Monthly Archives: March 2022

Carbohydrates Are Our Friends!

We tackled protein last week, so today we are all about those carbs!  My friends – carbs are NOT evil, and they are NOT your enemy!  You do not have to avoid them.  As you find with any and every thing, there are good and bad sources/types.  Processed, sugary foods are never healthy choices for any of us.  I suppose some forms of simple carbohydrates could be considered evil in the sense that they are SO tempting!  This covers cookies, cakes, chips, donuts, muffins, etc.  But there are SO MANY other forms of carbohydrates that are just packed with crucial nutrients that our bodies truly need!

There are various trendy diets that have led to faster weight loss for some, and there are a few who truly benefit from a true Keto diet.  However, for most of us, what we are truly looking for is sustainable weight loss by losing body fat.  Trendy diets are never successful long term because they aren’t sustainable or healthy for long term use.  Changing your lifestyle to incorporate clean, healthy nutrition is your true key to success.  Think about doing your grocery shopping around the aisles:  fresh, whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and eggs.   When it comes to carbohydrates, there really isn’t a valid reason to avoid them when you make healthy carb choices.  For example, eat the oranges and peaches!  Avoid the containers of packaged, processed chopped oranges and peaches.  Yes, they last longer in your refrigerator; however, that means what you’re really getting is extra sugars and chemicals that are not in fresh, whole fruits.  In addition to getting the extra garbage, you end up missing out on the benefits like vitamins and minerals!  What’s the point?

Always check honest, respected sources when doing your research.  (Always, ALWAYS, research any diet or nutritional advice you get from a friend or family member, especially where fad or trendy diets are concerned,)  For our purposes today for carbohydrates, I checked into what information,,, and had on carbs.

Let’s look at the benefits first:  Why do you actually need carbohydrates in your diet daily.  First of all, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy.  They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles, and central nervous system.  Fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion and helps you feel fuller.  Getting insufficient amounts of carbs in your diet can lead to headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Benefits of eating healthy carbohydrates include:

  • Fuels your brain for more clear thinking
  • Helps reduce bloating as it decreases instances of constipation
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Aids in better sleep
  • Decreases cancer risk
  • Increases energy
  • Aids in digestion
  • Helps burn body fat
  • Improves your mood
  • Aids in preventing weight gain, and can potentially aid in weight loss
  • Aids in trimming your waistline (when replacing processed foods with whole grains)
  • Improve your memory

Sounds great, right?!  Of course, these benefits come with the right choices in carbs rather than white, processed breads, cakes, muffins, donuts and ice cream.  I know that doesn’t sound fun, but hold on!   Good carbs can be really delicious, too!  Don’t think about what you’re denying yourself – change that thinking to looking forward to healthy choices AND the results they’ll bring!   Carbohydrates are broken down into two (2) main categories:

1. Starches/Complex Carbs

  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Beans – kidney, navy, black, pinto
  • Legumes
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Nuts and seeds – pumpkin and sunflower seeds; almonds, cashews, and peanuts

**Non-starchy vegetables with lower grams of carbohydrates include:  leafy greens, green beans, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and mushrooms.  

2. Sugars/Simple Carbs – be sure to include foods that contain NATURAL sugars rather than added sugars!

  • Fruits
  • Agave
  • Honey
  • Dairy products

Mix these examples of healthy carbohydrates into your diet daily, while minimizing your intake of sugars.  Where our overall health and wellness is concerned, it is best to avoid all refined sugars, processed foods and drinks.  I promise that taking in the recommended amount of healthy carbohydrates will insure you’re also getting fiber, and you will definitely feel and see the benefits!

In conclusion, our bodies need the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in order for all of our systems to function best.  When we have deficiencies in these nutrients, our bodies will let us know – sometimes in unpleasant ways.  Be proactive with your health!  Clean, healthy nutrition is the answer.  If you feel that you need help in breaking it all down for yourself, or in planning grocery lists and meal plans, please reach out to a personal trainer or nutritionist.  I am more than happy to help you!  You can contact me through the Contact Me link on this site, or email me at

Just How Important Is Protein?

If you’ve been researching and/or talking with friends about what might be the best weight loss method, I’m sure the term macronutrients has been used.  Protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. . .which has led to so many “fad” or trendy diets.   The keto diet, in particular, has been touted by many as the best method.   A diet high in protein and low in carbs may be somewhat successful short-term, but it isn’t truly sustainable for most, nor should it be truly encouraged.  We all need protein!   Limiting carbohydrates is best done by cycling them and in making sure you are taking in the cleanest form of complex carbs.  Your body needs the fiber and other nutrients.

More on carbohydrates later, but for now, let’s get back to protein!!  We all need protein in our diets daily  to help our bodies repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, as well as pregnant women.  The vast majority of fitness, health, and medical resources, such as WebMD, Healthline, agree on the benefits and importance of protein!

Protein is a very critical part of the processes that fuel energy and carry oxygen throughout our bodies in our blood.  Quality protein also aids in making antibodies that fight infections and illnesses, helps maintain healthy cells, as well as creating new cells.

Let’s break down where you can find the best sources of protein first, and then the signs that you’re lacking protein:

1. The best sources of quality protein can be found in various food sources, and protein supplements.  The best choices, naturally, are whole foods.

  • Fish, specifically white fish (orange roughy, tilapia, mahi, triggerfish)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Buffalo
  • Venison
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Nuts 

2. Having a protein deficiency comes with many “warning” signs.  If you’re experiencing any of these, I recommend that you add more protein into your diet AND begin tracking your meals to insure how many grams you’re taking in each day.  (See last week’s blog about journaling!)

  • Fatigue and weakness:  A lack of protein over time can cause a loss of muscle mass, which naturally leads to losses in strength and stamina.  This loss of strength can then lead to a loss of balance and begin to affect your metabolism.  This can also lead to anemia, which makes you tired.
  • Swelling:  This one is the most surprising!  One of the more common signs that your body is not getting enough protein is edema, or swelling.  This can be evident in your abdomen, feet, legs and/or hands.  There are proteins/amino acids that circulate in your blood that help prevent fluids from building up in your tissues.  There are many other possibilities for this type of swelling, however, so always see your doctor if you have concerns!
  • Hair, Nail, and Skin problems:    The proteins of collagen, elastin, and keratin make up our hair, skin and nails.  A lack of protein leads to brittle, thinning hair; dry and flaky skin; and deep ridges in your fingernails.  
  • Hunger: Protein is a big source of energy or fuel for our bodies.  It makes sense that you’ll be hungry more often if your “tank” isn’t full.  There are many studies that have proven eating foods rich in protein help keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.  The best example of this is  eating a donut, muffin, or sugary cereal for breakfast then feeling incredibly hungry within 30 to 45 minutes.  Try getting a protein-rich breakfast!  You’ll feel fuller longer, and you’ll find you feel better and have more energy.  
  • Injuries that won’t heal:  Collagen is one of the important proteins that is found in our connective tissues and in our skin.  Protein is also necessary for blood to clot.  A protein deficiency can cause a delay in healing for minor cuts and scrapes as well as sprains and strains.
  • Weakened Immune System:  Our bloodstreams need the amino acids found in proteins to help our immune systems make the antibodies that enable white blood cells to fight bacteria, toxins and viruses.  Protein is also necessary to aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients as we eat.

How much protein should we take in each day?  Well, that truly depends on each individual and his or her goals, but we all should be getting a minimum of 25% of our daily calories from protein.  Athletes will need a much higher amount of protein, but every single person needs clean quality protein.  

Please be very careful about any popular diets you hear or read about.  Where nutrition is concerned, trendy is rarely ever the best choice.  A successful meal plan should always consist of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins.   Tracking your meals and maintaining a journal can be exceptionally helpful.  Any quality personal trainer or nutritionist can help if you need nutritional guidance.  Feel free to contact me; I would love to help you!

Why Should I Journal?

While maintaining a journal sounds like a time-consuming thing, it truly is beneficial!  There are many apps to aid in tracking your meals (MyFitnessPal), your workouts and stats (FitBit).  These are incredibly helpful, and honestly are crucial to my fitness journey.  However, there are things that these apps just can’t track.  In addition, you have to go from app to app in order to see your information rather than have it all in one place.  In order to know exactly what works for our bodies and what doesn’t, we should be journaling.  For example – do sweet potatoes fuel your body and aid in digestion, or have you found that they cause bloat for you?  Would you actually know which food causes issues if you aren’t journaling?  If we had a great night’s sleep one night, then an awful night a few days later, can you go back to your journal to see if something was different on those days?  

Let’s look at tangible benefits from journaling!  There are many websites, including medical ones like Kaiser Permanente, that encourage journaling, and list the benefits.

1. Journaling helps you achieve goals.  “If it ain’t written, it didn’t happen” applies here!  When you use a journal to list your goals, it can help you keep track of your inventions and progress.  Writing your goals down and listing the steps you’ll take can help keep you moving forward, and keep you motivated.

2. If you keep your journal close and make writing entries a daily habit, you can easily track your progress by looking at past entries.

3.  Seeing your progress can keep you motivated!  Once you begin to feel that you’re in a plateau, you can see how far you’ve come!  Seeing results can keep you moving and boost your confidence.

4. It seems obvious,  making journal entries will also improve your communication skills – both written and spoken.

5. Even if you’re tracking your meals in an app, keeping a journal of your meals and any adverse reactions can be extremely valuable!  You’ll have a definitive record of foods, seasonings, and any reactions (bloating, extra gas, upset stomach, indigestion, etc.)  

While some people keep journals for various reasons, you could easily combine several into one journal.  For example, instead of having a fitness journal, a food journal, and a daily/memory journal – include it all in one.  Having a written record for each day’s workouts and meals in the same journal with weekly progress updates, goals, thoughts, obstacles, observations, etc.  is your best reference and guide book for future progress.  

It might seem overwhelming, but this journal will be for you, and you alone.  YOU make it exactly what YOU need, which means you can tweak it as you go along.  Add what you need or want, and cut what you don’t want!  Some things you might want to track and keep record of for your fitness and health transformation journey might be:

* Starting weight and body measurements, clothing size

* Day 1 progress pictures

* Long-term and short-term goals

* Your plan, step by step, for achieving your goals

* Track daily workouts; this will give you visible proof of your progress.  So list:

  • Type of workout (class, run, walk, lifting, yoga, etc.)
  • Distance, time, exercises, sets, reps & weight

* Track daily meals, to include all snacks, drinks, salad dressings – everything.  Make notes for any reactions (good, unpleasant, or just different) you notice after eating.  List serving sizes.

* List your daily water intake

* Every two or three weeks, update your progress photos, weight, body measurements

* Make entries about any changes in your sleep (quality, quantity), energy levels, clothing sizes, mood

* Make entries about any illnesses or injuries, even if one day you’re feeling more fatigued than another.

Once you have a written record of all of these things, you have the perfect resource to review when something seems off.  Go back to see if you’ve noticed it before, and what seems to be the same or different from your day to day activities and nutrition.   This can be truly helpful in the event you develop a food allergy, or something in your workout routine aggravates an old injury or inflammation issue.  Keeping a record of your goals, observations, and plans as well as your daily activities gives you tremendous insight into your progress.  This can certainly keep you motivated when you look back to see just how far you’ve come!  Remember, we’re looking for ALL of the non-scale victories!!  You could find some hidden treasures of progress tucked away in your journal entries!  

It will likely help to find a really pretty notebook to start your journaling; something that you’ll look forward to digging into!  Maybe get a set of really pretty pens to go with your new journal.  Then get started!  You might find that you begin to look forward to writing things down and/or that it relieves some stress in the process! 

All About the Shoes

As fitness levels improve, workouts become more intense, and the impact on our bodies can take a toll.  As crazy as it sounds, footwear is crucial.  Are you wearing the proper shoes for the workout(s) you’re doing?  You will likely need shoes for lifting in the gym that are different from shoes you wear when running.  

With the weather warming up, most of us are more than ready to get outside!  Taking our workouts outside is an incredible idea as well.  In addition to making sure we all have proper exercise clothing, don’t forget your shoes! Similar to fingerprints, our feet are different as well.  Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and our gaits are different as well.  Consistently wearing the wrong shoes can cause many issues, such as:

 1. Foot pain

 2. Ankle pain

 3. Knee pain

 4. Hip pain

 5. Lower back pain

     Wearing the proper footwear is incredibly important – not only to your performance, but also for your health!  Your lower back, hips, knees AND feet will reap the benefit of proper shoes; conversely, they will suffer from repeated wear of the wrong shoes.  The trick here is that our feet are nearly as different as our fingerprints, and the shoe that works best for your workout partner could well be the worst shoe for you!  

The best shoe for you will depend on your sport of choice, your gait, and your foot (high or low arches?  Pronated instep?)  The good news is that there are several athletic shoe stores that specialize in assisting you to find the proper shoe for your foot and your activity!   In the metro Atlanta area of Georgia, we have Big Peach Running Company, New Sole, and Run Fit stores.    Be sure you tell the person helping you which activity or sport you participate in so they can help you choose the very best shoe.  

Here a few tips for finding the proper shoe, according to the Athletic Shoes OrthoInfo web site:

  • If you have the luxury of different types of athletic shoe stores, try to find one that caters to your particular sport
  • Try to wait until after a run or a workout to try on shoes as your feet tend to swell throughout the day
  • To insure the best fit, wear the same socks you tend to workout in
  • Make sure the back of the shoe at your heel, the part that holds your heel in place, grips your heel comfortably and firmly to maintain stability
  • There should be at least a half inch space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe
  • Make sure the toe box has ample room for you to wiggle your toes; your toes shouldn’t feel crammed into the tip of the shoe.
  • When you try on shoes, be sure to walk around the store on different surfaces (carpet, hard flooring, even concrete or grass if possible) in order to make sure they are comfortable.
  • Try on the right AND left shoe to insure they are comfortable and fit properly.

Finding the proper shoe for YOUR foot, and for your sport is truly important. It can get expensive, of course, but I guarantee it is a wise investment! Since my feet have really high arches, I have a pair of Topos with a wide toe box and wonderful arch support for running and other workouts. I also wear Otomix high tops for training legs. It seems silly to have two shoes for my workouts, but it truly makes a huge difference! At least take the time to have your foot and your gait analyzed to get their recommendations for your particular feet!