Wednesday, July 30, 2014

If You're Looking for a Fat Loss Miracle Don't Read This

Fat loss. It can be confusing at times. With so many miracles, secrets, formulas and weapons doesn't it make you wonder why it still seems to be one of the world's mysteries?  Why is fat loss so hard? If you're looking for a miracle I don't have one.  What I do have are four choices that have helped me. The science of fat loss is very interesting but it's the basic lifestyle choices and habits that bring change.  At the end of the day no matter how much you know, if you don't take action the science won't help you.

1. Sleep. Yeah it's boring and takes up a chunk of your time but it's necessary to sustain life and fat loss.  I can tell you first hand when I'm sleep deprived all I want to eat are highly processed, sugary comfort foods.  The trouble is that once you start to eat these foods you crave more.  Simply put - you crave what you eat. Sugar is fast energy but when you're sleep deprived it's like bungee jumping without a harness. Your fat loss goals crash.

"A sleepless night makes us more likely to reach for doughnuts or pizza than for whole grains and leafy green vegetables, suggests a new study from UC Berkeley that examines the brain regions that control food choices."

In addition to the number it does on your brain, sleep deprivation messes up your hormones and metabolism.

 "...when you're sleep deprived, you have too much ghrelin, too much go in you, which is telling you to eat, and not enough stop in you, which is telling you when you're full. So you end up overeating or eating more than you really need to ...Another thing we know about sleep deprivation is that your metabolism slows down. Well, if you have a slow metabolism, you're not burning fuel efficiently, so it's going into fat storage and fat deposits, and again, causing more weight gain.We also know with sleep deprivation, we have increased levels of cortisol. Well, that can be another problem which causes more appetite. Here's the most fascinating part about the research I think. All those other things aside, when you're sleep deprived, if I was to lay out a healthy snack for you, or a very non healthy, sugary snack for you, you'd gun for the sugary food. You would go for the less healthy food, so your food choice is even affected by sleep deprivation.  

2.  Plan your meals and organize your kitchen.  How many times have you come home starving with nothing to eat. It's probably why you're starving in the first place.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Each week prepare some go-to food and snacks.  Chicken breast, boiled eggs, side dishes, salads, cut up fruits, veggies and nuts in zip loc bags (for portion control). It's not high end cuisine but it's simple, easy and there when you need it. And because life is unpredictable you will need it. This also includes the time necessary to shop for groceries, cook, cleanup, pack etc. If there are items in your cupboards that are just too tempting to eat in moderation get them out of site. The stuff I don't necessarily want to eat I tend to keep in the bottom cupboards, away from eye level.   It's difficult to be successful at anything if you are not organized.  

3. Know your triggers and break the patterns.  Every time I go to my parents' home I want cookies. Often it's the end of the day on my way home from work to pick up the kids.  Grandma's house always has cookies. How do I avoid a B line to the cookie jar? I have to remind myself before I even get there. I slow down.  I try not to go hungry. I'll ask for an apple.  Your mama wants to see you happy so she'll give you what you ask for. Don't ask for cookies.  Do you mindlessly go through the cupboards during TV commercials?  Do you head to the kitchen before bed?  Do you sit at the kitchen table on your computer? A lot of our set patterns and habits lead to mindless eating. Be engaged and aware to determine what mindless actions need to be broken.  When you see the pattern you can make the changes.

4. Work with a coach.  If you struggle to stay accountable to yourself hire a coach.  A coach will offer guidance, support and tough love when needed.  Anyone can tell you what you want to hear but a good coach will tell you what you need to hear.   Besides, it's not always fun to do things alone.  Working with others whether in person, on-line, one-on-one or in a group, makes the process so much more enjoyable. 

Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness, Gena.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello National 2015!

Some moments captured from my 2014 competition season.  It's been a great year and I'm happy with what I've accomplished this season.  I'm excited for the off season and really looking forward to working on the areas that need improvement.  Let's go Nationals 2015!


Abdominal Work on the Total Gym

Working on the abs this morning. Hey I love my Total Gym and if it's good enough for Chuck Norris it's good enough for me! Ha! I picked it up over a decade ago, as a single parent with little time to hit the gym. It's a great way to add diversity to my workouts! Check out my video on Instagram!

Natural Provincial Championships

With my final competition of the year behind me I can officially say - Hello Nationals 2015! What an incredible season of personal victories and growth. Looking back my 2013 off season was about transitioning from Figure to Physique with a goal to qualify for nationals. When prep began the days were short, cold and snowy with 3:45 am workouts. It feels like a lifetime ago! Of course with goals come highs, lows, fears and assurance but it's passion that never fails us. Passion respects the goal and the habits necessary to achieve them. You may feel tired and discouraged but follow through, even when it's not clear why you should. I hope you too have experienced progress and you've stuck with your goals. If not, you can decide right now to take action. If you want it you will do it. I truly believe that. It has to be self driven. Do what you love in whatever capacity you can. It doesn't have to be on the grandest scale. Honour it. I am excited for this off season - my season of improvements. My mind is open, my dreams are big, my willingness to work is solid and my passion is fuel. Cheers to where you are and where you're headed. Congratulations my fellow OPA athletes and to all those off to Nationals 2014 - have a blast! Thank you Mindi O'Brien IFBB Pro and Dennis Beitler, you rock my competition world and to my husband, kids, parents and friends - you are my sunshine!