Is Fat Really Bad?

For decades now the media, government and other individuals with a basic knowledge and understanding of fat have supported the idea that having a Low-Fat diet is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and improving body composition.

Fat is not our enemy when it comes to getting ready for the summer, a wedding, social events etc. Fat is our FRIEND.

Obviously healthy fats such as free range meats, butter, eggs etc.

Why fat is our friend

  1. It provides essential fatty acids, which the body is unable to make itself.
  2. Fat stores long lasting energy, even more so than carbohydrates, thus making it a great way to start the day and keep you going until lunch time.
  3. Eating fat makes you feel fuller and therefore controls your appetite.
  4. Fat is vital to help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins which are the cornerstone of health (Vitamin A, D, E & K).
  5. Fat has a low insulin response, the hormone of aging, as compared to the way sugar does.

Next time you are looking for a product that is “Low Fat” make sure you are fully aware that the healthier fats in your diet help you much more than hurt you!

AVOID THESE FATS:

There are unfortunately fats that are not your friend and you should avoid them, such as trans fats.

Short for “trans fatty acids,” trans fat appears in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

You might find trans fat in:

  • fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
  • margarine (stick and tub)
  • vegetable shortening
  • baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
  • processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)

LDL & HDL Fats

Like saturated fat, trans fat can raise LDL (bad) Cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Trans fat can also suppress HDL (good) cholesterol levels, or “good” cholesterol.

Doctors have also linked trans fats to an increased risk of inflammation in the body. This inflammation can cause harmful health effects that may include heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Check the label

Some margarines will contain trans fats if they’re made with hydrogenated ingredients, so make sure to always choose non-hydrogenated versions.

Labelling laws allow food companies to round down to zero and claim “no trans fats” or “zero grams of trans fats” if the amount per serving is less than 0.5 g, despite still containing hydrogenated oils.

It is important to ignore the front-of-package marketing and always read the ingredient list.

Balanced Diet and Movement

It is extremely vital that you have a balanced diet with plenty of good fats mixed with carbohydrates and protein. As well as this you should always look to keep moving throughout the day. Get your steps in and burn calories to keep your weight down.

As everyone has found out during 2020/2021 your health is the most important thing in life. There is no better investment than in yourself. So why not look at working out at home with some of the great equipment we have on offer at D N Fitness.

Invest in your equipment

Remember you do not need a full gym with 100s of different pieces of kit, why not try using functional equipment such as the Resistance bow – https://www.dnfit.co.uk/functional-strength/resistance-bands/deluxe-bands/resistance-bow/

There is nothing worse than when building your home gym trying to squeeze in all the weights you can, think about space with our adjustable dumbbells – https://www.dnfit.co.uk/strength/dumbbells/adjustable-dumbbells/selectabell-dumbbell-11kg-set-of-2/

As we said earlier on in the post; fat is our friend. Although you must make sure that when using the good fats, mix this in with training hard using your new equipment.

5 Healthy Habits to Start in the New Year

A healthy, active, sustainable lifestyle must have a strong foundation. This short guide will teach you 5 healthy habits to start in the new year. It’s based on foundational principles and associated habits that will help you keep crushing life on a daily basis in this new year and for years to come.

1. Sleep

Sleep is the most beneficial performance-enhancing activity we use each day to prepare us for the rigors of tomorrow. However, most of us don’t get nearly enough hours in the bedroom. The minimum I want my clients to get is seven hours per night in a dark room with zero electronic distractions. This is the bare minimum that is widely accepted by sleep experts and health professionals. Optimally, we would all get 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep.

I say this with the understanding that we lead very complicated, demanding lives. I’m in the same boat. Instead of wagging my finger at you about hours of sleep, here are some ideas on how you can set yourself up for quality over quantity approach to your sleep habits.

Environment

  • Cool and dark bedroom: Your room should be around 62-67 degrees Fahrenheit and as black as Darth Vader’s hatred for the Rebel Alliance–DARK. Use blackout shades on your bedroom windows or wear a sleep mask, if possible.
  • Dim lights and limit electronics usage about 30 minutes before bed.
  • Keep bedroom free of electronics, like your phone, tablet, computer, and television. We KNOW this is hard, but give it a try.
  • If you need an alarm to wake, buy a cheap alarm clock at your local drug store with dim, red numbers. Position the clock so it’s facing down or away from your line of sight.

Sleep-Promoting Habits

  • Every evening, do 8-10 minutes of soft tissue work. Incorporate contract/relax and slow inhales and exhales. The Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach has Daily Maintenance videos you can follow along to in the evening before bed.
  • No caffeine after 4PM: Caffeine, coffee in particular, is a favorite of ours at The Ready State. However, caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, so if you drink a cup of coffee with 100mg of caffeine, you’ll likely still have about 50mg of caffeine in your blood five hours later.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Yes, that glass of wine feels like it helps you downregulate, but having two or more drinks just a few hours before bed can greatly affect your ability to sleep deeply.
  • DO NOT USE THE SNOOZE BUTTON: Quality sleep begins when you wake-up. Wake and get moving immediately. The snooze button increases sleep inertia, which makes the waking process more difficult and painful than it needs to be.
  • GET THE [email protected]%K TO BED: Find a reasonable bedtime for your schedule and stick to it. We thrive on routines and rhythms. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day goes a long way when trying to have a successful day.

2. Stress Management

Stress is unavoidable. Having some stress in our lives is great. It drives us to chase goals, complete important projects, gives us purpose, and makes life interesting. Stressors are neither good nor bad. It’s how we react to the stressors in our lives that shape our perception. Each stressor will elicit its own unique stress response.

Stress Management Habits

  • Practice at least one activity that brings you some joy or calmness each day:
    • Get outside in the sun and move
    • Spend time in a sauna or hot tub
    • Get a massage
    • Meditate
    • Practice a hobby
    • Spend time with a loved one or pet
    • Take a quick nap
    • Unplug from social media
  • Find balance in your exercise routine: Many of us use exercise as a way to release stress. That’s great! However, intense exercise is also a stressor, so please find a day or two to rest or actively recover with low intensity, cyclical movement (light walking, jogging, rowing, cycling, etc.).
  • Practice a bit of self-compassion:
    • Ask for help when needed.
    • Unplug from the Internet once per week and unfollow social accounts that bring about negative thoughts or feelings.
    • Be realistic about the goals you set and how they fit into your life.
    • Test your limits, but know them and honour them.
    • If you are so stressed that you feel helpless, please seek counselling.

3. Hydration

Water is essential to our very existence. Here are a few reasons why we need to make sure to drink plenty of water daily:

  • Essential to the lubrication of our joints
  • Helps the body regulate temperature through sweat
  • It’s the main mode of transportation of nutrients, oxygen, and waste across our cells and through our blood.
  • Keeps tissues (eyes, mouth, and skin) moist
  • Our muscles are 75% water, so yeah, it’s important.

Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body and mind. Here are some symptoms of dehydration:

  • Decrease Performance (in life tasks and on the field/in the gym)
  • Dizziness/Light-headedness
  • Fatigue (General, not activity-induced)
  • Moodiness/Irritability
  • Lack of motivation to train/perform
  • Cramping
  • Nausea

Hydration Habits

  • Aim to drink about ½ your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day.
  • Monitor the colour of your urine each time you urinate. If it’s dark yellow, you should definitely drink some water. If it’s nearly clear, hold off on consuming water for a little while or until you’re thirsty. Aim to have your urine be a pale yellow colour.
  • Add a pinch of salt to your water glass or bottle each time you fill it. Fancy pink salt, Morton’s…it doesn’t matter. The sodium will assist in helping your body absorb the water you drink. This is especially important when training for an extended time in the heat.

4. Food Hygiene

Like hydration, eating is essential to our performance in all aspects of life. We have all been fed narratives about food that shape our view on certain macronutrients, micronutrients, the evils of one ingredient vs. the virtues of another, etc.

To help wade through the confusion that you’ll find when researching nutrition methods on your own, here are some key ideas and habits you can use as a “home base”:

Key Food Hygiene Ideas

  • Focus on food quality. Go with the best quality your budget allows. When on the road, go with the best option available.
  • Choose whole food sources for the vast majority of your meals.
  • Prioritize protein and vegetables/fruit
  • Honor the digestive process. Chew your food for better absorption of nutrients.
  • Get used to the idea that foods are not “evil” or “bad”. They either help you work toward your goals or they do not. Those chips aren’t out to get you.

Food Hygiene Habits

  • Consume a lean, whole food protein source at each meal
  • Consume at least two types of vegetables and/or fruits at each meal; the more variety, the better
  • Try to eliminate vegetable, canola, and any other industrial oils from your cooking. High quality, single-source oils, such as olive, coconut, and avocado oils are much better for daily consumption.
  • For at least one meal per day, put down the phone, close the computer, and eat without distraction. Take a few deep breaths, smell your food, and chew your food slowly to a paste-like consistency.

5. Movement

If you’re reading this article, I assume you have a movement practice or sport that keeps you regularly challenged and entertained. As humans, we do best when we can move–a lot. Exercising at the gym for one hour per day isn’t enough. We should also be performing physical tasks, getting-up from our desks to walk around, and finding ways to get our blood moving throughout the day.

The main idea is to challenge yourself and move blood several times per week. Here are some ideas and habits for exercise and non-exercise activities that are useful:

Exercise Habits

  • Train 2-5 days per week with weights, following a progressive program. Loading the skeleton is essential to long-term health.
  • Perform conditioning workouts at varying levels of intensity a couple of times per week. These can be paired with your weight training sessions.
  • Use movement as a recovery tool: Sitting on the couch all day after a workout is not recovering. Mobilize the body shapes you made that day, go for a walk, ride a bike, or stretch
  • Plan your rest days just like you plan your training days. It’s great to get after it in the gym or on the field, but you do have to rest.

Non-Exercise Movement Habits/Activities

  • Step-up your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) game:
  • Walk the dog or yourself
  • Walk/bike/skate to work or school
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Go dancing, or just dance at home
  • Wash the car
  • Perform any free task that helps you expend more energy through movement each day

Putting It Together

This article outlined a lot of information, and each category warrants its own article. How do we put it all together? We do it slowly and methodically. Trying to do all of this at once is unrealistic, so let’s try to parse it out over a six-week schedule.

Over the next six weeks:

Weeks 1-2: Pick one item from any one category that you think might help you and seems doable. Spend the first two weeks injecting the new habit into your life. For example, you might try to add 8-10 minutes of soft tissue work to your night.

Weeks 3-4: Pick another habit from one of the categories. Spend the next two weeks practicing the new habit, while also practicing the first habit. You continue trying to get in 8-10 minutes of soft tissue work each night, and you add a pinch of salt to your water each time you fill a glass or bottle.

Weeks 5-6: Pick the third habit and continue refining the first two. By now, the first habit will likely be ingrained and the second should be pretty easy to perform each day. You might try to fit more movement into your day as a new habit. While you try to add more movement each day, you continue trying to get more sleep each night and add a pinch of salt to your water.

This pattern can continue indefinitely. Acquiring nutrition and lifestyle habits is a skill and should be treated as such. It’s just like in the gym, there’s always a way to scale a movement or workout up or down so it suits the individual. Habits work in the same manner.

Which habit will you attempt first?

How to stick to a new years resolution diet

For many people, clients and coaches alike, the start of a new year means a fresh outlook. Also it often means resolutions to change or improve certain areas of your life. Sadly, many New Year’s resolutions don’t end up being overly successful. Depending on the statistics you look at, anywhere from 60-80% of resolutions never materialise.

What is your resolution?

This tends to hold with health and fitness resolutions as well. The reason these resolutions don’t always pan out isn’t because people don’t want to achieve their goals. Rather, they don’t know exactly how to approach these resolutions. This article will give you some key pointers on how to take a sensible approach to your nutrition related New Year’s Resolutions so you can make sure you achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Set Realistic Timelines For Your Goals

The first place to start is to set a realistic timeline. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know what a realistic timeline is. This might be due, in large part, to magazine articles, blog stories, and television shows that highlight results such as “60 pounds in 45 days”. These timelines are not realistic for most individuals and can set people up for failure.

Looking to change what you eat?

Many of the nutrition or dietary resolutions individuals make around the new year are geared toward using diet for weight loss. There are several guidelines to use when setting realistic timelines for your goals, especially if it relates to dietary changes and weight loss.

How long does it take?

The first guideline is to understand what realistic timelines for weight loss are. This helps anchor your decisions around how to structure your dietary resolution. An average weight loss goal of ~1 pound per week. This is an excellent guideline to follow. More aggressive approaches can set a target of around 1.5 pounds per week, while more conservative methods can set a target of about 0.5 pounds per week. This means that if someone sets a goal to lose around 20 pounds through nutrition changes, they should aim for ~ 20 weeks on average. Maybe as short as 13 weeks, or as long as 40 weeks. This can scale according to the overall weight goal (Table 1).

Set Realistic Calorie Targets

It is very reasonable for people to utilise fairly extreme, short term approaches intending to get results as quickly as possible. However, using the guidelines above, we can see what realistic timelines for weight loss are. These goals of ~0.5-1.5 pounds per week set solid, objective goals people can aim for. They also set realistic calorie deficit targets that people can aim for.

A daily calorie deficit of ~500 calories should result in someone losing a pound per week. If someone wants to lose at a more aggressive rate, a deficit of around 750 calories per day is a realistic calorie target. Conversely, if someone wants to be more conservative, they can lower the calorie deficit to ~ 250 calories per day (Table 1).

You can use these calorie targets as anchor points for individuals. although it can vary throughout someone’s process. For example, if someone wants to see faster results upfront and then lower the deficit, later on, they might start at a 750 calorie a day deficit for the first three weeks. Then lower the deficit to 500 calories a day for the next 15-20 weeks.

Or maybe someone wants to start to change their calorie intake slowly. This begins at 250 for 4-6 weeks and then increases the deficit to 500 for 4-6 weeks.  Then again to a 750 calorie per day deficit for the last 4-6 weeks.

Knowing the rate at which you can lose, and how to structure your daily calorie deficits can help you set reasonable goals, on a reasonable timetable, using sensible approaches.

Pick A Sustainable Dietary Pattern

The last piece of developing a reasonable approach to dietary New Year’s Resolutions is:

  • Set the timeline
  • Create a realistic calorie target
  • map out dietary pattern that works for you and is sustainable.

One of the most exciting things we have learned from nutrition science over the last several decades is that there are many dietary patterns. Also that approaches that are “healthy” and can lead to weight loss.

The major components of a dietary pattern that make them healthy and lead to weight loss are:

  • Overall calories consumed
  • Fruit and vegetable intake
  • Dietary protein intake
  • Minimising processed food intake

Many nutritional patterns can fit into that description: vegetarian, Atkins, Zone, Paleo, low-fat diets, low-carb diets, intermittent fasting, etc.

The single most significant factor that determines success after calories are controlled for is long term adherence. In fact, in several studies that directly compare different dietary patterns. Adherence was the biggest predictor of longterm success. This means that you can choose the dietary pattern that fits best within your life and that you can stick to. Mainly, find a sustainable dietary pattern and stick with that. Don’t try the newest fad or jump from diet to diet, find what works for you and stick with that while managing your timeline and your calorie intake!

Mix in a workout here and there

Everybody knows that exercise is a key fact to losing weight. You will need to get certain bits of equipment to do this. Start by thinking what type of training you enjoy most:

  • Weight lifting
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • HIIT
  • Functional

There are thousands of different types of training which you can use. If you wanted to use free weights you can look at barbells and dumbbells. Whereas you may want to try functional equipment instead. When you enjoy stretching, meditating and yoga check out accessories you can purchase.

 

The Wrap Up

You can ensure that your New Year’s resolutions are structured to set you up for success with a few simple ideas. First, make sure you set realistic targets for weight loss. Aim for 0.5-1.5 pounds per week, with ~1 pound per week being ideal. Second, set appropriate calorie deficits.

A 500 calorie per day deficit should result in around 1 pound of weight loss per week. If you want to be more conservative, go with a 250 calorie per day deficit. If you’re going to be more aggressive, go with a 750 calorie per day deficit. Lastly, don’t pigeonhole yourself into a singular diet as almost any dietary pattern will yield results if you can stick to it. Find a food that is sustainable and that you can adhere to in the long run.