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7 Lockdown Tips for Weight Control

Whether we like it or not, most of us are stuck at home for now. This means that we’re getting less exercise, snacking a lot more, and stressing ourselves out. Under these circumstances, weight gain may seem inevitable and weight control almost impossible. But, here’s a reminder. Life hasn’t come to an end, it’s only on pause, and you still want to be beach ready when this is all over. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity or despair, seize this downtime as an opportunity to refocus and put yourself first. Staying focused on weight control or weight management is far from impossible and here are 7 simple weight control tips to help you get started.

Simple Tips for Weight Control During the Lockdown

Staying focused on weight control or weight management may seem almost impossible right now, but it’s not. Here are 7 simple tips for weight control during the lockdown.

1. Meal Prep Matters

Without your regular commute to work and the need to juggle an insane workload, the need for meal planning can seem redundant. In truth, meal planning is even more important during the lockdown. A study published in The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that meal prep can significantly improve diet quality, food variety, balanced nutrition, and weight control. Meal prep allows you to gain greater control over your diet, in terms of both nutrition and portion control. After all, it’s easier to stay the course when you have your food portioned out and ready in advance.

2. Order Healthy Takeout

Most of us have switched, almost entirely, to cooking meals at home. Aside from the fact that it’s a healthy choice, it’s also one that we’ve been forced into as most local restaurants have been shut. That said, many restaurants still offer takeaway and home delivery services. Ordering takeout is perhaps the best way to break the monotony of eating your own home prepped meals and to support local restaurants during the lockdown. Just make sure that you’re mindful about your food choices, opting for green salads and grilled meats instead of deep fried foods, burgers, and pizzas. Be sure to also watch how much you eat, as restaurants tend to serve oversized meals that are actually meant for 2 people.

3. Avoid Emotional Eating

With the uncertainty around us and the loneliness of social distancing, many of us are struggling to cope with comfort food. While snacking can be a great way to avoid overeating and to maintain healthy body weight, stress eating or emotional eating can be extremely unhealthy. Indulging in unhealthy junk foods frequently will inevitably lead to weight gain and a whole lot of health risks. At the same time, it won’t do you much good in terms of boosting your mood as the mood boost is only temporary, but you’re then left with guilt and even stronger food cravings.

4. Fill Up With Fiber, Complex Carbs, and Proteins

If you’re trying to keep a check on body weight, sugar and simple carbs are the worst things to put in your body. Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbs will cause a spike in blood glucose levels. Not only does this increase fat storage, but it also increases the frequency and severity of food cravings. This means cutting back on most ultra-processed foods, especially cookies, donuts, and other desserts. Complex carbs from fresh fruits and veggies are healthier choices and will also increase your fiber intake, keeping you satiated for longer. Healthy proteins from lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish or eggs will also help to reduce food cravings and the risk of overeating.

5. Try Mindful Eating

You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation, which is a meditative practice that helps cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. While mindfulness will obviously help cope with lockdown stress, it can also be applied to eating. Mindful eating is the practice of eating in a more focused manner, paying greater attention to your body and to your food. It trains you to become more attuned to your body, helping distinguish between hunger and cravings, creates an appreciation for healthy food, and lowers the risk of overeating or making poor food choices.

6. Keep Moving

There’s no denying the fact that it’s harder to workout and stay motivated when every neighborhood gym is shut. They will be back eventually, but in the meantime you can work up a sweat at a home. You can use online workout videos and tutorials to find routines that are perfectly suited for you. Most of these home workout programs don’t require gym equipment or props, but they can be pretty intensive. In fact, many Instagrammers and other social media users have embraced lockdown fitness challenges to get in shape during the shutdown.

7. Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Sleep may seem like the least important thing when you’re focused on controlling your weight, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Sleep has a direct impact on the levels of hormones that regulate hunger, with studies showing that sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can increase food cravings and the likelihood of weight gain. Aside from weight gain, the lockdown would be a good time to catch up on sleep because of its impact on immunity, which is perhaps your best defense against coronavirus infection.

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Quarantine doesn´t stop us. The virus is a serious risk so we workout at home.

Quarantine doesn´t stop us. The virus is a serious risk so we workout at home

COVID-19 is spreading worldwide. As you surely know, Spain is one of the countries with the most cases at the moment.
The government has decreed a state of emergency and we must stay home as a precaution. The idea is not to be infected or infect others. We have only been confined for a few days and the peak of the infection is expected in the summer. So we have a few difficult months ahead.

I think this is a time to help our community, be supportive and contribute to make this situation as bearable as possible.

Medical services are saturated, other public services such as schools, libraries, and gyms are closed, as are many small businesses.

Most people have shown their solidarity with beautiful initiatives: from offering to go shopping for older people, applause on the balconies every day at the same time to thank doctors and nurses for their work against this virus, to online concerts via Instagram. Every little action and initiative counts.

From the first moment, I have tried to help and it occurred to me to offer a daily live online training class. Free. Because people and health come before money.

In just five days, not only have people from Spain joined, but also Argentina, Colombia, UK, and the Netherlands.

We exercise with the equipment that everyone has available at home: I teach you how to train with water bottles, chairs, or whatever you have at home.

So I thought that since the WP community has been like a family to me since I came here five years ago, I need to invite you too.

If the quarantine has not yet reached your country, city or town, I am very happy for you and I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you do not have to suffer this situation. Otherwise, I want you to know that you can count on me and I will help you exercise from home.

Every day, from 4 to 5 (Spanish time) I am live. If the time is not convenient for you, or someday you cannot attend, later I send the link to the recorded class.

This is an excerpt:

Of course, if you decide to join, I will give the instructions in English as well.

.

I wish that wherever you are, you and your loved ones are well and that we all come out of these difficult times more united and stronger than ever.

Blessings!

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How to avoid emotional eating

How to avoid emotional eating

You just finished your lunch and you’re already thinking about what you’ll have for dinner? Do you feel that in front of any plate of food, your life is on autopilot? Do you hardly remember any time when your desire is not simply to chew?

So, you need to accept that you eat emotionally. And although at this moment it seems that there is no way out, that you have no escape, I come to tell you the opposite.

  • To stop eating emotionally, you must change your attitude and mentality. You should change limiting thoughts, such as «I can’t eat much» for thoughts that take away frustration, like «I can eat much better.»
  • In addition, you should eat healthy foods more frequently. Don´t limit yourself to just three times a day! About this, I’ll talk to you in a second.
  • Include any physical activity routine, which not only allows you to connect with the body you want, but with the emotions that make you happy.

You will tell me, «David, it is very easy to say, but doing so is something else.» And you are right. Beating a compulsion is not easy, there will be difficult times, but the first step is to make the decision to do it from a completely healthy place.

Let me tell you Sofia´s story, whom I met through an email she sent me. An email that touched me to the last fiber of my being.

In that email, written with an open heart, Sofia told me about her despair, because she couldn’t stop eating. Her life had been transformed into endless binge eating, which didn’t even satisfy her.

The bingeing did not appear out of nowhere. In a year, she had moved from her beloved Sevilla to Paris, had broken up with her boyfriend and had changed jobs.

All these situations were leading her, without noticing, to a state of terrible anxiety, and she felt more out of control every day. Eating had become unconscious. When she was overeating, she swore that she would not do it again, and the next minute, she was already putting in her mouth one more bite.

And most of the time, they weren’t even foods that gratified her, she almost didn’t enjoy the flavors. At some point, when she felt that food was dominating her life, and she asked for help.

The first request for help, was addressed to a psychologist, and the second S.O.S, was the email she sent me.

She wanted my help to fix the nutritional issue, but also, she wanted someone to inspire her to find through physical activity, a way to control her anxiety.

Because, after all, emotional eating is related to anxiety. In Sofia’s words, she «ate to numb emotions.»

What if instead of numbing emotions, you let them flow through a physical activity that gratifies you? That was what we did with Sofia.

We worked with clear mottos to overcome mental blocks, agreed on a nutritional plan, where there were more «allowed» foods than «forbidden» ones, and established training routines, where she could release her tensions and negative thoughts.

Time heals everything, but you must help it. As did Sofia, who today has a healthy relationship with food, her body, and her surroundings.

Therefore, if you feel that you eat because of anxiety rather than hunger, do not move from there, because I will explain:

  • Differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger.
  • How to identify what generates emotional eating habits.
  • Some ways to leave behind the compulsion for food.

How to differentiate emotional hunger from physical hunger

Before you can free yourself from the emotional eating cycle, you must learn to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. This can be more complicated than it seems, especially if you regularly use food to deal with your feelings.

Emotional hunger can be powerful, but there are some clues that can help you.

  • Emotional hunger appears suddenly. It hits you in an second and you feel overwhelmed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, occurs more gradually. The need to eat is not so serious and doesn´t require instant satisfaction, unless you have not eaten for a long time.
  • Emotional hunger leads you to eat certain types of food. When you are physically hungry, almost everything sounds good, including healthy things like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves junk food. You feel you «need» chocolate or pizza, and nothing else will work.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to meaningless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips without really paying attention or enjoying it at all. When you eat in response to physical hunger, you are generally more aware of what you are doing.
  • Emotional hunger is not satisfied once you are full. You still want more, and more. When you feel physical hunger, you feel satisfied when you have a full stomach.
  • Emotional hunger is not found in the stomach. Instead of a stomach that growls, you feel hunger as a desire that cannot get out of your head. You are focused on specific textures, flavors and smells.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you are unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you are simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after eating, it is because deep down you know that you are not eating for nutritional reasons.

Now that we can differentiate physical hunger from emotional hunger, let’s look at the triggers that can lead to it.

Reasons why we eat emotionally, almost without realizing it

The first step to stop eating compulsively is to identify the reasons that lead us to do so. What situations or feelings trigger your desire to eat?

Stress: Have you noticed how stress makes you hungry? It is not only in your mind. When stress is chronic, as often happens in our chaotic and accelerated world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet and fried foods, foods that give you an explosion of energy and pleasure. The less you control stress, the more likely you are to rely on food to get that emotional relief you are looking for.

Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or calm down, negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While you get numb with food, you feel that you can take away those feelings that overwhelm you. But, at the end of the day, you will face the inevitable: awkward emotions are still there.

Boredom or emptiness feelings: Have you ever eaten simply to do something, relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? You feel dissatisfied and empty, and food is a way to occupy your time.

Childhood habits: think about your childhood. Did your parents reward your good behavior with ice cream, did they take you to eat pizza when you got good grades, did they give you candy when you felt sad?

If you are depressed or alone, call someone who makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or go for a walk in the park.

If you are anxious, spend your energy dancing your favorite song, squeezing an anti stress ball or taking a quick walk.

If you’re exhausted, have a cup of hot tea, take a hot bath and light some scented candles.

If you’re bored, read a good book, watch your favorite series on Netflix, or do an activity you enjoy.

And above all, do not miss the tips I offer below.

Tips to stop eating... emotionally!

Now that we know how to differentiate physiological hunger from emotional hunger, and that we can even know what originates it, it is also important to have a clear concept: when there is emotional hunger it is NOT about stopping eating, it is about eating what is right and the right amount of it.

But make no mistake, diets that restrict carbohydrates too much usually lead to failure and overeating foods that we shouldn’t touch.

Why does this happen? The reason is our response to insulin. Since low carbohydrate intake causes our blood sugar to drop significantly, our brain creates a desire to eat in order to stabilize blood sugar levels and replenish glycogen stores.

This, linked to the emotional tensions of our daily lives, such as stress, sadness, anger, worry, or even sleep, will make inevitable to fall into temptation.

So there are several important lessons to learn here:

1.- Include carbohydrates in your diet to keep blood sugar levels controlled.

2.- Modify your beliefs to improve your emotions, everything has a solution!

3.- Make five or six small meals a day.

More than three hours between meals decreases your blood sugar levels, and you´ll need sugars or refined foods to create high insulin spikes. But this will only create an unnecessary addiction for this type of food.

That is why it is important to make 5 or 6 meals a day of small portions and that your main meals include unprocessed carbohydrates and high in fiber: oatmeal, brown rice, legumes, fruits. Served along with vegetables and proteins, will generate greater satiety.

4.- Add protein into your diet.

If proteins are present in your main meal, for example, salmon, turkey breast, chicken breast, eggs, quinoa, veal and lentils, you will have your appetite controlled. Your need to eat is going to adapt quietly to 3 or 4 hours intervals without making you feel uncomfortable.

5.- Make physical exercise a priority in your life.

Physical activity works wonders on your mood and energy levels, and is also a powerful stress reducer.

If you don’t have enough will, you can always count on an online personal trainer.

6.- Try to sleep 8 hours every night.

When you don’t sleep as much as you need, your body craves sugary foods that give you a quick energy boost. Getting enough rest will help control your appetite and reduce cravings.

7.- Take some time to relax.

Give yourself permission to take at least 30 minutes every day to relax. This is your time to take a break from your responsibilities and recharge your batteries.

8.- Connect with others.

Do not underestimate the importance of relationships with your friends and social activities. Spending time with positive people that improve your mood will help protect you from the negative effects of stress.

You don’t always have to behave!

Everything in life is a balance, but definitely 85% of your behaviors are the ones that will have the most impact on you.

If 85% of your routine is healthy, that remaining 15% will not harm you so much. Sometimes it is necessary to get out of the routine a bit and then come back stronger!

As the Roman poet Horacio said: «Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero», which if you do not understand Latin means, «take advantage of the day, do not trust tomorrow.»

It’s time to leave the limiting thoughts behind! If you need help to organize your nutritional plan and your training routine, just let me know.

Publicado el 22 comentarios

Start Your Fitness New Year’s Resolutions Now or Regret Later On!

Reality of Setting Fitness Goals

That old saying, how there’s no better time to start things than today, couldn’t be more appropriate in the case of fitness resolutions that people tend to set as the New Year approaches. But leaning on one moment soon doesn’t make any real sense if you come to think about it. If we were to get real and completely honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that we’re only using a particular date as a motivation to start taking better care of our health through fitness that’s currently lacking from our lives.  

But this is also just a comfortable way of delaying what we should have already done by now. If you visit dedicated websites like gym-expert.com daily and you set higher New Year’s fitness resolutions, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also going to’ do it. So why not get ahead of times, and use the present as the perfect time to start our fitness training?

Get a Head Start

Let’s face it, waiting for January 1st to start daily fitness sessions is nothing but procrastination. Even studies have shown that a demoralizingly low number of persons that use this time to set a goal end up doing it. Think about this and your health, and try to set new fitness resolutions for today! This way, on January 1st, you will have already reached a daily fitness routine, and you can use that moment to start improving it.

Develop a Routine, Make a Plan, But Start Small

Yes, we’ve said routine, and even though this word has a negative connotation in day-to-day life, in matters of fitness training, it’s a great thing for your health. And nobody says you have to go big on fitness exercises right from the start. If you set the standards too high, you might get disappointed and feel tempted to drop the whole thing and once again wait for the New Year to put your fitness resolutions into practice.  

So what you should do is to come up with a relatively easy fitness routine, plan it across the entire week, and start doing it bit-by-bit. An excellent way to do this would be by picturing your ideal number of pushups, planks, or abs, cutting it down to half, and start the resulted fitness plan right away.  

The Season Can Steal Your Motivation

Weather plays an essential part in our lives. It is known to influence our mental health and general mood directly. Especially cold seasons can have a pretty negative impact on your motivation. Since it’s so cold outside, you might be less inclined to get out of the house only to go to a fitness gym.

But you shouldn’t let the season interfere with your newly set fitness resolutions. You can work out just as well indoors, and if you tend to get depressed when you look outside the window, simply drop the curtains!

Starting Now Should be Important to You

We really can’t stress enough the importance of “now,” and living in the moment. You must find the mental strength to ignore that comfortable part of your brain telling you that tomorrow is the best time to start. Or that the New Year is the perfect occasion to set your fitness resolutions. It is just our way of deceiving ourselves, usually out of commodity, laziness, or sheer unwillingness. And there’s no better time to start fighting this than now!

Enjoy the Empty Gym

The weather outside also influences the traffic of most fitness gyms directly. Especially during cold, harsh winters, these can be pretty low populated, if not empty. However, you shouldn’t see this as a downside, on the contrary! You should enjoy the fact that you have the entire gym all for yourself. No eyes on you, no waiting in line for one particular fitness machine, no one but you, having all the space and freedom to put your new fitness resolutions into practice.

Find Your Support System

However, if you have the type of personality that doesn’t go well with solitude, or you’re the type that loses motivation quickly when left on your own, that you should find a system to keep you continuously motivated. When it comes to fitness, nothing could be more appropriate than a fellow gym buddy. You can work out together, help one another and most importantly, motivate each other through friendly fitness competition.

And if by any chance you can’t find anybody to go to the gym with you regularly, then you could ask a close friend or a family member to check up on your fitness progress. Alternatively, you could also consider buying a smartwatch or a fitness band, as most of the models out there have advanced fitness features that will monitor not only your progress, but also your health. 

Conclusion: Track Your Progress and Enjoy

In the end, nothing can be more satisfying and rewarding than getting noticeable results and becoming aware of your progress. So, monitor and keep track of your fitness sessions, and it won’t be long before you find yourself surprised by how much you’ve come along. And when this happens, you will no longer need any New Year’s fitness resolutions at all!

Randolph Ray

Randolph Ray

Writer at gym-expert.com and a Nutrition & Fitness expert. Passionate about exploring and writing about healthy food habits, fitness things, and other related stuff.

Publicado el 12 comentarios

Staying Active: Advice for Seniors Seeking a Healthy and Rewarding Lifestyle

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20 percent of the total population will be in the 65-and-over age bracket by 2030. That means Americans are living longer, and they’re living healthier as they age. It’s certainly a heartening trend, but older adults must be well-positioned to take advantage of a longer, more robust lifespan than their parents enjoyed. That means taking control of your physical and mental health (and using some technology) so you can enjoy a healthy and enjoyable quality of life – the kind you’ve earned through years of hard work. 

Healthy environment


One of the most important steps toward a healthy and active senior lifestyle is a safe, well-ordered home environment, a living space that makes it possible for you to be you without feeling restrained by fear for your physical well-being. That means arranging each room so pathways are clear and unimpeded by tripping hazards. Furniture should be arranged so you have clear passage from room to room. Cords, shoes, rugs and general clutter should be disposed of or kept in a safe storage space. And establishing an uncluttered home will alleviate stress and anxiety, leaving you better able to focus on reading, doing crosswords or jigsaw puzzles, journaling, meditating and other activities that help maintain mental acuity. 

An organized home environment also makes it easier to engage in activities that’ll help you take control of the mental and physical aspects of your life. This includes exercising. You’ll have the space you need to enjoy cardio or strength-building exercises, or you can even incorporate an exercise like yoga and achieve the flexibility and enhanced range of motion it can confer. Yoga’s many poses improve spinal flexibility, giving you a strong core upon which to build. You can even use some yoga apps that are great for beginners like Daily Yoga and Down Dog.

Branch out

To continue on an improved wellness path, try branching out into other pursuits that you enjoy, like walking and gardening, and give interesting new forms of physical engagement a try, such as Tai chi, a relaxing and meditative form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, supports the immune system, and helps seniors improve concentration. Exercise that can be done as part of a social group is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so look into group yoga, swimming or water aerobics classes that are perfect for friends to enjoy together – it’s a lot more fun when people you love being around are involved!

Some seniors find that using a fitness tracker is a great way to monitor their progress and health as they engage in new activities. A fitness tracker can measure the basics like distance traveled and steps taken, but some of the newer devices can measure more advanced metrics like your heart rate and sleep quality. Smartwatches and fitness trackers can also help keep you safe while you work out. For example, the Apple Watch Series 4 has fall detection and will give you high and low heart rate notifications. If you prefer a lower-priced option, the Fitbit Blaze watch has GPS, a large display, and a battery that lasts up to five days

Healthcare coverage


As you age and enter the Medicare system, it’s important to understand your insurance options and how to get the coverage that best meets your needs. You may be aware that there are gaps in Medicare, though you can find ways to plug the gaps with Medicare Advantage, which provides dental and vision insurance, in addition to membership access to fitness facilities across the country. Do some research about plans available to learn more about various types of coverage and whether you could benefit.

Educate yourself

Few things engage your mind quite like learning about a subject you find really fascinating. Many seniors enjoy going back to school by enrolling in free online classes at local community colleges or online universities. Colleges in all 50 states offer such opportunities and many seniors are even able to earn degrees by taking advantage of free courses. Continuous learning keeps the brain active and healthy in many ways. In fact, your brain grows new cells and establishes new connections every time you learn something new. For older adults, learning strengthens memory and sharpens problem-solving abilities. In many cases, it even helps stave off the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Social engagement

Studies have shown that older adults benefit significantly from regular social interaction. Spending time with friends is emotionally reinforcing and provides opportunities for physical activity (e.g., golf, walking) as do mentally stimulating games like bridge, bingo, Sudoku, chess and checkers. If you enjoy music, look into joining your church choir or a community-based musical group. 

There’s really no secret to leading a healthy mental and physical life as an older adult. Staying active is the key, and that can be difficult for many seniors. The important thing is to find ways to start small and build gradually, with the help and advice of a healthcare provider. You should have every expectation of enjoying a rich and fulfilling life as you age – after all, 65 is just a number.

Jason Lewis

is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created strongwell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.