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FIT Talk With Tania  

Use It, or lose it

“We come (to the Y) every day because if we don't, we can't.”

Wise words from fellow long-time Y member, Dorothy Witzke as we chatted one day about how we both just keep showing up. Not sure how long ago we met, but she's a bit of a fixture too.

Dorothy and the other die-hards who show up to workout first thing are part of what I call our morning tribe. Not sure where I got the name from, but it came out one day and seemed to fit so it stuck.

There are always new people coming and going, testing out the facilities, or the time frame or whatever it is for them but our core group, the Tribe, I'd say has been coming consistently for at least six or seven years.

Some have always worked out, some didn't start exercising until later in life. But to show up regularly to the same place at the same time, for years on end, regardless of what got them started, is pretty cool.

Some might even say it's impressive while others ask, “What the heck do you do that for?”

I'm that person who's been showing up regularly since 1987, so, of course, I think it's cool and can't imagine anyone not wanting to do what I do. But we're not all the same.

So what does motivate people to get started – and it doesn't have to be a gym, just exercise in general – to show up and keep going?

For starters, people don't really like change all that much. So in order for someone to actually make a change, the conditions have to be right. People are more apt to act on something when it stirs up an emotion rather than hearing about facts, statistics or being told it's the right thing to do.

Things like wanting to lose weight, look and feel younger, impress someone, meet someone, keep a friend happy because they invited you, or your doctor tells you you don't have a choice anymore and you need to get started right away.

All these can trigger emotions that would likely compel you to get started. Vanity, shame, love, fear are all very powerful motivators. Motivation gets people started, but what keeps, or will keep, you coming back is almost more important.

The most obvious reason for continuing to do something is that you like it. Sometimes people are reluctant to begin something because of a pre-conceived notion of what they think it will be like but after trying, they're hooked.

The next most obvious reason is getting results. Someone who starts a health and fitness program to lose weight and drops 10 pounds in the first month is more likely to continue than someone who didn't lose any.

Then, there's logistics. For some, it's as simple as the location and time worked for them so as long as they don't hate it, they will keep showing up. But for how long, that's the better question. And lastly, but most importantly in my opinion, is connection.

Making a connection in some way, shape or form is what brings people back again and again. Speaking for myself, and I'm sure Dorothy and the rest of the Morning Tribe as well, I can say it's the camaraderie.

Going to the gym is fun. I like lifting, I like feeling strong, It's a great way to start my day.

I could go to a different gym and get the same results. But I choose to show up with the rest of the Tribe every day because I feel like Norm from that old sit-com, Cheers - “...where everybody knows your name.”

We joke, give each other a hard time when we come in late, celebrate birthdays before sunrise and we check up on the ones who have been away for a few days. Clearly the connection is what makes the difference.

If you find yourself knowing you should exercise, but aren't. If you've been told to get moving but you don't. Or you were doing something but stopped and can't put your finger on why.

I suggest you find your tribe, your very own Cheers, where feeling like Norm becomes your normal. Because when you do, showing up is easy. You won't need reminders or other motivation pushing you to go because you'll naturally be drawn to show up.

And really, isn't the key to success in anything just showing up?





Don't eat the GMO

Whether you investigate food or even check out the occasional label, you've likely heard of GMO and organic.

But do you really know what they are?

Or the difference between the two?

Don't worry, you're not alone. Most people regularly interchange one for the other when they are very different.

What is GMO?

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is an animal, plant, microorganism or other organism that has had their genetic makeup modified in a lab.

Something living that has been altered unnaturally by scientists. Combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and virus genes are created that do not occur in nature or would come about naturally through traditional crossbreeding techniques.

Believe it or not, GMOs affect many of the products we use and consume on a daily basis.

Organic on the other hand is not changing or recreating an item, but what is added — or not added — to that item during the growing process.

Produce grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation are considered organic.

In the case of animal products, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are labelled organic when coming from animals free of antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic food is the product of a farming system that avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Products that are not labelled as organic may contain any or all of the above.

Shocking, right?

As with most things government-regulated, these rules have a bit of wiggle room. Products labelled as certified organic still allow for up to five percent non-organic content and 'should not' contain GMOs.

When organic alternatives are not available — often with products such as cornstarch and soy lecithin — GMOs are allowed.

How do you know if something is GMO free?

Look for the butterfly label. These products are verified by the Non-GMO Project to be GMO free.

Ingredients are testing during processing, spot-checked at different points in the supply chain, producers undergo yearly inspections to verify compliance and maintain standards, raw materials must be stored in a way that eliminates cross-contamination, and certain herbicides containing GMOs are prohibited.

Interestingly enough, there is no stipulation that non-GMO products must be grown organically. Non-GMO items can contain ingredients that are not organic and organic items can contain GMOs. Probably not what you expected.

There seem to be more and more "unexpecteds" coming to light when it comes to food lately.

In doing some research for this article, I found several "unexpecteds." Did you know Canada is fifth on the list of the world's top-producers of GMO crops?

We are right in line after the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and India.

Something else you may not know is that every 15 years in Canada herbicides and such are re-evaluated to decide whether they are safe for farmers to continue using on their non-organic crops.

In January, the controversial herbicide RoundUp was one of those. And it was approved stating that there was not sufficient evidence that the main ingredient, glyphosate, was harmful.

Immediately following the decision, objections were filed by eight separate groups, including Ecojustice, Environmental Defence and Canadian Physicians for the Environment.

With studies published as far back as 2003 connecting glyphosate and certain cancers, and is associated with kidney and liver damage and birth defects, it's truly something that should not be in our food.

But it is.

Here are a few of some everyday items containing glyphosate:

  • granola — (Quaker, Back to Nature, KIND),
  • oats (—Giant Instant Oatmeal, Quaker - dinosaur eggs, brown sugar, instant) Umpqua Oats, Market Pantry, breakfast cereals (Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Barbara's Multigrain Spoonfuls, Kellogg's Cracklin' Oat Bran),
  • snack bars — (KIND, Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Quaker Chewy, Kellogg's Nutri-Grain),
  • whole oats (Quaker steel cut/old fashioned, Bob's Red Mill, Nature's Path Organic, Whole Foods Bulk Bin),
  • as well as things such as orange juice, cookies, boxed breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, chips, goldfish crackers, wine, beer, ice cream, tampons, non-organic cotton clothing products
  • it's also in rainwater and in the groundwater.

Just an FYI, glyphosate cannot be washed off as it is absorbed by the plant as it grows.

The best way to avoid glyphosate and other toxins in your food is to look for certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified.

Hey, nobody's perfect. But making better, more educated choices more often will definitely have a positive impact in your overall health.

To detox and get started on your journey to better health and healthy weight loss, go to www.fuelignitethrive.com



Diabetes: not a sweet life

Canadians are known around the world for being polite, easy going and according to my international students, we apologize for everything.

We can apologize all we want, but when it comes to health – and more specifically diabetes — it's going to take more than just an apology to start making some positive changes and seeing results.

According to 2017 statistics, there were 2.7 million Canadians with diabetes. That number is expected to rise to 4.2 million by 2020.

It’s also estimated that an additional one million have diabetes, but have yet to be diagnosed. And nine out of 10 diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as Adult Onset Diabetes.

Why the name change?

Simple. Due to the rise in obesity, kids included, children are now being diagnosed as having what was in decades past something reserved for adults.

Seniors are another demographic with alarming statistics. They make up a whopping 48% of the diabetic population in Canada today and again, this number is also expected to rise.

There is definitely something not quite right. I can't be the only one who finds it alarming that our next generation is acquiring diseases you and I never even thought about as a child. Or that stats on disease are “expected” to continue to rise.

It's time to stop being so polite, stop tippy-toeing around in an effort not to hurt feelings and start making some necessary changes to not only stop the increase in  diabetes, but to reverse disease in those currently living with it.

Type 2 diabetes is categorized as a lifestyle disease. What does it mean if we say something is a lifestyle disease? It means quite frankly, the lifestyle you've been leading led you to where you are today.

That may be a difficult pill for some to swallow, especially since pills may also be part of our overall health crisis. I am not anti-doctor, nor am I anti-medicine.

We do need both of these for sure. I am, however, anti “I don't need to change, there's a pill for that.” Time to for some hard truths.

Medicines for lifestyle diseases treat the symptoms, they don't cure or reverse the disease.

It's like stepping on the end of a rake left out on the lawn and the handle comes up and hits you right in the face. What would you do?

You could wrap some foam around the handle so it won't hurt as much next time. Or, the more sensible option is to put the rake in the shed so you won't step on it next time you're out in the yard.

Medicines that merely treat symptoms are tantamount to wrapping the rake handle in a foam. It's an option, but clearly not the best one.

Time to put the rake in the shed.

What does that look like when it comes to taking steps to prevent those statistics from rising and start reversing diabetes?

Here are six simple things you can do to get started. Try adding in one each day and see how your life will begin to change.

Eliminate all packaged/processed foods

This does include ready-made drinks such as Boost, Ensure, Glycerna and the like.

These drinks are marketed under the guise of health, but are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and synthetic vitamins.

You're much better off to buy a good quality protein shake or make your own smoothie using egg whites, coconut or almond milk and frozen berries.

Eliminate all sugar and artificial sweeteners

This includes regular and diet soda. If you really want to know how much sugar you're consuming, take the number of grams listed on the label, divide by four and you will have the teaspoon equivalent. Yep, shocking.

Eat PFC every three to stabilize blood sugar

Having a protein, healthy fat and fruits or veg carb together every three to four hours throughout the day will balance blood sugar and help you lose weight

Drink lots of water

Two to three litres per day minimum

Move every day

You don't need a gym membership, you just need to get up, get out and move every day

Manage your stress

Chronic stress keeps cortisol levels elevated, makes blood sugar spike, and the body also stores fat. All things you don't want for a healthy body and life.

And if you're still not sure you need to start making some changes, Alzheimer's has long been referred to by doctors as Type 3 diabetes.

Nobody wants to put themselves at risk for that.

I'll leave you with this great quote by Paul Zane Pilzer:

“There is a small demographic of people getting healthier as they age, and it's not an exclusive club.”

Join the club. It's never too late to start getting results.

And if you're not sure how to get started, I'm here to help. Book your complimentary assessment today www.fuelignitethrive.com





Are you really doing keto?

Keto is a word you've probably heard quite often, especially around weight loss.

The keto craze appeals to people because it advocates eating large quantities of fats to lose weight.

Since we, as a society, have been told since the 1980s until recently to avoid fats and go low-fat or fat free, the thought of eating as much fat as you want and still lose weight is appealing.

What most people do not know is that keto, short for ketogenic diet, was never intended for the general population. In was designed to treat children with epilepsy back in the 1920s.

The treatment was used for a few decades, then fell by the wayside with the advent of anti-seizure medications.

The diet is very restrictive, specific and was administered only by trained nutritionists and physicians. And, it was only designed to be administered to children.

Teresa Fung, professor of Nutrition at Simmons College, says in her article posted in Popular Science online,:

“It is not so easy to get an adult body into ketosis.....that's why the keto diet was used in treatment of children or infants – because it's easier.”

Because kids are growing, their use of fuel is different and easier to manage. Even still, keto was never designed to be easy or fun and if you're doing keto and feel it's easy, then you're not really doing keto.

A true ketogenic diet focuses on fat while removing carbohydrates. While we know that our bodies do need fat to burn fat, true keto allows not-so-healthy-fats like lard and palm oils along with the healthier nuts, seeds, avocado, olive and coconut oils.

According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, to be truly doing keto, you'd need to consume 90% of your daily calories as fat. That's a lot of fat.

Kathy McManus, director of the department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital says:

“....While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed.  We don't know if it works in the long term,  whether it's safe.”

Not only are fats increased and carbohydrates eliminated or greatly reduced (one banana could top out your carbohydrate count for the day), fat-laden proteins such as bacon are recommended as well.

And even with all of that, consuming enough fat in the correct balance can take days for your body to enter ketosis, never mind keeping it there.

McManus goes on to say that along with the risk of increased cholesterol, people can become deficient in micronutrients such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins B and C due to the lack and variety of fruits and vegetables.

Keto can also overload the kidneys, cause constipation from lack of fibrous foods (fruits and veggies have fibre) and mood swings and fuzzy thinking. Keto was originally designed to alter things inside the brain
after all.

Always, whether working with individuals, groups or teaching workshops, I do two things.

First, I educate people on how to eat the foods they love to stabilize blood sugar and create balance within the body.

When blood sugar is stable, the body is in homeostasis — the place where all systems are balanced and function optimally. Metabolism is turned on, fat is released and used by the muscle as energy so you have energy, weight comes off, hormones are balanced, blood sugar drops, blood pressure and cholesterol come down, the ability to attend and focus increases, internal inflammation is reduced and disease can be reversed.

Next, I ask them to consider these four questions:

  • Is what I'm about to do based on science?
  • Does it make sense to me?
  • Can I do this for life?
  • Would I let my child (a child) do this?

If you can answer “yes” to all four, then you have a program that will bring you lifetime success.

If not, McManus sums it up perfectly by saying, “...eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return.”

And I agree 100%. 

For more information on how you can create balance in your body and in your life, and to book your free health assessment go to www.fuelignitethrive.com



More FIT Talk With Tania articles

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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/



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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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