Why we crave unhealthy/junk food? And what can we do about it!

PhotoGrid_1393584280165Hey everybody! Welcome back!

Today I have an article for you on how to stop craving unhealthy food, and how to eliminate them from your diet.

We all want to feel and look great, that’s probably why you are reading my blog, because you want to learn how to improve your physical self. I think a huge portion of feeling and looking good is being comfortable in your own skin and being the best person in the best shape that you can be.

Heaving a healthy and strong body it comes down to 2 things: what you eat, and how much physical activity are you doing.

It’s just that simple, there are no magic pills there are no short-cuts, you just have to eat the write things, and exercise, to have a beautiful toned body.

We know that junk food is unhealthy. Most of us know that poor nutrition is related to heart problems, high blood pressure, and a lots of other health problems. But if it’s so bad for us, why do we keep doing it?

Why We Crave Junk Food so much?

According to Steven Witherly, a food scientist who has spent the last 20 years studying what makes certain foods more addictive (and tasty) than others, when you eat tasty food, there are two factors that make the experience pleasurable.

  1. There is the sensation of eating the food. This includes what it tastes like (salty, sweet etc.), what it smells like, and how it feels in your mouth. This sensation is called “orosensation”—it is super  important.
  1. The second factor is the actual macronutrient makeup of the food—the blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that it contains. In the case of junk food, food manufacturers are looking for a perfect combination of salt, sugar, and fat that excites your brain and gets you coming back for more.

There are a range of factors that scientists and food manufacturers use to make food more addictive.

Memories of Past Eating Experiences 

When you eat something tasty (biscuits, chocolate cream, cakes or a bag of potato chips), your brain registers that feeling. The next time you see that food, smell that food, or even read about that food, your brain starts remember the memories and responses that came when you ate it. These memories can actually cause physical responses like salivation and create the “mouth-watering” craving that you get when thinking about your favourite foods.

Food companies are spending millions of dollars to design foods with addictive sensations.

Rapid Food Meltdown

Foods that rapidly vanish or “melt in your mouth” signal to your brain that you’re not eating as much as you actually are. In other words, these foods literally tell your brain that you’re not full, even though you’re eating a lot of calories. The result: you tend to overeat. If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there are no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.

Dynamic Contrast

Dynamic contrast refers to a combination of different sensations in the same food. Foods with dynamic contrast, for example crunch followed by something soft or creamy and full of taste. This rule applies to a variety of our favorite food structures—the caramelized top of a creme brulee, a slice of pizza, or an Oreo cookie.

 How to stop craving junk food?

The good news is that the research shows that the less junk food you eat, the less you crave it.  If you can find ways to gradually eat healthier, you’ll start to experience the cravings of junk food less and less.

Here are some strategies that can help you:

  1. Remove temptation

Just get rid of it, and remove all temptation from your home. To keep yourself from buying more, never go to the grocery store while hungry. When you have only healthy foods to eat, you’ll make healthy choices. When you do get a craving, it’ll be too much bother to go to the store for a candy bar.

  1. Healthy substitutes are a must!

If you are struggling with a craving and have to have it, try something of the same consistency or in the same food group that is a much HEALTHIER option! If you crave chocolate try to eat a small piece of dark chocolate (80-90 % cocoa), if you crave ice cream, make yourself a banana/ strawberry smoothie, you can switch your salty nuts to raw nuts, your salty, greasy popcorn to a home-made popcorn with just a little olive oil, switch your French fries to oven baked sweet potatoes and the list could go on.

  1. Avoid Boredom

Keep yourself active and busy, so you’re not always thinking about just food. There is a lot more to do than eat.

  1. Drink plenty of water!

You know I always repeat this, but it is so so important! The water intake recommended does NOT include the water you receive from food or coffee. If you feel thirsty, this means you are already dehydrated – and dehydration can often be confused with hunger. Keep always in sight a large jug of lemon favored water, chilled herbal tea if you don’t like plain water. If it’s in front of you, you’ll drink it.

  1. Reward Yourself!

Permit yourself a treat from time to time, as you establish new habits. Just be sure a treat is exactly that, just a small taste! One or two cookies, not an entire bag. If you think you cannot stop at two pieces, purchase a small package, so that is all there is. A “cheat-day” is a day in which you are permitted to have such a treat. It does not mean you can cheat all day long!

So, these are my tips for today; I really hope you can pick out the essence of the things I wrote down. We know that everybody is different; some people have faster metabolisms than others, and therefore might not be affected so much by food physically. However, food also affects us mentally. When we have proper functioning cells, we start feeling better, happier & more energized than if they were malnourished.

I hope you find this article helpful, please feel free to comment and send me your feedback.

Have a great day, and see u very soon :*

7 things that slow down your metabolism

sittingAccording to the dictionary, metabolism is a chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that is necessary for the maintenance of life.

We all know people who can eat all day and not gain a single pound. These people have good — or fast — metabolisms. Then there are the people that have one unhealthy meal and have to run for a week straight to burn it all off. These are people that tend to have a slower metabolic rate.

The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn. And just like there are ways to speed it up—by working out, for instance—certain habits can also slow it down.

Metabolic rate is also affected by several factors including age, weight, and genetics.

If losing weight is your goal, avoid these metabolism-slowing mistakes:

1. Eating too late in the morning

Skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do for weight loss since it causes your metabolism to slow down. When you don’t eat, the brain sends a message to the rest of the body to conserve energy, signaling it to hold onto the stored fat that you’re trying to get rid of. Eating within an hour of waking sparks the metabolic process called thermo genesis that turns the food you eat into energy. So choose a high-protein breakfast. Make sure to eat throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels since any drops can cause the body to burn muscle for fuel.

2. Not eating enough

It is important to snack often and never miss a main meal. As stated before, getting your body in a proper eating schedule is critical for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Also, when you skip out on meals, your body puts itself into “starvation mode”, which slows your metabolic rate to conserve any of the energy it has. This is why people who try to lose weight by not eating don’t have very much success.

3. Not exercising

Research shows that you continue burning calories up to 24 hours after working out, and studies also show that morning exercises burn more calories than those who work out during other times of the day. If you’re planning on exercising anyway, for maximum calorie burn, your best bet is to get it done in the a.m. Include high intensity cardio intervals

4. Sitting Too Long

It takes only 20 minutes in any fixed position to inhibit your metabolism, according to Carrie Schmitz, an ergonomic research manager. A new study has discovered that sitting for long periods increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and death regardless of physical activity.

5. Dehydration

All of your body’s cellular processes, including metabolism, depend on water. If you’re dehydrated, you could burn up to 2 percent fewer calories, according to researchers.

6. A Weird Eating Schedule

Researchers suspect that eating at the same times every day trains the body to burn more calories between meals. So eat frequent, consistently sized meals.

7. Not getting enough sleep

People who sleep less move less the next day, which means they burn fewer calories. Sleep deprivation actually reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest. Stay away from alcohol, fatty foods, coffee and chocolate at least 2 hours before bedtime.

So here are 7 things that you should avoid, if you want to loose weight, or if you just want to maintain your healthy weight.

Everybody can fall out of the wagon once or twice, by not sleeping enough or, sitting to much at the office because of work. So just try to compensate it, if you are sitting all day, you really need to work out after the office hours. I really think I am blessed with a great metabolism, I can eat a lot 🙂 BUT I also work out 5 times a week, and I try to eat healthy!

 Have a nice day my dears! :*

How to get back in shape after the winter holidays

Hello my dear readers!

I want to wish you again a very Happy New Year! May all your wishes come true, I really can’t wish you more than this! 🙂

I hope everybody is ok, in a good health full of positivity and energy!

Christmas and New Years are by far the best holidays of the year! You eat and drink lots, you get gifts, and you have tons of fun. For most, the last thing on our minds is putting on weight. Once all the festivities are over however, getting back physically to where you were before the holiday period can be a difficult task.

So, please!!!! Don’t feel guilty about the over indulging- you have to let your self go some time. If you’ve put a little weight on, don’t worry! Be positive and go hard!

I was on vacation for 2 weeks, so for me today is the first work day of the year! I really love the holidays, staying all days with friends, sleeping till noon, travelling, but somehow I’m glad to be back on track!

Today I am going to write about a very common subject that you guys and my clients and friends ask me all the time. How to get back in shape after the Christmas holiday?

Here are some tips that will help you get that little excess fat off you in no time. 🙂

Drink lots of water!

Drinking large quantities of alcohol is bad for your health. Alcohol contains many calories and also causes dehydration. To make up for your holiday alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water. Your skin, kidneys and many others organs will benefit. What’s more, drinking water makes you feel fuller:  if you drink more, you will eat less!

Drinking more water flushes out excess sodium to help you quickly de-bloat, and it get things moving in your digestive system. Aim for 2 to 2.5 litres a day (about 8 to 10 cups).

Start Eating on Schedule

Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and eat again every 3 to 5 hours. Starting your day with a healthy meal and enjoying evenly spaced meals will maximize your metabolism; regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels. Please DON’T starve yourself because it won’t get you anywhere! Eating too little forces your body to switch into conservation mode and burn fewer calories. Under eating can cause your body to break down muscle mass for fuel, which also causes a metabolic slow down. Eating enough and at regular times is key.

Cut back on carbs, but DON’T cut them out completely!

Eliminating carbs completely can force your body to burn protein for fuel instead of using it to support and maintain your calorie-burning muscle. So instead of cutting carbs out, just cut back.

So replace the refined carbs with veggies and complex carbs! Refined carbs like white rice, white bread, sugar, pasta) will get stored in your body as fat if you do not use them as energy right away! For example instead of eating beef with white rice you should choose broccoli instead of rice.

Get plenty of sleep, relax, and don’t forget to exercise

It’s time to get back on track. Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep. You’ll feel rested and have more energy to take on the new challenges of the New Year. Avoid unnecessary stress and find ways to relax (yoga, meditation or just going out to the movies!). Gradually start to exercise again. Physical activity will bring balance and energy back into your life.

Do some cardio!

Running, bicycling, walking, swimming…anything that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time is what will really start melting away at those extra pounds. Circuit training and high intensity training is also great because it can involve lighter weights but keeps you constantly moving.

Be consistent!

If physical fitness is a lifestyle it has to be just as important as brushing your teeth every morning.  You will have days where you are tired, worked late at the office but these are not reasons to stop with your program.  It’s all about mindset; do not give yourself a way out.

Never Quit!

It’s just that simple.  Never, ever, under any circumstance quit.  It’s not an option!!!  Success is your only possible outcome.

 So these are my 7 simple tips to get back in shape! Hope you enjoyed it, now let’s get started!!!

 Have a great day everybody! :*

How NOT TO gain weight during the Christmas holidays

italian-christmas-dishesHello everybody!

Today I’m going to write about a much requested topic, on how not to gain weight during this beautiful season. We all know that the party season is tricky, we have our friends and families over, we make festive dinners, lot’s of snacks, desserts and not to forget about the drinks.

So Christmas is all about enjoying life, family and friends, relaxation and eating. Speaking about eating, I personally always eat whatever I want to eat – and that is healthy. But if I want to enjoy an unhealthy Christmas meal once or twice, I definitely do it!

BUT please be aware, just because you ate an unhealthy breakfast this morning does NOT mean the day is ruined.  Just because you’re going to eat a big piece of cake and some pie this afternoon does NOT mean you should continue in that direction with dinner too. What I mean is, if you’re going to eat ONE bad meal, you still have the opportunity to eat two really good meals afterwards. As I wrote in my previous articles one bad meal does not make you gain weight. It’s when that one bad meal is followed up by a week of bad meals now that’s a  problem.  Eat a bad meal and move on!

Are you ready for my tips? If so, just read below! 🙂

 1. Avoid going to parties hungry

 A common mistake is overindulging on high-fat pastries, chips and dips while waiting for the “real” food to arrive. Avoid overeating by ensuring you do not arrive at an event starving. Have a filling snack 60 to 90 minutes before you go.

 2. Choose the right foods to eat

On a Christmas dinner table there are plenty of foods to choose from. In my opinion it’s not a good idea to choose the slow carbs like mashed/fried potato, or pastries, crackers and breads. Too much slow carbs will make you feel bloated, and with a very low nutritional value. So if you ask me I say, you better choose some ham, eggs, vegetables, meat balls, some olives,cheese and lots of vegetables.

3. Don’t overeat

I don’t know how you celebrate Christmas, but in my family we love to eat a lot and often during the winter holidays. So I always make sure to not overeat.

Try to eat small portions and often, it’s better than big portions often :))

4. Watch the Drinks

Not only is the food bad enough at most holiday parties, but the drinks can really add up some calories quickly. Many of the fancier cocktails that people opt for can easily pack 200 or more calories per glass. Do yourself a favour and plan to either treat yourself to something food-related or something drink-related. Not both. This will at least limit the amount of additional calories you are taking in at any given meal.

Dilute wine and spirits with ice or mineral water, ask for light beer instead of full-strength or intersperse a juice or sparkling mineral water between regular drinks.

Have something to eat before you drink to slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.

5. Smaller Plates, More Activities

It’s a good trick! Use smaller plates. That way, even if you double charge, the total amount of food you eat will be smaller.  Concentrate on family and friends, not food. You do not have to eat and talk at the same time 🙂

 6. Get back on track the next day

Don’t let Christmas run until January. Your body has no idea that it’s holiday season, it’s just another day.  So the day after, treat it like the rest of your healthy days.

The day after the big dinner take corrective action, doing a bit more cardio and cut back on your carbohydrate or fat intake.

Well these are the tips that I have for you right now. If you have some other tips, please write in the comment field!

 I wish you again a happy holiday season and much love! :*