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Tuscan Chicken Salad

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This salad is fresh, healthy and balanced.  Navy beans are a great carbohydrate source.  Sundried tomatoes and olives give this salad a wonderful mixture of flavours!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Navy Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz Grilled Chicken Breast, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olives
  • 1 Tbsp Sundride Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp light Parmesan Cheese
  • Greens, as desired
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic (or as desired)
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine dressing ingredients.  Combine everything and toss.

Calories: 382     Protein: 37 g     Fat: 14 g     Carb: 32 g

Fit Tip:  Grill up extra meat when preparing food.  That way you can have left over to make salads or sanwiches throughout the week with the leftovers!

Why Yo-Yo Dieting Is Bad for You

  • Why Yo-Yo Dieting Is Bad for You

Last spring you reached your goal weight and celebrated by hitting the beach in a bikini. Then your job got stressful, you had trouble finding time to work out, and your cruise vacation had a round-the-clock all-you-can-eat buffet. Now when you step on the scale, you realize there’s no way you’re going to fit into the dress you bought for your friend’s wedding next month unless you start dieting…again.

We’re betting that this scenario sounds all too familiar. Yo-yo dieting — or weight cycling, as experts call it — is practically a national pastime.

It’s not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen. These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  Other issues arise such as more new permanent fat cells making it harder to reach your goal each time. What ends up happening is it takes longer to reach a new fat loss goal.

Your confidence also takes a hit. The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs. No one wants to diet forever; it’s hard work.

Which is why we know you’re ready to lose the weight and keep it off.

Tips to Stop the Yo-Yo Cycle

Soothe Without Food

You’ve got a looming deadline at work, your in-laws are coming to town, and the house is a mess. Before you know it, you’ve demolished an entire bag of chips while freaking out over your to-do list. “Stress eating can quickly turn into a binge: We don’t register what we’re munching on because the food’s going down so fast,” says Martin Binks, PhD. When you feel overwhelmed, consult your list and pick out something you can do in the next 10 minutes. Go for a quick walk or post a Facebook status update. Either will distract you long enough for your stress levels to come down.

Change Your Goals

There will always be a reunion, wedding, or vacation to slim down for. But once the big event has come and gone, what will keep you from splurging on dessert every night? With special-occasion weight loss, it’s all about dropping pounds quickly, Do this too often and you may find that it’s even harder to lose than before. Constant crash dieting causes your body to cling to the calories you do eat because it’s not sure when it’s going to get more. Rather than keep the pounds off just long enough to impress strangers on your vacation, think about rewarding long-term achievements. Maybe you want to train for your first half-marathon or get in shape to hike the Grand Canyon. Setting a big new goal each time you check one off your list will keep you headed in the right direction.

Scale Back

Yes, the point of dieting is to ditch pounds, but focusing solely on calories in and calories out can make it hard to stick to your plan if you aren’t seeing results. Even if you’re doing everything right, your weight can fluctuate based on the time of day or how hydrated you are. Instead of obsessing about every morsel, think about how eating right and exercising make you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you able to keep up with your kids? If you take the time to notice the positive effects of each healthy behaviour — whether it’s pushing away from the table before you clean your plate or biking for 30 minutes a day — it’s easier to motivate yourself to stay on track. Focus on the positives of long term health!

Track Your Meals

Studies show that tracking what you eat every day can help you lose up to twice as much weight as people who wing it. But forget the pen and paper. Use an app like My Fitness Pal, or calorie count. You can save meals, recipes reuse them the next day if your meal choice is the same and scan nutrition labels with the camera on your phone making it easy and convenient. Restaurant menus are typically there so you can choose and get close to the calories you are aiming for as well!

More Stick-to-It Weight-Loss Strategies

Kick It Up a Notch

Your weight isn’t the only thing that can yo-yo; motivation can wax and wane too. Instead of skipping your workout when you’re feeling less than inspired, get over the hump by intensifying your efforts. Pushing yourself a bit harder than usual shows that you can take on and tackle tough challenges, which boosts your confidence. Try new exercises or classes. Record new personal bests and attempt to overcome those! The more pumped you are, the easier it is to bounce back from inevitable setbacks and plateaus. The next time you’re dragging, partner with a faster or stronger friend for your usual workout or opt for the advanced yoga class rather than the intermediate one. Workout at home with a body weight circuit on u tube!

Know How Low You Should Go

If you find yourself stuck at a certain weight for more than a month, it could be that you’re fighting an unnecessary battle. You may want to be 130 pounds, but if you’re doing everything you can — tracking macros and exercising it may not be right for your body. You may be under exercising or over exercising that’s where we can help. To gauge whether you’ve lost enough weight, take a good look at your body. Take measurements before you start and a before picture as well as pictures every few weeks to compare. If you’ve got a lot of excess around your tummy, you probably should keep trying to lose a few more pounds. But be aware that stress and lack of sleep can impede fat loss so getting that under control may speed up the process. Dropping calories too quickly will cause you to plateau faster (1200-1300) for women and (1600-1800) for men. Overcoming plateaus may take a slight boost in calories for a few weeks or if you are really lean carb re-feeds are in order. (refer to our blog on our site)

You know that sticking to a diet is easier if you have a friend who is also shedding pounds. But teaming up with someone who has already lost the weight and kept it off can be even more useful, a mentor can empathize, help you navigate potential pitfalls, and remind you of how good it feels to be in control of your body.

Remove the Clutter

A messy house can interfere with your efforts to make smart choices. It’s hard to feel inspired to workout or to go for a walk if you can’t find your sneakers. Plus, an overflowing pantry or fridge makes it more likely that at mealtime you’ll opt for takeout or packaged food instead of digging around to see if you have healthy ingredients to cook. A few hours spent cleaning can do wonders for your waistline. Clear the counters so you have no excuse not to prepare meals. Then clean out and restock your pantry and fridge with good-for-you picks — fruits, vegetables, lean meats, soups, and whole grains. It’s simple to whip up a quick, satisfying dinner when you know you’ve got tasty foods on hand.

Treat UP!

Only allow 10% of your calories to come from your favourite treats but track it! Studies show that people who can hit the same calorie deficit but include a small portion of their go to treats, lose more fat in the long term and are less likely to gain body fat back! Many people comment when we first suggest this approach for low carb, eat clean all or nothing approach types is “i’ll eat the whole box or bag”. Once they realize that they are still losing body fat and having choice treats more often, the lure and temptation goes away. There is no post consumption guilt and big binges that cause the person to throw in the towel.  You do not have to completely restrict yourself to get to your goal, and the research on fat loss supports this. One of many studies compared a low calorie approach of the same calories with 44% table sugar in one group to 7% table sugar in the other, guess what? There were no significant fat loss differences or health markers. The only real downside is less satiety and less nutrients supplied and possibly chemical additives. 
There you have it! A few more tips to include in your arsenal!
NEED HELP OR YOU’VE TRIED EVERYTHING AND ARE STUCK DON’T BE SHY! CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION! 

Pesky Water Retention!

tape-measureHave you ever been trucking along nicely on a leaning out phase  and then, out of nowhere, had your scale freeze up on you? That is, you go one, two, even three weeks without losing any weight, and without looking any leaner? Plateaus are inevitable but quite often it is due to pesky water retention.

That being said, increased water retention can also be the cause of “mysterious” weight stagnation.Women can really suffer from this due to the fluid retention that comes with the menstrual cycle.

If you’re not familiar with water retention and what to do about it, it can really throw you for a loop because cutting calories further and increasing cardio–the two simplest ways to get the scale moving again–can actually make it worse. You may further increase the length of the plateau by overtraining the nervous system, and lowering metabolic hormones. This is purely individual.

So, let’s learn more about fluid retention and weight loss, and how to defeat it so you can avoid this aggravating pitfall.

In a perfect world, we would always lose weight in a timely, orderly fashion.

We would do our daily exercise, follow our meal plans or macro and calorie counting and wake up a little lighter and leaner every morning. On we would go until we eventually have our dream body,

Well, it very seldom works out like that.

It turns out that weight loss can be quite erratic sometimes. You can sit at the same weight for several weeks, and then lose 3-4 pounds overnight, and it can sometimes occur after binging or re-feeding. Re-feeding  on carbs can increases metabolic rate when you have been on low calories and low carbs for weeks at a time. Refer to our re-feeding article.

How is that possible? I mean, as long as you maintain a daily caloric deficit, your body is going to mobilize fat stores, so why would your weight stay the same? Well sometimes it doesn’t due to overtraining and the metabolism decline that occurs due to long duration calorie restriction.

The answer lies in water retention. If you lost a pound of fat in one week, it can be obscured–both on the scale and in the mirror–by an extra pound of water that your body is holding. Inflammation due to excessive exercise in the medium to high intensity range especially. 7-9 hours weekly will almost always do this in most individuals on low calories.  We have cut many people down to 4 hours a week of training without cardio and a slight boost in calories will start losing body fat who have hit a plateau.

While daily fluctuations in the amount of water you drink and sodium you eat account for most of the water you retain, now you do not need to reduce sodium, especially if you are sweating in the gym. Your body will excrete any extra and limiting sodium when you are active may impede your energy levels so it will go away in under a day or so. Just try to drink 4-6 litres of filtered water daily. Simply being in a caloric deficit can cause water retention. A major reason for this is the fact that it raises cortisol levels, which in turn increases fluid retention.

So, let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon and what we can do about it

Chug H2o

Drinking plenty of water helps normalize your fluid retention. Shoot for around 1 gallon per day. Or 4-5 litres daily.

Control your Cortisol levels

If you’re retaining a lot of water, it may be due to elevated cortisol levels. To normalize get your cortisol back down to normal levels, try the following:

  • Cut back on the exercise. Exercise elevates cortisol levels, especially medium intensity cardio like jogging and when combined with a caloric restriction, this can be a double-whammy of cortisol for your body. Reduce the frequency and intensity of your training for a week to help bring things back to normal. Stick to 2 full body training sessions for the week and do not go to muscular failure on any sets. Get out and walk in nature or increase the frequency you walk your dog.
  • Make sure you’re not in too severe of a caloric deficit. Go over your diet and compare it against your total daily expenditure using a calculation like the Katch McArdle (and use the “light activity” multiplier–unless you exercise more than 7 hours per week, higher multipliers will have you eating too much). Bring yourself to a 200-300 calorie deficit to avoid the cortisol issues that come with greater caloric restrictions. Another option is, if you have been restricting calories for 10-12 weeks or so add 150 calories to your meal plan each day for 1-2 weeks in the form of starchy carbs. Especially if you are eating 1200-1300 calories as a woman and 1700-1800 for a man. (These are rough estimates based on clients calories before they hire us. Yikes way too low!)
  • Relax. I know it is tough to do with the kids screaming and the bosses demands! You can reduce cortisol levels by simply taking some time each day to relax, listen to some good music, drink some tea, and restrict coffee to one cup a day.Or do some deep breathing. Taking a nap and getting a massage can help, too.

Carbs, carbs, carbs!

This is our favourite!

We have talked about the importance of “re-feeding” when you’re dieting, and its benefits extend to dealing with fluid retention. It isn’t always immediate but it helps you lose fat long term and we have many clients drop scale weight during 2500-4000 calorie carb re-feeds. Try to stick to mostly starches but some sugar and fruit is ok.

So have a bunch of high carb meals throughout the day and enjoy it as it can reduce cortisol levels.

There you have it!

You may have lost body fat but that pesky water retention was skewing your hard earned results!

Give some of these a try, feel free to leave comments and tell us about your experiences!

Metabolism Supporting Goodies

TOP FOODS FOR FAT LOSS



So as you all hear us preach, its all about creating a calorie deficit and expending more calories than your food intake provides to lose body fat daily.
In your pursuit to a leaner you there are a few foods that may help give you a slight edge in the tug of war of weight gain and fat loss.

Fish

One of the best sources of protein is fish. Most fish is low in fat, and the exceptions usually have a good form of fat — omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s, which are found in salmon, herring, and other fatty fish, may help protect against heart disease and other chronic conditions. Rich in Magnesium, both omega 3’s and magnesium help fight insulin resistance as well the protein can help support lean body mass while dieting.

Greek Yogurt

For those without dairy intolerances Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as other yogurts. It takes longer to leave your stomach, keeping you satisfied longer. Plus, you burn= more calories digesting protein than carbs. Choose nonfat, low-fat, and low-sugar types. Some organic brands may have more probiotics which may help with fat reduction in the latest research.

Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a nutritional all-star that belongs in your weight loss plan. This whole grain has 8 grams of hunger-busting protein and 5 grams of fiber in one cup, and you’ll also get iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Quinoa is as easy to cook as rice. For a quick dinner, mix in some vegetables, nuts, or lean protein.

Cinnamon Ginger Turmeric and Garlic


Some studies suggest cinnamon and ginger may have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels. This could curb your appetite, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. Nearly everyone can benefit from cinnamon in its traditional role. Stir some into your coffee, tea, or yogurt to add sweetness without adding calories. These spices may help with cardiovascular health and have some mild metabolism increasing properties if consumed in a standardized extract. Another great way to improve the taste of your meals with adding minimal calories.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers have a flavourless chemical called capsaicin. It’s more plentiful in habaneros, but jalapeños also have it. Capsaicin seems to curb appetite and speed up metabolism slightly, but only for a short time. It probably doesn’t have a big impact on weight, unless you eat less food because it’s spicy. Or down hot sauce at every meal every day.

Green Tea and White Tea

Several studies suggest green tea may promote weight loss by stimulating the body to burn abdominal fat. Green tea contains catechins, a type of phytochemical that may briefly affect the metabolism. To get the most benefit, you may need to drink green tea several times a day. We recommend organic and taking your tea hot, because it takes longer to drink, providing a soothing, mindful experience.

Organic Cocoa

Cocoa may help lower blood pressure, improve glucose levels, it has a mild stimulant called theobromine which helps release fat from the cells and also helps boost dopamine a feel good neurotransmitter.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit doesn’t have any magical fat-burning properties, but it can help you feel full with fewer calories. That’s because its soluble fiber takes longer to digest. As well it may increase the effectiveness of caffeine and green tea.

 

Berries

Like other fruits, berries are high in water and fiber, which can keep you full longer. They’re also very sweet, satisfying your sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories you would get from cookies or brownies. Blueberries are a good example because most stores carry them and they’re loaded with antioxidants.

Raw Vegetables

Raw vegetables make an outstanding snack. They satisfy the desire to crunch, they’re full of water to help you feel full, and they’re low in calories. Half a cup of diced celery has just eight calories. Coat celery with a little peanut butter or dunking carrots in salsa. When you’re in the mood for chips and dip, replace the chips with raw veggies. Raw veggies are higher in enzymes which may aid in digesting protein. Sounds good to me!

Sweet Potatoes

Think of the typical toppings on your baked potato — butter, sour cream, maybe cheese and bacon bits. If you substitute a sweet potato, you might not need any of that. Baked sweet potatoes are so full of flavour, they don’t need a lot. This can save you loads of calories. As a bonus, sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, beta carotene, vitamin C, and fiber.
We like to make them garlic mashed but a tsp of butter and some low fat greek yogurt goes very nicely as well or low fat sour cream and chives on top.

Eggs

One large egg has only 75 calories and 7 grams of protein, along with other vital nutrients. Remember, your body will burn more calories digesting eggs than a carb-heavy breakfast.
Natures perfect protein source, add tonnes of veggies throw in some extra egg whites to beef up the protein content or throw in some low fat cheese or ham and voila you have a restaurant worthy omelet!

Nuts

Nuts are an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They’re high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Studies suggest nuts can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. They’re also rich in calories, so limit your portions. If you have to get them out of their shell, you’ll slow down and not eat as much.

Air-Popped Popcorn

Three cups of plain, air-popped popcorn may seem like a lot, but you’re not getting a lot of calories. All that air adds volume without adding fat or sugar. We prefer non GMO corn with a tsp of coconut oil and sea salt. MMMMMMMMM. (Do not fear sodium, it has been clearly researched that individuals who exercise and sweat should not follow a low sodium diet!) Sodium is an essential mineral needed for thyroid hormone production!

Beans and lentils

Beans are high in antioxitants, a protein, and a great source of fiber. You feel full for very few calories. Open a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and toss them into soup or salad or mash them up to use as a dip. One cup packs 12 grams of fiber, just 4 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein. Bean dip, homemade hummus, are easy tasty ways to add these power houses to your meal plan.

Asparagus

Asparagus has plenty of positive effects in the body, and each of them seems to play a particular role in helping you lose weight. The first is that it assists your body in expelling toxins and other wastes. It also helps with digestion and keeps good bacteria in your gut. Not to mention that it’s a superfood, so it has a ton of vitamins and minerals that help you all-around.

A lot of dieters also like the way asparagus tastes, and it’s very easy to prepare, and accepts seasonings and spices very well making it an good addition to your regular menu.

Spinach and Kale

These nutrient-dense green, with a subdued, cabbage flavour, is superfood royalty. It’s chock full of fat releasing calcium, which research has linked to slimmer waistlines, It’s also got iron and lutein (“the eye vitamin”) and is versatile enough to use in soups in place of other greens. A great snack: Bake washed kale in the oven for 10 minutes with a sprinkle of sea salt as a healthier alternative to potato chips. It has phytonutrients that have shown to help expel bad estrogen metabolites from the body.
Spinach isn’t just for Popeye anymore, It is really in antioxidants as well and chlorophyll which helps PH balance the body. Easy mixed in eggs or blended up in a protein smoothie.

There are others of course, and variety is key when trying to improve your health.

Benefits of Resistance Training

fitnsync

20140706-190843.jpgWith more and more people around the world turning to resistance training to help them increase strength, flexibility, increase lean body mass and reduce body fat. I thought I would go through what the research says:

  • Has profound effects on the musculoskeletal system
  • Contributes to the maintainance of functional abilities
  • Increases flexibility
  • May prevent osteoporosis
  • May prevent sarcopenia
  • May positively affect risk factors such as insulin resistance, metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure
  • Research also indicates that virtually all the benefits may be obtained with two 15-20 minute sessions a week.

With all the benefits, this is a great addition to anyone’s lifestyle whether young or old.  

A few notes on a deeper look at resistance training, the average workout burns 40-60 grams of carbohydrates allowing one to consume more especially post workout when the body will replenish glycogen before storing them as adipose tissue (stored fat). The post…

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Creamy Filled, Berry, Gluten Free, Protein Packed Crepes

fitnsync

Creamy Filled Berry Gluten Free Protein Packed CrepesThis recipe is pleasing to the eye, as well as the belly.  It’s packed with protein and creamy Greek yogurt, and topped with a warm berry drizzle.  Try this out for breakfast (or any time of the day!)

Serves: 2

Serving Size: 3 Crepes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Rice or Quinoa flour
  • 1 1/2 Scoops Vanilla Whey Protein powder
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Cup 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp Stevia, divided
  • 1 Cup frozen, mixed berries
  • 2 tsp butter, for frying

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine flour, protein, milk, egg and 2 Tbsp stevia.  In a separate small bowl combine yogurt, vanilla and 2 Tbsp stevia.  In another bowl warm frozen berries in microwave approx 120 sec.  Heat non stick pan to medium heat.  Use a small amount of butter in pan (2 tsp to fry all crepes).  Pour…

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Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Spicy Buffalo Chicken WrapThis is a fast and easy meal idea for lunch or dinner.  Simply mix up some quick spicy buffalo sauce, add your chicken and veggies, wrap it up and go!  Grill your chicken in bulk when you have the time.  Then you can make easy quick meals like this one with left over chicken!

Serves: 1

Serving Size: 1 wrap

Ingredients

  • 1 large wrap (approx 30 g of carbs – gluten free varieties are available, some wrap brands wrap better than others.  I used Udi’s gluten free wrap.)
  • 3 oz or 1/3 Cup grilled chicken, sliced (4oz or 1/2 Cup if not using cheese)
  • 30 g 4% M.F.  Allegro Cheese (visit myallegro.ca for a retailer near you)
  • 1/2 pepper, sliced
  • 6 cucumber slices
  • onion slices, as desired
  • 3 Tbsp 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce, or as desired
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Directions

In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, hot sauce and garlic salt.  Place mixture and all other ingredients in wrap and roll it up!

Calories: 354     Protein: 39g     Fat: 6g     Carb: 36g