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Informational

Healthy Lifestyle Resolutions: It’s Not Too Late to Start Over

weight-loss-transformation

Did the clock strike twelve, fireworks go off and you resolved that it was going to be a “New Year, New You” kind of year? Well, now that we’re midway into February, this is the perfect time to reflect on your progress to see how those resolutions you made are coming along .

Sticking With New Year’s Weight Loss Goals

Sadly, this time of year is about the same time that gyms and fitness clubs start to empty out — as half of all New Year’s resolutioners start to lose sight of their goals and give up.

The Stats

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute‘s 2017 survey of 1,273 online, 216 phone, and 73 in-person respondents, 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions.

Of those resolutioners, 32% of the resolutions were weight related.

When asked about how many actually kept with their resolutions after a month into the new year, only 58.4% of respondents felt that they kept up with their resolutions after January.

What’s more, only 9% of respondents felt that they were successful in achieving their resolutions at the end of last year. This means that 91% of the people that made New Year’s resolutions felt that they were not successful in achieving their goals — holy moly, that is a huge percentage of people that probably feel ashamed and guilty for not following through with their goals, me thinks.

The How To

So what does it take to achieve those weight loss goals? A quick google search defines New Year’s resolutions as a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior. But what I’ve learned over the years and after taking on countless new clients around this time of year, is that you need more than just resolve to change an undesired trait or behavior.

Setting Healthy Lifestyle Goals: Where to Start

  1. What is your overall objective?
  2. How much time can you invest in achieving your particular goal? (Think hours per day, per week and number of months.)
  3. How much money or resources do you want to put towards your goal?
  4. How much effort are you willing to put in to reach your goal? (Use a 1-10 scale, anything less than a 7 rating usually means your goal is not as important to you as you think.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I too have failed in keeping many a resolutions in the past — But after many years of learning about human behavior, and of course through trial and error,  I know one thing for sure, it takes a few strategic tactics for health and weight loss goals to stick.

Take for example, my client Nadia (pictured above). She was able to achieve her new year’s resolutions of meeting her weight loss goals. But what did it really take? How was she able to find herself in the coveted 9% of resolutioners that met their goals? After all, she was working full time while starting her own business on the side, as she completed her masters degree and embarked on new life experiences. As tall a feat as it may seem, I promise you, you can also meet your weight loss goals the way she did. Read more to learn how to take the 4 questions above and put them into action.

The Healthy Resolution Plan: The Follow Through

First, you really have to want it. Don’t overbook yourself. You can’t want to lose weight, but also want to work more, read more, give more work presentations and spend more time with friends. In theory all of those things sounds great and doable at the same time, but when it comes to your resolutions, you have to make your goals a top priority.

Continue reading “Healthy Lifestyle Resolutions: It’s Not Too Late to Start Over”

Informational

Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet

Are you trying to lose weight with just exercise alone? Do you have a soda addiction but figure it’s not as bad as smoking or other vices since you can just exercise the ‘bad’ calories away? Unfortunately new research looking at the weight management approach of calories in versus calories out tells us that this is really not the case — you really can’t outrun a bad diet.

Diet Trumps Exercise for Weight Loss

The 2015 study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that too little physical activity can make you unhealthy but too much of it drives your body to make big adjustments to adapt, leading to weight loss plateaus. The authors  of the study point to the need to focus on diet, especially when it comes to weight loss and weight management.

Below is a great video that pretty much sums up exactly what the research says:

How to Make a Healthy Diet Fit Your Life

I’m all about eating yummy desserts and not restraining myself when it comes to birthday parties or get togethers — so what do I do when I want to indulge and still maintain my healthy weight? That’s easy, I create myself a meal plan that includes all the food groups, I stick to whole, plant based nutrition as the base, and allot 20% of what I eat to other foods (mostly homemade) that curb my cravings.

In fact I do this for my clients as well. I create meal plans that fit with clients’ tastes, allergies or intolerances and daily life. I just ask that clients exercise 2-3 days a week as a bare minimum, and that they take the time to prepare the majority of their meals at home (I’m not a fan of processed, pre-packaged foods.)

Nutrition Matters: Macros

I also work with my clients to start understanding their macronutrient intake. By macronutrient I mean the fats, carbs and proteins they eat on a day to day basis. Counting calories doesn’t tell you much, as this March 2015 study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition tells us, instead, knowing exactly how each food helps to fuel your metabolism and your day is what you need to know.

Continue reading “Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet”

Informational

Freedom From The Norm: How An Online Trainer And Coach Works

Online-Fitness-TrainerSome people just don’t like working with a personal trainer. They may like the idea of having someone to consult with, or the added motivation a trainer provides, but they’re just not into making or keeping tight one hour appointments at the gym or having someone yell— “gimme just 1 more rep!” —into their ear.

I don’t blame them. I’m a certified personal trainer, and even I don’t like forcing my clients into a rigid schedule, where they dread coming to see me.

Like my clients, I much prefer a flexible schedule. This is why all of my packages are offered online. Many of my clients are busy professionals, some with kids, some without. Time is precious to them and they don’t always have the luxury of dropping into workout classes at a set time.

How Online Strength & Nutrition Guideance Works

  • I provide you with a series of online questionnaires
  • You fill out the online forms and send back to me
  • I obtain all the necessary information I need (such as your goals, weight, height, fitness level, stress levels, fitness and nutritional likes, dislikes, allergies, injuries, concerns, etc.)
  • I create a customized personal training program and macronutrient focused meal plan for you

Strength and Conditioning

What most people need is a customized plan that gives detailed information on what exercises to do, on what days. Sometimes exercises will include machines or weight resistance, other times it may be body weight exercises or plyometrics. Everything fits together to target your specific goals and keep your body on your toes.

Don’t know how to use the equipment at your gym properly? No problem, I send you videos, photos and descriptions if that’s an issue. All workout plans keep in mind your fitness level, load, intensity, frequency and the various equipment you may or may not have available to you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to these plans. Everything is tailored to your needs.

Nutritional Counseling

My clients aren’t into fad diets, instead they want to eat real food, with the correct portion sizes for their activity needs and fitness levels, while losing body fat and gaining muscle in all the right places. I calculate your macros, and give you a workable schedule of suggested meals and recipes that fit those macros (that’s the hardest part for most people) and fit your daily life. Continue reading “Freedom From The Norm: How An Online Trainer And Coach Works”

Health, Uncategorized

Positively Happy Holiday Greetings!

Positively_strong_health_solutions_coupon_offer_for_diet_weightloss_nutrition_fitness_plan

My heart is happy,

My belly is full,

I thank God that my clients

Are so jolly and cool!

Basically, since I like to take the Christmas holidays to reflect on all of the blessings in my life, this past year has been an amazing one.

I’m really thankful for a year of learning, expansion and being able to work with awesome clients and people who are so into fitness and nutrition.

Thanks for making my job so enjoyable. I love being a champion for healthy living and a coach where I get to see others work hard, succeed and fulfill their own dreams, wishes and resolutions.

To Positively Strong Holidays,

Sunny

 

 

Health

The Joy of Better Health: Preventing Heartburn With 5 Simple Solutions

JumpForJoyAcidRefluxIf you have ever experienced heartburn, you’ll know that it is no joke. It’s not just annoying, but it’s actually quite a dangerous signal of your overall health.

Many years ago, I had heartburn that persisted over a few weeks and when I told my doctor about it she just waved it off and said that it was probably too much acidic foods and that she would prescribe me some medication for Acid Reflux. The medication worked, but as soon as I came off of it, the heart burn came right back. That was quite some time ago, nowadays I know a lot more about Acid Reflux and indigestion, and the types of foods and diets that bring about heartburn.

Most often, it’s not just one meal or food that does it, instead it is a series of meals and bad habits that create an acidic environment in the body by dropping the body’s natural pH balance to below 7.35. Acid forming foods are definitely a culprit, but most people don’t realize that it is not acidic fruits and foods like lemons, tomatoes and sauerkraut that disturb the alkaline balance of the body, but instead it is “acid-forming foods” such as processed foods and packaged goods that cause acidosis in the body and subsequent harm.

A low pH and acidic environment within the body is the perfect growing conditions for a bacteria called the Helico Pylori Bacteria (a.k.a H. Pylori) which inhabits the stomach and the esophagus. H.Pylori stimulates cells in the stomach to produce excessive amounts of gastric or hydrochloric acid which can make their way back and up into the esophogus causing “Heartburn” or Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD). Doctors usually prescribe a heavy dose of antibiotics for H.Pylori, but since the antibiotics themselves can often do a lot of harm, eating the right foods can re-balance the gut to create an alkaline environment (not allowing the H.Pylori to thrive). I can honestly say that just by switching to whole foods and cooking at home, I have been able to experience better overall health, prevent heartburn and not take any medications whatsoever, which literally has me jumping for joy!

As for Acid Reflux medication, those just mask symptoms and can often have many side effects as well. My doctor should not have waved off my heartburn as if it were no big deal. It’s great that she recognized food could be a source of the problem, but she should have elaborated on what foods were actually “acid-forming” to the body and also advised me to see a nutritionist.

Preventing heartburn can be a way of preventing bigger problems down the road and since there are already lots of lists out there to help alleviate heartburn once you have it, I have instead created a list that will help balance your gut flora and keep you from experiencing heartburn in the first place.

5 ways to clean up your diet and keep heartburn at bay:

Continue reading “The Joy of Better Health: Preventing Heartburn With 5 Simple Solutions”

Food

Reputation Re-haul: 5 Fattening Foods That Are Actually Good For You

Good-For-You-Foods-With-A-Bad-RepEveryday, there is someone out there that is unnecessarily avoiding certain foods. They don’t have an allergy and they don’t dislike the food, but in the name of weight loss or health, they are choosing to discriminate against them.

Blogs, news outlets and media figures like Dr. Oz are busy using scare tactics about perfectly-good-for-you foods, and with far fetched promises of shedding 20 pounds in a week. Some processed foods are marketed as “healthy” but they are far from it (see one of my previous posts) while other foods are given a bad reputation, sometimes based on studies that are simply taken out of context. Well I’m here to tell you that unless you have a real food allergy or intolerance, you shouldn’t be avoiding these whole foods based on what the uninformed word is on the street.

Below is a list of 5 foods that you may be avoiding unnecessarily, when in fact they are super good for you!

Continue reading “Reputation Re-haul: 5 Fattening Foods That Are Actually Good For You”

Uncategorized

Fighting Rising Health Costs

Breaking_Bad_Habits I don’t usually go so long between writing these blog posts and I promise not to make it a habit, it’s just that enrolling in a full-time Master’s program while working full-time might have been a little more than I can neatly chew. Not that it hasn’t been amazing, interesting and full of fun, it really has, and so today I want to give you little taste of what’s been keeping me so busy.

The focus of my research this term is engagement, or better explained, the meaningful involvement of patients in health care. Still not sure what that means exactly? Well, it can mean a lot of things, starting with creating solutions and ways in which to encourage adults to actively take charge of their own diet, exercise, medication, treatment and overall health care while cutting overall health care costs. What is really exciting for me, is that it goes hand in hand with what I hope to achieve with my clients each and everyday. I want my clients to take charge of their own lives, learn new skills and take into account all the different factors and options that affect their health and health care costs, and have the confidence to seek the right care to live happy and healthy lives.

Since people who lack the skills or confidence to manage their own health care cost the system 21% more, it is in everyone’s best interest that we all fight to become better consumers of health care. How does one become a better, more engaged and more informed health consumer? Below are some tips to get you started:

How to be a more informed health care consumer, save money and experience better overall health:

Continue reading “Fighting Rising Health Costs”

Uncategorized

Just Because It Says Organic Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You

organic-eating-and-headstandsI always choose organic produce over the conventionally grown variety. Fresh vegetables and fruits are better for you when they are not genetically modified or sprayed with pesticides. The fruit or veggie will have more nutrients and will have played its part in the eco-system, where bees and other insects have a chance to feed and pollinate the way they are supposed to do.

With that said, it has now become very popular for processed foods to carry an “organic” label, where sugar laden fruit bars, cereals and juices advertise that they were made with 100% organic ingredients.  Unfortunately this leads lots of people to think that Organic = Healthy and then they are surprised when they over-indulge in these organic products and see weight gain. These processed foods may be organic, but they still contain a crazy amount of sugar, sodium and other preservatives.

It’s great that people are thinking about where their food is coming from, but to take it a step further, we should all be thinking about taking the extra time to prepare our meals and eat whole foods as much as possible. Think about eating the way people did a hundred years ago… not an easy task I know.  A hundred years ago there was a designated person in the family (usually the mother) whose only role consisted of spending hours to prepare daily meals. That is definitely not the case now. Now women are busy juggling work, families, long commutes, training and fitness, traveling to exotic places, rent and mortgage payments, debt, taking care of aging parents, social lives and the list just goes on. There’s just no time to prepare meals from scratch and eat healthy 100% of the time.

Well, we cant’ aim for 100% all of the time. We have to take small steps and start off small. Just like when I started doing headstands, at first I couldn’t do them at all, but then little by little I started getting better at them. Now I can hold a headstand for upwards of 3 minutes and I am attempting to press into a handstand from the headstand position. Fitting in the time to cook is the same as attempting headstands for the first time, it has to happen slowly. Try scheduling the time to prepare one meal a week for a month and see how that goes. Then try for two meals a week. Slowly switch processed snacks (even those that say organic) to whole foods.

If you are confused about what I mean by “whole foods”, I’m talking about foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. A friend of mine said something super funny a while back and I think it fits really well here. He said, “If it comes from a Plant, eat it. If it’s made in a Plant, don’t”.  This couldn’t be more true and the next time you are out grocery shopping think about filling your cart with only whole foods and switching out some of your usual foods for these: Continue reading “Just Because It Says Organic Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For You”

Uncategorized

Candida Nightmares: Wait, What is Candida?

FruitsWe’re now a week into the New Year, how exciting! It’s been several weeks of craziness for me, as I just finished a hectic term of grad school with a flurry of lengthy papers, presentations and exhaustion right before the holidays began. I pulled my first all-nighter in seven years… a terrible decision on my part. Not sleeping will do a number on your body, especially if you are used to 7-8 hours of sleep a night like I am. Stress and not sleeping well lowered my usually strong immune system and I ended up getting sick for the first time in three years, talk about not being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor, instead of eating all of my favorite foods and fruits, I spent the whole holiday season trying to figure out what was going on with my body. The lowered immunity caused the candida population in my stomach to increase and I was hit with a bunch of food intolerances and allergies right in the middle of all the holiday dinners and festivities. Dairy, meat, nuts and even fruits and veggies were giving me severe stomach pain and even my skin broke out in acne and hives, all strong signals of inflammation in the body and a push for me to reduce stress and re-balance my life and diet.

The immune system is not just one organ like the liver or the heart, instead it is made up of a collection of different organs and systems that work together to kill pathogens and protect the body. Almost every part of the body contributes something to the immune system, so if one piece starts to function below par, your overall health can be at risk. For me it was clear, not sleeping for 24 hours straight, and getting only 4-5 hours of sleep in the week prior, had caused me adrenal fatigue. Continue reading “Candida Nightmares: Wait, What is Candida?”

Exercises

Snow Free Winter Activities

Winter_Activities_Batting_CageSome people love winter because they can finally take advantage of all the winter sports that cold weather offers. Skiing, skating, snowboarding… all sports that I would LOVE to love, but I’m too busy trying to keep warm. So what’s an active, adult with a probable case of ADHD  to do in the dreaded cold? I’ve decided to create my own “winter” activities.

I’m not just talking about going to the gym or a group fitness class on the daily (those are year-round activities), I’m talking about making the special effort to find an indoor arena to take advantage of a warm spot to play, jump and move around. I’m personally juggling a lot of different things right now, so I don’t have time to join a league or take part in sports that need the time commitment of other people. Instead, I’m always looking for activities that I can drop in on without a lot of planning or too many participants. This is where my need for lists comes into play. I’ve put together a little list of three indoor activities you can find in most major cities that offer a lot of bang for your buck. To make the cut, the activity needs to be fun, keep me fit and burn some calories while I’m at it. So here I present you with my little list of three:

Indoor sports and activities for the non-team player:

  1. Trampolining: Jumping against gravity works the heart muscle. This cardiovascular activity increases heart rate and pulse rate, and can increase bone density as well. Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park, also claims that trampolining tones up your glandular system, especially your thyroid glands, and improves digestion.
    • Approximate Calories Burned: 300-500 calories per hour.
  2. Batting Cages: Swinging the bat means that you get to workout your core (think obliques), butt, back (your lats), chest and forearms.
    • Approximate Calories Burned: 150-300 calories per hour
  3. Driving Range: Like the batting cage, all the twisting, turning and hitting works to sculpt your core muscles, back, chest, arms and shoulders. Basically using all those muscles that you don’t get to workout when slouching in front of the computer at work.
    • Approximate Calories Burned: 100-300 calories per hour

I have a couple other indoor sports in mind that I’ve been dying to try out, but for a bit of suspense and anticipation, I’ll keep you posted on those. Winter is super long in Chicago, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to try out some other indoor sports to report back to you with. Till then, keep warm and try something new, you may just learn to love winter if you don’t already.

To being Positively Strong, all year long,

Sunny