Today’s post is simply 5 disparate, but important tips that can help bring you better health, while keeping you a bit more sane while trying to lose weight.  Enjoy!

5 Tips for Better Health and Sanity

1 – Gut Health is the “Next Big Thing”

For quite a few years now, the fitness industry has been into gut health.  Most trends go “mainstream” after about 5-10 years within the fitness industry and by the time my family starts asking me questions about it, I know it’s hit “mainstream.”

Gut Health is that new thing, but the research is still very young.  With that said, there are some knowns right now:

A – Prebiotics from foods are beneficial to gut health and might be more important than probiotics.  What are prebiotics?  It’s a fancy term for certain types of soluble fiber and resistance starch, found mainly in vegetables, fruits and tubers.  For instance, an unripened banana has a lot of resistance starch and is a good way to get in a prebiotic fiber.

B – Prebiotics found in protein bars may not be as beneficial.  Quest bars and a few other protein bars have a prebiotic fiber that hasn’t been shown to have the same benefits as prebitotic fiber from foods.

C – Probiotics have a lot of beneficial research.  Some of this research has been shown to be beneficial with everything from digestion to relieving constipation to vaginal health and weight loss.  The issue right now is that a lot of the research has not been replicated, is done on highly specific strains of bacteria and supplement companies don’t always put what they say they’re going to put in the capsule. So you can take probiotics as a supplement, but know that it might not be a cure-all.

2 – Potatoes have a bad rep they haven’t earned

Did you know researchers have looked at the most filling foods and calorie for calorie, the potato won hands down? More than steak and eggs, more than vegetables, a potato was shown to get you full and keep you fuller longer than any other food tested.  Yes, more than steak.

And in addition to that, a cooled off baked potato is very high in resistant starch.  In fact, a cooled off potato has some of the highest levels of resistance starch.  This could be what makes them so filling, but if you’ve been avoiding potatoes, you don’t need to.  You should limit frying them, eating them as chips and adding a ton of butter and/or sour cream.  Instead, eat it with vegetables, some salt and/or some meat to give it extra flavor.

3 – The Goal is to Keep the Goal, The Goal         

I’ve stolen this line from strength coach Dan John, but I think more people need to be reminded of it.  Sure, your method for achieving a goal may change, but that doesn’t mean that your goal should shift.

I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me with great ideas, business or otherwise and it sounds amazing.  They are good plans.  In fact, I send one of my friends a good idea every few weeks.  Guaranteed million dollar ideas, with hard work and implementation and some luck, but totally doable ideas.  But I send them to my friend, because they are not part of my goal for this year.

Therefore, the goal is to simply keep your goal, the goal.  This applies to fitness goals as much as to any other type of goal and should color your week-to-week, day-to-day choices.  The fundamentals for making lasting fat loss changes can be found here.

4 – Sometimes “everything in moderation” is not a good strategy.

Oh, how I miss HIMYM

I feel like we all have that one food (or person) that we simply suck at doing in moderation. For me, this is chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  I can eat nearly anything else in moderation, but chocolate peanut butter ice cream is an all-or nothing proposition.

Then there are times when I can drink in complete moderation, but around certain friends, I drink more than I normally would.

This is the All-or-Nothing mentality and there are times when knowing what triggers this type of thinking (plans versus systems), can really help you avoid or limit your exposure to these triggers.

So for you, what foods trigger this All-or-Nothing mentality in you?  What friends trigger this thinking?  What situations?  And more importantly, how can you limit your exposure to them?

5 – Other times, moderation is absolute necessary. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of situations where I can enjoy foods and alcohol in moderation and they add to the pleasure of life overall.  By enjoying them as such, it gives me an increase in energy and motivation to achieve my goals (to keep the goal, the goal).

This “necessary moderation” also applies to things you may not overly enjoy.

For example, some people come to me needing only to implement some strength training to see the results they want to see.  This should be done in a strength circuit fashion with some metabolic conditioning in order to lose that last bit of fat, while obviously improving their diet.  Yet, sometimes these people can’t do two large movements, back-to-back without being extremely winded after a month of training.  For these people, the “necessary moderation” is to do slow, steady-state cardio to build up their cardio base.  They don’t directly need to do it to see results, but they absolutely need to do it in order to get through the workouts that will get them the results they want.

Then there is eating.  Some people have a problem with eating around friends and family (all of them, not just certain ones) because they are too restrictive on themselves.  They don’t allow themselves to enjoy any foods, ever and end up giving up eating healthy at all.  For situations like this, moderation is necessary to keep your sanity (and your friends) when it comes to eating.

If I could never have those one or two drinks or some dark chocolate, life definitely would be a lot less fun.  Plan some “freedom” from the rules (in moderation) to keep your sanity when it comes to eating.

And finally, learn what types of foods and situations allow you to thrive with moderation and what situations throw you into the All-or-Nothing mentality and adjust accordingly.


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