Health

Are You a Juicing Junkie?

Juicing has been an ever-increasing popular fad for drinking your veggies and fruits. So many supposed TV health gurus and infomercial persuaders continue to force feed the idea that juicing is healthy and leads to weight loss. All of you have seen the “lose 10 pounds in a week” sham and some of you have probably taken the bait. Of course juicing looks appealing, who doesn’t want an easier method for getting down all those veggies and receiving all of the benefits and nutrients. The problem is that marketing is winning this battle. Juicing is not good for you for several reasons, let alone the fact of how financially costly and wasteful it is.

 

“But what about my cleanse?!” Let’s get physiological here. Your body’s digestive system is quite literally the entire process of blending! Your mouth and teeth break down the foods, just like the shiny blades on that costly blender on TV. Juicers claim that by blending the food and extracting the juice you are removing the toxins…guess what your liver does? Your liver’s essential function is to break down the nutrients that have been chewed by your mouth and filter and process out all of the toxins. What then happens is the nutrient matter and bulk of the food is sent to the stomach where acids break down the nutrients and are absorbed into the body for fuel. Everything that is not used or needed is turned into waste. Amazing really! Take that in itself into consideration the next time a friend or coworker starts explaining their great new cleanse they’re trying. 

 

There are several other reasons why juicing isn’t all it’s made out to be, and most of them deal with the actual blending and juicing process. By putting several vegetables and fruits into a blender you are removing the bulk or mass of the food and essentially leaving behind a concentrate. By doing this you are now left with the high sugar content from all of the food, yet taking out the fiber and vitamins found in the fibrous material. This means that instead of your digestive system slowly digesting the fibrous food as it should, you are now shocking your system with a glass or cup of sugar. This gives your body an immediate spike in insulin as there is no fiber to slow down the process. The insulin spike leads to increased fat stores and the inability to let go of unwanted fat. Not to mention the fact that you removed the vitamins that are found in the bulk matter, thus leaving you with a glass of flavored sugar. You must remember that fruits are basically nature’s candy. 30 grams of sugar in a glass of fruit juice is digested exactly as that of 30 grams of sugar from a candy bar. The end result of a quickly sugar laden glass of juiced fruits and vegetables is that you will be hungry quickly because it is a liquid, leading to overeating, and further frustration.

 

On the financial side of things juicing really is just a waste. Think of how many fruits and vegetables it takes to make an 8 ounce glass of juice. You can just as easily receive less calories, more fiber, more satiation, and less sugar simply by eating a cup or two of whole fruits and veggies. This results in a happier wallet that can be spent on other fun nutritional items.

 

A final note to remember is that cooking foods releases antioxidants that you cannot get from raw or juiced foods, and what isn’t great about reducing inflammation, aches and pains, and bloating. So next time you or someone you know considers juicing as a means to cleanse or lose weight, do some further research and really take a second look at your overall plan.

Change! Embrace it for Success!

This is a guest post by Psychology Doctoral Candidate @GalFrankie

CHANGE

There are 5 stages to the process of change. Everyone progresses through the stages at a different pace, in their own time. However in order to successfully modify a behavior or make a change, there are certain steps that must be taken to move through the stages successfully.
While the idea of jumping head-first into making a change might seem appealing, because you're in a rush to get started and see results, only about 20% of the human population is prepared to actively and successfully make a change at any given time. Obviously, that's a pretty low success rate! (And supported by additional research that indicates that over 80% of all New Year's resolutions ultimately fail.) 

Therefore, engaging in a behavioral change without creating the foundation to facilitate the change probably isn't in your best interest! 

Stage 1 - Precontemplation 

This is where EVERYONE begins the process of change. This state occurs (as the name suggests) BEFORE you even start considering making a change. It simply describes your current state of being (homeostasis). 
Typically our bodies, minds, and hearts are constantly working to maintain homeostasis, because familiarity can be dealt with more easily than new and different challenges. Disrupting that balance is really difficult, even when it's something that's good for you; eating more healthily, ending a bad relationship, working out more, freeing yourself from an addiction, etc. 

So just work on being mindful about your current life, as is! 

If this is you (or if you got ahead of yourself ), stay tuned for the next stage!!

The Big 3!

Food, water, and sleep. I consider these the big three for overall success throughout the day. If any one of these elements is lacking, or even used in excess, your entire day and course of action can be thrown off track. All of which are so much an abundant part of our lives, yet the most often overlooked. We are creatures of repetition, and as we live day to day in a systematic  way, it is easy to slip into poor habits where we grab whatever food is quickest and sacrifice restful, deep sleep for late night TV binges and social activities. If all you do is really focus in on these 3 items, then your overall productivity and efficiency will increase. So let’s take a look at each.

 

Food

We know already that food is essential to our day, but with busy schedules it is so easy to grab a highly processed granola bar, candy bar, or sugar loaded snack that is only momentarily fulfilling and lacking any real nutrition. Take your time to prep well rounded, nutritious meals that include unprocessed sources of protein, carbs, and fats. Some people try so hard to limit carbs and fats that they end up becoming depleted, which leads to overindulging later in the day. Along with the types of foods to eat, it is important to fuel yourself every few hours. This keeps your insulin levels more neutralized and prevents periods of high energy and crashing. I personally eat 7 to 8 times a day, and at no point am I ever starving or full.

 

Water

Studies have shown that being dehydrate by only 5% can lead to a 30% loss of physical performance. Along with this loss is also mental function. A 2% rate of dehydration drastically reduces cognitive function and leads to a decrease in decision making. I personally drink 1-2 gallons of water per day, as do most of the male fitness junkies that I know. Any less than this and I feel mentally fatigued with feeling of brain fog and a significant loss of strength in the gym. Let’s be clear here, you will be using the bathroom more frequently, but will lead to a more energized day. Many active females in the should be consuming anywhere from 2 litres to a gallon per day. Another extremely important aspect of water is digestion. An often taboo and squeamish topic is digestion. It is so vital to the function and performance of our bodies. Increased water enhances regularity which also helps with satiation and ability to process the incoming food.

 

Sleep

The most amazing thing about sleep is that it is the time in which your body replenishes and repairs itself. Everything from growth hormone, muscle repair, water homeostasis, adrenal stores, and digestion. From a physical standpoint lack of sleep will make the body hold onto to water, as well as not repairing muscle tissue as it should. Both of these can quickly lead to injuries and unsatisfactory weight loss progress. The hypothalamus releases growth hormone while you are in REM sleep, and this directly affects the rebuilding of muscle tissue. From a mental aspect lack of deep, restful sleep can lead to cognitive decline and lack of energy. Your brain restores your adrenal glands during sleep, and over several weeks of poor sleep habits, adrenal glands become burned out making it extremely difficult to think and work at a high level.

In times of stress and overzealous schedules, it is important to keep these 3 specifics in mind, and altering them in a positive manner can allow you to handle the additional workload. This will allow for longevity and long term goal reaching. 

Capture Your Goals!

How often to you physically see your goals? Do you talk about them openly? Are they written down on the fridge, on your phone, on the dash of your car? Goal setting is overlooked because it is stereotyped as cheesy, unnecessary or narcissistic. Having clear cut goals is absolutely necessary to achieving what you want in life. Without no endpoint there is no plan to get there. Take for instance the NCAA National Championship or the NFL Superbowl. The goal at the beginning of the season is not simply to do well or win a few games, it is to win the biggest game in their respective league, which takes consistency and discipline. A plan is needed to break down the steps of the game. Strategy is created to overcome obstacles and even use trick plays in desperation moments. The same goes for life. A plan must be created that allows for day to day and week to week achievements. This allows us to break down our overwhelmingly large goals and take them a step at a time. The “trick play” is the ability to be fluid in our daily lives and maneuver in the event that life throws a curveball to which we can side step or defeat without losing site or progress.

Have your goals in front of you throughout the day. I have my goals written on my refrigerator, in the car, on my phone and on my laptop. They are constantly in my face, which makes it extremely easy to keep them in mind without losing focus on what I’m after. Even if I am not actively reading them they are being seen and becoming a part of my subconscious thoughts. Too many people lose sight of their goals and spend days or weeks on end with no real accomplishments towards the end goal. It is easy to get off track or delay doing the work that is necessary to gaining progress. In addition to having them placed around my living spaces, I take the time weekly to write them down in a journal, and then immediately reread them as a means to establishing them as a part of my being. By rereading them you are creating positive affirmations, which creates confidence and gives you the internal power and drive to keep moving forward. There will be days where you wake up and your life feels overwhelming and the thought of obtaining a goal impossible, but having them in front of you and imprinted in your thoughts via previous affirmations makes it easier to set aside the negative thoughts and continue through on your journey to personal success.

Talk about your goals openly. When in conversation with friends and family avoid hiding your thoughts and inspirations. Be bold and open about what it is you want in life. Some people will feel as though they’re being selfish in talking about their goals, but the reality is the person you are talking to has goals that they’re afraid of sharing as well. Goals and the human psyche can be tricky beasts. People fear sharing their goals because they will label themselves as failures if not achieved. However, the great part about expressing them is that you are subconsciously holding yourself accountable to those goals. When you tell someone that you would like to lose 30 pounds in the next 6 months, make enough money to buy a new car in the next year, or spend more quality time with friends and family you are metaphorically writing down your goals to this person. You are reaffirming what your goals are and the conversation typically leads into how you will achieve them.

Allow your goals to change and be fluid in life. By writing and rethinking your goals weekly it is possible that a goal of thought may change slightly, and this is a good thing. Transform and adapt to your newly modified goal, just be conscious not to downgrade your goals. Luckily 2018 is only just beginning but a lot of you have large goals. Keep them in front of you and plan and adapt to reach them!

Gymtimidation for the Newcomer

The gym can be a daunting place to any newcomer or person who is not 100% confident in themselves or their new surroundings. It’s important to understand that even though stepping into the gym for the first time can be a scary endeavor, it is also a refreshing and exhilarating experience. You are actively pursuing your goals of getting into better overall shape, losing weight or adding muscle depending on your goals. The anxiety of going to the gym will subside after a few days because it will become a familiar place. Against stereotypes and preconceived notions, the majority of people inside of a gym are often friendly, courteous and helpful. There is a general understanding amongst the fitness community regardless of level of fitness, whether it be a professional bodybuilder or first timer, that everyone is there working to improve one’s health. The days of gym bros and your classic meatheads are fading, and overall people want to see others improve their lives as they improve their own.

 

Given the fear of the gym, another aspect is the equipment. Is is 100% possible with advances in machinery and labeling to do an entire week’s worth of workouts without ever touching a free weight or dumbbell. The majority of machines will not only show you what body part the machine is for, but will also describe in detail how to safely use the machine. Free weights can be intimidating, as many people fear improper form or using the wrong weight. With the ease of use for selecting weight amounts on machines, it is extremely easy to adjust the settings to a weight that is suitable for you.

 

Another important thing to remember is to ask for help. There are so many knowledgable people and trainers in a gym. All of these people also have their own questions for techniques and form. Ask for assistance if you are uncertain of how to use a piece of equipment. They will be more than happy to help as offering advice not only helps you but gives them a feeling of fulfillment as they’ve now expanded their fitness knowledge to someone new who will be able to use it forever.

 

From the perspective of the seasoned regular it is necessary to remember that you were once the person stepping foot in the gym for the first time. Offer help to someone who is clearly out of their comfort zone, and remember that they’ve taken a big leap in conquering fears of the gym as well as improving their life.