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What Does The Scale Really Tell You?

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Some people avoid it like the plague and others check in daily to see how they’re doing.

THE SCALE.

It can be a source of pain or temporary satisfaction.

Fitness professionals tend to fall into two camps with the scale.

It’s either, “Throw it away!” or “It’s the only measure of progress.”

I’m somewhere in the middle.

Knowing your number is a relevant starting point and can be a good way of keeping you “honest”, either to yourself or to a Coach

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If you’re aiming to improve your body composition (decrease fat and/or add muscle), the scale is a good rough guideline.

There are, however, a few things that can affect your weight that have nothing to do with how lean you’re getting.

Your weight varies on a day-to-day basis for reasons that DON’T have anything to do with your fat loss progress.

Here Are Three Major Reasons For Weight Fluctuations:

1) Hydration Levels

Our bodies are 50-65% water, so how hydrated you are impacts your weight.

If you drank more water the night before you weighed yourself then your weight will appear higher.

When you’re a bit dehydrated your weight will be lower.

Water retention can make you weigh more.

If you’ve eaten salty food the day before, you body may retain more water.

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2) Undigested Food

The colon, or large intestine, is about 5 feet long and is packed with the undigested parts (mainly fiber) of the food you eat.

Although it’s a bit gross to think about, you could have several pounds of this waste in your system.

Depending on where you are in your digestive cycle, you could weigh a little more or a bit less.

If you’re constipated, you’ll weigh a bit more.

When you “clear out” your system you’ll weigh less.

3) Hormones

Your hormonal balance affects how much water your body retains.

Many women add a pound or two from water retention before their periods.

Cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, can cause water retention.

So if you’re experiencing long term stress, you may also be carrying some extra water weight.

But Muscle Weighs More Than Fat, Right?

Muscle is more dense than fat.

So 5 pounds of muscle is smaller than 5 pounds of fat.

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So you can put on muscle and lose fat without your weight changing.

If you’re new to weight training (under a year of consistent training) and have decent genetics, you may notice that you’re adding muscle while not seeing any movement on the scale.

This doesn’t apply to women as much, unless they’ve been underweight and start doing regular weight training while eating more calories consistently.

If someone is already close to their target weight, they may find that they’ll build muscle and lose fat…which means they look leaner with no change on the scale.

This is a fairly common scenario with my Online Coaching clients, many of which are within ten pounds of their goal weight.

But unless you notice that you’re leaner, the addition of muscle isn’t a good explanation for your weight staying the same.

The Right Way To Weigh

I discourage my Online Coaching clients from weighing themselves daily.

As you’ve just read, there are a lot of reasons why your weight will vary from day to day.

Measure too often and you can get discouraged – or overly excited – about the changes you’re seeing.

Losing 1-2 pounds a week is the general goal.

So if you’re losing four pounds a month you’re doing well…even if there are ups and downs along the way.

Make sure that you’re weighing at the same time of day, in the same way.

Ideally: in the morning, nude, before you’ve eaten and after you’ve used the bathroom.

There can be a variation of a pound or two between weighing in the morning or the evening (owing to eating and drinking) so it doesn’t make sense to compare at different times.

Signs of True Changes

If you go 2-3 weeks without a change in your weight (depending on what you’re aiming for) then you may not be progressing.

Remember that the leaner you get, the harder it is for you to get yourself leaner.

Your body wants to maintain homeostasis at a reasonable level and starts fighting back as you try to drop your body fat very low.

That’s why those last five pounds can be the most challenging.

Besides the scale, you can also check for fat loss by looking in the mirror.

Taking progress pictures can help because we often don’t have good memories of what we used to look before.

You can also try pinching the fat on your important bits to assess progress.

While a body fat calliper can be useful, just having a general feeling of how much fat you have in different areas can tell you where you’re at.

The abs are generally a good indicator of fat loss.

Look for increased definition in different areas (belly button, lower abs, obliques) of the abs.

Taking a waist and hip measurement can be useful.

The Waist to Hip Ratio can be a predictor of health risks, including heart attacks.

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For women, hips and thighs are a good indicator of fat loss, as that’s where women generally tend to store more fat due to female hormones.

Some people also notice that their arms look more defined.

The Bottom Line

Getting tied to the scale isn’t what a healthy lifestyle is about.

I also don’t advocate throwing out your scale and ignoring the reality that’s creeping up on you.

Your weight can be an indicator of your fat loss progress and affects your health risk factors, but it’s not the only metric.

Use the scale as one measure of your progress.

It tells you approximately where you are on your weight loss journey.

But if you look leaner, your stomach is flatter, and your clothes are looser, you’re heading in the right direction.

Either way, the scale doesn’t determine your value as a human being.

If you’re strong, healthy, and full of energy don’t let anything the scale says bring you down.

Ivana Chapman

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Why You’re Not Losing Weight

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Why You’re Not Losing Weight

Weight loss can be elusive sometimes. When you’re not losing weight it can be frustrating.

You may struggle with the same ten or twenty pounds for years.

You’ll be down a couple of pounds one week and up a pound or two the next week.

Lose five pounds in November, put them back on (with another pound or two extra!) in December.

Many people yo-yo most of their lives, usually dependent on how “committed” they are to their nutrition and workouts at that particular point of time.

But what if you feel like you’re doing everything “right” with your nutrition, exercising regularly…and you’re still not losing weight? 

There could be a few things going on, but it primarily comes down to two things:

1) Overestimating How Much Exercise Matters.

2) Underestimating The Impact Of Nutrition.

Many people rely too much on exercise to do the work for them.

There isn’t a massive increased calorie burn from a bout of exercise.

Let’s look at how it breaks down.

What Is TDEE?

The amount of calories you burn in a day is referred to as total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

TDEE is composed of BMR (basal metabolic rate), NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), TEF (thermic effect of food), and EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis).

BMR, how many calories your body burns just keeping your normal biological processes going, represents about 70% of your day.

NEAT, the amount of general activity you do throughout the day (walking, standing, fidgeting, cooking, twiddling your thumbs) makes up about 15%.

So, yes, doing those 10,000 steps a day can make a difference to how many calories you burn over the course of the day.

TEF, how much energy it takes to process and digest your food, represents about 10%.why-you're-not-losing-weight-tracker

Protein takes the most energy for your body to use, followed by carbs and then fat.

Whole, fibrous foods take slightly more energy to digest than processed foods.

But remember that those differences are relatively minor and TEF is still a small portion of TDEE.

EAT, the amount of calories you burn exercising, normally represents only about 5%.

Cardio machines tend to overestimate the calories you’re burning, and they don’t subtract how many calories you would burn if you were just sitting around.

So you may get too excited about those calories you thought you were burning and inadvertently eat too much later on.

Cardio also tends to increase your appetite, one of the reasons I don’t recommend much of it for most of my Online Coaching clients.

And while weight training is very beneficial, it’s not going to make a huge change to your daily energy expenditure.

The same applies to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), by the way.

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It’s not the magical fat-burner that some people perceive it to be.

HIIT is a very efficient way to exercise, provided you have a reasonable level of fitness to begin with.

Let me state for the record:

Exercise is awesome!

But exercise is NOT the key to losing weight.

Just don’t rely on it too much for weight loss.

If you just started exercising, but haven’t made any change your your nutrition plan, you probably won’t see a huge change in your weight.

Once you start addressing nutrition, bigger changes start to happen.

The biggest mistake though is not being aware of how many calories you’re eating.

Many people underestimate how much they’re consuming each day.

A bite here, a taste here, a bit more sauce over there.

All those extra calories add up and they often put you into a calorie surplus (where you’ll gain weight) or keep you in balance (so your weight doesn’t change).

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While eating whole foods tends to make it easier to keep your calorie consumption down, it’s not always enough.

Many whole foods, like nuts and whole grains, can be calorie-dense.

If you don’t keep your portion sizes reasonable you may struggle to lose weight.

It’s not about “clean eating”.

The term isn’t scientific or meaningful.

Get the right amount of calories, macros (protein, carbs, fat), and fibre and you’ll start losing weight.

Use a tool like myfitnesspal to help you keep track at the beginning.

This is also part of the education process that I give my Online Coaching clients to learn more about the food they’re eating.

You need to figure out how to fit things into your daily plan, including your favourite treats.

Seems too simple to be true, but it works.

And remember to be patient.

We normally expect a weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week, if you’re at least 10 pounds over your target weight.

The closer you get to your ideal weight, the harder it is to lose more weight.

If you’ve stalled with your weight loss, take a closer look at what you’re eating.

A little fine-tuning might be all you need to get it kick-started.

Ivana Chapman

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The Scary Part Of Weight Loss

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Happy Halloween!

Tonight is that exciting night when the kiddies dress up and collect chocolate and treats for the days (and weeks!) ahead.

Here’s the frightening part.

We Canadians have already had Thanksgiving.

Our American friends are about to hit this delightfully gluttonous holiday, which involves consuming parts of a big bird and accompaniments that include stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Before we know it, the holiday season has begun and we run straight into Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s.

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This time of year used to be very dangerous for me.

The excess eating of Thanksgiving ran into the treat overindulgence of my birthday (October 22).

The subsequent holiday parties made me lose whatever self control I previously had.

For a long time, I went through periods of dieting and “eating clean“, followed by binging for special events.

Each binge led to a loosening of my usual rules and I found myself eating treats more often.

Then the extra 10-15 pounds would find its way onto my body and I would realize what was going on.

I’d say, “Enough is enough!”, and ban all the treat foods (chocolate, ice cream, brownies, etc.) that I loved.

The weight would start to come off and I’d feel good.

Pretty soon my willpower died out and I was heading for another cycle of binging.

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Then I’d say again, “Enough is enough!” and force myself to “eat clean” for long periods.

This diet cycle continued for over a decade before I finally found my way out.

Any of this pattern sound familiar to you?

Most of my Online Coaching clients have come to me with some version of this scenario.

It takes some time, but they’re able to overcome the mental hurdles they’ve been struggling with for years.

They stop saying things like:

“I need to start eating clean again.”

“I really should go on that diet I heard about from my friend.”

“I’ll get back to the gym when I have more time.”

The last one is funny to me because there never seems to be enough time, especially if you’re a parent.

Setting your priorities differently is what it comes down to.

Small steps are better than making no progress at all.

Using the “All-Or-Nothing” approach for your nutrition and workouts is one of the WORST things you can do.

Feeling guilty for missing the gym only makes you less likely to keep up the habit.

Worrying about that cookie you ate only encourages you to give up.

Be encouraged by the efforts you are making.

Two workouts a week are better than sitting on the couch crying through “This Is Us” every night.

One glass of wine instead of two or three is progress.

Cooking a balanced meal of protein and vegetables at home three times a week is better than eating out every day.

You don’t have to go “All In” to move in the right direction.

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We’re all scared of change.

Our comfort zones are so…comfortable.

Making the changes small means that they’re a little less frightening.

And each of those modifications will give you the confidence to gradually introduce more.

Soon you’ll be closer to your goal without the stress/strain/guilt that you experienced before.

How do you get started?

After years of trial and error, and experience coaching hundreds of people, here are are the FAT LOSS PRINCIPLES I go by.

Guilt only makes things worse.

Progress is better than perfection.

And please, please, please stop looking for the perfect diet or workout plan that’s going to change everything.

It’s all about the basics.

There’s no miracle solution to be found in the recesses of the internet.

When you decide on your priorities (health, energy, family, life satisfaction) and take a step in the right direction, you’re on your way.

Eventually it’s not as scary as you think.

Ivana Chapman

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How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

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Break through a weight loss plateau with the right training and nutrition.

It happens to practically everyone at some point. You’re training regularly, eating the right amount and type of food, and getting great results. Maybe you’re dropping a pound or two and week and your pants are looser around the waist. Nice!

Then the improvements stop. You’re still working out and are watching what you eat, but you’re not seeing any drop in the scale. You know that the numbers on the scale aren’t the whole story, and fat loss can mean that you’ve gained muscle and lose fat without any change in weight, but you’re not getting any leaner either. You’re stuck, and you can’t figure out what to do to keep moving towards your target weight.

Let’s take a look at what a plateau is and what you can do to overcome yours.

Defining a Plateau

Just because you haven’t seen any weight loss changes in a week or two doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve plateaued. Sometimes your body needs time to adjust and your muscles need to recover in order to grow. I encourage my clients to weight themselves NO MORE than once a week because so many things can affect your weight from day to day. You may see no changes for a couple of weeks and then your body recovers and responds again.

Now, if you’ve been training and eating consistently for three or four weeks and you don’t see any improvements in your physique, you may indeed have hit a plateau.

Weight Loss Facts You Need to Remember

The closer you get to your ideal weight, the harder it is to lose more weight. It’s actually relatively easy to lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Minor changes like cutting down on crappy foods or adding more vegetables can make a big difference. When you’re sustaining a healthy weight, but want to get leaner, you’re in for more of a challenge.

Your body resists, not only because it’s used to being at a certain weight, but your body wants to hold on to a certain amount of body fat in case you’re ever in a situation where you’re starving. As you shrink in size, your metabolism naturally slows down (a 200lb person needs more calories to sustain that size than a 150lb person) and you need to get accustomed to eating less.

Building more muscle is one way of reducing that need, because muscle needs more energy to sustain itself than fat. The more muscle you have the more metabolically active you’ll be. When you’re looking to break a plateau, focusing on building muscle and protecting your existing muscle from breakdown is the goal.

Ways to Break a Plateau

1) Keep a closer eye on your calories

Initially you might have lost weight just from eating a “cleaner” diet and avoiding the obviously-detrimental foods. If you’ve been doing this a while, it’s easy to throw some extra food in there once in a while that you barely notice (an extra beer here, a few bites of pizza there).

I don’t normally recommend calorie counting, but if you need to make finer tweaks you need to know exactly what you’re consuming. You might just find that you’ve been eating more without noticing. Even if you haven’t, the change from your previous body size to your current smaller one will probably need less food.

2) Check Your Protein Intake

Protein is needed to build and repair muscle, and many athletic people aren’t getting enough. If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, you might want to check how much protein you’re consuming on a daily basis. I normally recommend about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (i.e. If you’re 180lbs you take in 180 grams of protein) per day.

A higher protein intake can help regulate your appetite and make it easier for you to eat less food. That’s one of the reasons that low-carb diets work, especially at the beginning.

When you reduce your calories, it’s important to maintain a higher protein intake because this helps preserve your muscle mass.

3) Overload your muscles

Forget everything you’ve heard about “muscle confusion”, your muscles need something consistent to make changes with. Hopefully the majority of the training you’re doing is with weights (if not, you may need to read THIS) and you have some sort of program that you’re doing consistently. If you’re just going to the gym and randomly picking up weights and pushing them around…we may have already found the reason that you’re not progressing.

Your body responds best to progressive overload, meaning that you need to stimulate the muscles to grow by challenging them with more weight a little bit at a time. You need to design a program that you do regularly and change it slightly as your body adapts to keep getting results. If you’ve been doing the same weights for several weeks, you won’t build more muscle and you’ll probably hit a weight loss plateau. Make sure you push your muscles to work harder to get results.

4) Change Your Workout Routine

Changing your weight training exercise or increasing the weights you’re using isn’t the only way to modify your program. You can also change:

  • Number of sets per exercise – you may initially get results with only 2-3 sets, but as you get more experienced you may need 4 or even 5 sets of the same exercise to see improvements
  • Number of reps – most people looking for muscle growth should stick to the 6-12 rep range for maximum hypertrophy. If you’ve been doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps (what most people do), it may be time to try 4 or 5 sets of 6-8 reps (with a corresponding increase in sets) – or vice versa. You may also see improvement by working outside of the traditional hypertrophy ranges. Try 3 sets of 15 or 5X5. Some people respond well to these other rep ranges.
  • Rest Period – Normally you’ll want to be in the 60-90 second range to achieve more muscle, but maybe you need to change it up to break through your weight loss plateau. Try circuit training with very little rest between exercises, or extend your rest periods to two minutes and push heavier weights.
  • Time under Tension (TUT) – TUT refers to the amount of time that your muscle is working for ONE SET of an exercise. Optimal muscle growth seems to happen when TUT is about 40-70 secs. Many people do their reps too quickly and don’t fall into that zone. Try slowing down your each rep of an exercise to make the muscles work harder…and stimulate them to grow.

How Often to Change

A beginner to weight training can do the same workout for two or three months and still see progress. The more experienced you are, the more regularly you need to change your program because your body adapts more quickly. Most of my clients have several years experience and I change their workouts every 4-8 weeks, depending on how consistent they are and how they respond to the program.

There’s some individual variation too, both physiologically and psychologically. Some people respond best to frequent change and others need more time to get the most benefit. If you’re constantly running into weight loss plateaus, it may be because you’re not changing your workout routine frequently enough. Don’t get carried away though, even the most experienced athlete will need about 4 to 6 exposures to a workout to get the full benefit and need to change.

5) Look at Lifestyle Factors that could be Stopping Your Progress

If you think that your workouts and nutrition are in check, it might be time to have a closer look at other potential sources of your weight loss plateau.

Sleep could be a factor slowing down your weight loss. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night – and aren’t getting it. When you don’t sleep enough, your muscles don’t have time to repair and grow. As you know already, muscle is going to get you lean and help you keep getting lean. If you’re tired, you’re also less likely to make good decisions with food.

Many people want to ignore it, but stress can also be holding back your weight loss. Chronic stress can cause high levels of cortisol, “the stress hormone”. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands near your kidneys and is catabolic (breaks things down). The last thing you want is for your muscle to break down! Chronically high levels of cortisol preferentially lay fat in the abdominal area. Not something you want when you’re trying to get lean.

The Main Point

If you’ve been stuck at the same weight for three weeks or more, without any apparent decrease in body fat, you may be at a weight loss plateau. Breaking through requires that you take a closer look at your diet, especially your protein intake. Overload your muscles with heavier weights and change your workout (a little!) to stimulate a muscular response. If all else fails, look at lifestyle factors, like sleep and stress, that could be affecting your ability to lose weight. You’ll have that scale moving again in no time.

Ivana Chapman

P.S. Want help changing your relationship with food and getting a sensible nutrition plan together? My Lean365 Online Membership Program can help! Check out the details HERE.

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How Fast Can You Lose Weight?

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How quickly can you get to where you want to go with your weight?

I’m often asked how long it will take a client to lose a particular amount of weight. I liken this question a bit to “How long is a piece of string?” It really depends…

What Are You Willing To Do?

How much are you willing to change your diet?

Where is your diet now?

How often are you going to work out?

How hard are you willing to work out?

Are you going to give up after a couple of weeks or are you going to follow the plan that you’re given?

In General

The guideline that’s tossed around for safe and healthy (that’s the only kind we want, ok folks?) weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. It’s a fine number in theory, but that’s about all it is. There’s no real scientific basis for that 1-2 pound rule, although it seems to be reasonable for people who are close to their ideal weight.

Sometimes it’s Easy, and Sometimes it’s Not

If someone is sixty pounds overweight they’re going to have a easier time losing weight than someone who’s five pounds from where they want to be. The initial changes to trigger weight loss in someone who’s overweight or obese are a lot simpler than for someone who is close to ideal. When you’re close to a healthy weight you’re probably already doing most of the right things. It’s hard to figure out what to change. Someone who’s obese likely has a lot to change and even a minor change like walking 30mins a day and reducing carbs might drop five pounds in a week.

In general, men lose fat at a faster rate than women. It’s all about the hormones. Men have about 20x the testosterone and don’t have the hormonal balance that tends to store fat for reproduction which women do. Sorry ladies! Don’t shoot the messenger.

The Bottom Line

Although I can give you general guidelines, weight loss can be a bit of a mystery sometimes. It’s not easy to tell you how quickly you’ll lose weight without knowing your gender, current weight and body fat percentage, your health, your body type and genetics, and training experience.

The one thing I can tell you for sure: The more committed you are to the process, the faster you’ll see results.

Ivana Chapman 

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Stop Obsessing About Numbers on the Scale

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The number’s not THAT important…really.

I always get a bit worried when someone tells me that they weigh themselves daily. Often, they say it’s to keep themselves “in line” and not stray with their nutrition and training plan. Yikes! This speaks of obsession and control-freakiness (I realise that’s not actually a word).

Here’s why weighing yourself too often can hinder rather than help your physique goals:

The Scale Lies

If you’re using the scale to monitor the effectiveness of your training program and diet, you’ll find that the scale doesn’t always give you good feedback. Even if you take your weight naked at the same time every morning, you won’t necessarily know what’s happening. Your weight varies on a day-to-day basis for dozens of reasons, including hydration levels, the current state of your digestion, hormones, and what you ate the night before. I’ve actually managed to put on five pounds over one weekend when I’ve eaten to excess (yes, I do occasionally do this, without guilt), including foods with more salt than I’m used to.

Did I put on five pounds of fat in a couple of days? Of course not! Some of the weight was water retention and the rest was food that wasn’t – ahem – dealt with yet. A few days later, after eating my usual foods, I was back down those five pounds.

A Rough Guideline

I don’t think it’s terrible to weigh yourself every week or two if you’re working towards a goal and you want to assess your progress. Just don’t get too caught up in it. Controlling every molecule you put into your mouth isn’t going to spare you weight fluctuations. Keep consistent with your nutrition and training and the changes will come.

Don’t obsess.

Does Weight Even Matter?

Muscle weighs more than fat (ie. fat occupies more space) so you might put on muscle and look leaner, but the scale doesn’t budge. Who cares? You look better, right? Isn’t that what you really want?

I mean, some athletes need to get themselves to fit into a particular weight class for their sport, but what about the rest of us? Nobody’s going to ask you to get on a scale in your day-to-day life. Your co-workers will notice how much better you look though. They’ll ask what you’ve been doing to get such toned arms. Your date might take a second peek at your butt as you turn around. Nobody’s going to be doing any measuring.

Focus on what matters; a consistent training and nutrition plan that makes you feel strong, energetic, and good about yourself.

The numbers will take care of themselves.

Ivana Chapman 

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Weight Loss Mistakes That Men Make

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 Oh no, he didn’t make that mistake again, did he?

As a follow-up to my previous blog about the weight loss mistakes that women make, I wanted to share some weight loss errors that men make. Men and women are equal (in everything besides penis size!) but different.

They often have similar goals and make similar mistakes, but here are a few errors that seem to specifically afflict males of the species:

1) Focusing on the “Showy” Muscles in the Upper Body

Yes, we know you want your chest to get bigger (for some reason), but you’re carrying a pretty blubbery midsection that isn’t very appealing either. Maybe you can skip one of those thrice-weekly chest sessions and sub in some harder leg work to give that body shape some balance. It will help you burn more fat, I promise!

Just how many arms days can you have?

I know you want to show off your impressive guns at any opportunity, but without a little bit of leg work you’ll topple over…and probably always carry an extra layer of fat that reduces your definition.

2) Underestimating Alcohol Consumed

I know, you only drink once in a while, right?

Even a daily glass of red wine can be acceptable in a healthy diet for leanness for most males, but the issue comes with excessive social drinking.

Many men will go out for “a few beers” and soon get carried away with 5 or 6 (or 7 or 8) beers at a sitting. That’s not social drinking; that’s binging…and many men do it more often than they want to admit.

The next day your body has to burn off all that alcohol before it gets started on burning any of that extra fat you’re storing.

Despite your best efforts at the gym you’ll struggle to get results.

Be honest with yourself about how often and how much you’re drinking. It may just be your sticking point with weight loss.

3) Overworking Abs

I see you over there…crunching. And crunching again. Then crunching on the stability ball. Then crunching on the decline bench. Then you change it up and do a dozen hanging knee raises and a dozen straight leg raises. Then you add in a few more crunches for good measure.

Seriously?!

The only thing you’re working towards is tight hip flexors and back pain.

A few sets of abs exercises, two or three times a week is plenty if you’re actually lean enough to have visible abs. If your diet consists primarily of donuts and bacon cheeseburgers then you’re totally wasting your time.

4) Overestimating the Quality of Their Diet

This issue goes alongside the alcohol consumption problem. Many men just don’t have a good idea of what they consume on a daily basis. Men often tell me that they eat lots of “healthy” food, but when I have a look at their diets it’s not pretty.

I once had a client send me a month’s worth of his diet and it was full of burgers, fries, pies, sandwiches, and other assorted junk. When I questioned him he gave me an explanation for each of the foods saying “that was a special occasion” or “that’s not a regular thing for me”. Yet I was looking at a whole month’s worth of his diet!

He didn’t even realize how badly he was eating because he considered all of those junk foods “exceptions” when they were really the rule.

His diet sucked and he couldn’t admit it.

Sometimes you need to take an honest look at what you’re eating…and what could be hindering your weight loss.

5) Jumping from Magazine Workout to Magazine Workout

One week you’re doing the Wolverine workout that you saw in Men’s Health. The next week you’re trying the 300 plan from Men’s Fitness (because you weren’t sure if the Wolverine workout was working). Then you see Chris Hemsworth on the cover of Muscle and Fitness and decide that the Thor workout would probably give you your ideal physique.

Please!

At least stick to one workout for a few weeks before you move on. Or even better, how about you just do a progressive full body weight training program and have it regularly (every 4-8 weeks) updated by a competent professional coach?

You’ll save yourself a lot of time and probably prevent the shin splints and back pain you were going to get from doing 50 reps of 24-inch box jumps.

Gentlemen, Let’s Get Serious!

You want weight loss results. You want a lean, athletic physique. Assess your diet and workout routine to make sure you’re not making any of the mistakes above and you’ll be on your way.

Ivana Chapman 

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Weight Loss Mistakes That Women Make

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Certain mistakes can leave women frustrated with their lack of weight loss.

It’s not often that I need to segregate the sexes in my writing, but sometimes I feel that it’s necessary. I’ve trained both men and women over the years and many of the women have come to me with plenty of miseducation about what it takes to build a beautiful body. The men have misconceptions too, but I’ll save that for another blog. 🙂 I’m constantly appalled by the negative and misleading information out there that keeps women from doing the right thing for their health and for their figures.

Let me stress that not all women make these mistakes, but having trained in gyms for over 20 years I’ve observed some patterns.

With that in mind, here are the biggest mistakes I see women make when trying to lose weight:

1) Avoiding weights

I know, I know, you don’t want to get “bulky”, right? I find it amusing that the women who usually say this are already bulky, but with fat and not muscle. Which do you think is going to look better?

If you improve your body composition by gaining muscle and losing fat, you’re actually going to look smaller overall. You’ll also look more “toned” because being toned is all about losing body fat so you see the muscle underneath. When you have more muscle overall, you’ll be able to eat more and not put on weight because muscle is more metabolically active (burns more calories). Embrace the amazing shape that weights can give you…as well as their fat-burning effects.

2) Not Eating Enough

Many women go for months on diets that reduce their food intake to 1000 (or fewer!) calories, mostly in the form of bland salads. They might get some initial weight loss, some of which will be muscle, but after a while their progress stops. What do you do then? Reduce your calories to 600 a day?!

When you drop your calories too low, your body adjusts to that lower level. It’s a survival mechanism so that you don’t starve. Unfortunately it means that if you start eating more than that lower amount of calories regularly you’ll put on weight again. It’s the start of a process that’s been coined “metabolic damage”, when your metabolism gets out of whack and doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d like it to. In many cases, increasing the amount of calories that you’re eating can be beneficial when you start a weight training program. You’ll build more muscle, which will make it easier to get leaner. If you’ve been on a very low-calorie diet for a while, adding more calories, particularly in the form of protein, can be a great step to rebuilding your metabolism and your health.

3) Being Obsessed with the Scale

Some women can’t seem to go a day without stepping on the scale to check their progress. It’s just a number on the scale. It doesn’t define you. Or even the success of your workout and nutrition plan. Your weight varies on a daily basis due to hydration levels, how much you’ve eaten recently, and hormonal changes. Checking too regularly can be disappointing…and deceiving. Muscle weighs more than fat so you can improve your body composition (ie. reduce your body fat percentage) through building muscle and losing fat and not lose a pound. But you’ll look better, I promise. The scale can be a good way of assessing your progress once in a while, but checking obsessively is only detrimental to your weight loss efforts.

4) Going On and Off Diets

“Let’s go out for pizza and ice cream…I’m starting my diet tomorrow!” “It’s already Friday…I’ll start my diet on Monday!” It’s really common for women to have the “on a diet, off a diet” mentality. You’re always on a diet. Your diet consists of what you consume on a day-to-day basis. You don’t get to wipe the slate clean and undo the damage just because it’s the start of the year or the start of the month. Every day is an opportunity to make sensible food choices that benefit your body and your health.

Stop going on a diet and start living a healthy lifestyle that gives you a banging body.

5) Doing Too Much Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio

Yes, you really want to get through that “People” magazine or check out the latest fashions from “In Style”, but during your workout session is not the time to do it (I recommend reading trashy/fashion magazines when you’re getting your hair done instead!). I see way too many women turning pages while slowly peddling on a bike or elliptical trainer. Some of them are so enthralled by the latest exploits of the Kardashian clan that they start peddling backwards or just end up standing on the machine reading. This is NOT the way to workout, ladies!

Even if you do manage to maintain a steady pace on the cardio machines, it’s not as beneficial for you as other exercises you could be doing, like weights or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). After a few weeks, your body adapts to the slow, steady-state cardio and you won’t be getting any weight-loss benefit. In fact, you’ll be burning off what little muscle you have (which slows down your metabolism) and eventually cause negative changes to your thyroid, which controls your metabolic rate.

6) Looking for the Latest Fad Diet

Just because JLo or Jennifer Aniston recently lost weight on some fad diet, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. But you’ve got to at least give it a shot, right?

NO!

Quit looking for the latest thing that the celebs are doing. Journalists make a great living making sensational stories about the newest gimmick, but the truth is that you can’t get around eating right and exercising for long-lasting weight loss results.

Come on Ladies!

You need to be strong and respect the science of your body. Weights will do your body good in a way that steady-state cardio can’t. You can’t keep looking for the latest thing…and keep hopping from one potentially life-saving diet to another. Your body won’t hold up to the torture and things will only get worse.

Eat healthy whole foods on a regular basis. Weight-train for strength and shape.

Keep it simple.

Stick to it.

Ignore all the noise that comes your way and your body will thank you.

Ivana Chapman 

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Why Yoga isn’t the Way to Get Lean

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Can you be doing something better for your body than yoga?

Ahhhh, yoga. That time-honoured practice of physical and mental discipline. Also, the inspiration for all of Lululemon’s sexy booty-enhancing pants.

The History

I’m not going to claim to know anything about yoga history. I could certainly copy and paste the info from the Wiki page, but if you’re really that interested then you can do that yourself. Yes, yoga has a long history. It’s been practiced over the millennia by everyone from children to the very elderly. Is that enough reason for you to take it up? That’s totally up to you.

The Benefits

Depending on the type of yoga, you have a range of physical and mental benefits. Certainly if you’ve never done any exercise then yoga will be extremely challenging. Many people think of yoga as a great way to deal with stress. Maybe. If you enjoy a workout it’s a great way to deal with stress, whether it’s yoga or weight training or skiing.

What are you trying to achieve?

If you’re primarily interested in physique benefits like muscle gain and fat loss, then yoga wouldn’t be your first point of call. That’s not to say that yoga won’t do those things, but unless you’ve been sedentary for a while yoga won’t be the best way to achieve those goals. You probably guessed that weight training is the best way!

The Yin to Weight Training’s Yang

Some people (myself included) are naturally drawn to more intense exercise like weight training, martial arts, and sprinting. In Chinese philosophy, the harder physical elements are considered “yang” and the softer elements are “yin”. Yoga is generally a yin practice and can help balance the harder training that you do. Sometimes you feel frazzled and overwhelmed and yoga can indeed provide a welcome reprieve from the tougher workouts you’ve been doing.

Efficiency

I’m not saying that yoga is useless, by any means, but if you’re pressed for time and only have 2 or 3 days a week to work out – and your primary goal is physique-based – then yoga isn’t the best use of your precious time. I try to incorporate some elements of yoga/stretching into my workouts when necessary or desired, but I just don’t have the time to do an hour (or even 90min, as in Bikram!) yoga class.

That’s not to say that I haven’t done it before and that I won’t do it again, but right now my goal is to maintain my physique in an enjoyable way in the shortest time possible.

If you love yoga, great! Do it, enjoy it, and get all the happiness you can from it.

If your main goal is to get lean and ripped, yoga a couple of times a week just isn’t going to cut it.

Ivana Chapman 

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Weight Loss – One Pound at a Time

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Achieving your ideal weight happens one pound at a time.

Not everybody reading this blog is at their ideal weight, either for their health or their personal preference. If you’re 20 or 30 (or more) pounds over your ideal weight then maybe you think it’s a lost cause.

You’ve been this way for a while now and you can’t seem to find your way out. Maybe you’re depressed and unhappy about it, but just don’t know what to do. Is there a way out?

Of course!

This is more of a mental struggle than a physical one. You need to believe that you can achieve your goals. Don’t worry about those 20 or 30 pounds. Just focus on that first pound.

What?!

Yes, you heard me right.

If you’re depressed and overweight, you need to take it one pound at a time. If you look at those 30 pounds you have to lose, you might just believe that it’s hopeless and dive right into that tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

You CAN lose a pound. And that’s all you need to focus on right now.

Reward Yourself Along the Way

It’s great to reward yourself for that first pound lost (and you should!),  but remember to also reward yourself for succeeding in the process to lose weight.

So maybe after a particularly hard workout you go see a movie you’ve been wanting to see (sans popcorn and junk food). Or after a healthy meal you go for a walk in the mall to check out a dress for your company’s Christmas party. Maybe you read your favourite fashion magazine for 20 minutes after each workout.

You need to associate working out and eating right with other positive things that you enjoy.

Food is NOT a Reward

If you’re aiming for weight loss, never use food as a reward.

I repeat – NEVER USE FOOD AS A REWARD.

It’s amazing the number of people who will spend an hour on the Stairmaster (not something I recommend in the first place) and then “reward” themselves with pizza with a friend afterwards. And going for a 20 minute walk to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream cone makes the venture pretty much worthless.

Find other things that make you feel good besides food. Read a chapter of a book you enjoy. Call a friend. Look at baby animal memes on the internet.

Do something that rewards you without spoiling your efforts towards your goal.

The Big Picture

You need to have a goal for where you eventually want to be, weight-wise, but sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming. Remember to take your journey one pound at a time.

Ivana Chapman

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Finding Your Post-Baby Motivation

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Get yourself back in shape for your little one.

A dear friend of mine who is nearly two years postpartum, recently got congratulated by an acquaintance for expecting another baby. She’s not pregnant.

Ouch!

Now my friend looks fabulous, as far as I’m concerned, and although she isn’t at her lowest weight ever, she’s in a healthy range. What actually inspired this blog was not her unfortunate experience, but the comment of one of her friends on Facebook after she posted about her embarrassment. Her friend said it took her 6 years to get ready to get rid of her pregnant-looking belly.

Hmmmm….

Finding the Motivation

I guess she made a good point in a way. It took her 6 years to “get ready to” get rid of the damages of child birth. She lost the motivation to do anything about her body after having kids. She then went on to say that it then took her 6 months to lose 4 inches off her waist (back to its original size). Fair enough. So if she’d just found the motivation sooner she could have been back to her pre-baby body in about 6 months? Maybe.

Have Appropriate Goals

It’s not like you have to look like Heidi Klum after having four kids. Did you look like Heidi before you had babies? Don’t expect that having kids is going to give you the genetics, discipline, and motivation of a millionaire supermodel businesswoman, unless that’s what you are.

YOU First!

Yes, having kids makes it harder to keep your nutrition and exercise in check. You sleep less, have less time, and maybe you don’t see yourself as a priority anymore. The latter is a big mistake. If you’re not at your best, you’re never going to be able to give your best to your children and husband. Taking care of yourself is part of how you take care of your loved ones. What children need most is a happy, healthy mother.

Be a Role Model

Don’t you want your kids to exercise and eat nutritious meals? Do you want your kids to be overweight, unhealthy, and have low self esteem? What type of role model are you for those things?

If you want your kids to eat right, then eat right. If you want your kids to exercise, then exercise. Even better, exercise with your kids when you can. Make physical activity a part of their lives.

Lifestyle, not Looks

This isn’t about being a size zero. It’s not about starving yourself to achieve some unrealistic ideal. This is all about taking care of your health and making a healthy lifestyle (which if done correctly will result in post-partum weight-loss) the norm for you.

You deserve it…and so do your children.

Ivana Chapman 

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5 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Diet

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Just how do you put together the right diet for YOU?

Let’s start off by saying that there’s no single diet that’s ideal for everyone. The perfect diet for each person is as individual as our genetic physical characteristics like eye colour, nose shape and height. Not everybody thrives on low-carb diets and not everyone needs to consume dairy for ideal health. It’s all very individual.

So how do you figure out what diet is right for you?

Here’s a few steps to help you sort it out:

1) What’s your current diet like?

You need a good idea of what your diet looks like currently before you start making changes. Trying to make drastic changes right away is tough to do, so take it one step at a time to get to where you need to be. If you have specific weight-loss or weight gain goals, you’ll want to have an idea of how much you’re eating. Most people underestimate the amount of calories they consume in a day.

Most people, that is, apart from the “hard-gainers” who struggle to put on muscle because they eat too little to build their bodies. Find out where you’re at now so that you can make.

Next, find out what percentage of your diet is from each of the 3 macronutrients; carbs, protein, and fats. Unless you’re very blessed and interested in math and you want to make this a fun daily project, get a phone app that does all the work for you – like myfitnesspal or dailyburn.

You might be surprised where your numbers fall. After being on a low-carb diet for a few months I made a concerted effort to increase carbs, and I actually found it difficult to get my carb percentage up to 50%. Knowing where you stand makes it easier to make changes and track progress. Most of my coaching clients start off by reducing carbs, but others need to prioritize adding protein and reducing fat. Until you know where you stand, you can’t manipulate your diet effectively to see the changes that you want.

2) What foods do you enjoy?

Please don’t get me wrong….just because you enjoy pizza, ice cream, and hamburgers doesn’t mean you should have them all the time. You should, however, take into consideration your personal preferences. Although I’m a strong believer that grass fed steak is a healthy protein source, I’ve personally never enjoyed red meat so I don’t eat it. I’ve tried many times to sample friends and family members’ “delicious steak” and I don’t enjoy it. So it’s not part of my diet. There’s no need to eat certain vegetables if you don’t like them (goodbye brussel sprouts!), but you do need to eat some veggies, so find as many tasty ones as you can.

Better yet, spice up your diet and add nutrients by trying a new vegetable. Collard greens or eggplant, anyone?

3) What foods disagree with you

? Obviously, if you have any food allergies or intolerances then you’ll need to eliminate those foods from your diet for optimal health. If you have an allergy, you’ll already know it for clear reactions like rashes or throat swelling, but intolerances can be a bit trickier. Vague symptoms like headaches, digestive upset, and fatigue can occur shortly after eating an offending food or a couple of days afterwards. It makes it difficult to pinpoint your symptoms as being related to a particular food.

Common intolerances are wheat/gluten, dairy products, eggs, soy, and nuts. If you already know that dairy makes you bloated you should probably exclude it from your diet most of the time. If you’re unsure, it may be worth trying an elimination diet supervised by a health care practitioner.

4) Does it fit into your lifestyle?

Could you really go vegan when all your friends and family are carnivores and your favourite food is steak and eggs? Probably not. Trust your instincts and don’t waste your time with something that doesn’t feel right for you. If a diet requires you to spend 4 or 5 hours a day cooking complicated dishes and you’re currently grabbing two meals a day on the run – skip it!

Change is good.

Creating complete chaos in your life is not.

5) Can you stay on this diet permanently?

Sure, you can probably maintain nearly any kind of diet for a week or two, but if you can’t sustain it long-term (or it’s not a diet that incorporates different phases with different requirements for each) then it won’t be perfect for you. Eating only orange-coloured foods may be effective at helping you lose weight in the short term, since it reduces your food choices, but do you want to eat only orange food for the rest of your life?

So how do you know when you’ve found the perfect diet for you?

You’ll know when you’re at a healthy body weight and fat percentage, full of energy every day, sleep well at night, and don’t rely on caffeine to get you through your work day. If it’s working for you, stick to it.

Even if someone tries to convince you that their diet changed their life and is the best thing since not eating sliced bread.

Trust your instincts and you’ll make the right food choices.

Ivana Chapman 

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Is Counting Calories a Waste of Time?

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Figuring out calories on a smartphone app can be time-consuming. Is it worth it?

Many weight loss systems use counting calories to guide clients in their food choices. Weight Watchers usually comes in near the top of all those mainstream option polls about “the best diet”, and it’s based on a calorie counting system which they call points. What’s the truth? Is calorie-counting really that effective?

Do you really have to count calories?

Calories in, Calories out?

The caloric balance system is the commonly-accepted model for determining how to lose or gain weight. It’s what was drilled into me in my university nutrition courses. It basically states that if you burn more calories each day than your body uses to function then you will lose weight and if you burn less calories than your body uses then you will gain weight.

If only it were really that simple…

The problem with calorie balance is that it’s based on a lot of guessing.

The amount of calories your body burns is your basal metabolic rate (BMR) multiplied by your activity level. Your BMR is calculated using a formula that incorporates your height and weight to estimate how many calories you’re burning. Since there is so much variation in the way that each individual’s body burns calories, it’s hard to figure out how many calories your body burns each day.

Then you have to estimate your activity level, which – if you’re like me – varies from day to day.

Oh, and wait…

You also have to figure out how much you’re eating so that you can determine how many calories are going in. Remember burning food in your high school chemistry class to determine its caloric content (how much “energy” it contains)?

It’s another oversimplification of the idea of calories in.

The Bottom Line

Here’s an easier way to figure it all out.

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds more than you’d like, then your calorie intake is too high and/or your calorie expenditure is too low. So you could just reduce calorie intake or increase your activity and lose weight, right? Probably.

But…

This is where it gets a bit more complicated. The caloric balance model assumes that 500 calories worth of lean chicken breast will affect your body the same way as 500 calories worth of white sugar.

They’re all calories, right?

Yes, but 500 calories of quality protein will benefit your weight loss (or health) efforts more than 500 calories of sugar.

That’s where MACROS (protein, carbs, fat) come in.

Protein is slightly less likely to be stored as fat than protein or carbs.

Fibre can decease the total amount of calories in that you’re taking in, because less of the calories are absorbed (they pass through the digestive tract).

How Hormones get Involved

Every food you ingest effects your hormones in a different way. Taking in 500 calories of sugar on its own will cause a larger secretion of insulin – a hormone which regulates metabolism of carbs and fats – which can set you up for a cycle of food cravings. Chicken is unlikely to have that same effect (although protein still slightly increases insulin. Fat does not).

Other foods also have beneficial hormonal effects that would assist fat loss. Fish oils, for instance, can reduce inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity, and can assist with fat loss.

Calories aren’t the only issue here.

The hormonal effect on your body can also be important.

Because if you feel tired and weak, you’re less likely to burn off calories moving around or working out at the gym.

Getting Educated

Despite everything I’ve just said, calories still matter. For most people (ie. those without hormonal issues such as low thyroid or menopause), calories are the “big picture” and hormones are secondary. If you’re only looking to improve your health or only improve your body composition a little, then you’ll probably see improvements just by making small changes to your diet like adding more vegetables and reducing processed foods. If you have specific weight-loss or muscle-gain goals, calories aren’t a bad place to start. It’s important to be “calorie-aware” so that you’re not kidding yourself about how much you’re eating or how much activity you’re doing.

Nuts are good for you, sure, but they’re very calorie-dense and can still prevent you from losing weight if you over-consume them. I usually start coaching clients off with at least a couple of weeks of monitoring their calorie intake with an app like myfitnesspal. You enter in what you eat on a daily basis and the app calculates how much you’ve consumed and what percentage is carbs, proteins, and fats. Of course, it’s only an estimate, but it’s a valuable starting point. Once you get the hang of it you won’t need to monitor your intake all the time. You’ll have a better idea of what you’re consuming and will make better choices according to your goals.

When Should You Count Calories?

There are times when counting calories, as much of a guesstimate as they are, is valuable. If you’re preparing for a fitness or bodybuilding competition, or have to make a weight class for your sport, then monitoring calories becomes important so you can make relevant changes for your goals. Also, if you’re the type of person who needs a lot of structure with your eating plan and you want to be accountable for your daily choices, then counting calories is a good idea.

My Way

Do I count calories?

No.

I really can’t be bothered. Weighing and measuring everything I eat isn’t how I want to spend my life, quite frankly. Also, after years of educating myself, I have a good idea of how to balance my food intake to get the results I need. I’ve gone through periods of fitness competition prep when I monitored my calories daily to achieve specific physique changes. Most of the time though, I just wing it!

You need to figure out what system works for you. There may be a role for some calorie education initially, but I’ve yet to meet the person that wants to count calories for the rest of his/her life. Unless that’s you, calorie counting isn’t a long-term solution. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an important place in your weight loss toolbox.

Ivana Chapman 

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5 Wonder Spices to Improve Your Health

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Some spices offer amazing health benefits with very little effort.

Many people think of spices as just a little add-on to give a bit of flavour to dishes. Recently we’ve begun to learn that these substances, often in tiny quantities, can have a powerful effect on our health. Most spices have antioxidant qualities and many may even have anti-cancer effects.

Here are some of the most beneficial spices that can impact your health:

1) Turmeric – The latest wonder spice, found in curries, is anti-inflammatory and potentially anti-carcinogenic. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can reduce joint inflammation in arthritis. I put a teaspoon of turmeric in my water 3 times a day postpartum. Whether it helped my recovery or not, I can’t say for sure, but it’s safe to use in small quantities and may even reduce the chance of postpartum depression.

2) Cinnamon – This tasty spice adds a touch of sweetness to desserts, fruit (who doesn’t love apple & cinnamon?), and yoghurt. Just small amounts can help stabilize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels.

3) Parsley – Chewing parsley after a smelly meal can help freshen your breath, but that’s not the only benefit from this herb. Some research indicates that it may have the ability to reduce cancerous tumours.

4) Oregano – Oregano leaves are full of antioxidants and vitamin K, which protects you from heart disease and osteoporosis. This herb is also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. A few drops of oil of oregano in water can be helpful if you’re suffering from an upper respiratory infection (colds, sinus infections, laryngitis).

5) Ginger – Traditionally used for nausea, ginger can be useful for other digestive ailments, like gas and bloating, too. Another anti-inflammatory spice, ginger can make a wonderful tea for reducing cold symptoms. It may also reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. The power of these wonder spices is very easy to incorporate into your diet. You can add them to sauces or directly on top of your meat and veggies. Many spices also make fabulous teas.

Spices provide lots of benefit for very little effort. Add one or two to your diet today.

Ivana Chapman 

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Have we got it all wrong about CARBS?

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Can carbs be a useful part of your diet? It depends…

One of the best things the average overweight sedentary person can do for their diet is cut down on carbs.  For most of those people, carbs are coming in the form of French fries, greasy noodles, squishy white bread, and maybe some fried rice.  It’s hard to argue that eliminating those foods will cause weight loss! Grouping all carbs together in the same category is where most of us have gotten into trouble.

Sure, reducing your intake of any of the above mentioned carb sources will assist with weight loss, but much of the trouble with those foods is the additional processed fats and sugars that are added to them.  This results in a big increase in calories and affects how your body copes with the food.

It’s not as easy to vilify other uncomplicated carbs such as plain potatoes & sweet potatoes, plain rice (white or brown), or fruits and vegetables.

All of those other foods are also sources of carbs, but will the effect by the same? Probably not. Keep in mind that we started off this message by saying that cutting back on carbs is useful for the overweight and sedentary.

What if you don’t belong to those groups? 

What if you exercise several times a week or you’re a hard-gainer who’s trying to put on muscle mass?

In that case, carbs are going to be an important tool for helping you achieve your goals.

Everyone also has an individual tolerance to carbs and this needs to be accounted for to determine what amount of carbs you need to be eating. In any case, timing of carb intake is important.  The best time to have carbs is immediately after your workout, so that they can assist with recovery, repair, and muscle growth.  This is also the time when those carbs that some people consider “bad” (like potatoes, white rice, and juices) are actually better than low glycemic carbs as they raise insulin and assist with muscle building.

This won’t work for everyone though, and if you’re overweight or very intolerant to carbs you may not need them at all post-workout.

Carbs are not evil. We all need some carbs, but the amount varies considerably from person to person. Many people can’t function well without high levels of carbs and some find they need very few carbs to feel good and have the physique they want.

Find out what works for you!

Ivana Chapman 

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Finding your Perfect Diet

woman carrying groceries

Find the diet that works for you.

What’s the best diet?

There’s no such thing as a perfect diet that works for everyone.

Everybody is a little different physically, physiologically, and psychologically, so the ideal diet varies from person to person. Sure, there are a few general statements that we could make – like processed trans fats are bad and vegetables are good – but even those depend on the circumstances and quantity.

Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable that’s high in vitamin C and fiber, and may have anti-cancer properties. Yet if someone has digestive issues then eating broccoli may contribute to intestinal bloating and gas. Some people thrive on dairy products, while others don’t tolerate them.

Few foods are either “good” or “bad”.

What’s important is how your body feels when you consume them. The best diet is the diet that’s sustainable for you, makes you feel good, and helps you achieve your health and physique goals. Experiment until you find a stable nutrition plan that you’re happy with…for life.

Ivana Chapman