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Paleo diet

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What did ancient people ate? What did our ancestors ate? Many people claim that the paleo diet is the best ones, that´s how our ancestors ate but, is this true?

There´s a lot of research about what our ancestor ate, and there´s some research going on still but, there are also different diets claiming that each was the real, original diet of our ancestors and therefore it´s the healthiest one. But, from my point of view it´s really hard to know exactly what they ate.

Paleo diets are really simple, they eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. We can agree that this is a good strategy because most health problems nowadays are caused by our unhealthy lifestyles which include more sedentarism and highly processed and refined foods that contain sugar and unhealthy fats. From this perspective a paleo diet can be healthy.

I can´t deny the fact that a lot of people who follow this diet lose weight and their health improves and this is obvious because you are eliminating unhealthy, highly processed and refined foods that contain a lot of toxic ingredients for the body so the moment you eliminate this unhealthy foods you will start feeling better and losing weight. We also need to consider that by eliminating unhealthy foods you are eliminating inflammatory foods which also leads to health and weight improvements.

There are some points you need to consider, I´ve seen people following this diet to eat too much fruit, some of them adjust it or modify it to be a vegan or vegetarian paleo diets, some do not get enough protein and fats. Our bodies do not need high amounts of carbohydrates so I don´t consider eating too much fruit to be beneficial, we do need veggies because those are the ones that contain more micronutrients and fiber but we also need a moderate amount of protein and especially healthy fats. The macronutrients ratio is something I consider for making sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs and in paleo diets in some cases they just focus on food you can eat and the ones you need to avoid without paying too much attention to macro ratios.

We´ll talk on other post about the quality of protein and why it´s better to get it from animal sources so if you want to follow a vegan paleo diet make sure that it is well created and that you are getting the nutrients you need.

The paleo diet is a great option when used as an elimination diet, when you have health problems whether physical or mental going throw an elimination diet helps you target the foods that are causing problems like dairy, grain, gluten, etc. As you´ll see in the next paragraphs the foods you eliminate on this diets and the ones you can eat make it a good option.

Foods you can eat on a paleo diet:

Meats, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, poultry, pork, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs.

Foods to avoid on a paleo diet:

Dairy, grain, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, sugar, trans fats.

The problem you may find with this diet is that it´s limited as with many other diets, you can eat dairy, grain, legumes which can´t be consider as bad or unhealthy foods.

It doesn´t matter which type of diet you are following whenever you eat foods that come in a package you need to check the ingredients, there are products sold as “paleo, vegan, keto, etc” but if you read the ingredients you´ll find that they contain some ingredients you are trying to avoid.

As always, the best you can do is give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how you feel and if you are able to maintain it long term. If you really want to maintain optimal health and a lean physique you need to find a diet that works for you so if you are not able to maintain it long term figure out ways you can modify it or if you don´t feel comfortable with it try other diet.

As I mentioned before this diet is a great option as an elimination diet, to use it this way follow the paleo diet for a couple of weeks, 2 or 3 weeks and then start adding foods one at a time, for example add dairy and see how you feel, add legumes, then grains this way you can find out which food is causing you problems and you know what to avoid.

If you´re tried this diet before you are on it let me know by leaving a comment on Facebook and Twitter if it was easy for you to make the change and which food you found most difficult to eliminate.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Vegan and vegetarian diets

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As you may know by now I don´t like diets and I don´t even like to use the word diet. For me that makes it harder mentally and emotionally it gives our brain the idea that we will eliminate our favorite foods for a period of time and that it will be tough. We´re sending the wrong message only with words.

Even when I don´t like the term diet there are so many out there and some of those are the vegan and vegetarian diets.

There are differences between vegan and vegetarians, vegetarians do not eat animals, meat, chicken, fish, etc; their diet is based on vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts and some of them consume eggs and dairy.

Vegan is a more strict vegetarian diet, they don´t consume any animal product and animal derived ingredients so all meats, poultry, fish, etc are out also eggs and dairy, honey and any other product that comes from animal.

In most cases the reason why people decide to go vegetarian or vegan is for environmental reasons, vegetarians go against killing animals and that´s why they can have dairy or eggs, vegans go deeper and not only go against killing animals they really consider the conditions in which all animals are treated and that´s why they also eliminate eggs and dairy.

When someone following any of this diets tell me that their reason why is based on the environment I accept their ideas, it´s great to have people that care for the animals and environments but when some of them tell me that it´s for health reasons I totally disagree because many of them consume a lot of junk and refined food which are unhealthy.

They don´t eat meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, etc; but they eat patatoe chips, cake, fries,  (it´s funny how they say they´re vegans and watch them eat cake, cookies or some other processed food made with animal products).

All the added sugars, chemicals, extra ingredients, flavors, etc; contained in processed food are so unhealthy and are the cause of some health problems. You need to be clear on your reason why you are following a certain diet and be aware of what you´re eating this is why reading labels is important. If your reason is health then it may be better to eliminate all junk, processed and refine foods and stick to whole fresh foods, once you are comfortable with this you can adjust your diet to make it better for you.

For people who follow this diets I do think they´ll need to use supplements for the nutrients they´re not getting from animal products, our bodies need proteins and the proteins or amino-acids that can be found on animal products are not the same to the ones find on vegetables, the amino acid profiles are different. At least the amount of food needed is higher.

If you have a really good reason why you want to follow one of this diets give them a try but don´t forget that your health most be a priority, if you follow it just because someone lost a lot of weight and that´s your goal it may not be the best option for you. There are so many ways to achieve the same results, there are different tools and strategies you can use to get to your goal so don´t stick with just one diet , give it a try and if you don´t like the way you feel then try another one.

If you are following any of this diets for environmental reasons then that´s great, continue with it just make sure that you are giving your body all the nutrients it needs through food or in case you need some supplements find the one that are best for you and also be aware of the products you are consuming, make sure that they are vegan or vegetarian.

Talking about the environment there are other ways to help a part from avoiding animal products like walking or using a bicycle instead of the car or finding ways to use our car less, etc.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

How to set macro ratios

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I´ve talked about the importance of hitting your macros and why it´s more important than to focus on calories, calories are only part of the equation and it´s the basics. Talking about macros is talking on a higher more advanced level where we are taking in consideration the job of each macro nutrient in our body to work efficiently and perform at its max.

There are different ways and formulas we can use to calculate macros and there are some good formulas on internet you can use if you don´t want to do the math.

For this I´m going to work on a balanced diet where carbohydrates and proteins are almost at the same percentage and fats are lower. For this option to set macros we are considering our weight in pounds, and some numbers we can use a guide to set our intake. There´s research about how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats are recommended per pound of body weight, this is what we´re going to use, for this option we don´t need to calculate calories first, we only need to know our weight in pounds.

To set macros we need to consider our goal but proteins and fats will stay the same regardless of whether we want to lose fat or gain muscle mass, the only macro we´re going to change is carbohydrate

For proteins you can start with 1.5 per pound of bodyweight. Research shows that it´s necessary to consume at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and if we can go up to 2 grams to get best results, I prefer 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight so we multiply our weight in pounds:

138 X 1.5 = 207

For fats 0.5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight is optimal

138 X 0.5 = 69

As I said before we keep proteins and fats the same now if our goal is fat loss we reduce carbohydrates we can start with 0.5 grams

138 X 0.5 = 69

If our goal is muscle growth we can go from 1.5 to 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight so we need to pay attention to our body, how we feel and our results, we can start with 1.5 grams and if we feel tired during the day or we feel like we can´t finish our workouts we can increase them:

138 X 1.5 = 207

If you are interested in calories then setting macros this way make calories fall in place, if we take the example above we can calculate calories we only need to remember that there are 4 calories per gram of protein, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 9 calories per gram of fat:

Protein

 207 grams X 4 = 828

Fat

69 grams X 9 = 621

Carbohydrates fat loss

69 grams X 4 = 276

Total calories = 1725

There´s another way to calculate calories where you take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 12 and those are the amounts of calories you need to consume, in this case:

138 X 12 = 1656

As you can see there´s a slight variation between setting macros and calories with this formulas, you can calculate your calories and from there set your macros. You can use any of this formulas as a guide and from there keep making the adjustments you need.

This numbers are just a guide, we can use them as a baseline but we need to listen to our body and be aware of how we feel and our results. We also need to find the best macro ratio for us, some of us may feel great and get amazing results with a more balanced diet like the one we use here as an example, others may prefer a lower carbohydrate approach, others may need more fat or more protein, others may prefer a ketogenic diet.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Why you need to focus on macronutrients first

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Most people are not aware of the impact food has on our health and the importance it has not only for fat loss, some of them start paying attention to it just to lose weight and they go crazy counting calories, for me that´s not the way to live.

We know that all macronutrients are different so the popular saying of “calories are calories” is not true, all calories are different and they all have a different impact on our body this is why we need to focus on macronutrients and not calories but even when we need to focus on macronutrients we don´t need to get obsessed and count or weight everything we eat. It´s about understanding each macro, identifying foods or learning which foods go in each macro and having a clear idea of how much we´re eating with tools like portion control.

Every macronutrient has its own function in our body and we need them in different ratios but how we set those ratios is important, when we only focus on calories we can achieve those calories with different ratios and all those different combinations of ratios will have a different impact on our body and the macro ratio we´re getting may not be the best for us.

When we focus on macros we´re considering what´s more important, we´re making choices based on the function of each macro and from there we design our nutrition program based on which macro our body needs more and which one less.

Now that we focus on eating healthy, whole foods and we know that it´s more important to focus on macronutrients we need to know which foods belong to which macro which we will see in other post to go deeper and then we can learn about portion control which we´ll also see in other post also.

The reason why we don´t need to measure everything we eat when we focus on macronutrients is that we are giving our body the nutrients it needs to work, function and perform great and all those foods loaded with nutrients will make us feel full and satisfied, it´s harder to overeat when we eat whole fresh foods and consider macros first. What we can do is have a clear idea of how much we´re eating with a tool I mentioned earlier in this post called portion control. It´s a guide for us to know how much we need to eat of each macro.

If we want to think about calories or macros to reach our fitness goals whether it´s fat loss or muscle growth when we focus on calories we are restricting ourselves and not paying attention to what´s more important, to how things work and how your body responds to different macronutrients, at the end of the day macronutrients are the ones that get the job done, if we just focus on calories we will plateau even if we keep adjusting calories, focusing on macros give us the chance to adjust our macronutrient ratios as we progress without hitting plateaus and we are making sure that our body gets everything it needs to work efficiently and sustain our goal.

Focusing on macros and setting macronutrients is a more advanced level compare to just counting calories but is the right thing to do. We need to understand how each macronutrient works, have a clear goal and be able to measure our progress, protein is needed to repair and build tissue, also for hair, nails; fats are needed for energy, cells and hormonal function, carbohydrates are needed for fiber and energy. This are the basic functions of each macronutrient explained in a simple way.

To set our macronutrient ratios we need to consider our daily activities and workout, if we have a 9 to 5 job where we spend most of the time sitting in front of a computer we don´t need a lot of carbohydrates compared to someone with a more active job.

Our lifestyle, genetics and other factors play an important role when designing our nutrition program, we need to be true with ourselves and modify our diet each day according to the activities, some days we may spend a lot more time sitting at the office doing paper work and other days we may be more active.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

ExerciseFood

How to lose weight and improve your health during quarantine!

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Improving your health and weight loss go hand in hand, actually weight loss is a result of poor health, the same steps you need to take to improve your health will help you lose weight. It´s frustrating, sad, disappointing to follow a diet or exercise to program and work hard for a period of time without getting results but, the problem is most weight loss programs focus on giving you results as fast as possible without considering your health and at the end of the program you´ve done more damage to your health and body.

You may had followed the most famous advice to lose weight “eat less – move more”, if you gave up it´s not your fault. How can you follow this advice if you feel tired and hungry? It´s clear that your body is not working efficiently so what we need to do is improve your health so that your body can work efficiently, and you can lose weight consistently and maintain your results effortlessly while enjoying life.

We´re talking about improving your health and losing weight in a consistent way and being able to maintain your results so it will take time. Even when you will see results in a couple of weeks you need to be patient. It took years to be where you are now so it will take you some time to get to you desired weight but, getting results which include feeling better every day and looking leaner will keep you motivated to keep going.

Weight loss goes far beyond counting calories or points if you want to make sustainable and more importantly if you want to be able to maintain those results in an effortless and enjoyable way.

First we need to change or reframe your goal, you don´t want to lose weight, you want to lose fat and maintain or gain lean muscle mass, this is what´s going to make you look lean, toned and build a great physique. To achieve this, you need to understand that everything you do sends a message or signal to your body so you need to make sure that every message you are sending is the right one.

Food and exercise are both crucial, both help you improve your health and lose fat, exercise helps you build a lean body with the right amount of muscle mass and body fat according to your height that makes you look amazing and food helps you maintain optimal health while supporting your fitness goal.

There´s something I want to make clear, your health and weight is within your control, you are capable of losing fat, getting in shape, building an amazing physique and maintain effortlessly and you are also able to improve your health and maintain optimal health in a simple way but, even when it is simple there are some sacrifices you need to make, you need to exercise and you need to avoid certain foods, I´m not saying you won´t eat your favorite meals, snacks or dessert ever in for the rest of your life, what I´m saying is that you need to avoid them for some time while you improve your health and then you can have some cheat meals.

FOOD

Everything you eat has an impact on your health and body, if you´ve tried to lose weight before by following the most famous advice “eat less – move more” you probably get some results but not the ones you were expecting and it was hard to maintain those results. The reason why is because food is not created equal, if you eat junk food you are sending the wrong message to your body, you are telling it to store fat and we can´t forget the fact that if you are trying to lose weight chances are you are obese or overweight and your brain and body works differently which makes it harder for your body to lose fat and it´s harder for you to stick to low calorie diets where you need to eat foods you don´t like.

You need to focus on eating healthy whole foods to give your body the nutrients it needs, your body needs proteins to build muscle (learn more about protein here), it also needs healthy fats to help you burn fat and absorb nutrients (learn more about fats here), it needs fiber, prebiotics and probiotics (learn more about fiber here, prebiotics and probiotics here) to maintain a healthy gut.

When you eat unhealthy, highly processed foods loaded with unhealthy vegetables oils, added chemicals and sugar that are all toxic for your body you are sending the wrong message to your body, it won´t find the nutrients it needs to function properly and it will store body fat. When you eat healthy, whole foods you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly, and it starts using fat for energy.

Healthy fats you can eat are avocado, nuts, seeds, yogurt (low in sugar – full fat), you can cook with olive oil and coconut oil, some proteins are meat, beef, steak, chicken, fish, some carbohydrates are vegetables (corn doesn´t count as veggie) especially leafy greens and broccoli, beans and legumes, oats (plain, natural oats), brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, corn tortilla, dark chocolate (at least 75%), spices, salt.

Now that you are at home you have a lot more time to cook more, if you don´t know it´s a great time to learn, if you focus on whole fresh foods, like the ones I mention before it will be a lot easier for you to improve your health and lose fat. Apart from focusing on those healthy foods remember that you need to avoid or eliminate unhealthy highly processed foods (at least for a period of time) eating this unhealthy foods have a negative impact on your body and health and they will take stop your progress or even take you back.

EXERCISE

When you want to lose weight or actually lose fat and maintain your results you need to focus on getting stronger, when you get stronger you send the message to your body to maintain muscle and even build new muscle, for this you need resistance. Resistance can come from free weights like barbells or dumbbells or it can come from gym machines or it can come from your body weight.

Your goal then is to get stronger on bodyweight exercises and you do this by making every exercise challenging an example is getting stronger on pushups and building up to one arm pushups or one arm feet elevated pushups, one arm chin ups, pistol squats. These are really challenging levels of each exercise, but you can start with knee pushups, bodyweight rows and squats.

Here is a workout you can use as a guide:

Workout A – Lower body Workout B – Upper body
Squats – pistol squats 8 – 10 reps Pull ups – One are pull ups 8– 10 reps
Step ups 8 – 10 reps Pushups – One arm pushups 8 – 10 reps
One leg deadlift 8 – 10 reps Pike pushups – Handstand pushups 8 – 10 reps
Glute bridges 10 reps Chin ups – One are chin ups 8 – 10 reps
Knee ups – Leg raises 12 – 15 reps Dips – Weighted dips 8 – 10 reps
Calf raises 12 – 15 reps Back bridges

Cardio is not the best way to lose fat, it is helpful if you use it the right way but, we cannot deny that it has so many amazing benefits for optimal health so what you can do is take a walk, we need to be social distancing but if you can go outside for a walk alone it will help you lose fat faster, plus you get sunlight and it improves your mood, if you can´t go outside and walk then try jump rope, it will give you the same benefits. Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes or 10 minutes or jump rope.

You want to stay active and doing some type of physical activity to improve health and to lose fat and get lean you want to get stronger on bodyweight exercises so combining both of them gives you both benefits. Eating healthy whole foods helps you improve your health and sustain your fat loss goal; you give the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Use this post as a guide to start your fitness journey, to start improving your health and losing weight, if you want to keep working on it, if you want to maintain optimal health and build an amazing physique to live an amazing life follow me on social media and keeping visiting this site. Also, if you have any comments, questions or doubts leave them on Facebook and Twitter, I´m glad to help.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Food and inflammation

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How many times have you find out this year that someone close to you, a family or friend or maybe someone you know a classmate or coworker was diagnosed with a chronic disease like Parkinson, Alzheimer´s, Cancer?

Nowadays we´re dealing with so many different chronic diseases to which there´s no real cure so the best step we can take is develop healthy habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle that can help us prevent as many of this diseases as possible.

We know that nutrition is key, food is not only fuel for our body, it´s information everything we eat sends a signal to our body and that signal can be positive or negative. There´s researching showing that inflammation plays a key role on our health.

Even when inflammation is good, too much of it or chronic inflammation has a negative impact on our body and health. Inflammation helps our body heal wounds, this type of inflammation is good, it is helpful and we need it but when we follow an unhealthy lifestyle that includes lack or poor quality sleep, chronic stress, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet all this leads to inflammation and when this happens over and over which is how we live it leads to chronic inflammation this is very harmful for our body and cause health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, and things get worse with diseases like heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer´s, Parkinson, Cancer.

What we eat impacts our gut microbiome (we´re going to talk about this in future posts) every food choice we make has an effect on our body, we know that unhealthy foods are not good for us but it ends there we don´t ask ourselves what´s happening with the food we eat.

Unhealthy foods like highly refined and processed foods, fast foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates, vegetable oils, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and many other added ingredients create inflammation. Our body and brain need specific nutrients for overall health, we won´t get into detail in this post (we will do as we keep sharing this posts with you) but our body and brain needs healthy fats, fiber, protein and micronutrients the problem is we´re eating too much of the wrong foods.

There are so many processes going on in our body every second and every choice we make has an impact, positive or negative depending on our choice healthy or unhealthy respectively. Since inflammation is linked to chronic diseases and since there´s no treatment we need to focus on prevent them and for this we need to focus on lowering inflammation on our body. When I say lowering inflammation I mean the harmful type of inflammation which is the one causing problems.

We can start making healthy choices today to start living a better life and improve our health, here are some steps you can take today:

1.- Avoid unhealthy foods.- We all know which ones, sweets, junk, highly processed and refined foods, fast foods. With this we want to avoid refined and processed foods loaded with sugars, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, added ingredients, etc.

2.- Choose whole foods, focus on consuming healthy fats, fiber and protein.

3.- Lower carbohydrates when possible.

This are 3 simple steps to start changing eating habits but there´s a lot we can do. Our health most be our priority if we want to live an amazing life, we all have the right to enjoy our life as much as possible and live a happy and fulfilled life, this is only possible when we are healthy and lean so that we can focus on our purpose. We will continue sharing information, simple and effective steps you can take to improve your life but at the end it´s up to you to use this information and apply it.

If you want the best for the people around you, for your closest friends and family you need to take time to work on yourself, if you feel great you´ll have the energy to share amazing times and moments with the people you love and care and you can lead by example.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Food and hormones: Ghrelin

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In the past nutrition post with talked about leptin and how this hormone is one of the reasons why is hard for you to lose fat and stay lean because you are not satisfied and you feel hungry. In today’s post will talk about another important hormone that works together with leptin, this hormone is called ghrelin.

Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite, it tells us when we´re hungry and we need to eat which is the contrary of what leptin does. To keep it simple ghrelin is the hormone that makes us eat. This hormone can also be triggered by several factors and if we triggered it the wrong way it will cause so many problems and make it harder for us to lose weight and stay lean.

Some of our unhealthy habits are triggering this hormone the wrong way and one of them is lack of sleep or poor quality sleep which increases ghrelin and this increases our appetite throughout the day and make us feel hungry.

Studies show that when we follow a weight loss program and reduce calories, ghrelin increases as a response of our body to protect us from starvation, the lower we go in calories the high this hormone goes and the longer we stay with the diet the higher this hormone goes.

So if ghrelin increases and leptin decreases it´s the best way to gain weight and it´s so hard to lose weight and stay lean, we need to keep ghrelin low and leptin high so that our brain gets the right message. We don´t feel hungry all day long and we know when it´s enough at every meal. There are some steps we can take to make this happens which are:

1.- Get enough good quality sleep every night, at least 6 hours per night and make those 6 hours of good quality.

2.- Follow a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate nutrition program at least for a period of time to improve insulin and which also helps to keep appetite more in control.

3.- Follow some type of intermittent fasting having 2 meals per day which also helps lower insulin which helps us lose fat and keep hormones more balanced.

As we´ve seen there are several things that come into play when we talk about getting in amazing shape and sustain it, it´s more about hormones, macronutrients and how everything works together. It´s not only about following a very extreme and restrictive diet low in calories, and just to lose weight fast which will cause more harm to our body, it´s about understanding how things work and doing the right things to be able to sustain our results.

Our body is a complex machine there are different systems and hormone working together and they need to work in harmony to the same goal not only to make our fat loss journey easier but for health reasons.

As we´ve seen, leptin and ghrelin are 2 important hormones that need to be working the right way if we want to lose fat and stay lean and one of the most important fitness principles that trigger them is sleep. If we don´t get high quality sleep every night this 2 hormones won´t be working properly and we have the recipe for weight gain. This is why it´s important to develop good healthy habits for the 5 principles of fitness not only to lose fat and maintain a great physique but for health reasons.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Food and hormones: Leptin

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Have you ever heard about leptin? Have you tried the leptin diet? if your answer is no then continue reading to learn about this hormone and if your answer was yes, also continue reading, you may learn something new.

Most traditional or commercial weight loss programs focus on calories, they make us follow diets too low in calories and the workouts are based on cardio or circuit training to lose as much weight as possible but when we stop following the program we start gaining all the weight back and the reason is simple, hormones and metabolism.

Our goal is to help you get an amazing physique and sustain it effortless and to do that we need to focus on what matters which is increasing metabolism and managing our hormones in a good way to get the best results and to be healthy, leptin is one of those hormones.

Leptin is the satiety hormone and it´s job is to tell us when we´ve eaten enough and we need to stop. To keep it simple leptin tell us when to stop eating because we´re full. This hormone can be triggered by several factors and if we triggered it the wrong way by doing the wrong things then it won´t be doing its job effectively and if we add to this that some of our unhealthy habits are causing problems  like lack or poor quality sleep, which reduces leptin which is why we are hungry and have more cravings during the day and this is one of the short term effects of poor sleep.

When leptin is low it won´t send the message to our brain that we are full and we need to stop eating, on the contrary we will eat more in each meal and we´ll feel hungry throughout the day this is why weight gain is related to lack of sleep.

Fat cells increase leptin so the more fat we have the higher this hormone will be.

As with insulin there´s something called leptin resistance which is when our body produces too much leptin in this case the fat cells when we are obese or overweight and it gets to a point where the receptors block all that leptin so it can´t do its job and instead of getting signals that we are satisfied we feel hungry.

So as you can see, weight loss is not as simple as eat less and move more, there are other things that come into play, what we can do to improve leptin, one simple step is start by getting enough high quality sleep every night, this is a simple tool that gives a lot of benefits and makes everything easier.

If you are overweight the best thing you can do is reduce insulin, we´ve talked about insulin in other posts and by improving insulin is easier to burn fat, when you start losing weight and getting rid of that excess fat, leptin also start to lower, you can do this by trying some type of intermittent fasting like limiting your meals to 2 meals per day in an 8 hour window, another way is by reducing carbohydrates and follow a low carbohydrate, moderate and high fat diet like ketogenic for a period of time. Exercise also helps lower insulin specially HIIT.

What I recommend if your nutrition program is based on unhealthy foods, you´ll need to eliminate those unhealthy foods and focus on eating meals cooked with whole fresh ingredients and try intermittent fasting, go for 2 meals a day you can have breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Do this for 4 to 6 weeks and see the results and how you feel.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Food and hormones – Insulin

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With so many diets and a lot of contradicting information, myths and lies the best way to know what´s true, what doesn´t, what work and what doesn´t is to understand how things work. This has been my focus for the last years understanding how things work, to get in shape and sustain it and for this hormones play an important role, one of those hormones is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced and secreted by the pancreas following the consumption of carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose which raises the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. The body cannot have a lot of glucose in the bloodstream so the pancreas secret insulin to take the excess of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.

Carbohydrates are the primary trigger of insulin. Insulin blocks the utilization of fat as fuel and promotes its storage so when insulin is high fat is not burned, when insulin is low the body can break down triglycerides (stored fat) to be used as fuel.

When insulin is absent or the cells are not responding to it glucose is not used efficiently and therefore cannot be utilized for energy. Under these conditions carbohydrate consumption causes blood glucose levels to skyrocket.

Insulin is related to diabetes which is a common diseases that affects more and more people. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the hormone insulin is not working properly. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Millions of people are diagnosed and in treatment of one of this types while many others are undiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas which produces insulin cannot work efficiently resulting in insulin deficiency, with this lack of insulin the cells are unable to take up glucose,  blood sugar is high but it cannot get into the cells. This type of diabetes is generally treated with insulin injections which provide the insulin that the body needs to take glucose out of the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is still able to secret insulin, but cells are unable to respond to insulin and therefore do not allow glucose to enter. This is known as insulin resistance, it is the opposite of insulin sensitivity in which insulin easily moves glucose into cells. Individuals whit type 2 diabetes should aim to improve their insulin resistance.

In  insulin resistant cells do not respond efficiently to insulin´s signals to take up excess glucose, the pancreas secret more and more insulin to compensate for insulin resistance and manage blood glucose levels. Over time, this process leads to dysfunction and the pancreas is not able to secret insulin efficiently to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose then accumulates in the bloodstream which may lead to type 2 diabetes.

The hormone insulin is one of the most important when trying to lose fat and stay lean. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity will determine how efficient our body is at utilizing carbohydrates which can make our process simple or harder.

High levels of insulin for a long period of time is unhealthy and causes many health issues, every time we eat insulin gets high so one way to keep it low is following some type of fast, we can do this by reducing meals per day, instead of 5 meals per day try 2 meals. Another way we can keep insulin low is with a low carbohydrate diet, specially keto which is high in fats, moderate protein and low in carbohydrates since carbohydrates are the macro which spikes insulin.

High levels of insulin caused by unhealthy diets are the cause of most metabolic diseases so finding tools we can use to keep it low will give you amazing benefits.

In both type of diabetes and even when insulin injections and other drugs are the preferred treatment, I cannot stress enough the importance of making healthy life changes including exercise and nutrition. 

The importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and a healthy diet have a positive impact on our life and daily activities preventing some diseases and leading to a more enjoyable and meaningful life.

Before you do any change to your diet and lifestyle talk with your doctor or health professional. We all know which unhealthy habits we follow and which healthy habits we need to develop but we still need some guidance and know what´s the best way to do it for each of us and they are the ones that can help us create a plan that works according to our own situation.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Why carbohydrate cycling is a great strategy

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I know a lot of people who hate bodybuilders but no one can deny that when we talk about nutrition they really know what they´re talking about. They know different tools and strategies we can use to get in amazing shape, one of those tools is carbohydrate cycling. When I tried this tool I was amazed at how well it works, it´s great for fat loss without depleting carbs for long time and it´s great for muscle gains while staying lean.

All the tools or strategies I use and I share with you here are meant to make your life easier and give you amazing results and more importantly that you develop new good habits that lead you to a more healthy and happy life. Carbohydrate cycling is a tool you can use for either fat loss or muscle gains.

We can manipulate carbohydrates as much as we need, we´ve been told that we need carbohydrates because glucose is the preferred form of energy for our bodies, so if we reduce the amount of energy we give to your body we force it to use stored fat as energy.

This strategy can be use if we are following a balanced diet with moderate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Of course in diets low in carbohydrates or ketogenic it won´t apply. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin so that our body use stored fat for energy and increase carbohydrates on the right times to restore glycogen.

Carbohydrates cycling means that we increase or decrease the amount of carbohydrates we consume depending on our goal. We need to be on a caloric surplus to gain muscle and on a caloric deficit to burn fat, with carbohydrate cycling we can gain muscle without gaining to much fat and we can lose fat without losing muscle.

What we do in this strategy is set macronutrient ratios (I explain in other post how to set macros) and keep proteins and fats the same and we manipulate carbohydrates accordingly. To do this we have three carbohydrate days being: high carbohydrate, moderate carbohydrate and low carbohydrate.

Our workout program needs to be aligned with our nutrition program, high carbohydrate days needs to be placed on resistance training days and low carbohydrate days on rest days. We also need to consider calories but if we set our macros right then calories must fit into place.

It doesn´t matter if our goal is fat loss or muscle gains (I´ll be writing a post for each goal) the principles of this strategy are the same, we can also use this strategy for body recomposition which is losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time and have great results.

Body recomp is one of the hardest things to do and most people will say it´s impossible and it´s actually not impossible but it takes time. For guys who are starting their fitness journey and are new to training specially weight training and following a healthier lifestyle is easier to see their body changing. Gaining muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is easier when we are new to lifting weights.

If we are not new we can still do it effectively but we need to be patient, it will take more time to see results but we won´t regret it. Carbohydrate cycling is a great tool for this by manipulating carbohydrates and calories to have some low calorie/low carbohydrate days and some high calorie/high carbohydrate days.

The whole goal of this strategy and all the others I share is to make any fitness goals simple and more enjoyable so that you get amazing results and sustain them in an effortless way and this strategy is not exception, following a low calorie diet is almost impossible for most of us, we get to a point where the calories are really low and we feel hungry all the time and we end up overeating and giving up.

Having low carbohydrate days with high carbohydrate days is the best option to make it easier for us to stick to a program without feeling hungry all the time and we are giving our body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that we train hard in the gym and it can recover afterwards.

For any nutrition tool I´m assuming that your nutrition program is healthy, your diet focuses on whole fresh foods and you eliminate or avoid refined and processed foods as much as possible so even if I don´t mention to choose healthy options for any macro is because that´s obvious now.

If you have any doubt about this tool let us know in the comment below and we´ll be glad to help.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam