Nutrition Tips & Strategies

Labels Are More Important Than Calories

I promise you that if you follow the next tip, you will lose weight and even feel better with more energy and a clear mind.

I usually take my snack to “work” (I do quote marks because my job is not work for me. It is my passion ;)). However, many times I end up forgetting my snack at home. When this happens, I go to the supermarket to get it.

It is very interesting how I have trained my brain. I go straight to the produce area and pick up a couple of pieces of fruit. Sometimes I feel like eating something different. Nevertheless, I know that I will end up finding mostly junk in the supermarket. I turn around, pay for my fruit and go back to continue working on my passion.

Before I knew about processed foods, I would grab something that reminded me of my childhood. I bet you have a product that reminds you of your childhood. Since I’m from Mexico, of course, there are some Mexican pastries that take me back.

After I studied the effects of processed foods and understood why I had some extra fat and also how they were affecting my health, I started to check the labels. I was not checking for calories; I was checking the ingredients. I honestly didn’t remember that these products had so many chemicals and preservatives. It could be because companies did not use them as much when they were smaller, but as they grow and start exporting they need to use them. Or it could be because I simply was not aware and I did not care and did not pay attention to the labels. The truth is that now most processed foods are full of things that affect our weight and health.

I do a Grocery Tour 4 times at year for the community. The tour is very simple. We go aisle by aisle, and I let people choose their product.

One of the big mistakes most humans make, including me, is tending to think that people are like us. When I pick up processed foods, my habit is to first check the ingredients, so I feel like everyone must do the same. When I assess people I make the mistake of thinking that people know what products to avoid when we talk about them. Nevertheless, that is not the case all the time.

I noticed that many people choose their product for the appearance of the wrapping or because they were introduced to it without checking the label. Also, others check for calories and others only for sugars and fats.

But many people don’t know what is in their “foods” or that many corporations know how to hide their sugars, preservatives and chemicals as “vitamins,” “barley malt,” “agave nectar,” “dextrose” and others.

While there are some canned products that are acceptable, most of them are just junk.

Next time you go to the supermarket and get anything that is processed, read the labels, and you will be impressed how many ingredients you will find in your product or how clever companies can be in hiding their chemicals and sugars.

It got to the point that I checked my favorite pastries’ label only in hopes that they’d changed the ingredients so I could have one, because I do miss the taste. But I came to the conclusion that they never will, and because my health is more important than any flavor, I stick with my fruit.

If your goal is to stay healthy and lose weight or not gain fat weight, read the labels. It would make a big difference in your life.


How to Burn The First 10 Pounds or 6% of Body Fat

Burning the first 10 pounds or 6% of body fat is easy for a beginner.  If you need to lose 100, 50 or 40 pounds of fat, it is easy to lose the first 10 pounds if you practice the right habits.  You can lose up to 10 pounds a month in the beginning, with small changes in your eating and exercise habits.

I think what is the most important about wanting to lose the first 10 pounds is acting upon the desire. The first step I recommend is to set up realistic goals.  If your plan is to lose 10 pounds in one month, you need to specify everything you are going to do to reach your monthly goal.  The more you are planning to lose, the more you need to do, common sense, right? You need to be honest and real with yourself; if your plan doesn’t include exercising 6 times a week and getting all the junk food out of your diet in the first month, I think it’s unrealistic for you to aim to lose 10 pounds.

If the plan is to lose 5 pounds per month, the changes in your lifestyle can be smaller than if you’re trying to lose 10 pounds, obviously.  If you plan to lose 5 pounds, instead of exercising 6 times a week, you may exercise 3 times a week, and you’re still allowed to eat some of the addicting foods that are hard to get rid of in the beginning.

Having an exercise program scheduled every day will help you be more efficient in your weight loss.  Walking won’t be enough; an exercise program that is structured to get the most out of an hour will yield better results than just planning to exercise to a rhythm, which won’t deliver real results.  Hiking is a good exercise that will yield results in the beginning to help you lose your first 10 pounds.  Keep in mind that each week you need to progress.  For example, if it takes you 1 hour to hike up and down ¼ of a mile, maybe by the end of the second week, you can do ½ of a mile.

There is no exercise that will overcome eating poorly, so it is important that you work on fixing your eating habits.  The first changes you should make are eliminating fast foods and ultraprocessed foods, increasing your fruit and veggie intake, eating on schedule, minimizing alcohol intake, not drinking any added-sugar drinks including energy drinks, and eating breakfast.  When you follow these steps, your calorie intake will be less and the nutrition will be higher, increasing your metabolic rate.

Keep in mind that there are other factors that may affect your weight loss program.  Antidepressants and birth control, for example, are big contributors to weight gain.  Before starting a weight loss program, it is very important that you inform yourself about all the factors that may contribute to weight gain, because you will get frustrated if you don’t see results by the end of the month.  Talk to a capable, licensed health professional about any medical conditions before you attend to lose weight.  Remember that the decision is always on you, and the best decision come from a very informed person.

Getting rid of the first 10 pounds or 6% of body fat is an easy task when you’re ready to change your lifestyle.  You need to be committed and be persistent about the daily changes you are making.  Set up goals and work on your exercise program and eating habits, and by the end of the month you will weigh 10 pounds less.


This Is How Dieting May Affect You

Diets have become popular in our society. They have become part of our lifestyle. Most people talk about them. They practice them. But what is true is that many people do not have enough information about dieting.

I have been approached with the argument that dieting works because there are many case studies where people have lost weight. However, these case studies are not followed for a long period of time. They just follow the event until the individual reaches its goals. But then what happens? We all know someone who has lost weight dieting and we know that, after a period of time, this individual most likely is back to the weight that he or she begun with before dieting.  What does this tell us? That dieting works?

Now let’s talk about the real consequences of dieting.  According to experts, “To be a successful dieter, one must learn to ignore or distrust signals of hunger, appetite and satiety and instead depend on external references, such as food allowed/not allowed, suggested frequency of eating, and weighed or measured portion sizes. As a result, most dieters have lost the ability to eat in response to physical needs and may be more susceptible to overeating for environmental (“because it’s there” or “because it’s lunch time”) and emotional reasons.” When we focus on a regiment, we tend to believe that everything should be followed by rules and by exact step by step process. This is called the perfectionist tendency which soon or later will lead the dieter to a loss of control. Many studies suggest that dieters and eating disorder patients develop similar thinking patterns in relation to food: foods can be either “good/diet” foods or “bad/bingeing” foods. Foods can also be classified, by this pattern of thinking, as either “good/small/low energy” amount or “large/diet breaking” amount.

Usually most people have tried a diet and, in some point of their lives, they have the feeling of failure because they can’t keep up with the diet. And it is normal for diets are made for people to follow for only a period of time.

The above mentioned pattern of thinking and behaving is called diet mentality. This mentality or lifestyle, according to psychologists, is likely to result in weight obsession, poor self image, disordered eating patterns and disordered lifestyles, often marked by excessive or inadequate exercise. In addition, research suggest that chronic restrained eating has been linked to overwhelming hunger, weakened control over food intake, heightened responsiveness to external hunger cues and possible risk of bulimia.

So do I recommend dieting? No, there is not lifelong data that support that dieting works. In my career, including clients’ testimonials, my testimonial and research, tells me that dieting doesn’t work. And there are consequences not measured by people who start dieting. However, there is an alternative that does help to lose weight and keep it off forever; and that is changing lifestyle habits. Remember that all in life requires effort and discipline to succeed. Weight loss and positive eating habits patterns are not an exception.


The Best “Diet” for Weight Loss is No Diet at All

I have been helping people lose weight since 2009, and I have been very successful with most of them. Even though they give me credit for their results, I can tell you they lose weight because of the hard work they put into their life changes. All I do is give them the right information and the right approach. I don’t sell products or believe in myths, as many others do. I simply tell them the facts that many overlook or haven’t taken the time to research.

Many of these facts are widely accepted by society yet are ignored; one example is sugar. We use sugar with coffee, cake, ice cream, tea and other foods. The truth is that we eat sugar in everything; including all the foods that we think don’t have sugar.

Most packaged foods have a lot of added sugar. This is one of the reasons we like the taste. Often we opt to eat low fat products, but we forget how much sugar they contain. Also, we want to eat products without any sugar, not taking into consideration the chemicals thosee foods have. These chemicals can prevent the liver from doing its natural work, part of which is the chemical reaction of fat burning. Another possibility is we believe what the label says, but there may be much more sugar than the manufacturer claims.

The truth is that when my clients take my advice and get rid of processed foods including refined sugar and packaged foods, it’s not surprising that they lose pounds of fat. Most people who eat processed foods have trouble losing weight even though they are exercising rigorously. Hiking, weight lifting and running are some exercises people do daily without seeing results because weight loss has do to with the food people eat, not just the exercise. Eating a processed bar delivers enough empty calories to ditch your exercise. Yes, many of my clients come and exercise with me, but without them working on their eating habits, I would not be able to deliver the results.

The fact is that no matter how difficult the exercise or how reliable the program, when people are still eating refined sugars and processed foods, it is very difficult to counter those empty calories by exercise alone. Therefore, eating healthily is the base of any weight loss program.

There is no diet to follow or special product to drink, take or eat. Eat the best organic and natural foods.  Give yourself time to eat (set an eating schedule), and don’t go for the already made food with all the added sugars.

There is no magic trick. Stop eating the wrong foods, and soon you will drop all the weight you want to lose. As soon as you remove all the processed foods and refined sugars, your body will thank you and will start changing thanks to the choice you made.

If you don’t believe me I challenge you to do the experiment for 24 days. If you don’t see the results, simply just go back to eating processed foods. You will never know what is true if you don’t experience it yourself.

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Why dieting doesn’t work

Diets are popular. A close friend, coworker, family member, teacher, and the neighbor are all dieting. They lose 5, 10, 25 pounds at a rapid pace and find themselves  4 months later weighing more than they did before their diet. The question is, why?  Dieting creates  an illusion in these people when they see the numbers on the scale go down even though in reality they aren’t  losing body fat and are only setting themselves up for failure. New research shows that weight fluctuation and repeated dieting is a contributor to heart diseases, obesity, inadequate nutrition, fatigue, weakness, and gallstone. In addition, dieting creates negative psychological effects including weight obsession, poor self-image, disordered eating patterns, disordered lifestyle, and an increased sense of failure.

People who have been dieting are likely to be out of tune with their body and its signals of hunger and fullness.  Nutrition Dimension, The World’s Leading Nutrition Education, claims, “People on diets do not have normal, healthy relationship with food and are, therefore, destined to fail in their quest to lose weight; and, will in fact, likely gain more in the long term.” Self-control is what many people look for when dieting. They want to be able to say no to certain foods that dieting prohibits all while their body craves such foods with the nutrients it needs to survive. Doctor Phil author of The Ultimate Weight Lose Solution recommends to find other ways to cope with food, such as to avoid places were trouble foods are going to be.

Many diets restrict essential nutrients such as carbohydrates. People have developed a negative relationship with carbohydrates due to this publicity of dieting.  According to Linda Omichinski, a registered dietitian, “Dieters are not accustomed to eating carbohydrates. They are not aware that by taking more protein sources and cutting back on carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, they are actually setting themselves up to crave carbohydrates from other sources, such as cake and cookies.” The lack of carbohydrates in the body causes the person to crave sweets as a quick resource of fuel which end up contributing negatively to the person’s weight since they over eat calories with these sweets, such as cookies. If people ate the required carbohydrates, their body would crave fewer sweets.  Carbohydrates are energy the body uses in everyday basics. Energy that is essential in high intensity exercises.

Changing your eating habits is the key to success. It is not about restricting foods, it’s about learning the consequences of the food you are eating, and about processed food. Cook at home, don’t eat at fast food restaurant out of convenience. Eat all your 3 meals and snacks for skipping meals will lead you to overeat or eat the wrong foods. Buy real food, buy organic, and no hormones or pesticides that contribute negatively to your health. Plan your day; don’t let hunger catch you off guard. You will pick at whatever food is in front of you when you are hungry. Learning about what foods your body likes will make you feel more energetic, clear minded, and will help you lose weight. Over all, enjoy your food, and don’t be at war with the products that make you healthy.

Changing your eating habits is what ultimately will lead you to weight loss and a healthier life: dieting is temporary and only causes permanent physical and psychological harm.

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Lose Weight Permanently


Calories In Calories Out

You will probably agree with me on this. The other day I had a conversation with a gentleman about the book I published this year. He seems to be in pretty good shape. Before I could tell him anything about weight loss, he said that the formula is pretty simple: calories in and calories out. I told him that he was right, you probably already know this.

So, if this is so simple, how come so many people are still overweight and can’t lose weight? This is why my book, and my approach to weight loss, is different than other professionals. There are more than calories in and calories out behind the whole weight loss approach. There are many things that get in the way between “calories in and calories out”. For instance, here is a superficial example, but relative nonetheless. 200 calories from a beer are not the same as 200 calories from broccoli (obviously). Burning 300 calories from muscle is not the same as burning 300 calories from fat. Or why people decide to eat junk or empty calories instead of healthy calories?

The reality is – and this is what I focus on most – what is your motivation to continue bad habits or what would motivate you to practice good habits? Is your health? Your kids? Your wedding? The swim suit you have collecting dust in your closet? It is self-confidence? Attracting a new boyfriend/girlfriend? Live longer? Have more energy? Because once you find a real motivation, the rest is easy to follow you will do ANYTHING to get it.

It would be completely useless if I went to a homeless person, who smokes, drinks alcohol, and is trying to survive to tell him, “Hey, my friend, you need to exercise.” For him, as for many of us, we need to understand our priorities and the life we want. Maybe a homeless person has no motivation to stay healthy and do something for his life. He may be worry about who is going to give him money for his next meal or drink. What about you? Do you have motivation?

To set up a program for you to lose weight and get in shape is the easy part, like the guy I had the conversation with who said, “calories in and calories out”. The most challenging part of my career is to open your eyes and show you the reality of weight loss, and to continue to remind you why you want to lose weight, be in shape and, overall, be healthy. Once again, this is the challenge.

Do you agree with me? Maybe you have already overcome the challenge of bad habits and now you are thinking about the food you eat and your next exercise routine. Or are you on the other end? Have you stopped for a minute and thought about what motivates you to start your fitness program and what will sabotage it?

This is worthwhile repeating, once you find your real motivation why should lose weight and stay healthy, you will find a way to lose the way you want to lose.

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All Factors Add Up: Invert The Process To Achieve Weight Loss

After taking her measurements, I asked, “What do you think happened this month?”

My client replied, “I am not sure. I have missed a couple of sessions here.”

“Yes, a complete week and many days here and there.”

“Yes, I think I only came one time one week and two times the other week.” She thought a moment and said, “I don’t think I have been eating terribly.”

“Tell me about what you can remember.”

“The only thing that I ate was an energy bar.”

“That is all?”

She took some time to think and started talking about her favorite dishes. I replied, “I don’t think that would affect your weight gain this month. I don’t see anything wrong with that. You are eating real food.”

“Do you think adding sugar to my coffee will do it?”

“Once?”

“Every time.”

“Is that it?”

“Well, the energy bar I just told you, sugar in my coffee, a couple of drinks here and there.”

“How many drinks?”

“I am not sure. Not many.”

“What is not many? Can you recall?”

“Let’s see,” she once again stopped and thought. “I will say 2 drinks a night.”

“Let’s do the math; 2 a night is 14 a week. Continue.”

“A candy bar, I ate a sandwich with regular bread, I drank maybe 4 sodas this month,” she finally wrapped up her tally and then said, “I didn’t really think about it before, but it looks like I’ve been eating more of the bad stuff than I was aware of. Does everything add up?”

Many of us don’t think about how our decisions will affect our future. Instead of eating an apple, we eat the energy or candy bar. What difference will this make? Do you think in the long term it will make a difference? The answer is “of course.”

“Let’s put some logic together.” I started to show my client some research I had done. “First, everything that has been refined and processed has almost no nutritional value, even though many claim otherwise. That means that these products offer very little to help the body, and even then the nutrition will be very minimal compared to the empty calories they contain. For example, while a banana, apple or any vegetable or meat has real vitamins, minerals, protein and complex carbohydrates that the body can process and absorb and use for its benefit (such as potassium, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, magnesium and others), processed foods have only empty calories, as mentioned.

“Second, let’s do some math; when you are getting all the body needs from veggies, fruits and other whole foods, you are getting limited calories. For instance, a banana has 105 calories, an apple 95, 200 calories in a bowl of rice, 400 calories in a 6-ounce chicken piece, no calories in water and 250 calories in 30 ounces of veggies.

“Let’s say you eat 60 ounces of veggies, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 pieces of fruit and 2 bowls of rice for lunch, snacks and dinner. While your breakfast is ½ cup of oatmeal at 150 calories plus another piece of fruit, and you drink 10 glasses of water during the day. Don’t forget that you are getting real nutrients that the body needs to be healthy with all these choices. 500 calories of veggies, 300 calories of fruit, 800 calories of chicken, 400 calories of rice and 150 calories of oatmeal. That adds up to around 2,150 calories.

“Now let’s modify that to what you’ve been eating: You replace your fruit with bars, your rice with bread, you add sugar to your coffee and you replace your water with soda and alcohol or just simply add those to your diet. Your caloric intake would increase 100 to 200 calories from sugar if you drink only one cup of coffee; from 300 to 400 from the bars, depending on the bar and how many you eat, estimating you do eat 2; 300 calories from 2 sodas; 640 calories from 4 pieces of white bread for a sandwich; and from 200 to 1,000 calories from alcohol depending on what you drink. When you add these up it will be, more or less: 800 from chicken, 500 from veggies (if you want to eat your needed nutrients), 400 from bars, 200 from sugar, 300 from sodas, 640 from white bread, and 500 from 2 drinks, for a total of 3,340. That is more than a thousand unnecessary calories in your diet.

“This is only an example for a person who thinks he’s eating somewhat healthily. Can you imagine the total for a person who eats fast foods, foods high in fats, pre-made foods and so on? Some people end up eating up to 5,000 calories a day, and these are some people that think their thyroid is not working.”

I continued, “Now wait, that is not all; what about your sedentary life? Even though you think you are active, what do you really do during the day — drive everywhere and walk in your house? What else? Some minimum physical work? Now, I could be wrong. You tell me.”

She replied, “Yes, true.”

“Okay, so how many calories do you think you burn during the day? You are not only adding extra calories that your body doesn’t need, by not exercising you are also not expending calories and not increasing your metabolic rate. You are the one who admitted it. However, I am going to ask you again the question you asked yourself: Do you think all these add up?”

“It makes sense,” she replied attentively.

So I concluded, “If you eat more than a thousand calories, you need to exercise more than an hour to burn those calories and exercise even more to burn the extra fat you want to get rid of. I don’t think living in the gym is a good idea. This is the reason why many people who focus only in exercising and don’t pay attention in their eating habits can’t lose weight. Every decision you make in life, even the most insignificant, will affect your future and your goals, and if you don’t have it planned, it won’t work. You need a plan. We created one and you invested in it. Do you think after developing a plan you can just put it away and it will help you reach your goals? Something that will help you is to go over your plan every day to know what to do to get to your desired weight loss.”

If your goal is to lose weight and get in shape, pay attention to every single decision you make to get the best out of your day, week, month and life overall. It will affect your future. Developing a plan, reviewing it often, and following it carefully is the best way to get to your goal. Each factor will add up.

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Health Starts Within

Health Starts Within

Are you aware of how many knowledgeable and wonderful health care professionals we have right here in the Roaring Fork Valley? I had no idea until I began to organize with them to build awareness around natural health and ways to improve your life through our knowledge. That is how I came up with the idea to bring you the Annual Health Fair. This is a gathering of professionals who are committed to sharing valuable information and services with the public. Unfortunately, the Health Fair was last weekend, but I have the video here in case you missed it! Keep yours eyes open for more information regarding this next event.

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Factors Add Up

Are you familiar with compounding? If not, here is just a little information about it. The exact definition of compounding is: “make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of.” In this case we are talking about weight loss and how your decisions good or bad can compound to produce certain results. This video goes into great detail about the decisions and factors that you are making or that are compounding to yield the results you are experiencing. This seems like common sense, right? If we make good decisions and all the right choices all the time, ultimately we will get exactly what we want. Even though there is much truth to this conclusions, it is not realistic and many times we are not making the “right” choice that will produce positive results. Rather, we make poor choices and then justify them thinking that we will do better next time or it is just this once. This is normal human behavior due to the fact that we are pleasure seekers, and often times the things that bring us pleasure are not always the things that will move us closer to our goals. Therefore, we must learn how to be realistic and understand that some choices are OK once in awhile, but if we continuously make poor choices, and justify them over and over, they add up quickly and will leave us running in circles, ultimately trapping us in a viscous cycle that will keep us from reaching our weight loss goals.This video will help you realize what you can do to break this cycle and live a happier and healthier life!

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Meal Plan Creator

Have you tried Chiles Rellenos? It is a Mexican dish, one of my favorites, by the way. I am not very picky about my food. However, I like it to have some flavor. Having a dish that is pale without flavor is not something I am looking forward to at the end of the day. I like spicy sauces and many times I love to pan sear my veggies.

When I started to learn more about diets, I began understand why many diets are not realistic. While many diets are good, many people can’t stick to them because they are not suitable for that individual.

At any rate, the truth is that many people, just like me, are accustomed to their cultural dishes and there is nothing wrong with it. People can still lose weight while enjoying their foods. Even though we should only eat for nutrients, we still want it to be a pleasurable experience.

This is how I help CBF’s members to lose weight and transform their bodies, by helping them to understand that they can still enjoy the foods that they love and continue losing weight. In fact, last week I assessed one of our members and she has lost 19 pounds in two months. She had many question about the way she was eating and I answered them all. She was very confused in the past and so happy that she has found a solution that she starting crying. She believed many myths and wrong recommendations about food, and this is the reason why she was not very successful about her weight loss before she came to CBF.

Here, I want to share with you this video I made to help you design your meal plan. It is very simple to follow. I teach you how to set realistic and achievable goals. Plus, I teach you how to eat your meals and snacks on a schedule, what products you should not be eating and what you should be eating. All without omitting the dishes you love.

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Lose Weight Permanently