Top 11 Tips to feel and look better for the Summer

I know, I know, who makes an article with 11 tips and not 10. Well I had a hard enough time getting down to the top 11, and felt there was nothing else to cut.

Anyway, summer is upon us, and you feel you're not looking or feeling your best. You want to get in shape, but like most you’ve put it off again and again since January. The following are some changes you can make that will not only improve your look in a hurry, but your health as well. Everything on this list is designed to optimize your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine.

1. Go Organic through your local farmer Try to purchase and consume only 100% organic foods and grass fed livestock. Organic foods and grass fed animals have been found to have significantly higher amounts of nutrients than conventionally grown food. Organic farmers do not use chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides. Eating organic foods ensures your food has not been genetically modified or produced with some of the 15000 chemicals available. Buyer beware: look for the USDA Organic seal. If this seal isn’t on the product it’s not certified 100% organic.

2. Do not Consume Trans Fat Any food containing; “shortening”, “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the ingredients list contain trans fat. These man-made fats are in thousands of products. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading food labels. However, do not be fooled by products that claim “zero trans fat”. Showing the power of the edible oil and processed food industries have, the FDA agreed to allow food labels to list trans fat as zero if it contains a half a gram or less. And yes, small amounts of trans fat will yield negative consequences over time.

Decades of research show the consumption of trans fats to be detrimental to health. As early as the 1940’s researchers found a strong correlation between cancer, heart disease and the consumption of hydrogenated fats.

What are trans fats? They are poison in our food supply. “The latest government study confirms that trans fat is directly related with heart disease and increases LDL cholesterol. Because of that, the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, declared there is no safe amount of trans fat in the diet.” “There should be a warning on food made with this stuff like there is on nicotine products. It’s that bad for you, says Dr. Jeffery Aron, a University of California at San Francisco professor of medicine and one of the nation’s leading experts on fatty acids and their effect on the body.

3. Do not Consume Fructose This garbage is found in everything from soda to cereal. It’s literally in thousands of products. The “fat carb” has been in our food supply for decades. We’ve been led to believe that fructose from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is akin to naturally occurring sugar, the same that’s found in fruit. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fructose from HFCS is not the same as the molecule from sucrose (table sugar), or fruit leveulose. Is it any wonder they have worked so hard to link HFCS to something natural and healthy like fruit?

Russ Bianchi, a pharmacologist and toxicologist, explains: “there is no safe form of fructose available from any source, unless already existing in an unprocessed apple or other piece of fruit. The science is known and epidemiologically proven.”

It’s wonder why obesity is an epidemic. One of the main ingredients in our food supply not only converts to fat when we consume it, it facilitates fat storage. And Americans as a whole are eating more and more and more.

4. Avoid Soy Products We have been led to believe that soy is a health food. However, contained in the United States Food and Drug Administrations Poisonous Plant Database, which contains references to the scientific literature describing studies of the toxic properties and effects of plants and plant parts, under soy there are 310 records. The deleterious effects soy has on our bodies is indisputable.

5. Consume Coconut Oil Unless you’ve been in a vacuum, you’re aware that the U.S. has what’s called a weight problem. As a matter of fact, if you’re born in this country your chance of being overweight is almost 70%. One of the great benefits of coconut oil, specifically the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) it contains, is its ability to increase energy expenditure, i.e., it increases your metabolism. MCFA’s metabolism boosting effects have been known for decades and are heavily documented through research.

Unlike long chain fatty acids (LCFA’s), MCFA’s are processed very easily by the body. When they are consumed MCFA’s are absorbed directly into the blood stream from the small intestines and go right to the liver. Once in the liver, they are easily burned as fuel. Because of their size and the ease in which they are processed, MCFA’s are not readily stored as fat. On the contrary, because of their size, LCFA’s are not as efficiently processed, and the body prefers to store them in fat cells.

The main reason for this is that polyunsaturated fats suppress thyroid function, which decreases the animal’s metabolic rate. Soy oils are the worst offenders because of the goitrogens (anti thyroid substances) they contain. Is it any wonder the obesity epidemic is so bad when our consumption of vegetable fats has increased over 400%.

Coconut oil is the most saturated of all fats. Saturated fat has three subcategories; short chain, medium chain and long chain. Coconut oil contains approximately 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). The saturated medium chain lipid lauric acid, which comprises over 50% of coconut oil, is the anti-bacterial, anti-viral fatty acid found in mother’s milk. The body converts lauric acid into the fatty acid derivative monolaurin, which is the substance that protects adults as well as infants from viral, bacterial or protozoal infections. This was recognized and reported as early as 1966.

6. Absolutely no Fast Food The foods served at these establishments are among the worst you can consume. It pains me to refer to what they sell as food because it is so far removed. The products they sell contain trans fat, soy, monosodium glutamate (MSG), fructose, polyunsaturated fat, artificial flavors, nitrates and a whole host of others that will wreak havoc on your body, and at the very least, slow your metabolism.

Anyone who questions avoiding fast food, needs to rent the movie Super Size Me. Morgan Spurlock, the movies creator, ate only at McDonalds for one month. His transformation in this short time is shocking. He gained 28 lbs and showed signs of depression. However, while he was eating his food, and for a short time after, the depression would subside like his body was addicted to the chemicals in the food. The worst part of the movie is even after seven months of diet and exercise Morgan hadn’t lost all his weight. Artificial ingredients used in processed foods will not only make you fat, they’ll keep you fat.

7. Avoid MSG This excitotoxin is used as a flavor enhancer, and adversely affects the brain. MSG is also a fat partitioning agent, which means it causes food to be stored more readily as fat. One of the chemicals used in obesity studies with animals to fatten them up is MSG. When purchasing food beware: MSG is also added to foods in disguised forms like natural flavor, spices, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and more.

8. Eat Multiple times per day Eat at least 4 meals per day. Ideally, you should eat every 3 – 4 hours, which would be 6 times a day. The main reason for this is to keep your insulin levels from spiking. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. The higher the insulin levels are, the more fat you store. Higher insulin levels also turn off lipolysis (fat burning). Eating the right foods multiple times per day allows lipolysis to be at a maximum, and keeps cravings at a minimum because hunger is kept in check.

9. Consume Omega 3 Fatty Acids Omega 3 fatty acids have been referred to as a miracle fat, and with good reason. The correlation between so many of today’s diseases and a deficiency, or in some cases a complete lack of these fats in American’s diets is very strong. From our brain, to our heart, to our skin, the benefits that consuming Omega 3 fatty acids have on our bodies is staggering.

Other positive effects of Omega 3:

  • Fights heart disease

  • Fights depression

  • Decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death.

  • Decrease triglyceride levels.

  • Decrease the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque.

  • Lower blood pressure.

  • Protect baby’s brain.

  • Prevent and treat cancer.

  • Improve immunity.

  • Reduce premature births.

  • Reduced risk of arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Good Sources of Omega 3 include wild caught, not farmed, fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout. You can also use quality supplements like Carlson’s.

10. Start a Weight Training Program If you’re overweight or just out of shape and you had to choose only one type of exercise because of time constraints, weight training would be it by a long shot.

Muscle is what burns fat as fuel and drives the metabolism. The less muscle we have the slower our metabolism and visa versa. As we age we naturally start to lose muscle; the older we get the more muscle we lose. The only way to preserve or build muscle, which is what you really want and need to stay strong and get lean, is through weight training.

11. Make it a Year Long Commitment Why stop when summer’s over. You mean to tell me you’re going to work to get in shape and more healthy when the weathers warm and then give it up for the winter? Where’s the logic in that? Just remember it will get harder and harder to get back in shape as the years go by. It’s much easier and much healthier to maintain than to try and get it back every year.

So get off your lazy butts and eat right and weight train at least 2 days a week. That’s really not that big of a lifestyle change and the benefits will be enormous.

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