Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Don’t Let Vacation Set You Back!!

I have been getting many questions lately about vacations, so I thought I would address it in this week’s blog. We all need, deserve and should take vacations…however we need to keep in mind that the majority of people will gain 10lbs in a week.

Now, those of you who have been working with me know that very rarely can you LOSE 10lbs in a week. So, with respect to vacation here is the trick…your goal is weight maintenance. Enjoy yourself, indulge but keep your healthy eating and exercise habits through your whole vacation.

Breakfast Tips

Many times it is really easy to start the day off right. Instead of choosing those high glycemic foods such as the waffles, donuts, bagels, toast – choose an omelet or fresh fruit and yogurt. If you just have to eat the waffles, then do it 1-2times per week instead of everyday…your waistline will thank you!

Eating Frequently

When people are away they tend to sleep in, have a huge breakfast and then a huge dinner drink lots of alcohol and don’t exercise…so it is no wonder that people gain 10lbs. The key is to keep eating frequently. Take a piece of fruit, nuts/seeds or some veggies as a snack. When we travel, we either bring protein and energy bars with us, or find a grocery store as soon as we get there to buy fresh fruit, veggies and nuts. If you are at a resort, take an extra piece of fruit for a mid morning and afternoon snack. If you sleep in, it is important to not get in the pattern of only eating 2 meals per day.

Watch your Extras

I know you are on vacation, but that doesn’t mean that the whole week can be a no holds barred eating frenzy. You need to pick and choose what you really want to splurge on. Sometimes we get into a pattern where the food is there, so you just eat it…you don’t really totally enjoy it, but you just eat it. Pick the things that you really enjoy. For some it might be dessert, for others it might be the fruity drinks with the pink umbrellas (frankly these are my favourites) or an ice cream cone. Indulge and enjoy in moderation.


One of the easiest ways to keep that weight off is to keep your exercise habits up. Usually the all inclusive resorts have great gyms, which are surprisingly totally empty!! Structured exercise is the easiest way to keep burning off those extra calories that you are consuming in a day. Try to get there every day, or take one of the classes that are offered. I remember when we were in Dominican Republic they had great pool aerobic, and a yoga/stretching class on the beach. Try something you would never experience at home, like a salsa class…it is a great way to have fun and burn extra calories.

If you are touring a town or city, try going for a run or walk to explore the town. When my husband and I were in Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon the first thing we would do is put on our running shoes and grab our camera and some money for a drink and go explore. You can see great sites, learn the layout of the city and get a great, fun workout.

Enjoy your vacation, just keep in mind that you don’t want to undo all the weight loss or progress that you have made in one week.

Low Fat, Reduced Fat, No Fat, 50% Less Fat and Society is Still Getting FATTER!!!

All macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) are equally important for the body! Many modern diets advocate a significant reduction and in some cases completely obliterate one of the macronutrients.  How many times have we heard – low carb diet, low fat diet?  Instead of focusing on diets that rob us of essential nutrients we need to be concerned about getting high quality nutrients in our body in healthy moderation.

Today I’m going to be talking about good and bad fats, and the importance of good fats in helping us achieve a healthy body composition.

We need fat!

In fact, EVERY cell in the body (there are trillions of cells in the body) is made of a double layered fat membrane (see diagram below – fat membrane is labelled as Lipids(bilayer) the orange circles).  The quality of our cellular fat membrane greatly influences how well our body functions and is responsible for the following:

  1. Regulates what comes in and out of cells.
  2. Houses receptor (such as insulin receptors that manage our blood sugars) which allow for communication into the cell and between cells.
  3. Regulates movement of water in and out of the cell.

cell_membraneFats play other important roles in the body:

  1. 60% of our brain is fat contributing to our cognitive/mental & emotional function.
  2. Preferred energy source by heart cells responsible for cardiovascular health.
  3. Essential to the growth and development of children.
  4. Boosts immune system and fights viruses.

We need to focus on eating Good Fat in our diets!

Avoiding fat is not the solution; we have to Avoid Toxic/Bad Fat and Eat More Healthy/Good Fat! The ancient idea of reducing fat to lose weight has become obsolete.  In fact, research now shows that eating healthy fats actually help you burn stored fat on our body!

Manufactures of processed food will try to sell you their poisonous food by advertising the reduced or no fat products, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself what food manufactures do to foods were fat has been removed?  The fats have to be replaced with something and often that something is more processed, artificial fillers to enhance the taste of the product and make up for the tasty fats that have been removed.  In addition, processed food manufactures will modify healthy unsaturated vegetable oils into more solid, saturated substances to give packaged foods taste, texture and to maintain their shelf life.   These modified toxic fats are better known as Trans Fats.

Trans Fats health affect on the body:

  • increases LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • decreases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • interfere with fat metabolism
  • block metabolism, create weight gain
  • increase risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes

Trans Fats should be AVOIDED – Read your labels and avoid:

  • Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (It is commonly found in processed foods, fried foods, potato chips & margarine.)

Saturated Fats should be limited in the diet and come from:

  • animal products (meat, dairy, lard).
  • chocolate
  • cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil

Saturated Fats are solid at room temperature and higher doses contribute to:

  • heart disease
  • inflammation and diabetes
  • have been linked to breast and prostate cancers

Coconut Oil (mostly containing lauric acid) on the other hand is a healthy source of saturated fats.

Effect of BAD Fat on Weight

Dietary fat talks to our genes.  Molecules from fat cells bind to receptors on the nucleus of our cells which turn on or off genes.  Bad fats such as trans fats and saturated fats turn off fat burning genes which makes it harder to lose weight.  In addition bad fats desensitize our insulin receptors making it difficult to control our blood sugars, and as mentioned above have a profound impact on our cardiovascular health.

Give me the GOOD Fat!

Good fats communicate good signals to our body and promote good health!  Good fats especially omega 3 fatty acids turn on fat burning genes and improve insulin sensitivity which are important components of healthy weight loss.  Good fats also support a healthy cardiovascular system, reduce inflammation, support development in children and much more!  Eating good fats daily in moderation will help to reduce our risk of chronic disease and support the healthy function of all cells in the body!

Type of fat Source Health Benefits

Mono-unsaturated Fat

Olive oil




Reduces inflammation

Reduces blood pressure

Boosts immunity

Omega 6

Required in small doses

Grapeseed oil

Sunflower oil

Safflower oil

Walnut oil

Borage & Sesame oil

Some Omega 6 tends to be modified & should be limited in the diet, such as:

Soybean oil

Vegetable oil

Corn oil


Hair & Skin health

Hormonal Health

Omega 3

99% of us are currently deficient

Wild Fish – salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed oil

Nuts & Seeds – walnuts, pumpkin, hemp

Prevents cardiovascular disease

Controls blood sugar levels

Reduces cholesterol & increases HDL

Brain protection & increases function

Lubricates joints

Weight loss

Controls inflammation

Promotes skin health


EAT 4-6 servings of healthy fat a day!  Focus on eating more Omega 3 fatty acids because you’re likely deficient in it.  Supplementing a high concentrated Omega 3 fatty acid is beneficial especially with our limited sources of wild fish.  Consult you naturopath for the best supplements available!

Average serving size of fats:

  • 1 tsp of healthy oil (extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil)
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • 10 olives
  • 1 tsp of mayonnaise (from canola oil or grapeseed oil)

The Best Things in Life Are FREE

I spent my holidays in Florida this year where the warm temperatures gave me the opportunity to get outside and run.  This routine of running daily allowed me to jump-start my New Year’s resolution of incorporating more movement into my day.  Running is nothing new to me, but it had been a long time since I’d been on a regular running routine.

Feeling energized after returning home I was motivated to continue running, but found the cold outdoor temperatures too much to bear.  Although I have access to a treadmill at my office/clinic, I remembered enjoying my experience of running on the track at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex a couple years ago and decided to give it a shot again.

Not only did I find refuge from the cold, but the track at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex is FREE to the public most of the week, making it easier to find time that fit my schedule.  I made a running schedule, writing down the days and times I would go to the track, knowing I would be more likely to succeed in carrying out my resolution if I scheduled it into my weekly routine (see The Power of Goal Setting- Commit to a Better You).

Wow, a FREE and warm place to run, but my experience at the track extended far beyond that…

It was inspiring to see people, lots of people, people of every size, shape and age all on a healthy mission to GET MOVING!  And whether they knew it or not they were doing wonders for their body composition (see What is Body Composition?).  There were a group of woman walking together catching up, moms walking with their babies in strollers, and a senior couple walking hand in hand as they circled the track with a brisk walk.  The more experienced runners were taking fast powerful strides around the track, while others were incorporating walking sticks to give the upper body more of a workout.

My favourite group on that first visit was a dad and his young daughter (who was around 7 years old) running around the track together.  Everyone was moving to their own beat, transferring energy and inspiration to their fellow track visitors!  It was the energy of the track full of people that I really enjoyed.  It was wonderful to see so many people of vast levels of fitness and age making time to give their body the power of movement!

I encourage you to come check it out!  A FREE indoor track is the perfect opportunity to overcome the barrier of cold winter weather that may be keeping you from getting active.  There is no obligation to join, and no need to invest in a membership – it’s FREE!  If you’re just starting, or thinking of starting, a regular exercise routine and don’t have access to a treadmill (or even if you do), come out to the track for a walk or run and enjoy being inspired by fellow track visitors!

Here are some ideas to get you to the track…

  1. Instead of meeting a friend at Starbucks for a coffee suggest going to the track for a brisk walk while you catch up.
  2. You can ask your husband or wife to join you for an entertaining night on the track, and keep yourself motivated by making dates with different people throughout the week!
  3. Or, you can go on your own and get lost in the music of your iPod like I do!  Strollers are welcome, so feel free to bring your kids or grandkids!

A few important tips:

  1. Slower movers stay to the left and those of you with speed keep to the right, which keeps the flow of traffic smooth.
  2. It is over a rink so you need to be dressed appropriately (But note, there are no gushing winds and the temperature is always the same, so you know what to expect!).
  3. If you warm up pretty fast while running a sweater or running jacket is plenty of clothing to keep you warm.
  4. You can always store your coat or boots on the bleachers, so don’t be afraid to bring extra layer.
  5. And there are also a few lockers and washrooms available for changing if needed.

Remember it’s FREE! And open for hours that will suit most anyone’s busy schedule.

Below is a list of FREE tracks and schedules in the KW area:

Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex RIM Sports Complex Activa Sports Complex
Address 100 Father David Bauer, Waterloo (corner of Caroline St. and Erb St.) 2001 University Avenue, Waterloo Lennox Lewis Way, Kitchener (Cortland and Homer Watson, behind Peter Hallman Ball Park)
Phone Number 519-886-1177 519-884-5363

ext. 221

Hours of FREE Track Time Monday – Friday

6:00 am – 5:00 pm

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday

6:00 am – 8:00 am

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Hours are subject to change due to scheduled Hockey Games.

Paid track time available on weekends from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Walking Loop only

Monday – Sunday

6:00 am – Midnight

Track open daily

6:00 am – 11:00 pm

If you know of any other free indoor track facilities please email us and we will pass along the information!

What is Body Composition?

We have all heard the claims… “lose 10lbs in one week” or “I lost 60lbs in 2 months”.

While it is possible that this can happen, the reality is this is not healthy and it rarely leads to a loss in actual body fat. The bigger question is…what are these people losing?

In this society we seem to be only concerned about weight. One of our main recognized markers for health is the BMI or body mass index. This index measures a persons height against weight and while this is a great general marker, it doesn’t take into account a persons body composition.

We are facing an epidemic in our society called sarcopenic obesity, another name for skinny fat people. These are the people that look “thin” but when they are measured, they have a higher proportion of body fat compared to lean muscle tissue, or an altered body composition.

Body composition refers to the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in the body. Those with a higher proportion of fat-free mass to a lower proportion of body fat have a healthy body composition. This is a true measure of health, as excess body fat increases your risk factors for conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

Since muscle is the main source of protein, during illness the body uses this lean tissue for the production of antibodies, wound healing and white blood cell production. Low amounts of lean muscle tissue has been associated with accelerated aging (J Nutr 127:990S-991S (1997)) and a higher incidence of illness in aging populations (J Amer Diet Assoc 2002;102(7):944-955). In addition, fat burns 70 times fewer calories than muscle tissue so in terms of keeping weight off it is important that the weight we do lose is body fat.

So, to answer the question…with most rapid weight loss programs the majority of the weight that people lose is lean muscle tissue and water and small amount of fat. We can see that while weight is important, it is even more important to make sure that your body composition is changing.

To assess this aspect of health, our clinic uses a combination of weight, BMI, waist and hip measurements and BioImpedence Analysis (BIA). BIA is a science that was originally developed for monitoring patients after surgery in a hospital setting. The Practitioner will connect leads to your hands and feet and pass a low voltage electrical current through your body. This may sound alarming, but it is safe and painless, and provides your Practitioner with insight into aspects of your health such as how much fat and muscle that you have in your body. This science has even been used in several missions to space, to monitor the changes to the astronaut’s body composition.

For our health, lets take our total focus off weight and place it on getting your body composition to a healthy ratio.

The Power of Goal Setting — Commit to a Better You

Happy New Year!!

The start of a new year is always marked with possibility, resolutions and healthy habits.  I believe that people truly start out with the best of intentions, and while some succeed…most end up falling back into their old habits before the end of the month. We can see this if you walk into any health club in January and will have a hard time finding a treadmill while 6 weeks later it is more barren than the Sahara dessert.

So, why is it that people’s good intentions sometimes aren’t enough?

In 1979 there was a study conducted on students in the Harvard MBA program. The students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

In spite of such proof of success, most people don’t have clear, measurable, time-bounded goals that they work toward.

What Can You Do?

When I ask people if they have weight loss or health goals, many do but just like the study shows very few of them ever write them down. For most people this is actually a scary process…if I write them down it means I actually have to do something about them. This is exactly the point…writing goals down makes your nervous system and physiology engaged and makes you more committed to achieving them.

It is also important what language you use. A statement such as “I am going to try and lose about 5 lbs” is very open and frankly “wishwashy”.  It means that you are going to put something down because you feel like you should, but you are not going to make it too concrete so there is nothing holding you accountable to attaining it.

What if you were to switch that goal to “ I MUST lose 5 lbs by the end of January.” And..what if you read this goal every morning, and also came up with 3 action steps as to how you are going to do this.  Which goal is going to make you more inspired?

The second step to this is that everyone needs someone to be accountable to. This may be a friend, family member…but more often this is a professional that will push you to new limits and encourage you to set higher standards.

Your Action Plan

Do this for yourself, make 2009 the year for lasting change…your deserve it!!

  1. Write 2 goals using positive and encouraging language that commits you to moving forward. For example: “I MUST lose “x” pounds by “x” date”
  2. Set a short term and long term goal (I would set the long term one for the end of 2009), write or print them out and post this in an area where you and everyone else can see your level on commitment.
  3. Read this every day, and become excited about the person you are committing to becoming!!!