Category Archives: Nutrition

Reasons To Eat Healthy That Are Not Weight Related

For many people the main motivation behind eating healthy is to lose weight.  This instantly makes you think deprivation which is why a lot of people have a negative feeling toward eating healthy.  The good news?  It’s possible to eat healthy and enjoy what you’re eating.  But a thought shift needs to happen – don’t put yourself on a healthy ‘diet’ just for the sole reason of losing weight.  Take  a look at some of these great reasons to eat healthy that are not weight related.

Reasons To Eat Healthy That Are Not Weight Related

  1. Eating healthy saves you money in the long run.

Unfortunately junk food is super cheap so it can be tempting to save a few bucks by stocking up on processed foods.  A study was done that showed that produce and lean meats add about $1.50/day to your grocery budget, but it also noted that when you include the cost savings from preventing illness (ie obesity, type 2 diabetes etc) you actually end up saving about $2.71/day in the long run.  Eat healthy now and come out ahead with both your healthy and finances.

  1. Eating healthy reduces cravings for junk food.

Cravings typically happen when you don’t get all the nutrients your body needs which causes low energy.  When you eat healthy your body gets the nutrients it needs so it doesn’t drive you to keep eating.  Junk food might fill you up momentarily but once your brain realizes that your body hasn’t gotten all the nutrients it needs and energy is running low it’ll drive you to seek out more food.  Typically it’ll drive you to eat food that’s high in calories and sugar looking or the fastest delivery of energy.

  1. Eating healthy helps with potential muscle soreness after a workout.

According to several studies, what you eat after your workout will determine how quickly and how well your muscles recover.  The biggest factor is getting enough protein after your workout.  Protein provides the amino acids (building blocks) you need to repair and build muscle.  For maximum results try drinking a shake with a good amount of protein and some healthy carbs right after your next workout.

  1. Eating healthy helps with clear skin.

What you put in your body will directly affect your skin.  If you suffer from acne try removing sugar, dairy and processed grains and see if it clears up.  Try removing one at a time to see if a single one is what’s causing the problem.  Drinking enough water is another way to clear up your skin.

  1. Eating healthy can amp up your sex drive!

Researchers have found that eating certain healthy spices can actually increase sex drive and performance in both males and females.  The next time you’re out shopping for spices pick up some saffron and ginger to use in the dinner you make for you and your partner and see where the night takes you.  Stay away from alcohol though.  While it might increase your desire, it will most likely hamper your performance.

Reap The Benefits Of Eating Healthy

There are a lot of delicious healthy foods out there and you absolutely can find ones that you love.  If you’ve been eating junk for a while you’ll need to give your taste buds a chance to recover from the ill effects of overly flavoured frankenfood but once they do you’ll never want to go back to eating crap and feeling like crap.  Try it!

How Hormones Affect Your Weight Part 3

In my last post I talked about 3 more hormones that will affect your weight when they’re out of balance.  They were leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide Y.  Today I’ll tell you about 3 more hormones that affect your weight and what you can do to get them back in balance.

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1)

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (or GLP-1) is released from the intestine in response to food intake.  It makes you feel full and also plays a key role in keeping your blood sugar levels stable.  Strict dieting can result in a decrease of GLP-1.

What to do:

  • Eat your protein.

Getting the right amount of protein has been shown to increase GLP-1 levels so make sure you’re eating enough.

  • Use a high-quality probiotic.

You need a high-quality probiotic to keep your intestinal flora in balance.  If your intestinal flora is out of balance you can’t absorb nutrients properly.   Probiotic supplementation seems to increase levels of GLP-1.

  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods.

Chronic inflammation seems to be linked to decreased levels of GLP-1 so make sure to eat anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon, leafy greens, blueberries and garlic.

Cholecystokinin (CCK)

CCK is produced in your gut after a meal.  It’s role is to help with digestion and reduce appetite.  When levels of CCK are low you don’t get that same feeling of fullness which can lead to overeating.

What to do:

  • Protein!

Eating enough protein seems to be a common theme when it comes to hormonal balance so be sure you’re eating protein with every meal and get about 20-30% of your total calories from protein.

  • Healthy fats.

Healthy fats such as olive oil trigger the release of CCK so be sure to include healthy fats in your diet.

  • Fibre

Eating fibre has been shown to increase CCK so be sure to eat lots of vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit and unprocessed grains (if you can tolerate them).

Peptide YY (PYY)

Peptide YY is also produced by the gut in response to food intake and helps to regulate appetite.  Higher calorie foods will cause your gut to release more PYY and therefore let you know when you’ve eaten enough.

What to do:

  • Eat your protein and fibre.

Protein and fibre have been shown to increase PYY.

  • Eat a lower carb diet.

Elevated blood sugar may impair PPY’s effects so stick to a lower carb diet and eat natural and minimally processed carbs and avoid processed and sugary foods.

Find Balance

Your hormones work together to keep you both physically and mentally healthy.  Eat a healthy and balanced diet of protein, healthy fats, fibre and unprocessed carbs and be sure to exercise regularly to keep everything in check!

How Hormones Affect Your Weight Part 2

In my last post I talked about 3 hormones that will affect your weight when they’re out of balance.  They were insulin, cortisol and estrogen.  Today I’ll tell you about 3 more hormones that affect your weight and what you can do to get them back in balance.

Leptin

Leptin is produced by your fat cells and it’s the hormone that tells you when you’re full.  It tells your brain that you have enough fat in storage so you don’t need to eat anymore.

Interestingly, overweight and obese people actually have a lot of leptin circulating in their blood stream – up to 4 times as much!  You’d think then that when these levels become high it would signal these individuals to eat less and they’d lose weight.  Unfortunately, what’s happened is the cells have become leptin resistant.  The brain doesn’t get the signal that the body no longer needs to store more fat so it drives the person to eat more.  One potential cause of leptin resistance is chronically elevated levels of insulin.

Here’s another side of it.  When you do lose weight, leptin levels drop off which means your brain isn’t getting the signal when you’ve eaten enough which is why it can be hard to keep weight off long term.  Not impossible, just a bit challenging.

What to do:

  • Avoid inflammatory foods and eat more anti-inflammatory foods.

Inflammatory foods include anything with sugar, anything processed and all junk food.  Anti-inflammatory foods include fatty fish, vegetables and fruits.

Even just moderate activity can help improve leptin sensitivity.

  • Get the sleep you need.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re tired you tend to crave food and it’s usually junk food?  When you don’t get enough sleep (7-9 hours) leptin levels drop off and your appetite increases.

Ghrelin

When your stomach is empty it releases ghrelin which sends the message to your brain that it’s time to eat.  Ghrelin levels are at their highest when your stomach is empty and at their lowest about an hour after eating.

Studies have shown that in overweight and obese people ghrelin only decreases a small amount after they’ve eaten.  This means that the brain is still getting signals to keep eating even when the person has had enough food, which will lead to overeating.

What to do:

  • Cut the sugar!

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup can impair ghrelin response after eating.

  • Eat more protein!

Be sure to have protein with every meal, especially breakfast.  Protein reduces ghrelin levels so your brain gets the signal that you’ve eaten enough and can stop.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

Neuropeptide Y, or NPY is produced by cells in your brain and nervous system and it stimulates appetite particularly for carbs.  NPY levels are highest during periods of food deprivation or fasting which is why you get such strong cravings for carbs when you’re trying to follow a super low-calorie diet.  NPY is also elevated during times of stress.

What to do:

  • Avoid crash diets and if you’re going to fast don’t do it for too long.

Those super low-calorie diets never work long term so don’t waste your time with them.  As for fasting, animal studies have shown that fasting for more than 24 hours can dramatically increase NPY levels

  • Eat the appropriate amount of protein.

Eating too little protein has been shown to increase NPY levels leading to hunger and increased food intake.

  • Take care of the good bacteria in your gut.

Be sure to include a high quality pro-biotic in your diet and eat plenty of soluble fibre to keep the good bacteria in your gut happy.  You can buy probiotics in capsule form or drink a high quality shake such as Shakeology which contains both pre and probiotics.

Part 3

In part 3 of this series I’ll be talking about glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CCK) and peptide YY (PYY).

Stay tuned!

How Hormones Affect Your Weight

Did you know that your hormones could be to blame for your weight gain and/or stubborn fat that you just can’t seem to get rid of?  Let’s look at how hormones affect your weight.

The First 3

In this part of this series I’m going to talk about 3 hormones that you’re probably quite familiar with.  These are insulin, cortisol and estrogen.

1.  Insulin

Insulin is the hormone that shuttles blood sugar into cells to either be used as energy or to be stored for later.  It also tells fat cells to store fat and prevents stored fat from being broken down.

When you eat, your blood sugar rises and insulin is released to take that sugar to where it needs to go.  Problems occur when your blood sugar is chronically high from eating a diet high in refined carbs and fast food causing your body to produce large amounts of insulin, leading to your cells becoming insulin resistant.  When cells become insulin resistant health problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes can occur.

What to do:
  • Cut out or minimize sugar.

First thing you need to do is look at how much sugar you are consuming.  Sugar can be in things you wouldn’t expect such as bread, canned soups, condiments and salad dressings.  Read labels carefully.

  • Cut down on carbs and stick to minimally processed ones.

Eating a low carb diet can help.  When eating carbs stick to vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit and when eating grains look for minimally processed ones such as brown rice, quinoa and steel cut oats.

  • Increase protein and make sure you’re eating healthy natural fats.

Protein and healthy fats will help fill you up more and help to reduce cravings.  Omega 3 fats such as those found in fatty fish actually help lower fasting insulin levels.

  • Exercise 3-6 days per week.

When you do cardio your body uses glucose (blood sugar) for energy.  Muscles also use glucose so having more muscle means your body is using more of the glucose in your blood.  A healthy balance of cardio and strength training is ideal for keeping insulin levels normal.

2.  Cortisol

You probably know cortisol as the stress hormone.  When you’re stressed your cortisol levels go up and this can lead to overeating a weight gain.

A stressful lifestyle will lead to elevated cortisol levels as will super strict diets.

What to do:
  • Eat a balanced diet.

Make sure you’re eating a balance of healthy carbs, protein and healthy fats.  Avoid processed foods and fast foods and avoid super low calorie diets.  Super low calorie diets may seem to work but it signals the body to release more cortisol so in the long run it’ll backfire on you.

  • Learn to relax.

Everyday have at least a few minutes to yourself to relax.  You could use this time to meditate, read a good book or visit with your pets.  Take the time to break away from the usual stresses of life to give yourself a chance to reset.

  • Listen to music.

Music has an amazing ability to calm you down and make you happy.  Put together a playlist of all your favourite songs and listen to it on the commute to and from work, or while you’re working out, or while you’re cleaning – anytime you can listen to music do it.

  • Get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation is very stressful on your body and will definitely lead to elevated cortisol levels.  Try to get 7-9 hours a night.  Plan a bed time ritual that gets your mind and body ready for sleep and do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.

3.  Estrogen

Estrogen is the female sex hormone but men have some estrogen as well.  In proper balance, it’s fine but when estrogen levels are too high, which is known as estrogen dominance, it causes toxic fat gain in the form of visceral fat (belly fat).

What to do:
  • Add some good stuff to your diet.

Eat plenty of fibre to help reduce estrogen levels.  Also include lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

  • Exercise

Exercise helps to reduce estrogen levels in both pre and postmenopausal women.

Part 2

In part 2 of this series I’ll be talking about leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide Y (NPY).

Stay tuned!

Hummus!

I LOVE hummus!  When I first tried it I assumed it must have some unhealthy ingredients in it since it tasted SO good.  Thankfully I was wrong 🙂

Benefits Of Hummus

The other day Jenn Miller shared her blog post with me.  It’s all about the benefits of hummus and it includes some amazing recipes.

Some of the benefits of include:

  • High in plant based protein.
  • High in iron – I didn’t realize that chick peas and tahini are both good sources of iron!
  • Helps lower cholesterol.
  • Rich in various vitamins and minerals.
  • Helps with weight loss.

Those are just a few and she includes some really amazing sounding recipes that I for one will for sure be trying.

You Have To Try It!

If you’re looking for a delicious snack you have to try hummus!  My favourite way to eat it is as a dip for vegetables and fruit.  It’s amazing with grapes!  Check out Jenn’s article here.

Shocking Facts About Fast Food!

Fast food is one of the worst things you can put in your body, yet it’s a BOOMING business.  It might be convenient and some people might think it tastes good but before you ‘indulge’ check out these shocking facts about fast food.

Shocking Facts About Fast Food

  1. Just because it looks and tastes like meat doesn’t mean it’s all meat.

DNA testing recently showed that the chicken used by many fast food restaurants is not all chicken.  Subway was shown to be the worst offender with their ‘chicken’ only being made up of 50% chicken.  The other half was soy.  In general fast food chicken has about a quarter less protein than chicken you’d cook at home and the sodium levels are 7-10 times what they would be in natural chicken meat.

Do your kids eat chicken nuggets?  A report in The American Journal of Medicine revealed that the contents of chicken nuggets from two fast food chains were mainly fat, bone, nerve and connective tissue.

  1. Deadly sweeteners.

Did you know that there’s high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial sweeteners in your fast food?  HFCS increases your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose have been linked weight gain, type 2 diabetes, migraines and cardiovascular disease.

Check this out:
  • Domino’s uses HFCS in its ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, blue cheese sauce and buffalo wings. It’s chocolate lava crunch cake contains HFCS as well as sucralose.
  • McDonalds uses HFCS in it’s bakery style bun, Big Mac sauce, McRib sauce and several other sauces.
  • McDonald’s sugar free French vanilla syrup and chocolate caramel syrup both contain sucralose.
  • Subway’s Chipotle Southwest sauce contains sucralose.
  1. Inflammatory oils.

The majority of fast food chains use oils that are cheap and inflammatory such as canola oil.  The canola oil they use is often partially hydrogenated (aka trans fats) to increase its stability.  Did you know that more than 90% of canola oil is genetically modified?  AND soybean oil and corn oil which are highly refined and genetically modified are in high demand in the fast food industry.

Inflammatory oils cause inflammation in the body and inflammation is the root of all disease.  It’s linked to asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s Disease just to name a few conditions.

  1. MSG

MSG or monosodium glutamate should be completely avoided.  You’ve probably heard that a lot of Chinese food has MSG but it’s also found in a lot of fast food items.  MSG is added to enhance flavour but it also causes headaches (even migraines), nausea and weakness.  Some people also experience wheezing, heart rate changes and a burning sensation in their forearms and/or back of their neck.

Who uses MSG?
  • KFC does. Every single one of their chicken options – original recipe, extra crispy chicken, Kentucky grilled chicken, spicy crispy chicken, extra crispy tenders,  hot wings and popcorn nuggets – include MSG as one of the TOP ingredients!
  • Chick-fil-A does too. All of their chicken options contain a large dose of MSG.

Fast ‘Food’ – Not Worth The Risk

Eating fast food is never a good option.  People do it because it’s convenient and they say it saves them time, but if it’s destroying your health is that convenience and few extra seconds of time really worth it?

Why Diets Don’t Work

Here’s the good news!  You never ever have to go on another diet again!!  Why?  Because diets don’t work!

Some Reasons Why Diets Don’t Work

  1. Diets are not sustainable and you don’t learn anything.

Most prescribed diets are very restrictive.  They’re usually super low in calories and/or eliminate whole food groups.  When you follow one of these diets you don’t learn anything about proper nutrition.  All you learn is that slashing calories makes you grumpy and leaves you with almost unbearable cravings.  Is this something you can sustain long term?  No!  And here’s the cold hard truth:  when you go back to eating like a normal person you’ll gain back the weight you lost plus more.

  1. Diets lead to weight gain.

Yup!  That’s right!  If you are a chronic dieter you probably already know this from experience and I learned this the hard way too.  When you restrict calories too much your body panics and thinks all the food is going to run out and you’ll starve to death.  To prevent death, your body will slow down it’s metabolism so that it can store fat so there’s something for it to feed off of if food doesn’t come soon.  You can end up doing some major damage to your metabolism and it’s a long hard journey to get it working again.

  1. Diets mess with your mind.

When you don’t get enough food your brain doesn’t work as well.  You feel tired and foggy and find it very hard to concentrate.  This isn’t even the worst of it!  Being deprived of proper nutrients leads to depression and anxiety and once depression and anxiety takes over it’s REALLY hard to escape that dark place.

  1. Diets can make you feel very isolated.

Sharing meals with other people is one of those super important human experiences.  It makes us feel bonded to others and is one of those simple pleasures that we crave.  When you’re on a special diet you can’t help but feel isolated.  I’ve been an WAY too many diets and each one made me not want to eat with other people because they’d be eating one thing and I’d either be restricting calories and just eat a salad, or I had my special meal that came with the program I was on.  It made me feel awkward and eventually led to me coming up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go out with my friends when they wanted to go out to eat.

  1. Diets create a bad relationship with food.

As a past chronic dieter I developed a very bad relationship with food which is still with me a bit.  I had foods that I considered to be bad and when I indulged in them I really beat myself up about it.  I also became VERY self-conscious about eating in front of other people.  To this day if I’m out with friends and we decide to get something to eat on the spur of the moment I get that anxious feeling and really just want to get away from the situation.  Sometimes I’ll even tell them that I’ve already eaten so I can avoid it.  Something I need to work on 😉

Never Diet Again!

A diet will not solve your weight problems.  What you need is a healthy eating plan that you know you can stick with for the long haul.  You can figure this out with a bit of help from a nutritionist or by doing your own research.  Try a few ideas to see what works for you.  Just remember: it has to be something that provides you with the nutrients your body and mind needs.  It has to be something that’s appropriate for your lifestyle.  Need help?  Comment below 😊

Why You Need Support If You Really Want To Succeed

It’s nice to think that when you want to achieve a goal you can just do it on your own.  But can you?  Here’s why you need support if you really want to succeed.

What You Need In Order To Achieve Your Fitness & Nutrition Goals:

1. Consistency.

Starting an exercise program or clean eating plan is one thing, but to stay consistent with it is a whole other thing.  When you first start you’ll feel excited and motivated but by about the second or third week you’ll probably be questioning why you’re doing this and slowly you’ll slip back into bad habits.  Sound familiar?  If you had a coach and a supportive group you wouldn’t get away with this.  Your coach and support group will remind you why you started and motivate you to keep going.

2. Long term plan.

You have to be in this for the long term.  You can’t just eat healthy and exercise until you achieve your results and then go back to what you were doing and expect to maintain your results.  A good coach will help you develop a plan that’s sustainable with your lifestyle.  Working out and eating right isn’t something that should be torturous!  With the right plan you’ll be able to achieve your goals, maintain them and be happy with your lifestyle.

3. A healthy nutrition plan.

A lot of people roll their eyes when someone tries to talk to them about healthy eating.  I know this to be true because I’ve seen it many times in my career as a fitness and nutrition coach.  People seem to immediately think that healthy eating means not getting to eat the foods they love and having to stick to a super strict diet.  This isn’t the case.  If you hate the food you have to eat, there’s no way you’ll stay on that nutrition plan.  A good coach will work with the foods you love to eat and teach you proper portion sizes.  Your coach will also teach you how you can indulge in the not so healthy treats you love so that you have balance in your eating and you don’t feel deprived.

4. You need to get out of your comfort zone!

This is the hardest for most.  People love the comfort zone.  Why?  Because it’s comfortable!  But just because it’s comfortable does not mean it’s good.  If you’re struggling with your weight and/or health you need to get out of your comfort zone.  It’s rare that a person can do this consistently on their own.  Your coach and support group will help you to push out of your comfort zone so you get the results you want.

5. More focus on healthy habits rather than just results.

The results you desire will be what motivates you to start, but don’t just focus on the results.  Just focusing on results becomes frustrating because results take time.  Instead focus on developing and loving your new healthy habits.  You gotta fall in love with the process!!  Your coach and support group will help you with this.  In fact, your support group is who will make you fall in love with the process.  As you start making new friends in your group you’ll create bonds with people who are of the same mind set as you.  You’ll find yourself looking forward to sharing your hard work and struggles with your group of new friends.  When you’re part of a group the transition into a new way of living becomes SO much easier and SO much more rewarding.

What’s Stopping You?

There are coaches and groups out there right now who are more than happy to welcome you into their circle and help you achieve your goals.  If you’re ready for a change, then CHANGE!  Make the decision to invest in you and get started now so you don’t find yourself feeling exactly how you feel right now this time next year.  Commit to one year all in, full on and see what happens – most likely you’ll wonder how you ever let yourself put up with feeling like crap for so many years.

 

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

Nutrition is about 80% of your success rate when it comes to trying to reach your health and fitness goals.  Your pre and post workout nutrition needs to be dialed in if you want to make any progress

Pre-Workout Nutrition

What you eat before your workout is crucial for fueling your body for an efficient and effective workout.  The purpose of this meal is to:

  • Reduce muscle glycogen depletion.
  • Reduce muscle breakdown.
  • Reduce post workout cortisol levels.

To accomplish this you need protein and carbs.  How much and what you have will depend largely on how close you’re eating before your workout.

If you have 60-90 minutes before your workout opt for a good solid meal of protein such as chicken, fish, egg whites, cottage cheese with some carbs such as brown rice, oatmeal or any other lower glycemic carb.

If you only have 30 minutes or less go for something a bit lighter such as yogurt and berries (low glycemic fruit) or have a good shake with a good amount of carbs and protein such as Shakeology.  You want to make sure that your body can mostly digest it before your workout so going for a liquid is best since your body doesn’t have to break it down as much in order to absorb it.

Post Workout Nutrition

The purpose of your post workout meal is to supply your body with what it needs to:

  • Replenish the muscle glycogen you used up during your workout.
  • Reduce muscle protein breakdown.
  • Repair muscle by increasing muscle protein synthesis.
  • Reduce muscle soreness.
  • Enhance recovery and reduce cortisol levels.

To accomplish this your body needs carbs and protein again.  It’s best to supply your body with these nutrients as soon as possible after your workout.  Right after your workout your body is primed and ready to accept protein and carbs so it can immediately use these nutrients to repair, recover and replenish.  Ideally you want to consume something within 30 minutes of your workout.  I like to use a recovery protein shake and a piece of fruit such as a banana.  Bananas are high glycemic which will cause your body to release insulin.  Insulin is what will bring the nutrients into the muscle cells so they can start repairing themselves.

Then within the next 2 hours sit down to a whole food meal with a good source of protein, carbs and healthy fats.  For example, a mixed green salad with chicken and potatoes dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Fuel Your Body Work Your Body

If you’ve decided to work on your health and fitness make sure you match your nutrition to your goals.  It’s easy to go and get your workouts in but if you’re not eating properly you won’t get the results you want.  Give your body the fuel it needs before and after your workouts and get ready for some amazing results!

Heart Health

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer in North America?  But now for the good news.  Heart disease is nearly 95% preventable!  Let’s look at how you can take care of your heart health.

Taking Care of Your Heart Heatlh

In order to keep your heart healthy, you need to monitor and keep 3 things in check: nutrition, blood sugar level and exercise.

Nutrition

What you eat, or don’t eat, directly impacts your cardiovascular health.

Your blood vessels and your heart have a cell lining called the endothelium.  These endothelial cells produce nitric oxide.  Nitric oxide causes your blood vessels to enlarge, which increases the flow of blood through those vessels and allows it to flow more easily. This prevents the blood cells from becoming sticky and forming plaques which lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and heart attacks.

In order to keep the endothelial cells healthy you need to eat lots of leafy greens because they contain a rich supply of the amino acid L-arginine.  L-arginine is the building block of nitric oxide.  You may also want to consider supplementing with supplements that support heart health.

Blood Sugar Level

Your blood sugar level is a measure of how much glucose is circulating in your bloodstream.  Things such as sugar and other simple carbohydrates drastically increase your blood sugar.

The higher your average blood sugar is, the thicker the walls of your heart become.  When these walls become thick, your heart is unable to fill with blood properly and this is called diastolic heart failure.

High blood sugar levels also cause plaque to build up inside your arteries which will increase your risk of heart attack. This plaque build-up also causes your arteries to be stiff and unable to dilate properly which means your heart has to work much harder to push blood through.  This is what high blood pressure is.

It’s easy to keep your blood glucose levels in check! 

The good news is it’s not tough to keep your blood sugar in check.  All you have to do is eat a diet that focuses on lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, some fruit, and nuts.  Limit sugar and refined flours, and cut out processed foods.

Of course you’ll need to exercise too!  Be sure to exercise several times a week; intense exercise helps to drive glucose out of your blood and into your muscles where it can be used for energy.

Exercise

Being overweight puts you at high risk for heart disease.  When you’re carrying around excess fat, your heart has to work harder.  It actually enlarges as it works harder, and as it enlarges it becomes less efficient.

I think most people recognize the importance of a well-designed cardiovascular fitness program for heart health, but did you know that strength training is important for heart health too?  When you strength train you increase the muscle mass in your body which helps to burn off extra fat, easing the burden on your heart.

A good workout program will include both cardio and strength.  Our classes at Wholey Fit include both but if you can’t make it to the studio there are many great at home programs that you can do .

Which will you choose?

The health of your heart is largely up to you and the choices that you make in regards to nutrition and exercise.  If you haven’t already, make a decision to take care of your heart now!