Weight Loss

De Mystifying the Glory Behind the Alleged "New Year's Cleanse Diets," 10 Must Have Feel Good Foods and Why Fad Diet's Will Never Work

First allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year! The start of the each year is exciting because it symbolizes a fresh beginning, new chances, unlimited possibilities and a clean slate. Many people set New Years Resolutions. Very few, in fact less than 8% actually follow through with those resolutions. I personally choose to set intentions for the year ahead. Intentions are positive thoughts and actions that I intend to follow through with be it big or small. I write them down and I say them out loud.... daily! Writing my intentions and repeating them out loud daily is part of the manifestation process. What we think in our minds is likely to occur. So.... this year I set my intentions to strengthening my handstand practice, which means practicing daily with drills, strengthening and moving away from the wall. I also set my intention to practice and become more patient, to waste less food and to give more to others. Those are the immediate intentions that I have set, although I will continue to set new daily intentions, as well. 

Diet and weight loss or getting in shape & working out are HUGE on the resolution lists and gyms see a big spike in attendance during the month of January, but guess what....yep, it quickly trickles off as people do not see immediate results and get discouraged. Today I want to focus on the hype you hear about Cleansing Diets, Fasting, Juicing Cleanses, and Detox Diets! STAY AWAY FROM THEM ALL is my very best advice! You will hear conflicting advice from every corner if you seek it, but I am not a believer in fad diets or anything quick or temporary BECAUSE once you go back to your regular consumption, so too will your weight. THE ONLY WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF IS TO ADOPT A NEW WAY OF LIFE! AND.... it is not that hard. I will let you in on a secret.... you do not have to eleminate anything. In fact, it is when we dreprive ourselves of things that we crave them most! Simply modify portions, elimainate snacking (or snack on fruits & veggies), eat 3-5 small meals a day that are colorful plant based whole foods, drink a lot of water, limit or better yet eliminate processed foods and lower fats & oil consumption, as well as sugar consumption (NO MORE SODA).  

Cleanses and fasting leave you fatigued, depressed, tired, sometimes dizzy and often weak.  Sometimes you are able to achive quick weight loss, but this yo yo style dieting is not recommended as a healthy long term weight loss technique. Eating clean is the best way to minimize toxins. Add exercise when possible to maximize weight loss if that is your goal. I am happy to consult with you on a personalized at home plan. 

This book has excellent information on superfoods.

TOP TEN FOODS TO ADD TO YOUR DIET TO NATURALLY HELP DETOXIFY YOUR BODY:

1. Goji Berries: Goji Berries are one of the top ten SUPERFOODS and can be found in health food stores near you. The Gogi is known to increase stamina, strength, longevity and sexual stamina. They also boost immunity, increase alkalinity, provide liver protection and improve eyesight.  

2. Lemon Water to start each day: Lemons alkanize the body so starting the day with a glass of room temperature or warm lemon water cleanses the body and strengthens the liver.  

3.  Beets: A single serving of beets can fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost brain power, as well as help you loose weight. They are very high in fiber, purify the blood, as well as cleanse the liver.

4.  Blueberries: Contain a natural sunstance that mimics aspirin, lessening the tissue damaging effects of chronic inflammation and thus easing pain. They also block bacteria in the urinary tract.  

5. Brazil Nuts: Are loaded with selenium, which is key to flushing mercury out of your body. They are also high in magnesium and maganese, which ward off migraines.

6. Cinnamon: Stops the growth of bacteria and yeast, and speeds up metabolism, which aids in weight loss. It is loaded with antioxidants and is a natural anti inflammatory. Cinnamon lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels making it good for preventing heart disease and diabetes. 

7. Parsley: Herbs are often overlooked, but they have potent healing effects for our bodies. Parsely is high in vitamins A, C, & K, and betacarotene, which protects the liver and bladder and prevents liver and bladder infections. It also keeps our urine clean and relieves bloating.

8. Tumeric: Acts as an anti inflammatory, which relieves arthritic pain as well as other inflammations. It also has powerful antioxidants which improve brain function, lower heart disease and can help prevent and possibly even treat cancer.

9. Probiotics: These are fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria for your stomach and digestive system. Try sourkraut, kimchi, yogurt, beet kvass or kefir and they will strengthen and protect your stomach and your colon. My friends at Fab Ferments make incredible products that you can find at Whole Foods and at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. And they are starting to sell nationally, but there are other brands available, as well. 

10. Wheatgrass: I saved the best for last. This is very potent and powerful. You can sometimes find small juice shots available at farmers markets. Wheatgrass contains 98 of the 102 earth elements. It will help to restore your natural alkaline balance, protect your liver, detoxify the body, increase red blood cells, lower blood pressure, cleanse your organs, stimulate metabolism and the body's enzymes by enriching the blood.  

Cocao, Aloe Vera, Bee Products, Hemp Seed are other super foods that I would recommend adding to your daily diet if possible. Every little effort you make will allow your body to move more easily.  The more you exercise, the more oxygen your body will circulate, which not only boosts brain power, but it may also reduce wrinkles! What a beautiful side affect!

This is another great book about healthy living.

Let's face it we are all going to age, but we have control over how gracefully the process occurs to some extent. It is NEVER too late to start eating better. Each meal is a chance to fuel your body.  Take baby steps. Once you feel the effects and how much better your body responds, you will no longer miss the processed foods or unhealthy choices. You will naturally begin to crave healthy foods.  Now, that's not to say you will NEVER crave a good french fry or an amazing apple pie a la mode, and that is OK! If you are living an active healthy lifestyle, then indulging and enjoying treats occasionally is absolutely no problem.  

I hope you find this helpful and that you are inspired about the new year.  Let all trys and failures go.  Let go of all the outcomes and stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Look in the mirror every morning and say "I love you!" It starts there. Make the committment to yourself to become the BEST version of yourself, because you deserve it. You are beautiful. You are divine.  You are enough.  I love you.  

Wishing you Health, Love & Happiness,

Libby

P.S. - As I entered the New Year I myself wanted to find the healthiest recipes possible. Soup is warm and comforting in the winter and this recipe was appealing so I tried it and it inspired this entire blog! I know I knocked the "detox" diet but you've gotta try this soup: 

Detox Diet – Soup Cleanse Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups water

 1 red onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – minced

5 celery stalks – chopped

6 carrots

2 heads of broccoli florets (stalks removed)

2 medium zucchini – chopped

1 cup fresh tomatoes – chopped (approx. 4 small tomatoes)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and minced)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste if you don’t like spice)

1 head of kale (approx. 2 cups) – stems removed and torn into small pieces

1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice

1 tsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Get the full directions at:  http://www.theeyesofaboy.com/2015/12/detox-diet-soup-cleanse-recipe.html

Please return and let us know what you think after you have tried it! You can also follow me, Libby McAvoy on Pinterest ( Mixing It Up) for more healthy recipes!  

Tips for Combatting the Growing Obesity Epidemic and How the PHIT Act Can Help

Obesity is a gowing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, "Obesity related illness including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers are the leading causes of preventable death." It is truly "sad" that this is happening in our country. Ironically S.A.D. is also the acronym for the Standard American Diet

Our government considers this to be such an enormous problem, with health care costs going through the roof, that Congress is working on a bill called the PHIT Act. The PHIT Act will provide tax incentives to encourage physical fitness by allowing you to take a tax credit of up to $1000 as an individual, or $2000 per household for fitness expenses such yoga classes and gym memberships.

Inactivity is now the 4th leading cause of death in the USA and it contributes to the number one leading cause, which is heart disease.  Exercise and meditation, combined with breathwork can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Type 2 diabetes can also be reversed with a combination of a diet rich in plant based foods and physical movement. 

Inactivity is a HUGE problem and electronic devices and video games are adding to it. Physically fit kids on the other hand have been proven to get better grades in school. Add yoga to their physical activity and you will also see an increase in focus, memory and concentration.  I would eventually love to see all schools incorporate yoga and meditation into the school day and I believe we are headed in that direction, but we are not there yet. So parents, bring your kids and teens to yoga in the evenings or on the weekends. Even consider practicing yoga together. It is a great activity for the whole family! 

Your health is one of your greatest assets! Your body is your temple. WE can be in control of our lives for the most part. It is not easy to lose large amounts of weight, but it is not as hard as you may think if you break the weight loss process down it into small attainable steps. In other words, set simple goals that you can realistically achieve, be kind and accepting to yourself along the journey and know that there is always help. I have worked with clients who struggle with their weight and they have told me how intimidating it is to join yoga classes because their bodies literally cannot fully do many of the postures. I know that is a major point of frustration and discouragement. If that sounds like you, I am here to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. I will modify everything in your yoga practice to make it work for you. 

I would strongly suggest if you are looking to lose more than 30 pounds that we schedule a private consultation, take body measurements (the scale is not always the best indicator for weight loss) and make a plan that will work specifically for you. I can teach you modifications that you can then use in group classes. I will also help by holding you accountable (accountability is a big motivator). Commit to yourself to creating a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. You will be amazed when many of your aches and pains disappear and by the energy and the enthusiasm that will flow back into your life.  You were designed to feel good!

Health & happiness,

Libby

PS -  My monthly membership cost is $130. If the PHIT Act passes, you will be able to write off $1000 from your yoga class fees annually on your taxes as an individual, or up to $2000 for a household.  You can even use this tax credit for Teacher Training and turn it into a money making venture for yourself! Please, I urge you, reach out to your Member of Congress and say YES to the PHIT Act! If you or a loved one (children included) are overweight, see me or someone who can help you.  

 

How to Break the Cycle of Seasonal Weight Gain

Fall is the time to pull out the cozy over sized sweaters and comfy leggings - we all do it. The problem is we also tend to hide under those comfy clothes and eat more in the colder months, which leads to inevitable weight gain. Unlike the bear who gains weight to prepare for hibernation, there is no reason why we should stay indoors and hibernate all winter. Challenge yourself to remain active like you do in the summer months by trying new activities that take in the wonder of autumn and winter.

According to Deborah Balfanz, PhD at Stanford University, "despite our worst fears, the average American really only puts on one pound during the holiday season — which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year." Gaining a pound year after year adds up quickly.  As we get older and our metabolism slows down it makes it even harder to take off those extra pounds that slow us down and put us at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.  This extra weight also has a huge bearing on how we feel about ourselves. So let's take a deeper look into the underlying factors that contribute to this cycle of seasonal weight gain and come up with tips to help us avoid it. 

Approximately 2 percent of the population suffers from a mild form of depression, which is known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this is brought on by the shorter days and colder temperatures. This depression leads us to want "comfort" foods which tend to be higher in carbohydrates and fats. If you think that you suffer from this condition, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor and come up with a strategy to counter the winter blues. 

As for the rest of us, there are many reasons why we tend to eat more in autumn and in winter. These triggers tend to be more behavioral and less biological. They also revolve around our traditions and habits in the colder seasons such as eating junk food while watching football games, over indulging at holiday meals and parties, drinking more alcohol, and reducing our levels of physical activity as we spend more and more time indoors avoiding the cold outside. 

Another contributing factor is the adverse effect of stress upon our appetites.  Fall brings with it the pressures that come with the kids being back in school; juggling hectic schedules, keeping on top of their homework, rushing them to and from extracurricular activities and the added pressures at work. Life can get crazy this time of year and I get it! But... This is the perfect opportunity to break that cycle by becoming mindful of the triggers and habits that cause you to be stressed out.

Allow yourself the permission to not become so busy in the stressful sense this season. We put so much pressure on ourselves and upon our kids to be the very best and to achieve at the highest levels.  We don't have to be perfect. So allow yourself the grace to say, "I can't do it all."  This is not failure. In fact this is a gift that you give to you and your family that will make you all happier and healthier this school year.

Also give yourself and your family the permission to replace activities that you think that you "have to do" but hate, with activities that you love or have always wanted to try. Use these seasons as an opportunity to explore new sports such as hiking, cross country and downhill skiing, indoor cycling, yoga and playing in the snow. In addition, raking leaves and shoveling snow should not be viewed as dreaded chores, but as active ways to enjoy autumn and winter while getting exercise and fresh air. Putting your body into motion not only burns more calories, it also boost your energy and makes you feel great! 

Here are are five things you can do to help you not gain weight this season. Surely there are more great tips, so I would love it if you would share what works for you in the comments below: 

1. Be mindful of portion size of the meals that you eat. Overeating stretches out your stomach, which makes it harder for you to feel full over time. With a larger stomach, it then takes longer for the stretch sensors in your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. Also avoid fatty snacks that are high in carbs, sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Keep fresh fruits and raw veggies around as snacks with a small amount of nuts to go along with them. These healthy foods are packed with fiber and vitamins that will give you energy and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.  

2. Seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a counselor to help you identify the triggers that cause you to overeat and to help you create healthy new habits. A therapist can also be a great resource if you are an emotional eater. In addition, I coach my clients in the areas of fitness and nutrition so feel free to contact me! I will help you develop a nutrition plan, increase your level of fitness and provide an important point of accountability and encouragement for you.

3. Get involved in an activity that gets you moving at least 3 times a week. As you know, yoga has done wonders for me, helping me stay fit, mindful and happy. Find a physical activity that you love and make it a regular part of your life!

4. Wear tight fitting clothes at least occasionally. This will be your reality check. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, cozy big sweaters and loose leggings hide the fact that we are gaining weight.  If your summer jeans feel overly tight in the winter, use this as motivation to shed the weight that you have recently put on.  By being mindful of your eating and adding a little exercise to your day, you will be please by how quickly you can shed that unwanted weight.

5. Create an art or home renovation project that will keep you focused and give you a positive purpose. Having a creative outlet for yourself can be a great stress reducer and keep you from the type of unhealthy snacking that we tend to do when we are bored.

While you are still feeling good from all of your summer activities, continue to practice mindful eating, reduce stress in your life and stay active this fall and winter. Set yourself up now with winning habits that will help you beat the holiday indulgences! 

Warmly, 

Libby

PS - Watch this excellent video that will change the way that you look at eating versus exercise for losing weight.  I highly recommend it!