FIT Talk With Tania  

More to keeping weight off than just eating right and excercise

Healthy way to lose weight

I eat right, exercise and still can't lose weight.

This is something I've heard from a lot of people, and, as you can imagine it can be a huge source of frustration. Making the effort to choose foods you believe to be healthy while avoiding those that aren't, hitting the gym or making sure to go for a walk or run everyday, and yet for some reason that number on the scale won't budge and you're stuck.

As important as what you eat and how you exercise are, they are only two pieces of the health puzzle. Yes, I said health, not weight. An unhealthy body simply will not release the weight. So, in order to get and keep the results you want, health needs to be your focus. When you get to your optimal health, you'll also get to your optimal weight.

Just as your body is made up of many different parts, there are several components you need to consider when building health.

Say you're a runner preparing for a marathon, and a week before the race you break your leg. Your body doesn't shut down, you keep on living, breathing, talking and eating, but there's no way you'll be up for that marathon. Same with your health, and subsequently, your weight.

There are six components to optimal—health, nutrition, sleep, stress, water, exercise and supplements. Six spinning plates if you will. Like the juggler at the circus who spins plates on long sticks. He's always making small adjustments and moving when necessary to keep them up and spinning, to stay in control and not let them come crashing down. It's a beautiful show.

For your health, if your only ever focus on the food and exercise. As good as you are doing with that, you’re only going to get two plates up and spinning, while the rest will crash to the ground. And no one wants that.

Trying to get all those plates up in the air and spinning and balanced all at the same time can be a bit overwhelming at first. Heck, even the juggler at the circus had to get started with just one plate before he could add any more. The same principle applies when it comes to your health. And when your nutrition and exercise plates are already up and spinning, you're off to a good start.

Are you sleeping well? How much water are you drinking everyday? Do you know what vitamins to be taking? Where's your stress level at? All great questions because each one impacts your health and therefore your weight.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality results in your body not being able to properly metabolize food. Repair, healing and recovery all happen when we sleep. So, not sleeping enough, or well, prevents your body from healing as it should.

Our bodies are almost 70 percent water and every function the body performs needs water to do it. As many as 75 percent of people are living chronically dehydrated. Think of a plump, juicy grape next to a shrivelled up raisin. The grape is what your cells look like when you're properly hydrated, the raisin, not so much. Be the grape.

People always ask, “Do I really need to supplement?” The answer is, “Yes.”.

Can you get all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you need on this planet? Absolutely we can. Do we make a point to do it with every meal, every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year? Nope. Nobody's perfect and you shouldn't expect to be. Just know that filling nutritional gaps is like brushing your teeth. Just because you brushed your teeth today, doesn't mean you can skip brushing them for even a few days and still have good teeth in a year. You've got to be consistent in order to consistently have good teeth. The goes for those nutritional gaps.

And then there's stress. Most people expect it's just something they have to live with and really can't do much about. So they don't. But you can, and here's why you should.

When you're living in a constant state of stress, regardless of what kind of stress it is—you could be chased by a bear, swamped at work, going through a divorce—all your body knows is that there's a danger present and it's stressed. When that happens, your body goes into fight or flight mode.

Circulation restricts blood flow to organs and sends more out to the extremities to help you run or fight, not knowing that you're not likely to do either. Blood flow is life, so extended limited supplies affect digestion, immune function, focus, concentration, moods, and the ability to make decisions. Adrenaline is also released, along with cortisol, causing spikes in blood sugar and blood pressure. There are more physiological responses designed to help your body escape the danger you never escape from. Instead, you store fat and increase your risk of metabolic diseases.

Fat and calories are fuel after all, and your body wants to make sure you have enough fuel when you do actually decide to run away from that bear it thinks is chasing you.

The Bottom line is weight is a symptom of health and hormones. Health and healthy weight absolutely do start with clean, whole nutrient-dense foods and moving your body everyday.

Just make sure you're also addressing the other components of health to get the rest of your plates up and spinning too.

To learn more about your six plates and creating health in your body, watch Tania's free training video.

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


Why hormones go rogue and What to do about it

Hormonal imbalance

I used to think, years ago, as I'm sure many of you did as well, there are certain things that happen hormonally as we age and there's not much we can do about it.

Wrong. Let me assure you that assumption is incorrect.

Yes, things happen. Changes occur that bring about symptoms and feelings we are not always happy about. But are they all normal? And should we expect them and all the craziness that comes with them, and call it normal? I'm living proof that doesn't have to be the case.

Many medicine doctors and natural health practitioners agree and say the same.

Well-known physician and author, Dr. Mark Hyman, stated in one of his podcasts, “.... unfortunately, especially for women, the signs of hormonal imbalances are constantly being written off as “normal.” I’m here to tell you that they’re not.”

Great news, right? As Hyman suggests, hormonal imbalances, and the fallout that goes with them, happens when your body is out of balance. Women are more susceptible especially after the age of 40 and as menopause symptoms start to creep in. But that's not to say men can never be affected. Andropause is a real thing as well. Both are affected by hormonal imbalance.

Not surprisingly, the key culprit in any hormonal imbalance or dysfunction, is food. Not only what you eat but how you eat it can either set your body up to be in a state of balance and calm, or a seriously hot mess. And when you're talking hormones, “hot” is something most of us want to avoid.

When it's not working properly, a condition known as insulin resistance can occur. Insulin is the hormone largely responsible for inflammation, weight gain and chronic disease. It is literally a “fat feeder”.

The Cleveland Clinic defines insulin resistance as, a complex condition in which your body does not respond as it should to insulin, a hormone your pancreas makes that’s essential for regulating blood sugar levels.

An unhealthy body won't release that excess weight, neither will a body struggling with “disregulated” blood sugar. When blood sugar is out of balance, hormones are as well. If you're thinking balancing hormones is really only important for those women dealing menopause and men facing andropause, think again. The Cleveland Clinic defines hormones as, chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. Those signals tell your body what to do and when to do it.

I'd say hormones are pretty important at any age, wouldn't you agree?

Those are the exact reasons the approach I share with my clients doesn't use food to lose weight like diets do, but rather uses food to create hormonal balance and stabilize blood sugar. We focus on creating health in the body first.

A healthy body with stabilized blood sugar, will naturally balance hormones, turn on metabolism, increase energy, decrease the risk of disease, even reverse disease. Our bodies are designed to heal when we give it what it needs and create the right conditions for it to do so.

Diets, on the other hand simply use food – count it, track it, limit it, restrict it, even eliminate some of it – to achieve a desired number on the scale.

The problem with that approach, aside from the discomfort, cravings, hunger pangs, guilt, shame, negative self-image and feelings of failure when you realize it's not something you can do for life, is that health suffers. When health suffers, and the unrealistic expectations mandated by those diets are no longer something anyone can do, it stops “working”.

I use the word “working” loosely because if what you're doing to create health and lose weight isn't something you can live for life, did it ever really “work” for you? That’s food for thought.

Approaching weight loss by first stabilizing blood sugar, targeting the six components needed to create health – nutrition, sleep, stress, water, exercise, supplements – and then filling in nutritional gaps, will not only get you results today, you'll be able to live your life healthfully and with food freedom and keep doing so.

For more on health and healthy weight loss, watch Tania's free 15 mins training video.

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

Five tips for enjoying vacation food without sabotaging your goals

Enjoy vacation foods

Hola! This week's column is coming to you from the Baja, Mexico.

My husband and I love to travel and have been blessed over the years to visit several different countries. We enjoy exploring the areas we are in, meeting the locals and trying the local fare. In fact, the one thing my hubby always does before we arrive is to search out the best-reviewed places to buy fresh, local produce as well as where to go out for a great meal.

This trip is our second time to this part of Mexico. And as we are staying with friends, and helping them move down here, we are doing some cooking and enjoying some new restaurant finds that we missed the first time around.

This time of year is often a big travel time for families with spring break as well as Easter holidays. And as we are emerging from winter, I do think that many are just so eager to soak up some summer sun, that when it's slow to come they snap up the first good flight deal to somewhere warm that pops up on their screen. And who can blame them?

The shorter days, lack of sunlight and therefore shortage of vitamin D—most of the population that lives above the 39th parallel is deficient in vitamin D unless supplementing— has your body craving the sun. And while I've yet to meet someone who will say they really don't want to leave the last dregs of winter for some sun, sand, surf and a little R&R, the excitement of a trip can also be a source of stress for a good many folks.

If isn't you, you're probably wondering what, aside from planning and the logistics to get you to your destination, could be so stressful. If you can relate, for you it's that four-letter 'F' word.

Yep, that's right, “Food.” For those who struggle with health and/or weight, leaving the security of home where you have complete control over what food you buy, how you prepare it and how much you're eating is huge. Going to a place you've never been, where you seemingly have little or no control over what, when and how you're going to eat, can be terrifying. And that's never how food should feel.

Food is used in every culture around the world not just for nourishment, but also to celebrate, to mourn, to surprise, and to generally bring people together. It's a huge part of our culture and in almost everything we do. Food should be something you savour, something you enjoy and something that helps create those warm fuzzy moments you'll look back on and smile about. Especially on vacation.

The problem comes when dieting is also a big part of your relationship with food. Diet culture has you locked in to believing the only way to that vacation and eat all the things is to starve yourself for months leading up to departure day, eat everything in sight while away, then psych yourself up to jump back on that diet the first Monday after arriving home. Sound familiar?

There is a way to enjoy both your vacation and the food that comes with it without bringing back that holiday 10 pounds around the middle and it's all based around using food to create hormonal balance and stabilizing blood sugar.

Here are five tips to make sure on your next trip you bring home souvenirs and memories, but not the weight around the middle.

1. Always take food with you. We travel with my favourite PFC protein powder, protein bars, nuts, a few pieces of fruit and a large water bottle to fill after we clear security. This makes sure we have what we need while in transit and don't have to resort to airplane food.

2. Eat breakfast every day and be sure to include a protein. This sets the tone for your body for the day and starts you off with your metabolism burning fat instead of muscle. Which is what happens when you skip breakfast. Or any meal.

3. Take a small day pack to carry water and snacks as you're out and about visiting, sightseeing, or on tours. The “eat a huge breakfast so you don't have to eat anything again until dinner” philosophy will have your body storing fat before you leave the hotel in the morning, burning muscle before lunch and a drop in energy come 2 p.m to 3 pm.

4. Enjoy treat foods guilt free. When you're eating a balance of a protein, fat and carb (PFC) together frequently throughout the day, having that handmade gelato or pretzel hot from the oven becomes a small blip in the radar, not a gigantic blood sugar spike and crash. The more consistent you are ahead of time, the smaller the impact will be. (Tip: Pair treats with a protein to stay balanced and burn fat, rather than store it.)

5. Alcohol is a carb. Think of it like a piece of white bread. Just like treats, pairing it with a protein and a fat will help your blood sugar remain stable and burning fat.

When I turned 50, hubby and I travelled throughout the U.K. and Europe for five weeks and we used these five principles. Not only did we enjoy the croissants, wines and cheeses in Paris, the gelato in Italy and experienced a chocolate tasting at the Lindt factory in Zurich guilt-free, we didn't bring home any extra weight. In fact I came back a pound lighter.

If you're ready to stop dieting and live with food freedom, watch Tania's free 15 min training here.

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

What's really keeping you from your health goals?

Overcoming health fears

When people talk to me about why they've been putting off health, the two things that always come up are time and money.

Family, work, home, kids' activities, grandkids and pets, combined with the rising cost of groceries—yep, life is busy and things are getting expensive.

There is a third thing that almost no one mentions but is very much a factor in determining our health, and that is fear.

Fear of what? Great question. Stick with me, let's dive in and unpack all three and see what resonates with you, sound good?

I don't know about you, but I used to think about time in terms of how much I didn't have and how much was left after the mad sprint of the day or week was done. I used to lament the fact we only had 24 hours every day and wish there was more. But, as I'm sure you've also figured out, wishing doesn't make it so.

This quote by H. Jackson Brown sums it up for me, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein."

But, while it sums things up, it doesn’t offer a solution as to how those amazing humans managed to find time to get all the things accomplished that they did – and in far less favourable conditions than I am blessed with.

It wasn't until I was listening to something online and one of the speakers said, “Try replacing, 'I don't have time' with ‘that's not a priority', and see what happens.”

There are so many things, especially in this digital age, that steal our time, focus and attention and, if you were asked to make a list prioritizing what you'd like to get done and who you'd like to spend time with in a day, would never even make the list.

But somehow we find ourselves spending precious time those things. I don't have to list them, you know which shiny things catch your attention, the things that make you squirrel.

Finances are something people bring up as a barrier when it comes to making changes that will benefit their health.

“Eating healthy is expensive” is the one I hear most often. But is it really? Sure, if you're going the oragnic and non-GMO route, (which is always a good idea if you can), it does cost a little more per item. But are you truly aware of what you're actually spending on whole, nutrient-dense foods verses food-like substances?

Let's do a little kitchen litmus test. Go ahead and take a quick inventory of your cupboards, fridge, freezer, pantry, etc., and note everything in a package, box, bag, can or wrapper that isn't a whole food. Things like cereal, cookies, chips, fruit snacks, granola bars, soda, juice boxes, pizza pops, lunchables, etc.

Do the quick mental math, multiply by four, or the number of times per month you shop. Then go ahead and add in any delivery charges and online fees if you're shopping that way, or the Starbucks latte you grab on the way when you shop in person.

It doesn't take a math genius to see how this can quickly add up. Simply redistributing what you would have spent on lower quality items to buy whole, nutrient-dense foods will give you more bang for your buck without changing what you're spending at the checkout.

You may actually even save a few bucks.

Lastly, let's talk about fear.

It's not that people are afraid to be healthy, no one ever says that. Fear comes from the thought of change and the unknown. Even though where you are now is not where you want to be, where you're headed is new, uncharted territory.

New is different, it's unfamiliar. Even when you know the changes are good, if that unfamiliar feeling is left unchecked, it will grow into discomfort, creating a cycle of self-sabotage that keeps you stuck and prevents you from achieving your goals.

I've worked with clients who, after losing weight and starting to feel and see changes in their body, stopped doing the things that were working to purposely regain the weight because that unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling was so overwhelming.

Knowing how and what to eat often isn't enough. Our thoughts and beliefs determine our actions, and our actions determine our results. In order to get results – lasting results – tackling the mindset piece is a must.

If any of this has resonated with you or with anyone you know, I invite you to click and watch my 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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