Tag Archives: Eating

Are You Sick and Tired? Maybe It’s Your Thyroid

If you feel cold and tired all the time, there’s a good chance your thyroid is to blame, because one out of five women and one out of ten men have thyroid problems. That’s 30 million women and 15 million men. And half of them suffer needlessly because their doctors completely miss the diagnosis or don’t treat it properly.

You don’t have to suffer. Are you tired and sluggish? Do you have trouble getting going in the morning? Are you constipated? Do you have dry skin, dry, coarse hair, or hair loss? If the outer third of your eyebrows are thinning that could mean low thyroid function. Or maybe you have depression, high cholesterol, low sex drive, fluid retention, poor memory, and trouble concentrating.

All of these symptoms are potentially related to low thyroid function or what we call hypothyroidism. And because they can be vague and subtle, they’re easy to miss. But these symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life. But when you correct your thyroid function, you can get rid of these symptoms. You can actually get your life back and feel better.

One of my patients is a 73-year-old woman who was tired and a little depressed, had a little fluid retention, was constipated, and had trouble with memory. She had been to another doctor who said, “What do you expect? You’re 73.” Well, you know what? That’s not what 73 has to feel like. 73 can feel like 53 or 43 if you’re tuned up.

Get to the root cause

My job as a Functional Medicine doctor is to be a medical detective, to investigate and address the root causes of problems—not just the symptoms—and help people fix the underlying problems that CAUSE their symptoms and recreate balance in the whole system.

So, how do you find out the root cause of low thyroid function? What do you do about it? Can you reverse it? And what should you do if you have it? Well, if you fix the cause, you often can heal your thyroid. So, first, let’s take a look at the causes of this condition.

There are many causes of low thyroid function, but the most common one is environmental toxins.

For example, plastics, pesticides, thallates in plastic bottles, BPA (bis-phenol A) in cans, parabens in sunblock and make-up, chemicals in our food and water: all of these things interfere with our thyroid function, which acts like the yellow canary in the coalmine that died when the air went bad. When our environment becomes overloaded with toxic substances, the thyroid is the first to go down.

What you are eating can also mess up your thyroid. Gluten is one of the biggest causes of low thyroid function, because it causes an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid. We call this Hashimoto’s disease. It is fixable. If you get rid of gluten, you can heal it.

Nutritional deficiencies may also be causing the problem. Iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, omega-3 fats, and vitamin A are all important for optimal thyroid function. You have to have optimal nutrient levels for your thyroid to work properly. For example, you can’t make thyroid hormone without iodine. You can’t convert the inactive to the active form of thyroid without selenium, and the thyroid can’t work on your cells without vitamin D and vitamin A.

Another big cause of thyroid dysfunction is heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.

People who eat a lot of fish, who have a lot of fillings in their mouth, or who have had a lot of vaccines that contain Thimerosal may develop problems with their thyroid.

Get tested

So, how can you know for sure that you have this problem? Well, first, you have to do the right tests. Most doctors do not do the right thyroid tests, and I strongly encourage you to demand your rights as a patient and ask for them. What are they?

It’s the TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone test, and the free T3 and free T4 tests. It’s very important to get the free levels of both the free T4 and free T3 hormones.

Next, you should also always check your TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. These are an indication of an autoimmune reaction against your thyroid.

Also, check for celiac or gluten antibodies or anti-gliadin antibodies, because these also can indicate a gluten problem that can trigger thyroid problems.

You also might need to get heavy metal testing, because high levels of mercury and lead can trigger thyroid issues, too. Go to www.functionalmedicine.org to find a doctor near you who can test for metals and help you fix your thyroid.

Take action

So, once you’ve found that you have this issue, follow these steps, so you can begin to treat yourself.

Clean up your diet. Get rid of the sources of pesticides and chemicals. Filter your water. Eat organic when possible. Eat safe fish. Minimize your exposure.

Eat foods that support your thyroid. These include vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms, sardines, and herring; vitamin A-containing foods like green leafy vegetables and carrots; iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, and shellfish; and zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds and oysters.

Thyroid replacement may be needed for some people. But this is very controversial. Some doctors recommend only T4 and some recommend a combination of T4 and T3. I think, when you look at the scientific evidence, it’s clear that people do better when you combine the inactive T4 with the active T3 hormone. And that’s what we do at The UltraWellness Center. We give combinations, either in the form of Armour Thyroid, Nature Thyroid, or just combinations of T3 and T4.

Take thyroid supportive supplements. I recommend a combination supplement for my patients called Thyrosol, which contains kelp for iodine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, and selenium.

This is all described in my UltraThyroid Solution. I go through everything in step-by-step detail. It’s a 7-step, goof-proof plan for fixing your thyroid. I encourage you to check it out. Learn what you need to do, and fix your thyroid, because you don’t have to feel tired and crummy all the time. There is a way out.

Originally posted on my website, DrHyman.com

photo by: adria.richards

6 Strategies to Develop More Self-Control

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 1.19.45 PMIt’s harder than ever to exert self-control, as gratification is just a click away. Moreover, in a world of selfies, Twitter, and Facebook the spotlight is on you. Becoming a celebrity online, you want to live like one. Entitlement gets in the way of reigning in impulses for simple pleasures like: Eating, drinking, shopping and skipping work. Then after the excess, the many shades of conscience set in. Packing on the pounds or being steeped in debt is no fun even for celebrities.

Self-control means understanding the difference between reacting and responding. However, how do you get more self-control when confronted with habitual temptation-gratification during moments of stress?

Ask yourself the basic question: What emotion is the trigger for this self-indulgence? Am I angry, dissatisfied, sad, or resentful? Once you are aware of the emotion behind the lack of self-control, you can address it at the root level to change dissatisfaction into satisfaction. Don’t swallow your feelings or they will swallow you up. Communicate your hurt or stressor – first to yourself by naming and delineating it and then when appropriate to others.

Here are 6 strategies to stabilize your impulses:

1. Keep your eye on the big prize – what will you get from all this self-control? Think about the long range goal: Is it losing weight because you want to be healthier? Is it doing better in school to get a good job? Is it getting out of debt and improving your credit rating to buy a home?

2. See the positive side of your impulse-gratification and strengthen the good – it’s always easier to build on a strength. For example, if you are overeating, you might be hungry for love and acceptance or yearning for spirituality to try to reduce the stress of loneliness. Brainstorm ways to reduce stress and start volunteering to help others in a cause you believe in. You will see yourself benevolently reflected in the eyes of the people you help.

3. Get educated regarding your strategy. If it is weight loss, then read about nutrition and portion control. You might get an “Aha” moment regarding your eating habits.

4. Get structured, so you don’t let your mind romp around aimlessly until it lands on an impulse. Schedule your day.

5. Don’t suppress the impulse. Confront the temptation and remind yourself that the discomfort of not acting on it will pass. Each time you do not act on impulse gratification, the discomfort time will shorten.

6. Exercise! Exercising self-control is effectively reinforced with physical activity. Exercise makes you feel empowered, self-confident and happy. Exercise releases healthy endorphins which will lift you up and move you past your impulse.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Craving and Real Hunger

Day 17: Jes Cravin' (9.22.10)Ever wonder how to tell the difference between a craving and real hunger? It’s an important distinction to make for yourself if you are interested in health and especially if you are trying to lose weight. Cravings will often masquerade as hunger, but are really something entirely different.

Let us look at real hunger first so we can compare. Hunger is the body’s way of letting you know it needs fuel. The body is intent on survival and so hunger for food is built into our genes. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here anymore. Just like sex is a drive that is built in, so is hunger. Without food and sex, humans would be long gone.

So, once we establish that hunger is normal, natural, inevitable, and extremely important, it becomes our friend. We need it! We also need to learn to recognize it and work with it appropriately if we want to be healthy and live at a healthy weight.

Hunger is a feeling. There are differences in how we experience it, but if you are tuned in to your body, you will notice one of several signals. Your stomach might feel empty. You might even hear gurgling or get “hunger pangs” that come from your stomach letting you know it is empty. The Wiki explains it like this:

The physical sensation of hunger is related to contractions of the stomach muscles. These contractions — sometimes called hunger pangs once they become severe — are believed to be triggered by high concentrations of the hormone Ghrelin. The hormones Peptide YY and Leptin can have an opposite effect on the appetite, causing the sensation of being full. Ghrelin can be released if blood sugar levels get low — a condition that can result from long periods without eating. Stomach contractions from hunger can be especially severe and painful in children and young adults.

I have worked with people who are so out of tune with their bodies that they don’t experience stomach hunger. Instead they will feel light-headed or even get headaches. That is their cue to eat something.

So true hunger is the body’s way of letting you know you need food. When you feel that way, you will most likely want healthy food. Nutritious food. Not cookies, candy, cake, etc…

Cravings are generally for a particular food or drink. You might have a craving for, say chocolate, and not be physically hungry at all. Cravings can be brought on by emotions, associations, hormones, physical needs and memories. For example, if you always get the steak fries when you go hang out in Malibu, then when you go to Malibu, you might just crave the steak fries. That is an association/memory craving.

Cravings will pass if you resist them. It might take awhile, but they do subside. If you don’t get those fries this time, and get interested in other things when you are in Malibu, then the craving will pass. It might come back, but resisting cravings is possible. Hunger, on the other hand, might pass momentarily but will come roaring back if your body needs fuel.

To be healthy, and at a good weight, it is important to pay attention to your level of hunger. If “0” is completely empty and starving and “10” is Thanksgiving dinner stuffed, it is good to eat when you are at a 2, 3 or even 4. Getting too hungry is a set up for a binge. It is also good to stop eating when you are at a 7 or 8. Eat until you are not hungry anymore, not until you are full. The Japanese call this Hara Hachi Bu. “Eat until you are 80 percent full.”

Self awareness, and in particular, paying attention to what and why you eat, is key to conquering any weight or food addiction issues. There are more details on how to do that in my book, Foodaholic, The Seven Stages to Permanent Weight Loss.

That’s it for now. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing.

If you would like to reach me, you can find me here.

Self-Control: How Do You Regulate Your Eating Habits?

In and OutI’ve been continuing to ponder the abstainers vs. moderators distinction.

In case you haven’t been breathlessly following this line of argument: in a nutshell, when facing a temptation, abstainers do better if they abstain altogether, while moderators do better if they indulge a little bit, or from time to time.

The other day, a friend who is a true moderator told me, “I got a sundae from my favorite ice cream store, and it was so, so good. But after the tenth bite or so, I could hardly taste it anymore. I had a few more bites, then it turned into a puddle, and a friend of mine finished it for me.”

To me, this is a very foreign way of acting. The difference between my friend and me made me wonder if this is a distinction between abstainers and moderators, and I’d love for you abstainers and moderators out there to weigh in on this question.

Moderators, does your desire often diminish as you eat? Does it drop off in intensity?

Abstainers, do you experience this? Or do you find that your desire for the last bite is just as strong as for the first bite? Or does desire actually gain momentum from the first bite, so you want the next bite even more?

Perhaps this is another pattern that distinguishes abstainers and moderators. Or perhaps not.

If you want to read more about abstainers and moderators, I write about it in Happier at Home, chapter 5. You might also be interested in the post–I must say, one of my favorite posts of all time–about my sister’s experience when she decided to be “free from French fries.”

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Beating Yourself Up is Fattening

keep-calm-and-don-t-beat-yourself-upSo it’s a new year  and you have decided to change a few things. That’s fabulous!  Now can you do that without getting down on yourself for the way things are? If you can, you are in the minority. If you can’t, you might end up not changing a thing.
Let’s take “Michelle” (not her real name) for example. Michelle is a client of mine who has gained and lost vast amounts of weight during her 58 years on the planet. She has been up and down over 100 lbs. several times. Michelle had finally been successful at losing 150 pounds and maintaining that loss for several years. She did this by writing down everything she ate, counting calories and exercising. Very hard work but well worth the effort. Michelle loved being thin and looking great. She went shopping, dancing, dated and was out there having a great time.
Then, someone broke her heart. Yes, her thin heart.   Even though she was looking her absolute best, someone she really like rejected her. This was devastating to Michelle. She had spent much of her life as the fat girl and expected rejection. But to be rejected when she was looking her best was not something she was equipped to handle emotionally. So she began using the only trusty coping skill she had when things were at their worst. Eating. She put on 50 pounds before she was ready and willing to stop and start reversing the trend.
During her weight gain phase, Michelle was very mean to herself. She would say things like, “You fat slob. If you think men didn’t like you thin, what will they think now.” “You have gained back 40 pounds. How could you let that happen? What’s wrong with you?” “You will never date again….”   Michelle was very adept at beating herself up as she had done so her entire life.
If you want to change your weight, or any bad habit, beating yourself up is never a good option. To change we need energy. We need to feel hopeful, positive and powerful. If you are busy using that energy to hurt yourself you are swimming upstream.
Try, instead, to start right now anew. This day, this moment, is your first and you can change anything you like right now! Change your self beating by being present now and catching yourself next time you start those thoughts. STOP them and redirect your thoughts to what you are doing right now to make things better. Try it today and see what happens.

Zen and the Art of Grocery Shopping

It happens at least once a week, the ritual trek to the local grocery store.  We need food, we need supplies, we are creatures whose needs must be met, and this is how we do it.  It’s more convenient than growing our own vegetables, or baking our own bread.  And although we may not get the same satisfaction that our ancestors did by working the land, we are in a sense doing our own harvesting by what we choose, and how we shop, at the supermarket.

Here are some ways that we can get the most out of the experience, and turn what could possibly be mundane into something rather special and spiritual.  This is how we can “bloom where we are planted” even if that happens to be in the middle of suburbia.

Bring your own bags.  This seems like such a simple thing to do, and yet when you look around at the other shoppers, how many people actually do it?  In Europe there is not the option of “paper or plastic.”  You bring your own bag or you carry your purchases out in your arms.  We did an informal survey recently in front of our neighborhood market, and found that although most people thought this was a good idea, they hadn’t gotten themselves in the habit.  Make this conscious choice.  Carry your bags in your car so they are there for you when you need them.  It’s one little contribution towards making the world a better place.

After you park, if you see a stray cart in the lot, take it with you into the store.  Many carts are left loose in the parking lot only to bump into cars, or block the way as someone is trying to open their car door.  Returning a cart is being a good citizen, and also setting a good example.

Many stores have now been kind enough to provide anti-bacterial wipes at their entries so that we can wipe down the handle of the cart.  Use them to protect yourself and others from germs that are easily passed around in public places.  And when you’re done with the wipe, dispose of it carefully in the container provided.

When shopping for produce, choose fruits and vegetables that are locally grown.  Shipping from far-away places puts a burden on the planet by requiring extra fuel to get items where they need to be.  Also, be aware of packaging.  Again, re-use bags from home, or don’t bother to use bags at all when selecting your produce.  Select one thing that you might not have tried before – open yourself up to new culinary possibilities!

Consider your time in the market as an opportunity to practice present-moment awareness.  Be fully present when choosing your items.  Smile at the people sharing this experience with you.  This is a community, and you are an important part of it.  Be grateful for the store employees who work so hard to keep the place neat and orderly so that you can find what you are looking for.  Marvel at the abundance of choices that we have before us.

Think about the many ways that you can be a conscientious consumer.  Rather than buying paper napkins, use cloth napkins at the table for dinner.  Rather than using paper towels to clean, use dish-cloths, and rags.  Rather than using cleaning products with chemicals, investigate the many natural alternatives, such as vinegar, that can be used just as efficiently with less impact on the planet. Take lunch boxes, or cloth lunch bags, to work or school instead of using paper lunch bags.  These are all the little things that end up making a big difference.  Consciously participate in green living.

Read labels to know what you are putting into your body.  There are so many options now, so check the shelves for products that are lower in sugar, sodium, and fat.  Opt for healthier alternatives, like whole grains, and higher fiber cereals. 

 

More and more people are deciding on a vegetarian, or even vegan, lifestyle.  Even if you don’t want to commit all the way, try going meat-free at least one day a week.

If you have a full cart of groceries and someone behind you in line has just one or two items, practice kindness by offering to let them go ahead of you.  If someone ahead of you is having trouble getting credit approval, or is taking a long time to write out a check, this is an opportunity to practice patience and compassion.

When checking out, have your discount cards or coupons ready so as not to keep the people behind you in line waiting longer than necessary.  Make sure to present your bags to the bag-person before he or she starts to pack.  If there is no one helping the cashier to bag the groceries, pitch in and help yourself.  Always show gratitude for the help you were given by expressing thanks.

And, of course, after you take the bags out of your cart and put them into your car, return the cart to the store rather than leaving it loose in the parking lot.

Everything in life, every moment we live, can be a meditation, a learning experience. With this state of mind, we can turn something like grocery shopping, which we might have thought of as a chore, into an adventure.

 

 

 

5 Tips To Battle Your Neighborhood’s Food Desert

I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is a food desert?!

Well, it’s nearly exactly what it sounds like: a barren wasteland without any nutritional value. Sure, there’s the corner KFC/Pizza Hut/Green Burrito combo, Little Caesar’s touting its famous five dollar large cheese pizzas down the street and Applebee’s claiming to be what’s good in your neighborhood town square but there are no grocery stores in sight. Unfortunately, many urban areas are food deserts and many people think that the fact that they can walk to their local chain food joint makes it okay but it doesn’t. A roundtrip two mile walk won’t cancel out your Bloomin’ Onion, honey, or what you think is a "healthy" salad from Wendy’s. The fat content out weighs what would be an awesome way to burn a couple calories.

(Side note: check out WalkScore to see how walkable your neighborhood or next neighborhood is!)

Sound like your neighborhood? It’s not surprising considering many urban areas just flat out don’t have the real estate to build supermarkets. Unfortunately, these food deserts are one of the biggest contributors to America’s obesity problems.

Here are some tips to battle not only the food desert but also help keep your community locally sustainable, which as the times get harder, is becoming more and more important! Although it may take a little extra effort than walking the block to the local convenience store, it’s much healthier for you and your community. And once you go fresh, you can’t go back! I hope these help you kick the humdrum hamburgers and artery clogging Chulupas! 



1. Cook At Home.

Alright, look, this is coming from the girl who manages to ruin Mac ‘N Cheese and I realize some of us just aren’t culinary prodigies but that doesn’t mean you have to resign to eating double cheeseburger combos. Start small and search online for simple recipes of things you enjoy and pair it with a salad (even I can dice some tomatoes!). You’ll be surprised how the internet will become your waist line’s best friend.

2. Visit Farmer’s Markets.

Many urban areas have weekly farmers markets where you can pick up from local growers. These local growers usually produce all organic items and you’ll also get a chance to support your local economy.

3. Sign up for CSA (community supported agriculture).

CSA is something I personally just signed up for in my neighborhood and it is awesome! How it works is you sign up for a pick up spot in your neighborhood and weekly or bi-weekly, you pick up a huge bag of locally grown fruit and vegetables. There are pick up spots across the nation and you can check out one near you and sign up at Local Harvest. I personally love CSA because it’s incredibly convenient and also, the variety of produce they give you can inspire some incredible new recipes in the kitchen. For example, last week my boyfriend and myself had a huge bushel of kale left in our bag and he turned it into a great pesto! I never would have thought of making kale pesto but it was delicious! The random bags of produce has made our meals more creative and fresh. Not only that, two dollars of every bag is donated to our local school district! If my personal stories haven’t made you want to check it out, here are some of the other benefits of CSA, from Local Harvest:

 

Advantages for farmers:
  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

 

 

4. Shop The Perimeter Of The Grocery Store.

It’s hard not to visit chain supermarkets from time to time these days but it doesn’t mean you have to pick up a bunch of chemical laden frozen foods or sugary snacks. Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store, where you’ll find your produce, dairy and meat sections. When you can, buy foods that are labeled organic or local and with meat, stick to grass fed beefs and fresh fish.

5. Grow Your Own.

Start small with some tomato plants and some fresh herbs and you’ll be surprised at not only how easy it is but how rewarding it is picking your own produce. Not only that, but in a day and age where an ungodly percentage of us are mostly sedentary in our jobs, it feels so good to get outside and put your hands in some dirt! You never know, you might just find your next hobby!

Skinny Bitch: The Book I Wanted Nothing To Do With That Changed My Life

I was about the last girl in the world who wanted to read Skinny Bitch. The name immediately put me on the defense. Every time I saw it or heard about it, I would come at it with a scoff and no actual facts, just a sincere disgust of the entire idea of it. Of course, these sentiments stemmed from my personal issues, tucked deep inside the crevices of my ego. The title threatened me because of my own shadow, as Debbie Ford would say. 

One day, I went to visit one of my best friends. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of months and when she opened the door, she looked amazing. Not that she hadn’t looked good before but it was different. She was glowing and lean, with an energy I’d never seen about her before. I told her how great she looked and she said, "Oh my God, have you read Skinny Bitch?" Immediately I turned cold, saying I wasn’t going to have any part of some star diet anorexic propaganda. She laughed and promised me it would change my life. As the educated and well-read lady that she was (& is), I trusted her and picked up a copy of the book for myself.

And, lo & behold, it changed my life.

And I believe it will change yours.

First of all, take it with a grain of salt and know that the book is completely devoted to a devout Vegan lifestyle. Am I Vegan? No, i’m not. I was raised on steak and potatoes and although I’ve given up all meat aside from the occasional sushi run, this book is still incredibly informative for anyone’s dietary habits. The book gives an incredible amount of sourced facts about the food industry, with a lengthy bibliography to back it up. If you want to continue eating organic beef, by all means feel free but it’s still good to know the facts behind the industry. 

And if this book taught me anything, it’s not to trust the food industry. The food industry, just like any other industry, is out for money. The industry will do whatever is cheapest to produce the product and get you to buy it. If they need it sweetened, they’re not going to use a natural plant that would cost more to procure and more manpower to produce. They’re going to use the artificial sweetener than can be manufactured by a machine at the fraction of the cost. It taught me the importance of not only knowing where my food comes from and who sells it, but to pay special attention to our labels, noticing the different toxins in all of the food we buy and how those toxins affect our bodies.

The next best part of the book is what really sold it to me- the delivery. These women could have flat out stated nutritional facts and bored us to death. Instead, they wrote it like that sassy friend of yours that tells it like it is. It is blunt and hilarious! I honestly enjoyed reading this book and caught myself laughing out loud at their no-nonsense, finger-snap, GET REAL attitudes. There’s nothing like a good kick in the ass when you’re trying to get your butt in shape!

As I said before, Skinny Bitch is a book that heavily pushes Veganism, but there is no reason why you can’t read it, enjoy it and pick the pieces of it you would like to use to better your life style. Since reading this book and implementing maybe half of the principles  (see my war with Aspartame here), I have become the fittest I’ve ever been, mentally and physically. I know that each of us have our own preferences and maybe this just fits the bill for my sarcastic nature, but as the only book I’ve ever tried to modestly preach about, I promise this is worth a read.

Give Skinny Bitch a shot here, at Amazon.com!

 

Protein After, Not During, Exercise

High-protein meals eaten immediately after hard exercise have been shown to help athletes recover faster, but the data that taking protein during exercise improves an athlete’s performance is extremely weak.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, showed that adding protein (19g/hour) to a sugared drink does not improve one-hour cycling time trial, maximum power; or post exercise isometric strength, muscle damage (CPK) or muscle soreness (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2010). Protein also does not help athletes cycle faster in a 50-mile time trial
(Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2006). Most studies showing that adding protein to a carbohydrate drink improves performance were in people working at a fixed rate of
effort over a long time, rather than using spurts of energy as athletes do in competition.

Just about everyone agrees that taking in a carbohydrate drink helps improve performances in athletic events lasting more than an hour. In events lasting more than three hours, you also need salt. Calories come from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. During highly-intense exercise, your muscles use carbohydrates far more efficiently than proteins or fats. So carbohydrates are the calorie source of choice during intense exercise.

All sugared drinks except those with added artificial sweeteners contain eight percent sugar because that is the concentration at which the drinks taste best. You can increase endurance equally with fruit juice, special energy drinks or sugared carbonated soft drinks. Adding caffeine to the drink increases endurance even more because it helps to preserve your stored muscle sugar.

 

Can’t Lose Weight?

Of course you can but maybe you are stuck. The contemplation stage of change is often the most uncomfortable. You are aware you need to lose weight but aren’t yet ready, willing and/or able to do it. 
 
Honor this stage. It is part of the change process. Where some people come out of denial, realize they have a weight issue and attack it immediately;  far more spend some time deciding how to go about it. They may even go back into denial and decide their weight problem isn’t really that bad. They may try a few things briefly and then give up.   During this period of time people report a lot of self-loathing and depression. They hate the way they look and feel but think and feel that they are powerless to change it. They have thoughts like: "No matter what I do, I can’t lose weight." "All I eat is salad and I’m still fat." "I give up." "I tried (insert any diet, diet program, etc…here) and it didn’t work for me." "It’s genetic so I may as well just accept it." 
 
My research and experience on this shows that there is a wide range of time spent in this stage. There are those who spend little or no time here and are immediately in action mode. There are some who have spent 15 or more years in this stage. There are also those who lost weight, gained it back and went back to this stage after having been successful at weight loss in the past.
 
I was in this stage myself and it was truly awful. I did move out of it and have maintained a 50 pound weight loss for 20 years. You can too. Think about moving into problem solving mode. Try thinking about your weight as if it were a problem that could be solved. Try taking the emotion out of it and just use logic, education, planning and action. You can do it!
 

If you’d like to participate in the research for Irene’s new book about the process of weight loss, please take the survey. 

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