Foods & Feelings: Emotional Eating Overshadows Environment

 Does the holiday season get you feeling emotional? If you are like most people, it does. And in a big way! There are a lot of emotional aspects to the holidays. Whether it is the stress of the shopping or getting together for family functions, there is additional stress in our lives this time of year, especially because our schedules are busier.  But that emotional toll can have a major impact on your diet!

Being a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area I work with people who regularly tend to be emotional eaters. Yet they may not even be aware of it. More so than the environment you are in, research has shown that our emotions will get us to overeat more than anything else. Consider how you may grab for a snack when you are feeling down, want to celebrate, or feel additional stress. Think about the times when you reach for high-fat comfort foods (e.g., macaroni and cheese) when you have had a tough day and are feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The good news is that although our emotions can lead us to overeat, we can do something about it. We know that emotions will lead us over the edge and when that happens it will pack on weight gain that we may never lose. Rather than throw our hands in the air and abandon the idea of being healthy, we have to be proactive in putting a stop to emotional eating. Not only is it possible, but it is something we have to do in order to overcome the emotional eating that takes place during the holiday season.

Here are some tips for coping with the emotional eating that may help you avoid  this behavior during the holidays:

Avoid. If you know there are situations that will make you want to engage in emotional eating this holiday, just avoid them. It’s just that simple. And don’t feel guilty about skipping them. Don’t feel pressured to go to every holiday party.

Cope. Learn coping skills, so that you can recognize that you want to eat because of emotions, not out of hunger. Choose something else you will do every time that feeling strikes, and then do it. Maybe you can find another emotional eating buddy and you can text or call each other for support when those feelings arise.

Remember. Make a list of all the reasons you want to be fit and healthy. Then each time you want to engage in emotional eating remember those reasons. They will help keep your eye on the overall goal.

Change. It is important to try to change the way you feel about food. Try to determine why you engage in emotional eating at certain times, and then try to work through those feelings without food, in order to change the way you think.

Of course you want to enjoy the holidays and emotions play a big role in that. And sure you want grandma’s family favorites or the cool colored Starbucks cup that’s out. But if you give into these emotional eating temptations you will most likely gain weight and be sorry come January 1st. Keep it under control this month and you will be much happier through the New Year. This goes for my Vancouver, Washington personal training clients, and all my other readers!

 

Holiday Weight Gain is Bull Shit – and Totally Unacceptable!

Yes, I said it. And I’m going to challenge you on it. You know what I mean. The very idea that just because it is the holiday season you have to succumb to the idea that you will gain anywhere form 4-10 pounds. That’s what is reported as being average during this time of year, right? Well I say enough is enough. That’s not acceptable. Let me explain why!

Just a few pounds you say, so it’s nothing to worry about? Not so fast! Some people may gain 4-5 pounds, but others may gain more like 8-10 pounds or even more. Just depends on how much you are willing to abandon your healthy lifestyle goals and eat to the point where you just put your health on the backburner. I say right now, on this holiday season, that this weight gain madness comes to a screeching halt. Here are some reasons why:

  • If you are like most people you will never lose whatever amount of weight is that you gain this holiday season. Rather, you will keep compounding it year after year. Right now you are still probably batting some pounds you gained from a holiday binge three years ago!
  • Most people tend to rationalize that they will go on a new diet and fitness plan at the first of the year. They figure they will lose whatever weight they are gaining at that time. Nonsense! The majority of people who start New Year’s fitness routines drop out just weeks later, walking away with that extra weight gain still on them.
  • The extra weight you gain during the holidays will put more stress on any health conditions you already have. This includes things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions. There is a 5 percent increase in the number of heart attacks experienced by people during the holiday season, and more fatal heart attacks on Christmas and the day after Christmas. Your body doesn’t need the added stress of holiday weight gain.
  • People tend to never lose the additional weight, so they create an “identity” and just use it as an excuse. They may chalk it up to getting older, start cutting back on how active they are, and will lose additional health as the years ago by, due to their inactivity.
  • You are a leader and it is important for you to be aware of the message and example you are setting for others in your life. Maintain your health through the holidays and others will often follow suit.

Deep-fried turkey fire balls, flammable Christmas trees, toy hazards, seasonal car accidents, and decorating disasters (think Chevy Chase movies here), provide enough stress and danger in your life at the holidays. No reason to add to that with additional weight gain!

As a personal trainer I work with people from all around the Vancouver, Washington area. When I explain my thoughts on holiday weight gain they say my initials (BS) stand for more than just Brian Stecker. They say they want to enjoy their holiday and don’t want their spirit ruined. They may even call me Brian “Scrooge” Stecker. I know this may be an intense idea, but I am going to provide you with a series of actionable strategies you can use over the next 6 weeks to safely get you through the holidays, help you avoid the holiday weight gain, and keep you healthy and fit.  My advice comes from 10 years of training and includes solutions that will keep you fit, and enjoying the holidays!

 

Dig Into Strength: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Strength

Do you have difficulty walking up the steps? What about making dinner? If you find these things a lot more difficult than you used to it is time to take action. Believe it or not, you can get your strength back, even as a baby boomer. You do not have to take a loss of strength sitting down. Now is the time to stand up and fight… now is the time to dig in!

As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington who helps numerous baby boomers I address the strength issue on a regular basis. Yes, it’s true that if you do not work at it you will lose strength as you age. In fact, you will lose about 30 percent of your strength in the years that follow turning 50 years old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get that strength back, but it takes you being proactive in making it happen.

Many people think that you only hit the gym and lift weights if you want to be a body builder. Not so! The strength training that you will do in the gym will help you be able to climb those stairs better, or make it easier to tackle making dinner. You can use free weights, elastic bands, or exercise machines. The key is to have some resistance, because that resistance is going to help you build and maintain your muscle mass.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to increasing your strength:

  • Make sure you start with mobility. Without first focusing on improving your mobility you will find it difficult to take on the next step of strength training. Once you have addressed the mobility issue you are ready to move on.

 

  • Get a program to help you increase your strength level. The key here is that you have to make sure it is focusing on your weak areas. If you cannot identify them work with a personal trainer so you get the results you are after.
  •  

    Use a progressive overload approach, which will keep your body from bulking up or getting bigger. Instead, you will set goals of getting stronger and focus on meeting them.

 

  • Take action. This is the most important part. You can talk all day long about what needs to be done and why, but it will be worthless if it is not put into action. If you want to see results you must get a program and put it into action.

Getting older does not have to mean getting weaker. You can stop the loss of muscle and gain some strength back again. But you have to be proactive in making it happen. Whether you work with me, through my Vancouver, Washington personal training for baby boomers, or you do it with someone else, your strength training goals can be achieved. They also make a big difference in your quality of life, making them a goal worth fighting for!

Dig Into Mobility: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Mobility

Mobility is not something one thinks about all that often. At least, that is, until it begins to decrease over the years. Once you can no longer do the things you used to do as easily, you may begin to think about mobility issues. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your mobility, regardless of your age. As a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers and senior citizens, I have witnessed the way being proactive can help people improve mobility.

There are numerous things that can impact your mobility, including arthritis, slowing reflexes, a decrease in the ability to stretch or bend, loss of bone tissue, and more. The loss of mobility is especially problematic for baby boomers because it can not only hinder your ability to do the things you love, but it can also lead to you losing some independence. If you are a baby boomer who wants to stay independent and continue doing things for yourself it’s time to get serious about improving your mobility.

Here are a few of the principles that you should follow when it comes to mobility. These are principals that I share with many of my personal training clients:

  • Make it daily. Working on improving your mobility is not something you can do once in a while and then expect to see results. Rather, you have to make a commitment to improving it and then being proactive to get there. You have to work on mobility exercises on a daily basis. This includes getting daily exercise, stretching, and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Try different methods. Stretching is a good way to help improve mobility. But you also need to know the right kind of stretches you should be doing (which is why you should be working with a personal trainer). However, if you feel stretching is not doing enough for you, try something else. Other methods to try are to include using a foam roller, getting massages, art, structural integration, tennis ball rolling, and partner stretching. There are many different methods to try, so there is a good chance you will find one that is going to help you improve your mobility.
  • Test and test again. It is important to know if your efforts are working. To do this, take a pre-test before you get started with the mobility exercise plan. Then, test as you go in order to see if you are gaining motion. If you are, great, then it is working as planned. If you are not, then you may need to try another method in order to get better results.
  • Take action. The best way to take action is to meet with a personal trainer, such as myself on a weekly basis. When you do that you will get a plan that will work for you, the results will be tested, and you will see and feel the difference it makes. A personal trainer will help identify weak areas and exercises to strengthen them.

If you are feeling down about a loss of mobility it is important to understand that it doesn’t have to stay like that. You can take measures to help make improvements. But if you ignore it, the problem will get worse and it will keep you from being as happy. Take the steps now to make improvements. Before you know it you will have improved your mobility and will be feeling great. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area I will look forward to hearing from you. If you are not, seek out a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers or senior citizens, so that you get the best possible results.

How many calories should I be taking in for my body?

As a personal trainer, I’ve lost count of how many times this question has been put to me: how many calories should I be taking in for my body?

Now this is a really valid question if you are keen to lose or maintain weight, because what you eat, in conjunction to what exercise you do determines how many calories you need to consume each day.

In determining exactly how many calories you need to consume each day, you need to determine how many calories each day your body will actually use.  Think of it as income to expenditure.  Your food or calories are income and the spending of calories through exercise is the expenditure.  The first step in calculating the calories you must consume each day, is to determine your Basil Metabolic Rate or BMR.

Now, rather than go into great detail and outline the formulas for calculating your BMR, it’s easier for you to just enter your weight and height details into the BMR calculator .  I’m going to ask you to go and get your BMR now, so please google BMR calculator in another screen and get your BMR number.

Okay, you’ve got your BMR now?  That’s great!  Determining how many calories per day your body needs to consume is easy.

The amount of calories you must consume per day – referred to as Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE – is determined by the amount of exercise you engage in each day.  TDEE tells us how many calories we need to maintain our weight.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure for somebody who does very little is calculated by your BMR x 1.2.  If you do very light activity 1-3 days per week, your Total Daily Energy Expenditure is your BMR x 1.375.  If you engage in moderate activity, exercise or sport 3-5 days per week, your TDEE is BMR x 1.55.  If you do high physical activity, sport or exercise 6-7 days per week, your TDEE is BMR x 1.725 and if you are involved in very heavy activity – a physical job, or you do a lot of sport or exercise twice a day, everyday, your total calorie intake per day is calculated by BMR x 1.9.

Now that you know how to calculate your daily calorie needs for maintaining weight, how do you calculate daily calories needed to lose weight?

You need to subtract from your Total Daily Energy Expenditure figure to lose weight.  To determine how much to subtract, you need to know how calories relate to weight.  And that’s why I need to mention the following:

1 lb (0.45kg) equates to 3500 calories

1.5 lb (0.68kg) equates to 5250 calories

2 lbs (0.91kg) equates to 7000 calories

Say for example, your BMR is 1800 calories and you do moderate exercise.  Your TDEE is:

1800 x 1.55

So your TDEE is 2700 calories per day to maintain your current weight.  Multiply 2700 x 7 and your weekly calorie intake to maintain your weight is 18,900 calories.

So, if you want to lose 2lbs per week, here’s how you calculate the calories you need to consume per day:

18,900 – 7000 = 11,900/week

11,900/7 days = 1700 calories/day

You need to consume 1700 calories per day to lose 2lbs per week.

It’s important to never exceed weight loss of 2lbs per week, because to lose more than this will burn muscle, overtraining, or burnout which is unhealthy.  You need muscle to help you burn fat, so keep your weight loss to a healthy level.

So now you know how to determine the calories you need every day.

 

Alkaline Eating: Why It’s Good For Baby Boomers

If you are like most baby boomers you are looking for a way to eat healthier on a regular basis, and perhaps even shed a few pounds. Doing this, by the way, will help to improve your overall quality of life and most likely add years to it as well. If you search around for diets you are bound to come across the latest fads. But there is one diet, alkaline eating, that is an effective route to helping people over 50 live a healthier life.

As we digest foods they can either turn more acid or alkaline once they break down in the body. Those that break down and become acidic may in turn lower the pH level in our blood. A lower pH level can lead to health problems, including diseases. Therefore you want to keep it at a healthy level. A pH level above 7.0 is considered to be alkaline, while a pH level that is below 7.0 is considered to be acidic.

Having a more alkaline pH level can provide your body protection from some diseases, ease joint pain, and it can keep you feeling great, even long after the age of 50. So just what is an alkaline eating style, or alkaline diet? It’s essentially a vegetarian diet.

Foods that are acid are those that we already know are probably not all that good for us, such as white sugar, fatty meats, and white flour. We already know that if we eat these foods in large quantities that it will have an impact on our health. On the other end of the spectrum, we know that eating our fruits and vegetables is healthier. Alkaline foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, soy, etc. They are plant based foods that mothers everywhere have been trying to get their kids to eat for decades.

Eating an alkaline diet means including more of these healthy foods on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you need to completely give up those other foods you enjoy that may be acidic. But it does mean that it’s important to eat them in moderation. Generally speaking, if you are going to follow an alkaline diet you will want to keep the acidic foods to around 20-30 percent of your total intake. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

If you do get started with an alkaline diet, ease into it to help give yourself a smoother transition. Making the switch overnight can be difficult, and taking in all the additional fiber from the new diet when you are not used to it can cause a little gas pain. So transition to an alkaline diet, adding more of the good stuff and taking away some of the not-so-good stuff gradually. And don’t worry about being perfect. It’s okay if you still have a little sugar, white flour, or meat here and there. Just know that by eating a mainly alkaline diet over the age of 50 you will be doing your body a lot of good!

 CLICK HERE TO GET ADDITIONAL INFO ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP……

10 Tips for Baby Boomers When Training for a Hike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPpZ8YbeZgo

Hiking can be a great pastime. Not only is it fun, but it gets you out in nature. It can be a great experience for your mind, as well as for your muscles. But if you are not used to hiking and decide you want to take one of any substance, you will need to train for it, baby boomer or not. You wouldn’t start out running a 5K without training, and the same goes for any lengthy or strenuous hikes.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when it comes to baby boomers training to take a hike. Whether you are hiking up the Appalachian Trail or the Grand Canyon, you will enjoy it a lot more if you train for it ahead of time.

  1. Make a plan. Just like anything else you want to successfully achieve, start by setting goals.
  2. Start small. Take small walks around your community, just to get started.
  3. Increase length. Once you are comfortable taking those walks, gradually increase the distance of each of them.
  4. Add weights. Usually when you hike you have a backpack or something with you, so add a little weight to your walk.
  5. Increase weights. Once you are comfortable, increase the weight a little bit, so you will be used to carrying a backpack.
  6. Get vertical. Most hikes are not done on a straight, flat surface. You will want to get vertical, or at least go somewhere where you will get a varied terrain.
  7. Strengthen legs. The legs are what will take you through the hike. Focus on strengthening them by doing lunges.
  8. Increase cardio. Building up your lungs to withstand the cardio of a lengthy hike is crucial. Work on getting cardio exercise, so you are prepared once you are outdoors.
  9. Improve balance. Because the terrain can vary on a hike, it is important to have good balance. Do some exercises that will improve balance, such as Tai Chi or practicing one-legged stances.
  10. Focus on stretching. With any exercise, it is important to be sure to stretch properly, before and after the activity.

Along with preparing your body for the hike, you will also want to make sure you have the right gear. Comfortable hiking shoes, a wide brimmed hat, and a belt pack that holds water is ideal. The more preparation you do now to train for your hike, the more likely you will enjoy it, and come home feeling refreshed, rather than wishing you hadn’t gone. Hiking is one of nature’s greatest treats. Start training, and then get outdoors and take a hike!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyq2_Pg7O9A

TO LEARN HOW TO HIKE BETTER CLICK HERE…..

Going After the Enemy – Osteoporosis

My goal as a personal trainer is to help you, and all the baby boomers that I work with regularly, to get healthier. In order to do that, we have to go after a lot of the “enemies,” such as osteoporosis. The more you know about this common bone disease, the more you can do to help prevent becoming a victim to it!

 

Osteoporosis is the term given to the condition where one’s bones density and tissue have thinned over time. It can happen when the body does not form new bone, or if too much bone has been reabsorbed by the body. The loss is something that typically happens over years. For women, the leading cause of osteoporosis is a reduction in estrogen during menopause, while for men it’s a reduction in testosterone.

The scary truth about osteoporosis is that 44 million people have low bone mass, while 10 million people have the disease itself. Of this, 80 percent of the people are women. There are around 12 million baby boomers who have osteoporosis. While we lose bone mass over time, by the time we reach 60 we have become susceptible to fractures.

Some of the common factors for osteoporosis include being white, being female, being small, being a senior citizen, not being physically active, and not eating a diet high in calcium. The good news when dealing with this issue is that even if you are baby boomer there are things you can do to take on this enemy and win. Here are some of the things you can do to address osteoporosis:

Put the cigarette out for good. Quitting smoking is a priority in combating osteoporosis.

Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume to no more than two glasses per day. Excessive drinking of alcohol increases your osteoporosis risks.

Cut back on caffeine, as it can lead to bone depletion. It is not just the coffee that you need to watch, but also things like soda, tea, and even fluoric acid.

Watch the amount of protein that you eat. Consuming too much protein can help put you at risk for osteoporosis. When it comes to eating meat, for example, watch portion sizes, keeping to the size of a deck of cards as a serving.

Get more sunlight. Your body needs sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D, which helps produce strong bones. If you don’t live in a sunny climate, take a supplement.

Another important way to take on osteoporosis and win is by engaging in exercise, especially strength training. It’s an effective and healthy way to build bone mass and keep yourself healthy. In my next post I will share with you a winning exercise plan for battling osteoporosis!

DO YOU WANT TO TURN SLOW DOWN OSTEOPOROSIS

LEARN HOW HERE…

Going After the Enemy – The Silent Killer, Part II

In my last post I shared information with you about the silent killer, otherwise known as hypertension. If you are familiar with the term high blood pressure, then you know exactly what hypertension is. It’s known as a silent killer, and one that we can take on and win!

As a personal trainer, I am going to share with you what I tell clients. There are few things that a good exercise routine can not make better. Hypertension, believe it or not, is one of those things. Keeping a regular exercise routine can help you improve your blood pressure numbers, which will help you be healthier and help avoid being another hypertension statistic.

So here’s a few pointers to keep in mind when it comes to exercising and blood pressure:

First off, it’s important to remember that you cannot exercise if you forget to take your medication. It’s essential that you remember your medication, if you are taking a prescribed one for high blood pressure.

Checking your blood pressure to get your reading is essential. Ideally you should be doing it before, during and after exercise.

If you are exercising and see that your systolic number goes above 250 or the diastolic goes above 110, stop exercising immediately.

Keep in mind that if you take blood pressure medication it is going to have an impact on your heart rate, due to the beta blockers. They slow your heart rate, which means you may not be able to reach your target heart rate, despite your best efforts.

You should also avoid exercises like isometric decline positions and putting your arms higher than your head.

As for the amount of exercise you should be doing, stick to doing cardio exercise 3-7 days per week and aim to burn around 2,000 calories. Try to stick to an intensity level of 40-70 percent VO2 maximum. When you are biking, walking, or hiking, you have a variety of cardio options to choose from. Also, be sure to include circuit training, as well as flexibility training three days per week. Try engaging in Tai Chi, which will be quite helpful.

Knowing is half the battle, right? And now you know! I know you are a baby boomer, but it’s never too late to take action, especially when it comes to making yourself healthier. I work with clients on a regular basis who are senior citizens and are ready to get their health under control. It’s never too late! You can win the war on this silent killer. It’s a matter of making lifestyle changes and sticking with them!

 ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR FITNESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Taking on the Enemy – The Silent Killer

When you read about the silent killer, you may not even be aware of what I’m referring to. Many people are not, which is why it is considered a silent killer. It is one that can easily creep up on people, and when it does, well, it completely ruins their life. In order to take on this silent killer, it is important to know what your blood pressure numbers are, because the name of it is hypertension.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which is how hard or forceful your blood is pumping through your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 26,000 people who die each year from hypertension. In order to take on this enemy, it is important to first know what your blood pressure numbers are. You can get these from your doctor, or you can even take your blood pressure at one of those free self-use machines set up in stores and pharmacies.

When you get your blood pressure reading, it will be in two numbers, such as 120/80. You can have one or both of these numbers be too high, contributing to the hypertension. Here’s what the numbers mean:

120/80 or lower – this is normal

Above 120/80, but below 140/90 – this is pre-hypertension

140/90 or above – this is hypertension, or high blood pressure

The factors that contribute to your blood pressure include obesity, being African American, stress, drinking too much alcohol, consuming too much salt, diabetes, smoking, and a genetic predisposition. If you have high blood pressure there is hope. You have the ability, most of the time, to combat it through lifestyle changes.

Here’s what you need to do in order to address the hypertension and see improvement in your numbers:

Improve your diet by reducing fat, eating more fruits and veggies, eating more fiber, and opting for lean sources of protein. You will want to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Also, watch the amount of salt that you consume, keeping it under 1,500 mg per day. Be especially careful when eating out or consuming pre-packaged foods, as they are both typically high in sodium.

Engage in at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day, such as walking, dancing, or biking.

Find ways to manage stress, such as doing yoga, Tai Chi, or journaling.

Lose weight, as even a couple of pounds can make a difference in blood pressure.

Watch the amount of alcohol that you consume. Not only is it bad for hypertension, but it also contributes a lot of unnecessary calories.

Coming up next, I will go over how you can use exercise to take on this silent killer. When it comes to blood pressure, baby boomer or not, you can fight back, and win!

WANT TO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE YOUR 30’S??!! LEARN HOW ……