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Exercise

Exercise for weight loss

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One of the most common fitness goals is weight loss, you may have set this goal for you and you may have been working it for a long time, if you haven´t get the results you want then this post will help you.

When we talk about weight loss we´re actually talking about fat loss and maintain as much muscle mass as possible, we also want to make sure that we can sustain the results and even keep improving without huge sacrifices.

When it comes to weight loss most people talk about eating less and moving more and even when some people are able to get amazing results with this strategy a lot of people don´t get results or are not able to keep the weight off and there´s a huge reason for that so if this is your case it´s not your fault, you´ve been doing everything right following that strategy, the problem is that it´s incomplete, eating less and moving more is the last thing you need to consider for weight loss.

Most people who are obese or overweight are insulin resistant meaning that they´re body is not able to use carbohydrates properly, they´re metabolism and hormones are also damage and if you follow the advice of eat less and move more it will create more damage to your hormones and metabolism. In this case the first step is to focus on fixing the damage and everything going on with your hormones and metabolism first then you can eat less and move more and you´ll get amazing results. We´ll talk about this a lot more in other posts and social media.

The first step regarding exercise is to increase physical activity throughout the day, which is not the same as to schedule a session of cardio every day, just starting parking farther from the entrance on the office, mall, when you go shopping, use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk during phone calls or at least stand up, take a 10 to 15 minute walk after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), schedule 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week for resistance exercise and do bodyweight exercises.

Too much cardio, long sessions of steady state or HIIT can make it harder to maintain a calorie deficit, walking is the more efficient strategy for weight loss because it doesn´t increase hunger and it helps you burn calories, if you do two or three 15 minute walks after each meal you´re doing 30 to 45 minutes of walking it´s easier and more enjoyable.

When the goal is weight loss you want to maintain as much muscle and strength as possible so it´s better to work on 5 to 8 reps for each exercise, remember that the workouts need to be challenging, you need to feel the muscles working so every couple of weeks you may need to make the exercises harder by adding more reps, more weights or making a harder variation of the exercise. Squats, pushups, pull ups, dips, crunches, lunges are all great exercises and they are simple variations as doing pushups on a wall to more difficult variations like clap push ups if you like plyo exercises or one arm pushups.

This also applies for more advanced guys who like to lift weights, you want to maintain muscle and strength so high weight for lower reps is best, in this case you can work in the 4 to 8 rep ranges and focus on compound movements, you don´t need many isolation exercises because your goal is not hypertrophy, keep it basic and simple and focus on maintaining strength so that you maintain muscle mass.

When you´re losing weight you need to be on a calorie deficit meaning you need to eat less, if all your hormones and metabolism are working efficiently then it´s not that hard to lose weight, but eating less will have a negative impact on your workouts if you´re trying to do a lot or to push yourself really hard. Being physically active throughout the day is really helpful to lose weight, short walks after meals, a couple of session of HIIT per week is all you need while making it easier to maintain the calorie deficit.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

Why doing something you hate increases stress

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Life is hard, some days more than others but if we hate what we do every day, if we don´t enjoy our work then stress increases and becomes chronical.

Doing something you hate or you don´t enjoy increases stress for so many reasons and it gets worse when you not only hate what you do, when you not only hate the activity but also the people around you, your team, your boss, the environment or culture of the entire place.

So many people want a secure 9 to 5 job that pays well, we want that security and safety regarding money, but this only gets people trapped in a toxic job and toxic environment.

When you don´t like what you do you don´t have the motivation you need to do what you need to do, when things get harder or you get assigned a project or any challenge that involves learning new skills or taking risks you may start getting anxious or panicking because you´ll need to invest more time and energy into something you´re not interested but you need to deliver and meet expectations otherwise you can be fired.

If the people around you, your team whether they´re coworkers or even classmates just make fun of you every single moment spend there is like hell and as time pass by it gets worse. If your boss or teacher always criticize your work and blame you for everything that goes wrong then stress increases and remains high even when for some reason you are safe in your job and you know he can´t fire you.

If the culture and values of the company or office you work for do not align with your values every minute you are at the office or spend time working with your team you need to be rally aware of every thing you say and do so that you don´t do or say anything wrong.

If you wake up every day without motivation to go to work, without motivation to do all you need to do, if you´re not interested on your job and all the activities it involves you´re not living the life you are meant to live. You spend most time with high levels of stress even if you´re not aware of it, just the fact of not enjoying what you do and not being interested on it and having to do it anyway increases stress.

Life is a journey and none of us are meant to live a mediocre life doing something we don´t enjoy or possibly hate just to have financial security, there´s no reason to make just enough money to live a decent life if you hate every second of the journey and it´s worse knowing that stress is one of the cause of some diseases or at least if it didn´t cause it makes it worse. You might make enough money to pay bills but you have problems sleeping, you get sick pretty often, you are tired and unmotivated all the time you have changes on your appetite, you keep thinking about work and all you need to do and not in a good way even when you´re at home, there´s always something related to your job that keeps you worried, etc.

If you let this control your life at the end you´ll not only hate your job but also your life and you´ll regret not taking the steps or not taking the risk to do what you actually wanted to do. Around 40% of people hate their job and they stay there just because of the paycheck but not amount of money is worth paying the risks of living an stressful life, a life that you hate that can lead to health problems, if you hate your job it´s literally killing you.

Health is a priority, physical and mental, the negative impact of having a job you hate in your mental health needs to be counted. If you feel tired, stressed, unmotivated, if you feel depressed or anxious it can be caused by your job, every experience releases certain chemicals and hormones in your body so it´s not a surprise that a job you hate, doing something you hate in a toxic work environment leads to not only stress but also depression and anxiety, all this leads to poor sleep or lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, weight gain, and it also impacts your personal life, how you interact with your loved ones.

Realize that you deserve much more than a 9 to 5 job you hate, your deserve much more and you are capable of way more than that. We´re not meant to just have a secure job and just get by, we´re here to live a meaningful and fulfilled life and that comes from doing what you love.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Motivation

What you need to know before you start your weight loss journey

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Most of us let ourselves gain weight during Holidays and when we make our New Years Resolution weight loss is on that list, but in a couples of weeks or months we stop because life gets in the way and probably we start working on that goal a couple of times along the year. In most cases what stop us is not getting some results and not having the right information and mindset.

There are so many weight loss programs out there and many experts or gurus claiming that their strategy is the best one, but obesity and overweight keep increasing and there are so many people still trying to lose weight. The first point we need to mention is that if you follow the wrong program you might end up doing more damage to your body, this is related to the most common advice you´ve probably heard “eat less – move more” and unfortunately most weight loss programs focus on this. Even when there are people who can follow this advice and get amazing results a few of them are able to maintain those results most people won´t get results. Most people struggling with their weight and struggling with their weight loss journey won´t get results just by eating less and moving more because the problem is their hormones and metabolism, if you´re one those who´ve been following weight loss programs and crash diets without getting results then you need to fix your hormones and metabolism first.

Weight loss is actually simple if you are prepared before starting your weight loss journey. The first step you need to take is being aware and understanding where you are, if you are addicted to food, or if you have any eating disorder, how much exercise can you do, are you able to stand up and walk for 30 minutes?, are you able to lift weights? Can you do bodyweight exercises? You need to know and accept where you are now, where you are starting and what you are able to do so that you can follow a program that actually works for you.

If you have any eating disorder then following a diet low in calories and very restrictive in any way will until cause more harm, in this case you need to start by replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones one step at a time (will talk about this on a future post).

Then the second step is mentally, realize and accept that it´s going to be hard, even when losing weight is simple it´s not easy especially in the beginning, you´ll need to do some changes to your habits and routines, you´ll need to make better choices but once you get use to those new habits, routines and choices it will be easy. Until this happens you´ll have great days, good days, bad days and terrible days, there´ll be days when you want desperately to eat those cookies, donuts, ice cream, that pizza or hamburger. Considering you don´t have any eating disorder you may need to avoid all those unhealthy foods for a period of time, the first days and weeks it will be hard, you´ll have cravings and you may even have withdraw symptoms just like any other addiction, the moment you get pass this hard time, the rest of the journey is easy. When it comes to exercise first you need to make sure you can do physical activity so you need to talk to your doctor or health practitioner then you need to go in there knowing that you´ll feel tired and pain, you´ll feel your heart rate up, but you also need to be aware of the difference between good pain and bad pain, you need to make every workout challenging without hurting or injuring yourself.

You need to have a program, the more detail the program the better, having a list of foods you can eat at every meal is really important, you will use that list for grocery shopping a couple of days before you start working on your goal, take a couple of days to take all unhealthy foods out of your house and use your list to buy and keep healthy foods. You can make a list of your favorite healthy meals or some meals you enjoy, having 5 or more different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner makes it a little easier by adding variety and not sticking to plain broccoli, rice and chicken. For exercise if you can´t do too much start by walking 15 minutes after each meal, then you can add resistance exercise, for this you´ll need to schedule 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week.

Everyone can promise you fast results, but here we´re not looking for fast results, we´re looking for sustainable results. You want to feel great and look great.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

If it fit your macros (IIFYM)

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If you´ve been following bodybuilding or the fitness industry in general you may have heard some girls and guys following the “if it fit my macros” type of diet or nutrition program and most of them are fascinated with it.

For this diet strategy you need to understand what macronutrients are, we talked about this on a past post (click this link to learn more), for now we´re going to keep it quick and simple, macronutrients are divided into 3 categories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates this are the 3 macros that our body needs in big quantities.

Any diet that you want to follow or most of them are based on different macro ratios, for example a high protein diet is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fats, a keto diet is based on high fats, moderate protein and very low carbohydrates, in the case of IIFYM most of the time people follow a most balanced approach between the 3 macronutrients, to follow this the priority and focus is on macronutrients, not on calories so you need to find out what are your needs for each macro and make sure you hit those numbers every day. Lets say you need 45 grams of fat per day, 122 grams of protein and 183 grams of carbohydrates per day, once you got this numbers you only need to make sure that by the end of the day you meet those needs.

This diet or strategy is a great way to make your diet is sustainable for long periods of time even if you are losing weight because it gives you the opportunity to fit it unhealthy foods, you can have your favorite snacks, meals or desserts as long as you are able to hit your target for each macro, it gives you a lot more freedom. The problem is that a lot of people use this diet to fit in a lot of unhealthy foods, most of their foods choices come from fast food and highly processed foods, the reason for this is that they only focus on hitting those numbers, they´re only interested on hitting the macros and they don´t consider quality of food this is why they can eat pizza and donuts or ice cream for dessert every day, however the problem with this is that those unhealthy foods won´t make you feel full, the impact on satiety is not the same as the one you get from eating healthy foods.

Even when this strategy is a great option for weight loss, we can be pretty sure that if you hit your macros every day you will achieve your goal whether it´s weight loss, muscle growth or maintenance, so if your goal is only to build the physique you want then IIFYM is a great option, but if you´re also considering overall health then you need to think about food quality.

The benefit of this strategy is that it´s flexible and it gives you freedom, you can actually use it with different diets, if you´re vegetarian or vegan, if you´re keto you just need to do the math to get your macros according to your goal and the diet you want to follow and from there you can decide if you want to focus on healthy foods most of the time or if you want to eat more unhealthy foods.

We do need to mention that quality of food does matter, if you get all your macros from unhealthy foods you will get results regarding weight loss, muscle growth and maintenance, but with healthy sources you´ll get better results, some foods even when they help you hit the target for each macro are poor quality or incomplete sources so you won´t get the same positive impact and the impact on hormones is really different between healthy and fast foods or processed foods.

When you focus on healthy foods most of the time you´ll achieve your fitness goal and also improve your health at the same time, there are so many healthy options for each macro. If you want to get the best benefits then using IIFYM and focusing on quality of food, making healthy choices most of the time is the way to go, remember that you can fit some unhealthy snacks and desserts or even meals just don´t do it every day, this is what makes your diet flexible and sustainable.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Why we need to prioritize sleep

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When we talk about health most people think about exercise and diet, nowadays sleep and stress are starting to be part of this talk, but still most of us don´t give sleep the attention it deserves.

Throughout the last post we´ve learnt that sleep plays an important role on maintaining optimal health, during sleep our body is not resting, it´s doing so many different activities including cleaning, repairing, recovery and growing.

There are several reasons why we need to prioritize sleep, if you want to feel energized and be able to concentrate you need to make sure you´re enough high quality sleep, if you want to be able to memorize, learn and remember new skills and information you need to get enough high quality sleep. If you know tomorrow you´re having an exam or competition or an important event you know you need to perform as best as possible, you want to be able to concentrate and remember everything you studied before so you need high quality sleep. Our brain works better and is able to perform and remember more when we concentrate on the task at hand for a certain period of time, it can be 30 minutes to 60 minutes or even 90 minutes and then we take a rest. You can concentrate for a longer period of time, but you´ll get to a point where it´s harder to stay concentrate and you start getting distracted. After a period of concentration you need to give your body and brain a rest, naps are beneficial here, if you can´t get the 7 or 8 hours recommended of sleep you can take a nap.

Another reason why we need to prioritize sleep is to make sure that all hormones and systems in our body are working in harmony, one night of poor sleep or lack of sleep can make us insulin resistance, hormones get out of balance which is a reason why we feel hungry and we have more cravings and it´s harder to avoid those cravings so we end up eating a lot more especially unhealthy foods.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep has been related to different health problems making diseases worse. Research has shown that lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep to be associated with diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, strokes, depression and even cancer. We need to mention that lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can be caused by sleep problems like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, stress.

If we´re following a program to lose weight if we don´t get enough sleep it will be harder to stick to the diet and to exercise, for some reason we can´t avoid unhealthy foods and we can´t maintain a calorie deficit plus we don´t feel energized and motivated to do any type of physical activity, lack of sleep makes our weight loss journey a lot harder. You don´t need to get 8 hours of sleep, most of us don´t have the luxury to sleep that much, you can get 6 hours of sleep just make sure those 6 hours are the best quality possible.

As you can see all 4 principles of fitness need to be working together, sleep, stress, diet and exercise are all important and if one of them is not on point it will affect negatively the other 3 principles, poor sleep or lack of sleep will increase stress, will lead to unhealthy food choices and leads to lack of physical activity. It leads to hormonal imbalances that not only makes your weight loss harder but it also leads to diseases.

We may not have the possibility to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night, and if you´ve been following me and reading my posts you may know by now that I believe that getting 6 hours of high quality sleep might be better than getting those 7 or 8 hours. What we can do is make sure that the hours of sleep we get are the best quality possible, this can be achieved by having sleep routines and habits, what you do before going to bed is really important, and what you do right when you wake up also matters. Physical activity and getting sunlight also play a huge role on the quality of sleep.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Exercise

The problem with cardio

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Cardio is great for optimal health, it has a lot of benefits as we´ve seen before, but too much of it can be counterproductive.

There´s a huge problem nowadays when it comes to optimal body composition, it´s not only that a lot of people are obese or overweight it´s also a lack of muscle mass. Lack of muscle mass is also a huge problem in skinny people, they may be slim and skinny but that doesn´t mean it´s healthy.

Muscle mass and strength play an important role on maintaining optimal health and longevity. When we talk about longevity we´re talking about quality of life, making sure that you live a long life with the best quality possible.

Most people when they´re working on losing muscle they give cardio exercise a high priority, some of them go for long sessions of steady state cardio, others prefer to take cardio or aerobic classes and even when they improve health especially heart and lungs, they help you improve endurance if you over do it you´ll start losing muscle mass which is the opposite of what we want. The goal when you want to lose weight is to lose muscle and maintain as much muscle mass as possible and if you´re skinny the goal is to build muscle mass.

Too much cardio will break down muscle especially if you don´t do enough resistance exercise, this is a huge problem especially with girls because they think that if they lift weight they´ll get big and huge like bodybuilders which is not the case, there need to be several things into place working together to build muscle and it takes a lot of time, if this is your case don´t be afraid of lifting weights, if you don´t want to get big you won´t get big you just exercise the right way to gain enough muscle mass to get a physique that looks tone.

Lets be clear, you don´t need cardio to lose weight and to make this bad news worse if you do it the wrong way it will cause more damage, certain types of cardio exercises or activities based on cardio can increase injuries, decrease performance, impacts on recovery from your resistance workouts so you need to find a way to use in a way that helps you lose fat and even be beneficial for recovery.

It doesn´t matter if you´re losing weight or if you´re maintaining your current weight and physique if you rely on cardio to achieve those goals every time you´ll need to do more and more of it and increase the intensity and if you´re not prioritizing resistance exercise and you´re not working on the other 3 principles of fitness (diet, sleep, stress) to make sure that your hormones and metabolism are working efficiently then with time you´ll need more and more cardio and a lower calorie diet just to maintain your weight and it gets harder when you want to lose weight.

Even when a lot of people recommend to do cardio every day it´s not beneficial, it can block your progress on resistance exercise and in the long term it can lead to damage on joints, if you already have problems with joints then cardio can make it worse.

We need to make a huge distintion here, in this case when we talk about cardio we talk about having a cardio session schedule whether it´s 45 to 60 minutes of steady state cardio or 15 minutes of HIIT. We do need to be active throughout the day but there are so many ways of increasing activity like walking when you´re on phone calls, parking farther from the entrance at the office, mall, when you go shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking 15 minutes after each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

Walking is actually the best form of cardio and physical activity you can do because it doesn´t have any negative impact and you can do it anywhere, you don´t need special equipment, finding opportunities to increase physical activity throughout the day just by walking is the best option when you´re starting your fitness journey, then according to your goals you can schedule 10 to 15 minutes of cardio a couple days a week and 1 or 2 HIIT sessions per week to help you lose fat a little faster or to improve performance.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Stress

How we react to stressful situations is key

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Life is hard, and we all go through very difficult and stressful situations. There are so many things and stuff that we need to go through each day and if we don´t respond the best way possible to each situation or if we don´t manage the way we respond those stressful situations can get out of control and lead to mental health problems.

We´ve mentioned before that it doesn´t matter what we´re living right now, where we are or what situation we´re going through there´s always something outside of our control and there´s something we do have control.

It doesn´t matter what we´re going through we always have control over how we respond to each situation and our emotions. There are some situations that may not be positive, they may not be what we were expecting and they are actually negative, if we´re involved on an accident or if received a bad news, or the project didn´t work out the way we wanted. If we just react in that moment without thinking and analyzing everything going on then chances are we´re going to make the situation worse.

Our perspective on each situation we live matters and also our values, we go through many different situations every day and many of them are not that really important, we give too much attention to minor stuff that does not deserves any amount of attention and we just bring them up, we give them attention and even react in a very negative way that only increases stress and it shifts our day to becoming a bad day. This is really common when we´re driving to the office and someone cut us in a really aggressive manner, but nothing else happens, we can make the whole situation worse by starting shouting a lot of stuff against him even when he/she is not listening. This only sets our day in a negative way.

When you take a step back in any situation to give you some time and space to breathe, to calm yourself down and think then you can react the best way possible. Once you are calm and thinking you can ask yourself if that situation is really important, does it really matters, is it going to make a huge difference a week, a month or a year from now, if it´s not then forget it. If it´s really important think about all the negative outcomes and all the positive outcomes, what´s the worst thing that could happen and what´s the best thing that could happen. What´s the best thing you can do now that is not going to make the situation worse?

It doesn´t matter what goal we set, or what project we´re working on life will get in the way, we´re all going to receive bad news in the moment we least expect, we´re all going to go through bad situations and at those moments our brain will focus on the negative, the negative outcomes, the worse thing that could happen and we react in a very negative way even rude and disrespectful which only increases the levels of stress and anxiety.

Most of us let external issues control how we act and how we feel, if we´re not in control of our emotions, our thoughts in normal situations there´s no way we can take control of our emotions and how we respond in stressful situations that require a lot more time and space to calm and think so that we can respond the best way possible.

It doesn´t matter what we´re going through there´s always something we can control, and that´s the way we respond to each situation, by how we respond we can make the situation worse, it can stay neutral or maybe we can make it a little better. For this we need to be able to be in complete control of our emotions and actions, we need to be masters of them, we need to be able to remain calm and be able to think. Sometimes the best we can do is nothing, do not react, do not respond. Just breathe and stay calm, this is simple said than done, remaining calm under stressful situations is so hard to do but sometimes it´s better.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Motivation

Keep challenging yourself

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The worst mistake we can make is stop challenging ourselves in all areas of life.

We´re all meant to thrive, to grow, to be better every day and the only way to keep growing is by challenging ourselves. The moment we stop challenging ourselves and we get comfortable we stop growing and we start going backwards.

We need to keep pushing ourselves and probably we´ll hate those moments, we need to get out of our comfort zone and most of us are afraid of the unknown or the pain we need to go through physically and mentally, we don´t want to feel any pain, we don´t want to work, we are lazy by nature but if we accept this we will fail over and over, we´ll never accomplish anything worthy and all our potential we´ll be lost.

Setting goals and plans and going through challenges is hard especially when you´ve lost confidence in yourself. Believing in yourself, self-confidence and self-esteem are key when you face challenges, the bigger the challenge the more confidence you need to have in yourself, but what happens when you´ve lost all that confidence and you don´t believe in yourself because you´ve failed before? This is why starting with small challenges is important, if you start with big challenges probably you´ll fail, not because you´re not capable but because of your mindset.

A life without challenges is a boring life, challenges are what make life interesting especially if you love or enjoy what you´re doing, I´m sure you can remember a time when you were facing a challenge, anyone it can be building Legos or a puzzle even, it can also be challenging yourself in the gym focusing if you can hit a certain number of reps with a certain amount of reps, I´m pretty sure you were really concentrated on what you were doing that time passed more rapidly and when you finished you felt a sense of accomplishment, you felt great, your confidence increased, you felt like a champion.

Now, most people doesn´t want to go through all the struggle of facing a challenge, they prefer the comfort and security of a 9 to 5 job, they prefer to be where they are instead of doing the hard work needed to get somewhere or something way better. Most people live this way in comfort and security, but if you look at their lives closely you´ll see it´s quite boring.

Living in comfort and security is not actually living, I´m not against a 9 to 5 job if you are willing to challenge yourself, learn and do whatever you need to do to be the best at what you do, if you´re a secretary what do you need to do to be the best, if you work in a bakery what can you do, what do you need to learn to bake the best and most delicious pastries, donuts, cakes, etc? If you´re a teacher what skills do you need to learn to become the best teacher?

If you really want to live you need to face challenges, life is difficult and the moment you decide to take charge of your life and start living you will start facing challenges that makes life exciting, to make sure you´re going on the right direction you need to be clear on what you want to achieve otherwise when you get faced with an obstacle or challenge you may be paralyzed not knowing what to do, you might make the wrong choices or you can give up, when you know what you want it´s easier to make choices and know what you need to do, what´s going to move you forward to you goal?

We all are capable of going through any challenge we jus need to believe in ourselves and have the confidence which is what small challenges do, starting small is always the best road to success, it builds confidence and the mentality you need to go through bigger challenges and keep growing.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Portion control

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There are so many strategies you can use to make sure you´re eating the right amount of food, one of those is portion control.

One of the most common fitness goals is weight loss, followed by muscle growth, obesity and overweight is still a huge problem and it´s getting worse. One of the reasons why is because portions are bigger and bigger, companies make bigger portions and they trick you with the small and medium sizes so that you end up buying the bigger one. With this increase in sizes we´ve also increased the amount of food we consume per meal even when we cook at home so having an idea of how much we´re eating and how much we actually need as a great strategy for weight loss.

You may had even try to lose weight before maybe more than once so I´m sure you´ve followed the most common advice “eat less – move more”, I´m sure you´ve also heard about portion control. Some people just get crazy counting calories and they find it easier to stay on track by controlling every portion of food they eat.

From what I´ve seen, this strategy is used more by girls who are losing weight, some guys also follow it for weight loss. This strategy can be used to help you stay on track on your diet by having a clear idea of how much food you can eat for each macronutrient. We all know that if you eat more you´ll gain weight and if you eat less you´ll lose weight. The problem is that since portions nowadays are really big we are completely misguided on how a single portion of each macro looks like. There are different ways you can keep track of portion control when you´re cooking and preparing your meals, one is using your hands as a guide and the other is using your plate. I consider using your hands as the best strategy because there are different sizes of plates and this can create confusion.

To use your hands there are certain guidelines for example: a portion of protein is of the size of your palm for girls, a portion of vegetables would be the size of your fist, for carbohydrates it would be one cupped hand and for fats it would be the size of your thumb. For guys you can go up to double of each. When you´re eating out most people who are following this strategy find it easier to order half of the portion.

For some people even this guidelines can be confusing so getting help from experts is important, nutritionist or dietitians can show you what a portion of each macro looks like, when you´re seeing it in front of you it´s easier for you to get a more clear idea so that you can stay on track.

If you measure this you´ll find out those portions are small considering what you´ve been eating, so when you start a diet and follow this guidelines you can feel hungry almost all the time because you´re eating way less and considering that you are making two changes at the same time it makes things harder. I´m considering you were eating a lot of unhealthy highly processed and fast foods so the first change is avoiding those unhealthy foods and eating healthy ones and the second change is eating less.

When you start this change, if after a couple of weeks you find it really hard to stay on track then you need another strategy that helps you improve your hormones and metabolism to get rid of those cravings and hunger so that it´s easier to lose weight.

For some people strategies like counting calories, points or portion control alone work great to lose weight and keep it off, for others we may need some more strategies that help us improve our health and at the same time lose weight.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Is it more important quantity or quality of sleep?

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Is it more important quality or quantity of sleep? Is it better to get 7 or 8 hours of poor quality disturbed sleep or to get 6 hours of high quality undisturbed sleep?

If I´m not wrong on a las post we talked about why it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep than to get 7 hours of poor seep. We can´t deny that both matters, quality and quantity are both important, but, there are some points we need to consider.

The quantity of sleep each of us need varies, babies and kids need more sleep while adults need less. Some people do need to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep while others may just need 6 hours. This varies for many reasons, circadian rhythm, chronotype, lifestyle.

There´s no reason to get 7 hours of sleep if those 7 hours or poor quality, it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep. With quantity too much or too little sleep are both a problem, more than 9 hours of sleep and less than 6 hours of sleep both have negative impacts on health, you can see those short-term negative impact right the next day. You feel tired, it´s harder to focus on the task at hand, you don´t perform as best as you can, cravings for unhealthy food increase, you eat more. This happen also when you 9 hours or more of sleep (considering you haven´t gone through a night of poor or lack of sleep), for some reason you don´t feel as great as you should imagined after getting that much sleep.

Even when experts and most people say that we all need 7 to 8 hours of sleep this is not completely true, knowing your sleep chronotype is key to knowing at what time is better for you to sleep and how much sleep you actually need. Dr. Michael Breus is talking about all this better than anyone else.

You might now by now if you like to go to sleep early and wake up early in the morning or if you prefer to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. You might also know if you feel more energetic and able to concentrate in the morning or if you find it easier to work and concentrate later in the day.

Even when nature has a rhythm or cycle and we all need to work according to it, we all have some moments when we feel more energized and focus and this has an impact on our daily schedule.

Nowadays it´s hard for us to get those 7 to 8 hours that most experts recommend to finding our chronotype is very helpful, although the problem with this is that most of us have a 9 to 5 job or go to school so it´s hard to fit our internal clock and when we feel more energetic, when we are able to concentrate and perform better with the demands and hours of school and work.

To keep things simple most of us will get great benefits and feel great by getting 6 hours of high quality of sleep, if we consider that each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes with 6 hours of sleep we´re getting 4 complete cycles, most people feel way better when they wake up after a completing a cycle than when they wake up in the middle of one. Now we need to make sure that those 6 hours are the best quality possible, you can do this by creating a sleeping schedule and routine as we´ve mentioned in other posts and try to use your chronotype as a guide, if you can make it fit with your daily lifestyle that´s way to go, otherwise try to make it as close as possible. If you know you can concentrate and perform better in the morning try to make the hardest task in the morning, if you know you work better at noon or late afternoon try to make the activities that require more concentration at that time.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam