Fall Blood Sugar Reset

If you’re struggling with fatigue, mood swings, stubborn weight gain, belly fat, lackluster skin, and bothersome sugar cravings, it’s time to reset your metabolic engine!

Join me for my Fall 10-day Blood Sugar Reset,  October 17-27,  2021 with a kick-off workshop on Saturday, October 16th @ 12 pm

Show your body a little respect, and your body will reward you with greater focus, stability, and metabolic health. 

It’s not about willpower- it’s about biochemistry.

BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE IS ABOUT MORE THAN WEIGHT LOSS!

What do excess belly fat, blood sugar imbalance and serious diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes have in common? Poor regulation of insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, is the critical connection.

Insulin gets secreted in response to the elevation of your blood sugar. Insulin is absolutely necessary to get the sugar out of your blood and into the cells where it can be converted to energy. Without insulin, your blood sugar would skyrocket and you’d become diabetic.

But insulin may also be released in response to stress.

The relationship between cortisol (a stress hormone secreted by your adrenal glands) and insulin is circular. Increased cortisol raises blood sugar which causes an increase in insulin which in turn causes cortisol to go up.

When we are chronically stressed, our cortisol levels remain high which keeps our insulin levels high.  This interrupts the normal function of insulin in response to the food we eat.

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Under normal circumstances, after a meal, the increased glucose in your blood causes your pancreas to secrete insulin.

The more glucose in your food, the more insulin is produced.

Insulin binds to the cell membranes and triggers the cell membrane to open up and let the glucose in.

Insulin allows glucose, amino acids, fats, magnesium, and other nutrients into the cell where they can be used in the mitochondria to produce energy.  When this is in balance we feel centered energetic, focused, and lean.

It’s when our blood sugar, insulin, and cortisol are out of balance we experience issues.

When you eat foods high in carbohydrates or eat your meals too close together (ie. snacking) it stimulates a rapid rise in glucose and in response, insulin.

When insulin is chronically high,  you are in a constant state of inhibited fat-burning, low growth hormone, and lower metabolic rate. The end result is belly fat that is very hard to lose.

Excess insulin can also cause your blood sugar to get too low, leading to brain fog, irritability, and ravenous cravings due to blood sugar instability.

Chronically high blood sugar and insulin levels lead to insulin resistance. This is when the insulin receptors on your cells tire of the constant insulin stimulation and shut down. 

Less insulin in the cell and more insulin in the bloodstream is a recipe for weight gain, diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

 

when your cells become insulin resistant three things happen

  1. Insulin can’t keep up with the demand and your blood sugar starts to rise, leading to diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

  2. Insulin triggers fat storage around the middle so your belly grows steadily.

  3. Unbalanced blood sugar is stressful to your body causing increased levels of cortisol and insulin, sugar cravings, and unstable.

Does this sound familiar?
TAKE THIS FREE SUGAR QUIZ
to examine your current
relationship with sugar.

 

so what can we do about it?

The first thing to address is your sugar consumption.  This may sound simple but it’s actually a little harder to kick the habit than you might imagine.

That’s because sugar is hidden in all kinds of foods marketed to you as “healthy.”  Processed foods, condiments, sauces, and fruit juices are often packed with excess sugar.

So the first step is educating yourself about what you’re eating and then taking the steps to eliminate them for a few days to help reset your blood sugar and metabolic hormones.

The good news is you can do this in a relatively short time.  You can impact your blood sugar and hormone balance in as little as five to ten days!

 

You have the power to decrease belly fat, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and memory loss.

In this program you’ll learn:
  • That hunger, cravings, constant snacking, emotional eating, and binge-eating are all connected to a metabolic imbalance that can be reversed… so you can experience emotional stability and freedom from food.
  • How to eat to melt away belly fat without feeling deprived or living on bacon grease.
  • How to lower your blood sugar even if you are a pre-diabetic or diabetic.
  • How to improve your blood chemistry and energy levels by balancing the queen of all hormones, insulin.
  • Learn what to eat to balance your blood sugar and reset your insulin receptors so you can improve your memory, energy, and focus.

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There’s no reason to suffer any longer in your body. It is completely avoidable.

All you really need to know is how to reset your hormones to feel better fast.

Your excess weight and cravings aren’t something to be ashamed of, they’re biochemistry!

This 10-day Blood Sugar Reset is the first step in your healing journey. F

ree yourself by learning how to eat to support your own biochemistry to look and feel great!

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sign up today

Your 10-Day Blood Sugar Reset Includes:

  • 70-page Blood Sugar Balance Handbook
  • 10-Day Blood Sugar Balancing Meal Plan
  • 40 Delicious Sugar Balancing Recipes
  • Step by Step Instructions to help you conquer your sugar addiction
  • Daily inspiration and resources via opt-in texts
  • Community support via Private FB group 
  • Virtual check-ins with Tina, your Certified Functional Nutrition Coach, and Program Leader

Just $49

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stop blaming yourself

As a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor, I can help you understand that your biochemistry is not your destiny.

Let me teach you how to eat to be free of cravings, weight gain, and self-sabotaging guilt.

It’s not magic- it’s science, and you can leverage it to feel at home in your body.  This reset is a great way to begin.



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Questions?  Email me! 

 

Why Women Don’t Sleep

Sleep is a fundamental building block to health, yet 1 in 4 women suffer from insomnia. Most women will experience trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, and reaching deep levels of sleep during their lifetime. It is a chicken and egg situation. 

Are your hormones causing poor sleep, or is poor sleep-disrupting your hormones? 

Usually a little of both, as our bodies are cyclic. Our circadian rhythm is intimately connected with our hormonal cycle.

Stress and Your Adrenal Glands

Stress is a daily challenge for most of us. Work, relationships, family, and financial pressures add up and lead to elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol should be a short-term hormone but chronic stress keeps cortisol elevated, disrupting our circadian rhythm.

In a healthy person, cortisol levels spike early in the morning to allow us to wake up refreshed and energized.  

Levels drop slowly throughout the day as melatonin increases. This helps us feel sleepy and wind down for bed. 

Chronic stress flips this equation because cortisol remains elevated into the evening which disrupts melatonin release and quality sleep.

Cortisol levels finally drop through the night leaving us fatigued and foggy in the morning

Stress has a direct impact on our emotions via our nervous system. It triggers our sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight portion of our neural response), leaving us anxious, nervous, and hypervigilant. 

Stress disrupts our hormone balance, gut health, and metabolic function because we’re not able to access our (rest and digest) parasympathetic nervous system. Chronic stress wires our nervous systems to become sympathetic dominant. 

When the nervous system is operating predominantly in a sympathetic state, we feel anxious, reactive, and tired. Our sleep suffers.

And because sleep is the time when we rest, digest, and detox, our hormone, gut, and metabolic health also suffer. Without intervention, this becomes a truly vicious cycle.

hormones and sleep

There are several hormones involved in controlling your appetite and weight. The two big appetite controllers are leptin and ghrelin. 

As it turns out, these two hormones are directly affected by sleep (among other things)!

Dubbed the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. After eating a meal your stomach distends and the secretion of ghrelin decreases, signaling you that it’s time to stop eating.

Leptin, the “satiety hormone,” is produced in several tissues, but mostly in our fat cells. High levels of fat lead to higher levels of leptin. The brain reads leptin as a sign that you have plenty of nutrition, ie fat stores, so it “turns off” your hunger. More leptin means decreased appetite.

But wait, wouldn’t that mean those with excess body fat feel less hungry and eat less, thereby losing weight?

Like all good things, too much is bad. 

When you have persistently elevated levels of leptin, your brain becomes desensitized and stops “hearing” this hormone. This is called leptin resistance. Your brain acts like the level is low which leads to you having an increased appetite.

Ghrelin is a complex hormone with many roles but we can oversimplify it for this discussion. Ghrelin is produced in the GI system, mainly the stomach. Ghrelin levels go down when you eat and then start building up again 3 hours later. 

The level rises significantly right before you eat, especially if you have a predictable eating schedule. This hormone is what gives you those hunger pains right before lunch. The higher ghrelin you have, the brain reads this as starvation and tells you to eat.

When you’re sleep-deprived, ghrelin levels rise, and along with that, your feelings of hunger.

More ghrelin +  less leptin equals weight gain.

Other Hormones

Cortisol, glucose, insulin, and growth hormone also play a role in weight and appetite and are all affected by sleep!

It’s a complicated process but we’re focusing on leptin and ghrelin since they play such a big role in our appetite and satiety.

What is the sleep-weight connection?

Let’s start with leptin. Sleep increases the amount of leptin you have, telling your brain you do not need to eat. 

This not only decreases your appetite, but it also helps with not storing food as fat for future use.

Ghrelin does the exact opposite, levels go down with sleep so your brain is not triggered to feel hungry.

Those who sleep 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night have higher levels of leptin and lower levels of ghrelin which makes you feel less hungry throughout the day.

Other Factors

In addition to hormones, your brain is affected by sleep deprivation. 

First, your frontal lobe is less active. This is the center of impulse control and behavior modification. The less sleep you have, the less active your frontal lobe is which means you have less impulse control. 

You know when you see that donut in the bakery window and you just know how tasty it will be! But, you still manage to walk away because you know it isn’t healthy and you aren’t even hungry anyways.

That ability to walk away is blunted with decreased frontal lobe activity which leads to poor decisions, and not just with food control.

Sleep also undermines our brain function and ability to focus.

When we miss sleep, our brain feels foggy and sluggish, partly due to the role of glucose while we sleep. That lack of energy is sensed by your hypothalamus (the portion of the brain that largely controls hunger) and tells you to eat high-calorie junk food in order to pep up a bit! 

Increased cravings for junk food and decreased impulse control lead to a late-night run through a drive-thru or powering through a tub of ice cream by yourself!

How do I sleep to support my weight loss?

Our body’s control over our hunger is complicated and the sleep-weight connection is still not fully understood. We still have much to learn about the signals our brain processes that drive us to eat. But it is also becoming clear that sleep plays a crucial role in helping to regulate these hormones and our brain’s ability to control or stimulate our appetite.

It all comes back to nutrition and lifestyle

Once again, our gut-brain axis is at the center of our choices.  The good news is we have choices about what we eat, sleep and move. The symbiotic relationship between food and physiology is a powerful ally in our quest for optimal health.

In my next blog, we’ll look at the topic of meal timing to explore how the body is impacted not only by what we eat but when we eat it.

Don’t worry, peeps!  The news is good!

Why nature is my physician

My love of nature started in childhood as my parents insisted their three children play outdoors as much as possible. While we weren’t allowed to run wild, (you never wanted to hear my Mom’s frenetic bell ring because you were somewhere you weren’t supposed to be), we were given the freedom to spend hours rolling around in the grass, climbing trees, dancing in the driveway, or playing a mean game of tug of war.

Perhaps it was because my parents just wanted us out of the house, or maybe they knew intuitively what scientific studies reinforce today: Nature is a powerful ally and healing force for our mind and body.


nature is good for us

We know that spending time in nature makes us feel good, but does it measurably affect our well-being? Study after study has shown the answer is yes.

Studies show that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, stress, and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

According to health researchers Stamatkis and Mitchell, nature not only improves the quality of our lives but the length of them as well. And a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology in 2018 found that spending as little as five minutes outdoors was linked to a significant mood boost.

Research conducted in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.


nature is our happy place

Our affinity toward nature is genetic and deep-rooted in evolution. For example, have you ever wondered why most people prefer to book accommodations that have a great view from the balcony or the terrace? Why patients who get a natural view from their hospital bed recover sooner than others? Or why we crave downtime in nature when stress takes it’s toll on our zen.

“Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature.
It will never fail you.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Nature’s Impact on our Health

Who would have thought that a little time with the flowers and trees can actually improve your memory? The University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed students who regularly went for a nature walk actually had a better time retaining information.

  1. Nature improves short term memory.
    Nature also helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, nature can distract us from pain and discomfort.
  2. Nature reduces stress hormones.
    In a world flooded by screens, sometimes just taking the time to unplug and go outside can do wonders for reducing stress. Nature has a calming effect on our brains, even if it means going outside for just five minutes each day. As an added bonus, outdoor exercise, like going for a walk, hiking, and so forth, gets the blood flowing and heart pumping, another way to lower stress levels.
  3. Nature increases our levels of Vitamin D.
    Sure, too much sun can damage the skin and possibly lead to cancer. That being said, studies show that getting between 15 to 20 minutes a day of sunshine will allow your body to absorb vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
  4. Nature improves our immune system.
    Research has shown that going outdoors and getting enough sunlight can help boost the immune system. Make sure to take a little stroll outside or enjoy a bit of fun outdoors to help fight disease and stay healthy.
  5. Nature reduces inflammation.
    Inflammation in the body can lead to all sorts of disorders, from depression and cancer to autoimmune diseases. A study demonstrated that participants who spent a bit of time each week walking in the woods experienced lower levels of inflammation in the body.  
  6. Nature inspires creativity.
    Nature comes in so many colors, from orange-sky sunsets to seafoam green waters and rose-colored gardens. Spending time outside gives a chance to get inspired by all the gorgeous sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors. Science backs that up, too, showing that spending time outside actually helps get our creative juices flowing.
  7. Nature improves vision.
    We spend a lot of time looking at screens, which can damage eyesight. Going outside gives our eyes a break from staring at a computer, television, or smartphone. Australian scientists even found that children who spend time outdoors reduce the risk of developing myopia later in life.
  8. Nature improves our sleep.
    Spending time in natural light helps our bodies better regulate sleep patterns. When the sun goes down, our brains will release the right levels of melatonin to help get a good night’s sleep.
  9. Nature increases feelings of happiness.
    You can find all kinds of different activities outdoors for all fitness levels and preferences. Whether it means going for a swim in the sea, taking the dog for a walk in the park, or mountain biking, finding outdoor activities that we enjoy will boost your mood and help you to feel happier. Plus spending time in nature promotes mental well-being.
  10. Nature can open the door to a deeper sense of spirituality.
    A long walk in nature on your own gives a chance to clear the mind and can even count as a type of meditation. Spending time in nature helps us live in the moment as we breathe in the air, listen to the sound of the birds chirping, or feel the grass on our feet.

    Nature can even teach valuable lessons and reveal metaphors to help us connect with our spirituality. The changes of the season reflect the peaks and valleys we go through in life. Meanwhile, a coursing river reminds us of our need to “go with the flow” and navigate the waters of life, so to speak.

    Nature’s generous lessons are all around us when we slow down enough to take notice.

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

Mary Davis

take a walk, skip the pill

A walk in the fresh air, the sun on our skin, bare feet in the sand: spending time outside can bring so many small pleasures, making us feel refreshed and revived. Whether it means sitting in your backyard garden sipping a cold iced tea or going for a thrilling white water rafting adventure, time in nature has the power to heal, inspire, and guide you daily.

The B Bar Ranch in Montana

Need some nature?

Join Tina Sprinkle and Lisa Looy for an amazing adventure on their WILD IN MONTANA Retreat. Daily meditation, guided hikes, horseback riding, and more. Space is limited so don’t delay! This retreat will sell out.


Everything Changes

I know change is inevitable and yet, I still resist and deny it when it arrives. I’m not sure why I insist on giving change such a bad rap because, in truth, change has been my life long friend.

Change helped me find the courage to leave an abusive man with no real home and two small children.  Change insisted I exit a toxic workplace, even when I didn’t have another job.  Change has alternately encouraged, discouraged, pushed and pounded me.  But what caused me the greatest pain wasn’t change, but the resisting of it.

Change’s constant presence still reminds me there is an opportunity in every letting go.

 

I’ve spent most of my adult life helping people- specifically in the area of health. My goal is threefold:  first, to help people desire to be healthy; second, to accept that it’s within their ability to do so; and third, and most importantly, believe that they’re worth the effort required.

Convincing someone to consider one of these tenants can be a stretch, getting them to embrace all three is just a plain, hard sell.  Why?  Because it involves change.

We’re so focused on what we think we’re giving up, we overlook the possibilities and opportunity within the same change.

 

 

Next month we will move Pilates 1901 to a new location. I am excited about this next chapter but also admittedly sad about leaving the home we’ve shared for eleven years. The new studio is just 28 blocks away, a beautiful new space that is as light and fun and as welcoming as always.

We’ll be providing the same great service with the same love and integrity that has always defined Pilates 1901. It really is silly to get my panties in a wad, but I do and I will, and I expect some others may, too.

It’s part of the deal. I get it.

 

I’ll still be teaching and preaching Pilates, health, empowerment, and faith to anyone who will listen.

But as I turn sixty, I feel also change demanding more of my attention and more of my grace.  I’m looking forward to less distraction and more presence; less thinking and more being; more teaching, and healing and learning.

One morning, many years ago, I was greeted with a note from my youngest son.  He’d left it for me on the desk where I spent the bulk of my time when I was at home.  It was a picture of Joan of Arc; beneath it, he’d neatly printed these words:  “For general peace and well-being, please resign from being General Manager of the Universe.”   Leave it to Spirit to deliver such a powerful message via a ten-year-old.  I’m sorry, Sean that it took me so long to hear.

The Buddah said, “the only thing constant in life is change.”  I am learning that is true. 

I’m just going to let go, trust and ride this new incredible wave.  I hope to see you at the shore.

 

 

Why Eating Clean Isn’t Enough Anymore

I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for nearly forty years which either means I am very old or very wise; (I am very old.)

During that time I have survived the low fat, high carb craze, the long slow distance theory of fat loss, and countless wasted hours planted on a spin bike, stair climber, treadmill, all in the pursuit of a better, leaner, healthier body. The rub? I was taking a huge detour, but, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Going Paleo changed my life and my body.

Nine years ago I discovered a better approach to exercise, (variety), and changed my eating habits (Paleo) which finally helped put my body back in balance, helping me lose those last 10 lbs. At 50, I looked and felt better than I had in my 30’s! (I’d still just as soon be 30, with my life experience now, but we don’t always get what we want, right?)

Just as my slightly older friends had warned me, with age comes change; that not so subtle metabolic ‘clunk’ that signals another shift in your body composition, energy, and mobility.

You’d think after three hip replacements I might have a clue, but my persistently positive attitude always makes me susceptible to naivety.

Denial notwithstanding, recently, the reality of time’s passing has shown up in my ability to, well, MAINTAIN.

And I am certainly someone you might call pro-active! I eat clean, workout regularly, meditate and try to be kind to others. I practice gratitude, dammit! But all of those things still added up to this:  my back hurt,  I felt shitty, fat, stiff and old. Furthermore, I just noticed dimples on my biceps! WTF????

Of course, I am aware of the source: inflammation.

That’s essentially what aging is. As we get older, we “rust out,” sooner than later if we don’t watch our sugar intake, alcohol consumption, or choose to stop moving. Other things play a role too, like sleep, attitude, staying connected and engaged, and having a faith of purpose.

What I didn’t understand until very recently was also how much our environment plays a role. To be specific, I’m referring to the (literally) thousands of toxic chemicals we are exposed to daily.


The minute we step out of bed in the morning, the Toxic Party begins.

We wash our hair with them, brush them on our teeth, slather them on our bodies and apply them to our eyes, lips, and cheeks. Toxic irritants are present in most commercial shampoos, toothpaste, deodorants, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies.

Our food, air, and water supplies are also loaded with chemicals; chemicals largely sanctioned as “acceptable” by our governmental agencies; the same organizations that were designed to protect us.

In a 2003 study performed by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, researchers found an average of 91 industrial chemicals, heavy metals, or other significant toxins in test subjects. These chemicals included PCBs, commonly used insecticides, dioxin, mercury, cadmium, and benzene. At least 53 of these are known to suppress our immune system.

In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing a much bigger sample of 2,500 people, detected an average 116 chemicals in subjects and finally, in 2005 a third study found traces of 287 chemicals in test subjects. These toxic chemicals create inflammation and disruption of our T cells, often setting us up for inflammatory disease and/or triggering an autoimmune response.

Autoimmune dysfunction is when the body gets triggered somehow to turn our own immune systems to “fight” and resist us.  This can affect one organ or multiple organs which causes a myriad of diseases.

The Bottom line? We feel bloated, stressed, wired and tired. That’s not the quality of life we aspire to.

So what can we do? Thankfully, there’s a lot. Here’s what I’m doing:

Eating clean. This means taking a closer look at what I have been eating and getting real about my protein sources and selections. I still avoid dairy, grains, glutens, sugar and processed foods, but have been a bit lax of late with my travels and eating desserts and drinking way too much. That’s gone, NOW. My belly is my reminder: Booze = Bloat and I ain’t digging it. I’ve also taken a look at my medications and supplement list and with the help of my Naturopathic doc, Alicia Johnson, I am taking only what I need and flushing the rest (more on this in another blog).

 

Moving More.  Truthfully my back has been a big hindrance to this. I know what you are thinking- how does a freaking Pilates instructor wind up with a herniated disc? I know! It’s bullshit. But it’s real and it’s cramped my style for several weeks. Thankfully most injuries of this kind tend to take care of themselves in time and that is the case with me. I have been able to return to teaching Pilates and Inversion Therapy, maintain my walking but need to add in some more 20-minute resistance training via weights and the reformer. All of these things I call “supportive” exercises as they provide variety and support instead of breaking me down.

 

Making Sleep a Priority. This has never been my strong suit but lack of sleep is a huge detriment to our health. Skimping on sleep not only affects our energy and the way we feel, it affects us on a cellular level. Sleep scientists say sleep deficiency is associated with problems with concentration, memory and the immune system — as well as with shorter lifespans. Caffeine, alcohol, stress and sleeping pills all undermine the quality and quantity of our sleep and therefore, our health.  I am not quite Benjamin Franklin, but I did ask Herb the other night if it was bad that we were in bed before the sun went down. His answer? “Nope.”

 

Toning down the toxins. This has been eye opening and truthfully, I never gave it much thought until recently. I’d been so focused on my diet and exercise that I must have thought I was somehow immune to the toxins I was ingesting and slathering on every day. I was wrong. Why would I go to all those lengths to detox my body and then simply ignore the toxins in my food, home, and makeup? This, after having to remediate my home for mold last year when Herb got sick with not one but two autoimmune diseases.  His sickness from mold toxicity triggered Lyme’s disease which had previously been latent.

 

All I can say is denial is a powerful thing.

Today we are installing a new whole house water filter to decrease the toxins in our water; getting a small freezer so we can purchase grass-fed beef and afford it; replacing our soaps, shampoos, deodorants, detergents and other cleaning supplies with chemical free options; and buying organic ALL the time instead of MOST of the time- especially those fruits and veggies on the “Dirty Dozen” pesticide list.

GOALS: Overrated or Necessary

The Problem with Discipline

It’s that time of year when we tend to get riled up and set all sorts of lofty goals for ourselves. In layman’s terms this is called New Year’s Resolutions… in my industry it’s more like a False Positive- a brief jump in gym attendance due to this sudden burst of inspiration; inspiration that peters out sometime between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s.

If it sounds like I am being judgmental, I am not. I’m just as vulnerable as the next person (perhaps more so) to the allure of making promises to myself that I do not keep. My Dad would have called this ‘putting the cart before the horse’ or ‘stepping in it because you weren’t looking’ or, if he were alive now, perhaps, ‘texting while driving,’ none of which are safe or productive.

The issue isn’t the very real desire we have to improve ourselves…I would hate to consider a world where we didn’t. The issue is more about where that thought originates.

WHY do we want to lose weight, stop smoking, eat better, exercise more, sleep better and be kinder to our spouse? Probably because we think we’d feel better, be healthier and happier of course. And we probably would.

Then WHY do so many of us feel so miserable when we fail to follow through? What derails our sudden genius; unwinds our enthusiasm, undermines our fortitude?  Why can’t we, as my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Myers directed, “finish what we begin?” The problem is discipline.

discipline
noun dis·ci·pline \ˈdi-sə-plən\

1. Punishment- suffering, pain or loss that serves as retribution
2. Instruction- a direction calling of compliance
3. Training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
4. Orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
4. A rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, further defines the word. ” Given that several meanings of discipline deal with study, governing one’s behavior, and instruction, one might assume that the word’s first meaning in English had to do with education. In fact, the earliest known use of discipline appears to be punishment related; it first was used in the 13th century to refer to chastisement of a religious nature, such as self flagellation.”

Talk about a buzz kill. It’s no wonder we have an issue following through if is this is where our motivation is seated.

In lieu of getting all preachy here, what the hell are we thinking? Is this a cultural phenomenon? Fall out from the Puritan Ethic?

Is it generational – as a Boomer am I doomed to constant self criticism and recrimination? Or is it simply about being human? Do dogs feel guilty when they overeat or forget to take out the trash? I know cats don’t.

One thing’s for sure, this approach ain’t much fun, so it’s probably NOT gonna get done.

So what CAN we do to motivate ourselves to do the things that do indeed make us healthier, happier and kinder to our loved ones?  How do we align what we say we WANT with what we DO?

We just stop. And be still. And look within ourselves to examine what it is we truly want. This may sound simple, but it’s not easy.

Being a terrier by nature, I have an innate disdain for slowing down and introspection. (Squirrel!)

My inherent anxiety often presents itself in manic overwork, over scheduling, over functioning, and over indulging! – all in the guise of “achievement.”

Down deep I know that instead of helping me reach my goals, this busyness is simply a distracting way to soothe my unease. Just because I get shit done doesn’t mean I am present to my deepest desires.

This is ironic because it’s in stillness that we can discover what it is we truly want.  Perhaps we may also learn that it doesn’t have to be so damned hard.

When I was around fourteen and had done something errant that warranted a serious sit down with my Father, I pleaded with him, trying to excuse my behavior (and subsequent grounding) by saying, “Dad! You just don’t understand! Times have changed! What you expect isn’t reality any more! It doesn’t apply! You just need to accept it!” He took me gently by the shoulders, turned me towards him and said,  “Tina, times may have changed, but kids have not.”  And then he grounded me, (I could never win an argument with that man.)

This lesson still resonates for me because it reminds me of my responsibility to myself and others. It’s tempting in these tumultuous, crazy, unstable times to forget that one thing remains constant: our ability to choose.

We have the right to choose to be healthy. We have the right to choose to be loving. We have the right to choose to be kind. And we can choose to be happy.  We deserve to be happy. That IS the buried treasure of being human; but reclaiming it beneath the bullshit requires excavation.  The sitting still kind; the hard kind.

When I realize that it’s not about THE goal, or the DISCIPLINE, or even THE timing of the outcome, but being true to my core beliefs, life’s complexities fade to the background and I can see more clearly. I can see that it’s a process not a place; that it takes practice and mindfulness and connection to other people around me.

It takes risking, asking for help, accepting it and finally, letting go.  Having faith is difficult, but it is the key to all possibility.

Today I’m choosing to create my life from a different perspective.  I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that my life, (with all ‘s messy terrier detours and distractions), makes me a failure or less deserving or simply less than.  I’m giving myself and break- hell, I’m giving myself a boost, just by knowing, not hoping, that I still have the power to choose the life I want.

The path we take is the path we make. I’m here to help you. Will you help me?

Is Sitting the New Smoking


Many thanks to my friends Michelle Davidson and Joel Nichols for welcoming me every other Thursday morning to discuss what we can do each day to be proactive, healthy,  and happy!   I am so grateful for the opportunity to share!

 

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

This caption was coined by research scientist Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic.  He found the health risks of sitting to be so devastating you might want to stand up while you read this post!

 

The average American is sitting 60% of their waking day (or 9.5 hours) between work and TV time.  But at what cost?

 


Health Risks of Sitting too much

Increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke by a staggering  90% to 125%! This is because sitting suppresses enzymes on the body that utilize fat for energy and reduces LLP1 a key gene that prevents blood clotting and reduces inflammation.  This results in more fat circulating in the blood and less activity to manage it.  And it begins the moment you sit down.

 

Doubles your risk for developing diabetes.
People who sit too much have enzyme changes in the muscles that increase sugar levels and interrupt healthy insulin response.  Over time, prolonged sitting interrupts healthy metabolic processes and may lead to insulin insensitivity, weight gain and type two diabetes.

 

Increases your risk for cancer.
Research shows that sitting more than 6 hours per day significantly increases your risk for developing breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer.
Overall mortality increases by nearly 50% 
Studies show that chronic sitters die earlier than those who don’t sit as much.  And don’t get smug about exercising away all those health risks at the end of the day.  Researchers say the same enzymes and genes that are so sensitive to sitting, are simultaneously resistant to exercise.  Studies show that even the highest level of exercise has no effect on reversing the damage of sitting.  So what do we do?  The only cure is to get up and move every 30 minutes.

 

Helpful tips to avoid sitting too long 

  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and move every 30 minutes
  • Walk while you are talking on the phone.
  • Invite your clients to walking meetings.
  • Sit less when you get home.  Don’t just plop down on the couch.
  • Invest in a standing or treadmill desk
  • Sit on a stability ball at work so you can bounce or move at your desk.  The ball provides enough instability that your body is constantly having to make small movement adjustments and use your core muscles to sit up straight.
  • Do some of the exercises recommended in this video.
Movement is a critical component of your optimal health so become mindful today of how much you really are sitting.  Then take it a step further and think about what you are eating and how much you are (or are not) sleeping.
 

Maximizing Your Workout Investment Time


Take it from me, the Ex-Cardio Queen of Kansas City, “MORE” doesn’t always lead to “LESS” of you.

In fact, the opposite is quite true!  Research solidly supports the concept of short interval high-intensity training followed by intervals of rest to be the most effective way to burn calories, lose fat and change your body fitness.

Why waste time and effort training wrong when you can maximize your workout results in half the time you once thought?

 

HIITWorkoutWhat is High Intensity Interval Training?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardio respiratory and muscular training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout. HIIT is used by athletes and everyday exercise enthusiasts to reach performance goals and enhance fitness and well-being.
How does it work?
Most endurance workouts, such as walking, running, or stair-climbing—are performed at a moderate intensity, or an exertion level of 5-6 on a scale of 0-10. High-intensity intervals are done at an exertion level of 7 or higher, and are typically sustained for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, although they can be as short as 8-10 seconds or as long as 5 minutes; the higher the intensity, the shorter the speed interval. Recovery intervals are equal to or longer than the speed intervals.

High-intensity interval training is done at a submaximal level; around 80-95% of maximal aerobic capacity. Sprint interval training (SIT) is a type of high-intensity interval training that pushes beyond this level to 100% or more of maximal aerobic capacity, or an exertion level of 10.

High-intensity interval training may focus on cardio work only or ideally combine intervals of cardio and muscular training to yield maximal results.  The surprising thing about HIIT is that it involves such a small total amount of exercise. By including HIIT in your exercise plan, you can realize remarkable results in a short amount of time, which is good news for busy people.

AfterBurnWhat are the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training?

The payoffs of pushing yourself with HIIT are plentiful, and include:

  • Significantly increased aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Decreased fasting insulin and increased insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous (just under the skin) fat
  • Shift in hormonal and physiologic changes that modify what you see in the mirror
  • Increased metabolism and calorie burn for up to 48 hours after the workout, depending on the intensity

 


epocWhat science has to say about HIIT

The exercise after-burn, or the calories expended (above resting values) after an exercise bout, is referred to as ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’ or EPOC.  This represents the oxygen consumption above resting level that the body is utilizing to return itself to its pre-exercise state.

The physiological mechanisms responsible for this increased metabolism include the replenishment of oxygen stores, phosphagen (ATP-PC) resynthesis, lactate removal, and the increased ventilation, blood circulation and body temperature above pre-exercise levels.

Studies have found that the magnitude (intensity of oxygen consumption) and duration (length of time the oxygen consumption is elevated) of EPOC is dependent on the intensity and duration of exercise. It generally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to fully recover to a resting state.

Other factors influencing EPOC include training status and gender. It was also noted that several exercise method differences (e.g. seated versus a recumbent cycling, or exercise selection) contribute to a wide variance in time length of EPOC.


cardio queenIs HIIT safe?

High-intensity exercise of any type brings with it a higher risk of musculoskeletal injury and cardiac events. But along with healthy subjects, HIIT has been studied as a training method for people with heart disease and congestive heart failure. Under clinical supervision, subjects were able to tolerate high-intensity intervals without negative effects. Most importantly, they experienced bigger improvements in cardiovascular function compared to those undergoing continuous moderate-intensity training.

The bottom line? HIIT may or may not be safe for you. Check with your health care provider before adding it to your exercise plan.

 

high-intensity-interval-training

At Pilates 1901, we’ve made sure to offer a variety of Pilates based movements to allow you choice in your workout week.

Our classes employ the five basic principles of Pilates to help  you get the most out of your workouts each time you attend a private or class session.  We know that to get the most from your workouts you need to be focused, strong and connected.  That’s what Pilates as a foundation provides for you.

If you are more seeking to get more intense, burn more calories in less time and see rapid results, we urge you to try out some our high intensity interval training classes:

 

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You may have to work up to finishing in these workouts but the results and efforts are truly worth your time.  And remember, it will take less of that too to give you more results!

Questions?  Email us today so we can help!

 

Is Your Cardio Routine Making You Fat?

IS YOUR CARDIO ROUTINE MAKING YOU FAT?

Cardio QueenYou know the story.  You embark on a new fitness routine.  You’re pumped up and you’re ready to lose that body fat once and for all!

You make yourself get up an extra hour every day to walk on the treadmill, do the elliptical, or ride your bike.  You work yourself up to 45 to 50 minutes and you start to sweat.  You may feel better.  You may sleep better.  You may even notice your energy and outlook are better.   But what about your body fat?  What’s happening (or not happening) there.

Many of you know that I have been a self confessed Cardio Junkie for nearly 30 years.  As someone who came into this business during the 80′s (the era of Jane Fonda, leg warmers, thongs and dance aerobics), I fell into the trap of believing cardio was the key to my own fat loss, fitness and health.  I worked out every day, for hours a day, sometimes teaching as many as 3-4 aerobic classes per day, and guess what, I was still too fat!  (The low fat, high carbohydrate diet of the day didn’t help much either).

Fact or Myth

The point is, I was working out hours a day doing every kind of cardio you can imagine, AND I WAS STILL FAT!  I just don’t want my clients to make the same mistakes I did!  The fact is, you can get TWICE THE RESULTS in HALF THE TIMEby simply changing the way you do cardio!

Check out my segment on KCLIVE with Michelle Davidson about the Top Six Myths of Cardio and why they may be making you FAT instead of FIT!

 

watch-this

 

So what about the formula:  Eat less + increase activity=weight loss.???    Sorry folks, but it is not true.

calories inIn fact, if you follow this myth of weight loss,  you will end up stranded somewhere, frustrated that you didn’t reach your weight loss goal.  Or, even worse, you find yourself back to where you began, or even more overweight than when you started.  Let put this stubborn concept to rest once and for all.

I repeat, Eat Less + Increase Activity DOES NOT EQUAL Weight Loss.

“How is this possible,” one might ask? Cardio burns calories right? And less calories equals fat loss right? That is where many people are mistaken. Yes, consuming less calories than you burn each day will result in weight loss but not necessarily fat loss. “What is the difference,” you say?

Well, here it is. If you lose weight without regard to the amount of fat you have, chances are you will look the same (i.e. love handles, flabby thighs and arms that continue to wave long after your hand has finished). You will be smaller,yes, (also known as “Skinny Fat”) , but is that really what you want?  Probably not. You want to look toned and healthy and without visible fat stores that make up a body that looks out of shape.

cardio mythSo now that we have established the difference between weight loss and fat loss, how can we make sure the weight we lose is fat? Besides having the proper diet, which is the key to losing fat, we look to exercise to supplement this goal. Typically, every client I have ever trained, has come to me prepared to do endless hours of cardio exercise. Most people just can’t seem to get it through their head that not only don’t they have to spend hours on the treadmill, but that they shouldn’t.

Here is why. When you get on that treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer, your body begins to use energy. This is fantastic. Going faster makes your lungs and heart work harder to keep up with the intensity, thereby making them stronger and more efficient the more often you do this. That’s great too. Now, eventually, after all your recently ingested energy is consumed, your body will look elsewhere for energy to fuel you.

Now is the point where it gets tricky. Want your body to use fat for fuel? This means going slow-like you’re running a Marathon rather than running fast and hard like in a sprint race.

Most of you have all seen the little diagrams on most cardio equipment. Here is your “fat burning zone”, here is your cardio zone. These diagrams are correct. When you get into the cardio heart rate zone, your body will eventually become catabolic, which means it will start burning muscle for fuel. This is especially true if you don’t use your muscles to do resistance training, (like Pilates) on a regular basis.

When you go slow and keep your heart rate in the “fat burning” zone, your heart and lungs no longer have to work as hard, so they aren’t getting stronger anymore. Furthermore, your calorie burn rate drops down to a point where you have to stay on that dang machine for two hours to burn off the calories equivalent to what you ate for breakfast!

So, based on this information, most people tend to think that going faster will kick that calorie burn up. And as long as we are going faster, lets go longer and really amp up that weight loss for faster results. The only problem is, this is how you end up with too much body fat!

Maximise-Fat-Loss-with-HIITIf you burn muscles as an energy source, you also burn up your potential to burn more calories in the future. Muscle requires more energy (FOOD!) to sustain itself, so if you are using your muscles as fuel, you are in effect lowering your metabolism. Furthermore, the better your heart and lungs function, the more effective they become at the fast paced cardio, the less calories you will burn over time doing the same amount of cardio. So now you end up having to do more cardio to equal the calories burned when you first began this exercise routine.

SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US? We have less muscle and burn less calories than we did when we stepped foot in the gym. Now, our weight loss progress has all but stopped, so we get discouraged, and quit going to the gym. Most will probably give up on their diet to boot.

And here is where it gets tragic. Since we’ve lost muscle mass our metabolism is slower. Then we quit eating healthy and go back to the way we were eating before. And guess what? Any weight we may have lost comes back and then some since our calorie burning ability has diminished.  Can anyone say yo-yo diet?

Now the excuse becomes, “I tried diet and exercise, and it didn’t work for me at all!”

So now that you are completely discouraged and don’t know what to do, here is the light at the end of the tunnel. Losing fat isn’t really that difficult if you know what to do. Keep that anti-inflammatory Paleo diet, do resistance training (Pilates) a few times a week, and if you want to boost your calorie burn, have a cardio routine that works for you instead of against you.

HIIT-LogoThe answer is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and it is the only type we ever prescribe for my clients at Pilates 1901. Interval cardio is short bursts of high intensity work immediately followed by brief periods of rest, for 20 to 30 minutes. No more than that!

This type of cardio has loads of benefits. Your heart and lungs get the required demand put upon them to make them stronger. You don’t stay in the high cardio range long enough to burn muscle. You exercise your heart rate recovery (HRR) which trains your body to be able to recover from intense exercise quicker. And the kicker? Multiple studies have shown this type of training is proven to keep your body burning more calories for up to 24 hours after your workout!

Now is the time to forget the notion that more is better when it comes to cardio. Don’t spend hours on the machines and put yourself at risk for failure in the battle against fat. Use the HIIT philosophy to maximize your time in the studio and not only start seeing results but keep seeing them.  You’re too busy to waste time!  Sometimes LESS really is MORE!

If you are new to interval based cardio workouts there is some good and bad news. The good news is that you are in and out very quickly. The bad news is that you have to work a lot harder.

RPEBut don’t worry. We aren’t interested in how high your heart rate is as much as your perceived exertion.

The RPE  (Rate of Perceived Exertion)  scale rates your perception of the work from 1 (easy) to of 10 (running for your life), so everyone is equal on the chart. This means if you feel you are at an 8, you are working relatively as hard as any professional athlete based on this scale.

HIIT Workouts combine intervals of lower intensity cardio and higher intensity cardio or intervals that combine cardio and weight training intervals.

Our Kettlebell, Cardio Tramp and HIIT workouts are perfect examples of this type of training, alternating cardio and resistance intervals to give you one fast, effective and fat burning workout in under 30 minutes!

Click here to find out more about getting started at Pilates 1901 or access our group class schedule by clicking here!

Additional questions?  Email us today!