What is Chi Running?

What happens when you combine running with the practice of T’ai Chi? The answer: chi running. When people first hear about it, they often ask, “What is chi running?”. Chirunning, as it is also called, is a relatively new way of running that focuses on form and keeps you relaxed and meditative while running. Danny Dreyer, who popularized chi running, claims that it will result in less pain and fewer injuries.

What is the Chi Running Approach?

Chi running is mindful running that focuses on every single movement of the body. Its approach is based on the principles of T’ai Chi, yoga and Pilates. Chirunning works with the core muscles and harnesses the mind for more effortless running.

Chi Running as a Running Technique

What is Chi Running?

Chi Running

As a running technique, it teaches runners to move in a more natural and efficient way. The traditional way of running focuses on power and strength for faster running. Chi running, on the other hand, focuses on efficiency with the use of a midfoot strike rather than the heel strike in traditional running technique. A midfoot strike is believed to more biomechanically efficient, resulting in faster running speed with less effort.

Chi Running as a Philosophy

Chi running is more than a running technique. It is also a philosophy of running. It is about running in a relaxed and meditative way. Like T’ai Chi and yoga, chi running provides a spiritual experience and integrates mind and body.

What is Involved in Chi Running?

In chi running, mindfulness means being aware of your body while you run. You pay attention to everything including how your feet strike the ground, your posture, how you breathe, etc. Chirunning requires deep, full breathing so that your body works more efficiently and is relaxed with adequate oxygen.

It’s important to maintain a good posture and remain relaxed while running. Normally people tense their muscles when they exert effort to run faster. This is completely against the principles of chi running. Keeping an upright and natural posture with your muscles relaxed lowers the risk of injury. Good posture allows your body’s chi or natural energy to flow smoothly while poor posture diminishes chi and tires you out.

Does Chi Running Work?

According to the proponents of chi running, this technique minimizes pain and lowers the risk of injury while running. There are no scientific studies to substantiate these claims, although harnessing the mind and body to improve your running technique could enable you to run faster and longer.

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The Power of Vanadium For Muscle Recovery

I just found a great research article on Vanadium. Vanadium is a trace mineral that we all get a little of in our diet.

I used to take Vanadium back in the early 90’s as it was supposed to promote better cell maintenance for training. I have not used it since but have found some more information on Vanadium today.

Vanadium Plays Role In Speeding Recovery From Infections

The Power of Vanadium For Muscle RecoverySeveral animal studies and a few very small human studies suggest that vanadium may reduce blood sugar levels and improve sensitivity to insulin in people with type 2 diabetes.

Vanadium Supplement On Amazon

In one study of people with type 2 diabetes, vanadium also lowered their total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

However, the dosages used in these studies were far above the tolerable upper intake level (UL), and scientists don’t know whether taking vanadium at those levels is safe — or whether it actually works. Other studies suggest that vanadium has no benefit on blood sugar levels.

Vanadium as Body Building Performance Enhancement

Vanadium is sometimes touted as a sports supplement, but there is no evidence that it works to enhance performance. In fact, one clinical trial examining vanadium use in athletes found no benefit whatsoever.

What the article says is that with some infections such as e. coli and some others that taking Vanadium can reduce the time to recovery.

Besides taking Vanadium with ChromiumThe Power of Vanadium For Muscle Recovery as a supplement you can also find it in black pepper, mushrooms, shellfish, parsley and dill seed.

Because of the varying amounts in foods due to concentrations present in soil, a food graph is omitted. The richest sources of vanadium are achieved through various oils, including specialized fats, vegetable and olive oils, soy, sunflower, and corn; all have been shown to provide a fair amount of this mineral.

Grains and vegetables also contain moderate amounts of vanadium. Sea foods, with the exception of herring and oysters, contain minute amounts and should not be used as a major food source contributor, for achieving proper daily intakes of Vanadium.

Risks of Vanadium Supplementation

Some researchers have speculated that a vanadium deficiency may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and faulty blood sugar control manifesting as either diabetes or hypoglycemia. Making things more difficult is the fact that vanadium exists in five different forms, with the most biologically significant being either vanadyl or vanadate.

Vanadium has been suggested to be a factor in manic depression, as increased levels of vanadium are found in hair samples from manic patients, and these values fall towards normal levels with recovery. Vanadium, as the vanadate ion, is a strong inhibitor of the sodium-potassium pump.

You should keep Vanadium supplements down below 500 – 1,000 mcg daily.

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Questions To Ask To Improve A Healthy Lifestyle

A few days ago I wrote about the small decisions that govern your life and how making those little changes in controlling your decisions can make huge changes in your lifestyle.

Now that you may or may not have had a chance to digest that concept I thought it would be nice to write a follow-up to this and see how we can make changes in our diet and exercise.

First of all there has to be a decision made on a broad basis of how important exercise and diet are to you. Do you already eat pretty well? Do you exercise regularly? Do you have conflicts in your life as to how to fit these things in?

Questions To Ask To Improve A Healthy Lifestyle

OK once you can answer those questions here are some of the little questions that you should ask to make healthy changes. Feel free to add more as you think of them.

Questions To Ask To Improve A Healthy LifestyleExercise And Lifestyle Questions

  • What time do you get up?
  • Do you have time to workout in the morning?
  • How do you get to work?
  • Where is the closest workout facility with showers to your work?
  • How long is your lunch?
  • What is your schedule in the evening?
  • What kind of exercise do you do now?
  • What would you like to learn this year as far as exercise goes?
  • Are there any interesting sports you want to try?
  • If you could only workout for 30 minutes what would you do?
  • If you could workout for 2 hours what would you do?

Eating Questions

  • How many meals a day do you eat?
  • What do you eat for breakfast?
  • What time is breakfast compared to when you get up?
  • Do you have many meals prepared ahead of time?
  • Do you plan all your meals the night before?
  • Do you have snacks at work?
  • Do you have protein powder and meal replacement bars at work and home?

OK, enough. I hope that these questions help you out in making changes in your eating and exercise to improve to a healthier lifestyle.

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Chocolate Bran Muffins recipe

We all know how important it is to get a lot of fiber into our diet and the fact is that a lot of forms of fiber just don’t taste all that great.

My wife has been making these chocolate bran muffins for years and although they are a great treat or snack they are chock full of fiber so they are actually good for you as well and filling.

My wife has been making these great mini loaves or muffins with All Bran and thought I should share the recipe:

Chocolate Bran Muffins recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of All Bran
  • 2 and a half cups of warm water
  • 1 box of Betty Crocker low fat brownie mix
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder
Chocolate Bran Muffins recipe

chocolate bran muffins

Directions:

  1. Mix the water and the All Bran together and let it sit for about two minutes.
  2. Add the Betty Crocker low fat brownie mix, and baking soda
  3. Mix, mix, mix
  4. Spray mini loaf or cupcake tins with some Pam and bake in the oven
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and then let cool

Recipe will make 24 Weight Watchers one point muffins or 8 Weight Watchers three point mini loaves.

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You Don’t Have To Be Great To Start But You Have To Start To Be Great

I can become really inconsistent when I get lazy, in fact I think that this is my fatal flaw, inconsistency and getting started.

I have just gotten over a case of Walking Pneumonia and I am hoping to get back to the gym some time in the next few days. The only problem with this plan is the first time going to the gym. I will make excuses, I will procrastinate, I think I even find strange illnesses to stop me, but once I make it into the door of the gym I find that I am unstoppable.

Life always tends to be like that. We will work toward getting started for a long time when we should actually just be diving in haphazardly and then maybe treading water a bit until be are stable.

You Don’t Have To Be Great To Start But You Have To Start To Be Great

I find this same thinking all over the place, I am not alone I am sure. How many times do you hear people start sentences with “I have to start” or “I really know I should” or my own favorite “I know it is important but…”.

I know first hand that it might be hard to start eating better, but it isn’t hard to buy some healthy food at the store. I know that it is really important to get or stay in shape, even in winter, but it takes almost nothing to throw on some shoes and go walk around the neighborhood for half an hour. I even use to live with being tired all the time, until I decided that no matter what I would try to crawl into bed at 9:30 every night.

Most of the big changes in our life are not really really big to start. They are easy to start just by doing one simple task like throwing on some shoes, walking in the gym door, or buying a few more vegetables. Do this starting today and later today your pride will push you to doing it one more time.

You Don't Have To Be Great To Start But You Have To Start To Be Great

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Life Is Only Available In The Present Moment

We go through life trying to look back at our past success or failures while looking at the future with hope or dread. Neither of these are really true though. Life is only available in the present moment

I remember in a book that I read by James Altucher a couple of year back where he said that we are alway doing time travel. We are never living in the now but instead remembering things in the past and living for tomorrow. Never do this.

Life Is Only Available In The Present Moment

Of course the idea of mindfulness or present moment awareness are really tough for all of use when we start. It seems that the idea is that we just throw away our past learning and we never plan for the future. Seems great but useless doesn’t it. I found though that in starting a mindfulness practice I still had goals and a past but the important thing was not to dwell. The only thing we can really dwell on is this moment in time that we have control over.

This idea of living in the present moment is not really easy though and it takes a lot of practice and focus. When I do meditate and try and concentrate on my breathing (strictly present moment), that I find that my mind wanders to noises, something that happened yesterday, or even what I am going to have for dinner tomorrow… Useless stuff for right now.

Instead, it is really important for us to just try our best to keep that focus on our present moment actions. Work that is done today will help tomorrow and whenever we do actually act on what we really want in our life the closer we get to our best self in the future.

Life Is Only Available In The Present Moment

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Always Have Faith In Yourself

It’s funny in a way that we live in a society that builds idols to try and live up to and then we rip them down with the first opportunity. And since we all like to see a comeback, we often cheer these people on to overcome.

The point that I think is important is that we have to see our strengths and weaknesses as our own. We must build ourselves up to be the greatest “Ourselves” possible.

Always Have Faith in Yourself

When I say this I don’t mean that we shouldn’t look out for mentors and people to learn from, that is always critical with any change or path that we want to go on. These people though are only great for a message, for motivation, and for a guide.

It is important never to try and become someone else. Just learn from others and then circle back to our own strengths, gifts, and weaknesses to improve ourselves in our own way
Always Have Faith In Yourself

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Detox Cleansing – Natural Way to Lose Weight

Rather than diet pills or loss diets that offer far less nutrients that your body needs think about using a detox cleansing method to prepare your body for weight loss the natural way.

You may already realize the importance of eating organic and natural foods and avoiding too much meat or processed foods, but do you know that it’s also a way to detoxify your entire body from chemicals and toxins, restore your health and lose weight

Detox Cleansing – Natural Way to Lose Weight

Depending on which detox cleansing diet you choose, other procedures (such as natural laxatives or juice fasts) may be included with the diet plan.

Detox cleansing may seem like a drastic solution to gain, and you won’t be able to keep the off unless you make some lifestyle changes.

But, after detoxifying your system, your body will be ready to accept these changes and you’ll be more apt to continue with a healthy lifestyle.

Some natural foods that you can eat to help your system in the detox cleansing process and flush out the toxins that are contaminating your body.

Here are some Detox Foods

Juices that are pure (no sugar added) and made with organically grown fruits and vegetables (cranberry juice is an excellent way to naturally flush out the kidneys).

Lean meat isn’t included at the beginning of the detoxification process, but as you reintroduce solid foods to your diet, avoid fatty meats and concentrate on lean chicken.

Raw fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber which keeps your digestive tract working properly.

Berries such as raspberries and strawberries are abundant in nutrients that help clean out pollutants such as alcohol. They also increase brain power.

Citrus fruits, rich in Viamins E and C are great cleansers for your liver.

There are many natural foods that help your body work properly and, after all you do have the best detoxification process inside your body.

You were specifically designed so that organs such as the kidneys, liver, gallbladder and lungs would work in your favor to keep the body safe from toxins.

But, along the way, our diets and lifestyles have gone from healthy, fresh foods and moderate or vigorous amounts of exercise to foods drowning in too much oil, sugars and salt and we’ve become a nation of couch-potatoes besides. Plus, the environment in which we live has become polluted, clogging our lungs and slowing our thinking process.

Detox cleansing means returning to a more simple way of life, eating natural foods, lots of water and exercising our bodies. It’s the natural way to make sure we remain fit and healthy, keep off the unwanted and be able to fight life-threatening diseases that come our way.

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Getting Started With Ketogenic Diet

Did you know the standard American diet (SAD) contains 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate rich food? That’s why there is an epidemic of obesity and health-related illnesses. Are you guilty of choosing to eat a diet high in carbohydrates? Or are you ready to try something different?

The Ketogenic diet or Keto diet is a high fat, low carb way of eating. It allows for small amounts of proteins, natural fats like coconut oil or butter and vegetables. It enforces a 4:1 ratio of fats to proteins and carbohydrates.

egg and veggie saladFoods high in fat like nuts, coconut milk, and butter are encouraged. The diet forbids the consumption of pasta, bread, sugar, and grains. This results in the ketones replacing glucose as fuel.

This fat metabolism reduces the systemic inflammation that can cause epilepsy and other diseases. It’s also, what encourages the healthy weight loss process.

Now, before you jump into this way of eating you need to know what the Keto diet actually is, the pros and cons of the diet, and if it’s a good fit for you. It does have some drawbacks and it might not be for everyone. We’ll take a closer look at those later in this report.

Additionally, there are certain foods that you want to avoid and rules you should be aware of. This report will dig deeper into what to put on your plate.

Let’s get started.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

You are probably excited to get to the meat, so to speak, of what you can and cannot eat. But first, let’s discuss what a ketogenic diet is.

It’s any diet that forces the body into a process called ketosis. This is the process where fats are burned for energy instead of using carbohydrates for energy. Doing it correctly, the Keto diet asks the dieter to consume high amounts of fats, moderate amounts of protein and very low amounts of carbs.

With a traditional diet, our bodies normally turn carbohydrates into glucose that’s sent throughout the body as a source for energy. On the Keto diet, we enter ketosis by limiting our carbohydrates causing our livers to start breaking down fat cells into fatty acids and ketones to be used as energy.

  1. Ketogenic comes from the ketones naturally produced in the body. These are formed when your body uses fat as energy.
  2. On a normal or traditional diet, we eat mainly protein, carbohydrates, and some fat. The extra fat is stored.
  3. On the Ketogenic diet, you eat mainly fats, very few carbohydrates, and just enough protein to maintain growth.
  4. When the body is producing ketones, fat is being used for energy. When you eat carbohydrates, the body produces glucose or blood sugar.
  5. The body enters a state of ketosis when on the Keto diet. Ketosis is an energy state where the body uses alternative fuel to provide energy. This means it begins burning fat instead of using carbohydrates for fuel.
  6. You attain ketosis when you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, which will depend on the plan you are following and the stage you are in. Generally, it’s 20 grams a day to begin with. Your diet will consist of mostly fat, protein and green vegetables.

ham and eggsThe Keto diet, like many low-carb diets, is not a new fad. It became more popular in recent years thanks to Dr. Robert Atkins following the release of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution in the 1990’s. It’s easy to follow a plan that is highly effective, without feeling hunger or experiencing cravings.

Another reason for its popularity is the possibility of losing weight without exercising. Those who are severely obese have disabilities or injuries that prevent them from any type of regular exercise find this diet helpful in weight loss.

Traditional Use of The Ketogenic Diet

But before we get into the way you can benefit from it, I want to give you a little history on the diet.

The Keto diet has been in existence for over 90 years. It was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Traditionally used for effectively treating epilepsy, it fell from use after the surge of new anti-seizure medicines in the 1940s became popular.

It was later found that the ketogenic diet was helpful in treating epileptic seizures, often in cases where no other medicine helped. Traditionally, the ketogenic diet for epilepsy is about 75% fat, 5% carbohydrates, and 20% protein.

Ketogenic diet has been used for a variety of medical conditions with success. Giving up carbs or sugar helps the body in many ways including weight loss.

The Keto Diet is Effective for Weight Loss but has Many Other Benefits to your Health Including:

  • Doctors usually recommend the ketogenic diet for children with epilepsy when their seizures have not responded to different seizure medicines.
  • There is evidence from some uncontrolled clinical trials and studies in animal that the ketogenic diet can help in a broad range of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis
  • It may also help in cases of traumatic brain injury and stroke. (Source: NCBI.nlm.nhi.gov
  • Sugar can feed cancer cells causing them to multiply. Eliminating sugar and carbs may be effective in reducing or fighting cancer.
  • Improves cardiovascular risk factors
  • New research is showing the Keto diet can be helpful in treating Autism.
  • Recent work in the last decade shows that the therapeutic effects of the ketogenic diet in many pathological conditions such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, and the amelioration of respiratory disease risk factors. (Source: NCBI.nlm.nhi.gov

There you have it. The benefit of the Keto diet is more than simply losing a few pounds. Even though the diet was traditionally used for the treatment of epilepsy, it has many other benefits that many people will profit from.

Discover the Secret of Why the Ketogenic Diet Is Used for Fat Loss

Carbs are devastating for the brain. ~ David Perlmutter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve already seen the health benefits of a Keto diet. But why is it popular as a weight loss diet? The answer is simple, really.

The reason the ketogenic diet for fat loss is so popular is that it’s very effective. It uses the body’s natural behavior to burn off fat. It doesn’t leave you feeling hungry or experiencing cravings or those annoying side effects of low calorie diets.

As mentioned before, on the ketogenic diet you will lose weight even if you can’t exercise. It’s not recommended you don’t exercise unless there is a medical reason though. You will get better and faster results if you do exercise while on the Keto diet.

How Does The Ketogenic Diet Help With Weight Loss?

The secret to why the Keto diet is used for weight loss is in the type of food you eat. The Keto diet puts your body in a state of ketosis, where the body is using fat as a source of fuel. Our bodies are designed to use either carbohydrates or fat for energy.

Carbohydrates are stored, for a while in your muscles as a sugar, and are the first choice of fuel by your body. What isn’t used is then stored as fat, which leads to weight gain.

If no sugar or glycogen is available, the body then uses the reserved fat as fuel. Forcing the body to go into ketosis by limiting the amount of carbs you eat leads to your body burning fat. This means you are actually burning the fat that has caused weight gain. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to lose weight when your body is in this state.

  1. On the low carb diet, your blood sugar levels stabilize so you don’t experience the cravings for sugary foods or the ups and downs associated with fluctuating blood sugar.
  2. People feel consistently energetic and healthy when following a low carb diet.
  3. They have smaller appetites than they did before when on a Keto diet. This means they eat less without even thinking about it.
  4. The ketogenic diet is easy to follow. You eat fresh, whole foods found in any store or restaurant. Most processed foods are out as well as sugary foods.
  5. Fat and protein makes up the diet, making it high in flavor and very satisfying.
  6. Many people find it easier to control hunger on a ketogenic diet. Since carbohydrates are reduced in a Keto diet, blood sugar is controlled and insulin level spikes are minimized. When our blood-glucose levels rise rapidly, our insulin spikes and we feel hungry. By eating a low carb diet, our blood sugar remains steady.

Undoubtedly, the secret to losing weight on the Keto diet isn’t really a secret at all. Decreasing your carb intake, increasing your fat and protein intake and eating fewer calories is why many people are using the ketogenic diet to lose weight.

Follow the Keto Diet Rules

Every diet has rules. The Ketogenic diet is no different. Of course, it would be great if we could eat whatever we want, whenever we want and still lose weight. But that’s probably not going to happen. In order to make the Keto diet work for you, you should follow a few simple rules.

Check the label for carbohydrate counts and the “per serving” sizes on pre-packaged foods. It should contain 2 grams or less for meat and dairy products and 5 grams or less for vegetables.

Choose one of the following foods when you are hungry. Once hunger dwindles, stop eating.

  • Choose grass fed meats such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, wild game. In processed meats, like sausage, read the label to ensure there aren’t any added sugars or honey.
  • Opt for poultry such as chicken, turkey, quail, duck, Cornish hen, or pheasant. Skin-on is preferable to add to the fat content. Do not bread or batter when cooking. Instead roast, stir fried, deep fry, bake, grill or barbecue.
  • Get fish, seafood, and shellfish. Choose fresh and wild caught. Canned fish should be free of added sugar. Do not bread or batter when preparing.
  • Eggs will become a staple in your ketogenic diet. They can be prepared in many ways including deviled, fried, hard-boiled, omelets, poached, or scrambled.

cut vegetablesEat one or two cups of salad greens every day. You should eat one cup of fibrous vegetables each day as well.

  • Salad greens include
    • cabbage, chives, all varieties of greens, lettuces, parsley, spinach, radishes
  • Fibrous vegetables include
  • Alfalfa and bean sprouts, Asparagus, Bamboo shoots, Bell pepper, Bok choy, Black beans, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Cucumber, Green beans, Jicama, Mushrooms, Okra, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Snow peas, Sugar snap peas, Tomatoes, Turnip, Wax beans, Water chestnuts, Zucchini

Eat These Foods In Limited Quantities

  • Cheese – limit to 4 ounces a day. Most types including hard, aged like Swiss and cheddar, Brie, mozzarella, Gruyere, cream cheese and goat cheese. Avoid processed cheeses. Carbohydrate count should be less than 1 gram per serving.
  • Dairy Cream – limit to 4 tablespoons a day. This includes heavy and light cream and sour cream. Do not use half- &-half or milk.
  • Mayonnaise – limit to low-carb brands. Read the label for carb count.
  • Fatty vegetables like olives and avocados should be limited. Olives – serve up to 7 per day. Avocados – up to 1/2 an avocado per day.
  • Condiments can include lemon or lime juice, small amount of ketchup, and soy sauce.
  • Pickles – restrict to 2 servings a day. Dill or sugar-free are best.
  • Snacks and miscellaneous foods including pepperoni slices, ham, beef or turkey spread with a cream cheese, deviled eggs, pork rinds, macadamia, almond or other nuts in a small amount, coconut butter.
  • Drinks include unsweetened tea, unsweetened decaf coffee, herbal tea, water, flavored water (unsweetened), almond milk, coconut milk.
  • Commercial spices usually contain sugar so check the labels and restrict the amount you use when possible. Many spices have carbs as well. Choose basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, cilantro, coriander seeds, cinnamon, ground cloves, cumin seeds, dill, ginger, mustard seeds, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme and turmeric.

Choose Good Fats And Oils

butter melting in the pan

butter melting in the pan

Most kinds of oil, butter, and cream can be used in cooking including

  • Beef tallow
  • Organic butter
  • Chicken fat
  • Ghee
  • Lard
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Red palm oil

For salad dressings, choose avocado oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, mayonnaise, and most nut oils.

Tips for Sticking to Your Ketogenic Diet

Just imagine you have been following the Keto diet for a while, when suddenly you find it hard to stick to the rules. You want to add some carbs. Or you are tired of the same old meals. Or maybe you aren’t getting any support from those around you.

Here are some tips to help you stick to the diet.

Ketogenic-Diet-for-Weight-Loss-Made-Simple-ecover

Get support. Join online groups and forums where others are following the same diet. Encourage friends and family to join you on the ketogenic diet.

Focus on the good things. Focus on what you have already achieved. Do you feel more energetic? Has your sleep improved? How do you feel compared to before you started the Keto diet?

Get back on if you fall off. If you do slip and eat a slice of cake or drink a beer, don’t give up. It’s unrealistic to expect you won’t fall for temptation occasionally. The point is to get right back to choosing healthy choices. Remember though, that when you eat a certain amount of carbs your body comes out of ketosis. That means it will take you a couple of days to get back into it.

Be prepared. Get the supplies, books, and the foods you need before you begin the diet. Clean out your pantry of all the things you shouldn’t be eating so you are less likely to be tempted.

Set up an accountability system. Get someone to hold you accountable to sticking to the plan.

Add exercise. After the first month, add a high intensity exercise program. It can be as simple as a fast walking routine. Add weight training once a week as well to help with fat burning.

When exercising, you may need to change your Keto diet to a targeted or cyclical plan. The cyclical ketogenic diet means adding a carb-load on the weekends and following a normal Keto diet during the week. A targeted ketogenic diet plan means eating a few extra carbs before you work out.

Be patient and don’t cheat. It will take time for your body to begin burning fat and to get into ketosis. Stick to it and be consistent with it. Don’t weight yourself every day. Weight varies between 2 and 4 pounds every day due to water intake and absorption.

Track your progress and eating habits. Use a written journal, electronic notepad or a mobile phone app. Measure and write down what you eat. Keep track of calories, fat, protein and carbohydrate intake.

As you can see, you aren’t alone in this journey. There are many ways to get support when you feel like stopping. Being patient and consistent with the plan is the first step. It gets easier and the more support and accountability you have, the more likelihood you’ll stick it out.

Measuring Progress and Your Results

No doubt, one of most motivational things about losing weight is being able to see and measure your results. I mean, you look in the mirror and see a leaner you and your clothes are getting looser.

Can you imagine how great that feels? Those are great feelings to be sure. But, you need to measure your progress truly to get the reassurance you need that the Keto diet is working. There are different ways to monitor your success on this plan.

One way is by measuring ketosis. The way this is done is by testing the bi-product ketones of the process that are released from the body. They come out in your breath, sweat, and urine. Self-testing urine strips for testing your urine allows you to see when your body first goes into ketosis and that you are staying in ketosis. The strips are neutral in color and change to shades of pale pink to deep purple during ketosis. The darker the color the more ketones you are burning. Later one you can purchase a blood ketone meter.

Another option is to have a complete blood chemistry test done before you start and then 1 month into the diet. This will show your cholesterol and blood sugar changes.

You can measure weight loss by weighing yourself once a week, preferably at the same time. During the first week, you will likely see a significant change. But, don’t be fooled. Some of it will be fat loss but some is also retained water loss.

Measure yourself as a way to keep track of weight loss. If you are working out while on the diet, you may gain weight through lean muscle mass. To measure that you are losing weight you need to see if you are losing inches.

Measuring and tracking your weight loss while on the ketogenic diet is an easy process and will help keep you motivated to continue.

The Choice is Yours

The fact is millions of people have successfully used a type of low carb diet including the ketogenic diet as a way to lose weight. It’s a popular way to lose weight since it is highly effective. It uses the body’s natural fat burning ability to burn fat without leaving you hungry, experiencing cravings, or suffering from the negative effects of too few calories.

Will it work for you? Maybe or maybe not.

You will be the one who has to decide. Are the side effects more than you want to deal with? Is the fast weight loss worth giving up your favorite carbs for?

With those questions in mind, take a look at some of the pros of the diet.

We’ve already seen that the ketogenic diet has been used in the treatment of epilepsy. It’s now being used for many other health issues as well including reducing cardiovascular risk, cancer risk, the treatment of many neurological issues. The health benefits include weight loss, which in turn can alleviate all sorts of health issues from joint pain to risk of stroke and diabetes.

You should be aware of the cons as well.

  • One of the major problems with ketosis is the risk to high-level athletes and people with high-energy jobs in not getting enough energy to work.
  • It’s a very restrictive way to eat. Many people have trouble sticking to the diet especially if they enjoy social functions and eat out a lot.
  • Another drawback is that some people may cut out all fruit and vegetables. These foods are essential for providing vitamins and minerals for good health.
  • Also, a long-term, low-carb diet may damage the metabolism, particularly when combined with a low calorie diet and excessive cardio exercise. Read more about it here.

A normal or traditional carbohydrate rich diet allows us to eat larger amounts of protein and carbohydrates than we do fat. The body burns the sugar from the carbs for energy and stores the extra fat.

The ketogenic diet though is almost totally opposite. It encourages us to eat much higher levels of fat with very little carbohydrates and some protein. The body burns or uses fat for energy from the ketones produced on the diet.

Potential Drawbacks of the Ketogenic Diet

Before you make a decision to jump into the diet, you should know that without a doubt there are criticisms against the ketogenic diet. I mean, with every type of eating there are those who believe one way or another about it. For example, the ketogenic diet has many myths associated with it. Let’s dig deeper into some of them shall we?

Ketosis may lead to hypothyroidism and possible adrenal fatigue

The belief for this is that the lower level of glucose from the diet can lead to a diminished capacity for T4 to convert to T3. This can lead to hair loss, cold hands and feet, general sickness and low thyroid function symptoms.

According to Dr. Ron Rosedale, a “lower number does not necessarily mean lower function…often it means better function.” The thyroid levels return to a desirable level, which could be lower, when the body is operating optimally.

Often times people confuse diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which is bad with nutritional ketosis which is actually a good thing. Dr. Peter Attia has a great explanation of both on his The Eating Academy blog.

As for adrenal fatigue, while rumors abound and studies are still being done, many medical professionals suggest that chronic stress is the #1 cause of adrenal fatigue, not your diet. However if your body is not working at peak proficiency, you need to address those issues prior to beginning any diet or exercise regimen.

In addition, when you first start going into the metabolic state of ketosis, you may feel sluggish, have a brain fog and fatigue. But once the body gets used to it, you’ll actually experience higher levels of energy, more clarity and better performance overall.

 It says to eat fat but I thought fat is bad

avocados

Avocado – High in Fat but good for you

Many people are afraid to try the ketogenic diet plan because of their fear of increasing the amount of fat they eat, especially saturated fat. We’ve been told for over 30 years that fat is bad.

The reality is a high carb diet increases your blood sugar and insulin levels. These are what cause inflammation and heart disease. A ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbs so it reduces inflammation. (Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Use healthy fats and oils in your diet and you can lay this fear to rest.

No carbohydrates can leads to nutrient deficiencies

During the no-carb phase of the diet carbohydrates are very restricted which may lead some people to believe that you won’t your daily recommended amount of certain vitamins and minerals. However, this can be remedied by taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement each day. In addition, during the high-carb phase of the diet, you will want to eat plenty of healthy carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, squash and whole-wheat pasta.

Your Gut Health Will Suffer

Gut health has been in the news in recent years. Many people believe that we need certain dietary fiber to feed our gut microbiome. And they believe we can’t get that without eating certain foods.

Dr. William Davis has said that people on a ketogenic diet can get an adequate amount of indigestible fibers to feed their gut flora. The fiber content of non-starchy vegetables is enough to feed the microbiome.

In addition, you can improve your gut health by supplementing with probiotics, resistant starch such as raw potato starch, some fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and raw full-fat plain yogurt, ketogenic amino acids such as leucine and lysine and coconut oil or Caprylic acid.

Side Effects of Keto Diet

There are some side effects of the ketogenic diet as well. When making sudden and dramatic changes to your daily diet you might experience mild but temporary side effects like the following.

  • Headaches and dizziness. Sugar and caffeine both have addictive effects so when you give them up in the induction phase of the Keto diet, you have withdrawal symptoms. They will only last a few days. You can counteract this by drinking some salty broth, dairy foods, green leafy veggies and avocados.
  • Leg cramps. You may experience cramps in your legs especially at night. They usually occur during the early phases of the diet. The lack of potassium in the diet is the cause. It’s recommended to take multivitamin containing potassium while on the diet. Also look for keto diet approved foods that are also high in potassium such as avocados and raw green leafy vegetables.
  • Constipation. Constipation can come from not getting enough fiber. Make sure the carbs you are eating are from green vegetables and you are drinking plenty of water.
  • Sugar cravings. As your body is moving from burning sugar to fat, there will be a period of 2 to 10 days when your carb cravings will be worse. Eat 4 ounces of protein if you are hungry. Try to wait it out as they do eventually disappear.
  • Your body burns fat to use for energy when you are on the ketogenic diet. This is known as ketosis. The byproduct of this process is the release of ketones that are released through your breath and urine. To get rid of the smell chew fresh mint, parsley, or use sugar free gum or a breath spray.

Like any diet, change there will be some side effects. The good news is that on the ketogenic diet they are temporary and don’t last long. Being aware of what they are and what to do about them will help you get through them.

All things considered, if you are interested in beginning the ketogenic diet, you need to weigh the pros and cons and get expert opinions on whether this is the right diet for you.

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Glycemic index and Glycemic load

I looked through the archives of this blog and am surprised that I have not mentioned the glycemic index before. The glycemic index is basically the measure of how quickly a carbohydrate will be burned and metabolized by your body.

Take this example, one person eats a pack of sugar and one person eats a potato.

You would expect that the sugar would quickly raise your blood sugar and then a half hour later or so your blood sugar would drop back down where with the potato your blood sugar would rise a bit for a couple of hours and then drop slowly after that time (I am only guessing at the numbers to point out the idea).

Looking at this example we would say that the sugar is a high glycemic food and the potato is a low glycemic food.

Low Glycemic Index Carbs

glycemic indexOne of the decision points that I make when I eat is to try to make sure as many of the carbohydrates that I eat are low glycemic carbohydrates.

By taking in low glycemic foods I will have lower spikes in my blood sugar and should have a much more consistent energy level throughout the day.

This is a very tough thing to figure out initially but as you get the hang of the numbers it becomes easier.

Here are some foods and their Glycemic index values:

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values for Selected Foods (Relative to Glucose)
Food
Glycemic Index
(Glucose=100)
Serving size
Carbohydrate per serving (g)
Glycemic Load per serving
Dates, dried
103
2 oz
40
42
Cornflakes
81
1 cup
26
21
Jelly beans
78
1 oz
28
22
Puffed rice cakes
78
3 cakes
21
17
Russet potato (baked)
76
1 medium
30
23
Doughnut
76
1 medium
23
17
Soda crackers
74
4 crackers
17
12
White bread
73
1 large slice
14
10
Table sugar (sucrose)
68
2 tsp
10
7
Pancake
67
6″ diameter
58
39
White rice (boiled)
64
1 cup
36
23
Brown rice (boiled)
55
1 cup
33
18
Spaghetti, white; boiled 10-15 min
44
1 cup
40
18
Spaghetti, white; boiled 5 min
38
1 cup
40
15
Spaghetti, whole wheat; boiled
37
1 cup
37
14
Rye, pumpernickel bread
41
1 large slice
12
5
Oranges, raw
42
1 medium
11
5
Pears, raw
38
1 medium
11
4
Apples, raw
38
1 medium
15
6
All-Bran™ cereal
38
1 cup
23
9
Skim milk
32
8 fl oz
13
4
Lentils, dried; boiled
29
1 cup
18
5
Kidney beans, dried; boiled
28
1 cup
25
7
Pearled barley; boiled
25
1 cup
42
11
Cashew nuts
22
1 oz
9
2
Peanuts
14
1 oz
6
1
glycemic index

Zone Diet uses the Glycemic Index

So now that you see this Glycemic index info what exactly is the Glycemic load? The amount of carbohydrate consumed affects blood glucose levels and insulin responses.

The glycemic load of a food is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate in grams provided by a food and dividing the total by 100.

In essence, each unit of the glycemic load represents the equivalent blood glucose-raising effect of 1 gram of pure glucose or white bread. Dietary glycemic load is the sum of the glycemic loads for all foods consumed in the diet.

The concept of glycemic load was developed by scientists to simultaneously describe the quality (glycemic index) and quantity of carbohydrate in a meal or diet.

Where to find more on Glycemic Index and Clycemic Load

There are many books and websites that will give you numbers for Glycemic index and glycemic load of foods and I think that the best book for Glycemic index information is the GI Diet, a book that can be purchased just about everywhere.

There are a few diets that really concentrate on this info most notably the Zone diet and the GI Diet but I just look at this information as a guideline on how to eat not only focusing on the GI level or glycemic load level of a certain food but looking at my whole diet to decide how well I am eating on a daily basis.

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