Nutrition

Tony's Nutrition Tips For The Holidays

Eating well is not about being 100% perfect every day, every meal, especially over the holidays. However, you shouldn’t treat the holidays as a free pass to eat whatever you want, or you’re setting yourself up for disaster and possible regret come January 1st. Try some of Tony’s favorite tips to help you stay on track during the holidays. 

1. Accountability is key

For years I’ve stressed the importance of accountability. Whether its finding a workout partner, posting your meals, joining a group like my new Dietbet Challenge, keeping a food journal, or writing out your goals, accountability is the key to your success. 

2. Offer to host the party

By hosting the party or dinner yourself, you are in control of the foods that are served, so you can substitute unhealthy ingredients and dishes for healthier options. Controlling food supply is easier when you’re the one in control.

3. Don’t skip meals

It’s tempting to save your appetite for all of the delicious food at a holiday gathering, but you’re also setting yourself up to overindulge and make bad choices. Before your holiday meal, eat a protein- and healthy-fat-packed snack such as veggies and humus or celery with nut butter. Protein and fat help you cut your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.

4. Start smart

Start your meal with soup and salad or fresh veggies, and avoid snacking before your meal on appetizers made with refined flour or sugary treats. Volunteer to bring something so you’re guaranteed to have at least one healthy dish you enjoy and can load up.  

5. Rethink your drinks

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and sends you down a slippery slope of bad choices. Most alcoholic beverages are also filled with sugar and empty calories. Limit alcohol intake, or better yet, avoid it altogether. If you do indulge on a drink or two, drink water in between and make the rest of your beverages sparkling water, tea or water with lemon or lime. 

6. Eat mindfully

I’ve been talking a lot about mindfulness lately, and that’s because I’ve realized how important it is! Before each meal, take five deep breaths, and tune into how hungry you really are. As you eat, focus on flavors, colors and smells, and try to put your fork down between bites. Halfway through your meal, pause, put down your fork and take a few more deep breaths. Assess your hunger on and ask yourself, “How much more food do I need to feel satisfied without feeling uncomfortable?”

7. Don’t cave to peer pressure

We’ve all been there when the well-meaning friend or relative asks you why you’re not having a piece of their homemade fudge or having another glass of wine. Just know that no one will feel insulted if you explain, “I’m here for the company, not just the food.”

8. Set your intention

Before indulging in holiday food and spirits and desserts, set an intention for the event such as “I will start with vegetables, limit myself to two glasses of wine and water, and only have two bites of dessert after dinner.” Of course only you know your weaknesses, so you’ll set an intention that feels right for you. Setting an intention makes you less likely to indulge in foods and activities that make you feel less than your best. 

Remember above all else not to beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Just do your best and forget the rest! 

Your Pal,

Tony

Fitness, Fortitude, Nutrition, Personal Development

ConQuer Your Mind Part 2 – “Your Driving Force”

The following video expands on the chapter two idea “Compelling Why” from my e-book How To ConQuer Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals.

A common obstacle to goal achievement is obstacles. “Wow, that’s brilliant Chad. You are quite the guru.” I hear you. Just hang in with me. There will be obstacles to any goal worth achieving. Often, we give up when faced with obstacles because it just gets too hard. Ever been there?However, a clearly defined driving force will motivate you through your obstacles. Do your goals have a compelling driving force behind them? Watch the video to learn more.

You can get the e-book for free from the Team Quadzilla Facebook page, or directly HERE. Stay tuned for more videos to supplement the e-book content.

Fortitude, Nutrition, Personal Development

ConQuer Your Mind – Part 1 “What You Feed Grows”

The following video expands on the chapter one idea “What you feed grows” from my e-book How To ConQuer Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals.

The truth is that until you get your mindset right, your success in any goal will be temporary and limited at best. Watch as I share some thoughts about how you can change your behavior with a focus on mindset first.

You can get the e-book for free from the Team Quadzilla Facebook page, or directly HERE. Stay tuned for more videos to supplement the e-book content.

Fitness, Nutrition

Ask the Dietitian: What is Your Opinion of the Ketogenic Diet?

Full-fat everything you want — it sounds like a dream diet to lose weight on, right? The ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, has risen to diet trendom. Health-wise, the ketogenic diet has also been shown to be beneficial for mental disorders, epilepsy, type 2 diabetes  and even weight loss. Even so, this diet is quite controversial.

Let’s explore this diet together, so you can make an informed decision for your personal health.

WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb and moderate protein diet. Despite recent popularity, the “classic” KD has been used for almost 100 years to treat children with epilepsy. It was later adapted into the well-known commercial weight-loss program, the Atkins diet. Different versions of this diet exist, but these two are among the most common:

  • Classic Ketogenic Diet: This diet uses a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 for fat to nonfat (Think: protein and carbohydrates) in grams.
  • Modified Atkins Diet: This diet restricts carbohydrates to 20 grams of “net” carbs daily. “Net” carbs are defined as total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber.

Take a look at the chart below to see how the KD stacks up against what experts recommend; the difference is drastic. Keep in mind that the definition for a “classic” KD may be different than what people who practice a more mainstream ketogenic lifestyle for weight loss will consume. A modified version of the KD is more flexible on the number of carbs you can have in a day, so low-carb vegetables (think: broccoli, spinach, lettuce) won’t count against you. High-fat, keto-friendly foods include those higher in saturated fat (e.g., bacon, cheese, butter) and lower in saturated fat (e.g., olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds).

*Note: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats will likely have a macronutrient (e.g. fat, protein, carbs) profile within the “acceptable macronutrient distribution range” (AMDR).

HOW DOES THE KETOGENIC DIET PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS?

You may wonder how eating up to 90% of your calories from fat while turning a blind eye to calories can lead to weight loss. Nobody knows exactly but researchers have a few good guesses:

  • Fuel Switching. Eating a lot of fat and severely limiting carbs pushes you into “ketosis,” a state where mostly fat is burned instead of carbs. Even the brain, an organ that preferentially uses glucose (a sugar) for fuel must adapt to using fat in the form of ketones.
  • Appetite Control. Those on the KD claim it dampens their appetite. This is because ketones may play a role in signalling satiety within the brain.
  • Metabolically Expensive. Just because you transitioned into ketosis and can burn fat more efficiently doesn’t mean your body won’t need carbs at all. To keep blood sugar within a reasonable range, the liver converts protein into glucose through a process called “gluconeogenesis.” OK, biology lesson stops here. Just know that this process demands a lot of energy and burns an additional 400–600 calories daily.

The KD may be great for short- and medium-term weight loss, but there’s no clear outlook on what it will do to your health in the long run — and this puts many experts on edge.

WHY IS THE KETOGENIC DIET SO CONTROVERSIAL?

The US News expert reviews give the KD about 2 out of 5 stars. Right off the bat, here are two major reasons why this diet sank so low:

  1. It promotes foods high in fat, even saturated fat, which is bad for heart health. A diet that puts few limits on bacon, butter and full-fat cream automatically draws backlash.
  2. It can eliminate whole food groups if followed stringently. This includes high-carbohydrate vegetables, most fruits and whole grains. This could lead to nutrient deficiencies in the long run.

READ MORE > EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DASH DIET 


ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS?

Despite the controversy, let’s balance pros and cons. Yes, the KD is solid therapy for children with epilepsy, but they’re always under careful clinical supervision to correct for any micronutrient deficiencies. The KD is showing promise as therapy for Type 2 diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, etc. but the science isn’t yet well-established. The same applies for long-term weight loss.

THE VERDICT

Hopefully I’ve given you enough food for thought. In my opinion you should still try to lose weight first by following a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But, to be frank, I’m flexible on the ketogenic lifestyle, especially if you’re pursuing this diet with the help of a qualified health professional.

Clearly, the KD is restrictive and isn’t for everyone. Be realistic about whether this diet will align with the lifestyle you want. If you have a sweet tooth or love your fruits and veggies, you will likely struggle on keto. Those who are vegetarian or vegan will also find the KD challenging.

Finally, just because the diet is a poster child for all-you-can-eat bacon doesn’t mean you have to eat this way. There are healthy fats to choose including avocado, olive oil, walnuts and fatty fish.

by Trinh Le, MPH, RD

My humble opinion on the matter is that while Keto might be a great kick-starter for your weight loss goals, I don’t see this diet as sustainable (or healthy) for the long term. I firmly believe “balance is best,” and that includes real food from all the food groups in proper portions. You don’t need to restrict food groups or count calories when you follow my favorite resource for healthy eating – 90/10 Nutrition. Start with 90/10 first. You might find like me that you can “Eat like this forever!”

Fitness, Fortitude, Nutrition

7 Tips to Keep Your Healthy Living Journey From Falling Off the Rails

Many people have fallen off the train to physical fitness. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve been on the train (all aboard in January, right?) and fallen off multiple times. You are frustrated. It wasn’t your body that gave out on you though. Oh sure, you might have told yourself that your knee or back derailed your ride to fitness, but you know the truth: You chose to jump off the train. Maybe your results weren’t coming fast enough, maybe it was too hard, you were doing the wrong exercises, or other activities got in the way. There are a million excuses and yours is not new.


News Flash: Getting fit is hard. So is paying for medications, feeling stiff, weak, tired, and not being able to do the things you once did (or have always wanted to do). You choose. #toughlove

Getting fit (and staying fit) is a mental game more than a physical one. Most people approach fitness the wrong way, and it leads to failure. A mindset shift about fitness is required. Fitness isn’t a project with a defined start and end date. There is no “arrival.” There’s no retirement. Fitness is a process – a healthy living journey that never ends. Wrap your mind around the reality that you need to pursue a lifestyle of healthy habits and read on for more helpful tips to master the mental side of getting fit.

Set mindful goals

Set small reasonable goals and remember to focus on the process. Expect more internal negative feedback at the start than positive. You will be sore, and maybe hungry. You might get grumpy and want to quit. Health benefits are delayed for a while – longer than the instant gratification we all expect. Recognize that everyone struggles with new routine. Get used to being uncomfortable and know that it will be worth it if you don’t give up.

Don’t exercise – train

Exercising for the sake of exercising is terrible. We’re like a hamster on his wheel, mindlessly moving and loathing every minute of it. Kinda like how I feel about treadmills. Exercise on purpose. Train for something. Follow a plan or program. Sign up for a race or fitness event. When you finish, sign up for another one. Remember your driving force behind your fitness journey. Why are you really trying to get fit? How will you feel? What will you be able to do?

Be Social

Find other people to motivate you. Join a club or challenge group. Find a workout partner. Coach others. I have found the mutual accountability in helping others to be an awesome way to keep momentum in my healthy living journey. There is great power in being part of a group.

Change your Habits

Have you heard of Habit Stacking? It’s where you stack your new healthy habit on top of something you already do every day to help ensure you get it done. Plan ahead. Remove as much friction between you and the workout as possible. Set aside time in your calendar like any other meeting or appointment. Set your gear out the night before. Following a plan ensures you don’t show up to the gym with no idea how to maximize your results. We love working out at home because it eliminates so many of the common obstacles.

Define yourself

You are what you eat, you are what you do – not what you say you do. Talk to yourself and about yourself in a positive voice. “I am strong. I am healthy. I’m taking this time for me so I can be my best for everyone else.” You are a responsible person so you go to work every day. You don’t just skip work cuz you don’t feel like it. Same with your healthy habits. You are an active person, you are on a mission to be the best version of yourself, so you don’t ditch your program/ workout commitments.

Rest

Once you get on track, you love how you feel, you’re making progress, etc. you won’t want to stop. You still must listen to your body and rest. Give your body a chance to recover. But don’t use rest as an excuse to jump off the train. You can still eat right and do lower impact activity.

Change your routine as you age

Fitness isn’t a goal, it’s a lifelong process. It will change as you age. Adapt. Mix up your program. Avoid comparison with your younger self. Never quit. Find the activities that suit you. You may lose some speed and strength over time, but far slower than you would if you sat idle telling yourself you are too old or fat to do anything. Get moving. Conquer your mind. Do your thing. Press on!