Why Dieting Makes You Fat

Last month, we talked about how saddling ourselves with stress can dampen our summer fun and increase our risk for disease. If you’ve spent your summer burning with shame at the prospect of wearing a bathing suit, then you are familiar with the stress of weight management. This stress and the restrictive diets it leads to may be making you fat.

Weight Loss Frustration

Men and women alike come to me frustrated with their weight loss goals. They tell me they’ve tried everything under the sun and despite their discipline, they just can’t shed pounds. Oftentimes, I question them about their past efforts and discover that dieting is making them unable to lose weight. Women are especially susceptible to the contradictory effects of restrictive dieting. Focusing solely on losing weight is a narrow perspective. In it, the assumption is that eating fewer calories than you burn will result in weight loss. The calorie’s mentality ignores the complex chemical processes happening within our bodies.

Stress and Weight Gain

You already know that stress sets a series of chemical reactions in motion that lead to disease. These same chemical reactions lead to weight gain even if you restrict your calories. In fact, eating too few calories is a common stressor that contributes to obesity.

You learned last month that stress increases cortisol production and that cortisol has several roles within your body. One of cortisol’s jobs is to increase glucose availability. This glucose provides energy for your cells. Your cells can use it up quickly and it makes sense that your body raids its glucose stores during the flight or fight response.

Stress and Insulin Resistance

Now consider insulin’s role in the body. Insulin helps your cells use the glucose in your blood. When there is not enough insulin or your body is resistant to insulin, your cells are don’t get enough glucose.

But did you know that, in times of long-term stress, your body also increases its production of a group of immune cells called cytokines? Cytokines during chronic stress suppress your body’s ability to use insulin.

To summarize, chronic stress increases glucose levels and impairs your body’s ability to effectively use it. Not only is this the dawning of insulin resistance, it also leads to weight gain. First, unused glucose is stored as fat. No surprise there. But then something interesting happens.

Fat-Storing Enzymes

Since your cells are unable to use glucose effectively, your pancreas increases insulin production. The excess insulin triggers your body to increase the activity of lipogenic enzymes.

Lipogenic enzymes are exactly what you don’t want when you are trying to lose weight. These enzymes stockpile fat. They tell your body to store glucose and excess cortisol in your belly.

Stress, whether in the form of restrictive dieting or some other pressure, causes you to gain weight in the place it’s most difficult to take off.

Stubborn Belly Fat

Even as you are restricting your calories to lose weight, your body is sending signals to increase fat storage. This cascade of hormone and enzyme activity does not end with the diet, or even with the resolution of the stressful situation. As the adrenals produce less cortisol, your belly fat has a storehouse of the stress hormone. Once you start losing the belly fat, the cortisol reenters the bloodstream and the fat-storage cycle begins over again.

Chronic stress, even in the form of dieting, changes your metabolism. A 2011 study acknowledged the harmful effects of diets and recommended that doctors reconsider recommending them as a way to lose weight. Click here to view that study.

Stop the Cycle

Shedding pounds successfully requires you to focus on healing, rather than weight loss. Stress, dieting, genetic and environmental factors disrupt your hormones and metabolism. All these factors affect your nutritional needs. The key to healing and weight loss is to eat according to your body’s unique needs, or your metabolic type.

Metabolic typing is not about restricting calories. It’s about providing your body with the food it can use most efficiently. Your metabolic type is determined both by your response to stress and the speed with which your body converts food into energy.

What’s Your Type?

The three metabolic types are Carb, Protein and Mixed types. While there are ways to determine your metabolic type, the easiest is paying attention to how you feel after you eat.

Protein types will generally feel tired and anxious after eating organic, steel cut oats for breakfast. Carb types will have a heavy gut and a craving for sweets after eating organic eggs. Those needing a mixed type diet feel great with a variety of healthy foods in appropriate portions.

The goal of metabolic typing is to provide a “diet” that will leave you feeling satisfied after meals with energy and good mental focus. Feeling great after a meal is a sign that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to regulate hormones and energy production.

If you are ready to determine your metabolic type and start on the path to lasting weight loss and wellness, call us today for a free consultation.

“Keep on Moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

Leading Cause of Disease

Summer makes most of my clients grateful for our pleasant, Mediterranean climate. So far, our little corner of the world is a secret and we don’t have to deal with many tourists as we make our seasonal plans. But our tendency to over-schedule ourselves means even our picturesque summer is lost to stress overload. But stress doesn’t just steal joyful moments. It also robs us of good health.

Different Stressors, Same Result

The source of our stress is as vast as the ocean. And while much of our anxiety is mental, the stress we endure comes in many forms. Our daily exercise, our nutritional choices, even air conditioning and smog from rush-hour traffic all contribute to the stress response that happens on a cellular level. No matter the origin of the stress, it penetrates our bodies the way drops of rain infiltrate the ocean. The many causes of stress form a single result.

Many people who train for a marathon experience the consolidated effect of stress. As training intensifies, the body responds by releasing cortisol. The hormone diverts blood to the limbs and brain. The increased blood flow helps us run faster and also contributes to “runner’s high,” that sweet feeling that makes us love the sport. Evolution made cortisol for running, when doing so often saved our ancestors’ lives.

But evolution didn’t plan on project deadlines, shrinking bank accounts or a child’s soccer game starting in 30 minutes at a field almost an hour’s drive away.

For these modern problems, our body’s only solution is cortisol and other stress hormones. Because, who knows, maybe diverted blood flow will help us honk the horn harder or think of a new mathematical discipline that will solve our cash flow mess.

The marathon hopeful will push through his training schedule without realizing that work and family pressures will affect his outcome.

Consequences of Chronic Stress

Long-term stress spells disaster for our goals as well as our health. In the 1950s, Dr. Hans Seyle identified three phases of chronic stress.

The first stage is the “fight or flight” stage, during which the body prepares to either run or kill a saber-toothed tiger. It does so by diverting resources away from digestion, immunity and other processes.

The second stage of chronic stress is adaption. From an evolutionary point of view, this stage may help us adapt to harsh climates or famines. In today’s world, this stage is characterized by chocolate cravings to replace diminished magnesium or belly fat that quarantines destructive stress hormones.

Stage three is exhaustion. In this stage, the adrenal glands cannot produce cortisol and adrenaline effectively. People suffering from exhaustion experience alternating periods of energy and fatigue as well as other symptoms. They often have trouble getting out of bed and become sleepy again mid-afternoon. But the sleepiness doesn’t last long because middle-of-the-night cortisol spikes cause wakefulness around 2 or 3 a.m.

Most of our clients come to us in this third stage. They are often weak, depressed and anxious. They also struggle with joint pain, allergies and weight gain.

In a way, people who experience adrenal fatigue are lucky. They experience the disastrous effects of stress in a relatively short time frame. Exhaustion is impossible to ignore and a healthy lifestyle is the only way to break free of it.

Others spend a lifetime overworked and go on to develop serious complications, such as heart disease, hypertension and even cancer.

These diseases develop because stress isn’t just a sensation; it’s a real hormonal reaction that damages our cellular health. Stress leads to premature aging and an early death.

Cornerstone of Good Health

Managing your stress is just as important to your health as eating well and exercising. But when you can’t clear traffic or ease your boss’s demands, how can you ease your stress?

The hormonal reality of stress means managing stress is easier than you may think. Instead of changing your outside reality, you only need to improve your internal experience. When you do, your outside reality will be better too.

For example, eating organic produce provides nutrients to counter the damage caused by stress while reducing your toxic load. Deep belly breathing halts cortisol production. Getting enough sleep, even if it means taking naps, helps repair your body and mind. Nurturing your relationships and practicing spirituality are proven ways to lower your stress hormones. All of these make you better able to solve problems.

Our modern world is overrun with stressors. Environmental pollution, noise and deadlines are part of our reality. But the poor health that can result doesn’t have to be. You can choose to live joyfully, mindfully and healthy.

Making the choice is the first step. The health coaches at Mind Body Motion can help you start the journey. If stress is robbing you of joy and good health, call us today. With a free consultation, we’ll develop a plan to help you be healthier and live purposefully.

“Keep On Moving!”

Luis Ponce, Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

Giving Salt a Fair Shake

There are some things everyone can agree on. For instance, water is good for your health. Other statements go against mainstream thinking, such as, salt is just as essential to good health as water.

Salt’s Bad Rap

The American Heart Association, the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture campaign feverishly towards one goal: reduce the amount of salt Americans consume.

The current 3,400 mg per day the average American eats is dangerous. Studies consistently show that eating too much sodium increases your risk for hypertension, stroke, heart failure and several other illnesses.

Salt’s Good Side

We hear advice to reduce our sodium intake so often that we don’t consider that salt is essential to our bodies. It even gives us a rather poetic connection to nature: the sodium content in our blood is almost identical to the sodium content of sea water.

Salt is an electrolyte, as is magnesium and potassium. Our body uses electrolytes to transmit electrical signals to our cells. Salt also aids in reducing lactic acid and helps maintain the pH balance of blood. It also helps regulate blood sugar and produce gastric juices.

Salt is an effective home remedy. When our clients suffer cramps, we give them salt water and most of the time they experience instant relief. Sea salt is a great rinse to help heal mouth sores and clear sinus mucus. Also, a salt bath is good for relaxing muscles.

Salt in Moderation

There’s an easy way to dramatically reduce your sodium. You’ll even benefit from more nutrients. And best of all, you don’t have to hide your salt shaker. Simply eat less processed food.

Processed food is the real diet devil. At least half of our sodium comes from packaged food. Bread, pizza and pasta, not to mention all that easy frozen fare, are loaded with sodium. Packaged food also contains chemicals, sugar and refined grains. Even worse, they’re devoid of nutrients.

Eating real food will do more for your health than simply reducing your sodium intake. As a general rule, when you don’t have to open a box, remove plastic or read ingredients, you’ll get more nutrients. Buy real fruits and vegetables, the ones covered with a little dirt, rather than hormone-altering BPA found in canned vegetables.

Keep the Salt Shaker…

But buy better salt. Table salt is highly processed and only contains sodium chloride. Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt are high-quality, more natural alternatives. They contain trace amounts of magnesium, calcium and other minerals. Minerals do everything from keeping muscles and nerves healthy to regulating thyroid function to maintaining the immune system. Sea salts also taste better.

Do you need help switching to a real food diet? Or adopting a lifestyle to beat hypertension? Give us a call today. We’ll help you get healthier so you can live more fully.

“Keep On Moving!”

Luis Ponce, Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

The Easiest Way to be Healthier

Much of our work at Mind Body Motion is about changing the way our clients view health choices. Water is an excellent example.

Many of our new clients see water as bland and boring. They fail to see how awe-inspiring water really is! It can cut through mountains or be as still as glass. It can destroy a village or give life to an emaciated child across the world. Water is the motor of our weather patterns and the most basic building block of life. Water is a symbol of purification in every major religion. Whether you are sitting in a cubicle or sitting in traffic, drinking water is a way to connect with both nature and your spirit.

Chronic Dehydration

Drinking water is also the best way to avoid the chronic dehydration afflicting most Americans and one of the easiest ways to feel healthier. When you’re thirsty, you’re already between 1 and 2 percent dehydrated. And because most food contains some amount of water as well as a jolt of sugar to combat fatigue, many people eat when they are mildly dehydrated. Others don’t usually drink water, preferring soda or coffee; however, caffeine and alcohol are diuretics that make dehydration worse.

Mild Dehydration

Mild dehydration has subtle, yet powerful, effects on your quality of life. Your cortisol levels go up and your energy levels go down. A study even found that migraine sufferers experienced significantly more headaches when they were mildly dehydrated. No wonder hangovers hurt so much!

A new exercise program will be difficult to maintain if you are in a state of chronic dehydration. Your body needs water to transport nutrients and oxygen to muscles while you exercise. Our bodies also release water through sweat to keep our skin cool. If you are not optimally hydrated, you’ll be prone to muscle cramps and exhaustion.

To avoid chronic dehydration, drink half your body weight in ounces each day. If you are 190 pounds, then drink 95 ounces each day.

Best Water to Drink

Our bodies need the proper pH balance to stay healthy. pH determines how much oxygen your blood can transport. Healthy blood has a pH of around 7.4, or slightly alkaline.

Processed foods and a stressful lifestyle lower the pH levels of your blood. The resulting acidosis can cause bone disease and muscle loss. Some experts think it can lead to cancer and other disease.

Eating alkaline foods and drinking pure water are an effective way to maintain your body’s pH levels. The Alkaline Diet includes fruits and vegetables as well as pure water with a pH of at least 7. A Canadian review found that the Alkaline Diet increased pH levels in urine and resulted in better bone and muscle health. It also improved chronic diseases such as hypertension.

Drink alkaline water that contains minerals. The closest to 7 in the PH chart the better the water is to drink. Test kits can help you determine if the water you buy is really alkaline. We are paying a ridiculous amount of money for water labeled alkaline but is really just plain tap water. We have found Fiji, Evian, Artisan Water and Arrowhead to be the most alkaline.

The Blue Zone

What started out as a National Geographic story on the healthiest and happiest people in the world has turned into a movement called “The Blue Zone”. People reach 100 years of age far more often in these regions of the world than in other regions of the world.

Drinking alkaline water is one of their secrets. People who live in these areas drink mineral water found in mountains and springs. Water from these regions contains calcium and magnesium as well as other important minerals.

Give us a call to learn how to hydrate properly and other longevity secrets of people in the Blue Zone!

“Keep on moving!”

Luis Ponce Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

Why You Need a Machine to Connect With Your Spirit

The hand axe was the first machine people built. In the thousands of years since then, our gadgets have grown in complexity and purpose. Yet, not a single one can match the efficiency and agility of the machine used by that first maker of the hand axe: the human machine.

Machines have been my passion since I was a child. My love for mechanics led me to earn my technical drafting certificate when I was 16 and living in Mexico. But my passion wasn’t fully realized until I applied my knowledge to the human body.

Today, I help my clients heal and avoid injuries by teaching them to be aware of their own body’s mechanics using time-tested techniques pioneered by Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna. Learning to be aware of your body reduces your risk for injuries and enhances your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Body Awareness Explained

Body awareness means paying attention to what is usually overlooked: the marvelous mechanics of the human body.

What did you think about when you walked out of your front door this morning? Most people think about the best route around rush hour traffic, that important call to make the moment they get to work or whether they remembered to put the smart phone in their bag. Almost no one thinks about the astonishing way their body carries them through the doorway and down the steps.

And almost no one would be thankful for a blister. Yet a valuable lesson lies in a blister on a toe. Blister pain rises and falls in tandem with our steps, providing a relentless education in body awareness. The rising of your foot, the friction of your shoe against your toe, the moment of burning pain when your foot meets the ground becomes difficult to ignore.

And when you stop ignoring how your body moves, you’ll begin to see it’s a miraculous machine. Most importantly, you’ll be able to use your awareness to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

How Body Awareness Affects Health

Our movements, even the automatic ones, influence our health and well-being. Posture, a movement we often don’t think about, is an excellent example. Our lifestyle encourages poor posture. Computer work, driving and cell phone use cause the head to be in front of the shoulders.

Yet, this slouching leads to neck and back pain. Poor posture also causes weak abdominal muscles that, in turn, lead to ankle and knee pain. Even rotator cuff injuries and tennis elbow can be traced to poor posture.

But physical pain isn’t the only issue stemming from sagging shoulders. Studies show slouching can increase depression and reduce energy.

It works the other way, too. Correcting your posture doesn’t just prevent problems. It changes your body chemistry for the better.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, presented a now-famous TED talk. In it, she explains how the right posture can make you more confident and successful. Standing strong even makes a positive impact on your testosterone and cortisol levels.

Body Awareness is Underrated

Unfortunately, we’re discouraged from connecting mindfully with our bodies when our society values the way our body looks, rather than how it feels.

Lifting machine weights may grow your biceps or tighten your abs, but it does nothing to create a truly functional body.

I show my clients how to perform multi-joint functional exercises. By using these specialized exercises, you use your body as the integrated, functional machine it is.

You’re not just engaging in mindless repetition; you’re thinking about your form. The result is greater body awareness as well as greater strength and stability to prevent injuries.

Awareness of Breathing While Walking

Breathing is the most important movement your machine makes. It sets the rhythm for a succession of internal processes. It also connects your body to your spirit. But you’re most likely doing it incorrectly.

Most people inhale by filling the chest cavity, creating tension in the neck and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to the organs.

Breathing correctly, by expanding the belly, is a simple and powerful way to improve your health. It can lower your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels.

You’ll probably need to practice belly breathing while sitting or lying down. By putting your hand on your belly, you’ll feel your abdomen expanding as you inhale. Notice how your breath slows. Notice also how your body begins to relax.

Belly breathing isn’t just for meditation. It’s an effective way to feel more relaxed and energetic throughout your day. It’ll take practice to make deep breathing automatic. But the practice itself will teach you to become more aware of how your body moves.

Gratitude Through Body Awareness

Try this exercise. Stand up from a seated position. But move as slowly as you can. Observe how the energy begins in your feet and rises. Observe each muscle as it contracts. It’s a movement you may repeat a hundred times a day and yet never appreciate the richness of the machine that makes it possible.

Gratitude is a natural outgrowth of awareness.

We have semi-private training classes that will help you raise your body awareness. You’ll learn how to integrate your mind and body. You’ll move with more ease and freedom. You’ll reduce your risk of injuries. Most importantly, you’ll connect your spirit with your machine.

Give us a call today to learn more.

“Keep on moving,”

Luis Ponce Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

Are Night Lights Making You Fat?

Nighttime satellite images show an Earth seemingly sprinkled with stardust. It’s hard to imagine the millions of lights seen from space began with a single light bulb in Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Harder still to imagine this glowing web of electricity is creating a hormonal horror of obesity, hypertension, insomnia and even cancer.

As the invention most responsible for nightlife adventures, it’s hard to find much wrong with the light bulb. Its illumination made streets safer and gave rise to 24-hour work production. Without the shackles of darkness, people could work or play until sunrise. Little did they realize those shackles were the sum of complex hormones known collectively as the circadian rhythm.

Battle for Your Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock. It evolved to reflect the way people lived for tens of thousands of years: in harmony with sunrise and sunset. And the mainspring that sets this clockwork in motion is the hormone Melatonin.

Melatonin tells your body it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. But it does so much more. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative damage. It’s also an anti-inflammatory that boosts the immune system. Melatonin has even been shown to have an anti-aging effect and to increase longevity in mice.

Your body knows it’s time to produce melatonin when darkness comes. But in our lit-up world, darkness is harder to come by. Scientists have discovered the blue-light emitting from artificial lights is tricking our bodies into reducing melatonin production. This discovery is especially troubling in the tech-age, when electronic devices and LED bulbs emit more blue light than their incandescent predecessors.

Illnesses Linked to Melatonin Disruption

Low melatonin levels have been linked to several illness, insomnia being the most obvious. The CDC says 50-70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. Americans spent $3 billion on just two popular sleep medications in 2006.

Studies also show low melatonin levels have sinister effects that go beyond sleeplessness. Exposure to light at night has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Does all this talk about wake-sleep cycles have you thinking about your late-night servings of ice-cream and potato chips? Some studies suggest nighttime lights increase cortisol levels. Cortisol is known to increase sugar and carb cravings.

Don’t Run Out For Melatonin Supplements

It may seem melatonin supplements are the answer to the blue-light conundrum. Remember, melatonin is a hormone with far-reaching health implications. In fact, it’s the only hormone available as a supplement simply because it’s found in some foods.

Most melatonin supplements are synthetic, use a dose that is too high, and release too quickly into the blood stream. Furthermore, supplementing with melatonin leaves you vulnerable to side effects, such as depression and unpleasant dreams.

Some experts believe supplementing will cause your body to produce less melatonin naturally. And remember, supplementing with melatonin won’t do anything about late-night cortisol levels.

How to Prevent Blue Light Exposure

Most people aren’t willing to turn off their electric devices at 8 pm. Luckily for them, Dr. Richard L. Hansler, a physicist with Ohio-based John Carroll University, has developed glasses that block blue-light. A former researcher for General Electric, Hansler went to work in his retirement years researching seasonal affective disorder. His research prompted him to develop a product to restore melatonin levels despite the ever-increasing onslaught of blue-light. The result: Zzz Glasses, orange goggles that can fit over regular glasses and block over 95 percent of blue-light.

I was skeptical at first. But after using them every night for the past three weeks, I’m a well-rested believer in Zzz Glasses’ blue-light blocking powers. I set a time to wear them at 8 pm, two hours before my target bedtime of 10. I find I fall asleep sooner, sleep more deeply and wake at 6 am feeling well-rested. And since I’m using a computer within a half hour of going to bed, I don’t have to sacrifice productivity for a good night’s sleep.

A single cause cannot explain away poor health, and blue-light is no exception. Good health is a culmination of choices, from eating well and exercising to practicing good sleep hygiene.

Reducing blue-light exposure and restoring your melatonin levels to a natural state is a great first step. From your new, well-rested vantage point, you can make other lasting changes. Exercising early in the morning will further regulate your cortisol levels and fine-tune your circadian rhythm. Paying attention to your spiritual side will increase your sense of calm.

Please give us a call to get your blue-light blocking glasses. We can also help you get back on track with your sleep quality and energy levels through other lifestyle improvements. Make an appointment today.

“Keep on moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

Detox: A Toxic Subject

After 20 years in the business, I know which reactions to expect from my clients when I suggest a lifestyle change. Take eating healthier, for example. The client usually nods and says his wife’s been getting on him for years about that. When I talk about exercising, the reaction is big exhale and a shake of the head. It seems to say, “Yea, I gotta do better.”

Then I suggest detoxing. The client perks up like a mouse sensing a trap. He doesn’t want to offend me. But he also doesn’t want to endure a month-long juice fast and colossal supplements that smell like compost.

I get it. Detoxing is a toxic subject.

Google “detox” and you’ll get sites featuring several self-proclaimed experts-all of them saying something different-and more than one riled critic. And there are unsafe detox programs. These unhealthy regimens threaten you with water toxicity or paltry calories.

Once you sift through misinformation, sort out the reasons for detoxing and uncover its scientific basis, you’ll find detoxing is a common sense solution to a problem of our technological age.

Body Burden

The problem is body burden, the term given to the environmental pollution we’re carrying around in our bodies. It’s real and it’s measurable.

And it’s not unexpected. There are currently about 80,000 man-made chemicals, 3,000 of which are common to our daily lives. The government approves approximately seven new chemicals each day under a law that hasn’t been updated in almost 30 years.

Many of these chemicals go into the conveniences of daily life. Our computers, televisions, flame-retardant pajamas, not to mention pesticides and sunscreen, contain substances that seep into our skin to take part in the siege that is the body burden.

The Centers for Disease Control tested participants for 75 chemicals. Acrylamide, found in fried foods and a probable carcinogen that also harms the thyroid, is “extremely common” in our bodies. Gasoline additives and second-hand smoke also hide out in our cells.

Not even living in a bubble would help. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 287 chemicals in umbilical cord blood from 10 newborns. An advocacy organization, the EWG spent $10,000 to test each sample of blood. The results found substances ranging from chemicals from pesticides to those emanating from incinerating garbage. Such chemicals are known to harm the central nervous system and cause birth defects or cancer.

Body Burden and Disease

Most diseases are caused by a mysterious blend of genetics and environment. Common sense tells us optimizing that environment improves our chances of staying healthy. Sadly, common sense isn’t always measurable and lacks the scientific weight many people crave.

Still, examples of damaging health effects from our body burden abound. Chemicals such as lead and asbestos, once deemed by science to be safe, are now known to damage development and cause cancer.

Another disease, Alzheimer’s, is increasingly thought to be caused by aluminum. Japanese researchers examined studies and the latest knowledge about the inner workings of Alzheimer’s. They agree the evidence indicates a link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum.

Body Burden and Diet

Thinking about the environmental backlash raging in our bodies can feel as daunting as facing a scale when you’re a hundred pounds overweight.

Take a deep breathe. Both problems have the same solution: diet and exercise.

A study in the state of Washington found children who ate organic produce had significantly lower levels of pesticides in their urine than children who ate a traditional American diet. A study in Boston found vegetarians have lower levels of PBDEs than folks who ate non-organic poultry and meat. Wondering what PBDEs are? Flame retardants–in our food.

These studies prove simply avoiding exposure to dangerous chemicals can have a powerful effect. Other ways to avoid chemicals include using all-natural cosmetics and foregoing pesticide use in your home.

What about a toxin that’s already set up house in your cells? Turns out you can do something about those too. An English study found Alzheimer’s patients can lower their aluminum load by drinking silicon-containing mineral water.

Exercise and sweating it out in the sauna can also remove toxins from your body.

That’s the idea of detoxing: reducing your body burden through the use of lifestyle changes and diet. Sometimes the detox is helped along with natural products, much like mineral water flushing out aluminum.

But a good detox program uses natural ingredients known through studies and experience to aid the body’s excretory system. A good detox never relies on extreme calorie reduction, excessive water intake or other dangerous means.

Call the staff at Mind Body Motion today to learn more about how to reduce your body burden. We can help you set up a diet and exercise plan designed for total wellness that will minimize the effects of toxic chemicals. We’ll also help you learn more about detoxing and make an informed decision on the appropriate detoxing regimen for your lifestyle.

“Keep on moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

( 408) 778-5577

How Exercising Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Getting fit can feel like a fight sometimes. You struggle to get out of bed to run in the early morning chill. You fight against uneasiness when everyone at the gym seems faster and fitter than you. You battle self-doubt when you pass the calendar and see your upcoming event circled in stark, Sharpie ink like a teacher’s failing grade.

Despite the struggle, or maybe because of it, you make war against the phrase “I can’t.” Slowly, gradually, you win. You get out of bed, you hold your head high at the gym and you stick to your training schedule for your event.

Until the blow you didn’t see coming hits you. Whether it’s the flu or that nasty cold your co-worker has had for the past month, it can undo all of your hard work. Then again, that hard work is probably the reason you’re sick.

The Paradox of Exercise

Overtraining doesn’t just lead to sports injuries; it compromises your immune system. This is because excessive exercise causes stress, a common risk factor for illness.

Merely ramping up your cardiovascular system produces the stress hormone cortisol. Besides helping us deal with short-term stress, cortisol also suppresses the immune system. Throw in inflammation caused from torn muscles and your immune system becomes overworked. You’re less likely to repel the viruses lurking on the treadmill controls.

Remember, I said “overtraining.” Moderate training, on the other hand, makes you 20 percent less likely to get sick because it stimulates your immune system to produce more disease-fighting cells.

How to Tell If You Are Overtraining

Many people beginning an exercise routine make the mistake of overtraining. The warrior mentality you adopted at the beginning of your regimen is valued in our society. Additionally, the experience of being sedentary doesn’t prepare you to tune into the following messages your body may be giving you.

  1. Exercise is more grueling than rewarding. Exercise should make you feel great even if you work hard. Aching joints, back spasms, even the sense that the hour is passing into eternity, can be signs that you are overtraining.
  2. Your heart is beating faster than usual. A heart rate monitor is an excellent tool to guide your exercise program. You can use it to avoid overtraining by keeping your heart rate within recommended guidelines. It can also alert you of a problem when your heart rate rises even if your routine remains steady.
  3. You don’t feel great throughout your day. Insomnia, fatigue, even craving sweets, can be signs that you need to rest longer between workouts.

And If You Get Sick. . .

Stop exercising and get well. Doing so will mean the difference between a short week of missed workouts and a lingering illness that completely derails your goals.

Take extra supplements. I recommend a vitamin C complex with rose hips. Also take an organic, whole food multivitamin. A probiotic with a variety of strains and formulated to survive stomach acid will further support your immune system. Probiotics are especially important if you’re taking antibiotics. Other supplements you should take include zinc, calcium lactate, magnesium lactate and organic potassium. Incorporate Celtic salt into your diet because it’s rich in trace minerals.

Healthy Perspective Leads to Healthy Body

Getting healthy isn’t a battle. Instead, the road to wellness should lead balance. Exercise is an integral part of that balance. With it, you not only boost your immune system, you also boost your mood and energy levels. You control your weight and prevent serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Exercise also helps you tune into your body and quiet your mind.

All of these benefits are more important than your 10K PR or how you look in your bathing suit. By keeping a healthy perspective on diet and exercise, you avoid the overtraining that leads to injury and illness.

Let Experts Customize Your Training

Call Mind Body Motion today for a free consultation. Our experts can help you develop a customized training routine to help you reach your goals and avoid illness and injury.

“Keep on moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

(408) 778-5577

You Need More Than a New Year to Become a New You

It’s a brand new year and you have some fitness goals. While I want you to be successful on every resolution you’ve set, I’m not going to encourage you to see 2014 as a blank slate. Because the reality is that today isn’t much different than yesterday. Nor is it much different than the 365 days prior to yesterday. At least the calendar isn’t going to make today different.

If 2014 is going to be the year you accomplish your goals, it’s because you make a change within yourself.

The Guiding Principle of Successful Goals

I’ve been working with clients for over 20 years and helping them achieve their fitness goals. In that time, I’ve set goals for myself. Many of these I accomplished. Others I failed to accomplish. I’ve learned that successful people apply a basic idea to the foundation of their goals. This guiding principle reduces tension in their lives. It’s called balance. Without it, you can’t be truly successful.

Just as time can’t be reduced to 365 square blocks, you can’t be reduced to your fitness goals. Each goal, whether it’s related to work, health or something else, impacts other areas of your life. Whether that impact is positive or negative determines if the goal will bring balance or tension to your life.

Balance and Self-Sabotage

But here’s the kicker. Even if you don’t care about balance, your subconscious does. And it will protect you from yourself with a sordid mix of distraction, fear and self-sabotage.

One way to determine if your fitness goals are balanced is to ask yourself how they will impact your life. You may self-sabotage if you sense that your family is resentful of the time you spend exercising. Or you may skip a morning exercise session if your boss pressures you to answer emails before work. When your goals bring more tension than balance, you’ll struggle to achieve them.

Using Balance to Set New Year’s Resolutions

To bring balance to your life, try setting goals in multiple areas that complement each other. Focus on your emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual needs.

Making a goal of enhancing family time reduces the tension you feel about spending time exercising. Creating goals that will bring tangible success to the company through your efforts makes you less susceptible to your boss’s unreasonable expectations. Committing to a healthy, active lifestyle increases your creative energy for other areas of your life.

An Invitation to Fulfillment

Too often, New Year’s resolutions focus on external changes. While the transition from 2013 to 2014 brings a new tax year and clearance sales, it isn’t the panacea that will make you healthy and fit.

Rather, the tradition we call New Year’s resolutions is an invitation. It’s an opportunity to pause and reflect. Just as this New Year is one of many, your fitness goals are just one component of a fully realized life.

By seeking balance when you set your New Year’s resolutions, goals become less like a tug of war and more like a harmonious circle. Instead of paying a price in terms of time and energy, you’re making an investment in a full life.

Call Mind Body Motion Today

The staff at Mind Body Motion can help you create and achieve fitness goals that harmonize with your life. We’ll listen to your concerns, hear your hopes for the future, and create a custom approach to help you achieve optimal wellness.

Your health impacts every area of your life. Make it a positive impact. Call Mind Body Motion today.

“Keep on moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

(408) 778-5577

9 Ways to Celebrate Health and Fitness this Holiday Season

For many of us, the holidays are a rush of time-saving measures. A postcard with a family photo has replaced a handwritten Christmas card, and our Christmas tree comes out of a box in the attic rather than a wooded field. With December 25th approaching quickly, skipping your workout is as tempting as indulging in another sleigh-shaped sugar cookie.

When December rolls around, I encourage my clients to see the holidays as a meaningful celebration rather than a frenzy of fattening foods and feverish shopping. After all, counting your blessings adds up many of your reasons for staying fit and healthy.

When you’re healthy, you have more energy for the loved ones sitting around your holiday table. Eating nutritiously and exercising regularly can ease holiday stress. Being fit means keeping up with your son or daughter. When you live a healthy lifestyle, you are inspiring others with whom you wish to spend many more Christmases.

In many ways, taking the time to eat well and exercise is a better gift to those you love than anything you find at the mall.

Being motivated is your first step towards sticking to your fitness goals. When your calendar is filled with high-calorie potlucks and high-stress shopping, sound strategies can take you the rest of the way. When you use the tips below, you’ll be ready to sprint into the New Year.

  1. Shorten your workouts when you are short on time. The holidays are an opportunity to learn a lesson in balance. Between working, shopping and socializing, a long run may be more stressful than beneficial. If you run half the distance, you can practice the art of celebrating your accomplishment even if it falls short of your original expectation.
  2. Work out early in the morning. With so many names on our gift list, it’s easy to put off taking care of ourselves. Shorter days and heavier meals make evening workouts difficult. Making exercise your first activity of the day will give your mood and self-esteem a boost while making your health a priority. Remember to go easy on your sleepy, un-caffeinated brain by preparing your workout clothes and water bottle the night before.
  3. Schedule yourself for an event. There is nothing like the motivation of money spent. When you pay the registration for a New Year’s Day 5K or pay for December’s training sessions at the beginning of the month, you are more likely to reach your fitness goals.
  4. Build a community of health-minded individuals. You’re not going to eat that Christmas turkey by yourself, so why go to the gym by yourself? Most areas have running groups or weight support groups. If you prefer the buddy system, scout out a handful of people who can keep you motivated. One friend may enjoy the same exercise class as you, while another may have some great recipes for healthy meals. Or you can bring your healthy lifestyle to a new level when you work with an experienced wellness coach.
  5. Drink plenty of water. People who drink water lose more weight and keep it off longer. One study even suggests that drinking water alone can increase your metabolism by 30 percent. Mild dehydration can cause fatigue and cravings for salty foods. Drinking two cups of water before a meal will reduce the amount of calories you eat. Most importantly, drinking half your body weight in ounces in water daily brings calm and balance to your body.
  6. Bring a healthy dish to potlucks. Cut vegetables with dip make a healthy and filling appetizer. And most grocery stores sell ready-made vegetable platters to save you time. The protein in mixed nuts satisfies hunger. Fresh salsa and organic blue tortilla chips, also readily available, are a good source of antioxidants.
  7. Make simple swaps in your favorite recipes. You can reduce calories and improve taste by replacing oil with applesauce in breads and muffins. When you use Yukon Gold potatoes with skins, your mashed potatoes will be creamier and contain more potassium and fiber. Organic butter contains healthy omega-3 fats without the harmful trans-fats found in margarine. And you can lose weight when you use coconut oil in some of your favorite dishes.
  8. Celebrate the nutrition in holiday meals. It’s easy to focus on everything bad about holiday feasting; sugar in pumpkin pie, calories in eggnog, even fat in the turkey can make your inner health nut crack in hopeless despair. Prepared sensibly, the high nutrient content of favorite holiday dishes should be enjoyed year-round. Turkey provides B-vitamins and protein. Cranberries fight cancer and pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A.
  9. Invest in your health by calling Mind Body Motion today. Sometimes, it feels like really good health–the kind that infuses you with energy and gets you thinking about possibilities again–is about as realistic as Santa Claus. That’s when the team at MBM can help you see a future without the pain of injuries, the burden of extra weight, or the shackles of chronic illness. When you call us, we’ll give you a free consultation and tour of our facilities. Most importantly, you’ll be investing in a healthy lifetime of counting your blessings.

From advent calendars to department store commercials, it’s easy to focus on the clock ticking toward holiday celebrations. Keeping your attention on your fitness goals will help center you on the meaning of the holiday season. A healthy lifestyle raises your awareness of your body. From there, it’s a short step inward to nurture your spirit.

“Keep on moving”

Luis Ponce Sr.

(408) 778-5577