Health, Informational, Uncategorized

Practice Gratitude to Help You Lose Weight

Were your lungs helping you breath today? Were you able to walk yourself to the bathroom and brush your teeth? Did your fingers help you deftly button up those favorite jeans of yours?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you are one lucky duck. I hope you realize how truly blessed you are to have working organs, limbs, and fingers.

Now close your eyes, take (and release) three big breaths, thank the universe for such good luck, smile big, and give your body a big, virtual hug for always having your back, and then go about your day as usual.

Why do this? Well science tells us that the effects of gratitude on the brain are long lasting. Practicing gratitude everyday—or even just once a week—can help:

  1. increase energy levels
  2. improve exercise patterns
  3. get better sleep
  4. decrease anxiety and depression
  5. lower stress levels
  6. increase self-love and empathy
  7. show reductions in physical ailments and pain
  8. improve optimism

A 2004 study by Emmons and McCullough even showed that keeping a gratitude journal increased determination, enthusiasm, alertness, and energy.

In effect, by practicing gratitude you could have more energy in your day to exercise. You can reduce the stress in your life to curb stress eating and emotional attachments to food. Better sleep as a result of gratitude journaling can also help you with muscle synthesis and increase energy levels to get you the best results from your workouts. All of these would work together to help you move more and eat less—the two proven ways you can shed those unwanted pounds without constant dieting.

How to Practice Gratitude

It only takes a few minutes a day to recognize, acknowledge, and practice gratitude everyday. Start with taking just a moment to jot down some notes on a notepad or on your phone. Try doing this once a week at the minimum. Keep it up for at least three months to see best results.

If you need some prompts on how to keep a gratitude journal, try choosing one topic a day from these journal prompts listed below:

Just remember, acknowledging gratitude is not about comparing yourself to how other people may be worse off than you are. Take time to really appreciate the smallest aspects of your current situation. This is where a gratitude journal can come in handy as it is something tangible that you can go back to and reflect on.

I always tell my clients that losing weight is not complex, but it is definitely complicated. Losing weight is about getting adequate exercise while eating just the right amount of calories from nutrient dense foods. The complicated part comes from daily stress, lack of sleep, lack of self-love and motivation, and physical, economical and psychological barriers. Gratitude journaling is a great tool to help you make sense of some of the complicated stuff that makes weight loss so difficult for many.

Event, Exercises, Health, Informational

Intermittent Fasting, Client Spotlight, and the Must-Try Shoulder Workouts of the Month

Intermittent Fasting: Fad Diet or Effective Weight Loss Method?

Every few months a new fad diet pops up that promises an incredibly easy and effective way to shed those unwanted extra pounds, fast. While most of these types of diets shock your body into losing weight quickly (usually due to the high caloric deficit caused by eliminating whole food groups) they often deprive you of much-needed nutrients and of your sanity as well. The end result is that most people will yo-yo back to their previous weight once the restricted food groups are reintroduced back into the diet.

Sunny’s Take on the Situation: What’s the Deal?

At PostivelySTRONG Health Solutions, we don’t believe in fad diets. Eliminating whole food groups is frowned upon unless you have a food intolerance or history of food allergies. It should also be noted that calorie restriction is not seen as the only way to lose weight. In fact, most clients are quite surprised to see that eating a varied and colorful diet without eliminating whole food groups is the norm. This includes dairy, bread, and even (gasp!) sugar. 

However, there are certain methods to nutrient timing that have scientific backing, and some forms of calorie restriction are necessary for weight loss. One such method is Intermittent Fasting (IF), which is a diet that I sometimes recommend to my clients.

IF is an eating pattern where you either: 

  • A) eat how you would normally eat for 5-days out of the week while vastly restricting calories for two nonconsecutive days out of the week.

OR 

  • B) you only eat all of your daily required calories in two to three meals in an 8 to 10-hour window and fast the rest of the time (usually fasting while sleeping and in the morning).

Here’s why IF is a trend I can get behind:

IF can help you lose weight while encouraging your body to burn stored fat as energy to fuel your body. Benefits include cranking up your metabolism and balancing of hormones. This is accomplished through a reduction in your caloric intake and nutrient timing to get your hormones to fire correctly (i.e. decreased insulin resistance + increase in growth hormones = an increase in the fat-burning hormone Leptin). IF has also been credited with improving heart health.

Here’s how IF can turn on you:

IF can’t fight the good fight against junk food. So don’t expect to lose weight if you are eating everything in sight in those eating windows. Also, it’s definitely not a diet for everyone. There are reports of women experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle after starting IF.  Also, individuals with chronic illnesses, advanced diabetes, or prone to eating disorders, I encourage you to explore other lifestyle and nutrition changes that may better suit your individual needs.

Client Spotlight: Kendra J

Sunny’s Client Kendra is a travel expert who has been working with PositivelySTRONG health solutions for the past 4 years. Her contagious smile and warm personality make her a delight to work with. Her strong self-drive and consistent work ethic make her the dream client. We recently caught up with Kendra and asked her a series of questions to better understand how she enjoys working with Sunny at PositivelySTRONG Health.

Hi Kendra, can you describe your health and fitness regimen before you started with PositivelySTRONG Health?

Before I started working out with Sunny, I was a person that focused a lot on cardio and how much I weighed. I would go through spurts where I was doing kickboxing, running on a treadmill, anything cardio-focused. Which is funny because I really hate cardio—and probably why after a few months I would be over it. 

I would also lift light weights with the fear of gaining too much muscle and didn’t go into the gym with a set workout so I would often wander around with no direction or what body part I should be focusing on. Eating-wise, I would go through periods where I would eat low-carb salads with protein to quickly lose weight, and then politely gain it back once I hit my target size.

What problem(s) were you trying to solve by signing up with PositivelySTRONG Health? 

I wanted to figure out a long-term solution to what I should be feeding my body and how I could incorporate working out consistently and with purpose.

What made you happiest about working with PositivelySTRONG?

Uh. Everything? I love that you challenge me with each new workout (or try to kill me. However you want to see it). Most trainers get weird and don’t acknowledge any disability and your workouts are mindful of my limits but also incorporate moves that will strengthen my arm. Also love that you know life happens and you don’t expect me to eat celery on my birthday, your 80/20 rule is the bee’s knees, and I love how your page gives me more ideas on how to switch up meal prep.

What have you been able to achieve since using our services?

Definitely a lot stronger and I love lifting now! I’m also mindful of what I’m putting in my body and I feel that I figured out what foods make my body happy. You made me rethink my relationship with food.

What has exceeded your expectations since working with Sunny?

Everything! You have been such a joy to work with. You don’t judge my heart if I disappear, but you also call me on my sh*t in a loving encouraging manner (don’t know how else to describe that lol).

What’s the main reason you recommend PositivelySTRONG Health?

Sunny is a thoughtful trainer that encourages her clients to push their bodies, don’t judge their own progress, and make taking care of yourself a priority and a mandatory thing.

What would you tell someone who’s considering working with PositivelySTRONG and/or Sunny?

To be prepared to be changed. You are going to be pushed/warmly shoved out of your comfort zone but it’s definitely worth it!

Thank you Kendra, we definitely appreciate your feedback and enjoy guiding you on your health and fitness journey!

Two Best Shoulder Boulder Workouts To Try Today

For maximum strength, body symmetry, and proper posture, look no further than these two shoulder workouts demonstrated in this video:

Continue reading “Intermittent Fasting, Client Spotlight, and the Must-Try Shoulder Workouts of the Month”
Food, Health, Informational

Ancient Superfood: 7 Health Benefits of Barberry

If you’ve never heard of the barberry, it’s probably because you haven’t had the chance to try the popular zereshk polo or tahchin of Persian cuisine.

In zereshk polo, tiny red berries (the barberry) dance on a bed of aromatic basmati rice and turmeric saffron chicken. Tahchin on the other hand is a savory rice cake where plain yogurt and chunks of succulent meat have been folded into saffron basmati rice, then baked to golden perfection.

But I digress. The purpose of this particular article isn’t to share a recipe or to make your mouth water, it is more to tell you about the health benefits of the Berbers vulgaris — or the Barberry.

The Barberry

Barberry shrubs grow in abundance in the mountainous north-east region of Iran. The small ruby-like berries contain the alkaloids berberine and oxycontin (alkaloids are nitrogenous organic compounds with pronounced physiological effects on the human body, i.e. many drugs contain alkaloids such as morphine and quinine.)

The Health Benefits of Eating Barberry

In recent history, the medicinal properties of Berberine has been studied at length. However, the use of barberries in Eastern and Western medical traditions goes back to at least 3000 years.

Recent research has found that berberine can:

  1. Increase immunity and fight infection
  2. Ease inflammation
  3. Improve digestion, reduce gastrointestinal pain and treat diarrhea
  4. Control blood sugar to aid in preventing and treating diabetes
  5. Improve hypertension and heart health
  6. Reduce oxidative stress
  7. Effectively cleanse the liver and act as a gallbladder flush agent

In traditional Eastern medicine, the barberry has a cold and dry nature. Historically, barberries in large quantities were used as a sedative by Iranian physicians, while in India they were used to treat diarrhea. Ancient Egyptians used barberry and fennel seed to cure fever and in northern Europe, the barberry is still used to treat disorders of the bladder, liver, and gallbladder.

How it’s Done

There are a few different ways you can incorporate the barberry into your diet.

A consistently balanced and healthy diet of varied fruits and vegetables, including the fruit of the barberry shrub is always going to be your best bet. My number one recommended method is to use it in real foods, like in the dishes I mentioned in the beginning of this article. As I’m not a seasoned recipe creator and do not want to copy and paste someone else’s hard work, I will refer you to someone who really knows their stuff… Try this delicious chicken, barberry and saffron frittata as shown by lovely chef/blogger Maryam Sinaiee, on her website The Persian Fusion. She has many other recipes for using barberries, some are very traditional, some are more fusion types. All seem delicious!

I am also partial to soaking dried barberries in boiling water, adding honey, then drinking as a kind of hot tea.

Where to Find Barberries

You can find Barberries at most Persian grocers, or you can also order online. Click the affiliate image below for my fave brand of barberries. Be warned that once in a while, small stones and stems are normal, and they should be thoroughly picked through and rinsed before use.

Dried-Barberries

Of course, it can be easier for some to take a high dose of barberry compounds in capsule form. So another way is to take berberine supplements. If I’m at the point where I HAVE to use supplementation, Thorne Research products are in my top 5. I’ve also included a link to the Thorne Research capsules in the affiliate image below.

Berberine

Let me know if you decide to make any Barberry recipes you find that I should know about. I make zereshk polo at least once a month, if not more, so I’m always looking for new ways of using Barberries as a part of my healthy diet.

To a berry positively strong week,

 

Sunny

Food, Health

How Garlic Can Help With Weight Loss

Too much garlic may give you bad breath, but its myriad of health benefits far outweigh those smelly side effects — not to mention the possible vampire protection you’ll have. But vampire jokes aside, research has found garlic to be effective in preventing and treating high blood pressure, reducing risks of dementia and heart attack, and successfully killing tumors and cancer cells. But another positive health benefit to garlic is that it may help you reach your weight loss goals too.

Can Garlic Help You Lose Weight?

Grown in abundance, inexpensive to buy, and easy to find in grocery stores (usually in the same aisle as potatoes and onions) it’s not difficult to add more of the bulb to your healthy diet. My mother-in-law talks about a time in England when garlic was seen as an exotic food from the east, and thus difficult to find everywhere. But lucky for you and me, garlic is now readily available via Amazon too.

I’m sure by this point you are asking, “That’s great that it’s so easy to find and fit into my diet, but get to the point Sunny… How does garlic ACTUALLY help you lose weight?”

Well, Garlic won’t help you drop 10 lbs overnight, but it does provide you with health benefits that aid with the steps you are already taking to lose weight (hello healthy diet and exercise!)

In fact, here are 5 different ways in which garlic can aid in losing those extra pounds and even help you maintain a healthy body weight. Continue reading “How Garlic Can Help With Weight Loss”

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”