Are carbs bad for weight loss?

There are so many diets out there it’s no wonder everyone is confused. Carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables, whole grains, peas, nuts and beans are good for you. They have fiber, nutrients and fill you up. Carbohydrates give you energy. If you don’t eat carbs you will be lethargic and constipated. You’ll also be nutrient deficient. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies lead to disease. No matter how thin you are, you won’t look cute in a hospital bed.

The carbohydrates you want to avoid are those that are processed and have added sugar, flour and fat. The bad carbohydrates are chips, soda, bread and pasta that doesn’t contain whole grains as the first ingredient, cookies, cakes, candy, crackers, muffins, pancakes, waffles, mashed potatoes (due to the butter), fried potatoes, fried foods (Anything fried is bad for your heart and your waistline. Restaurants add white flour to get the crunchy outer layer.), and white rice. Ideally, you would stay away from these items with a ten foot pole. Just try to eat these bad carbs once in a while instead of every day.

If you want to lose weight and be healthier, you will need to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, which have very few calories. Enjoy the whole grains and peas as a small side, and snack on a small handful of unsalted nuts every day. The fewer processed carbs you trade in for healthy carbohydrates will surely get you to your weight-loss goals quicker. Another bonus you’ll get is clear and healthy skin.

I love fruit and vegetables and can never seem to keep enough in the house. Those refrigerator bins need to be bigger! My favorite vegetable is roasted asparagus with fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar. Another beloved vegetable side is green beans tossed in honey with chopped walnuts. Adults need about 55% of their caloric intake from carbohydrates so stop starving yourself of nutrition and enjoy what is good for you.

Dangers of drinking water in excess

On August 20th, I provided ideas to make drinking water taste better to encourage everyone to drink more fluids. If you don’t replenish lost fluids, you will end up retaining more water and have that not-so-pretty bloated look. Maybe it’s not fat that’s making you look heavy, maybe it’s water. Did you know that our bodies are over 50% water?

Back in college, I remember a student who carried a gallon of water in addition to her books and course material every day to class. I thought that was an excessive amount of water for her just to drink at school. It’s not like she had to sprint between classes. She would swig water throughout the 50-minute period. One day she brought in a half gallon jug instead of her typical gallon, so I commented, “I see you’re now carrying a smaller water bottle.” She replied, “My doctor told me I was drinking too much water so my cells were swelling. I had to cut back.”

Most of us know a little about the dangers of dehydration, but rarely about the hazards of drinking too much water or any type of liquid, for that matter. The medical term for overhydrating is hyponatremia. Hyponatremia causes low sodium levels and the extra water can seep into the brain causing encephalopathy. Now, that’s scary!

This is a definite cause for alarm. Anything you eat or drink when taken in excess, no matter how healthy it is, can hurt you. A study of 488 Boston Marathon runners were diagnosed with hyponatremia at the end of the race. (2) That’s a lot! Most runners think they are feeling ill because they are dehydrated so they drink more. Some of these runners are in such bad shape that they are taken to the hospital. You would think that the medical treatment provided would make these runners better but “…Some doctors mistakenly think the runner is dehydrated and give intravenous fluids.”(1)  People have died from overhydrating. Case in point: A “28-year-old Boston Marathon runner who suffered severe hyponatremia…died en route to the hospital.”  (2)

Because so many runners are drinking a surplus of liquids, it is now recommended that marathoners consume “no more than eight ounces of water every 20 minutes.” (1) When I’m thirsty I drink water or tea, but there were times when I felt a bit ill and thought, “Maybe I drank too much.” I’m going to pay more attention to how much water I drink, and hope you will too. No one should die from drinking water.

(sources: ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual (2), Mayo Clinic, NY Times on-line. Internet article, “Marathoners Warned About Too Much Water”(1))

Best time to exercise

“When is the best time to exercise?” I was recently asked. It really depends on the individual, when they have the time, and the most amount of energy. I know that if I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, it will never get done. Some people are not morning people, or they don’t have time to exercise before going to work. The best time for them to exercise may be at lunch, or right after work. At the end of the day I’m really tired and don’t have the energy to lift weights or do high-intensity cardio, so the best time for me to get my workout is in the morning. The most important thing is to get the workout in, and less important is the time of day you exercise.

How often to work out with a trainer, what to look for in a trainer and what trainers hate

A client asked me how many times a week he should work with a trainer. It really depends on your goals and your budget. It would be ideal to work with a fitness trainer three times a week, but private trainers are expensive. Let your budget be your guide. Shop around because session fees can vary greatly. When searching for a trainer you’ll want to make sure this person has the proper certifications and jives with your personality. If you don’t like your trainer, it won’t be a good fit.

Your trainer should be able to understand your goals, go over which foods are fattening, and encourage you every step of the way. Your trainer should never make you feel fat, unattractive, or bad about yourself. You give yourself enough grief; you shouldn’t pay someone else for that too! If you’re giving it your all, that’s all you can give.

You can make your training experience better by following the five steps below:

(They may not tell you this, but I will! These are fitness professional’s biggest pet peeves.)


  1. Wear deodorant and clean workout clothes. (If you are working out with weights they cannot spot you from across the room!)
  2. Stop making excuses and just do it.
  3. Follow their recommendations. (They’re the expert. That’s why you hired them!)
  4. Don’t wear cologne. (Some people are allergic or sensitive to scents)
  5. Cancel the appointment if you’re sick. (They don’t want to catch your cold!)

The bottom line is that you and your trainer work well together. If it’s not working, don’t give up. Find someone else that’s a better match. It’s your money, after all.

Reduce high blood pressure naturally

Do you get upset easily? Do the terrible drivers on the road make you scream out the window and give them the middle finger? Do you really think that driver intentionally cut you off? Why would they do that on purpose if they don’t know you? Most likely that bad driver forgot to look over his shoulder. It has nothing to do with you so don’t get so worked up about it. You have some control over your blood pressure. If you ask yourself questions like the ones here, you’ll realize the person just forgot to look.

I really hate it when I’m leaving a store and the person exiting in front of me slams the door in my face. How rude! When I had a pinched nerve in my back I couldn’t turn sideways or hold the door for someone else without being in intense pain. Instead of getting angry with the person who almost hit me with the door, I think, “maybe their back hurts,” or “maybe they didn’t see me.” It’s so much easier to forgive other people for their mistakes. Don’t make someone else’s problem affect your health. It’s not worth it!

Diabetes and Cholesterol

A person who has diabetes has a greater chance of having high cholesterol. After I was diagnosed as diabetic, I was told that I also had high cholesterol levels. I stopped eating all beef products several years prior to this diagnoses, ate small portions of lean red meat on occasion, didn’t eat any dairy products, was in my thirties, exercised frequently, and was the proper weight for my height so how could it be possible that I had high cholesterol?! The doctor wanted to put me on statins. “Heck no,” I thought! It was bad enough to have to take insulin, but statins too? It was not a good day!

What I found out is that acceptable levels of LDL cholesterol have gone down over the years so that more and more people are put on pharmaceuticals. This benefits the manufacturers, and the doctors who receive compensation from prescribing these medications, but does not help and can even harm patients.

After administering insulin and reducing the amount of carbohydrates I consumed, my LDL cholesterol level dropped considerably and is now considered “good.” What the doctor didn’t tell me and what I want to share with you is that high blood sugar messes up your whole body. Even if you don’t eat any products containing cholesterol, your body makes cholesterol on its own. If your body isn’t functioning properly, your body cannot remove the excess cholesterol and it keeps building up, raising those levels.

You may be able to avoid taking cholesterol-lowering drugs by keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Just because a doctor recommends a medication doesn’t mean you have to take it. All prescription drugs have benefits and risks. It’s unfortunate, but you have to be your own medical advocate. No one has your best interests at heart better than you, except maybe your mom!

Hate Water? I’m going to change that.

homemade tea

I’ve heard a few people tell me they hate water. To me that’s just crazy talk. It’s like someone insisting that grass is purple and the moon is made out of marshmallows. Water haters say they drink juice and flavored water instead of plain water. Juice has calories and carbs which add up so it’s not the best hydration choice. Flavored drinks typically have food coloring, preservatives, and synthetic sweeteners so I’m not a fan of those either.

I enjoy a challenge so I’m going to make all of you who hate water, love it. You can make delicious and refreshing water without adding any calories, carbohydrates, or chemicals.

Below are my top three homemade flavored water tips:

1)      Add thin slices of lemon, oranges and cucumber to a glass jug. Fill with filtered water and ice. Yum! (keep in refrigerator)

2)      Pour a little bit of brewed coffee into a glass jug or glass. Add water and ice for iced coffee

3)      Put 3 tea bags (my favorites are mint and green tea) in a microwavable cup with ½ glass of filtered water. Heat 30 seconds in the microwave. Add tea bags and brew for 3 minutes. Pour the hot brewed tea in a glass jug. Fill with cold filtered water and ice. You can add a few drops of liquid stevia to make it taste like sweetened tea.

As Tony Horton, fitness celebrity trainer, says, “Drink your water people!” Maybe now you will.

How Calories Add Up

This is a follow-up to the blog I wrote on 7/30/13 in reference to how dining out increases your waist size. Lazy Dog Restaurant’s Ginger Soy Salmon with brown rice entrée contains a whopping 1050 calories. I contacted the restaurant and they gave me this break down:

  • 8 oz Salmon=471 calories
  • 1.5 cups Cooked Rice=220 calories
  • Veggies with Sauce and oil= 250 calories (Steaming the veggies would remove about 180 calories)
  • Teriyaki Glaze=45 calories

Now I know why that dish contains so many calories. The salmon they give you is a generous portion: a half a pound. I also didn’t know the vegetables were cooked in oil. If you noticed, the math doesn’t add up to 1050. 471+220+250+45 = 986, not 1050 per their online calorie chart. It’s only a difference of 64 calories, but still!

If I omit just the rice, that would still make the meal 776 calories, which is a lot, especially when that number doesn’t include a beverage or dessert! If I had steamed vegetables instead of the fried veggies and excluded the rice, the dish would come in a 596 calories which is not bad for a restaurant in terms of calories. It’s still more calories than the meals I make at home. Dining out is such a love-hate experience for me!

Jillians Michaels Kickboxing Video Review

Jillian Michaels Kickbox Fast Fix

If you want short cardiovascular workouts with little out-of-pocket investment, this one is you. Jillians’ “Kickbox Fast Fix” contains three 20-minute fast-paced kickboxing workouts. Other training programs drag on because they are boring, but all three kickboxing workouts are really fun. Sometimes, with other exercise videos, I’m thinking, “When is this going to be over?” On this DVD when I hear Jillian say, “Time for a cool down.” I’m a little sad because that 20 minutes went by so quickly. Of course I can always watch another one!

The negatives to this exercise DVD are the uninspiring music and confusing moves. One of the videos incorporates weights, but it’s only two sets of the same movements so it’s not much of a strength-training workout. Over all, I give this a thumbs-up.

Diabetes and depression

If you’ve been newly diagnosed as diabetic, or if you’ve been a diabetic for years, you’re bound to have bouts of depression due to fluctuations in blood sugar. Being diagnosed with a disease is definitely a depressing realization. One of the biggest challenges a diabetic has is to keep her or her blood sugar stabilized. When a person’s blood sugar is too high, she or he will have sadness and less energy. Whenever you are feeling blue, it may not be your job or a situation that’s getting you down. Test your blood sugar with your glucose meter even if you think the numbers will be okay. The meter is not there to judge you; it’s to help you. If your blood sugar is too high, you know you need to take more medication. Taking drugs sucks, but depression sucks even more!

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