fitness goals

Is Exercise Really Necessary?

Are you wondering if exercise is really necessary?

Did you know that regular exercise boosts brain power, reduces heart disease risk, and lowers cholesterol levels? According to researchers, just one and half hours of physical activity per week can decrease your risk of premature death by over 20 percent, and the risk of diabetes by 39 percent.

An active lifestyle is the key to optimal health. Yet, its benefits are often overlooked.

Why Is Physical Activity Important?

Health experts recommend at least one hour and 15 minutes of intense physical activity each week, two and a half hours of steady state cardio, or a combination of both. More than 80 percent of Americans fail to meet these requirements. Less than five percent engage in 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Only one out of three children is physically active each day. Most kids spend over eight hours a day on front of the TV or the computer.

These numbers may seem shocking, but they reflect the truth. Obesity rates are on the rise mainly because of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis.

While it’s true that you can get away without exercise, this may affect your health in the long run. Not only you’ll gain weight and lose muscle mass, but also experience memory decline, high cholesterol, decreased range of motion, joint stiffness, and depression.

Regular exercise helps maintain a normal weight, prevents cardiac events, and wards off chronic diseases. It also stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, which lifts your mood and improves mental health. Physically active people have a lower risk of breast, colon, endometrial, and lung cancer than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

They also live longer, have stronger bones, and find it easier to stay slim.

What Really Counts as Exercise?

Most people associate exercise with long cardio sessions, jogging, or strength training. Some hate these activities, or simply don’t have access to a gym. Others are too busy to commit themselves to a regular workout plan.

Is Exercise really necessary Yes, but the good news is that you don’t need a gym membership to stay active.realistic fitness goals

With a little planning, you can exercise anytime, anywhere.

Sports activities, such as hiking, swimming, baseball, soccer, tennis, and horseback riding, count as exercise. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges and other body weight moves can replace most gym workouts.

If you don’t have a treadmill, go jogging or walk at a faster pace. Ride your bike around the house instead of using a stationary bike. If you really want to exercise, you’ll find a way to do it.

Regardless of what type of exercise you do, always watch your form.

Prevent injuries. If you lift weights, increase the load gradually. Ask a trainer for advice. Get enough rest and avoid training the same muscle group more than once in 36 hours. When you do cardio, stick to 30-40 minutes of exercise per session. Remember to eat well so that your body receives the nutrients needed for muscle growth and repair. If your goal is to lose weight, maintain a high protein intake and adjust your carbs along the way.

To your health!



to lose fat do these three things

Do These Three Things And Lose Fat

Do These Three Things And Lose Fat

lose fat and inches

It’s the beginning of the year, and as you step out of the shower you’re thinking that you gotta lose that extra fat around your belly one way or another, so you can fit into a hot, sexy bathing suit.

Or a new pair of slim fit jeans.

You promise yourself that starting today, you are going to work out often and eat healthier

And so you embark on yet another diet.

You commit to eating less and healthier for as long as it takes to lose fat,  as much as possible- forgetting that the last time you did that and lost the weight you quickly gained it all back.

You gained it all back and some, because little by little you returned to your old habits. The same habits that brought you to the point where you wanted to lose weight in the first place.

So,you proved to yourself again that quick diets do not work, but you are thinking that maybe it was YOU that must have done something wrong for the diet not to work, and maybe this time you will succeed if you follow the diet more carefully.

The thing is, the ONLY thing that will guarantee results is lifestyle changes, not diets

Making permanent lifestyle changes that result in over-all, improved health that won’t rebound is the best solution to your weight gain problem. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, losing weight is a skill, and it takes planning and determination.

Here’s what happens:

When a person originally loses weight on quick diets they often lose lean muscle mass because of the nutritional mistakes they make using fad diets, too little calories or depriving the body of the fuel it needs to survive.

The weight gain is often more than what they lost because of the rebound effect, which means that the fat they gain burns less calories than lean muscle mass, and since the metabolic rate of fat is lower than that of muscle mass, it now takes a lower amount of calories to gain back the weight they lost and then some.

Note: If you decide to quit “cold turkey” and give up all over-processed and greasy food, like white bread, pasta, pastries, hamburgers, fries, and start controlling your portions, etc know that there are certain natural appetite suppressants in the market that could help in curving your cravings- do your research.

So, how do we change our eating habits?

Slowly, methodically and deliberately.

Change your eating habits slowly. Nutritional changes are best accomplished (slowly) in moderation. Totally depriving yourself of all jeat less sugar and more fruitunk food will only lead to another roller coaster ride that you finally fall off of.

Realizing that it’s time to re-think your eating habits  you can take the first three steps to implement small changes in your diet that will lead to a HUGE successful end goal.

So, do these three things and lose fat:

  1. Start by increasing your water intake, especially in between meals not with meals.
  2. Next, eliminate (deliberately) ONE bad food and replace it with its healthy equivalent- whatever that might be. Practice the out-of sight -out-of mind cliche.
  3. Record everything that goes into your mouth.

That’s right…

Methodically log in what you eat every day. It’s as simple as installing MyFitness Pal or a similar app on your phone to track your daily nutrition.

What if you hate keeping track of what you eat?

You get over it and do it anyway!

You will be surprised how using an app to track your meals will help you eliminate many of the foods you eat that are full of empty calories and no nutrition.

The apps come in handy when eating out, reminding you that what you are about to order is too high in carbs or very high in certain vitamins.

Keep in mind that you can only accomplish permanent dietary changes for a healthy lifestyle through diligent work, not quick fad diets or promises of numbers of pounds lost each day.

Do not get sucked in by advertising promises, but remember that you are caring for the only body you have which has been built to last your lifetime.

To your health!

Luz L

How To Burn Fat After A Physical Injury

If you have been stressed out looking for ways to learn how to burn fat, but unable to exercise due to pain from an injury, today I share a few techniques our patients used at the clinic with excellent results.low back pain

But first things first:

Let me say that after a brief hiatus, I am happy to be back!  


Brief Update: Just moved back to sunny  Phoenix AZ.  from  Los Angeles, where  I worked as a nutrition counselor and medical historian, which left me with no time to post to stay in touch.

So, I’m  back- No more long commutes, no more parking tickets, and best of all…no more  stress! 

But I digress

As  you may know,  I worked with moms and kids who struggled with overweight and obesity problems; I also worked  with patients who suffered from acute or chronic pain who also needed to lose weight, which was frustrating because the last thing they wanted to do was exercise! Learning how to burn fat was certainly not a priority for them, so we developed a specific plan for them to lose weight without exercise.

It was crucial for them to understand a few, simple basics of food and nutrition, if they were to efficiently follow a plan long term, so here’s the four basic principles they learned about fat burning:

How to burn fat while recuperating from a physical injury

1-The first thing patients learned was that certain foods have thermogenic properties, which means that they boost metabolic rate, causing the body to burn fat.

By definition the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is known as the amount of calories required to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients – we burn more calories when we eat certain foods- More about these foods later.

2-Patients were told about the importance of eating a portion of protein with every meal to effectively increase and maintain their metabolism at a higher rate.Protein loaded breakfast

3-Next, they began to eat more often. Most of them were doing what most people do when they try to lose weight, they practically stopped eating. They would go long periods of time without eating during the day, and would go to bed on an empty stomach.

By doing that they were lowering their blood glucose levels, which slowed down their metabolism, setting  their body in non-fat burning mode, a process called gluconeogenesis, in which as your metabolism slows down cortisol is secreted to actually turn muscle into glucose for fuel.

This is NOT a good thing, because the excess glucose gets stored as fat

Remember: Do not go to bed on an empty stomach

4- Last but not least, they learned the effect carbohydrates (portion size and sources) have on blood sugar levels. Understanding that blood sugar level control is a direct factor in fat loss, but most importantly, in overall healing and wellness,  patients learned about nutrient  or caloric “exchanges” and began making the appropriate substitutions to build and implement their own meal plans to the tune of  fat loss results of 1-3 lbs per week without having to exercise.

Here’s a list of  foods and supplements with thermogenic properties we recommended for them 

Lean Proteins– Eating daily servings of chicken, turkey, lean beef, salmon and most nuts. Protein consumption boosts metabolic rate as much as 25%, with the rate decreasing when protein is mixed with carbs and fats. Patients were advised to eat a portion of protein with every meal.

Whey Protein–  Known for its filling and nutritious properties, having an average of just 2-4  whey protein servings per WEEK aided the process of fat loss for our patients.  Check out more info here.

FACT:  Studies also found reductions in liver fat with whey protein supplementation vs other sources of protein.ginger tea

Ginger tea– A decrease in appetite has been noted with ginger intake and has been found to increase the thermic effect of food products. Patients were recommended to drink 2 -3 cups per day.

*Ephedrine HCL–  Ephedrine is one component of the herb Ephedra. It is able to induce fat loss by increasing the amount of fat available for fuel as well as by increasing heat expenditure (metabolic rate).

Studies prove that most weight lost with ephedrine administration is due to fat mass, due to a slight muscle preserving effect.

Patients were given ephedrine HCL at a dose of 20-24 mg, per day for 8 weeks to avoid side effects.

Hope these recommendations help you with your own weight loss goals.

To Your Health!

Luz L



*Recommended to use under the supervision of a Medical Provider 











Learn how to lose weight after 40

How To Lose Weight After 40

Learn How To Lose Weight After 40 With These Easy Steps

Do you think losing weight at the age of forty is hard?

It can be.

Truth is, losing weight at 10, 15, or 25 can be just as hard.losing weight

Just ask the moms of the overweight teenagers I meet daily at work.

But let’s face it, at the age of forty losing weight can be especially challenging for women, because it’s at that age when hormonal imbalances begin to cause the dreaded pre-menopausal symptoms, including weight gain.

So, if losing weight was a challenge in your younger years it becomes a bigger issue at age forty, and f it was not an issue before, it will become one from now on.

So let’s  be honest, regardless of your age, unless you learn how to eat right, and get plenty of exercise. Guess  what…it’s not gonna happen.

Not only do you have to improve your eating habits, and exercise…You must be patient too…and disciplined and determined.

Like the saying goes:

“If you want to go east, do not go west.”

–Ramakrishna —

Think about it, when was the last time you reached a goal, won anything, or got what you wanted by doing things that sabotaged your objectives?

You first had to think about what you wanted, then you found a way to get it until you got it. There is a path to success in anything and weight loss it’s no exception.

Here’s the cold truth: 

As we age our metabolism slows down. Everyone knows that. But what not everyone knows is that this slowing down of our metabolism is evolutionary.

Not to be dramatic but the fact is our brain starts to set things in motion to prepare our bodies for the last stage in all living organisms: death, which happens right around the time our internal slows down the ticking and the brain signals all organs in our body to slow down and stop growing.

We refer to this process as  being “over the hill”

over the hill or over forty

Fortunately for us in this day and age we are likely to stick around way past our 40’s and 50’s, regardless of what our ticking clocks might be telling us, so we might as well learn how to stay healthy and more importantly, away from hospitals as much as possible.

So what choices do you have?

The way I see it, it’s not a matter of IF we are going to live to the age of 80, but of  the type of quality of life we will have by then in terms of health and strength.

The fact is, lean muscle mass in the body is reduced significantly as we age, which affects metabolic rate.

In other words: The less lean muscle we have, the slower our metabolism; So even if we eat the same amount of calories we did when we were younger, we would still gain weight, and excess weight inevitably leads to premature aging.

The good news is, if you increase your metabolic by eating protein -loaded, homemade meals(or minimally processed), and low carb dishes that include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.

A few other “must do’s” 

  • Learn how to replace junk, high calorie foods with something healthier. It takes some trial and error to figure out what healthy meals and snacks  to replace your usual ones with.
  • Take your lunch to work with you every day, and make it a healthy one. This will help you resist the temptation to run through the drive-thru at lunch, and from hitting the snack machine during the day.
  • Reduce your caloric intake by 200 calories per day. You can do this by adding more vegetables as a side dish. The vegetables will fill you up without the added calories. ( I recommend steamed or slightly sauteed veggies)
  • Stay away from deep-fried foods. Bake, sauteed  or grill all of your meats. This will cut down on the fat content of the foods. It will also help keep your cholesterol levels under control.
  • Have your hormone levels checked, and discuss your options for hormone replacement treatments with your health practitioner, because even a small imbalance can sabotage your weight loss efforts. However, more than likely once you start eating healthier your hormones begin to do a better job of regulating your metabolism.

To Learn How To Lose Weight After 40

Last but not least:

Keep in mind that even if you eat a healthy diet, you will need to add exercise to lose weight after forty. Remember that you are battling against a sluggish metabolism. It is up to you to increase it by adding exercise and lean muscle mass. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy doing and do it often, every day if possible, especially some type of resistance training routine.

Key Point: Adding muscle will help to burn more fat.resistance training builds muscle better than cardio alone

It’s critical that you cut out the junk foods and start eating more fish and  lean meats; poultry, dairy, fresh fruit, vegetables, and go easy on the whole grains- because in spite of what you might have read about the wonders of whole grains, they ARE still carbs, and they will raise your blood sugar levels, leading to increased body fat.

Add a little exercise and you’re set for life!

To Your Health!

Luz L

MailOnline Health: The 8 Foods Everyone over 40 Should Eat

Australian Government Department of Health and Aging: Men 31-50 Years Old
Fitness: Healthy for Life

Quick Weight Loss Centers Lie

Quick Weight Loss Centers Lie

The 3 Lies Most Quick Weight Loss Centers Tell

As a nutritionist, my biggest challenge in helping people on their journey to weight loss is the endless dilemma of whether to be nice or bold when addressing nutrition habits and lifestyle.Many quick weight loss centers lie about what it takes to burn fat

Every time I prepare a session, I am reminded about what an old gym trainer told me years ago:

“You can’t help them all, so help only those who really want to help themselves, don’t cuddle your clients, avoid the sugar-coating and tell it like it is”

Like it or not, the weight loss industry is here to stay and if profit is the number one goal for many diet centers they might not fully disclose everything about their weight loss methods while sugar coating the reasons behind lack of performance as it relates to nutritional habits.

 The 3 Lies Quick Weight Loss Centers Like to Tell

1- Our Approach Is Different- Really? how so? Do they take the time to explore the reasons why you gained weight in the first place? Sure, you may have been eating too much of the wrong food for years, but you won’t start eating differently just because someone tell you to. There’s more to obesity than overeating.

Do they tell the truth about diet vs lifestyle, and that changing nutritional intake for as long as it takes you to reach a certain goal will make you gain the weight back almost as soon as you reach your “goal”?

2-It’s Simple And Easy- No it’s not. Losing weight it’s never as easy as some weight loss centers would like you to believe. They simply sugar coat the damage you caused to your body and avoid addressing the underlying issue that got you to where you are today. Like nutritional misinformation leading to wrong eating habits,  lack of activity,  hormonal imbalances, genetic make up, culture. The list goes on.

This minimizing of the problem is an attempt to focus on the solution, which sounds good in theory, because it’s what you want, but simple and easy? Don’t fall for it.

More than likely they are just being nice to keep you as a client.

3-No Exercise Required- This is a good one. Sounds great, doesn’t it? While not a total lie because it’s true that you could lose weight without exercise, the reality is that your chances of gaining it back are greatly increased, especially if you lost it fast using some of those new medically supervised methods to suppress hunger in the form injections or pills.

Before I go any further, let me assure you that there are many reputable weight loss clinics prescribing medications and supplements that truly help with weight loss.

Conduct Your Own Research, Ask Questions

Do your own research, but best of all, research yourself first.

What do you think you have been doing for the past few years that made you overweight?

Have you been overweight since childhood?

What do you remember eating when you were 5, 10 years old? Are you feeding your kids the same foods perpetuating the problem?

If you gained too much weight after your pregnancies and could not get back in shape, why do you think that was? Be honest. It could be a combination of lack of time to prepare healthy meals and hormonal imbalance resulting from your pregnancies.

Perhaps, you quit doing whatever activities you were doing before…Life happens.

life events

Once you answer all these questions, then you are ready for the diet centers.

This way you won’t get sucked into the promises of quick loss with fad diets that don’t provide enough nutrition to support your health, but deprive you of the foods you truly love.

By then, you will know…

That the reason you gained weight has a basis in physiology, meaning that when you lose weight on a fast diet you lose lean muscle mass- especially if you don’t exercise-by eating too little calories.

You will get tired of feeling deprived because your brain wants what it wants  (habits) to survive.

You will know better than to just want to lose the weight fast, because this reversal in nutritional intake results in a weight gain of FAT, and since the metabolic rate of  fat is lower than that of muscle mass it now takes LESS food to gain back the weight you lost.

I repeat: Because the metabolic rate of fat is lower than the metabolic rate of muscle, you will gain the weight back even if you eat less.

So if long, life health is your goal -whether that translates into increased energy, ability to do all the things you want or need without pain or too much effort, or if it simply means you’ll stay away from the doctor’s office -then permanent, nutritional changes are a must.

You can only accomplish this through diligent work at first. It will get simpler and easier with repetition, like everything else in life.

But not with quick fad diets or promises of numbers of pounds lost each day, such as those some quick weight loss centers advertise.

To Your Health!

Luz L



nopales salad

Can Certain Food Reverse Diabetes Type 2?

Could changing the way we eat with or without exercise help reverse diabetes type 2?

Remember this post as you feverishly work on your 30 min treadmill routine or 45 min weight training to burn 150 calories, give or take.


  • Nine out of 10 people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
  • The American Diabetic Association estimates that 80% of the 15 million individuals who suffer from Type 2 diabetes are significantly overweight.
  • Obesity contributes greatly to the development of Diabetes type 2.

No one can argue with those facts. Nor can anybody deny knowing that weight loss will decrease the risk of health problems, diabetes being first on that list.

Truth is, the moment we start losing fat our body’s need for insulin decreases, and our general health immediately improves- namely, reduced stroke, heart attack, eye and circulation problems, to name a few.

 But, how do we lose all that extra fat without exercising, and is it even realistic?

Sure it’s realistic.

Ditching the gym routine may not sound like an ideal situation, but if we don’t have 1-2 hours a day to structure  and implement a new exercise plan, the choice is clear.

We have to start somewhere.

Let me assure you, I am not shunning physical activity, quite the opposite.I enjoy working out and somehow I manage to exercise at least three times a week.

(hint: I postpone house chores and go for a walk instead, life’s short)

That being said, losing weight as a diabetic is no different than for none diabetics.

Neither will shed an ounce of fat as long as there is a caloric surplus in your body. Following that logic, if you chose not to exercise you MUST change your eating habits.

So, say you are ready to start losing by eating better

First thing you need to do is remember that each pound of body weight is EQUAL to 3,500 calories, (write that down) that means a negative caloric intake of 500 calories per day you WILL lose 1 pound of body weight each week.

So you focus on losing just that ONE-pound a week by making better choices every time you sit down to eat.

Bottom line: It’s not so much about which foods may cure diabetes type 2, but more about which you need to ELIMINATE right away from your diet!

I call this system the elimination diet

We all know what that means: Eating less sugary snacks, less white rice and pasta, less hamburgers, less deli meats, less over-processed ‘food’ in general…once you begin this eliminating routine , in essence what’s left to eat are the OTHER foods:

Uncooked meats and whole grains, legumes and fruits and vegetables. Foods that once you start re-learning to enjoy, you’d find out that they are amazingly easy to prepare. I love nopales salad (cactus). They are low glycemic and digest slowly which makes it a great choice when trying to maintain blood glucose levels stable.

Then you add nutritious fats- yes fats- like olive oil, organic butter, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fat from fish oil.

Note: If you’re not eating these kinds of fats you’re disrupting hormone balance and you will NOT lose weight no matter how little you eat!

Why Only One Pound A Week?

Because your goals must be realistic.weight goals

Think about it.

At 3500 calories/pound, if you lose 10 pounds in one week you would have to have a negative calorie intake of 35,000 calories!  This is not possible.

Instead, focus on achieving a gradual loss that can be maintained.  This results in a healthy body and mind and can also result in the elimination of medication to control Type 2 diabetes. (2)

Also, keep in mind that losing as little as 1 pound a week will result in significant health benefits when it comes to blood sugar levels to help reverse diabetes type 2, and once you see AND feel the difference I think you’ll get ambitious and begin an exercise routine to fit your schedule.

Besides, when was the last time you actually visualized an entire pound of fat off your tummy?

It’s simple math. The result is cumulative.

Only one pound of fat lost each week equals to 52 lbs by the end of a year, which  will increase your metabolism, which  will help regulate your insulin levels even further…and the health benefits keep adding up. (3)

To Your Health!



(1) Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health: Relation of Weight gain and Weigh Loss on Subsequent Diabetes Risk in Overweight Adults

(2) American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness Weight Loss

(3) American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness Physical Activity


food for strong bones

How To Gain Muscle-Tips For Ladies

Ladies, Learn How To Gain Muscle To Stay Strong And Prevent Osteoporosis

We exercise to burn fat and lose weight, but did you know that when done correctly, regular exercise not only results in muscle gain, (nicely defined) but it stimulates new bone growth?

If you are a woman over 35 and you exercise, you are improving your chances of preventing osteoporosis, the type that evolves from bone loss as we get older.

Osteoporosis causes bone loss in the hips, spine and wrists, making them brittle and susceptible to low impact, but painful fractures. More than thirty five million American women suffer from it.

As if that’s not enough, it also causes us to appear shorter as we age…so, we actually “shrink” in height…


Not a good think to look forward to.

Osteoporosis is NOT curable. But increased muscle and bone mass it’s important at any age.

Imagine you are enjoying a nice stroll around the park and suddenly you step on a pebble or loose gravel, losing your balance and twisting your ankle.

As incidental as that might sound, it can be catastrophic if you have weak bones, even at a young age. Depending on the severity of the accident, your ankle would be swollen and sore, and you could be in pain for a couple of days or longer.

But what if you had been working out your legs for months prior to the injury?

Your ankle would be healed in no time flat. A little swelling and soreness that would go away in minutes or a few hours max, and you’re good to go.

It all comes down to this:

Training. All athletes, professional players and boxers do it. In essence, they prepare their bodies to take the blows and falls. They build bones while increasing muscle mass.

We can simply call it prevention. Our own “health insurance”  so that we too, prepare our bodies for those unexpected punches.

So if you work out to burn fat and build muscle, you are getting the awesome bonus of a stronger bones “insurance”.

Here’s how to gain muscle by exercising with weights, or doing any type of resistance training activity:

Weight lifting encourages muscle to pull on bone as it builds bone tissue. The stress of pulling and motion helps to increase the body’s response to bone building.

Weight-bearing exercises, which stress the bones at the hips, spine and wrists, include:

  • Weightlifting
  • Stair climbing
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Other activities that make you work through gravity.

NOTE: Walking and swimming are great for cardio, however, not so good for building bone.

In a study conducted by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, doctors measure the bone density of athletes and proved that  mass density is higher across most boards but particularly high in individuals who practice weight lifting, gymnastics and soccer.  Since gymnastics is difficult to learn and soccer requires an entire team, weight lifting in an osteoporosis program is the best option. (1,2)

Feed Your Bones Right. Always include the following in your diet:

  •  Adequate amounts of calcium– at least 800 mg/day
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K2
  • Eliminate tobacco and limit alcoholic beverages
Note: If you don’t eat dairy products, be sure to eat lots of salmon, sardines and green leafy veggies.

In short, by using weight training to increase strength AND burn fat to lose weight women can also build bones (new bone tissue) and improve their strength and ability to balance, thus minimizing their risk of falls and fractures at any age. (3)

To Your Health!

Luz L

(1) The University of Arizona Bone Builders: Exercise

(2) American Society for Bone and Mineral Research: Bone Density in Athletes

(3) Osteoporosis

Workout And Nutrition Plan Dilemma

How To Create The Workout And Nutrition Plan That’s Right For You-And Avoid The Dilemma

Here you are again, staring at your scale near the end of the year and pondering whether to start a new nutrition plan, or worse, a workout plan.

fitness decision


Wait…you do admit the fact that you need to workout and it’s only a matter of when, not IF you start a new plan, and that there is no question you need to get moving (pun intended).

But you have  problems…

You have a new job, a new baby…who knows, maybe a new husband (we all know how stressful that can be)…all of them pulling you this way and that way. And little time to spare.

Where do you start?

Do you start with a new grocery list for healthy meals, and then wonder if a new gym membership is in order…ahh!

So…Which Is It Going To Be? Exercise? Nutrition? What’s Better For Weight Loss?

To stay fit and healthy you need to workout. No way around it, right?

As a nutritionist working with moms of overweight kids, I get this question often: What should I pay more attention to, calorie intake or exercise?

While the answer is never a simple, BOTH! Because as we all know there’s more to the total calorie in/ calorie out concept, we stress the importance of better eating habits for life, followed by workouts 4 times a week, minimum. Then we move on to explain the benefits of each.

But I digress

Main goal at this point: Get moms to understand why new eating habits are in order- for the entire family, and so it is with you.

I say consider nutrition first, exercise later.

Important: Focus on burning fat, rather than on losing weight.

Remember muscle weighs more than fat, (by volume) and total weight reflects water, fat and muscle loss.

Therefore pay attention to how baggy your clothes fit as you lose fat, (rather than agonizing over total weight loss).

You agree that for the most part we are overweight for a reason –we eat more   empty calorie meals than we need. Period.

So…It stands to reason that a sound, balanced, nutrition is what you’d need to focus on first

Just think about it

By cutting the majority of the sugar you consume daily from all the processed food you eat (namely white wheat breads, pastas and fried fast food) and the sodas and fruit juices you drink you’ll be getting off to a great start.

OK, so you don’t drink sodas or juices or a lot of candy

How about all those whole-wheat sandwiches and vegetarian pizzas and brown rice you eat regularly?

They’re certainly NOT junk, right?

Nope. They aren’t  but they sure are high in calories and do raise your sugar levels if you aren’t careful.

So what should you eat, then?

You eat what’s on your KISS -to -eat list

Keep things simple- two rules

Rule one- Only three main foods on your plate

  •  Have a complete protein source, such as lean chicken, turkey, fish, and low fat dairy product
  • A low carb side, such as brown rice, boiled beans or a small, baked potato
  • A big serving of steamed, raw, or sautéed vegetables.

Rule two- No second helpings!

Is that it, you ask?

Yes, that’s it. You may read dozens of books on dieting, but you don’t need to read many fancy books. Stick to those two rules.

Soon you will be able to fit into those sexy jeans. But let’s not forget about exercise, your best friend in your fat loss journey.


Does the word exercise make you want to stop reading this? Of course it does.

Though it’s true that workouts can be more difficult to fit into your plan,  once you start noticing how nicely your jeans fit as a result of your better eating habits, you are ready for step two of your fat loss plan.

Main goal at this point: To explore the type of activities you are more likely to stick to at the long run.

Make a list of activities to choose from and don’t force yourself into starting exercises or activities you won’t enjoy. The idea is to get you to start something.

No point in taking up canoeing, or long distance hiking for now when walking 30 minutes a day will do wonders for your metabolism.

Just start moving. And yeah, you either workout or workout…there is NO question.

To Your Health!

Luz L.


I Need To Lose 20 Pounds By New Years Eve!

Luz, I Need To Lose 20 Pounds By New Years Eve!Lose 20 pounds before New Years

That’s what one of my students said to me last week during a session.

My response was that a weight loss goal of 20 pounds between now and New Years, was doable.

But then she said, “It’s because I have a special party to go to and I want to look great and fit in this awesome dress I bought”

When I asked her if she would like to learn how to lose 20 lbs for this holiday AND to stay thinner forever…her quick response was, of course!…”But for now 20 is the magic number for me, I am afraid to commit long term”

Vanity comes to the rescue

When fear of failure prevents us from making new weight loss goals, being vain it’s a good thing

In this new era of anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, cosmeceuticals, neutracuticals and med-spa centers where the essence of fitness forever seem to be the ongoing trend, the question is why not?

Can we stay fit forever?

In his book “Ageless Mind, Ageless Body”, Dr Perricone writes about how  people are hardly impressed to hear that by improving their eating habits they can increase their energy and overall health, but when they learn that they can also drastically improve their looks, decrease and prevent wrinkles and sagging skin, suddenly they pay attention.

Not surprisingly, I think, since the mere idea of nutrition as therapy or prevention still puzzles a lot of people. This brings this old saying to memory:

 “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently, is an art

-Francois La Rochefoucauld-“

 So, why not be vain while eating intelligently!

When it comes to health and fitness, looking young and attractive is an amazing motivator; so being vain in this case makes a lot of sense, because  if the results of eating a more natural and nutritious diet is a smooth complexion and a more attractive, sexier look,  well…

Losing 20 pounds is just a bonus.

So the OLD rules remain true right? We are what we eat, more now then ever.

What about you?

Do you also need to lose 20 pounds for this holiday?

If so, try some of these 7 tips to get started:

1-     Measure your waist and thighs

2-     Clean your pantry of all boxed processed foods, including pasta; flour mixes and peanut butter- eat REAL nuts.

3-     Throw out any sodas, juices, fruit yogurts, white breads and other junk like chips and cookies. Out of sight, out of…

4-     Buy dry legumes you like, such as lentils, beans etc. and some whole grain cereals/bread.

5-     Get a simple, not gourmet, low-carb (not extremely low) recipe book- and use it!

6-     Start a food journal

7-     Hit the gym –or in home body workouts- and start a high intensity workout- (or ANY type of workout)

Good luck with your goal and enjoy the holidays!

To Your Health!

Did You Know that you can Burn fat without exercise?

Luz L

woman craves junk food

You Won’t Believe The Things Your Brain Does To Make You Overeat!

If you tend to overeat, and are already overweight, or to the contrary, you are thin or “normal” weight your brain will try to keep you that way.

woman craves junk food

How is that possible?

The reason is simple, your brain resists change and whether you want to lose ten pounds by changing your eating habits, starting an exercise routine, or even something seemingly easy like learning a new hobby, your subconscious mind will sabotage your goals.

As if that was not enough, we over-indulge during holidays, events, parties and celebrations with food and junk galore, plus all the sneaky things your brain does to get you to eat, even when you are NOT hungry.

The bad part is,  sometimes you don’t even have to eat too much to gain weight, your brain manages to make you gain weight even when you eat less!

It’s almost like some kind of conspiracy-our brain is wired to make us overeat!

OK- You are laughing, but think about it:

You start eating healthier and smaller portions and even hit the gym three times a week. You follow this routine for a month or two with little results in the form of weight loss. What??

And there’s more bad news, your body hurts, you start to feel deprived and discouraged…next thing you know there goes your new healthy habits and goals.

It all comes down to this:

Brain conditioning. Evolution. Old -fashion brain physiology. Your genes. Modern lifestyle. Indigestible food (junk).  Yeah, conspiracies.

But don’t get me wrong, before you quit your gym or go back to stuffing your pantry with all those ‘undesirables’ thinking there’s no hope or need to try to form new habits…believe me, there IS hope and you’ll see what I mean in a minute.

What if you could use those ‘conspiracies’ to your advantage?

The fact is,  it’s all those conspiracies -especially evolution-that your brain has been using for years to sabotage your new habits will help you  control your eating patterns from now on, even during the holidays.

This is what your brain does to make you overeat:

For starters, your brain has been programmed (by you) to perform certain tasks repeatedly, like eating three times a day at a certain time and certain types of food. That’s why sometimes you look at the clock and think wow, it’s one o’cock! I’d better eat something.

Your brain does this on autopilot everyday. It tricks you into eating even when you’re not really hungry.

The reason being is that during evolutionary times the finicky eaters did not survive long when food was scarce, while those who tended to gorge themselves when food was available were able to make it through famine.

Furthermore, this anti-starvation mechanism is the result of two hormones, ghrelin and leptin working in synergy to either stimulate or reduce appetite (respectively).

Trouble is, as smart as your brain is, it often misunderstands the message sent by these hormones and it thinks you are starving,  when in fact you are just eating smaller, low calorie, healthier meals!

The result? You eat more.

It gets worse.

Your body has its own internal regulator whose job is to bring your body to a normal weight and fat level.

This is called the set point,  and your brain monitors this ideal, genetically -programmed level so that the more you diet, the more it wants to bring your body to this set point!

Your brain is like an outdated computer, but still…

Your brain may be stuck in evolutionary times but that doesn’t mean you can unstuck it by programming new habits into it. make better decisions

  • Create a new set point by repeating new activities, like exercise and eating lower cal meals.
  • The key is to introduce them slowly, but consistently and to not start them  during stressful times. Your brain is highly pliable, but repetition is crucial, therefore this is the most important step to reset your set point.
  •  Plan, plan plan. Out of sight, out of mind. If it’s not in your pantry you won’t eat it.
  • Plan more. Prepare meals BEFORE you are hungry to avoid giving in to fast, easy to cook (or buy) junk food.
  • Eat like people did in the old days and beat your genes by eating home-made, natural, unprocessed meals that include the basic sources of food- healthy carbs, lean meats and poultry, and fat-
That’s really all you need to do to start forming new eating habits.
  • Decide
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Repeat
Not saying it’s easy, because if it were, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it…but once the decision is made and the first steps are taken no one can stop you from controlling your sneaky, selfish brain!
For more insights and deeper understanding of why the brain wants what’s not really good for us read “What makes your brain happy and why you should do the opposite” by David Disalvo
To Your Health!
Luz L