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Have you noticed that as you get older, you can no longer eat the same way that you did when you were younger? Does it seem that you gain weight just by “looking at a muffin?” This is because your metabolism slows down with age. When your metabolism slows down, this makes it so much easier to gain weight and more difficult to lose weight. So, when does your metabolism slow down and why?

The truth is that there is so much the medical community is learning about human metabolism all the time. Scientists do know that metabolism and aging are closely related. Let’s take a deeper look at how metabolism changes with age.

What Is the Metabolism?

Everyone has a metabolism. Your metabolism is the process used by your body to convert what you eat and drink into energy. Your body is constantly converting the things that you eat and drink into usable energy with the help of oxygen. The energy that is created is used for every single process and system within your body. Energy from food and drinks is used for breathing, balancing hormone levels, circulating blood, repairing cells and tissue and growing new cells. Every person has a base metabolic rate that is needed to maintain essential bodily functions. We generally consider this to be your “metabolism.”

What Influences Metabolism?

We’re still learning a lot about what makes each person’s metabolism unique. In some cases, there may be no clear answer regarding why two people with similar genetic profiles may have wildly different metabolisms. However, there are some general factors that seem to contribute to metabolism. They include:

  • Body size and composition. People with larger builds seem to burn more calories both at rest and during activity. People who are more muscular also tend to burn more calories by default.
  • Gender. Generally, men tend to have less body fat when compared to women. They also tend to have more muscle than women. As a result, men generally burn more calories than women.
  • Age. Yes, metabolism appears to slow down with age. This is likely linked with a decrease in muscle mass that often occurs with age.

While a person’s default metabolic rate plays a big role in how many calories are burned daily, it’s not the sole determiner of how your body manages calories. Something called thermogenesis also plays a role in this. Thermogenesis refers to the process of how food is digested, absorbed, transported through the body and stored. Roughly 10% of all calories consumed from protein and carbohydrates are used by the body to digest and absorb nutrients.

Another significant factor in how the body manages calories is physical activity. The amount of physical activity completed daily dramatically impacts the number of calories burned by the body daily. While some bodily processes automatically burn calories, activities like running, walking, swimming and playing sports can burn hundreds of extra calories per hour above a person’s baseline rate for burning calories.

When Does Your Metabolism Slow Down?

Younger athlete and older athlete jogging together.

“Putting on weight” is a common complaint as people reach their 30s and 40s. Many people feel a “shift” in the way their bodies handle foods that they could eat without problems just a few years earlier. Yes, the evidence does show that metabolism may shift with age. Therefore, eating habits may require adjustment as we age.

According to a study published in August of 2021, metabolism peaks fairly early in life. We are then on a constant trajectory of keeping up with a shifting metabolism. The study also found that our metabolisms operate at “super speed” from the time we are born until the end of our teen years. However, we may not notice that our metabolisms are slowing down by about 3 percent annually until we reach age 20. At age 20, there is generally a significant “leveling off” that occurs as the metabolism reaches a new normal. The metabolism also slowly trickles down from middle age into a person’s “golden years.” A person in their 90s requires 26% fewer calories than a person in middle age.

Metabolism and Weight Gain

The most straightforward formula for gaining weight is taking in more calories than the body needs to function based on your activity levels. However, maintaining a stable weight can be complicated by a number of different factors, including your metabolism. It’s believed that the following mix of factors influences weight:

  • Genetic makeup.
  • Hormonal balance.
  • Diet composition.
  • Sleep.
  • Stress.
  • Underlying illnesses.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Decreased metabolism.

While the “surest” way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat the right amounts of calories and fat for your body type and lifestyle, choosing the right types of foods is also essential. The truth is that not all food is created equal. It’s important to eat whole, nutrient-filled foods that assist with things like promoting better sleep, keeping blood sugar stable, enabling the body to produce the right amounts of hormones and allowing you to stay full and satisfied for more extended periods. 

How Can You Prevent Your Metabolism From Slowing Down?

Focus on Muscle Mass

Dumbells

Muscle mass plays a very important role in metabolism as we age. Muscle simply burns more calories than fat when we are in a resting state. That is because muscle burns more calories than fat. So, even while you sleep, your body will burn more calories. This means that having a lifestyle consisting of muscle-building foods combined with muscle-building workouts is a “metabolism hack” at any age. Being a muscle-minded person becomes non-negotiable as we age if we want to enjoy strength, energy and a healthy weight.

Age-related loss of muscle mass is a well-documented fact. People begin to lose between 3% and 5% of muscle each decade after turning 30. Researchers call the natural decline in muscle mass that occurs with age sarcopenia.

Researchers aren’t completely clear on why muscle declines so aggressively with age. One strong theory is that the natural decline of testosterone contributes to muscle loss. That’s because testosterone is considered a “muscle builder” that stimulates protein synthesis for muscle formation.

Get the Right Amount of Protein to Support Muscle Growth

While eating a muscle-minded diet is essential at any age, it becomes increasingly important as we age. Getting adequate protein levels in our diets is one of the most important things we can do to reduce muscle loss. Resistance-training exercises are also very beneficial for helping to promote healthy muscle mass as we age. Of course, having adequate protein levels in your diet when doing strength training is essential for being able to give your body the fuel it needs to keep up with workouts without becoming depleted.

Protein is pure muscle food. When we consume protein, it is broken down into amino acids used by the body to put on muscle. However, a common phenomenon known as anabolic resistance can throw a wrench in your plans even if you are eating what would be considered a balanced diet. Anabolic resistance reduces the body’s ability to break down and synthesize the protein we consume. The solution is to eat more high-quality protein. Some tips for optimizing muscle protein synthesis:

  • Divide protein equally between meals throughout the day.
  • Use protein from animal sources as the easiest way to get proper ratios of amino acids.
  • Avoid processed meats and foods that are full of additives and saturated fats.

It’s also important to be consistent with protein levels daily. Relying on sugary snacks that are easy to grab often leaves us going hours without a good protein source during the day. A consistent meal plan ensures that you’re getting in the healthy, whole protein sources needed to optimize protein use without significant gaps during the week.

Athlete using a dumbbell for strength training.

Do Strength Training

Along with diet, strength training is one of the most important ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. In addition to helping you burn calories more efficiently, strength training can help keep your bones strong as you age. If you have not been active recently, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before beginning any strength training program for guidance on what activities you can do.

Minding Your Metabolism: Everyone Has the Power to Fuel Their Bodies the Right Way

It can feel like metabolism is simply all about the luck of the draw. However, nobody can escape the realities of the declining metabolisms and reduced muscle mass that come with age. The good news is that orienting our diets to work with the natural flow of the human metabolism is an easy way to control weight while nourishing the body to fight back against muscle loss.

At the bare minimum, make sure you’re getting at least .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight, the recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Remember that quality, lean protein sources are best! It’s also wise to break up protein evenly throughout the day to ensure that your body isn’t “starved” for protein at any point. This could look like starting your day with a whole-egg scramble bowl before moving on to a lunch consisting of a smoked paprika chicken breast salad, a dinner consisting of chimichurri steak and a snack consisting of organic strawberry chia pudding.

Important Points

  • For years, researchers have known that exercise helps prevent or reduce the severity of chronic conditions like heart disease.
  • Now, recent research shows that it is also good for the brain. Exercise may help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • There are many theories as to why exercise is beneficial in this regard. However, one theory has to do with iron.
  • Iron accumulation in the brain is associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Exercise helps the brain better metabolize iron, which may explain its beneficial role in preventing dementia.

Scientists have known for a long time that physical exercise offers a range of health benefits. It reduces the risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.

In recent years, researchers are revealing that exercise is good for the brain, too. Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of issues like depression and anxiety.

Now, there is strong evidence that people can reduce their risk of later developing dementia by making key lifestyle changes, including exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a disease that affects more than 55 million people worldwide. In most cases, it is progressive and leads to a deterioration in cognitive function. This deterioration goes beyond normal aging and affects memory, comprehension, and analytical skills.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the most common causes of death among adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It currently ranks 6th as the leading cause of death among all adults. It is projected that the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease will continue to increase. According to the latest estimates, as many as 100 million more people will be diagnosed by 2050.

People tend to believe that Alzheimer’s Disease occurs later in life, but that is not necessarily true. Although the risk increases with age, symptoms can develop as early as when a person is in their 40s.

What We Know: Physical Activity Can Help Protect the Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease

Regularly exercising appears to be one of the best lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Just like our muscles can become more fit with exercise, so can our brain.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, regular exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Over one-third of dementia cases are preventable through lifestyle changes, including physical exercise.

Why is that? Let’s take a look at what science says. 

What Does the Research Say?

A recent study found that exercise may prevent Alzheimer’s by helping the brain better metabolize iron. The study found that Alzheimer’s, and aging in general, are both associated with changes in the way the brain metabolizes iron. Researchers theorize that the accumulation of iron in the brain contributes to the formation of plaques found in Alzheimer’s and other dementias. These plaques contain a toxic protein called beta-amyloid, which is found in autopsies of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

How does exercise help the brain better metabolize iron? Researchers know that regular exercise improves iron metabolism and prevents iron buildup in the brain, but they are uncertain why this is the case.

Scientists don’t fully understand how physical activity lowers dementia and Alzheimer’s risk. There are probably a combination of factors that contribute. Experts suggest that aerobic exercise can help reduce the risk of dementia by improving vascular health. This likely lessens the damage of Alzheimer’s effect on the brain, encouraging neuron growth and survival.

Medical research demonstrates that dementia starts affecting the brain many years before symptoms show up. Experts suggest that making lifestyle changes and healthy choices in your 40s may make a big difference in your dementia risk down the road.

What Kind of Exercise Should I Do?

Cardio 

Aerobic exercise, in particular, may be especially beneficial for guarding against dementia. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease compared the cognitive function of two groups of sedentary adults aged 55 and older with dementia symptoms. The goal of the research was to find out if aerobic exercise would reduce brain atrophy and plaque buildup, which are both early markers of Alzheimer’s.

The control group performed aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at least four times a week, while the other group only did flexibility exercises. Although both groups experienced some cognitive benefits, the group that performed aerobic exercise lost less volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is a region that tends to deteriorate as dementia worsens.

What Kind Of Cardio Should I Do To Get Brain Benefits?

While you should always talk to your doctor about how much and what kind of cardio exercise is right for you, we recommend aiming for 30-minutes of aerobic exercise at least four days per week. Try:

  • Aerobic Dance or Zumba Dancing is especially great for the brain as it requires you to learn complex choreography, which keeps the brain working. Dancing is also a social activity, and studies have found that social connection has been linked with a lowered risk of developing dementia.
  • Swimming – Swimming incorporates both cardio and strength. This is a great way to get both types of exercise in at once. It’s perfect if you struggle to find the time in your schedule to commit to both cardio and strength training.
  • Gardening – When people think of exercise, they often forget about gardening. But, this activity is a great way to get your cardio in. It counts as moderate to high-intensity exercise. Not only can it help guard against dementia, but spending time outdoors gardening can be a great way to de-stress after a particularly stressful day at work.
  • Walking – Walking is great for anyone. It suits all fitness levels and abilities. You don’t need any special equipment, and it can be done anywhere. Walking outdoors also provides unique benefits, including improved mood. Walking outdoors has been shown to reduce the risk of depression compared to walking indoors. So, it can be an excellent exercise for protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and reducing symptoms of depression.

Strength Training

Many strength training exercises, like boxing, can benefit brain health. Scientists say that just six months of strength training can help protect brain areas vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease long term. They say that the beneficial results of regular strength training on the brain can last up to one year later.

What Kind Of Strength Training Should I Do to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • Weight lifting – Weight training is especially beneficial when it comes to dementia. Animal studies have found that weight training helps promote the creation of new neurons in the brain’s memory centers.
  • Boxing – This exercise is helpful because it incorporates both strength and cardiovascular exercise.
  • Dancing – Like boxing, dancing is great because it enhances strength, cardio fitness, and flexibility.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)-  The fitness giant CrossFit conducted a case study on the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) combined with memory training and a ketogenic diet in treating mild dementia. They found that HIIT, together with memory training and a keto diet, had a beneficial impact on cognitive function and overall metabolic health.

Like exercise, eating healthy also reduces the risk of dementia. Research has shown that nutrition and dementia are related. A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and seafood can reduce the risk of dementia. A healthy diet plus exercise is the path to better health. These things can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, two factors related to heart issues, which can cause dementia. Therefore, a lifestyle that incorporates a healthy diet plus exercise is best.

How Often Should I Exercise?

All that it takes is just one workout to make our brain’s memory more fit. Of course, to get the most benefit, you should exercise regularly. Studies have shown that the cumulative effects of exercise can lead to long-term improvements in how our brains work and remember information. Therefore, coming up with a long-term exercise routine is best to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Final Thoughts

Although exercise or a healthy diet alone will not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there are lifestyle factors that you can make to reduce the risk. The research on exercise and dementia shows that physical activity lowers the risk of developing dementia. It also helps improve dementia symptoms in people who have mild cognitive impairment. It is likely a combination of factors, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity, that is the most beneficial for dementia prevention.

Stop Worrying About BMI

Like many, you’ve probably strolled into the doctor’s office for a simple checkup and had a few measurements taken. One of these measurements may have been your Body Mass Index or BMI. This is a measurement that records your height and weight, then categorizes your weight status as either underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese.

The problem with BMI is that it’s very antiquated. This measurement has been used since the 1800’s and doesn’t take very much into account, yet it’s still used today. The amount and location of body fat isn’t even taken into consideration with BMI, which means that an individual with a higher weight, yet lower body fat, may still be categorized as overweight or obese. A BMI this high on an athletic individual is obviously misleading.

So, why is BMI still a thing? Despite there being other, more accurate options for measuring your weight status or health, why is it still used today? That’s exactly what you’re going to be learning more about in this post. You’ll also walk away with some other fantastic options that can be used for checking your health!

A Brief History of BMI

Before dropping into some of the ways that BMI misses the ball, let’s talk about its origins.

The BMI measurement was created in the 1830’s by a mathematician named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. What’s interesting about the creation of BMI is that it wasn’t even created by a physician, yet it’s used regularly in a physician’s protocol. The aim of the number was to determine whether a person is of a healthy weight by dividing their weight by their height squared. This number was then used as a statistic for a general population that would aid the government in allocating resources. What it didn’t do is pinpoint exact measures of health or weight status.

The scale of your BMI runs in ranges and places you into categories, which are still used today. You can see these below:

Below 18.5Underweight
18.5-14.9Healthy
25.0-29.9Overweight
30.0 and aboveObese

Why BMI Misses the Mark

Now, is BMI accurate? In reality, using BMI as a measurement of health or weight status can be misleading. When you have an individual with higher amounts of muscle mass, their BMI may be inaccurate. Due to extra muscle contributing to their overall weight, they may be classified as overweight, even though they’re in great shape with a low percentage of body fat. This is due to the fact that BMI doesn’t take actual body fat percentage (or muscle mass) into account. These numbers are huge variables when it comes to determining the health of someone and they’re totally left out in this form of measurement.

Athlete working out with dumbells

The point of BMI is to keep up with weight and the rate of obesity, but can this really be used as a true indicator if it’s mislabeling healthy individuals as obese? In turn, it becomes an indirect measurement of obesity, and this can be seen in a study measuring trained and untrained individuals. The trained group, even though in better shape, had more individuals categorized as overweight than the untrained group. Therefore, some categorizations of people having their BMI measured are in fact wrong.

Even for an individual who does contain a higher percentage of body fat, BMI can still be slightly misleading. BMI doesn’t take the location of body fat into consideration. It’s no secret that an abundance of fat tissue in the midsection is bad for your health, but what if you carry it evenly throughout the body? When body fat is distributed throughout in an even manner, it’s detriment to your health may be reduced (but not eliminated). If you’re looking at BMI as a marker for health, it could be misleading due to the information it isn’t considering.

BMI may categorize you as overweight, or even obese, in cases where you may actually be in great shape. While it may be an accurate measurement for some scenarios, it doesn’t take everything into account, which limits the credibility of it.

So, why is it still used today?

BMI is a fast way of coming up with a supposed range of health in regard to weight. The number can be found out quickly and it’s been used for so long that it’s just stuck. It’s also still used because there is a large proportion of the population that isn’t athletic. Due to this, the ranges given can have some indication of actual weight status.

This, however, doesn’t mean that it’s an accurate measurement and there are much more effective ways of measuring your body composition, weight loss, and overall health.

Other Ways to Measure Health

DEXA Scans

DEXA scans are imaging tests that measure your bone density. While these are used to look for things like osteoporosis, they also show your body composition. This means that you get to see your other tissues like body fat and muscle mass. Using this information, you can differentiate what your weight is actually comprised of. Whereas with BMI an athletic person could be classified as overweight, a DEXA scan might show quite the opposite.

The only downside to the DEXA scans is that they can be slightly pricey. However, if this isn’t a concern for you, it’s a fantastic way to get an accurate read on your body.

Calipers

Body fat calipers being used to measure a women's body fat.

Body fat calipers are tools used for physically measuring the amount of fat present on your body. The process can range from just a few measurements to a full-on exam. This process requires assistance to reach all the locations, and they measurements are often taken from places such as your arms, legs, and stomach. These measurements are put into an equation that eventually produce your body fat percentage. When compare this method to BMI, it may offer you a much better idea of proportion of your weight is actually fat versus lean tissue.

The more places you have tested, the more accurate this outcome can be. There is, however, the chance of a user error in this test so this should be taken into consideration as well!

How Your Clothes Fit

While not an actual test, it can be extremely helpful. As you’re trying to see if things are changing for your body, you can always keep tabs on how your clothes fit. Let’s say the scale hasn’t changed for you, but you’ve been hitting the gym and eating better. However, you have noticed that you had to go down a belt loop for your pants to stay up! This is a good sign and shows that you’ve lost inches. Losing inches is often attributed to a loss in body fat that may accompany a gain in muscle mass. These changes may not show up with a BMI measurement, when in reality a lot is changing.

While not numerical data to use, it’s a great way of self-measuring some changes to your body.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

If you really just want to keep up with your health markers, this is where you should be checking. While BMI may give you some inclination of your weight status, these are measurements that can truly make a difference for your actual health. In many cases, some individuals may have a high BMI but be in fair health when looking at blood pressure and cholesterol. This isn’t always the case, but it can be a reality.

You’ll more than likely have these checked at the same time as your BMI, but maybe keep an eye on these instead of worrying about the outdated BMI you just received.  

How You FEEL!

Happy woman after working out.

At the end of the day, no matter what that BMI says, how do you feel? Do you have energy? Can you do the things you enjoy doing? Are you happy? These are great measurements of health that often don’t get the recognition they deserve. We may look at an odd BMI measurement and completely forget that we were able to run a mile today. If you’re on a health journey, this is also a great place to focus your attention. Are you feeling better as you make these changes? While not a statistical date point, it carries a ton of value when actually tracking your wellness.

Conclusion

There are a ton of different ways in which you can measure your weight, body fat, muscle mass, and health. However, you still get the same old BMI score at the doctors office. It’s an outdated measurement that is still in play today, but don’t let it get you down. That number doesn’t carry as much value as you would assume it does. There is a lot that goes unrecognized in that measurement and this can make it inaccurate. BMI is outdated and isn’t something to fret over. You can always try something like a DEXA scan or body fat test that will provide you with an accurate measurement. In addition, you can try things that aren’t number based and truly go off how you feel!

Use what is relevant to you and your situations and keep moving forward!

Does life feel like a stress factory? It turns out that the way to slow down stress is to rev up your gears. While it may seem counterproductive, doing more is the best stress-management technique if that “more” involves your workout. Yes, regular exercise is the stress-busting secret that everyone needs to remember when they feel tense, anxious and overwhelmed. Do you need a stress escape plan? Take a look at the secret to managing stress with exercise.

Your Brain Supplies You With Your Own Stress-Management Coaches: Meet the Endorphins

Most of us know how good that post-workout glow feels. It can feel like we’ve discovered the secret switch for suddenly feeling more energized, confident and motivated. However, we can just as easily forget how good working out feels once our schedules fill up with work commitments, home-life commitments and distractions. Once you know the science behind why working out leaves you feeling like you’re on top of the world, it’s pretty hard to skip a workout.

It’s all thanks to endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s feel-good neurotransmitters. You’ve definitely already met endorphins if you’ve ever worked out hard, went for a run or simply danced around! Endorphins are natural analgesics that help to diminish pain. Your body releases them during workouts because it knows that you’re “feeling the burn.”

Because endorphins act on the brain’s opioid receptors, they create the feeling of a natural “high” that can reduce pain, increase pleasure and leave you with a general sense of increased well-being. Researchers have known about the link between exercise and the stress-reducing benefits of endorphin release for decades. However, the stressful pace of modern life has more and more researchers looking at the benefits of exercise for stress relief. If you really want to ramp up the feel-good, stress-busting hormones, you may need to ramp up your workouts. While any form of exercise can positively affect mood, people going hard against stress are going hard in the gym. Next, take a look at the emerging research on moderate versus heavy exercise for stress relief.

How Heavy Exercise Can Help With Stress Reduction

First, it’s helpful to know the baseline recommendation for using exercise and physical activity for wellness. The current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that adults should strive to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly. If you’re doing vigorous-intensity workouts, the recommended time drops down to 75 minutes weekly. Keep in mind that this is the recommendation simply for improving and maintaining physical health. People seeking to use workouts to improve mental health may want to tweak this suggestion a bit to create more of a “therapeutic” schedule. In fact, research supports this.

In a 2018 study, researchers looked at opioid release after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to gauge the positive effects of physical exercise on mood and stress levels. They found that HIIT leads to a strong endorphin release in the brain that likely alleviates both physical and emotional stress. Here’s a closer look at the data roundup:

  • HIIT substantially increased the release of endorphins and opioid peptides in areas of the brain that control pain and emotion.
  • HIIT’s ability to reduce “negative feelings” actually boosted endorphin release. Consider this confirmation that the no-pain-no-gain theory might be more valid than we thought!
  • Researchers were left to conclude that both negative and positive feelings created by physical exercise impact the opioid system.

The most exciting part of this study comes next. The impact of HIIT on the brain’s opioid system was compared to regular aerobic exercise. Researchers concluded that a traditional one-hour session of aerobic exercise did not produce the same endorphin release as HIIT. Of course, that’s not to say that “normal” aerobic exercise isn’t helpful for stress relief. While traditional exercise did produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria associated with endorphin release, the intensity of the results could not touch what study participants who endured HIIT experienced.

Tweaking Exercise Intensity Levels for Stronger Stress Relief

Photo of athlete performing rope climbs in the gym.

Let’s back up to cover precisely what the correlation between high-intensity workouts and endorphin release means for people trying to learn how to use exercise for stress relief. First, the thought that some exercise is better than no exercise still applies. Someone who cannot participate in high-intensity aerobics for any reason should not assume that they should skip working out because it doesn’t offer any benefits. Any mildly intense physical activity should get you a decent-sized endorphin release that can take the edge off. If you’re looking for intense stress relief, the answer is intense physical activity.

Knowing that high-intensity workouts lead to better stress relief is half the battle. The irony of using intense workouts for stress relief is that the endorphin rush that you’re trying to invoke in your opioid receptors can only be created by creating unpleasant feelings. That’s because your body releases endorphins in response to pain and physical stress during workouts. To stay on track with using exercise for meaningful stress relief, you have to get in a mindset of getting rid of the bad feelings caused by stress by taking on even more bad feelings during a grueling workout before reaching the point where the pain turns to pleasure.

Getting the motivation for this can be challenging for anyone. Negative feelings associated with intense exercise discourage exercise in a considerable percentage of the general population. This is where consistency and planning become so important. You need to build a mindset that allows you to take on the physical and emotional demands of putting in a workout.

How To Stay Motivated

Here are some tips for staying motivated to get your workouts in — even if you know they might make you wince:

Set of workout clothes ready to go.
Keep your workout clothes ready to go!
  • Get your workout in early. If your schedule allows, make your workout the first thing you do every morning. Scheduling your workout for later in the day gives you most of the day to try to talk yourself out of doing it. What’s more, unexpected things can pop up during your day to rob you of the time you’ve set aside for your workout. Exercising first thing also gives you the confidence boost and optimism that come with accomplishing something very hard before more people have even rolled down the top sheet! If you’re having a hard time getting started in the morning, you can gradually adjust your workout time to be earlier and earlier every day until you can get there.
  • Make sure there’s a “treat” waiting. Don’t put yourself in the position to be desperate for anything you can get your hands on after you finish an intense workout. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a treat, giving yourself a snack or meal to look forward to when your workout is complete can be a big motivator. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the food or beverage you select will replenish and restore you without undoing any of your hard work. If you’re planning morning workouts, consider having something like healthy banana pancakes or a keto egg scramble waiting for you in the fridge!
  • Keep your workout clothes ready. The goal is to make sure you never have excuses. Following each workout, prepare your workout clothes and gear for the next workout! This will ensure that they are always waiting for you.
  • Discover exercises you enjoy. HIIT workouts come in many forms! You don’t have to commit to just one option. In fact, many HIIT workout programs out there combine traditional cardio with yoga, boxing, ballet and more!
  • Bring a friend along. If you’re desperate to relieve stress, there’s a good chance that the people you live or work with also need some stress-busting tools. Why not get a partner or group? Studies show that having a workout partner increases the amount of time spent working out!
  • Just remember that even a small amount of exercise helps. Exercise in almost any form or intensity level can be a stress reliever. So, if you are out of shape, start by gradually building up your fitness level. You’ll still get the stress relieving benefits of exercise while slowly becoming healthier.

The research is becoming more apparent on one thing. Pain may be the only way to gain peace of mind when it comes to your workout. If you’ve fallen into a sedentary way of being, the argument for getting out there to feel the burn has never been stronger. If you’re already exercising without getting the stress-relieving benefits that you want, the answer may be to ramp things up.

Let the Stress Reduction Begin!

If you’re feeling motivated to reduce stress using high-intensity workouts, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. It’s essential to get proper nutrition through complete, healthy meals when doing intense workouts because your body needs the right fuel to perform—as always, using a meal prep service is an excellent way for busy health-minded people to stay on top of things without feeling vulnerable to hunger, cravings and low energy.

Many of us have been there before— trying out another fad diet, feeling restricted and unsatisfied, and finally giving up and feeling guilty, only to start the cycle over again. Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of health. We need to fuel our bodies to function our best, but dieting doesn’t always leave us feeling that way. Intuitive eating teaches us to let go of restrictions and rules and listen to what our bodies and minds need. It helps us build a healthy and positive relationship with food and our bodies. Gentle nutrition is the final step in intuitive eating. It focuses on taking care of our bodies and minds and feeling satisfied while eating a balanced diet that gives us all the nutrition we need.

Nutrition should be a lifelong commitment, not a fad. To build these lifestyle changes, they need to be not only healthy but also sustainable. The fact is food is meant to be enjoyed and is not just there for survival. We need a balance. So, how can we be sure we’re supplying our bodies  proper nutrients in adequate amounts without counting, measuring, or obsessing? Cue gentle nutrition. Here are some ways to better understand gentle nutrition and how to get started.

Understand Your Food

Before we can eat intuitively and make healthy dietary choices without needing to read labels, we need to have at least a basic understanding of our food choices. For example, whole grains are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, while white bread is a simple carbohydrate that is not as rich in fiber and micronutrients. Take note of some healthy sources of fats and good protein sources, understand antioxidants, and so on. Learn about fiber and probiotics. You don’t need to get into the details, but you should have a general idea of what different categories of foods have to offer. Once you understand that, it’s easier to eat a balanced diet without paying attention to the nutrition label. Try our Balanced Meal Plan to make meals easier for you. We do the macro calculations, and you sit back and enjoy your food!

Take Note of How Foods Make You Feel

Friends enjoying a run

With intuitive eating, we try to let go of the idea that there are good and bad foods. As soon as you set limits on yourself, labeling foods as “bad” or off-limits, you start to feel restricted and fall into the pattern of dieting. Take notes of how you feel after eating your meals. It helps to write it down— what did you eat, and how did you feel afterward? You can use a food diary. This makes it easy to identify whether certain foods make you feel bad or good afterward. Everybody is different, and that is why no one diet works for everyone. You might have some intolerances or allergies that make you bloated or sick. Some foods might make you feel sluggish and heavy, while others give you energy and make you feel good. Write it all down until you notice patterns. That way, you’re not eliminating or restricting foods because someone told you to, but because you know they don’t make you feel good, and you don’t want them. You may still choose to treat yourself, and that’s fine! The reasons behind your food choices should always be positive and come from a place of self-care. You can still avoid certain foods or choose to eat plant-based, keto, or sugar-free, but your “why” is what makes the difference between dieting and gentle nutrition.

Differentiate Between Being Full and Satisfied

A big part of intuitive eating is tuning into your hunger cues and honoring them. If you’re hungry, eat. However, sometimes we eat a full meal, and while we no longer feel the physical hunger, we still aren’t satisfied. Intuitive eating focuses on both feelings because we don’t eat to simply be full— we also eat for enjoyment.Honor your cravings and eat in a way that leaves you satisfied both physically and mentally. When we don’t honor cravings, feelings of restriction start to pour in, and we don’t want that. If you eat a bowl of veggies but feel unhappy and want some pasta, then go for it! Pay attention to your food, try not to multitask while eating, and truly enjoy the experience of mealtime. This will also tremendously help with understanding and listening to your body and what it needs.

Zoom Out

Stop stressing about each meal and trying to balance out every plate with enough carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Look at the bigger picture. You can reflect on your food choices at the end of the day— did I eat a balanced diet today? Put all the meals together. Maybe your breakfast was primarily carbohydrates, but your dinner had lots of protein and veggies. As long as you feel good, that’s what matters. You may even wish to assess weeks at a time so that it feels less intimidating. Nobody’s perfect and intuitive eating embraces that. The goal of gentle nutrition is to eat a balanced diet overall, which means you don’t need to stress over each thing you eat but rather look at the big picture.

Prepare and Plan

Grocery Shopping

Although intuitive eating focuses on listening to your body, sometimes the easiest way to start with any lifestyle change is to plan and prepare. Have a rough idea of what meals you’d like to eat throughout the week or month, or at least what ingredients you want to have in your kitchen. Not only will this help you stay organized and save you time, but it will also help you plan balanced meals. When you go to the grocery store, try to cover all your bases— fruits, veggies, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. That way, you have everything you need to make your nutritious meals. If you don’t have enough ingredients, eating intuitively while balancing meals can be tricky and intimidating.

Try New Things

The easiest way to eat a balanced diet and ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need is to diversify your grocery list. Every week, or however often you go grocery shopping, pick out a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t had in a while (or maybe ever). Not only will this allow you to get creative in the kitchen, but eating a variety of produce helps you get all the different vitamins and minerals that you need. Try to pick a variety of colors when you choose fruits and veggies, as the colors often correlate with different antioxidants and micronutrients. Eating the rainbow will brighten up your plate and is a fun way to ensure you’re getting a broad list of micronutrients. Aim for at least three colors on your plate. Try to incorporate different sources of protein, as well. Instead of having chicken every night, get creative and make a plant-based dinner with tofu or chickpeas. Our Plant-Based Meals can inspire you to try some new foods you may not have had before.

Cook At Home More

Cooking at home

While we don’t want to restrict anything, it’s a known fact that homemade meals are generally healthier than eating out constantly. You shouldn’t be afraid to eat at a restaurant with friends, but you should get to know your kitchen well. When time and your schedule allows, cooking can help build a healthy relationship with food because you can put love, time, and creativity into everything you eat. The why of intuitive eating and gentle nutrition is the most important part— if you’re doing something to care for your body and mental health versus having the mentality of restricting and guilt, then you’re on the right track.

Add to Your Favorite Meals

Instead of restricting, switch your mindset to adding. What can I add to this meal to make it even more nutritious while still tasting delicious? If you don’t like the taste of your new dish, feel free to stick to the original. Remember, it’s all about balance. One chocolate ice cream dessert won’t change anything, but if you can make it with bananas or avocado instead of heavy cream and still love the taste— why not? Get adventurous and find your love for cooking and improvising in the kitchen. Add some green peas to your mac and cheese, blend some spinach into your morning smoothies, or add some nuts and seeds to your muffins for some added omega-3 fats and protein.

Be Easy on Yourself

Enjoying ice cream

Remember that eating intuitively should make you feel good and improve your relationship with food. The principle itself is called “gentle” nutrition. You shouldn’t feel guilty for eating that piece of chocolate cake, eating white bread instead of whole wheat, or not having any protein in your dinner. The point of gentle nutrition is to guide you to a balanced diet and to help you let go of any negative feelings towards food. This is the final step in intuitive eating for a reason— if you’re stuck in a “diet” mentality and haven’t fully fixed any negative relationship with food you may have, focusing on nutrition can be a step backward.


Sources:
https://colleenchristensennutrition.com/getting-started-with-gentle-nutrition/
https://karalydon.com/intuitive-eating/practice-gentle-nutrition-intuitive-eating/
https://nourishrx.com/6-strategies-for-embracing-gentle-nutrition/
https://www.rachaelhartleynutrition.com/blog/how-to-practice-gentle-nutrition-in-intuitive-eating

Think peak fitness is yours to keep forever? Think again! It’s common for fitness levels to plummet after just a few short weeks of inactivity. No, it’s not your imagination if you swear that you feel and look different after taking a week off from the gym. Your body may have reverted significantly during that brief window. Why is it so easy to become unfit? Blame entropy.

Our bodies need to be in constant motion to maintain fitness levels.  If we “slack off” for any amount of time, our bodies are quick to become “deconditioned.” Even people who have been training for years can see significant decreases in fitness  if they take just a few weeks off. That doesn’t mean that you should never take a day off from training. However, you should be aware of the role that consistency plays in helping you to enjoy prolonged fitness without the need to start from scratch every time life gets busy. The good news is that knowing why our bodies want to get back to a very unfit base can help us build routines that promote sustained fitness. Take a look at everything you ever wanted to know about why it’s so easy to get unfit!

First, Here’s How We Get Fit

Everything that we put our bodies through helps us to adapt, toughen up and become more tolerant. That’s why an exercise that seems complicated one week may be downright breezy the next. Our bodies are working towards higher and higher fitness levels while we’re consistent with exercise. If we’re adding in healthy meals full of complete nutrition for feeding our muscles with lean proteins, leafy greens and healthy grains, we often see even better results because we have the energy to get through our workouts without battling cravings.

How Does Fitness Fall Apart?

Even fitness that feels like it’s peaking at higher levels can go bust. Pursuing a fit life doesn’t leave any room for resting on your laurels because your body needs to stay in motion to keep that fitness momentum. Just ask science.

A person who builds up strength and fitness over a long period of time can experience reduced fitness in just a few weeks of no training. One study examined the effects of de-conditioning on a female master athlete after an injury. In that study, it took just four weeks of de-training for the participant to experience a significant decrease in fitness, as evidenced by a reduction of VO2max scores of 25.7 percent. VO2 max scores represent the maximum volume of oxygen that your body can use during exercise. This score is frequently used to measure cardiovascular fitness in athletes. 

The simple reason is that the body doesn’t have a need to stay fit once the stress of training is lifted. The average person can expect to see their cardiorespiratory fitness return to pre-training levels in just eight weeks. Yes, that means that months or years of hard work will put you right back where you started in terms of the amount of oxygen your body uses during physical activity. We also know that blood, and plasma volumes can dip by as much as 12 percent within four weeks of a person ending their training routine. Those declines are simply due to the reduction in stress being placed on the heart and muscles. When researchers looked at 21 runners who participated in the 2016 Boston Marathon, they found that four weeks of using reduced routines caused cardio fitness levels to drop significantly. However, researchers noted that maintaining a decreased routine helped the runners avoid even larger drops in fitness. Let that be a lesson that something is better than nothing if you’re trying to maintain some level of cardio fitness during a period where things like time restraints or life obstacles are making it difficult to work out at full capacity.

What About Muscle Strength?

According to researchers, athletes will begin to lose muscle strength in just three weeks if they aren’t working out! That means that just a month away from your fitness routine can create a very noticeable difference in muscle strength and appearance. The big deal about losing muscle strength is that muscles are very important for overall health and leanness. Muscles burn more calories than fat, even outside the gym. That’s true even when you’re simply sitting on the couch watching television. As a result, a person with higher muscle mass will typically burn more calories than a person with lower muscle mass throughout the course of an average day. When muscles are allowed to atrophy, this opens the door for sudden weight gain. 

Why Don’t Our Bodies Just Stay Fit?

The human body is smart. It’s not in the business of maintaining all kinds of “expensive” muscle just so that you can look good. In truth, our bodies will default to the easiest baseline when we don’t put them through the wringer in training. If it’s just about preserving calories for survival, the body doesn’t “care” about putting energy into cardiovascular performance or lean muscle. The default is to build fat that doesn’t burn off as many calories as lean muscle. This is why keeping muscle on takes so much work. Of course, the catch to this is that it becomes much easier to stay inactive once we are inactive. When we decrease in fitness, we have less energy. All it takes is an excuse like being too busy, not wanting to drive to the gym or saying that we’ll go tomorrow to get even deeper into the cycle of reverse fitness.

How to Maintain Fitness

The best way to stay fit is to never fall off the fitness wagon. Once you understand how easily your body will revert back to your pre-training performance level and appearance, it’s hard to ever want to let yourself slide backward. Here are some tips for how to preserve fitness:

#1 Customize a meal plan that fuels your body based on the workouts you’re doing. You’re more likely to give up on a fitness routine if you feel hungry, deprived or weak. You may also sabotage all of the hard work you’ve done by grabbing for comfort foods at the end of a long day. The best way to combat this is by using meal prep to ensure that a balanced, proportioned and satisfying meal is always waiting at every mealtime of the day.

# 2 Remember that doing something is better than nothing. As researchers point out, athletes were able to avoid considerable dips in fitness by keeping up with some level of training. This created much better outcomes than if they had stopped running “cold turkey.”

#3 Adjust your diet based on your fitness levels. If you’re eating more calories when you’re training hard, don’t forget to adjust your diet for the times when you’re not as active. It’s not necessary to eat like you’re training when you’re not training. When your muscles aren’t burning those extra calories, you may be more likely to put on fat instead. Focus on healthy meals that are the right size based on your daily intake needs.

#4 Create fitness plans that actually work for your life. If you find yourself constantly committing to rigorous workout plans that you abandon after a few weeks, this may be a sign that you’re taking on too much all at once. A better approach may be to design a fitness plan that’s more sustainable for your lifestyle. You may find that doing workouts that you enjoy helps you to avoid the need to constantly “start from scratch” after your fitness levels reset with every lapse.

The bottom line is that it’s not a matter of you against your body. Yes, your body wants to get back to baseline. However, consistency that’s powered with a positive mindset can help you to enjoy long-term fitness.

Don’t Forget to Get Support

One of the reasons why so many people fail to maintain fitness after achieving it is that they don’t have support! It’s very easy to fall into a four-week funk that sets our fitness level back to zero when we don’t have support. To boost your chances of staying consistent, things like a trainer, fitness class or workout buddy should all be considered. If you’re constantly getting off track with eating properly for fitness, consider signing up for a meal prep service that delivers balanced, tasty meals that you select right to your door. In fact, researchers are very clear about the fact that nutrition has the most significant impact on fitness.

For people focused on getting fit, it’s essential to know about the benefits of improving diet and exercise at the same time. In one study designed to measure methods for improving health, researchers found that only participants in the group that received simultaneous nutrition and exercise counseling reached their goals when compared to participants in the nutrition-only and exercise-only groups.

Final Thoughts on Avoiding Fitness Entropy

The only real guard against reverse fitness is consistency! Making it as straightforward as possible to fit the right diet and exercise into your life is as close to a “hack” as anyone can get. Of course, the freedom to look and feel your best is the best inspiration for staying on track!

Weight maintenance is a part of health maintenance for many people. Setting weight goals can be an important way to reach health objectives based on your personal goals for fitness and well-being. However, understanding how to set weight goals can be challenging. When creating a weight-loss plan, there are two prevailing theories to know about called the set point theory and the settling point theory. Knowing the science behind both can put you in a good spot for understanding how to craft a way of eating, exercising and living that’s ideal for your body.

What We Know About How Our Bodies Use Food

Most people understand weight loss as a simple formula that’s based on calories in versus calories out. That means that we tend to gain or lose weight based on what we’re eating versus how much energy we’re expending. Is it really that simple? The answer can depend on which scientist you ask.

The truth is that your body’s relationship with food is complicated. While it makes sense that excess fat storage occurs when there is an excess amount of calories taken in without being expended, it’s also very likely that a variety of physiological factors also determine how the body uses food. This is where the understanding of setting point versus settling point comes into play. Let’s dive in for a crash course on the things nobody ever told you about what your body thinks of your diet.

What Is the Set Point Theory?

The foundation of the set point theory is that the human body has an “internal control mechanism” that wants your body to maintain a certain body fat percentage. This “set point” varies by person based on physiological factors. In fact, scientists even know where this “set point” mechanism is located. It is believed to be nested in the brain’s lateral hypothalamus that is responsible for regulation each person’s metabolism. The hypothalamus communicates directly with your body’s fat cells to release insulin and hunger-related hormones. At the core of the set point model is the idea that we each have a genetically preset weight range that our bodies are actively trying to get back to regardless of our behavioral changes. While we may see temporary changes in weight, our bodies are working behind the scenes to override our efforts to get us back to that preset weight range by resetting our metabolic function.

If you’ve ever felt like you gained or maintained weight when eating less, it may not have just been your perception. Your “set point” regulators may have triggered a slowing of your metabolism to ensure that you don’t dip below your “set” percentage of body fat. In fact, studies have shown that severe caloric restriction can depress resting metabolism by 23 percent.

What Is the Settling Point Theory

The settling point theory focuses on behavior over biology. First proposed by a researcher named James Hill of the University of Colorado, the settling point theory hinges on the idea that we settle into habits for diet and physical activity based on several factors. However, it does assign some importance to biological influence when determining weight-related habits. This is where the confusion between set point and settling point comes in for some people. The big difference here is that the settling point theory cites genetic predisposition as an influence on behavioral choices instead of being responsible for actually setting your metabolism. Here’s a look at some factors other than genetic predisposition that are believed to impact weight based on the settling point theory:

  • Learned behaviors.
  • Environmental cues.
  • Sensitivity to food-related cues.

Researchers who back the settling point theory point to evidence that health interventions focused on incorporating physical activity into a weight-loss plan have the greatest success rates. It’s very important to note that the settling theory doesn’t “blame” people for their weight problems because it assumes that weight gain comes down to “bad” behavior. This theory simply recognizes that a combination of genetic and learned behaviors influence eating behaviors. For people trying to lose weight, the settling point theory can be more encouraging than the set point theory because it means that obstacles to weight loss are technically removable with behavioral changes. By contrast, the set point theory is based on the idea that our bodies essentially have internal “weight clocks” that are set for a certain percentage of body fat that cannot be undone.

Separating Fact From Fiction: Is the Set Point Theory True?

The answer is that we aren’t sure yet. The set point theory is something that researchers are still studying. The set point theory may have some validity. However, the exact amount of power that our body’s internal “weight clock” has on our ability to lose weight has yet to be determined. Many researchers are quick to point out that our “set point” might not be as set as we think, even if this theory turns out to be true. In fact, we can actually sabotage our personal set points if we create long-term habits for excessive eating paired with a lack of exercise. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard point out that it’s actually possible to create a higher set point beyond our original predetermined set point through long-term habits.

Of course, the risk with only subscribing to the set point theory is that there’s a lot of discouragement wrapped up in this theory. The set point theory is not permission to “give up” on healthy eating simply because the science says you have no control over your weight. By contrast, this information should be used to craft a tailored, highly personalized diet plan that takes into account your specific nutritional needs.

Tying the Two Theories Together

We know that “starvation” diets can slow the metabolism and lead to weight gain. We also know that exercise is one of the most effective tools for lowering body weight. In addition to burning calories in the moment, exercise also turns us into calorie-burning machines even when we’re not actively working out because it builds muscle that passively burns more fat. This is where the theories of set point and settling point intersect. What may seem like two conflicting points of view clashing is the marriage of two aspects of how the body maintains a healthy weight.

Let’s do a roundup of what we know based on what was covered so far. The settling point theory pushes the idea that physical exercise can help us “hack” our predispositions to get within our desired weight range. Next, even researchers who follow the set point theory agree that unhealthy behavioral patterns can actually increase our set points. It seems that the answer is a healthy, balanced lifestyle regardless of which theory we follow. More importantly, we need to understand the importance of using the right fuel if we try to use exercise and activity as a balance to whatever our genetic predispositions might be. With the understanding that not consuming enough calories can lead to weight gain under the set point theory in mind, we know that consuming enough healthy calories is essential for reducing our set points.

Making Sense of Set Point and Settling Point From a “Whole Picture” Standpoint

When looking at these two theories, we should really be focusing on set point, and settling point instead set point versus set point. That’s because both theories ultimately boil down to the idea that healthy, nourishing foods paired with a good amount of physical activity make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. While not everyone has the time or means to pay someone to design a genetically specific diet plan for them, we can all focus on high-protein foods full of healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants and essential minerals in appropriate portions.

One of the best ways to avoid that “creep” toward a higher set point is to be conscious about meal planning to avoid the urge to reach for whatever is fast and convenient. Unfortunately, grabbing for the nearest thing when we don’t have healthy meals and snacks waiting for us often means grabbing for calorie-dense, nutrient-void foods. Research shows that meal planning is associated with a healthier diet, a better variety of foods, weight loss and reduced obesity. That could mean that opting for something like a complete high-protein meal plan tailored to meet your daily calorie goals could be ideal for making sure you’re getting the calories you need for energy and health without the perils of being short on time. If one time of the day is your weak spot due to a hectic schedule, you may want to focus on just making sure you always have a high-powered, energy-boosting breakfast waiting for you.

Do these insights about set point versus settling point ring some bells about your own experience with trying to maintain a specific weight? Let us know if you can relate to feeling like your weight has been “set” by genetic factors. You can also let us know what you plan to do with this information now that you know more!

Delicious and healthy food doesn’t have to be burdensome and LoCal Foodz was established for just that reason! We want to make it convenient for you to enjoy healthy meals while making your life easier. Our goal is to free you of the stress and headache of nutritious meal planning, so you can focus on simply enjoying your food.

Undoubtedly, some areas in your life can benefit from the convenience of easy, healthy, pre-cooked meals. Whether you are looking to save time and money, reduce your stress, track your macros easily, or even keep yourself and family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, LoCal Foodz provides countless ways to make your life a little easier and a little better.

1. SAVE TIME. LOTS OF TIME.

Whether you are a working professional, student, parent, athlete, or some combination thereof, so many of us find there is never enough time in the day to do all the things we need to do. And the more time we spend on obligatory chores or responsibilities, the less time we are left with for the things we WANT to do like hobbies, physical activity, or even just relaxing.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you are spending every week simply feeding yourself or family? First, there’s the time spent planning out meals for the week. Then, you’ll likely find yourself researching recipes. Of course, once you’re done planning, then you’ll have to head to the store to shop. Once you’re back at home, even unloading your groceries takes time. And we haven’t even touched on how much time you spend prepping, cooking, and cleaning up each meal. It’s probably safe to say if you were to calculate all the time spent on planning, prepping, and preparing meals each week, it’s taking up hours of your valuable time.

Eliminate most of the time spent preparing meals by ordering delicious, healthy, premade meals. All you have to worry about is ordering your favorite LoCal Foodz meals online, picking up your fresh premade meals (or waiting for your delivery to arrive), heating for a few minutes, and then ENJOYING!

2. SAVE MONEY.

It’s no secret that fresh, quality food isn’t cheap. And if you are someone who likes to focus on quality, flavorful ingredients, you know firsthand just how expensive your grocery bill can get.

A trip into the grocery store can not only become expensive as you add each item to your cart, but there are countless opportunities to be enticed by impulse buys around every corner. Every unnecessary purchase is quickly driving up your grocery bill in a big way. In fact, did you know that “up to 20% of the average household’s grocery bill comes from items that were purchased on impulse alone?” That’s some significant money being spent on unnecessary purchases.

Aside from the temptations of impulse purchases, excess groceries and unused leftovers are another culprit of wasted money. Despite the best efforts of even the most organized person, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll find yourself throwing away food. Whether it’s produce that didn’t stay fresh long enough, leftovers that never got eaten, or a recipe that simply didn’t need the whole two-pound bag of potatoes, you’re bound to find yourself throwing your hard-earned dollars away. In fact, it’s estimated that “a four-person family loses about $1,500 a year on wasted food.

Browse our Signature Entrées and pick the portions right for you.

One of the beauties of our perfectly portioned, individual meals is that there is no excess. You can customize your meals so you are receiving the portion size appropriate for you. This means you’re only paying for the food you know you’ll be eating. Spend the rest on other areas of your life instead of wasting it on unused groceries.

3. REDUCE STRESS.

Worrying about what to cook week after week, day after day can be incredibly draining. Life is already stressful enough, you deserve to make it easier in the areas where you have some control. We’ve taken the stress out of mealtime by providing you with meals that are healthy, affordable, and delicious.

Gone are the days where you spend so much of your time and energy trying to plan out a menu and shopping list. You don’t have to fight your way through the grocery store after a long day at work. You don’t have to stress over the macro makeup of your dinner – we’ve done all this for you!

LoCal Foodz strives to make mealtime easier and more convenient for you. The less you have to worry, the more you can enjoy. And isn’t that what life is ultimately all about?

4. TRACK YOUR MACROS. ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS.

Many of our clients are interested in being able to easily and accurately track their macros. If you are someone who has dietary or body composition goals, LoCal Foodz makes it easy for you to stay on track.

All the nutritional information for our meals (even those that you’ve customized) is readily available online and printed out on your meal packaging. Having this information easily accessible saves you precious time from having to do the calculations yourself and even risk bad math.

We’ve even taken it one step further to make attaining your goals easier. Our Meal Plan Menu removes the guesswork and gets you on a plan based on your preferences. Meal Plans include keto, low-carb, low-calorie, high protein, or balanced options. You can sign up for three, five, or seven days worth of meals and you have several options for your daily caloric intake. Simply sign up for the plan that supports your goals best and we do the rest! You’ll have fresh, tailored meals delivered to you (or available for pick up) that help you meet your macros.

The less time you spend worrying about what you’re eating, the more time you have to focus on your training and recovery. A few minutes more in the gym every day or a few minutes of active recovery every session can add up to big results. Focus your efforts where you can have the greatest impact and let us do the number crunching for you.

5. REDUCED COVID-19 EXPOSURE.

Right now, we have found ourselves in the middle of a historic, global pandemic. One where the simplest act of going to the store for our basic necessities puts us at risk. By ordering with LoCal Foodz, you can limit your exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the time spent in crowded grocery stores or even staying out of them completely.

The average length of the typical American grocery shopping trip is 44 minutes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, any time spent in an indoor space, especially 44 minutes in a crowded grocery store, is increasing your exposure and risk of contracting the disease.

With LoCal Foodz, you can order your food for a quick pick-up. Head into a pick-up location, grab your bag, and go. Limited time inside, limited exposure.

Want to reduce your exposure even more? You can have your meals delivered directly to your door. No contact, no additional exposure.

During a time where all our decisions matter, let us help keep everyone safe by keeping you out of crowded stores. 

LoCal Foodz can help you gain more control of your life in the areas that YOU need it most. Free yourself from unnecessary stress and allow yourself to ENJOY your meals. If there has ever been a time to enjoy the little things in life, it’s now. With a global pandemic, social unrest, and so much uncertainty, there’s one thing you can count on – delicious healthy meals from LoCal Foodz that will only make your life a little bit better and a little bit easier.

Spend less of your time and money. Focus more on your goals. Reduce your stress and COVID exposure. And maybe most importantly, enjoy your food – you deserve it.

Our bodies thrive off food. So what if there was a way we could give our bodies more of what they want while still keeping our slimmed-down shape? Pssst… there is…

How often are we told that in order to slim down we must cut calories and increase exercise? Well, while this fact is true 90 percent of the time, it is not the only way to stay trim.

Many times, we continue to diet well past what our bodies can handle, causing a plateau or no progress. So, we decide to slash more calories or up to our exercise routine… but still nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero progress.

It’s times like these that call for a Reverse Diet.

Understanding Reverse Dieting

You may have heard this buzzword flying around a lot lately. But what exactly does it mean? A Reverse Diet is the process of slowly going from a low-calorie (or dieting) state back to maintenance calories. If you have recently finished a diet cycle, aren’t seeing any more results, or accidentally under-eating, a Reverse Diet is for you.

Reverse dieting is basically the opposite of dieting. During a diet, calories are slowly reduced over time to elicit fat loss. The body no longer stores excess food during a diet. However, with a Reverse Diet, calories are slowly increased back to maintenance, or an adequate intake to keep the body running optimally.

To clarify, bodies don’t run optimally during a cutting/diet phase. And if you continue to eat low calories beyond 12- 16+ weeks, you’ll likely force your metabolism to a screeching halt. This is known as Metabolic Adaptation.

Also known as an extreme plateau, we may no longer see fat loss on low calories if we are metabolically adapted. After dieting for a while, slowly dial-up to maintenance calories to avoid Metabolic Adaptation and let the body restore health.

How to Reverse Diet

Before you can begin a Reverse Diet, it’s important to know where you are at. Take 1-2 weeks to track your current calorie intake, using a log like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. Once you know where you’re at, it’s time to figure out where you need to be.

While both Cronomete and MyFitnessPal will calculate your calories, here’s a quick tool to help calculate your maintenance calories: https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/macronutrient-calculator.

If you’re nowhere near maintenance, consider starting with a 20% increase in calories. Then slowly increase by about 100 calories every 2-3 weeks. As you get closer to the estimated maintenance calories, the more conservative you will want to be to avoid gaining excess body fat. Consider only adding about 50 calories every 2-3 weeks at this point. For example:

  • Current Average Calories: 1,000 calories per day
  • Estimated Maintenance Calories: 2,000 – 2,200 calories per day

For this Reverse Diet, focus on hitting protein and calorie goals first. Let fats and carbs fall where they may filling in the rest of your calories after protein.

  • Jan 1st: 20% increase from 1,000 calories = 1,200 calories
  • Jan 15th: +100 calories = 1,300 calories
  • Feb 1st: +100 calories = 1,400 calories
  • Feb 15th: +100 calories = 1,500 calories
  • March 1st: +100 calories = 1,600 calories
  • March 15th: +100 calories = 1,700 calories
  • April 1st: +100 calories = 1,800 calories
  • April 15th: +100 calories = 1,900 calories
  • May 1st: +50 calories = 1,950 calories

…and so on.

A reverse might only take 3-6 months, but it could take as long as 12-18+ months. It took a while to drop weight by cutting calories, and it may take twice as long to earn all those calories again. But it will be well worth it!

As well, understand you shouldn’t instantly drop calories again once you’ve completed a reverse. Spend a minimum of 3-6 months (if not more) at maintenance before worrying about changing up your food goals and intake. This will ensure your body feels safe and comfortable enough to drop weight again.

**Just because it’s “time” to consider an adjustment doesn’t mean you have to. There is literally no such thing as “too slow”  — If the scale or body comp is bouncing around, feel free to hang tight an extra week or two.**

What to Expect on a Reverse Diet

A reverse diet can produce 3 potential outcomes: weight loss, weight gain, or no change in scale weight/body composition.

  • Weight Loss: It’s almost as if our body is SO hyped it’s finally being fed it stops “clinging” to every morsel of food we’re giving it.
  • Weight Gain: a common and necessary outcome in order to restore health and metabolism especially after extensive dieting.
  • No Change: in this outcome, you are able to go from NO food to ALL the food. And almost all biofeedback (gym performance, recovery, mood, sleep quality, etc) gets better with more food.

You can achieve the body you want without killing yourself. But it requires taking care of your body, hormones, and health and being smart about your nutrition. Spending the majority of your time living at maintenance calories is non-negotiable for feeling your best and staying as healthy as possible.

Common Concerns on a Reverse Diet

When starting a Reverse Diet for the first time, many individuals have concerns regarding how to cope with eating more food. Here are the most common experiences Reverse Dieters have when first starting their journey back to maintenance:

Excessive Hunger

Hunger is a good sign! It’s the green light to keep adding more food. Your metabolism is basically telling you to keep doing what you’re doing.

BUT, many things can affect hunger. Make sure that you’re eating enough fiber, drinking enough fluids, sleeping 7-8 hours at night, and that you’re consuming well-rounded healthy meals. Dropping the ball on any of the above will likely leave you hungry. If all are in check, then keep adding calories!

Necessary Exercise

If you’re already active, exercising more would defeat the purpose of eating more food. Stick to your usual routine and see your performance in the gym begin to skyrocket.

If you are not working out regularly, then you may certainly find a workout routine to start. The body was made to move, and exercise provides so many mental and physical benefits. Just like with the Reverse Diet, start out slow and build your way to 3-4 times a week.

Appropriate Calories

Knowing when you’re at maintenance (and when to stop adding calories) can be tricky. So pay attention to your body.

You are likely at maintenance calories when you feel good inside and outside the gym. Your energy and mood are great, sleep is uninterrupted, and you’re no longer dealing with cravings all the time.

If the scale starts to slide up as you near estimated maintenance, you MAY be reaching a caloric threshold. This means your body is at maximum efficiency at this number of calories. But you also may NOT be at maintenance here.

It’s not uncommon for someone to need to surpass this threshold and actually GAIN 5-20+ lbs in order to restore health. If this is happening to you, hang around that caloric threshold for a few more weeks to notice any changes in mood, sleep, energy, etc. before ramping up calories again. If you’re still feeling sluggish, hangry, and more it’s time to keep bumping up calories and expect to see the scale creep up with it.

The Reverse Diet can be just as daunting as a traditional diet… especially when going in without a plan. Luckily, now you have one! Follow the tips above to finally eat more and keep the weight off. And if you need some extra accountability and help, our Balanced Meal Prep delivery options can help support your calorie goal of the week. Just tap your goal and how many days a week we can provide you with delicious healthy meals to support your Reverse Diet journey!

A new year is on the horizon, and with it comes many lofty goals and aspirations from people all around the world. But what separates those who succeed from those who don’t? It’s all in the plan…

As December comes to a close, many of us reflect on the previous year to set goals for the approaching year. And, man, what a year it was! We’ve been put through the wringer over and over again… and what once started out as a year full of hope and resolutions has turned into a circus act of staying sane and employed.

We are so ready for a new year.

A fresh start. A clean slate to pursue our self-improvement and actualization. That’s what our New Year’s Resolutions are for! According to a ComRes poll, 71% of New Year’s resolutions revolve around weight loss and fitness. A close second (47%), and falling under a similar category, many resolutions focus on improving physical health and better nutrition. Learning new skills and hobbies, practicing self-care, and spending more time with family and friends follow at approximately 15% each.

Unfortunately, many resolutions are set up for inevitable disappointment and eventual burn-out. Especially when faced with obstacles like what we saw in 2020. On average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.

There are many causes of these resolution failures. All of these reasons, however, fall under the same 5 categories. Read below to uncover what your resolution weakness is to combat and finally succeed!

1. GOAL SETTING

How you frame your resolution matters. When making resolutions, people often frame them using negative language. “Stop eating junk food” isn’t as effective as “Choose healthy meals” Thinking about avoiding behaviors inevitably leads us to think of those behaviors, creating a craving for something lost. BUT, when we frame resolutions positively allows our action-oriented thoughts lead us to the desired outcome.

New Year's Resolutions
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Another common pitfall of goal setting is which goals to focus on. While we all want to improve all areas of our lives, taking on too much at once can be daunting. The best way to combat this is to create one to two goals for different areas of your life, then rank them in order of importance or simplicity.

Focus on the top priority goal to keep your resolution achievable. However, by setting goals in all areas of your life, you’re bound to see a ripple effect in every area as you work towards one.

2. MAKING THE PLAN

Resolutions that aren’t written down are destined to fail quickly. So write them out, making a list of some things you would do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. Writing these aspirations down makes your goals real and helps prepare you to reach them. But, don’t just write these goals on a sticky note and forget about it.

Keep your list of New Year’s goals in a place where you will see them regularly, so you can review your progress and recommit on a consistent basis. Examples include taping your goals to your bathroom mirror, fridge, or screensavers.

This stage is critical for success. Not only does it allow you to reflect on an effective strategy but also prepares you for the obstacles sure to come your way. This way when things get difficult, you can deploy the strategies you wrote down to stay on the path toward success.

3. MEASURING PROGRESS

How can you know if you’re on the right track to achieving your goals if you have no way to measure them? In order to stick to those New Year’s resolutions, you need to be able to see you’re on the right track in a consistent way. The best way to do that is to set measurable goals.

New Year's Check-Ins
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For example, if your goal is to choose healthier meals, set a number of meals per week that will be “healthy.” Write down something like, “I’ll meal prep a healthy dinner 5 times a week.”

This way you’ll have something to check off daily. And eventually, you can build off those achievements, adding more meals the more consistently you hit your goals.

As well, consider keeping a resolution journal. Here you can write about your successes and struggles. This is an excellent way to measure progress as well as make any adjustments to get you back on track.

4. EXECUTING THE PLAN

Trying to do too much too quickly is another common reason why so many New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past February. Dramatically slashing calories, overdoing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are just a few of the ways to make reaching your goal exponentially harder. Instead, focus on taking small simple steps toward your goal.

For example, if you are trying to eat healthier, start by replacing the common “junk food” items in your house with more nutritious foods. You can even choose from our a la cart menu to start! While it may seem slow, these small changes make it easier to create and stick to new habits as well as increase the likelihood of long-term, sustainable success.

Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s resolution is to not make the exact same resolution as last year. After trying and failing, success may be harder to come by. However, if you do choose to reach for the same goals, spend some time evaluating your previous strategies.

Ask yourself questions like which strategies worked best, least, and what else prevented your success can help mitigate frustrations. As well, when evaluating these goals, write down the reasons you are working toward this goal again. Coming back to your “why” during stressful or undermotivated times is crucial to keep you moving forward.

5. THE REWARD

Finally, the pay off! The thrill and reward of accomplishing something we’ve worked so hard for are critical in keeping us reaching for new goals in the future. Just make sure your reward doesn’t make it harder to accomplish any of your other goals. If one of your financial goals is to cut back on debt, rewarding yourself for better nutrition choices with an extravagant trip may not be the best reward choice.

New Year's Reflections
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If you haven’t quite reached your goal yet, don’t fret. Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months?

It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but this is not a race. Self-improvement is a marathon. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.

SOME FINAL TIPS

Get Support From Your Friends and Family

While you’ve probably heard this advice before, you may not have thought to do it like this before. When writing down your goals, think of someone who may have a similar goal (or who has already accomplished this goal). Explain what and why you have this goal to that friend or family member when asking them for help.

Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. For additional support, join a group or class that shares your goal. When facing challenges like those found in our New Year’s Resolutions, together is always better.

Renew Your Motivation

During the first days of a New Year’s resolution, it’s easy to feel confident and highly motivated. There is no real discomfort or temptation associated with changing your behavior, and making this change might seem all too easy at first glance. But…

After dealing with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym at 6 a.m. or racking your brain for meal ideas, motivation will probably start to dwindle. When you face such moments, look back on what you’ve written down. What’s your why? What strategies did you plan to use in such moments?

Just Keep Swimming

Encountering setbacks are the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, it’s not a failure. Instead, view them as learning opportunities. If you are keeping a resolution journal, write down when the struggle occurred and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future. Click here for a downloadable PDF to help you start planning, preparing, and executing your New Year’s Resolutions in the coming year!