FIT Talk With Tania  

Think your way to better health

As mind goes, body follows

It's widely known our thoughts and, more specifically our beliefs about those thoughts, determine our actions.

We've all heard sayings like, “As the mind goes, the body follows,” “As a man thinketh, so is he” and “What you think about you bring about.” Even science has been able to show through the discovery of epigenetics that whatever our brain believes to be true – whether it is or not – sets the body to work in making a way for that to happen.

Bruce Lipton has done a lot of work in this area. If you're a bit “sciencey,” you'll appreciate his book, The Biology of Belief.

Think about those times you've said, or heard someone else say, “I just knew I was going get sick. I mean, that's just what happens when it's flu season.” Next thing you know, you're home from work and flat out on the couch for the rest of the week.

When the thought that there's nothing you can do to prevent sickness because it's flu season becomes a belief, you may not take care of yourself as well as you usually do.

Sometimes it's those long-held incorrect thoughts and beliefs that has us telling ourselves to do or not do things that serve our body. Getting more sleep, drinking more water, increasing vitamins, avoiding sugar and processed foods – all things that would be prudent to do – seem futile when holding the belief that you're going to come down with the flu anyway.

So, instead of being proactive, you do nothing. Or worse, do the opposite and end up staying up late, drinking less water and making poor food choices. All of which actually increases your chances of getting sick.

Our thoughts, words and the actions they bring about ring true in all areas of our life and health. All six components – nutrition, exercise, water, sleep, stress and supplements. Let's talk about our nutrition, since food really is the foundation to optimizing health.

I've found that people who struggle with weight almost always have some sort of belief associated with the amount of food they think they should be eating. It's a commonly held belief that in order to lose weight, you just need to eat less or stop eating until you see the right number on the scale.

Most of the time the opposite is actually true but it's those false beliefs that have people jumping from one diet to the next, fostering disordered eating in the process. Of course you'll notice a drop in weight at the beginning, but almost never in the long-term.

Statistics say that less than one percent of people can actually maintain a diet for life. Why? Because thinking you can only lose weight by removing, depriving, counting calories, etc., is an incorrect belief, likely held from way back, which manifests in chronic dieting and disordered eating.

The same can also be said for those who believe eating a massive portion for one meal, will carry them through the day right up until dinner time. They too will get some results at the beginning, which again, will likely be short-lived because it's a belief that doesn't align with the way the body was designed to function.

Our bodies love balance. And understanding that when you eat the foods you love in the right combinations, in the right portions and in the right frequencies, your body too comes into, and stays in, balance.

It's in this place where hormones are balanced and blood sugar is stabilized. It's also the place where your body will naturally release stored fat, protect muscle, fire up metabolism and increase energy.

Education about these simple truths can go a long way to help change your thoughts around what really is needed to create health in your body and to lose that extra weight.

As the mind goes, the body follows.

To learn more, watch Tania's free 15 mins training.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Not eating is not the answer

The problem with diets

No matter what you call it, Keto, “focused eating,” low carb, no carb, intermittent fasting, they're all just fancy ways of telling you not to eat.

It's tempting to fall back into old habits of limiting, restricting and simply not eating after the holidays. There were so many big meals, parties, drinks, treats and turkey for days, I get it. You, and many just like you, are trying to even things out by omitting as many “extra” calories as you can in an attempt to balance out all the massive inhale of calories consumed over the holidays.

That's why, if you've ever clicked on anything whatsoever to do with dieting or weight loss, your social media feed is likely rife with pop-ups agreeing with you about eating too much and guilting you into jumping on the latest diet trend.

Keto, “focused eating, low fat, no carb and intermittent fasting still seem to be top of the list. But no matter what you call it, anything that tells you to stop doing something that literally keeps you alive—feeding your body—is simply not healthy.

Diets advocate giving up, deprivation and minding every morsel. It can seem like the answer after a period of indulgence such as the Christmas season. But just like overeating and overindulging threw your body out of balance and into one (or more) unpleasant situation like added weight, stomach upset, constipation, digestion issues, poor sleep, lack of energy, brain fog, moodiness or even depression, diets disrupt hormonal balance and create unstable blood sugar. Ad they are two very important keys to creating overall health, as are lowering risk of disease, metabolic function, and, yep, you guessed it, the holy grail of New Year's resolutions, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

We all know overindulging is extreme and doesn't serve us but restricting and/or not eating in some misguided attempt to assuage guilt and make up for the extra caloric intake - aka dieting – is just as extreme.

Let's just clarify here, you cannot make up for eating too many calories last month, last week or even yesterday by not eating today. That goes for one meal or fasting for the day and just eating dinner. The body just doesn't work like that.

It's the same for sleep. Getting just four hours sleep for two nights in a row and then sleeping in on the weekend in the hopes to make up those lost Zs won't work. But that's for another column.

So why won't dieting or skipping a few meals balance out those extra calories and why can't you get long-term results? Simple. Diets work against the way the body is designed to function.

Sure, you might get some results at the beginning. After all, it “worked” last year right? Which begs the question, “What's your definition of “worked”? Respectfully, if it “worked” last year, you wouldn't be looking to lose the same 20 pounds again this year, right?

Rather than doing the extreme, wouldn't it be nice to have an approach that's based in the science of how your body was designed to function, and that also fits with your busy life? How about something that not only allows you to eat carbs but has you eating them all day long? And what if you don't have to count calories, weigh food or track? I'm sure the skeptics reading this are wondering when I'll be trying to sell you ocean front property in Arizona too.

But seriously, if you've spent your adult life (and maybe some of your pre-teen life) trying everything under the sun to keep things under control, I hear you.

The reason you've likely never come across an approach that uses food to create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar, is because it would be the last nutritional and weight loss advice you'd ever need.

I call it PFC3. It could literally put the diet industry out of business. Billions of dollars worth of business. The truth is, when you focus on health, balance your PFCs – protein, fat and carbs – in the right portions, in the right frequency throughout the day, your body naturally releases stored fat, weight begins to fall off and you start feeling amazing. Simple.

We're not meant to live in disease, discomfort or deprivation, they were meant to heal. So give your body what it needs and it will use it to your benefit.

If you'd like to learn more about all things PFC, email [email protected] and ask about our Jump into January 28-day challenge.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Feeling holiday food guilt? You don't have to

Holiday food guilt

No matter what you might think, what you've been told or what worked for you in the past, skipping meals isn't the answer.

Last week, we celebrated Christmas and just like that, 2022 comes to an end as Sunday kicks off a whole new year.

The New Year is a funny thing. For some it's looked upon as a new start with new opportunities. For others it's merely a continuation of their status quo, which is great if your status quo has you on a positive trajectory in those important areas of your life.such as health.

But, if you're one of the many who reluctantly told themselves they would enjoy the holidays, aka attend the parties, show up at the dinners and eat some treats, and are now feeling guilty, I'm here to tell you that stops here.

Don’t drive yourself crazy with thoughts like, “I really shouldn't have had those potatoes with the stuffing,” “I knew I should've just said no to wine and had a glass of water” or “I should've just stayed home and not gone to the party, I would have saved so many calories” That kind of thinking, the kind that has you “should-ing” all over yourself, is toxic and destructive—not only to your physical health but your mental health as well.

Replaying those thoughts and allowing them to dictate your actions, which when it comes to food, more often than not translates to not eating in an attempt to rebalance the caloric intake scale and reconcile the numbers. But things like deprivation, skipping meals, and crazy elimination cleanses wouldn't make sense for clear-thinking, rational adults in any other circumstance.

A mind plagued by guilt for eating things you feel you shouldn't, by fear that because of what you ate you'll never be able to lose the holiday weight around your midriff and by desperation because every year you fall into the same cycle and can't seem to break free from, is a breeding ground for chronic dieting and disordered eating.

Skipping meals isn't the answer. None of the crazy diet things you're going to see popping up on your social media this time of year is the answer. In fact, diving into another diet in the hopes that this one just might be the one that works will simply set you up to fail.

I've seen it happen time and time again, and the toll it takes not only on your body, but on your mental health, and even your overall lifestyle, is not something to be taken lightly.

When a person lives with guilt, fear, desperation, shame, disgust, sadness – pick a negative emotion – about themselves, especially when it comes to something we literally need to do everyday to survive like eat food, it eventually begins to affect all aspects of life.

Parents who continually skips breakfast and is always counting calories is modelling disordered eating rather than taking an opportunity to teach their kids how fuel their bodies and balance those treats. As a former educator, the number of kids I've seen come to school without eating by choice is mind-boggling. The spouse who starts stressing on Wednesday for date night on Friday because he or she doesn't feel comfortable wearing anything but baggy clothes to hide his or her body, will likely spend the evening stressed, upset and in their own head, not able to enjoy that precious time set aside to engage and connect with their partner and grow the relationship. And to think, something essential to our survival is at the root of it all.

Let me rephrase that—it’s not the food, it's the perception of the food. It's how we look at it, how we think about it and our belief system around eating it. Food either fuels your body or it fuels your soul and we need both.

Every food on this planet can be classified as a protein, a fat or a carbohydrate—our PFCs or, macro nutrients. When we eat our PFCs in the right portions, in the right frequency throughout the day and are consistent with that, we are using food to create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar, the body's sweet spot.

It's in this place of homeostasis (balance) that your body will naturally release stored fat, turn on metabolism, increase energy, bring down cholesterol and blood pressure and lower your risk for lifestyle diseases.

The key is, you need food to make it happen. Nine times out of 10 the people I work with aren't eating enough food. I had a client just the other day who said, “I can't believe how little food I was surviving on, actually, and I was still gaining weight no matter what I did.”

That same client, just a few weeks later, reported increased strength at the gym, more energy, and has now shed more than two inches from her waist.

So before you let the guilt, fear and desperation drive you to do something that won't serve your body or your long-term goals, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is what I'm about to do based in science?

2. Can I do this for life?

3. Would I let my kids do this?

If you can answer yes to all three, you've got a winner.

If you're looking to make 2023 your last weight loss resolution, check out Tania's free 15 mins training video here.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

The Twelve Pounds of Christmas

Making song 'fit' the season

I love Christmas carols, and I love sharing how you can enjoy Christmas treats and stay on track with your health and weight goals.

Sing along to my little spoof on the The Twelve Days of Christmas, the Twelve Pounds of Christmas, and then check out the tips at the end. Enjoy.

The Twelve Pounds of Christmas (Sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)

Oh, the first pound of Christmas was easy to ignore…

(And) It all started with a box of Lindor.

The second pound of Christmas, a tummy full of bloat…

Fast food while Christmas shopping.

The third pound of Christmas came sneaking up on me…

Eggnog and cookies.

The fourth pound of Christmas came with the butter tarts…

I should never start!

The fifth pound of Christmas appeared overnight…

Yikes! My pants are tight.

Shortbread cookies baking, how fattening can they be?

Butter added six pounds.

Staff parties are in full swing so plan for food and cheer…

Seven pounds already this year.

The neighbours came a-calling and brought with them some cheer…

Can eight pounds come from beer?

The thermometer is dropping, but the scale says nine pounds up…

Make that latte “light whip."

Now it’s time to trim the tree and decorate the house…

That extra 10 pounds makes it a workout.

The season’s not complete without fruit cake and mincemeat…

11 pounds to my seat!

After turkey and the fixin's you’ll be more stuffed than the bird…

12 pounds up this Christmas, how absurd!

It's fun to play around like this and change the words to The Twelve Days of Christmas, but for some people this isn't actually that far off from what really happens over the Christmas season.

Here are five last-minute tips and a few strategies to help you make it through the holidays without gaining weight this year.

1. As much as possible, stick to your regular meal schedule of eating a protein, fat and carb every three hours (PFCs in 3s). One meal won't make or break your results, it's what you do consistently in and around that meal that determines that.

2. Carry balanced snacks with you. Protein bars, shake mix and shaker bottle, unsalted nuts and a Mandarin orange are just a few of the things I never leave home without during the Christmas season.

3. Never arrive hungry. Having a small balanced snack before heading out to a dinner or party will make sure you are choosing what to put into your mouth rather than the mindless munching that happens when your blood sugar drops. FYI, restricting food all day and “saving room” for that big dinner is actually worse and will cause your body to burn muscle and store even more fat that sticking to the plan all day and then simply indulging for the one meal.

4. Have your alcohol with food. Alcohol is a carbohydrate. Think of that glass of wine like a piece of bread. When carbs are consumed by themselves, blood sugar spikes and fat is stored. In order to minimize that spike and the carnage, it's best to enjoy that glass of wine with dinner. Or a least a small handful of nuts.

5. Hydrate! Not only will water help flush out any bloat that may have been collected by the extra sugar, salt and alcohol, but it will also help you to feel better the next day if you did happen to overdo it just a little the night before.

Even with just a week left until Christmas, it's never too late to make a difference.

Plan your off-plan meal and be choosy when you indulge. And then enjoy it guilt free. Studies show that those who plan their special occasions, tend to make much better choices in the days leading up to it. And those who choose to indulge in only their most favourite treats tend to enjoy them guilt free and are typically satisfied with smaller portions.

Whereas those who randomly indulge simply because it's Christmas and treats are available, tend to report less enjoyment and more guilt.

A sure-fire recipe for living the Twelve Pounds of Christmas. Something none of us wants to carry into the new year.

To learn more about guilt-free eating and how to live with food freedom, email [email protected] to access Tania's free 15 minute training video.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Nutritionist Tania Gustafson, owner of FIT Nutrition, has been active in the health and fitness industry since 1986 when she entered as a fitness instructor and trainer.

In 2011, Tania partnered with internationally renowned nutrition and fitness expert Mark Macdonald, and in 2017 officially earned the title of Master Nutrition Coach in conjunction with Venice Nutrition and the International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaches (IBNFC).

Tania is one of only five health professionals licensed and certified in Canada to deliver this proven, three-phase program of blood sugar stabilization, not dieting.Tania is committed to ending the dieting madness both locally and globally and educates her clients on how to increase health with age.

Tania is able to work with clients across Canada, the U.S. and U.K. to restore health and achieve their weight loss goals.Tania is a wife, mother of three adult children, global entrepreneur, speaker, workshop facilitator, writer, blogger, podcast host, travel junkie and self-proclaimed gym rat.

For more information and to book your complimentary health assessment go to www.fuelignitethrive.com. Check https://www.facebook.com/fuelignitethrive/  and https://www.facebook.com/groups/8weeksisallittakes/

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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