Fitness Journey, Health

9K Steps @ 39 Weeks Pregnant: What’s your excuse?

I have been even more motivated to get my steps in during the past few weeks to hopefully progress faster in labor once it begins.

Today, I logged 9,160 steps, 3.93 miles, burned 2,125 cals, and spent 49 minutes exercising.

I managed to meet my hourly step goal of 250+ steps between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. This is something I do not typically target to accomplish but was very proud of myself to have completed it. I really enjoy using my Fitbit to manage my stats.

To record my walking I use Map my Walk which tracks your walk via GPS. I find it to be very accurate. This morning I started out my day with fasted cardio at 6:15 am and walked for 1.10 miles before work. Around lunch I took another walk and accomplished another 1.11 miles. It’s hard to make an excuse for not having time to walk. Walking is one of the simplest exercises routines you can incorporate into your daily activities. One strategy is to park further away from your destination and walk (parking lots at stores). This can help you burn a few calories, increase your heart rate, and save your car from someone dinging your doors.

Take a look at my stats from my two walking sessions today:

It’s not too bad for someone who is 39 weeks pregnant and carrying a whole (7+ lb) human in her womb. If I can get out and walk- so can you! So, what’s your excuse?

The most important part of embarking on your fitness journey is to START today! Small progress is better than no progress at all. I am not challenging you to be a runner or a top athlete. It’s okay to be a walker and have a slower pace. It’s not about running a marathon, it’s about keeping moving!

My advice to you is to cancel that gym membership that you are paying for and not using. Walking is totally FREE! It’s easy to make an excuse of why getting to the gym is out of the way or inconvenient for you. It’s tougher to make an excuse on how you can’t incorporate walking into your daily routine.

Story time: While I was walking today around lunch time I passed a wounded Veteran who was sitting in his wheelchair outside of Starbucks. After I passed him for the third time he looked at me and told me to get some steps in for him. This moment made me realize that while I am complaining about pelvic pressure and backaches from pregnancy I should not take for granted my ability to walk and still be mobile. There in front of me was a man who has lost his ability to walk. Just a Monday reminder to be humble and thankful.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health

Health Tip Tuesday: 5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night

If you are struggling with weight loss you may be over looking an impacting factor. Ask yourself: When are you having your last meal of the day? Do you find that you are snacking after dinner?

You should have a eating window set and an established cut off time at night after your last meal. Data collected from animals and night-shift workers correlate that those who eat late suffer from what they call, “night eating syndrome“. “Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders” (Allen, 2015).

Data collected suggests that overall the body processes food differently throughout the day. This can be a result of, but not limited to: digestion, body temperature, hormone levels, and physical activity (Allen, 2015).

While eating late at night often prompts weight gain it can also raise your blood sugar. The spiking of blood sugar levels has been linked to raising the risks of other chronic diseases. Often, night time cravings consists of higher calorie foods/snacks (sugary or salty cravings). It is recommended to avoid late night snacking and this can be successfully done through training your not only your body but yourself. Change your mindset if you are seeking to change your current lifestyle (Allen, 2015).

5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night:

  1. Altered Hormone Function: Consuming food late at night alters your hormone function, specifically- insulin, glucagon and leptin.
  2. Increased Inflammation: Calories consumed between the hours of 7 pm and midnight have been linked to an increased C-Reactive protein, which is a indication of inflammation.
  3. Impaired Blood Sugar Regulation: Insulin produced as a result of the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day is least efficient at night. Consuming food and/or snacks that have a high-glycemic index will increase your blood sugar and impair your body’s ability to regulate your levels, resulting in increasing your risk of other chronic diseases.
  4. Increased Weight Gain: Eating late at night is linked to weight gain because the disruption of our circadian clock in our fat tissues are disrupted when consuming foods late into the night. As a result, the body is prompted to store fat rather than burn it. The body is less active at night as it attempts to slow down for the night, as triggered by our bodily clock.
  5. Elevated Triglycerides and Cholesterol: Eating outside of our circadian cycle has an impact on how our body metabolizes lipids, resulting in elevated levels.

Knowing the effects of eating late prompted a change within our family as we are all on our fitness journey. It required us to change our schedule and be consistent in our commitment. Our household enjoys dinner together each night between the hours of 5:00 – 6:00 pm. It only takes on average about two weeks to build a habit and this is a standard that we have set. We avoid eating outside of our dinner window and my husband Andrew is so strict that he will fast if he finds that eating would put him outside of our set eating window. If your schedule does not permit you to eat dinner early, adjustments will need to made to work around this. You can not use your schedule as an excuse. It is true that people find the time and dedication to do what they chose to do. If you are looking to live a more healthier lifestyle you have to want it and make the appropriate changes as needed.

Recommendations:

In the effort to minimize nighttime eating I recommend that you commit to a time window for eating. Set a time in which you will break your morning fast from the night before (breakfast= break-fast) and a time in which you will begin your fast at night (last meal of the day-dinner). If you do find that you have a hunger urge outside of your eating window replace high glycemic food/snack options with smaller and high-protein snacks (I.e. eggs, nuts, yogurt).

I encourage everyone reading this post to share your experiences in the comment section. Are you currently battling with eating late? Is weight gain a concern of yours? Is obesity effecting your health? How do you feel? Your testimony can help someone. My primary focus is to build a community around my blog but this is only possible with the help of all of my followers and readers.

Be sure to follow my Facebook page, Fit Life With Erica in order to connect with myself and others on their fitness journey.

FLWE ❤

References:

Allen, J. V. (2015, August 24). Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet. Retrieved April 8, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-eating-late-at-night-may-be-particularly-bad-for-you-and-your-diet/2015/08/24/ad8b85ac-2583-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8f4bd12bf7a

Clark, C. (2018, July 11). Is it Bad to Eat at Night? 6 Reasons to Avoid Nighttime Meals and Snacks. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-it-bad-to-eat-at-night-6-reasons-to-avoid-nighttime-meals-and-snacks/

Fitness Journey, Health, How To

How to Reduce Your Weight Effectively

Are you looking to lose weight? Has your progress flatlined? If your goal is to reduce your weight effectively here are a few recommendations that I suggest you incorporate in your routine:

  1. Workout Variety- Do not allow your body to get use to the same old routine. Mixing up your intensity, duration, and workout type will shock your body into weight loss. If you are not already, combine both cardio and strength training in your routine.
  2. Strength Training- Incorporating strength training with free weights into your routine will encourage weight loss. Remember: the more muscle you have in total body mass will allow you to burn more calories in your workout.
  3. Sleep- Be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep daily. People that are sleep deprived often have a harder time at losing weight and often weigh more, compared to those who eat the same diet but receive adequate sleep. When your body lacks sleep it “over” produces the following hormones: leptin and ghrelin which signals hunger pains.
  4. Nutrition- Exercise and diet together work to improve your health on the inside and out. Physical activity works to reduce your risks of disease (heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc.). Balanced nutrition assists with improving your health (heart health, brain health, energy levels, and weight control).
  5. Recovery- Although, you may be addicted the results you are seeing from working out, do not forget the importance of “rest days.” Your body and muscles need time to repair and this occurs when you are sleeping. While asleep you produce the most growth hormone; further assisting with burning fat and building muscles. Overtime building more muscle results in increased strength which further encourages weight loss.

FLWE ❤

Food, Health

Coffee Exposed: Why do you crave coffee?

We all know coffee to be a stimulant. Consuming coffee speeds up your central nervous system, which makes us feel more alert. Aside, from the jitters and sudden increase in energy caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine receptors typically function to promote sleep under normal conditions.

We often get addicted to the feeling of alertness and become dependent on it as a daily pick me up. Once you develop a habit of drinking coffee it can be difficult to stop. If you find yourself in this situation- this blog post is for you. (continue reading)

Why do you crave coffee?

  • Habit

If coffee has become a part of your morning routine you could simply be craving coffee out of habit. You may be consuming coffee for social purposes as well. Whatever the reason may be it stems from a psychological dependence on caffeine. This means “you” think you need it, when in reality you really don’t or just may just simply enjoy it. When you are psychologically dependent on something it can a hard habit to stop.

  • Coping Mechanism for Stress

Stress has a major effect on our bodies and sends various signals to our brain. Some of the effects of stress include: anxiety and fatigue. Many individuals seek chemical boosters like caffeine in order to cope with managing during stressful times. While it is normal to clutch to coping mechanisms to deal with stress it does create habits- which can be difficult to overcome.

  • Low Iron Levels

Coffee cravings can be associated with iron deficiency anemia. Having low iron will cause you to experience fatigue and weakness. As a result to this feeling, we tend to seek beverages that will supplement us throughout the day when we dip into those periods of tiredness.

If you suspect that you have a iron deficiency I highly recommend you to consult with your Physician. It may be helpful to begin a iron supplement in order to regulate your iron levels. This will definitely assist with resolving the fatigue and weakness that you may be experiencing. Addressing the underlying issue is crucial, since coffee contains natural compounds called tannins that prevent iron absorption. While, coffee assists temporarily with overcoming tiredness it is not a long term fix.

  • Pica Cravings

You may be wondering what these terms mean. Pica is a disorder that I am sure a great majority suffer from. Pica is when you crave things that have no nutritional value. Characteristics of these cravings is when you want food simply to enjoy the experience (taste, smell, chewing, etc.). These cravings are often associated with low iron levels as previously discussed.

As a coffee drinker I have identified that I enjoy coffee for the taste and smell. Something about the smell of a fresh brew makes me happy. I don’t necessarily drink coffee for the temporary energy jolt- since it is short lived.

  • To Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

The most popular withdrawal symptoms from caffeine are headaches. Naturally, it can be harder to stop consuming something if we are going to experience adverse reactions (headaches). To cope with these symptoms, we sometimes unknowingly are driven to consume more. Consuming caffeine often aids to suppress headaches, increasing our craving. Other withdrawal symptoms include tiredness and lack of focus; which we also aid with coffee consumption.

  • Addiction

To have an addiction means something slightly different than dependence. To have an addiction means you continue to use a substance if though it is not good for you or is causing you problems. Caffeine dependence is more common than having an actual addiction. However, if you suspect that your have an addiction- seek medical advice.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I will be discussing in the coming weeks how to deal with coffee cravings, and coffee health benefits.

Please like, share, and subscribe.

FLWE ❤

Health

[Table Talk] Does your Doctor really know best? – Video: Health Theory- Keto Conspiracy w/ Ken Berry

Watch for more information

I highly encourage you to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Do your research. Anyone who speaks against the sustainability of eating meats and veggies for the long term simply lacks knowledge.

Healthcare professionals push the incorporation of fruit, dairy, grains and starches in your “balanced” diet. However, they advise you to reduce sugar in your diet. Be mindful that these foods break down ultimately into sugar. Consuming these foods in excess can result in many health problems as sugar is linked to inflammation and the breaking down of needed blood vessels.

The most proven way to accelerate weight loss and improve your health is to reduce sugar in your diet. In order to reduce sugar in your diet, you must eliminate the consumption of simple carbs (ceral, pasta, soda, bread, etc.) Aside from what you are consuming your body makes and regulates its own sugar. Adding excess sugar will result in excess weight gain. This is a fact that I did not learn from my personal doctor. There are so many enlightened individuals like Dr Ken Berry, who have medical degrees and are actively sharing supported information on these issues.

Doctors are working for the healthcare industry and they are expected to follow certain guidelines which are regulated. If they really told you the truth on how to “get healthy” it would be a fall in our healthcare system. There would be no need for monthly follow up appointments, or repeat labs. Pharmaceutical companies would see a decrease in profit, since medication sales would also decrease.

Medication is not the answer to controlling your levels or getting healthy. There are far too many risks associated with medications that are recommended to “treat” medical conditions. Medications are not the cure or answer to your health problems. I personally would not choose to medicate a problem. I support solving and eliminating the problem.

Please share your thoughts on the shared video and my post below.

FLWE ❤