In my last blog, I discussed how making a grocery list can be a lifesaver when trying to stick to your nutrition goals, and how it is part of having a plan before stepping foot into the grocery store. If you haven't got a chance to read it yet, you can check it out BELOW.
Making a list can be a huge benefit to staying on track and giving yourself a headstart on your weekly goals. But what about when you get into the grocery store and you see all these yummy foods that you just can't resist?
Some of you may have already made this connection which is awesome, but think about the layout of your typical grocery store: all of your produce, meats, poultry, dairy and whole foods are on the outer walls of the grocery store. If you find yourself spending too much time in the middle aisles picking up food in bags, cans, boxes, or products that have a shelf life of 3 years, you may need to re-evaluate your list.
There are of course exceptions to the rule, as we find our whole grains, rice, and beans in these aisles, but it is important to be mindful of what we are adding to our cart and from where. This can be a great way to stay away from those foods that may trigger your cravings. If you avoid the aisle where these foods are located completely, it is much easier to avoid those foods when they are out of sight and out of mind.
Every step we take towards meeting our nutrition goals should be done with mindfulness and an eye on the bigger picture that is our goals and the reasons behind why we try to achieve them.
Are you ready to commit to healthy living and looking for a little support? We’ve got your back! Schedule a brief, no obligation phone call with us to learn more about how our programs can help support you in reaching your health & fitness goals and to get all of your questions answered. We’d love to chat with you! www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/getstartedbrunswick.
If you or someone you know is looking to commit to health & fitness and begin their journey towards feeling better, stronger and happier, we are here to help! Check out our Greatest Gift as a way to get started. We call this offer “The Greatest Gift” because we truly believe that health & fitness is the greatest gift. Visit www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/gift to learn more and get signed up.
When you think of what it means to be healthy, what is the first thing to come to mind? Is it getting more exercise? Eating fruits and vegetables? Maybe it's eliminating all the junk food in our diet. Or maybe it's about how you feel. There is no right or wrong answer here, but there are easier ways to meet our goals than others. No matter what the first thought you had is, the first step we have to take is planning. Without any plan it is hard to take action, and then it becomes hard to follow through on your goals. This will usually leave you feeling pretty defeated.
If you need any meal suggestions we have an awesome meal prep guidebook with fun easy recipes that can be super useful when getting started!
Once you have your grocery list and your meals planned, I always recommend eating something before going to the grocery store. A small, healthy snack with a good balance of carbs, fats and proteins could be a good way to ward off any cravings that walking around the store might induce. This can be a huge life-saver when staying away from foods not on our list. STICK TO THE LIST. Once you have all of your food it is so much easier to meal prep by cooking all your meals for the week at once, or having the food on hand to cook throughout the week when you are ready. It is easier to stay away from take-out when you know you have all kinds of delicious nutritious food waiting for you in your fridge.
When talking about fats, it is easy to end up going down a wormhole of back and forth research, attempting to discern good from bad. With that being said, I will try to break this information down in a simple, sweet, and informative post that leaves you feeling confident about the foods you are eating in your everyday life.
Let's start off with our saturated fats, the dreaded fat that everyone wants to avoid. Because we should limit our daily intake of these fats, they are absolutely important to monitor. We should consume less than 10% of our daily calories from saturated fat. This will be about 16g to 22g per day. With that in mind, it is clear why it is so easy to over consume saturated fat when just a couple tablespoons provide your daily limit.
Saturated fat is a long straight carbon chain saturated with hydrogen bonds. This is the fat that is solid at room temperature and also found in animal products such as refined/hydrolyzed oils, red meat, baked goods, butter, cheese and dairy. This is that fat that also makes everything taste oh so good. In a limited amount this fat provides lots of benefits for the body such as normal cell function and transportation mechanisms for vitamins and minerals.
Next up is our monounsaturated fat. These contain a double bond in their carbon chain, creating a fat that is more useful to our body without so many hydrogen bonds attached. We want to eat as much of these as possible within our caloric daily limit. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature and can be found in foods such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts (almonds, pecans, brazil, cashews, peanuts). These fats help reduce heart disease and keep that bad cholesterol down (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL) up.
Polyunsaturated fats come in two types: omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Both of these are essential fats that we must eat in order for our body to function properly. These fats are important because they are used to build cell membranes and the coverings of nerves and are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
Omega 3 has a great reputation as it helps decrease inflammation, inhibit dangerous blood clotting, and lower levels of triglycerides. These fats are found in salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and eggs.
Omega 6 is the most common type of fat-carrying particle in the blood, which means they are our number one transporter of molecules in our body. It is a very important molecule that we only need a tiny amount of. An overabundance can lead to clogged arteries and raised cholesterol.
With everything said, it is always good to remember that the less processed foods and more whole foods consumed, you will hit the right levels of these fats. Everything in moderation, and let our body handle the rest. The less we confuse it and stay on track with our healthy eating habits, the better you will feel. There is a reason why these fats are naturally found in our foods and have very specific purposes in our body. We should never avoid food groups or certain nutrients - instead we should eat in moderation, as this will give us all the nutrients we need.
-American Heart Association
-Science of Skinny by Dee McCaffrey
I want to continue talking about artificial sugar and why this may not be a healthier option over natural or even added sugars found in food. In my last blog we discussed added sugar and how to find and stay away from these sugars. If you missed it check out my blog here:
Artificial sweeteners have been a part of society for a long time now, and have made their way into the “healthy food” category by providing a way for people to avoid added sugar in their diet. For the most part, artificial sweeteners have no negative effect on our body and consumption in moderation is just fine. Just like everything else in life, moderation is key. It is when we start to replace all real sugar, natural and added, that we start to get ourselves in trouble with artificial sweeteners. As the name suggests artificial sweeteners are a processed food item intended to sweeten foods but not add any calories to your diet like regular sugar would. When we consume these sweeteners such as Splenda, Sweet and Low, or Nutrasweet, we are confusing our body by having a natural response to tasting something sweet and expecting a spike in glucose (simplest form of sugar) in the body which is our main source of energy. A long term response to this is our body craving more sugar more often because it is not getting the right amount of energy it needs from what the brain is expecting. This can lead to us eating even more processed foods, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners. Long term effects may even change our chemical makeup in our body to how we process and respond to sugar digestion. It is even recommended to consume natural sugar over an alternative artificial sweetener because it will keep our body running normally and decrease those sugar cravings. If you are going to splurge and have a yummy treat go for the real thing with real sugar to keep our body responses normal.
The next topic that goes along with our added and artificial sweeteners is trans fats. The food industry does everything it can to hide trans fats from us as these are the worst fats to consume. We have two main forms of cholesterol, LDL (the bad cholesterol) and HDL (the good cholesterol). LDL creates blockages in the arteries and buildup in our liver. HDL helps process and dispose of LDL. Trans fat increases our LDL and decreases our HDL and is recommended we limit our consumption to practically none if we can.
When we start to have high cholesterol (meaning high LDL levels) we can experience fatty liver build up, overworked kidneys, buildup of plaque in the arteries and heart, increased fat/weight gain. These outcomes can lead to failed liver and kidney functions, heart attacks, chronic pain and inflammation. SCARY!
Naturally occurring fats serve an important role in our bodies. When we eat healthy fats found in whole foods the fat molecule will bind to receptors on our cells and actually serve a very important function. When the fat binds to the cell it acts as a conduit for other nutrients that need to enter the cell. For example, glucose needs to be processed into energy INSIDE of our cells and require this fatty conduit to allow it into the cell. Without it the glucose will build up outside of the cell in the blood and cause blood sugar spikes eventually leading to diabetes.
It will fit but then it gets stuck and may even break off causing damage to the lock. When this happens all of the important biochemical reactions that need to occur inside our cells get disrupted including how sugars can’t get through the cell the way that they should. When we create a chronic situation by eating too many trans fats this will lead to diabetes. Who knew that eating too much trans fat will actually lead to a sugar related disease?
Are you surprised by how artificial sugars and trans fats are related in how they can impact your health? This is precisely why we need to focus on eating whole foods, just the way mother nature intended. When we stray towards these manufactured food products it creates a lot of confusion in our bodies and disrupts the delicate balance of how everything works.
Now I’m not saying that we need to completely eliminate these foods from our diet. We should still enjoy these foods when we do eat them and limit them to an occasional treat. The occasional time to consume these foods are usually going to be found during holidays, celebrations, birthdays, weddings, you name it. The more you can cut these foods out of your everyday diet the better you will feel and the healthier you will be.
Your body and brain will thank you for years to come if we start to treat it right now. It's never too late to make new healthy habits and break away from the bad. We will always slip up from time to time but having those good habits to fall back on will be what helps carry us through. We want to move, feel, and think better everyday instead of going into the decline of bad health.
References: The Science of Skinny, Dee McCaffrey
Images: DrPeterOsborne.com, ibslbiology.wordpress.com
A client of the month is someone who brings a positive attitude into their training sessions and sets an example for others to follow.
Are you ready to commit to your health & fitness? We would absolutely love to support you in your health & fitness journey! Click below to schedule a brief, no obligation phone call to learn more about how we support our clients in reaching their goals and to get all of your questions answered.
Wilcox Wellness & Fitness is so proud to announce our partnership with Midcoast Humane. We are excited to support Midcoast Humane through our Check-Ins for Charity Program where we donate to Midcoast Humane for each Facebook Check-in.
Midcoast Humane has overwhelming support from the community at Wilcox Wellness & Fitness and we are incredibly excited to be supporting this incredible organization.
Midcoast Humane is one of the biggest shelters in the state of Maine, operating animal sheltering facilities in Brunswick and Edgecomb, and providing care and second chances to nearly 3,500 animals every year.
Midcoast Humane is not just about the animals. They are about the people, too, acknowledging that animal companions are for everyone, and we all can make a difference in the lives of animals, and in turn animals can make a difference in the lives of humans.
Every animal that comes through the doors of Midcoast Humane receives excellent medical care, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, and care & comfort while they are awaiting their forever family. Midcoast Human believes that every life is worth saving, and are proud of their successes in saving the lives of 97% of the animals who they care for.
The donations made to Midcoast Humane are put to good use. On average Midcoast Humane cares for 322 animals every day at a cost of $20/day per animal.
To date, we have donated this much money to Midcoast Humane through this Check-Ins for Charity Program:
Check-ins for Charity - LIVE Tracker by Allison Hopkins
We are so incredibly happy with the impact we are able to create in our local community!!!
I know what an important part my pets are to my family, to my mental health, and to the joy that I experience through their unconditional love. Our four legged family members hold a special place in our hearts, and I'm happy to be able to support Midcoast Humane and all of the work that they do to place animals into the loving homes who will experience the same joy through their adoptions.
I am even more happy to get behind the mission of Midcoast Humane to give back, and do more good.
When we consume processed foods and eat added sugars, we over-eat way too much, due to our reward systems being tricked. Consuming too much processed sugar will send the receptors in our brain and body into a frenzy because we have all this sugar in our blood stream, and energy that we do not need. This pattern is what leads to gained weight, inflammation, and eventually, potentially even type two diabetes.
These processed foods are designed to keep us craving and coming back for more, creating addictive and unhealthy eating habits and some horrible side effects for our bodies. Inflammation will create aches and pains in our joints, start to break down tissue, and can do some irreversible damage when it becomes chronic. Type two diabetes is caused by overloading our body with sugar to the point where our body stops properly regulating. Our insulin receptors become tired and weak to the point they can not regulate our blood sugar levels, which can cause devastating health results. Too much sugar can even cause chronic fatigue, headaches, slowed metabolism, and a plethora of other illnesses that we shouldn't have to live with in our everyday lives.
Here is how we avoid those added sugars:
Learn how to crack the food label! Added sugars aren’t the only culprits that can create confusion to our bodies, and we know how hard it can be to make sense of all of the information on the label. This guide will help you gain a better understanding of the different types of sugar ingredients to look out for as well as other food additives that are best to avoid. Download your free copy here:
Everything in moderation and remember you are human and only have one life to live so we better make it the best we can!
*Nutrasweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), Sunett and Sweet One (acesulfame), Sweet and Low (saccharin)
Each month we recognize one client who has really inspired us, through their commitment to themselves, and to their health & wellness. This month we are very excited to be recognizing a couple who have truly committed to their health & fitness TOGETHER - Tom & Diane Sturgeon.
This isn’t to say that it was easy, but no excuses were made and consistent efforts were put forth to try to find ways to overcome the obstacles that this pandemic created.
As we emerge on the other side of this past year both Tom & Diane have stayed committed to their weight loss goals and have seen results. Over the winter they spent time at camp cross country skiing and snowmobiling together, where Tom had the opportunity to connect with his abs - a muscle group that we focus on during our training sessions.
Core strength is a critical component of health & fitness at all ages, and Tom had an opportunity to experience that first hand this winter. When he first joined back in 2019 he shared a story about a fall on the ice that he took in his yard. He hit his head and suffered a concussion, something he wanted to avoid in the future through his commitment to getting stronger and focusing on balance and stability.
Great job Tom & Diane! We are so proud of both of you and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you both.
2020 was, if nothing else, a year of health awareness, as many people were faced with the threat of health issues they thought they would never have to deal with. The pandemic has forced us all to be more aware of that aspect of our lives. Taking note of how you feel on a day to day basis is now, more than ever, the norm. In fact, the habit is encouraged by most friends and employers. While our physical health has been in the spotlight, the possibilities of related mental health issues loom in the shadow of this pandemic.
For those of us who live a sizable distance from the equator, the worsening conditions of the virus were coupled with a move indoors as the days began to freeze, and winter time inactivity became easily (and understandably) excusable for many. Languishing, while being a mental state, can manifest itself in very physically obvious ways. A habitual dent in your couch cushions could be a sign that you are suffering from a little bit of languish.
Our Level Up Your Results Workbook covers these habits and more, as well providing some info on combatting stress, healthy snack ideas, better sleep, journaling prompts, and activity tips that will help you break out of your post-2020 languishing. You can download that workbook right here:
A year of uncertainties, stress, more time indoors, a loss of income, a major overhaul of routines both at work at at home, learning to work from home, a hold on projects or public events: all these can lead to a loss of productivity, which will have huge impacts on mental health.
If you're not already a member of our amazing community here at Wilcox Wellness & Fitness, we are here to help! There are a couple of ways for you to get started TODAY!
#1: Our 7 Day Quickstart Guide with a jumping off point - a week of structured, healthy eating instructions, and workout sessions aimed at changing your mental status by changing your daily habits. Download that here and get INTO it:
#2: Join us for a FREE 2-Week Trial through The Greatest Gift.
We truly believe that health & fitness is the greatest gift and we want to give it to YOU!
Through this gift pack you will receive a number of on-line tools to help you start working towards your health & fitness goals, as well as the option to join us for a free 2-week trial in our group personal training program.
Start by clicking the link below, fill out a short questionnaire to help us learn a little bit about you, and schedule an initial Fast Track Transformation Success Session so that we can help you set yourself up for success in reaching your goals. We would LOVE to support you in your health & fitness journey!
Understanding and diagnosing a problem is always the first step. I highly recommend reading the paper published in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior about languishing, cited in the sources below. The paper goes into much deeper detail about the detriments of this often overlooked psychological mode, and provides a lot of information that would help anyone seeking to understand their own mental blocks and hang-ups. These kinds of issues have, I'm sure, been on the radar for more and more people in recent times, and hopefully one of the things we can learn from the past year is how to recognize these problems and better address them for the inevitably tumultuous future ahead.
In Good health!
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.