Why I care about resilience & you should too (and how to grow it)

Ever go through one of those stretches of time when life seems to be giving you about as much as you can possibly handle, if not more?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

This has been a roller coaster of a year for me, and I’ve been hearing from some of you that your lives have felt out-of-control or more than you can handle.

 

Often it feels like it comes all at once.

 

Just to give you some details:

 

-       I got my next book deal from a major publisher (good)

-       My mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (bad)

-       My partner published his own book (good)

-       My son was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia (bad)

-       My mom died (horrible)

-       My dear friend and mentor got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (WTF? Horrible)

-       My son learned to swim and ride a bike (amazing)

-       My friend died from cancer, and two more friends were diagnosed (tears & breakdown)

 

So, yes. Life is a roller coaster, and the ups and downs, “awful” and “awesome” are unknowable and unpredictable.

 

The truth is, we can’t control a lot of what happens in life, yet we do have the power to react to it in ways that move us forward, strengthen us, and bring us closer to those we love.

 

I know that resilience, the ability to bend without breaking, to stay strong and make it through the storm even though the winds toss your hair and make you feel scared, is a skill you can learn, a strength you can practice.

 

To grow and protect your well-being, you need the ability to bounce back.

To get through trauma and drama without breaking, you need to practice.

To live through major challenges and thrive, not just survive, requires health, support, community, and hope.

 

And it isn’t just something you need for major tests in life, we need resilience to get through every day.

 

If you’re in stress mode all day long, it depletes your willpower, hope, and  patience. Multi-tasking, social media addiction, sugar binges, and a lack of relaxing, pleasurable movement keep us far from resilient.

 

And when we don’t feed our bodies and support our health with the foods we need, our capacity for resilience is diminished.

 

That’s why I teach my clients about skilled resilience:

 

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties (toughness), while performing well with training, experience and knowledge.

 

Skilled resilience means eating the right foods (most of the time), moving my body so she stays strong and flexible, finding pleasure and joy every day, staying connected with the friends and family who support me, staying open to the wonders in life that keep me hopeful and excited to be alive.

 

I couldn’t have weathered this storm of grief in the last year without the skilled resilience I’ve learned and honed over the past decade.

 

And my clients tell me that the training they learn through my cleanse programs gives them the experience and knowledge to give their bodies exactly what they need to maintain their center, their balance, their truth.

 

My client Sandi experienced a rough patch and needed support to get back to feeling good in her body:

 

-       her dad died

-       her boyfriend left

-       her job got super stressful

-       her commute got longer

-       she wanted sugar, fat and salt all day long and was feeling exhausted and impatient

 

When I started working with Sandi, we started with the most important guiding question I can ask anyone:

 

How do you want to feel?

 

Once we defined that Sandi wanted to feel calm, free, and strong, we were able to look at her food choices in a new way. It wasn’t about “eat this – it has fewer calories” – she could look at a menu and choose a food because it would help her feel calm, free and strong. Once she understood her cravings type, she could make the perfect food choices based on how she was feeling and how she wanted to feel later.

 

This was a totally new way of choosing food, and it began her on her journey to a body she loves, with energy to spare.

 

Learning to tune into her body’s needs, her soul-filled desires for calm and strength, allowed Sandi to listen to her body in a new way.

 

This is one of the most powerful aspects of skilled resilience.

 

It’s a practice of awareness, a daily inquiry into what will help you feel the way you want to feel, while honoring what’s true without judging what you see.

 

It may seem simple, but it isn’t always easy.

 

In the coming weeks I’ll be talking more about cravings, what they can teach you, and how to develop your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I’ll also be announcing my next group program soon (It’s called the Cravings Cleanse) – and it will draw together all of my best lessons, experiments, tools, resources, and community to help you act and move towards building your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I want to hear from you: In the comments below, tell me what skills you know you already have that help you stay resilient. You may not have thought you had the tools, but I’ll bet if you really look, you could tell a tale of how you’ve weathered storms and come out stronger in the end.

You could also share what ONE thing you know you could be doing differently to help grow your resilience:

 

 

Alexandra Jamieson and Gabrielle Bernstein

Hot Mama: Mothering myself to be a better mom (Mama Love Self-Care Menu!)

I got into trouble for saying this on the radio:

My self-care and health are the most important things to me. My son is #2.

People online called me selfish, and a bad role model, but I’ll tell you what:

My kid is happier and better cared for when my health is the top priority.

It’s a paradox: selfish self-care for the health of the family.

When our families and friends (and clients) see us taking exquisite care of ourselves, they begin to see the possibilities for greater ease, freedom, and health in their own lives.

AKA: be the change, be the living example.
I tried doing it the other way — heck, I’m naturally Type-A and excelled at the other way.

I was trying to DO more to feel better, but that just left me feeling more depleted and frantic. The more I DID, the stronger my cravings for sugar and caffeine felt.

Now this may not be true for all of you, as I have some overseas folks here, but my American work ethic has something to do with this:

I was raised in a culture where you DO SOMETHING to fix something:

  1. Chunk down the problems
  2. Look for the weak link
  3. Study the systems
  4. Integrate a step-by-step plan you can work through
  5. Learn a new skill that helps you fix the “bad” way you were before…

It works for a lot of things in life, but not ease.

Not real nourishing health. 

Here’s the catch: vitality is inefficient.

It loves to drink up time and resources. It flourishes in flow.

In other words – working on it doesn’t work. 

 

It’s another paradox: working less to feel better.

Relax more to feel more alive.

Freedom and commitment to a health plan.

 

The old way of “powering through” to heal your body and life ends up dissecting the body and symptoms into parts instead of being seen as a beautiful whole:

 

  • Headaches at work are handled with Advil instead of looking at stress and diet.
  • Loss of juicy libido is blamed on age rather than looking at relationship and hormones
  • Sleep troubles are handled with Ambien instead of looking at work-life balance
  • Weight loss is fought with reduced calories and more exercise instead of looking at food intolerance and stress

 

We try to DO more instead of relax into awareness and ease.

In my early years as a mama, as I was going through my separation and divorce, I tried to do more to feel better:

 

  • Working late and rising early to get more work done
  • Reintroducing caffeine to my life to stay focused
  • Relying more on networking functions as my social life than connecting with old friends

 

And my body finally got through to me and told me that I was over-doing and over stressed. It got to the point where I saw my friends a few times a month and was working from 5:30am to 9:30pm every night.

 

I’ve learned that habits the nourish my life and energy keep me in the shape I desire to be in. Dieting never gave me the results I was looking for, but making daily, conscious efforts to feel well DID. 

I’m clear: to be a good mom, you have to mother yourself first.  Joy and vitality are immeasurable qualities of aliveness.

 

And to master your cravings, you need to fill your energy and nourishment tank with a lot of fuel. Otherwise your body will cry out for the comfort foods that answer the pain in the moment, but lead to a life long battle with weight and exhaustion.

 

With a little help from my partner who is a bit older and wiser in the area of ease, as well as my own coaches and friends, I’ve instituted a radical schedule of self-care in order to be the mom, woman, and health coach I want to be:

 

  • I run my own business, so I have to set my own hours: my work hour boundaries are now set in stone.
  • Getting less than 7 hours of sleep is not allowed, honey. 8+ please.
  • My juices really get going when I have creative down time with books, pens, and being in nature: this is now scheduled
  • No cell phones allowed into the bedroom, nor at meal times.
  • Fun in the sun (or rain) is mandatory: walks and bike rides at least 3 times a week 
  • Connecting with friends and my partner is not throw away time – it is a vitally important ingredient in self-care and in building my business
  • Eating simple, healthy food is non-negotiable.

 

Here’s your home-play assignment, should you choose to accept:

(Home-play sounds more fun than homework, right?)

Take a day off.

Really.

An entire day for you.

No schedule, no plans, NO INTERNET.

Take your kid to camp or a friend’s house, say goodbye at the door to your partner, or just turn the ringer off your phone.

Use as sick day as a well-day. 

Then do whatever you need to feel well, replenish your body-mind, and get into ease:

 

  • Hop back into bed for another hour or two of sleep
  • Read a saucy tale in your skivvies
  • Lounge in the park listening to music or your favorite podcast (I’m in love with Being Here with Ariel & Shya Kane, Marc Maron’s WTF and Dan Savage)
  • Put on your favorite sun dress or shorts and go for a bike ride to your favorite cafe: read a magazine
  • Cook a new recipe — or just eat easy salads all day — or have a piece of amazing chocolate by the river
  • Feel no guilt, know that your health and well-being depend on giving yourself what you truly desire: ease & play

Self-care means you’re caring for yourself and your needs as you would a trusted, loved friend or pet. Would you deny your friend a shoulder to cry on, or your pet the food and rest it needs to feel well? How can you give yourself the energy, love and spirit-filling nourishment you need to build a base of real health? 

 

Self care isn’t selfish, it’s nourishment and deserved. 

 

To help you take loving self-care action, and make it a truly transformative habit, I’ve created a Mama Love Self-Care Menu with a healthy list of fun options to help you schedule in your deeply juicy “down time.”
 
Click To Download: 

I hope you love the menu! And I hope you have a beautiful, relaxing Mother’s Day.

Take Action: I want to hear your thoughts below –

What one thing will you do TODAY for YOU?

balance your hormones in 3 easy steps

3 Ways We’re Hurting Our Hormones + How To Fix It

Balance. If you’re like me, you strive for it daily.
balance your hormones in 3 easy steps
If you were one of those carpenter levels, with the yellow liquid and floating bubble dancing between two lines, would you be straight and balanced or off-kilter and unsteady?

What I mean is, how are your hormones doing lately? 

I get questions about hormone health all the time, so I wanted to put together a quick resource to help you at home right away.
Made by our bodies and used in the right amounts, natural hormones tell our cells and tissues to act in specific ways, and guide our moods and behaviors.

 

In the right way, our hormones turn us on, keep the metabolic fires burning, and keep us in good humor.

 

In the wrong amounts, either produced naturally in uneven flashes by our glands, consumed in foods or through toxic exposure, disregulated hormones lead to fits of depression, bursts of anger and impatience, exhaustion, impaired sleep, weight irregularities, faulty menstrual cycles, and gut dis-eases.

 

Steady your hormones, fix your health, love your life.

It’s often as simple as that.

 

Yet today we are swimming in a soup of synthetic hormones that come into our bodies from air, land, sea, and late, setting our bodies and brains off balance.

 

In order to help you fix those powerful chemical messengers to begin feeling lighter, happier, better, I’ve put together a quick list of 3 simple ways you can take control of your hormonal fate:

 

1. Can do? Can DON’T! Avoid BPA-lined cans

 

Balance your hormones naturally: buy only BPA free cans!

I love timesaving tips as much as any home chef, but canned foods are hiding a dirty time-release bomb, BPA.

Foods in BPA lined cans absorb the chemical into beans, fruits and vegetables. BPA is a chemical used in plastics that mimics estrogen, and has been lined to breast and other cancers, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.

 

Hormone Fixes: Avoid BPA by buying frozen veggies and fruits instead of canned. Some companies, like Eden Organics,  offer BPA-free cans that are safe to purchase, and put it on the label. Buy tomatoes and tomato sauces in glass jars instead of cans.  Avoid foods that come in plastic containers with #7 recycling label, and avoid handling grocery receipts with bare hands, as thermal paper is often coated with BPA.

 

2. Dental Damn – Danger On Your Toothbrush

 

We’ve been told to brush and floss 2-3 times a day, but no one said anything about the dangers of chronic exposure to the fluoride that’s supposed to keep our pearlies white.

According to a 2006 report by the National Research Council of the National Academies, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it upsets the glands that secrete hormones.

Even tiny amounts of fluoride can upset can affect your thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, pancreas and pituitary glands. Toothpaste and fluoridated water are the two most common sources, but since fluoride stays in the water cycle, crops absorb it through watering.

The average American adults consumes 3-6mg of fluoride a day, which can be twice the amount that can cause thyroid disfunction. The average American child consumes 1.5 mg, which is nearly twice the amount that can cause thyroid problems.

 

Hormonal Fixes:

Since chronic exposure can have big, long-term effects on the intellectual, social, sexual and physical development of both adults and children, it’s a good time to switch to non-fluoride toothpaste! Brands like Tom’s of Maine offer fluoride-free versions. If you live in a county, city or town that fluoridates your water, you may want to invest in a fluoride filter for your drinking water.

 

3. Every Thyroid Out Of The Pool! Chlorine & Thyroid 

 

Since fluoride and chlorine are both chemically related to iodine and compete with how the body absorbs it, ingesting either can block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland.

We drink or shower in chlorinated water almost every day. Those small exposures can lead to big hormone problems over time.

 

Protect your thyroid with a good fluoride filter - I use this one!

Protect your thyroid with a good fluoride filter – I use this one!

 

Hormonal Fix: Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools, especially enclosed and indoors, as the chlorine vapors will be inhaled into your lungs as well. Get a chlorine filter for both your shower and your water faucets to avoid both physical contact and consuming the chemical.

 

 

These simple fixes will help your body balance your hormones effortlessly, and get you the happy mood, easy weight loss and long-term health you crave.

I want to hear from you!

How are your hormones now, and what are you inspired to do to feel better?

Leave a comment below about changes you plan on making, and any success story you can share about healing your hormones!

How To End Stomach Bloat For Good

Tired of the gurgle and bloat?
The constipation followed by diarrhea?
The muffin top?

Join the club! Tummy troubles are at the top of my list, too – at least they were until I got a handle on
healing my gut and understanding which foods helped me feel good…

and which ones made me dig out the stretchy yoga pants.

Watch my video below to learn my top tips on ending stomach bloat —

and let me know in the comments if you discovered a new trick to try,

or share it with a friend who needs some support for their gut!

xo,
Alex

My TED Talk on cravings and learning to trust your body

It was an honor and a dream come true to deliver my first TED talk at TEDx Hoboken last week.

In this short 8 minute talk, I reveal the truth about my family history, my struggle with cravings, and my discovery that learning to love and listen to my body’s messages have been one of the most powerful gifts in my life:

Warming Foods For Winter Weight Loss

Support your body this chilly season!

Instead of cooling your metabolism with summer fruits and berries, focus on naturally warming, seasonal foods, and your weight goals will be easier to reach.


Anise
Basil
Bay leaf
Bitter orange
Black beas
Blackberry
Brussels sprouts
Butter, salted
Caraway
Cadamom
Carob
Cashew
Chestnut
Chile pepper
Cinnamon
Citrus peel
Clove
Coconut
Collards
Date
Dill
Fat and oil
Fennel
Fenugreek
Garlic
Garlic chive
Ginger
Kale
Mace
Miso
Molasses
Mustard greens
Nutmeg
Oats
Onion
Parsley
Parsnip
Pcan
Pine nut
Quinoa
Raspberry
Rosemary
Scallion
Squash, winter
Star anise
Tarragon
Thyme
Turmeric
Vinegar, unpasteurized
Walnut

The Myth of Willpower: You are NOT Weak [top weight loss habits]

scary walks as my pet ant saw it

Diet industry gurus have made a lot of money, and a lot of unhappy people, by yell-telling us to “suck it up!” “use your willpower, chubby!” “Don’t be so weak – say no to the donut!” The overweight, drug- and food-addicted and otherwise deemed “unhealthy” are pointed at and derided as weak and sinful.

Science says otherwise. You are not weak my dear: I’m going to bust the myth of willpower. [Click to Tweet!]

Your willpower well may be dry. Every day we are allotted a finite amount of willpower which our brain uses up in doses, small and large. What drains our will power? Pretty much everything. Mental tasks including memorization, abstaining from favorite foods, following rules, stress, and the tiny constant ways in which we are mentally and physically taxed throughout the day. Even the physical tasks of driving in rush hour traffic and sitting at a desk all day can drain your reserves of will power.

In their 1999 study, Stanford professor Baba Shiv and co-author Alex Fedorikhin enrolled 165 grad students in a behavior experiment. The students were split into two groups: one half was asked to memorize a seven-digit number and the other half was given a two-digit number. After memorizing their numbers, the students were told the experiment was over and were then given two snack options as a reward: chocolate cake or a fruit bowl. The experiment wasn’t really over though – it was just beginning.

The professors recorded who chose the chocolate or the fruit bowl. The students who were given the seven-digit memorization task were nearly 50% more likely than the two-digit group to choose the chocolate cake over the fruit.

This study and more have proven that our reserve of willpower and cognitive processes draw from the same source. If you spend a majority of your day making important decisions, working on tricky mental problems, and handling creative tasks all day, you’ll be more likely to drive through the McDonald’s on your way home for an easy, Big Food formulated meal.

 It isn’t just mental tasks that drain our willpower reserves, it’s also the willpower required to stop ourselves from digging into our co-worker’s candy bowl for a treat after lunch. Or the strength to stop our hand from putting three quarters in the vending machine for a candy bar at 4pm.

The willpower you use to stop your snack attack in the afternoon is weakened by what you’re holding back from saying, too. Did you bite your tongue today when you had an opinion during that meeting? Did you stop yourself from saying what you really felt to your partner or child today or last night? Do you keep your opinions to yourself as a habit? You’ll struggle with those sabotaging food cravings all the more.

In his book The Compass of Pleasure, neuroscientist David J. Linden reports that eighty percent of body weight is determined by your genes. So if you’re an overweight over eater, look to your family history. Don’t blame your parents, but look. If you come from a family of obese relatives, you’re more likely to inherit their genetic propensity for obesity than you are for heart disease, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. But you’re also more likely to be trained from birth about how to eat – your habits come from your parents, too.

Inheriting an overweight body type can comes with another unintended side-effect in the genetic roulette. Not only are you more likely to look like your parents, there are even genetic variations seen more often in obese people that create greater anticipation and craving in the brain, but less actual pleasure and satiety: you want it more, but once you start eating, you need more of it to feel the same pleasure as your skinny friend. Talk about a one-two punch.

So how can we boost our self-control or will our willpower to be stronger so that we can finally create the new habits that we know will bring us the body and health we crave? One of the most important factors in successful habit training is to surround yourself with strong-willed people who can model the behavior and support you. If you want to skip the Friday after work happy hour and go for a bike ride instead, but keep getting cajoled into “just one drink,” it’s time to start hanging out with the people who are already hot, healthy and happy in their own habits.

Several studies performed by psychological scientists Catherine Shea, Gráinne Fitzsimons, and Erin Davisson of Duke University[7], show that those of us who self-identify as “weak willed” prefer the guidance and partnership with “strong willed” co-workers, managers and even romantic partners.

In one study, participants were asked to watch a video. Half of the people in the study were told to avoid reading words that flashed up on the screen, ultimately draining their self-control, while the other half were not given such instructions. (Sounds like “don’t think about the birthday cake in the break room” – impossible and infuriating, right?)

After the infuriating video was over, all of the participants were asked to rate different managers they might work for: one weak-willed, one strong-willed, and one who was a mixture of both. The study results showed that people who had been depleted of their self-control greatly prefered a strong-willed manager. These participants would happily work for someone with clear self-control, since they intuitively knew that their own self-control was lower.

The same results showed up in romantic pairs who were taken through similar exercises. It makes sense: it feels more comfortable to be in partnership with someone, whether a partner or a boss, who demonstrates strength and stability when you aren’t feeling strong. It also feels better to enter into a new workout routine with a trainer, rather than attempt a new regime alone. Diets are more successful when people sign up for a group program.

And this is not a weakness. There is further evidence and research that suggests those of us who lack willpower and self-control actually have a powerful skill: the inclination and ability to pick up on self-control cues and habits in others and use those intuitive hits to form partnerships and relationships with others.

Instead of beating yourself up for not being “strong enough,” pat yourself on the back for being vulnerable and strong enough to surround yourself with friends and colleagues who help you overcome life’s temptations.

The Beatles were right – “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Please share this with someone you love!

10 Reasons Why Summer Is THE Season for Eating Well

GUEST BLOG by Dr. Hyman

I rarely have guests write on my blog: so today’s post is a special occasion! The smart, and dare I say handsome, Dr. Mark Hyman has inspired thousands to heal their diabesity (diabetes + obesity) with good food. Read this and get inspired:

 

There are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

 

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

 

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

Here are two recipes from Mark’s Book The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook! 

Shrimp Salsa & Whole Foods Protein Shake

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four! Try the Spiced Ground Turkey Wrap With Watercress & Avocado recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook and replace the turkey with tempeh.

 

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

 

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

7. Going Local Can Be Better Than Going Organic

While it’s sometimes OK to choose the conventional versions of fruits and vegetables, whenever possible, it’s best to opt for organic. This limits your exposure to pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, drugs, and other toxins that can be found in conventionally grown food.

When you buy from local farms, you can find fruits and vegetables that are just as nutritious as their organic counterparts, with one distinct advantage: to reach you, locally grown produce doesn’t have to travel the thousands of miles across which some organic foods are shipped. This extra time spent in the back of a truck can make them more costly, yet less nutritious.

8. Summer Food Preparation Is Quick and Simple

When it’s cold out, stews, soups, and slow-cooker meals are best. But these take time to prepare and cook. Summer is all about quick and easy meal prep. Your body craves raw or lightly cooked food, which means less time for you in the kitchen. This gives you more time to get outside and enjoy summer’s simple pleasures.

9. There Is More Than Meets the Eye In Colorful Summer Foods

Summer fruits and vegetables grow in a variety of beautiful colors that make food more pleasing to the eye, and the more beauty on your plate, the more pleasure you receive from your meal. The more pleasure you feel, the less likely it is you’ll overeat. But the beauty of these colorful fruits and vegetables is far more than skin deep. These colors are nature’s way of advertising the phytonutrients, or special, healthy chemicals, they contain. The more color, the better!

10. Enjoy Special Savings When You Buy The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook This Summer

Design the perfect summertime meal plan. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals in your own kitchen. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles. Click here to learn more about how easy I have made it for you to buy The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, with these fabulous new bonuses:

  • $20 discount in The Blood Sugar Solution Store with your order over $100. It’s like getting the book for free!
  • Online access to the bestselling UltraMetabolism DVD
  • 10-Day Detox Diet—exclusive preview webinar
  • 10 Myths Sabotaging Your Waistline (and Your Health): an eGuide

Why I Hate America’s Biggest Loser: The Shame Culture

There’s a war being fought, and lost, every day in America.

This war has no guns, drones or stealth bombers.

No distinct battlefields.

In every kitchen across the land, at the dawn of every day, the war wages on.

 

The war is women’s fight against their bodies.

 

A battle you can’t see is the most insidious – self-generated thoughts, negative emotions dripping down like sap, and off-handed comments towards herself and others, a woman in this war is raging singlehandedly, against a dark shadow over which no one else can conquer.

 

Some mornings she wakes up with renewed resolve to “do better,” avoid the trigger foods that she suspects are keeping the extra weight on, her energy depleted and her favorite outfit hidden in the back of the closet.

 

But she’s foggy and facing a long commute, a full load of responsibilities and a sugar-coated landscape of Starbucks frappuccinos, People Magazine covers, and a convenient world that offers easy alternatives to real physical movement.

 

At the end of her long day, she may have successfully avoided the sugary, salty, fatty snacks. At the end of the long day, her exhausted brain craves escape and pulls her to the couch to sit with the TV.

That’s when America’s Biggest Loser comes on.

 

Just when her will power is the weakest, when her exhaustion is fully realized, and her brain should be powering down for a quality night’s sleep, this enticing, “hopeful and empowering” reality show draws her in. And the battle lines are re-drawn.

 

It’s the Fatty against the food.

 

If you haven’t seen The Biggest Loser, you’re not alone, but you’re one of the few. This hugely popular TV show started in America in 2004, and has grown into the bulky behemoth of 15 seasons and spread like a virus to over 25 countries.

 

Here’s the premise: a group of overweight contestants are brought on to the show and try to lose the most weight. Those who lose the least amount, or heaven forbid, no weight or gain weight, are kicked off the show.

 

Producer’s note: I think it would be more interesting to keep them all on the show until the very end to see if there isn’t a dark horse who comes from behind to take the lead in the last episode, but nobody asked me.

 

The contestants are separated into teams, guided by celebrity trainers who take them through workouts, and given challenges with food and behavior tests, all in an effort to be the one who loses the most weight.

 

I’ll admit I don’t watch the show much, because I find it stomach churning, but I did catch a recent episode where one team was locked in the Room of Temptation for several hours. The room was filled to the brim with sweets, pastries, and snacks.

 

And then the team is asked to sit there and wait…and not eat. It was torturous. 

Here’s my suggestion: In real life, if you’re going for weight loss, throw out all the stuff in your house that tempts you. Do NOT set up your own Temptation Room. The world is full of temptations enough, and many of my past clients work or live in spaces that constantly offer sugar and snacks that trigger them to cheat.

 

Then there are the weigh-ins. At the end of each show (I’m assuming – I’ve only been able to suffer through a few shows myself), each contestant is weighed in front of everyone. The drama is contrived and makes the contestants look embarrassed. Women are weighed in a sports bra and men take their shirts off… as if the t-shirt will add extra pounds.

 

No, this is a way to shame and embarrass the contestants, to add to the spectacle. Towards the end of the season, the biggest losers keep their shirts on – is this a prize? You’re doing great, Biggest Loser, so we will no longer shame you!

 

But that’s what this show and others like it thrive off of – shame. Embarrassing stories and weigh-ins, being caught on camera cheating and quitting, getting voted off if you aren’t strong enough.

 

This is my biggest beef with this and other shows like it:The Biggest Loser adds to the damaging culture of public shaming, which is more harmful to us all and doesn’t counter-balance the few who lose weight and win the show.

 

Shame is damaging. The painful feelings of humiliation and distress that the contestants go through are torturous for them and the viewers. Public shaming labels overweight people as bad people, which only makes their self-loathing grow, fester, and lead to more binge snacking.

 

And this is why The Biggest Loser is harmful for the contestants and home viewers: when we participate in public shaming, we feel the negative effects in our own bodies, which leads many straight to the fridge for some comfort food.

 

The Biggest Loser & reality TV shows shame us/aim us straight to the fridge for more comfort food. Stop watching, lose weight. [Click to tweet this if you agree]

 

We have enough self-imposed shame in the war on weight. Tuning in and consuming shame-based media like the Biggest Loser makes us feel bad. In our hearts and bodies.

 

I say it’s time to opt-out. Stop watching TV shows that bring shame on overweight people.

Go on a media diet.

Trim YourTummy, Heal Your Gut: What Works

Gurgle.

Poofy.

Bloated.

Ugh.

 

If your gut isn’t happy, and hasn’t been in a while, you’ve probably thought about changing your diet to fix the problem.

I know you think you may be eating the wrong things:

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • soy
  • sugar & alcohol
  • maybe corn

You may be right, but you may not have removed those tummy-trigger foods from your diet yet.

Or you didn’t take them out for long enough. In my 28-day Slim Down Detox program, I recommend that you take these toxic foods out for at least 14 days and re-test your tolerance.

 

So I’m going to go a level deeper into why your tummy is bloated, uncomfortable, and poofing out over your jeans…

And it ain’t just what you’re eating…

It’s about how you’re eating and healing your entire gut.

 

Slow Down

 

I had a great chat with my client J last week. She thought she was eating too much again, and couldn’t pin point the cause. I asked about her eating habits and here’s what we found:

 

  • J has always been a fast eater
  • J eats faster when eating with certain friends
  • The faster she eats, the more she eats

I told her one of my top secrets to eating less, and digesting better:

s…l…o…w……d…o…w…n

 

I’m usually the last person to finish dinner. Other health experts I know are slow eaters and we all end up eating less food, and digesting what we eat better, when we eat slowly.

 

Why?

  1. chewing your food more thoroughly: well chewed food, mixed with saliva, is easier to digest
  2. allowing your gut to tell your brain to stop: when you eat slow, your gut can tell when it’s full, then signals your brain: “Hey! Stop Eating! We’re full down here!”
  3. eating slowly allows for more oxygen: when you eat slowly you breath more while chewing and in between bites. Oxygen is a major part of metabolism and a part of healthy digestion.

Here’s your Play With Your Food Exercise for this week (sounds more fun than ‘home work’, right?)

 

Next time you’re eating out, be the last one in your group to finish eating. Slow down your bites, chew more, and take your time.

Don’t get all obsessed with how much you’re eating, but just notice slowing down and how it feels.

 

If you’re eating alone, try to double how long it takes to finish your next meal. If you normally take 10 minutes to eat lunch, take 20. It may be a stretch, feel weird or be uncomfortable, but do your best.

 

Notice how your gut feels. Do you eat less? What else do you notice?

 

NOW, you’re slowing down how you’re eating, which is helping your digestion and metabolism work better.

But what about the health of your digestive system?

 

Many of my clients are in need of some supplemental healing to lose the muffin top and really heal their digestion.

If you’ve had:

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • yeast overgrowth
  • taken antibiotics in the last 2 years
  • rely on antacids

It’s time to Heal Your Gut with the 4 supplements that you need to fix your tummy and drop the muffin top:

  

Heal That Gut

 

Fiber: most people only eat 1/2 of the recommended 30 grams of fiber necessary for cleaning your intestines and moving food down the line. If your “transit time” (aka time between eating and pooping) is slow, the food can ferment in your gut leading to gas and bloating. Not pretty. I recommend most people take a safe fiber supplement to help create easily passed daily stools.

 

L-Glutamine: an amino acid (aka: a part of protein) that’s highly prevalent in the gut, your small intestine needs substantial amounts of L-Glutamine to absorb nutrients well. If your digestion has been “off” for a while, or you’ve taken antibiotics in the last two years, then your intestines are compromised. Add a good quality L-Glutamine supplement to water or your shake once a day to give your gut what it needs to do its job.

 

Probiotics: the “friendly” bacteria we need to take on a regular basis. These little guys help our body digest food and absorb nutrients. If you’ve taken antibiotics in the last 2 years, or have eaten a highly acidic diet of refined carbs and alcohol (hello you Sex In The Cityers!) you must take probiotics daily for several months to repopulate your GI tract.

 

Digestive Enzymes: As we age, and if we get ill or have relied on antacids for stomach problems, our body slows down production of stomach acid, enzymes and bile which hurst our digestion. This leads to gas, bloating, heartburn and more. Use a good quality broad spectrum digestive enzyme to help digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats so you get nourishment, not just calories, from your food.

 

What’s important about all this gut healing?

The Bottom Line: when you heal your gut, you get more nutrition out of your food, you eat less, and your tummy bloat goes down.

You look better and feel better – win, win!

 

 

So, do this week’s Play With Your Food Experiment and get your Heal My Gut Kit here:

 

Let me know how you’re feeling and what you notice!

 

Here’s to a happy tummy, and fitting back into those skinny jeans!

 

xo,

Alex