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     Okay, everyone, so I'm assuming you have been trying to drink more water every day!  Now I'd like to talk about the next habit - breakfast!
     Even when you are lying in bed asleep, your body is still undergoing a host of processes, albeit with much less energy demand than when you are awake.  At some point during the night, your body will have used up any glycogen (sugars) still floating around and will switch over to bodyfat stores, as needed for energy, to keep you living and make sure that you will wake up in the morning.  When you wake up and start moving around, the energy demands are increased and the body will begin to speed back up.  When the body is not fed upon waking, since most people have rock-bottom blood sugar upon waking, it will try to stay in an energy conservation mode, and will slow down metabolic processes to a minimum to compensate for the lack of fuel, or food, in this instance.  If you are trying to lose weight, you want your resting metabolic rate to be as high as possible, so strike one against you if you don't get up and replenish your starving body.  And in my years of nutrition coaching, I have noticed a strong trend in those that desire to lose weight - they skip breakfast!
     Now, since blood sugar is already low, anything you eat is going to cause it to elevate to a more normal range, whether you are eating a carbohydrate source (sugar) or from protein and fat sources.  Since Stigletics is all about controlling blood sugar, most of the time I advise clients to consume some good protein, healthy fats, and a piece of fruit or some fibrous vegetables, instead of the run-of-the-mill high-starch breakfast options that will send your blood sugar skyrocketing and set you up for the inevitable crash and hunger that will hit mid-morning.  So, besides eating your first meal within an hour of waking, it needs to be comprised of some protein so that your body will have the amino acids it needs, plenty of vitamins/antioxidents to get your day started right, and some nice healthy fat sources that will keep your blood sugar level and give you a slow energy dispersion throughout the morning.  If you are going to sit in a desk all morning at work, you do not need any starchy carbohydrates in your breakfast; if you are heading off to the construction site to toil all morning, you could probably use some.

     My two "go-to" breakfasts of choice are:

Omega-3 Eggs, Uncured Turkey bacon, and some vegetables sauteed in a little bit of coconut oil, with a handful of fish oil capsules.  I do my eggs over medium, cook the bacon in the microwave, and the veggies take 3 minutes while the eggs are cooking.  Total time to cook and eat is 10 minutes, and I've got some great protein from the eggs and turkey bacon, tons of vitamins in the veggies and the egg yolks, plenty of fiber in the veggies, and super fat sources in the omega eggs, coconut oil, and fish oil.  When I take my blood sugar after the breakfast, it is still under 100, and it's a LOT of food.  If I have a high energy demand for the day, I'll throw in some black beans, lima beans, or butter beans.  And for those of you that just can't give up the toast, go for a brown-rice loaf of bread found in the gluten-free section of the store.  Still hungry?  Finish it off with a grapefruit, apple, some berries, or comparable fruit choice.


Micellar Casein Protein Smoothie made with 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cup SO unsweetened coconut milk, a container of Kroger's Carbmaster Yogurt, one scoop (23 g) of protein, a couple of berries, and a handful of ice cubes, mixed in the blender.  And, of course, a handful of fish oil!  This breakfast contains incredible proteins from the yogurt and the casein, great fat sources in the coconut milk and the fish oil, and some antioxidants and vitamins in the berries.  This one takes about 3 minutes to blend up, and you can take it with you in the car to work, so this is my superfast super breakfast on the run!  The great thing about the addition of the yogurt, besides the wonderful probiotic cultures, is that you can instantly change the entire flavor of the smoothie depending upon the flavor of yogurt!  It's so delicious it will taste like a dessert treat instead of breakfast, and you have my guarantee that it will keep you satisfied up through lunch time.

     The only time I cut slack with clients on breakfast is if they are getting up to do a bit of morning cardio, which I can guarantee works more effectively for fat loss in a fasted state.  But I do encourage eating immediately after the cardio session.  I'll be touching on this great way to burn fat in a later post.
     Now I would just like to give a short list of breakfast fare that will wreck your blood sugar and body composition, and just end up in the fat cells on your thighs, buttocks, and stomach:  Any and ALL breakfast cereals, cereal bars, donuts, bagels, bread made from gluten, PopTarts, etc.
     So, I challenge everyone to find a great breakfast that fits these parameters, and then make it a priority to get it in as early as possible!
     One of my clients here in Franklin is keeping a blog about his venture with stigletics, and I am really excited that he is allowing me to share a link to it on my site!  Besides raising his own accountability by sharing this endeavor with the world, so to speak, it's a great journal that will serve as a wonderful source of inspiration and information to all of my other clients and readers!
     Paul is an incredible guy with great desire to make some changes, so please feel free to read along and offer plenty of encouragement, and realize that you have the power to make positive changes in your life, too!  Way to go Paul!
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     Now it's time to expound a bit on why the 15 habits I've outlined in the previous post will improve your health and body composition, and I'll share strategies for implementation so you can see just how easy it is to look and feel better.

First, I'll share some health benefits of drinking water:
     Lose weight:  Drinking water helps you lose weight as it flushes out the by-products of fat oxidation. Drinking water reduces hunger - it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories.
     Natural Remedy for Headache:
Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although there are many other reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
     Look Younger with Healthier Skin:
You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increase skin elasticity.
     Better Productivity at Work:
Your brain is mostly comprised of water, so drinking water helps with concentration and alertness.
     Better Exercise:
Besides regulating your body temperature, you’ll also have more energy and more effective muscle contractions, proper hydration keeps your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll be less likely get cramps and sprains.
aids Digestion and waste removal: Drinking water aids in digestion, and the combination of water and fiber help keep your bowels regular.     Less Likely to Get Sick: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack, and can improve our immune system and combat high blood pressure.
     Relieves Fatigue:
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks of water, your heart, for instance, need to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so are you.
     Good Mood:
Your body feels very good and that always helps you feel happy.
     Reduce the Risk of Cancer:
Studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water also dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.

     Since your body is comprised mostly of water and other fluids, it is very important to stay hydrated.  Unfortunately, there are so many of the population that actually suffer from chronic dehydration, and even in a mild form, dehydration can have many effects on the body, including headache, dry mouth, muscle cramps and weakness, and constipation, none of which are conducive to having a good day.  And who wants to go the gym after working all day, not being able to use the bathroom, and experiencing headaches, weakness, and dry mouth?  Being mildly dehydrated is a great way to derail a successful exercise program, and lessen performance at work and the rest of your daily activities.
     The body's initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake, along with decreased urine output to try to conserve water. urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.  What can we take from this?  Drink water so that you do not become thirsty, and please note the color of your urine and make sure it is staying a clear yellow to a pale yellow color.  If it's has any kind of dark tint, that's your sign to replenish water as soon as possible.
     So, starting the day off with a glass is a great habit, as your body loses a great deal of water during sleep by mechanisms of sweat and urine.  I even like to keep a glass of water on the bedside table, just in case I wake up to use the bathroom.
     Since the majority of my clients have sedentary jobs and lifestyles, and many are professionals that sit at a desk most of the day, it is crucial to carry a water bottle with you to work, and have it filled and on your desk, so you will have no excuses to let yourself become thirsty during the course of the day.  Same goes for the rest of you - make sure you have a bottle of water every time you leave the house, and if you have a very active job, it is even more crucial to be proactive.
     My recommendation is to start small, and simply focus on incorporating one new nutrition habit successfully each week, so that in a few months you have developed healthier nutrition habits.  Keep your weekly goal visible in the house and at work, and master them one at a time.  So, my Challenge to you this week is to start your day with a glass of water, monitor the color and volume of urine, and lot let yourself thirst during the day!  Good luck!

1)  Drink a glass of water immediately upon waking, and stay fully hydrated throughout the day

2)  Consume first meal of day within 1 hour of waking

3)  Limit starches to breakfast and/or immediately post workout

4)  Consume at least 5 servings of non-starch vegetables and 1 serving of fruit a day

5)  every meal or snack contains some protein

6)  Consume at least 10 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids a day

7)  Avoid drinking sugar (eat the fruit instead of drinking the juice)

8)  Consume at least 10 – 15 grams of whey protein within the hour before and the hour after any exercise lasting more than 30 minutes in duration

9)  eat before getting hungry (4-6 times a day, not including pre- and post-workout protein)

10)  Plan an eating strategy daily so you are not forced into unhealthy choices, and always have a healthy snacking option close at hand

11)  Read labels and be informed of the nutrition content and ingredients of EVERYTHING that passes your lips

12)  Acquire at least 90 percent of daily caloric intake from nutritious choices

13)  Eliminate or severely limit High Fructose Corn Syrup, “refined” ingredients, hydrogenated oils and trans fats, and foods with ingredients that can’t be pronounced

14)  Do not keep temptations or junk food in the house - buy unhealthy treats in a single-serving portion, or throw away what’s left after satisfying your craving

15)  Choose non-gluten dietary sources whenever possible

     Adopting these habits will help you achieve a leaner body composition while retaining as much lean body mass as possible, and should improve your blood labs at the doctor's office, too!  If you are trying to gain weight in the form of slabs of muscle, there are some additional protocols that need to occur which are all centered around pre-, peri- and post-workout nutrition.  I will be expounding on strategies to successfully implement these habits in future blog posts!
     I will even go one step further - not only are they inessential, they are also completely unnecessary.  In fact, there are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) and Essential Amino Acids, (EAA's); there are NO essential carbohydrates.  The word "essential" means that the body cannot convert another source into these nutrients that are absolutely essential for the body to function.  If there is one thing your body can and will convert from other sources, it would be the conversion of fatty acids and Amino Acids to glucose.
      The following is an excerpt from a biology textbook written by a retired university of harvard professor:

Human Nutrition - Human Dietary Needs
The human diet must provide the following:
  • calories; enough to meet our daily energy needs.
  • amino acids. There are nine, or so, "essential" amino acids that we need for protein synthesis and that we cannot synthesize from other precursors.
  • fatty acids. There are three "essential" fatty acids that we cannot synthesize from other precursors.
  • minerals. Inorganic ions. We probably need 18 different ones: a few like calcium in relatively large amounts; most, like zinc, in "trace" amounts.
  • vitamins. A dozen, or so, small organic molecules that we cannot synthesize from other precursors in our diet.
Here's a link to the rest of the page!

     In this biology textbook, there is not one mention of carbohydrates being necessary!  That's because the body will convert glucose, as needed, from other sources in the body.  There is absolutely no requirement for living from carbohydrate sources.  So, while carbohydrates are composed of sugar molecules, and glucose is essential to our bodies, carbohydrates are not specifically needed or required to sustain life.
     Carbohydrates are an immediate source of energy for the body; so, if your body does not have an immediate use for that energy, an insulin response is triggered and the body stores any energy it does not immediately require in fat cells for later use.  So, the body will not release and convert fat cells to glucose if there is already a source of blood glucose that does not require conversion.  Our bodies are made for survival, and the body is very good at what it does; our bodies will primarily follow the path of least resistance, or go for the easiest option, so to speak.  Couple that with the fact that our bodies are programmed to store fat away as a mode of survival, because starvation used to be a very valid concern, and the fact that we could survive for years without ever getting out of bed due to modern-day conveniences, and you begin to see why, in this time of abundance and easy living, it's incredibly easy to consume much more energy than our bodies could ever utilize.  And, in a nutshell, that's why we have an epidemic of obesity and type II diabetes.
     So, why do the FDA and most registered dieticians claim that calories from carbohydrates should comprise the bulk of your "healty diet"?  Well, registered dieticians are regulated by the FDA, and the FDA is regulated by money, and cheap genetically modified grains are they largest profit margin of any food source, and you better believe agencies like ConAgra have lobbyists throwing kickbacks and money at government officials, and that these companies have the largest advertising budgets of all food producers.  But that's for another discussion.
     My next blog post will delve a bit into this carbohydrate dilemma, and we'll discuss the differences between carbohydrate sources, and learn how to manipulate carbohydrates to reap their vitamin and mineral benefits without the side effects of a bulging waistline and skyrocketing blood sugar!
     One of the biggest sources of misinformation on what foods we should be eating comes straight from the united states government food and drug administration - the USDA dietary recommendations.  If I were to advise a client to follow the "food pyramid," as most registered dieticians and other nutrition professionals still suggest, they would never progress to any of their body composition or health goals; however, they would reach a very high level of frustration, a growing waistline, higher triglycerides and cholesterol, and be at higher risk of developing chronic inflammatory diseases and type II diabetes, like most of America.
     One of my favorite organizations for quality information is the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit organization that has a mission to dispel food myths, especially those spun by the FDA and corporate agriculture.  Their site gives great info and almost too much food for thought.  I came across this article on their site regarding the 2010 changes to the USDA guides, and thought it very interesting.
     When I was between the ages of 10 and 16, the whole low-fat high-carb craze was sweeping the nation like wildfire.  if one wanted to be healthy, just consume as little fat as possible each day, and get the majority of your daily calories from carbohydrates.  I was even learning this in health class, as we would study the food pyramid and talk about needing 400 grams of carbohydrates a day in our 2000-calorie diet.  following this advice left me with 20 percent bodyfat, no lean muscle mass to speak of, and a whole host of stomach and digestive issues.  And please keep in mind that I was an extremely active child and played every sport there was to play.
     Well, finally, after years of chronic indegestion and gastrointestinal distress, I went in to the doctor thinking I must have somehow developed an ulcer or something more serious.  After a barrage of expensive and invasive medical testing, the docs told me that my stomach just produced more acid that normal, and that indigestion was just something I was going to deal with, and sent me packing with a prescription of prilosec.  Keep in mind that I was 18 years old and couldn't leave the house without a container of antacids.
     Very discouraged with the constant burning pain of indigestion, I went on about my daily routines thinking this was just the way things had to be.  Until one day when I went in for a chiropractic visit over some neck pain I was having...  Dr. Greg Bierly in Louisville, KY.  It was my first visit to his office, and I walked in to a warm welcome by dr. Bierly himself, since it was after hours and he was kind enough to stay later and accommodate my schedule.
     After asking me to expound upon my reason for seeing him, and watching me like a hawk as I'm describing my symptoms, he patiently waits for me to stop talking and said, "What's going on with your stomach?"  My jaw fell open in disbelief that he would know something of my ongoing digestive issues, and I began wondering how he got ahold of my medical history, as I had never mentioned any of this to him.  "what do you mean," I asked.  At that point, the neck issue fell to the wayside as he began taking a detailed medical history, asking me questions about everything except my neck.  This went on for well over an hour as I gave him a detailed account of my lifestyle and dietary habits.  Upon completion of this detailed history, he looked at me and said, "Quit eating your oatmeal in the morning and I bet your indigestion will stop.  It's the Gluten, the grains in your diet; I believe you have a mild allergy to gluten that is the cause of your indigestion.  Let's try to take all of the grains out of your diet for two weeks and see what happens."
     We had gotten so far off track that we had almost forgotten about my neck pain, which I mentioned, and he put me on the table and made a few adjustments in about 5 minutes.  So, 1.5 hours of history for a couple of adjustments.  When I walked out of his office, I was just baffled over the amount of time I spent there, how much time he spent just talking to me like an old friend, and by his suggestion to quit eating grains for two weeks.  But at this point in my life, the indigestion was so out of control and painful that I was willing to try anything, so even though i thought the doc off his rocker, I decided to follow his advice.
     My indigestion was gone by day five.  By the end of the two weeks, I had noticed some other changes, too.  My skin had cleared up to almost flawless, my energy levels were through the roof, and my pants were fitting a bit loosely around my waist.  This kooky old chiropractor had just changed my life - only now do i realize how much that visit changed the course of my existence.  And all I could think was:  "But I was eating healthy!  Just like I was told in health class!  Just like the USDA Guidelines spell out!"
     Let me begin by saying I do not advocate the use of performance-enhancing supplements for the majority of the population; however, protein powders are more of a whole-food dietary supplement that I believe does have a place in sound wellness programming.
     While whole-food sources of protein should comprise the majority of your daily protein intake, sometimes it's just too expensive or too inconvenient to realistically meet your daily needs.  And there are times when it's just not optimal to ingest slow digesting proteins, such as pre, peri, and post workout, or before you retire for a restful night of sleep.
     I typically recommend supplementing with a high-grade fast-acting whey protein and/or a slower digesting protein categorized as casein.  Both of these protein sources are derived from milk, and while I recommend utilizing both protein sources for those involved in any type of training regimen, casein protein can be utilized in anybody's diet to preserve lean muscle tissue, promote fat loss, and supply essential amino acids to the body that are necessary for a host of body functions and aid in tissue repair.
     Here is my personal protein supplemention regemin:  One scoop of Optimum Nutrition all natural chocolate creme protein in the morning after breakfast, mixed with water and/or unsweetened coconut milk, and then one scoop before bed.  And a half scoop of Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey chocolate protein immediately before and after my daily workouts.  When I'm in a cutting or fat loss stage and operating on a calorie restriction, I also do a half scoop of the Hydro Whey in the morning before breakfast.
     Now for the rationale:  the hydrolyzed whey is a predigested whey peptide chain that is digests very rapidly and spikes blood amino acid concentrations for about an hour and requires very little digestive assimilation from the body.  The casein, on the other hand, is a very slow digesting protein with a slow and steady amino acid dispersion that trickles amino acids into your system over a seven-hour time period.  So, while the whey is more of a muscle-building or anabolic protein source, you can view the casein as more of an insurance policy for your lean muscle tissue due to it's anti-catabolic (muscle wasting) properties.
     There is also some research out there that casein protein can also stimulate body-fat loss when under a calorie restriction, so I highly suggest this for bariatric patients or for those with a primary goal of weight loss.  Or for those that work in a very physically demanding job where opportunities to eat are few and far between.  This may protect the lean body mass that you have, and more lean body mass means a higher resting metabolism.
     Both of these products can be ordered from DPS Nutrition for about half the price you will find them in health food stores, and the order typically arrives two days after it is placed, and they have stellar customer service.
     please post any questions or comments below, and I would be happy to go into further detail. 

Here's an interesting read for you on holiday weight gain:
Holiday pounds

So, to expound on this with some additional tips from Stigletics.com:

1)  Eat a healthy breakfast that will stick with you - this means no simple carbs like cereals, toast, biscuits, muffins or cereal bars.  some suggestions:  fresh fruit and a nice omelette, or a power packed casein protein smoothie blended with almond or coconut milk and berries, or some scrambled eggs with organic turkey bacon and a grapefruit.  And please don't throw out the yolks - that is where all the nutrition lies.  I really like the Eggland's Best Cage-Free Eggs.  This will reduce the temptation to gorge on those holiday office snacks that are sure to be lurking.

2)  Keep a can of deluxe mixed nuts, your favorite low-carb protein bar, and some apples, pears, or other fruits in your desk drawer.  This will give you a snack option and keep you from junking out those less than desirable holiday treats.

3)  Keep the Starchy carbs low at lunch - an easy option at most restaurants is nice salad with some lean protein, and then choose a healthy vinegarette dressing.  Warning:  Keep the dressing to a minimum, as it is typically loaded with calories and will defeat the purpose of choosing the salad in the first place.  I opt for no dressing, or I will dip the tines of the fork in the dressing and them pick up a bite of salad.  The biggest mistake I see people make is pouring on every bit of dressing brought with the salad - that is a sure fire way to wreck it.  Most restaurants will also substitute starch side items for some seasonal veggies or a side salad if you ask them to - that's a good choice and habit to utilize any time of the year.

     So, while that gets you through the work day a little easier, what about all of those holiday parties that occur in the evenings?

1)  Never go to a holiday event on a hungry stomach.  Eating a healthy snack or light meal before heading to the event will reduce the desire to stuff unhealthy temptations in your mouth.

2)  Make sure to keep up on your scheduled workouts!  One of the best strategies to make those extra holiday party calories work for you is to exercise beforehand, which will additional calories more likely to absorb into your muscle tissue instead of making a bee line to your existing fat cells.  Take advantage of the post exercise insulin response window!

3)  If you are going to have a drink, do so sparingly, because as soon as you have that drink, all muscle-building and fat-loss processes in the body come to a screeching halt.  And if you have that drink, make it a glass of red wine, which has proven health benefits if consumed in reasonable amounts.  Beer and egg nog are two of the worst things you can drink when trying to lose bodyfat.

4)  increase your fish oil consumption when you know you are going to be eating a bunch of starch and sugar.  The healthy fats will slow down the rate at which the sugar enters the blood stream, buffering the insulin response.  The fish oil has a added benefit of nutrient repartitioning - helping drive the excess sugars into the muscle cells instead of just the fat cells.

5)  Don't deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treats; just limit them responsibly, using the following idea:  Take the smallest portion you can, have a couple of small bites, chew them slowly and savor them, and then remove the plate and throw out the unfinished portion.  Better to end up in the trash can than where it would end up otherwise:  your stomach and thighs!

6)  Know when it's time to go home:  Make sure you get plenty of rest so you don't skip the next day's exercise session!  That way you can burn off those extra calories you ate and drank the night before!

     We would love to hear YOUR holiday tips to avoid those extra pounds!  Please comment and share them with us!