then we head home. Our nice dinner is delicious, but not enough to satisfy the already negative deficit we’ve created. So we keep eating…. Eat at least 4 meals during the day, you should consume ¾ of your calories by dinner time, which means each meal should equal at the least 300 calories.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our First Ever Walking/Running Training Program. Each member was successful with their goals.

Tony and I enjoy biking - we adventured up a very long rocky ride. Going up wasn't so hard, going down was a bit of a challenge. McCall 2007