Have you heard about the Cardio Myth?

I used to be that person hittin’ the cardio hard at the gym by getting on the treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour, I would stretch for 5-10 minutes, hit the weights for another 20-30 minutes, and then wrap up the workout by stretching again for another 5-10 minutes and be out. Other times, I would take a high impact cardio class like kick-boxing.

I would do this routine 3-5 days a week and saw very little results. I truly thought there was something wrong with me. But the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of people doing the same thing and experiencing little to no results!

It’s because getting fit starts in the kitchen. If you want to get fit, you must start with your diet.

Seriously!

Have you heard the saying, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”? Well, it’s true! Research shows that the most effective way to reach a healthy weight is through your nutrition. If you think that you’re going to get there by getting on the elliptical or treadmill for an hour, then you’re going to want to know more about the “Great Cardio Myth” and read Craig Ballentyne’s book where he explains why cardio exercise won’t get you slim, strong, or healthy.

Ballentyne shares a few interesting factors in his book. First of all, we don’t burn as many calories as we think we do when we’re on a machine. Secondly, those machines are lying to us. Thirdly, and worst of all, cardio makes people hungry!!

burpees and french fries

In a research study from British Journal of Sports Medicine, they found that people who did high cardio workouts often times ended up eating an additional 300 calories per day. And, at the end of the 12 -week program, they gained weight. This is known as ‘compensation’ by sports scientists: a person who exercises cancels out the calories they have burned by eating more, generally as a form of self-reward.

What!!! Not you, right?

Also, we’re not burning as many calories as those machines tell us that we’re burning either. The elliptical machine is the worst offender with a 42% over estimation in the number of calories you burn. So if you use an elliptical machine, and it tells you that you just burned 400 calories, then you probably only burned about 275 or 300 calories.

The truth of the matter is that cardio isn’t an effective tool for getting fit. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to run because you love it and want to blow off some steam, then more power to ya! But, if you’re doing it to get fit, lose weight, or get in shape… then cardio just isn’t going to get the job done, besides there are way more effective tools.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have tons of extra time on my hands and like to use my time wisely and effectively.

The University of Kansas published a study that was done in 2007 where they had men and women do an hour of cardio six days a week for an entire year, and they lost an average of five pounds. So that’s fifty hours of cardio in order to lose a pound of weight. That is crazy! I don’t know anyone that wants to work fifty hours to lose one pound.

There is a better way!

Get your nutrition right and eat a healthy balanced diet. It’s far more effective than exercise for fat loss.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t move our bodies or exercise… we absolutely should!! There is also that other saying, “Move it or Lose it!” I’m also a firm believer of that saying as well.

But, when it comes to exercise, bodyweight exercises like: push-ups, burpees, planks, mountain climbers, squats are far more effective. Another great thing about bodyweight exercises is that you don’t need a gym or equipment to do any of these exercises!!

Check out this video!

If you’re looking for someone who can help tailor a routine for you, And some accountability check out Adrien Jordan @  http://www.jordanphysique.com/

He’s personally helped our family with providing a routine tailored to meet our specific goals. In addition, we’ll be participating in his upcoming PrayFit class on Saturday mornings, starting June 24th. Adrien’s PrayFit class focuses on both your physical and spiritual health. Come out and join us.

Here’s to Living Healthy and Thriving!

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

 

 

 

The Benefits of Sleep and the Important Role it plays in your overall health!

I used to wear busyness and lack of sleep like a badge of honor.  I was the person that answered with the word “busy” when someone asked me how I was doing. What kind of answer is that? As if being busy and not sleeping meant that I had a lot of important things going on in my life. Well, I have spent the last year trying to “un-busy” my life. Because, busy was not cute and busy was killing me, literally!

My busyness and FOMO led to lots of late nights and very poor sleep habits. If you’re a busy person, I would venture to guess that you’re not getting an adequate amount of sleep either. But, did you know that too little sleep leads to a shorter lifespan?

When we entered this journey to get healthy, I was surprised to learn how vital a role sleep plays in your overall physical health. And, consistency is key!

Here’s some information I found really interesting about sleep.

  • Inflammation – I know that I talk about inflammation a lot, but that is because it is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less sleep—six or fewer hours a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more. (1)

Heart Disease is the NUMBER 1 killer of women.

This is why I say that my busyness was killing me. I was on the go so much that I was constantly sick. Not only was my diet highly inflammatory from all the sugar and processed foods that I was consuming, but my lack of sleep was a double whammy!

  • Have you heard of “Social Jet Lag”? This is when your weekday sleep pattern is different from your weekend’s sleep pattern because of staying out late, etc. Well, a study in the journal of Current Biology found that people with differing sleep schedules have triple the odds of being overweight. What’s more, the body mass index (BMI) of overweight people tended to rise as the gap between their weekday and weekend “time zones” widened. (2)

Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms and living against your body clock is detrimental to your health.

  • Melatonin – Another study published in the Journal of Pineal Research found that the melatonin secreted during your sleep cycle produces what they call Brown Adipose Tissue, (BAT) also known as “Brown Fat”. Guess what, Brown Fat is Good! It works like muscle in that it aids in eliminating excess body fat. But, optimal amounts of melatonin are secreted when you create a consistent sleep cycle. (3)

melatonin

This is why Consistency is key!

I never would have guessed that a consistent Light & Dark Cycle would aid in burning excess body fat. Knowledge truly is power, because I no longer feel like I’m missing out or consider myself lazy when it comes to getting my sleep.  I KNOW that prioritizing a sleep routine is good for my health and overall wellbeing. That being said, It’s hard breaking the Go, Go, Go lifestyle. I have to remind myself regularly that it is OKAY to take care of myself. I don’t have to be Super Woman and be everything to ALL people. What I’m able to do is enough and I’m okay with that. A mentor of mine told me that, “You’re going to have to say no to “good things” and that’s okay. You can’t do everything.”

It took a long time for me to live that out in my life and it’s an ongoing process.

good night

Make SLEEP a priority! — How do you put this in action?

Create a Sleep Routine. Here are some ideas:

  1. Create a regular sleep schedule – remember consistency is key!
  2. Set an Alarm to start winding down (45 mins to 1 hour) before your desired bedtime
  3. Turn of your electrical devices (especially your phone and computer) blue light effects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength.
  4. Write down your to-do list so that you can relax and not worry about what you have to do the next day.
  5. Unwind: Take a bath, have a relaxing cup of tea, pray or meditate, read a book. These will help you unwind and tell your body it’s time for bed.
  6. Finally, sleep in a dark room! Invest in some black out curtains and remove all artificial light.

With a consistent sleep routine you can Reap the following Benefits!

  • Improved memory
  • Improved athletic performance, less prone to injury
  • Improved mood and mental health
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Improved metabolism
  • Less pain/decrease in inflammation
  • Stronger Immunity

Your life is a result of your habits. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.

Here’s to living healthy and thriving!

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

 

 

 

How to get rid of those Aches & Pains!

I used to think that my body ached because I was getting older and that I would have to get used to these aches and pains as my new normal, but now I know that’s not true!

Before changing our diet and relationship with food, we were miserable. My husband and I were feeling pretty crummy most of the time. Our bodies physically ached, we were tired, and worn-out.  We took pain relievers like Ibuprofen and Tylenol pretty regularly.

But, the reason why we started this blog is because we knew that there had to be other people out there that were feeling sick and tired too! And, we don’t want them to feel like that ONE MORE DAY!

What if I told you that you could be free from those aches and pains by healing your body through your food choices? Those are the words I heard on a podcast one day on my way to work. Those words piqued my interest because I have never been a fan of taking a pill to hide symptoms caused by a “root problem”. I’d much rather deal with the root and not just the symptom.

The nutritional experts explained that my body aches were “sugar aches”.

It was here that I learned how sugar causes inflammation in the body. In addition, I was surprised to learn that that three cups of pasta breaks down into 25 grams of sugar, or glucose in your body. This was such an eye opener for me because our family was eating pasta at least twice a week, if not more! No wonder we were achy.

It’s not just sweet treats that contain sugar either, it’s literally lurking everywhere. Especially processed foods. Did you know that a nine-ounce bag of chips breaks down into 32 teaspoons of sugar? Now, If you wash down the chips with a soda, that’s another 16 or more teaspoons of sugar.

Trans Fats are another source that causes inflammation in the body. Transfats can be found in your favorite flavored coffee creamers, french fries, crackers, muffins, and all kinds of processed foods.

So, the key to eliminating the aches and pains is to eat REAL FOOD and eliminate the processed food.

real-food-vs-fake-food2

Real foods are meat, veggies, eggs, and healthy fats. All of these foods will decrease inflammation.

Remember that highly processed foods, especially those containing sugar and trans-fats (oils that are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, such as margarine and refined vegetable oils) increase inflammation and pain.

If you think that you might be experiencing

“Sugar – Aches” I challenge you to put it to the test!

Do your own experiment.  Give it a try and stop eating processed carbs for a few weeks. Avoid soda, candy, chips, cereal, and other processed foods. I am willing to bet that you will experience less pain and inflammation. I have learned that Nutrition is your best line of defense against sugar-aches!

Let us know how it goes!

Here’s to living healthy and thriving.

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of a Health Challenge!

I remember seeing numerous fitness challenges pop-up on my Social Media feeds and thought they weren’t for me. I didn’t need a  “Challenge” to get healthy. I could totally do this on my own. Also, since I try to be fiscally responsible, I thought these challenges were a huge rip-off.  Finally,  I was pretty sure that the results they were selling were not “typical”. That was until I was invited by a co-worker to join the Whole Life Challenge (WLC). I’m so glad that I said yes and paid the $50 registration fee. I truly believe it was worth every penny. (Please note: I haven’t received a dime from WLC to say that either) Over the next 8 weeks, I gave myself permission to focus on getting healthy and committed to the process 100%.  Fast forward, I’m about to start my third WLC challenge. What!!?? Who is this person? 😉

Here are 7 reasons why I WLC!

  1. Easy to follow plan. –  They lay it out for you and take out the guess-work!
  2. Competition motivates me. I didn’t realize that I was competitive! Don’t worry, it’s totally friendly competition. 😉 The competition aspect inspired me to reach my goals daily.
  3. Community and accountability – This is the part that surprised me the most. There is really something amazing that happens when you have a community of support and being vulnerable to others about your struggles. The community has always been very supportive and encouraging. This is the part I miss most when the challenge is over.
  4. Keeps me focused on my goals of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’ve always struggled with giving myself permission to focus on getting healthy. There are always so many other things competing for my attention. In addition, it’s so much easier to say no to tempting treats when you’re on the challenge. Helps you get in the habit of saying no. This not only includes what you put in your mouth, but also how you spend your time.
  5. Resources and tips provided. WLC provides lots of resources from recipes to exercises, stretches, and life stories. In addition, your teammates provide resources and tips as well.
  6. I feel great! – This might be the biggest reason. I always have more energy when I’m on the challenge. I’m rested because of my sleep goals. My skin is better from the hydration goal, and I feel super motivated.
  7. Results! Okay, this is probably the biggest reason. Who am I kidding? The first time I did the challenge, I lost 21 lbs in 8 weeks. The second challenge, I lost 5 pounds, which may not seem like a lot, but I also lost 3 inches in my waist! 2 inches in my hips and another 2 in my arms. These are results I can get behind.

I’m looking forward to my third challenge that starts on May 20th. Each challenge has been a little different and I’m expecting a different experience this time around as well.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit: www.wholelifechallenge.com . If you’re interested in joining my team, we’d love to have you. My team name is: The All-IN Crew. And, we’re gonna rock it!

Here’s to living healthy and thriving!

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

When should I buy Organic?

 

Have you wondered if it’s necessary to buy all organic produce? Does this seem unrealistic because of budgetary constraints? Because let’s face it, buying organic is more expensive. If that’s you, then you’ll want to know more about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 shoppers guide!

Every year since 2004, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a couple of lists called The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 shoppers guide. These lists are here to help us determine when we should buy organic. The results are based on EWG’s analysis of tests done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture each year. Over 35,000 samples of produce are used to conduct the tests. It’s also important to note that the fruits and vegetables are washed and pealed if they have an outer layer before the tests are conducted.

The Dirty Dozen list contains the most contaminated produce with the highest pesticide residue.  It’s recommended that you buy organic when purchasing these fruits and veggies. Pears are new to the dirty dozen list this year. In addition, the 2017 report indicates that 99% of the strawberries tested positive for pesticides and some samples had as many as 21 different pesticide residues. Yikes!!

The EWG also recommends that hot peppers should be purchased organic because tests show that hot peppers are contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.  Double Yikes!! If you cannot find or afford organic hot peppers, cook them, because pesticide levels typically diminish when food is cooked.

Here’s the 2017 Dirty Dozen List in Alphabetical Order:

  1. Apples
  2. Bell Peppers
  3. Celery
  4. Cherries
  5. Grapes
  6. Lettuce
  7. Nectarines
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Potatoes
  11. Spinach
  12. Strawberries

Here is the 2017 Clean 15 List. This list contains produce with the least amount of pesticide residue.

  1. Avocado
  2. Asparagus
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Corn (sweet)
  7. Eggplant
  8. Grapefruit
  9. Honeydew melon
  10. Kiwi
  11. Mango
  12. Onion
  13. Papaya
  14. Peas (sweet)
  15. Pineapple

You can click here for a downloadable PDF guide of EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Did you know that less than one percent of our farmland is dedicated to growing organic crops? As consumers we can send a message by buying more organic foods! As demand for organic food and products increases, technological innovations and economies of scale should reduce costs of production, processing, distribution and marketing for organic produce.You can read more about EWG by visiting their website @ www.ewg.org

I hope you find this information as helpful as it has been for me!

Here’s to living healthy and thriving!

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

What We’re Eating!

People often ask us what we’re eating, so I put together a list of items that we eat and included items that we try to avoid! 

I hope that you find it helpful. Again, I’m not a nutritionist or a healthcare professional. I think it’s always great to sit-down with a professional and seek their advice.

But, I’d like to share what has worked for us. Over the last year, my husband, sons, and I have followed the nutrition list I created below and collectively we have lost nearly  200 lbs! So, we know it works 🙂 because we have seen results! But, we’re also pretty committed to staying on course. We live by this list 99.9% of the time. 

The Key is really just to eat Whole Foods and stay away from the processed junk!

Here’s the EAT AND AVOIDList!

Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing gingersemail@gmail.com!

Here’s to living healthy & thriving!

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

The Journey to Health & Wellness from my child’s point of view.

My husband sat down with our youngest son Isaiah for an interview, to get a better understanding about his point of view in our journey to wellness.

Here is what our 14 year-old had to say! I hope it’s helpful and encouraging to families out there. We’d love to hear your stories too! Please feel free to share your story by emailing us @ gingersemail@gmail.com.

Question: What made you want to change your eating habits?

Isaiah: I saw my mom doing it and asked if I could do it with her.

Question: How did you feel physically and emotionally before you changed your eating habits?

Isaiah: I couldn’t do a lot of the physical activities my peers were able to do. Like: run the mile, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. I constantly felt bad about myself, I thought I was fat and felt really insecure. I was always the quiet one because I didn’t want to bring attention to myself.

Question: How do you feel now?

Isaiah: I never get sick anymore, and I have more energy. I can do all the physical activities I wasn’t able to do before. I’m definitely a lot more confident and not as shy as I used to be.

Question: Was it hard to give up certain foods? If so, has it gotten easier over time?

Isaiah: It was hard to give up sugary drinks, but I was so motivated to keep going because I saw results almost instantly in the way I felt and on the scale. Once I saw the results, I just kept going until it became a regular routine.

Question: Do your eating habits affect your relationships at school? What are your biggest challenges at school in regards to your eating habits?

Isaiah: I have people at school that make smart remarks about what I eat and what I refrain from eating, but at the same time they also acknowledge my commitment and ability to say no to certain foods. The biggest challenge is being offered candy sometimes, but most people know that I don’t eat candy and don’t offer.

Question: If you could say anything to your peers about their eating habits, what would it be?

Isaiah: Convince your parents to eat better, so that you can eat better. But, it would be weird for the child to be the one to tell their parent what to eat. My friends usually blame their parents for the way they eat and say they don’t have any control of what their parents feed them or make them for lunch.

Question: Do you think you will carry on these healthy habits forever?

Isaiah: Yes, because it’s just a part of me now. Even when I go to college, I’m going to have to try to figure out how I can choose healthy options.

Question: What were some changes that you saw, but didn’t expect?

Isaiah: I didn’t expect that my confidence would change. Also, I have more energy and I improved my mile time from a 10 minute mile to 6:56. I’m also a better student and my grades have improved as well.

Question: What’s your favorite thing to eat?

Isaiah: Sushi or Koobideh with humus and Tzatziki.

Question: What would you tell parents out there that are reading this?

Isaiah: Parents are a child’s best motivator and encouragement. Try to set a good example for your kids.

Well there you have it – a 14 year-old’s point of view. This site is about our collective and individual journey’s and I think it’s important we hear from a child’s perspective.

But to be honest, when I started this quest for health and wellness last June, it was truly a selfish decision. I knew that I had to make a change to get healthy because I was truly sick and tired of being sick and tired. Initially, I would make two different meals. One that I could eat and one that I thought my kids wanted. I didn’t want to force my eating habits on my kids, but I quickly found out that my 13 year-old was sick and tired of being sick and tired too. He was the one that asked me if he could participate in this process. It was at that moment, the light bulb went off. I was doing a disservice to my children all of these years. If the food I was consuming was making me feel so horrible, why would I want to feed my children that food? I really don’t know why it took so long for it to click, but I’m sure glad that it finally did.

I’m also glad that we’re all in this journey together. I’m hoping to share my older son’s perspective as well. Stay tuned 🙂

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will find encouragement in Isaiah’s words.

Please feel free to share your story by emailing us @ gingersemail@gmail.com.

We only have one life, let’s make it count! Here’s to living health and thriving.

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

NEAT ways to burn more calories!

Also known as, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, NEAT is the energy we expend for regular physical activities such as: walking, cooking, typing, yard-work, washing dishes, etc. Over the last year, I’ve been working on ramping up my NEAT activity throughout the day. Research shows that even trivial increases in NEAT activity will increase metabolic rate substantially.

So, even if you don’t feel like hitting the gym regularly, try increasing your NEAT activity throughout the day. You will see that the more you move, the more energy you will have. You know what they say, Move it or Lose it!

Here are 7 ideas to increase your NEAT:

  1. Park at the far end of the parking lot.
  2. Take the stairs!
  3. Set an alarm to take a short walk and/or stretch every 1-2 hours.
  4. Walk on your lunch break or experiment with walking meetings.
  5. Cooking! Move around while you’re cooking, or put on some music and dance.
  6. If you’re going to watch TV – how about doing some stretches or some squats or even some arm circles while your watching. Also, sitting on a ball while watching tv will engage your core.
  7. Dance! Just put on some music and move. As I mentioned in #4, you can also do this when you’re cooking or even cleaning. It makes those activities a lot more fun as well.

I hope these tips help, but the bottom line is to get up and move! Sitting for extended periods of time has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity,” says April Plank, MS, MBA, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and performance enhancement specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “Getting up hourly and walking to the restroom, getting a refill of water, or standing up to stretch can decrease stiffness, boost energy, and burn calories.

If you’re interested in learning more about N.E.A.T, check out the book, Move a Little, Lose a Lot by endocrinologist James Levine, M.D. In his book, Levine explains how increasing your NEAT time increases the number of calories you burn each day by making a few tweaks in your daily routine.

Now, What does your N.E.A.T. routine look like?

We only have one life- let’s make it count! Here’s to living healthy and thriving.

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

Eating Whole Foods is Yummy too!

Eating healthy always seems to carry this negative stigma with it, as if healthy equates to bland and tasteless. I don’t know what nutritious foods you’ve been eating, but my meals are YUMMY and far from bland and tasteless! Our family always eats well and we enjoy our meals.  I have two boys and they never complain. In fact, we rarely have left overs because they come back for seconds! I promise that eating nutritious foods doesn’t mean you have to eat twigs and cardboard.

So, click here to access some tasty recipes that can be found on my Pinterest board! I tried to include a good mix of different type of dishes. From mains, to sides, and something to satisfy that sweet tooth, but All are gluten and sugar-free! 

I hope you enjoy them and make something great for your family this weekend! Let us know if you find a favorite recipe or if you have one to share with us!

We only have one life- let’s make it count! Here’s to living healthy and thriving.

 

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3

 

 

 

Keep a Food Journal!

food journal

Keeping a food journal has many benefits especially in your journey to getting healthy and thriving. A Kaiser Permanente study involving more than 1,600 people found that those who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight over six months compared to those who weren’t regular recorders. Did you know that most people eat 30% more than they think and don’t realize how much their perception differs from reality. Often, our excuse for not keeping a food journal is because it takes too much time, but the truth of the matter is that it truly doesn’t. If you have 30 minutes each day to sit down and watch tv, you have enough time to keep a food journal. It’s important that we make our health a priority.

Keeping a food journal can be done in different forms. You can track it old school with pen and paper (click here for template) or opt for a food tracker app on your cell phone. Here are a few Free Food Tracking Apps:

  1. Myfitnesspal
  2. Spark People
  3. Lose It

Once you determine a food tracking option that you’re comfortable with, make a commitment to track everything you eat and/or drink for the next three days without making any modifications to your regular diet. Eat as you normally have, but this time make sure you write everything down. Make sure you include the times you graze from your co-workers candy dish. If you bite it, write it! If you drink it, ink it!

Afterwards, take time to analyze your food habits. Are you drinking enough water each day? How many servings of fruits and vegetables did you eat each day? How much of your diet consists of processed foods? Do your meals consist of protein, healthy fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc.) , and carbs (fruits & veggies)? Are you eating every 3-4 hours? If not, are you reaching for processed foods to curb your blood sugar dip? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself and also take note of food triggers or sensitivities.

Now, for the next 21 days, you’re going to plan your meals ahead of time and continue to track everything that you consume. Why 21 days? Because it takes 21 days to create a habit. It’s not too long, but long enough to establish a healthy pattern. Here are some other reasons why keeping a food journal is beneficial:

  1. Keeps you accountable!
  2. Helps you recognize your eating patterns.
  3. Can help identify food intolerance and triggers.
  4. You’re less likely to perform mindless eating.
  5. Keeps you motivated!

I recommend that you keep a journal for at least 21 days every 6 months. That way it doesn’t feel overwhelming to keep this going indefinitely, but it can get you back on track when you start to slip back into bad habits. Journaling is also great with breaking through plateaus. When you lose weight, you need to adjust your consumption and journaling can help with that process by re-assessing your caloric intake.

Keeping a food journal has been super beneficial for me, but it only works if you are 100% honest.

We only have one life – let’s make it count! Here’s to living healthy and thriving.

Peace & Love,

Gingerleeplus3