Friday, July 29, 2016

Consider the Hummingbird

Six months ago I put small hummingbird feeder on the window next to my kitchen table. I thought it would be nice to see them come and go, to admire their beautiful iridescent feathers sparkling in the sunlight.

The hummingbirds found the feeder relatively quickly, and indeed they do swoop in and out many times a day. In fact, we have several families of hummingbirds now who have built nests and taken up residence in the trees in our front yard!

Throughout the day, as I work from my kitchen table, my peripheral vision will catch movement, I'll stop whatever I am doing, and watch in wonder as these little miracle-birds come for their "fuel".

Here's what I have noticed. They come. They drink the hummingbird food (fuel). Then they fly off to continue living their little hummingbird lives. A while later they will come, drink the fuel, and fly off again to resume doing what hummingbirds do whenever they aren't "fueling up."

Their internal clocks tell them when they are running out of energy and need to re-fuel, and that is when they do it. If I could peek into their brains, I bet I wouldn't see them obsessing about when and where and what their next feeding will be the entire time they are away from the feeder. Having never BEEN a hummingbird, though, I really don't KNOW what they are thinking, I can only guess. They KNOW their fuel will be right there, when they need it, and they plan to return whenever they need it.

They don't take more than they need for the next little while. They don't "camp out" next to the hummingbird syrup, afraid it won't be there the next time they need it. They seem content and at peace with the same routine, the same fuel, day after day after day. They haven't complained about the lack of variety yet! I've also never seen a stout hummingbird.

Just some thoughts for today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Breaking a Plateau

With my knowledge of metabolism, and my experience as I get my masters degree in Obesity Prevention and Management, I can give you some even BETTER tips!
IF you are experiencing a plateau, which is NORMAL to experience one or two during your weight-loss portion of your journey, (a plateau is 2 weeks of ZERO weight loss...and yes this is normal one or two times, even if you are doing everything correctly!) try some of the following:

Side note here, I know there are some of you out there (including ME) who get frustrated when we see 3 days of NO LOSS on the scale, we freak out and say "It's NOT WORKING ANYMORE!" I'm here to tell you to sit yourself down, and explain to yourself that as LONG as you are following the program as per the Quick Start Guide, the program WILL WORK as intended. Now, our expectations are that it means we will lose 1 pound a day for the next 60 days. LOL. That is not going to happen, nor would it be healthy. Your body will lose at the pace it will lose, and the best thing YOU can do is stick to the Quick Start Guide like GLUE.
So, here are MY tips:
*Are you weighing your protein and measuring your veggies? Now hold on, I know if you are like me you will think "Does that REALLY matter? How can a couple ounces off here or there REALLY effect things in the long run?" THEY CAN. Think of this program as a prescription. Would you alter the dose or the timing of your medication simply because you thought "does it really matter?" The answer is NO! This is a CLINICALLY PROVEN program, and the scientific studies were done with a FOOD SCALE and a MEASURING CUP. So, my first question to someone on a plateau is "are you weighing your cooked protein, and measuring your vegetables with a measuring cup?”
If not, do start.
*Are you adding your required amount of healthy fats?
To burn fat we need to prime the pump and make sure we are consuming an adequate amount of healthy fats every day. If you haven't been keeping track of those, with a MEASURING SPOON, then I recommend you start. Again, would you alter the dose of your medication because you thought it really didn't matter?
Look, here's the skinny. We need to STOP substituting our judgment for the judgment of the experts who formulated this plan. Really, if we were actually experts, we wouldn't need this program in the first place! Yet time and time again, and I know this is true for me too, I think that I know better than the plan, or that this little deviation won't really matter in the grand scheme of things.The fact is, it really DOES matter.
*Are you drinking 90 ounces of pure water ever day?
If not, START. Your body REQUIRES EXCESS WATER to perform the chemical reaction of making your stored body fat available for immediate use as energy. I could explain in detail how H2O is necessary to break the bond of the Triglycerides floating around in your blood stream into 3 Free Fatty Acids that can readily be uptaken by the individual cells so they can use that as fuel for their furnace, and the H2O is USED up in that chemical process. I could explain how if the Triglyceride REMAINS a triglyceride it will do you no good and instead simply float around in your blood until it is RESTORED in another Fat Cell, and I'm happy to do that...I could explain that your body, if not given adequate water to turn your fat into usable energy will instead conserve the water for the vital body functions like maintaining blood volume and hydrating your cells, and that if you don't drink enough water (90 ounces should do it) your body will instead set off a hormonal cascade to make you HUNGRY, TIRED, and SLOW your metabolism...I could explain all of those things to you from a biochemical standpoint, and I'm happy to do it, but the bottom line physiologically is DRINK YOUR 90 ounces of water and you don't have to WORRY about all these other things.
*Are you spacing your 6 meals out every 2.5-3 hours?
If not, START. This program honors the science of fat burning/weight loss, and stable blood sugars are an integral part of that process. If you go more than 3 hours without "throwing a log on the fire" you are signaling to your body that you are in conservation mode, and it will respond accordingly. If you throw a log on the fire of your metabolism every 3 hours, that fire will continue to burn hot and bright, and will happily utilize your long-term energy storage (fat) on a day-to-day basis. If you convince your body you are in a famine situation by NOT eating every 3 hours, you are sending it the instruction to CONSERVE AND STORE, and it will batten down the hatches and do exactly what you have told it to do.
*Are you tracking your condiments and not exceeding 3 maximum?
If not, START. Condiments add up, and they do add calories in the form of carbohydrates.
*Are you having an optional snack every day?
If so, STOP. It may be those extra calories/carbs are throwing you just over the threshold of you body really being convinced it needs to utilize your fat reserves.
Start by doing all of the above. If you are still in a plateau after this, and you AREN'T exercising, or you have a very sedentary job, START MOVING a little more every day.
I recommend getting a FITBIT and setting a goal for 5,000 steps per day, then upping that to 10,000 steps per day.
There you have it! That is my "breaking a plateau guide".
Here is what I would love you to do. REST in the simplicity of the plan. UNDERSTAND that the science of weight loss has to do mostly with your nutrition, what you are putting in your body and when. If you want to encourage your body to utilize the energy it has stored up for a rainy day, let’s give it that rainy day in a controlled situation, which is what this plan DOES. It WILL use the energy, and you will HAVE lots of energy while utilizing this plan. Your body is not your enemy, it is your friend, and its primary concern is your survival. It will follow the instructions YOU give it, so if you haven’t been giving it the instructions it needs to utilize your long-term energy capacity, then start. Today.

*Note to readers who may not yet be on the Optimal Health Program I am describing, please e-mail me at and I will send the guide out to you for free!