“It’s called the South Beach Fat Flush, and all you drink is cranberry juice for 72 hours.” – Regina George from Mean Girls
This is the world we live in. People going on fad diets, cleanses, detoxes, and fasts to look a certain way. This is what people think it means to be healthy.
As I have mentioned before, being healthy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What I do on a daily basis may not work for you, and vice versa. However, there are healthy living practices that we can use as a guide to help inspire us to live a better life.
Be active most days of the week
This is kind of vague, but it goes back to my point of every body being different, and we all have different goals. A person beginning their fitness journey may not run as far as the person training for their first half marathon. The body builder working toward a competition likely works out hours a day while the person wanting to tone works out for an hour…all of that is irrelevant. Do what works for you and your goals. The most important thing is that you are active.
Eat your veggies
…or all plants for that matter. Plants are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water, making them BEST for your body. Strive to get the majority of your diet from plants, making half of your plate non-starchy veggies at meals. Not only will it be kind to your waistline, but the fiber will help you feel full for longer periods of time AND will help keep your digestion regular.
This is so vital. Our bodies are 55-60% water, so it is important that we replace what is lost. Water can be lost in the obvious ways–urine, sweat, and bowel movements…but we also lose water when we breathe and stress! When we are dehydrated, our body’s cortisol (the stress hormone) levels increase–making it another good idea to drink water consistently throughout the day to decrease stress levels.
Limit added sugars
Women should truly be consuming 25 grams or less of added sugars daily, while the recommendation for men is 36 grams per day. On average, one 12 ounce can of soda contains 39 grams of added sugar–that is over a days worth! Added sugar can also wreck your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick. While I am not saying you can never splurge and have sugar, be mindful of where your added sugars are coming from and limit them most of the time.
Engage in healthy relationships
We were made to communicate with each other–as much of an introvert I am…I realize how important it is to be part of a community. Spend time with your family and friends–go out of your way to be kind to others. Socialize with people you’ve just met. Get to know someone new. You will be more fulfilled, create new relationships, and grow as a person.
Regardless of your religious preferences, take time for your spiritual life daily. It can be so easy getting caught up in the chaos of every day, but make time for your devotions. As a Christian, I talk to God throughout the day, multiple times a day. Writing in my prayer journal is another way I feel connected with Him, and it is neat to look back on past entries to see what He has done to help me overcome past issues.
What other guides do you use to stay healthy? Remember, healthy living is individualized to your own personal needs. If you’d like help meeting those needs and want to jump on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon, send me a message!
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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Have you made one of your goals to be more active this year but are having a hard time figuring out where to begin?
Today I am going to share with you a few ideas on how to get into the fitness world. Luckily, there are so many diverse options for people of all ages. The beauty of exercise is that if you don’t like one form of exercise (example: running), then you can choose a different type of exercise that you may love (example: dancing). Consistency is key! Find something you love and stick to it.
Ideas on Jump-starting Your Fitness Routine
Join a Gym
This may seem too simplistic, but it is oftentimes an easy way to spark the fitness journey. Gyms have tons of equipment for both cardio and strength training as well as areas for stretching and body weight exercises. Most gyms also have personal trainers available for an additional fee that can create a workout plan specifically for you.
2. Group Fitness Classes
With a gym membership, there are usually a variety of group fitness classes available: Zumba, Dance Fitness, Spin, Yoga, Pilates, Silver Sneakers, HIIT, Weight lifting…the options are endless. These types of classes are a great gateway to fitness–I am speaking from personal experience. When I was 14, I joined a Zumba class and HATED it…after going a few times, I decided it was a fun way to exercise–and now I’ve been instructing for the past 7.5 years. Now I enjoy various forms of exercise outside of group fitness classes.
3. At Home Workouts
Let’s say you aren’t into the gym scene–I get it…monthly membership fees plus an initial sign up free can get costly…you can get great workouts in the beauty of your own home! Using either body weight or dumbbell free weights, you can still stay active. Stay tuned for various videos (next month) showing my favorite at home workout exercises to help tone muscles as well as strengthen that heart.
4. Pinterest Workouts
This is my FAVORITE tool for finding new workout routines. Tons of people pin their fitness websites and there are so many types of workouts to choose from: body weight, dumbbells, kettle bells, at home, at the gym–I have a notebook full of Pinterest workouts to help me when I don’t know what to do for my workout.
5. Livestream Classes
This is another exercise form you can utilize in the privacy of your own home. This works for some people–I am a Dance2Fit livestream member paying only $20 a month for unlimited Dance2Fit classes with Jessica James. They are so much fun, full of energy, and a total body workout. This isn’t like any other type of dance class–it combines HIIT techniques with toning and cardio to hip hop music. It’s an easy way for me to sweat and burn calories whenever I want to! No traveling needed.
6. Online Fitness Challenges
These are so much fun! I did one last fall called Fall Fit with Sarah and Jessica, and it was a 6 week program with 4 workouts per week ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour with suggested cardio and abs. There were 2 versions: at home and gym workout–I bought the at home workout that was 100% no equipment needed using only body weight. It was affordable, doable for all fitness levels, and it helped me get stronger. There are so many online fitness challenges that are promoted, and it is another great tool to utilize in jump starting your fitness routines.
7. Workout Partner
This is one of the best ways to work out because you have an accountability partner-someone to encourage you to workout when you don’t feel like it…someone to go through the whole process with you…someone who feels the same struggles physically that you may be experiencing. It also helps fight the boredom when you go walking/running or weight lifting, and can make group fitness classes more fun when you’ve got a buddy with you.
8. Staying Active in General
We are human, life gets in the way and we may not make it to the gym or have the time to do an at home workout…or your power may go out and you don’t have TV/internet to complete your online fitness challenge (speaking from experience!)…that is okay! My biggest advice is to stay active all week long. It doesn’t have to be an organized workout plan every.single.day. It can be as simple as going for a walk with your dog, a light bike ride with your spouse, or even chasing your kids in the front yard. The main idea is that you move your body a little bit every day–not just for your workout “gainz” but also for your mental health and overall well-being.
Now, it’s your turn to decide what you wanna try first! Try one of these suggestions and see how it goes for you. Every body is different, and we all like different things. I LOVE dancing, so naturally dance fitness style classes are my jam. Pick something and stick with it most days of the week–and every now and then pick something different to spice up your workout routine to not get stuck in a rut.
We’ve all heard it…”eat more protein if you’re working out”…
But what does that really mean? For the average individual who starts walking for an hour after work–do they really need to bulk up the protein?
For the person who wants to lose weight the “easy” way and not exercise, does higher protein diet benefit their goal?
So many questions, so many opinions…today I am going to share some research with you and my own opinion based on evidenced-based literature.
**Disclaimer: I am going into detail of what protein is and how much our bodies need for various different activity levels…HOWEVER I do not typically promote macro/calorie counting for the average individual BECAUSE I believe in mindful eating, balance, and not obsessing over food…if you listen to your body and eat a well rounded, balanced diet, you should be eating adequate amounts of protein, carbs, and fat.**
First off, what is protein?
Well, in short, protein is made up of amino acids that build muscle, support metabolism, carry out cellular communication, heal wounds and repair cellular damage–just to name a few. Amino acids help our nails, hair, and skin look and feel healthy. So–it sounds like protein is a very important macronutrient–and it IS! We need protein.
There are 20 amino acids–9 of which are essential, meaning our bodies do not make them. This means we have to get those 9 essential amino acids from the food we eat. Foods like lean poultry, fish, beef, eggs, dairy and plant based proteins like legumes and grains. Animal and soy protein contain all 9 essential amino acids while other plant based proteins like beans, rice and corn are missing a couple amino acids. However, legumes and grains compliment one another making them a “complete” protein…so eating plant based protein is just as beneficial as animal proteins–maybe even a smidge better because they contain fiber. (you know me and fiber…build that healthy colon!)
Alright, now we know what protein is and what it does for us…so how much do we need?
That question is such a debatable one…considering fitness industries promote all kinds of supplements…”Eat protein and have big muscles”…
And sadly, some people believe that…”If I eat over 100 grams of protein a day, then I will build muscle”…
Negative. The only way to build muscle is to work out. It is that simple. You cannot expect to eat more than the recommended amounts of protein and gain muscle mass. Your body does not work that way. You HAVE to put effort in the gym (or home workouts) to build lean muscle. Protein does, however play an important role in rebuilding the muscle fibers being “torn” during your workout. You cannot have one without the other.
As far as recommendations of protein, the average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram. Through my research, it amazes me how many fitness industry websites recommend 0.8 grams per pound of body weight…can you imagine?
Note: 1 kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds.
I’m roughly 155 lbs…155 lbs. x 0.8 grams=124 grams protein, meaning I need to consume 124 grams of protein as a sedentary individual…(if I followed the 0.8 grams per pound of body weight recommendation).
Following the 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram recommendation, I would need 56 grams of protein (155 lbs. / 2.2 lbs. = 70.4 kg; 70.4 kg x 0.8 grams = ~56 grams protein). Do you see the difference? That is nearly half of what you’d be getting following the “per pound” calculation…It is so important to calculate our needs using our weight in kilograms versus pounds.
However, I am not sedentary. I workout 6 days of the week doing various cardio and resistance training exercises…the recommendation for active individuals is 1.2-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram…again, some parts of the fitness industry promote 1.2-1.8 grams per pound…
So, if I were to eat 1.2-1.8 grams per pound I would be consuming 186-279 grams of protein DAILY. What does that look like? Typically, 1 ounce of meat, dairy, eggs and plant based protein contain about 7 grams of protein (the figure below will give a more accurate representation of the grams of protein in high protein foods). You would ultimately have to consume 26-40 servings of protein each day. Holy cow! That is 1116 calories in protein alone…keep in mind that all food contains a combination of the macros (protein, fat, and carbs) all of which contain different calorie components.
What happens when you consume too much protein?
A dissertation research article by Jake Fenwich in the UK showed that the average non-athlete male who works out regularly consumes 2.48 grams of protein per kilogram per day…that is still above recommendations for active individuals(1.2-1.8 g/kg).  We live in a very protein-heavy nation, but if we do not utilize that extra protein by building lean muscle, then that extra protein can do a couple of things…
Store extra protein as fat
Excrete excess amino acids in urine (wasteful)
Long term= weight gain (especially if your overall calorie intake increases because you are increasing protein)
So in short, yes you need extra protein if you are vigorously working out and “tearing” your muscles (1.2-1.8 g/kg)…but for the average sedentary individual, stick to the 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram.
What about weight loss? Can’t eating more protein help you lose weight?
The idea behind this thought is that protein promotes satiety–feeling full after a meal…so you would not need to eat as much altogether because you would be “full” from the high protein diet.
Which is more satisfying:
Having 2 scrambled eggs with 1/2 cup of cooked grits for breakfast
2. Having 1/2 cup of cooked grits with a slice of toast and jelly for breakfast
I think we can all agree that we would be more satisfied for a longer period of time when eating the eggs with the grits versus toast with grits. This is because eggs are rich in protein, which will keep us full for a longer period of time. Also, the protein in the eggs will cause our blood sugars to increase gradually instead of abruptly by just consuming carbs alone.
A meta-analysis study by Ernaehrungs Umschau International titled “Protein Paradox” suggested that high protein diets do show minor beneficial results in overweight individuals short term. This would not be something you’d want to do long term–goes back to my point of excess protein leading to fat storage, amino acid waste in urine, and overall weight gain.
Really think about what category you fit into…
Are you a mostly sedentary individual who does not get a lot of movement? You still need protein…but not as much as those who are gaining muscle mass. Stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation.
Are you a lightly active individual who enjoys going on walks in the evenings or participates in light aerobic activity a couple times a week? I would still stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation because our bodies are meant to be slightly active and that amount of protein would be sufficient.
Are you an avid exerciser partaking in weight lifting, sports training, regular running, frequent intense biking, or any other vigorous sport/exercise/work most days of the week? You would want to follow the 1.2-1.8 grams/kilogram recommendation because your body is wearing and tearing your muscles and they need to be rebuilt…sufficient extra protein will help rebuild those muscles and make them stronger…just be sure to not exceed your needs regularly as it could lead to unwanted weight gain.
Hopefully you have a better understanding on what protein is and what is does for our body, and ultimately what happens when we exceed our daily limits. Challenge for the week (and hopefully adapted into your lifestyle): calculate your protein needs and see if your consuming the recommended allowance for your particular activity level.
Fenwick, J. (2018). An investigation into the dietary practices, beliefs and knowledge of protein in resistance training male gym goers between 18-45 years of age.. [online] Repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk. Available at: https://repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk/handle/10369/9945 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2018].
Do you set fitness goals for the week and then feel really good about yourself when you complete them? Or feel even better when you exceed your goals? I think that is pretty typical for most people, and rightfully so because it helps you feel accomplished.
On the flipside, have you ever set those weekly fitness goals and then did not meet them? How did that make you feel?
I used to really beat myself up if I didn’t make my ‘fitness goal’ for the week…I am an active individual, but for some reason my brain tells me that I am not “fit” enough if I do not complete that goal. But you know what? It does not matter…
It doesn’t matter if you meet your specific goal of the week as long as you are finding joyful movement to make your body feel good and listening to your body. What do I mean by that? You are active and are doing types of exercises you enjoy. If you make yourself run because you think it will make you more fit, then you are doing it for the wrong reason…you should do something you love so you are more likely to continue exercising in the future.
Also, you should feel good after a workout. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t push yourself and sweat…we all need a little nudge to build strength. However, if you don’t feel happy and positive after a workout or you are in pain, you are not getting the most mental benefits out of your workout.
Below is a chart found on the American Heart Association website that outlines how much movement we should be getting at different intensities per day and week. This week, I challenge you to pick an intensity or combination of recommendations and make that your goal . Then, if you meet or exceed that goal, you know you have met the requirements for healthy cardiovascular health.
Keep in mind that these are the recommendations for good cardiovascular health. It is recommended that you work on strength training at least 2 days a week. Building muscle won’t make you bulky (unless that is your goal), but it will help with posture, metabolic rate, and activities of daily living–just to name a few benefits.
Regardless if you like running, swimming, dancing, or biking, do what you love and what you can be consistent with. For me, I LOVE running but have been struggling motivating myself to do that as of late…instead, I have been doing livestream Dance2Fit classes with Jessica Bass (interested? check out this link and try the free 7 day trial).
It is a fun way for me to get my heart rate up, burn calories, and MOVE. It also breaks up my normal workout routine, which is nice.
What type of workout will you try this week to break up your usual routine? Let me know!
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time, Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD,LDN