Tag Archives: metabolism

The Power of Protein

Losing weight can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.  Literally, it is up to you to determine your own success!

There you go!  Think about that and discuss. Ok, time’s up, here is my take on it.  (You can go back to discussing later.)

You set yourself back every time you have that “treat” or little bite of this or that, which for some reason you feel you, “Need”…ackh!

Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight, I congratulate you for taking the steps to be healthy.  I applaud you for making the decision.

Research shows that protein is a key factor in weight loss success.  The way that it does this is through the ‘thermic effect’ that it has on your body.

The definition of the ‘thermic effect’ of food is the increase in energy expenditure (calories burned) above your resting metabolic rate due to the cost of digesting your food for storage and use.

In easier terms, every time you consume food your body burns calories to digest that food.  Think about that one…you use energy to consume the energy that your body needs to use energy.

The interesting thing with this is your body does not require as many calories to digest carbohydrates and fat as it does protein.

For every 100 calories of carbohydrates or fat you consume your body only requires about 3-7 calories to digest those carbs and fat.  If you consumed 100 calories of protein your body requires around 24-28 calories to digest that protein. Hello protein!! 4 to 8 x more energy required to process protein.

Your body burns potentially up to 30% of the protein calories you consume just to digest that protein and only 3-7% of the carbs and fat you eat and digest.  Think about the net difference in what is left over.  That is a lot more energy that can be stored for a rainy day from eating too many carbs and fats…that is not what you want.

Need more science proof?  Studies report other benefits of protein:

  • Increased thermogenesis aka: faster metabolism thru the thermic effect of food
  • Fullness/satiety
  • Improved glycemic control aka: your body uses the sugars more for energy instead of storing them as fat

Increased protein intake also makes your brain turn on the production of the hormone glucagon.  Everyone knows what that is right?  That’s the one that keeps your insulin levels in check.  Less free sugar floating around in your body to get stored as fat.

One common problem to increasing your protein intake is the thought people have of trying to eat enough of it.  This is where a protein shake can really help.  Easy to prepare-cost effective and did I mention e-a-s-y; less than a minute to make a yummy shake!

Protein aids in lean muscle growth, increased metabolism, and accelerated fat loss. There are way too many choices of protein powders available, so let me narrow it down for you…make sure it is cold-processed. Like anything, when you add heat to it, changes occur.  With protein, heat changes to protein chain and you want it to be as pure as possible.  My protein powder is one of the good ones..ok, actually the best one, but I’m biased.

And don’t you dare confuse a smoothie for a protein supplement…did you know that Tim Horton’s Fruit Smoothies have a sugar content of between 30 and 50 grams with zero protein and they are pricey!

So, boost your protein intake with a protein shake.  Need a recipe? Here a few to get you started.

Berry Berry Good Shake

  • 1 scoop of Health & Fitness Systems Vanilla Protein
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (half banana –  optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Blend and enjoy

Mocha Shake

  • 1 scoop of chocolate Health & Fitness Systems Protein
  • Instant coffee (I like Starbucks Via)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Morning Starter

  • 1 scoop of chocolate Health and Fitness Systems Protein
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 heaping tsp of natural pb

Blend and enjoy!

Beat the February Blues – Exercise for Happiness


Beat it with Exercise!!

It’s Feb-Blah-ary, or Fe-BLUE-ary.  Post holidays, shorter days, early nights, cold temperatures.


The good news is that you can help your mood and boost your energy during these cold and non-sunny months.

Exercise might be the last thing you want to do to boost your mood and energy, but I GUARANTEE that you will feel better and look better!

Working out perks up your body chemistry:

When you are active, your body releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which will make all help you feel happy and help you relax…naturally!

Being active reduces your body’s production of cortisol.  It also has a calming effect on the body and thank goodness for that!  Could you imagine what I would be like without exercise?

Exercise will do this:

Boosts confidence: Achieving a fitness goal, no matter how small, will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Burns calories: How else does the weight melt away? Plus getting thinner and feeling more fit is likely to cheer you up.

Redirects your focus: You’ll be too busy trying to do one more rep of that crunch, curl, or kick to think about anything negative.

Shows you can do something positive: By choosing to get up and move, you’re taking care of yourself, and coping in a healthy way. And when you see that, you’ll believe you can take more steps forward.

How much exercise makes a difference?

So the most important thing is getting started. To get the greatest benefits, work your way up to at least 30 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week.

What kind of workout is best?

One you enjoy. Seriously. If it’s not something you like, you’re less likely to make the effort.

How do you get started?

The power of exercise doesn’t come from fancy equipment, but from the effort you put in. If you pick something you can get to and that fits your timetable, you’ve lowered the barriers to beginning.

Start today. Boost your activity level and help put a smile on your face.

Let me know if you think I’m right or wrong.  What feeling do you get when you exercise? Do you get a sense of accomplishment, personal pride?  I know I do, what about you?


Did you know? 6 Tips for Better Results and Words of Inspiration

“Nobody cares if you’re not a good dancer. Just get up and dance. The same holds true for racing. Whether first or last, we all cross that same finish line. Just get out there and run.”

Keep a Journal. I always say this and one of the first things I tell my clients to do is write it down! It’s one of the most overlooked but simple tips in shedding fat. People who record what they eat, meal by meal, day by day, not only make better choices, but cheat less and eat fewer total calories. Writing it down “keeps you honest” and is a tool for reminding you that getting lean is a day by day process.  TIP Write your health and fitness goal at the top of each journal page.

Graze Athletes, models, fitness professionals and nutritionists know that eating all day long keeps their total calories under control while providing sustained energy. The grazing method – 5-6 small meals elevates your metabolism. Each time you eat, your metabolism increases, and over a 6-10 week period, that increase can turn into another 2-3 pounds of fat loss.

Eat More Protein. Carbs, protein and fat – are equal in their efficiency to be stored as body fat, but protein exerts a greater metabolic boosting effect than carbs or dietary fat. One of the main reasons for that is that it takes more energy to process/digest protein.  Two tier benefit! You burn more calories while eating and when calories drop, protein saves muscle which helps keep the metabolism elevated. Aim for 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight daily.

Sip Green Tea. Green tea contains caffeine and polyphenols*. Some of those have a thermogenic effect which leads to an increase of calorie burning. These special calorie burning compounds help burn an extra 100 or-so calories a day. *(Dullo, A.G., et al., Efficiency of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 70(6):p.1040-5.)

Don’t Be Cardio Crazy! Radically reducing calories slows the metabolism short-circuiting fat loss. The same effect occurs with radical caloric expenditure. You know: 2 cardio sessions a day. Excess cardio slows the metabolism, promotes a loss in muscle and even can lower testosterone levels. For real results, stick to 4-6 sessions a week, 30 – 45 minutes at a clip and maintain a high level of intensity.  Most importantly, know what you are using cardio for…is it fat loss or endurance gain?

Set up Support When you decide to begin your plan to weight loss, health and fitness improvement or changing how you look and feel, you might get discouraged doing it alone.   Find support in what you are doing.  Share your plan with a TRUSTED person.  By that I mean someone who will support you through it all, help keep you accountable to your plan and pick you up when you get discouraged.  AVOID negative people or people who will try to bring you down or talk you out of it.  Chances are those people are intimidated by the prospect of you succeeding.

And as always…DRINK WATER!!

This is what you learn at boot camp.  This is what Boot Campers have to say…

  • I’ve learned that exercises that work big groups of muscles at once are way more effective than spending hours exercising every little muscle group individually.~Michelle
  • I have learned that I don’t have to settle for the level of fitness I’ve had in the past I am capable of going further than that! ~Cathy
  • I have learned …to trust my body, that this is a journey, to change my life in small steps, that I am in control of my own destiny, to not give up anymore. ~Sharon
  • I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for and receive support when it comes to weight loss and fitness. I don’t have to do it all on my own.~Shannon
  • I’ve learned that change is difficult but it CAN happen…with wonderful results! ~Angie
  • I learned that I can love myself as much or more than anyone else and that its okay. ~Selena
  • I’ve learned that I can always make a change… I don’t have to be stuck in a certain way of being. I can choose to do something different! ~Leslie
  • I’ve learned that eating supportive doesn’t mean you have to eat boring food! AND that being part of a support group with the same challenges and goals is a huge key to success! AND that slow and steady really does win the race!! aka the turtle!!!! AND I could just go on and on but will leave room for everyone else.  ~Karen


How inspiring and empowering is that!? No matter what fitness plan you decide to follow, I sure hope it has the same impact. You truly deserve all this and more! What have you learned?

Let me know…your words could inspire someone to change their life too!


Think your food choices are limited? Think again!

Need some great tips to refine your eating habits.  You know that I swear by eating healthy foods, making good nutritional choices and when you have less than ideal choices; make a better bad choice.  I know you’ll find this helpful and like always, there are great varieties of food here you can chose from.

Don’t destroy all your Boot Camp and other exercise efforts by making bad food choices that keep you from reaching your goals!

Eat This: Instead of:
Whole, natural foods Processed foods
Almonds Sugar-laden, trans fat snacks
Fruit Soda, juice, or candy
Nuts Chips, cookies, donuts, or cake
Vegetables Anything fried
Green Tea Coffee, soda, or sweet beverages
Lean meat Fatty meat or high-sodium meat
Low-fat Dairy Full fat dairy or ice cream
Water Coffee, soda, or sweet beverages
Raw Vegetables Bread and butter
Extra Vegetables Extra serving of bread or potato
Oatmeal Donut, pastry, or sugary cereal
Lean stir fry Fried Chinese food
Grilled, baked, broiled meat Battered, deep fried meat
Low sugar yogurt Sugary yogurt or ice cream
Sugar free natural food Sweetened food
Unsweetened ice tea Coffee, soda, or sweet beverages

4 Weight Loss Tips to Live and Lose By:

1. Eat at least five times a day at regular intervals

2. Eat 4 oz of lean protein at least twice a day

3. Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables and fruit

4. Make every calorie count, this means every bite should pack protein, fiber and fat.

10 Essential Nutrition-Based Weight Loss Guidelines:

1. Focus on eating a variety of foods every day.

2. Eat fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Green, yellow, orange, red….you get the idea.

3. Eat small meals frequently, preferably 4-6 times. Also avoid overeating or binge eating out of hunger.

4. Say no to extra fat! Avoid putting butter or sour cream on your food.

5. When you feel the first shot of hunger pain, wait it out. If you still feel hungry after 10-15 minutes then eat. If you aren’t hungry any more it was likely your emotions speaking and not your tummy!

6. Plan healthy meals ahead of time—this will save you many calories!

7. Stop eating before you feel full. Your brain is slow in receiving the full signal from your tummy – so give it a chance to catch up!  There is about a 20 minute belly to brain delay. Eat slower.

8. Eat fruits and vegetables first, then meats and lastly bread or other starches. This forces you to fill up on nutrient dense, yet calorie-sparse, foods first.

9. Drink water instead of  pop. Your body isn’t able to register all of the calories in liquid, so hundreds of calories add up without making you feel full.

10. Trade your white bread in for whole-grain bread.

10 Ways to Dining Out without Pigging Out

1. Don’t indulge in bread before your meal arrives

2. Substitute your fries for a side salad, fruit or a baked potato

3. Forgo your pop for a tall glass of ice water or tea

4. Instead of burgers, hot dogs and sausages choose sandwiches,  salads and lean meats

5. Always order your dressing on the side in order to regulate the amount that you use

6. Put half of your meal in a to go box before you start eating

7. Don’t order food that is made with creamy bases, such as white sauce

8. You don’t have to clean your plate! If you are full then stop eating

9. Eat your vegetables first…rather than last

10. If it’s fried then don’t order it

Spice it up for fat loss!

It is one of the most overlooked, but healthiest spices in the world…You might even call it a “fat burning spice”… in a roundabout
way.  Yes, it can actually help you win the battle against abdominal fat if you use it daily…I’ll explain why.

This miracle spice has many other benefits too:

  • controls blood sugar levels
  • helps maintain insulin sensitivity
  • a very powerful antioxidant
  • may have antibacterial and antifungal properties

and dozens of other benefits too numerous to mention here.

So what is this miracle spice?

Well… it’s good old tasty Cinnamon!

Spice with benefits!

Although cinnamon does not directly increase fat burning (such as by increasing metabolic rate, etc), it CAN actually help you to burn off abdominal fat and get leaner by an indirect link.

Cinnamon has dozens of health benefits.  The main benefit that will help you to get leaner is through its strong influence on controlling blood sugar levels in your body.

Here comes the science (and my geeky side…I know you probably didn’t know I had one.)

In a study published in 2003 in the medical journal Diabetes Care, groups were split into people taking 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon per day in capsule form (the equivalent of approx 1/4th to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon).

The results of the study showed that all 3 amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose levels by 18-29% after 40 days.

Cinnamon can also increase insulin sensitivity, which essentially means that it is helping your body to control blood sugar while simultaneously allowing your body to require less production of insulin.

Chronically high insulin levels overtime can make your body pack on the pounds.

How can you harness this magic to help you lose more fat?

To benefit from cinnamon and allow it to assist you with greater fat loss potential is to use it daily in your meals wherever you can find a taste for it.  Some popular ideas are in yogurt or cottage cheese, smoothies, oatmeal, or anything else you can think of where it would go well. Some people consider cinnamon an acquired taste so if you are not a fan of the flavour, you could use a cinnamon capsule before each of your meals. (I put it in most of my shakes too.)

Using it either to assist with added flavour in your meals or as a capsule with your meals can help to control blood sugar and insulin response from your meals and thereby control your appetite and cravings throughout the day… hence, helping you to lose body fat more effectively over time.

So now you can see that not only is cinnamon a powerful antioxidant that can help you stay youthful longer, it can also help you to control blood sugar and get a leaner body!


So, how do you use cinnamon? Let me know.  Have a fav recipe you use that has cinnamon in it? Share it with readers.

Like I said; shakes, oatmeal, smoothies, etc, are all great options for adding cinnamon as part of your nutritional plan…This is not. –>