Week 7 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week 7 was the breaking point for me and many of my fellow yogis.  It dragged on so long as many nights and days were filed with never-ending  posture clinic sessions.  The staff was on a mission to finish posture clinic as soon as possible to leave enough time in the final weeks for Bikram (Boss) to lecture to us about becoming teachers.  This meant us yogis sacrificed sleep, meals, and every minute of free time to memorize and practice posture dialogue.  Some people presented as many as 5 postures in a single day! Talk about stressful nerve-wracking times! There was a real threat of losing our sanity; some people wanted to call it quits, pack their bags,  hop on a plane,  and leave teacher training immediately.  Thankfully they were talked off the ledge and found the willpower to continue on.

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Memorizing the dialogue. Good ole dialogue.

Outside of week 1,  week 7 has been my hardest week. I’m so thankful it is now over and is behind me. 76 hot yoga classes completed in 7 short weeks. My limbs, joints, muscles and bones – whole body- is crying mercy!

I will say,  week 7 had its highlights.  A Communications expert from India lectured to us about the power of voice, presentation and talking style. He creatively illustrated these points to us via interactive exercises where we sang aloud as a class, watched videos of greatness such as Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” speech and used the audience to effectively teach the class. I learned that to become a great yoga teacher,  I need to showcase confidence,  commitment and courage.  It is vital to remove fears,  inhibitions,  and self criticism as those are surefire viruses that will hinder any success. One thing I took away from his lecture is to share my voice more with people.  I am comfortable talking to only those who require my attention and otherwise can be perfectly cool minding my own business in silence.  Staying quiet can be looked at as an injustice to others who may stand to gain from me sharing my wisdom and knowledge about the things I love and enjoy including yoga, food, healthy living,  cooking,  taxes & accounting, and wellness.  Going forward I will share more and speak more to spread love & community and to inspire change and health.

“Your voice is your calling card.”

Week 7 is a wrap, now on to week 8! Then we conclude teacher training week 9…November 15 to be exact. Let the countdown begin.

Namaste.

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Goodbye week 7

Week 6 Recap : Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

My bad for the uber late post! !! Week 6 ended over 10 days ago and I am just now finding the time to write this blog. Week 6 was quite the challenge with Monday dismassal time of 4am, it set the course for a week of long nights, little sleep, and stressful bouts of dialogue memorization at posture clinics. It boggled my mind wondering how I would get through the week after waking up physically sore and mentally drained on Tuesday morning after just 4 hours of sleep. 

So much was thrown at us each day and we simply had to go along with the program despite the weariness and grumpiness oozing from our bodies, minds and souls. We are a very strong group of 333 yogis I must admit. Because even when we wanted to sleep in, we stayed the course,  arrived at each yoga session,  posture clinic,  and lecture on time and put our best foot forward.

I realize just how remarkably true the statement “mind over matter”. It’s so easy to sit and complain about things that are unfair in life. But all that negative talk eats away at your energy and good spirits.  I have learned the power of taking action and making things happen sans the negative thoughts.  It has made a world of a difference as I have discovered just how mentally strong I am, taking chances and trusting the process of life without judgement or fear. It has been a real eye-opener for me and I cannot wait until I get back to my regular life to apply these life lessons learned. 

So much to write about but so little time errrr!! More to come soon, promise, but for now,  enjoy a few photos of beautiful Thailand and things. We yogis are so lucky to be here enjoying the friendly hospitality and scenic location of the resort here.  I have zero complaints 😉

Namaste.

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Beach is on the resort

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Group of us yogis on the way back from Khaolak Market

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Coconuts on the beach! !

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Breakfast -my favorite meal!

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The infamous beach dog

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View from my 5th floor balcony

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Buying my weekly bananas. She even friended me on FB!!

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Me and my roommate

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Finally, a selfie

Week 5 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

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Every week completed is a reason to celebrate.  Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is not for everyone.  Not too many people can withstand the mental, physical,  spiritual cleansing that occurs each moment,  each hour, each event of each and everyday.  There are days I question “why did I sign up for this? ” when things get tough and I have no control. And there are days when I struggle to keep the food in my mouth because I am laughing so hard from something a fellow yogi friend has said or done. There are bad days, there are good days.  As I tell myself day after day to just trust the process, I know that, in the end,  things will be okay.

Week 5 brought us a very special gift – the beautiful Rajashree Choudury,  wife of The Boss,  Bikram . Her aura is so beautiful,  I am convinced she can make the toughest of thugs take a break from thugging to spend a fre minutes getting in touch with their emotional well-being .  She’s unreal!

She was once a Yoga champion, discovering yoga at the young age of 4. Not only did Rajashree show us how to improve our postures by demonstrating each posture to us and answering our questions,  she also gave us lessons on love and it’s connection with yoga. 

Love is energy.  You cannot just say ‘I love you’, it’s an action. 

First you must love yourself.  Yoga helps you to improve the relationship you have with yourself.  Emotions can be all over the place but yoga can help channel your emotions therefore creating a harmony of self-love, yoga and emotional balance. 

She taught us some deep topics that I am trying to grasp and apply to my own life. I have really enjoyed the lectures of the past week!

The Boss also came back early in week 5 after going away on business for the past two weeks.  He taught a couple of grueling yoga classes that each lasted over 2 hours. Surprisingly it wasn’t too hard on my body because of the preparation of the last 5 weeks. He even complimented the class saying he was proud of our improvement and determination.  Sweet!

I heard from others elsewhere that week 5 is the breaking point at BYTT – it’s stressful, the body is fatigued and the mind is ready to quit.  But thankfully,  week 5 was not horrible. Rajashree was a huge reason for that.  Her compassion,  calm demeanor and motherly nature are exactly what we needed at the exactly correct time: half way thru the BYTT. 54 classes completed in 42 days! Only 4 more weeks to go.

Namaste.

Week 4 Video Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Beach Flow (I'm in the back)

Beach Flow (I’m in the back)

From inconsistent weather to inconsistent teaching styles, week 4 was a roller coaster of emotional learning experiences.  The rain does a fantastic  job at sucking dry my happy positive spirits. Early in the week we experienced severe showers and thunderstorms. It was the worst rain I’ve seen in my life. Despite the wet gloomy weather, Bikram yoga teacher training continued without interruption.

I’ve put another video together where I recap on a few highlights of week 4.

Remember in week 3 how I struggled with nervousness while presenting yoga dialogue during Posture Clinic?  Check out the story of my week 4 break-thru!!

Also I’ve been playing around with the idea of adding weight-bearing workouts to my twice-a-day yoga routine for various reasons specific to my body type. I finally gave it a go at the start of week 4.  Was it a disaster or success?  Check out the video to find out!

Enjoy, and I look forward to next week’s update as I tell you about the one and only Rajashree , beautiful, knowledgeable, compassionate wife of Boss Bikram Choudury . She’s teaching us about the connection of body,  health,  and mind to yoga– the stuff I geek out on!! Week 5 shall be a week to remember.

Check out my week 1, 2 and 3 recaps if you haven’t yet done so.  Let me know what you think about my experience thus far in the comments below. And if you have questions,  I have answers …reach out to me, I’m nice.

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Week 4 Video Recap Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week 3 Video Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Done with week 3!!!

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So now I truly believe from here on out, the remaining 6 weeks of teacher training are just going to zoom by before my eyes.  Week 3 itself was a blur. Thank goodness I am capturing highlights of each week in these blog posts or otherwise I’d be like ” wait what did we do?” Yep that fast!

So this week, with the advice of one of my dearest friends in San Francisco, I decided to try a video blog. I’m a little technology-challenged but I think I was able to do this correctly. ..all with just the use of my smartphone!

Week 3 of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training had a couple of new items in the mix including Anatomy classes and Posture Clinics. Check out the video below for:

. How Anatomy was so fun it put me to sleep most days

.  The one thing all my teachers tell me I need to make better in my dialogue delivery

. What my fellow yoga trainees are struggling with during Posture Clinic

. Much much more.

If you like the video format more than written blogs, let me know in the comments. It took me like an hour to set up the video mode on my phone and press record. But now that the struggle is over and I’ve gotten it down,  I think I’ll try video recording more in the future. Gotta get outta my comfort zone and show the world who I am!

Enjoy and Namaste.

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Video to week 3 recap Bikram Yoga Teacher Training

Week 2 Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

Week two was probably both the fastest and shortest week of my life. It zoomed by in a jiffy  compared to week one but four days of lecture ending around 12:30am and even one long early morning 3:30am dismissal tried my patience and good spirits time and time again. In my regular life I usually like to lay my head down to rest around 10 or 11 at night. So with no choice but to stay up extremely beyond my normal bedtime to listen to lecture and watch Bollywood videos (The Boss’s favorites!) and still wake up 7:30am for morning yoga class every day of the week,  left me irritated, confused, frustrated and  itchy (attack of the mosquitoes…again !). Wednesday’s insanely long 3:30am ending was my breaking point. 

But of course this is Bikram Yoga Teacher Training taught by The Boss himself,  Bikram Choudhary,  so there’s a method to his madness,  a lesson in every action, an A-ha moment waiting to be unveiled. Week 2 of Bikram Yoga Teacher Training broke me down mentally and rebuilt  my mind using Terminator strength. 

Please Dont Take Away My Precious Sleep Boss

Wednesday night, week 2: After 3 hours of lecture on the topic of humanity and spirituality,  the time was 1am. Most of the 333 of us fellow yoga trainees were struggling to keep our eyes open. So when The Boss announced a ten minute break and then resume to watching a Bollywood love story film at 1am, our jaws must have dropped 5 feet below the ground in total shock and disbelief. But we had “no choice” – a phrase Boss and staff uses so often,  you’d think it was going  out of style.

So we complied, we snacked on late night munchies like ice cream,  cookies,  chips,  candy and drank coffee all in an attempt to stay alert during the movie. All that sugar and caffeine in my body only made me tired and bloated. I watched the first 3 quartets of the movie then my eyes gave up and shut themselves in peace until after the movie was over. Damn I missed the ending. 

Despite not knowing how the movie wrapped,  I was elated to get to my room in record time to lay my head on my snuggly soft pillow.  Before dozing off, negative thoughts boiled in my mind such as:

. Wow I can’t believe he took away my sleep just to watch a dumb movie. Soooo not right!

. Is this how the rest of the 7 weeks will go?? I don’t know if I’m cut out for this

.  He’s torturing us keeping us up so late.  How evil and inconsiderate.

. Eating all that crap just to stay up failed miserably.  If I gain weight at the end of this 9 weeks it will sorely put a damper on my spirits. 

Then I closed my eyes, slept a few hours, woke up zombie like, put on my sports bra and yoga shorts and headed to the hot room around 8am Thursday morning.  Class began 30 minutes later and as I sweated through each posture stretching and flexing and deep breathing, the most amazing thing began to happen: I slowly gained energy at the completion of each posture. 26 postures later I felt like a brand new woman: recharged, rejuevenated,  reenergized, rebuilt.  This renewed, vibrate person painted my persona for the whole day which didn’t end until after midnight. 

I was amazed at what my body was able to do off such little sleep.  The Boss brags to us how he stays up until 5am watching Bollywood movies with his staff.  He generally gets 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night and teaches us five days a week boosting the amount of energy it takes to  light the Staples Center.  Looking back at the negative thoughts that satiated my mind 3:45am Wed morning I learned many life lessons:

1. Sometimes in life, we have “no choice”. In such moments, instead of pouting and stressing over it, it’s best to use positive energy,  and go with the flow. In such moments when we let go and just allow things to take its natural course is when we learn valuable lessons. 

2.  You are as strong as what you allow your mind to believe.  Because I believed I wouldn’t be able to stay up for the movie,  I allowed myself to overload my body with sugar and processed foods which only failed me and proved what I was thinking in the first place: I can’t stay up.  Lesson: whether you succeed or fail is the doing of the mind.

3. Sometimes we have to be broken down in order to be built up. Bikram took away our sleep to get us out of our comfortable place and learn to adjust to what is not normal for us. After the 3:30am experience,  I now feel like I can handle any obstacle that comes my way. 

The Boss has a way of doing things.  He gives us “no choice” and tells us to “trust the process” time and time again.  Usually I just follow along because it’s what all 333 of us yoga teacher trainees are expected to do.  But after Wednesday night I realize why he tells us these things.  So much doubt,  fear, and limitations we put on ourselves when we have a choice to say no or not follow thru with the hard tasks in life. But by trusting the process we are trusting in ourselves to tackle life successfully.  Each and everytime.

Bikram Choudhary is a genius!  Week two was a much needed mental workout for me and fellow yogis. I am so grateful for my experience thus far. Looking forward to week 3. Follow along with me as I continue to blog my experience at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in beautiful Khaolak Thailand. 

Namaste.

Week One Recap: Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand

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Aaahh beautiful Thailand.  Week one of Bikram Yoga Teacher has taught me more about me than what  a year of regular living ever could. The week has had its challenges and successes, both small and large. A few things that stood out includes:

1. “THE BOSS” Calling Me Out In Front of Yoga Class.

Bikram Choudhary, The Boss, guru and founder of the rightly named Bikram Yoga phenomenon is a very hard man to please. He is not afraid to curse you out, call you ugly, and  insult your mother all while wearing a smug smile on his face. So in the hot yoga room, I’ve struggled with getting my hips to touch the floor in Fixed Firm pose. On day three in the evening class taught by Bikram, he noticed me struggling to follow his instructions to sit my butt down on the floor. In front of 332 fellow yogi trainees, he called me out, barking orders for me to spread my knees apart, tuck my feet in, and go down. Embarrased, I instantly followed his orders and miraculously accomplished the posture. It only took 18 months of practicing yoga and a stern push by Bikram himself for me to achieve such feat. I’m thankful that he called me out.

2.  Scary Cramping In My Fingers and Toes.

I have never in my life experienced such agressive cramping in which I experienced on day two. I like to nickname it “the claw” because my fingers uncontrollably took on the shape of a claw mencanically moving in and out beyond my control.  The pain would last for what seemed like eternity but was merely a few seconds at a time. This stopped and started again and again a good 24 hrs during yoga class and after. Why did this happen? Apparently all the vitamins and minerals my body needs to function is lost thru the excessive sweating during yoga class. Not to mention class number one lasted 2.5 hours!! Bikram was on a mission to break us down physically and mentally.  Thankfully, with ample dosage of magnesium,  potassium and sea salt, the cramping has long ceased.

3. Pesky Itchy Mosquito Bite

Dumb mosquito flew into my room in the middle of night two and bit me on the inside of my left ring finger making it impossible for me to hold a nice tight grip during many of the standing poses. Not to mention it itched like crazy for 3-4 days after. Long week nights lasting past 12 midnight in lecture felt like torture. Since the bite occurred,  I’ve been spraying on my DEET daily to keep the mosquitoes away. Lesson learned the hard way!

4. “THE BOSS” Grading My Delivery of Half Moon Pose Favorably.

In his words: “You didn’t just say the dialogue, you became a teacher. “

When he said those words to me right after I delivered Half Moon Pose on stage in front of 332 of my fellow yogi trainees,  in that moment I knew this is  where I am supposed to be. All doubts and fears  removed.

5. Soaking in the Beauty of Thailand

After 5 days straight of a grueling 8am to midnight schedule filled with lectures and ten sessions of Bikram yoga clases totaling a whopping 20 hours in the hot yoga room heated to 105 degrees + 96% humidity which easily makes it feel like hell on earth,  Our. Bodies. Deserved. A.Break. ….Beaches, pools, massage, shopping. All much appreciated.

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Now that we are rejuevenated, bring on week two! I’m ready to conquer all fears and “trust the process” as Bikram likes to say. 

Namaste.

How to Order a Healthy and Delicious Restaurant Meal

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I remember years ago when I first started caring about the quality of my food and what I put into my mouth.  Back then I dreaded going to restaurants.  Eating out used to signify to me “get ready for peer pressure and judgment from friends and family when you choose to order that chicken breast salad.”  And so instead of going for the salad, I would choose the pool-sized plate of pasta topped with fried, battered, chicken with a cup of cream sauce drowning out the pasta just to fit in with everybody else.  Oh and then I’d indulge in whatever fruit-based dessert was on the menu.  Apple crisp a la mode?  Yep, I’ll take it.

After eating that meal, I’d literally feel horrible.  Stomach full beyond capacity, bloated and mind racing a million miles an hour with self-deprecating thoughts of how I was a fat-ass who had no willpower to eat the damn salad.    Then I’d have negative thoughts about my friends as if it were their faults that I chose the fat and sugar rich heart attack on a plate.

After about 24 hours after the calorie bomb meal, the depressing thoughts left my head and I’d vow to make the healthy choice next time.  This cycle went on before, during and a few years post-college until I finally made the choice to own up to my decisions because:

  • No one has the right to put food into my mouth.
  • Whatever I eat is my choice.
  • If the food I eat makes me feel crappy, then don’t eat it.

.Of course, these things are so much easier said than done.  It took me years to figure this out and put these ideas into action effortlessly. But, after the struggle I have now arrived!  These days when I go out to eat, there is no anxiety.  I eat what I want to eat which is usually some type of protein paired with vegetables.  If I am in the mood for dessert then I have it – usually split with friends.  No guilt.  After the meal, I am pleased and satisfied.  The next day, I go on about my business happy that I got to enjoy a social outing with friends.

Because I struggled with eating and weight for much of my childhood (I was born weighing a whopping 14 pounds) and through college, I have the personal experience to help my nutrition clients overcome their own unhealthy eating habits and self-defeating thoughts.  Sometimes they succeed.  Sometimes, the pressure is too much and they succumb.  I understand it all because it used to be me.  Now I am in a position to use my past to positively shape the present and future of people who desire to live a healthy lifestyle.  And my clients have seen success in the form of healthier eating habits, reduced prescription medication needs, fat loss, better sleep, more energy, and a positive outlook on life.   If you can identify with any of the above and have had enough with the failure and are ready to do better, eat better, and feel better then contact me today.  Let’s do it!

If you struggled with restaurant meals like I once did, the next time you are out eating with friends and family, the following tips can help you choose a healthy meal successfully in which satisfies your tastebuds.  These tips are what helped me to get to the happy, anxiety-free place where I can now enjoy restaurant outings without fear.

Know someone who can benefit from this article?  Please share using the social media icons below. Thank you in advance!

Tips on how to order a healthy and delicious restaurant meal that you’ll feel good about before, during and after your dining experience

1.       Find out what restaurant you will be dining at, then go to their website and look through the menu.  Choose 1 – 3 viable options so that you are confident on what to get when the waiter is staring at you to take your order.

2.      Make sure that meal is composed of a protein and green vegetable at the least.  Grilled, sautéed, baked, broiled, seared are all good choices to stick to when choosing your meal.  Stay away from fried, breaded, creamed options.

3.      Remove any guilt that you may be carrying with you from the last time you pigged out at a restaurant…even if it was just last week.  This is a new day, a new outing, a new chance for you to make the right decision.

4.      Focus on the conversation with your dining mates.  Do not allow the food to take the spotlight.  When I eat out with friends I am usually the slowest eater.  Not consciously but simply because I am chatting and enjoying the conversation more than the food on my plate.

5.      Say no to the free bread basket and keep on passing it on…away from you.  Save room for the main meal that you will (most likely) pay out of pocket for.  Notice how when at restaurants, cafes, office meetings, or Costco demo tables the free food is usually processed, sugar-filled carbohydrate-rich options you know you shouldn’t be having no way.  They do that on purpose: those foods are highly addictive and will leave you wanting more.  If it’s free and processed, just say no thank you.

6.      Drink water!  Add lemon to the water for a little flavor and to aid digestion.  Drink the water mostly before and after the meal.   Stay away from sugary drinks.  And if it’s an alcohol type of gathering, then stick to dry wines or vodka tonics or spirits on the rocks for minimal sugar intake. Limit your drinking to 1-2 servings.

7.      The next day, plan to workout at medium to high intensity to help sweat out the excess sodium restaurant meals have been known to contain. I love to sweat it out in yoga or bootcamp class.

8.      Be grateful.  Gratitude is everything.  Focus on the goodness of life and go forward empowered to be the best you today, tomorrow, and onward.

 Photo credit:  RF photos

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There You Go Again: A New Year, A New Weight Loss Goal

burn all the fat meme

There is something magically delicious about the new year that makes people want to change their bad habits and drop fat once and for all with the mindset that “this time it’s different; this time I will succeed.”  (Not) sadly, I am here to bust your bubble.  You see, setting lofty goals without really having a plan or without synchronizing your goals with your mental mindset is a formula for failure.  *bubble busted*

And when we set goals or resolutions beginning the 1st of Jan, it may be due to pressure from celebrities, friends, co-workers, family, or that super annoying infomercial for an at-home workout video that flaunted ridiculously hott models in your face for 30 minutes straight while you nursed a Haagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream pint at midnight on a Friday night.  mmhmmm.

And during new year season, the pressure to look your best is fierce!  We think, “everyone else has a weight loss goal…let me jump on the bandwagon too since I can stand to drop a few (dozen) pounds.”

From my personal experience, peer pressure to perform never lasts and gets old fast. You end up right where you began in this never-ending cycle to get fit.   Since you want to meet your health goals not just for 2014, but more importantly, for the rest of your precious life, then the best time to start your weight loss efforts is when you are ready both mentally AND physically.  

With that said, I have for you 7 tips that will help you you achieve your weight loss goals.  For optimal success, tackle one tip per week.  Once you master one tip, then move on to the next.  By the end of 7 weeks, these tips will be ingrained in your daily habits + you’ll have a slimmer waistline and leaner thighs.  Watch out now, you may earn a new nickname: “hott n’ sexy”.

1. Refrain from drinking calories.

Sodas and juices are full of sugar that makes it difficult for the body to release fat. The biggest antagonist to burning fat is sugar consumption because it stimulates the secretion of insulin — a fat-promoting hormone. Diet drinks are not the smart alternative to caloric drinks.  Although diet drinks have zero calories, they cause addiction and contain chemicals that can do more harm than good to your body.  Stick to water which is refreshing, energizing and flushes out waste and toxins from the body which can contribute to fatigue and fat storage.  Herbal and green tea are also great options.

2. Eat real food — only!

As much as you want to believe otherwise, processed low-calorie frozen meals, skinny lattes, 100 calorie packs, and detox drinks will NOT help you keep the weight off.  You may see a little bit of results but trust me, these results will not last.  To lose fat and keep it off, you must feed your body nutrient-dense real foods — not chemical loaded, man-made Frankenstein food.  Real foods include wild fish; leafy greens; eggs; beef; chicken; and red, purple, and other colorful fruits and vegetables.  To ensure you are truly eating a whole foods rich diet, shop the perimeter of your supermarket, or better yet, do most, if not all, of your grocery shopping at the Farmer’s Market.  For optimal nutrition and to reduce toxic load, choose organic, pastured, and grass-fed options whenever possible.

3. Drink green tea to boost metabolism.

Research demonstrates that one can experience an increase in metabolism by regularly consuming green tea.  Green tea leaves are not fermented and contain more catechins than other teas. These important polyphenols, coupled with the natural caffeine present in green tea, is likely the reason that regular green tea consumption can boost metabolism, increase fat burning and promote weight loss. Drink green tea as a regular part of your day morning, noon and evening.

4. Eat protein at every meal.

Want to stay fuller longer in-between meals?  Eat protein.  Research shows higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and daily calorie intake. Therefore make sure to eat protein with every meal and snack.  A protein-rich diet coupled with a low to low-moderate carbohydrate intake should melt away fat in record time while boosting energy and clearing away brain fog. Protein causes the brain to receive lower levels of appetite-stimulating hormones such as insulin. Fewer insulin spikes lead to less fluctuation of sugar cravings – and therefore fewer cravings.  For dinner, try this lemon pepper crusted salmon for an excellent source of protein and fat-loss promoting omega-3 fats.

5. Fat is your weight loss friend.

Contrary to the hype, in order to lose fat, you must eat fat.  I’m talking good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, real butter, ghee, fish and animal fats rich in healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats.  Nix the bad fats:  polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as soybean oil, margarine, corn oil, canola oil, and safflower oil — these fats are composed mostly of inflammatory omega-6 properties.  What makes a fat “bad” or “good” is its ability to stay in its natural chemical structure when heated and/or exposed to light.  Polyunsaturated vegetable fats have a very weak chemical structure which can easily cause rancidity and oxidation; to avoid damaging the structure  you definitely should not cook with these fats.  When rancid fats are consumed, it can promote health ailments such as heart disease, fat accumulation, digestive unrest, thyroid hormone imbalance, sluggish energy, and low libido, among other issues.   Good quality saturated fats keep their structure when heated therefore promotes balanced hormones, brain health, increased metabolism and optimal cell function.  Bottom line: quality good fats come from pastured, organic, and grass-fed sources.

6. Get adequate, quality sleep.

More and more studies are linking weight gain to inadequate, low quality sleep. Indeed, fat loss factors on more than the simple mantra of “eat less, move more”.   Lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones.  Lack of sleep reduces willpower to eat healthy.  When is the last time you chose a vegetable-protein option as opposed to a sugar-filled processed carbohydrate loaded treat after 10pm at night?  At night, the brain’s serotonin levels are at their lowest.  Serotonin is a feel-good neurotransmitter which contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.  When the brain’s serotonin levels are low, the body compensates by increasing cravings for carbohydrates.  Now you see why staying up late is the craftiest way to grow your gut in no time flat.  Get to bed by 10pm and aim for 7-9 hours of restful, quality sleep in a pitch-black, temperature cool bedroom.

7. Work with a Nutrition Coach.

Hiring a certified nutrition coach will help you achieve your weight loss goals faster by taking the guess work and stress (due to lack of success) out of the equation. A Nutrition coach will customize a food & lifestyle plan specific to your needs therefore exponentially increasing your adherence thus producing faster results.  Not to mention, accountability plays a huge part in you staying dedicated and plowing through stressful times.  Contact me today for your free 15 minute consultation.

 

For an awesome, fantastic, funny, incredible, sexy, easy, too-good-to-be-true 2014 subscribe to my email list by clicking the image below.  I am gearing up to launch my fresh new website soon. You don’t wanna miss this.  Subscribe to my email list right this minute.  

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16 Convincing Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods

processed junk foodsIf you want to drastically reduce your chances of acquiring cancer, stroke, autoimmune disease, diabetes, obesity, dull brittle hair nails and skin, mood swings, brain fog, sugar addiction, depression, anxiety, yeast infection, digestive gut issues, and more — you’d be wise to stay away from processed foods.  Tyler Graham, author of The Happiness Diet, brilliantly shares what havoc processed foods can wreak onto the body.  The following are 16 convincing reasons to avoid processed foods. Just eat real foods — it will change your life, and the lives of those around you, for the best.

1.  People who eat foods with artificial sweeteners often end up consuming more total calories per day.  It’s likely because these sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar that they prime the brain’s desire for even more sweet food.  #addiction

2. Processed foods speed the process of aging.

3.  Children who eat fast food twice a week are more likely to suffer from asthma. 

4.  Big Tobacco owns many of America’s most popular processed-food brands, like Nabisco and Kraft. 

5.  A Dunkin’ Donuts glazed chocolate cake stick contains more than forty ingredients, including five different types of gums and TBHQ — a form of butane (lighter fluid) that’s used as a preservative.

6.  It’s been studied to show that a diet high in fructose and trans fat doesn’t just lead to obesity — it causes oxidative damage to the liver that decreases your body’s ability to eliminate toxins.

7. Buying processed foods is just another stop at the gas station pump.  The packaging, transport, fertilizer, and pesticides need to get processed food to your kitchen depends on billions and billions of barrels of oil.

8.  Animal feed given to factory-farmed cows contains rendered roadkill, euthanized cats and dogs, and plastic pellets as a cheap form of “roughage.”

9.  Zinc is known as “the intelligent mineral,” and it is removed from grains when most manufacturers make processed foods.

9.  Coffee-mate liquid creamer is full of health-depleting trans fats.  The reason, however, that the label says zero trans fats is because of an FDA loophole — it a product contains less than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving, it can carry a zero trans fat label.  This is misleading especially in products with small recommended serving size.  Just a few cups of coffee with these creamers can easily add up to a whopping dose of depression-promoting, heart-stopping trans fats.

10.  Drinking too much soy milk may lower a man’s sperm count.  It can exacerbate hypothyroid therefore lowering metabolism — the body’s ability to burn fat suffers.

11.  Just because jelly bean and soda manufacturers tout antioxidants in their products doesn’t mean their food is healthful. 

12.  Milk from factory-farmed cows treated with growth hormone often contains pus.

13.  Those blueberries found in cereal, muffins, and bagels? They are often fake.  Made of nothing more than sugar, hydrogenated oil, and artificial food dyes No. 2 and No. 40.

14.  Eating processed food contributes to the death of small farms across America. 

15.  Cooking at home has been linked to longer life spans. 

16. No matter what the packaging says:  Processed foods are made to be cheap – not healthy. 

Convinced? Begin making the commitment to reduce and eliminate intake of processed, sugar and chemical filled foods.  Choose real foods instead.  Cook at home more often.  Enjoy the flavors and the colors of whole foods.  Need inspiration and support?  Contact me today.

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Chika Obih is a certified holistic nutrition consultant; blogger; and founder of Chika Obih Wellness based in Oakland, CA and offers services virtually, in-person or by phone. Chika is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their own health utilizing the power of wholesome, clean foods and fun holistic lifestyle solutions.  Contact Chika today to set up your free consultation.

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