Tania Gustafson Blog...

Lose Your Bloat, Melt Your Belly, Live Your Life!
- Delivering the highly successful "8 Weeks Is All It Takes!" program helping people like you lose weight and win with their health WITHOUT DIETING! - FREE 30 min health assessment - IBNFC Licensed and Certified Nutritionist & Fitness Coach - Active in the health and fitness industry since 1986 - In partnership with MonaVie, MYNT and Mark Macdonald, founder of Venice Nutrition, author of NY Times best seller, Body Confidence, regular guest on Headline News (HLN), frequent guest on Dr. Oz

Insightful, Inspiring & Enlightening Blog Posts From Expert Tania Gustafson...

March 19, 2015
Tania Gustafson

This great weather we are having here in Kelowna lately has begun to bring more people outside.  There are more kids in the playground at the end of my street, more people out walking their dogs, power walking with a friend or out for a run than I've seen in a long time.  It's a good sign.  In my books it not only means that winter is over, but that more people will be getting daily exercise, and that's always a good thing.

Since a great many people use walking as their form of cardio each week, either occasionally or exclusively, I thought I would offer a few tips to help maximize the benefit each time you lace up those runners.  Of course there are the standard tips; wear comfortable, good fitting shoes, remember to bring water, especially in the summer heat, etc., but here's one you may not have thought about - your stride.  Did you know the way you walk can actually increase the benefits you would already be getting?  Let me explain.

When setting out for the walk, before you take that first step out of the driveway, check your posture.  Activate your core (think of pulling your belly button in towards your spine), stand tall, growing out through the crown of the head and roll those shoulders back "putting them in your back pockets".  Now begin walking and maintain this posture without holding your breath. On paper it doesn't seem like much, but in practice, trust me, you will notice a difference.  If maintaining this position, without holding your break mind you, while walking doesn't challenge you, add a hill in to your walk.  The trick here is that as you go uphill, try to keep your body standing tall without leaning or folding forward.  This makes the core work just that much harder and can actually be more difficult than it sounds.  When this becomes standard practice, changing your stride also activates more muscles and will add yet another avenue for progression.  Beginning at the heel, rolling through the food and pushing off through the toes, lengthening/shortening your stride or increasing/decreasing the speed of your stride while walking will all add a different dimension of fitness to your walk.

So, next time you decide to head out for a walk, take a minute to adjust your posture, plan a route, perhaps with a hill, and try choosing a different stride.  I guarantee you will notice a difference in your energy and perhaps find a few muscles you didn't know could be activated just by taking it in stride.

Here's to your health,

Tania Gustafson
Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)

As with most things today, the decision to eat healthier more comes down to cost.  “It's expensive to eat healthy” is a phrase I have heard often.  I do not debate that it's absolutely true that purchasing organic fruits and veggies costs a little more at the til than non-organic produce, the price of greek yogurt is a tad richer than regular and sprouted grain breads will run you over a dollar more than your run of the mill Wonder brand.  However, the til tape at the grocery store should not be the only tool with which to measure true cost.

Most people that I have spoken to agree that issues surrounding food are creating a culture of poor health in first world countries.  Over the last few decades we, as North Americans, have succeeded in becoming one of the unhealthiest nations on the planet.  I'm not sure succeeded is the correct word....  In fact, this is the first time in history that our children's generation is predicted to live shorter lives than us, their parents. Not only that, but a recent study showed that if the growing overweight and obesity rates are not reversed, it is predicted that 50 percent of the world's population will be overweight and/or obese.  Alarming to say the least! 

With this population of overweight citizens comes the many diseases and conditions directly or indirectly associated with carrying extra weight; diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, hormonal issues, depression, heart disease, sleep disorders, hypertension, dementia, stroke, asthma, osteoarthritis... and this is not the complete list by a long shot.  Let's take a look at what costs are associated with these conditions. 

First, there is the extra cost on the healthcare system due to extra hospital visits, specialists and doctor appointments. Prescriptions are also big bucks.  Factor a few of those into the budget equation and watch how quickly any extra cash gets used up.  For example, any prescription written for conditions such as the ones listed are not a “take this for 10 days and stop” type of prescription.  Rather, it becomes a “you have this condition and must continue taking this medication for the rest of your life.”  Not something I want to thing about in my retirement.  Missing work is also a very real consequence for people with conditions caused by being overweight. Imagine what kind of stress can develop when having a decrease in pay is combined with an increase in added costs.  As a person continues further in this state of ill-health they may eventually lose the ability to take an active part in caring for their family or themselves, either for a short while, and in some cases, permanently. People with medical conditions pay higher premiums for health insurance, especially when travelling out of country.  For some, the cost becomes so great they are unable to take that dream vacation upon retirement.  In fact, weight and obesity-related costs range between 30 percent (moderately obese) and 80 percent (morbidly obese) higher than the average person of healthy weight. That kind of money can buy a lot of groceries!

So this weekend, as you make your lists and head out to stock your fridge for the week (and if you don't stock your fridge, you most definitely should!) I invite you to find some room in your budget in order to improve the quality of the foods you put in your cart.  You may pay a little more at the checkout each week, but the savings you will get long term from investing in your health will last a lifetime.  The bottom line is this:  You can invest in your health today, or pay dearly to regain it later. 

Tania Gustafson, Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)

Oh, the first pound of Christmas was easy to ignore,

(And) It all started with a box of Lindor.

The second pound of Christmas just appeared overnight,

Fast food while Christmas shopping …

The third pound of Christmas came sneaking up on me,

Eggnog and cookies…

The fourth pound of Christmas came with the butter tarts,

I should never start!

The fifth pound of Christmas appeared while I dressed,

Yikes! My pants are tight!!

Shortbread cookies baking, how fattening can they be?

Butter added six pounds…..

Staff parties are in full swing so plan for food and cheer,

Seven pounds each year….

The neighbours came a-calling and brought with them some cheer,

Can eight pounds come from beer?

The thermometer is dropping, but the scale says nine pounds up,

OK, make mine “light whip"

Now it’s time to trim the tree and decorate the house,

10 pounds makes this a workout!

The season’s not complete without fruit cake and mincemeat,

11 pounds to my seat!

After turkey and the fixin's you’ll be more stuffed than the bird,

I’ve gained 12 pounds this Christmas, how absurd!

It's fun to play around like this and change the words to The Twelve Days of Christmas, but for some people this isn't actually that far off from what really happens over the Christmas season.  Here are just a few last-minute tips and strategies to help you make it through the holidays without gaining weight this year.  1.  As much as possible, stick to your regular meal schedule of eating a protein, fat and carb every 3 hours (PFCs in 3s!).  2.  Carry balanced snacks with you – protein bars, shake mix and shaker bottle, unsalted nuts and a Mandarin orange are just a few of the things I never leave home without during the Christmas season.  3. NEVER arrive at the Christmas party hungry.  Having a small balanced snack before heading out will make sure you can focus on sticking to the plan even when others around you are indulging.  4.  Have your drinks with dinner. Holiday parties typically serve alcohol and in order to minimize the blood sugar spike caused by these carbohydrates, it's best to save your alcohol and enjoy it with a meal.  5.  Hydrate!  Not only will lots of water flush out any bloat that may have been collected by the number of sweets served, but it will also help you to feel better the next day if you did overdo it just a little at the buffet or the bar.

With only 12 more days left until Christmas (yep, there really are only 12 days left), I invite you all to challenge yourselves this year to choose only one event to be your “off-plan” meal and then enjoy it.   For the rest of the holiday parties and get-togethers, focus on staying balanced.  Being conscious and deliberate in your choices and knowing when your off-plan meal will be, not only provides something to look forward to, but it helps keep the dreaded 10-15lbs of holiday bloat and weight gain off.  So get out that calendar, choose your off plan meal and decide not to make that same weight loss resolution this year as last.  For answers to all your nutrition and fitness questions, check out Walk-In Wednesdays FREE every Wednesday morning, 9:00am to noon in December (except 24th) and January, hosted by Creative Healing Chiropractic, 1551 Sutherland Avenue.  Merry Christmas and blessings of good health to you all.