Air Fryer Popcorn Fail 😩 But Made It Work The Old Fashion Way

So I ran across a recipe showing how to pop my popcorn in an air fryer…🙄🙄🙄 So simple, right?!?! I figured I would try it for success. ☺️

Olive Oil & Kernels

So I placed them in the air fryer and turned it on for the appropriate temperature and time. Once the time ran out, I cut the air fryer back on for the same amount of time and temperature AGAIN! 🙄 Let’s say it was an epic fail.

Air fryer at 390 for 15 minutes….excuse the grease on glass. 😉

After no kernels popped, I did the next best thing…..I popped them the old fashion way!

Popped the same kernels on top of the stove ❤️

They turned out perfect and just enough!!! I have a new way of popping my popcorn. I usually just buy the ones already popped but we know how that can go, I like to control my oil and sodium intake. 🙃

Organic Popcorn 😍 Limited oil & salt

If you decide to try it, let me know if it works for you! Instagram: www.Instagram.com/marksonfitness or Facebook: www.Facebook.com/marksonfitness. For me and the air fryer, NOT SO MUCH! 😆🤷🏽‍♀️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫 #marksonfitness 🔥

#FitspirationFriday Moves

Here is an example of a regiment I do to get my heart rate up after my weight lifting routine (especially after upper body). These exercises will work the full body and you will definitely feel it. Since I’m starting my maintenance mode, I keep my cardio to a minimum at the moment. I do use minimum cardio to warm my body up when I first start though.

Try 5 rounds of 30 reps of each exercise (3 exercises before stopping) with 30 second rest in between each circuit.

Afterwards is a mini stretch session. ❤️ Try it and let me know what you think. ☺️ If 30 reps each exercise are not enough for you, challenge yourself. DO MORE REPS!!! 🙌 Let’s push ourselves. 🙃 Please feel free to post in the Facebook group too.

Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/marksonfitness

Facebook Group: Put Your Marks On Fitness


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫 #marksonfitness

Workout Wednesday

By: Ethan Bowman

Let’s Get Inspired To Workout Today! 

Slim and Slender


Hi, Marker Babe!
Today is WORKOUT WEDNESDAY!!! Here is a cardio-based option I will be using today; sent by Ethan Bowman ( Fitbody Bootcamp). Every Wednesday, I receive these workouts that I can use and give little thought to what movements I will be doing. Try this out and let me know what you think. ☺️

Work for 45 seconds at a time with 15 seconds of rest/transition. Use www.fitlb.com and click “Tabata This.” For “Number of Tabatas” enter 5, for “Rest Between Tabatas” leave it at 1:00, for “Rounds Per Tabata” enter 5, for “Time On” enter 45 seconds, and for “Time Off” enter 15 seconds.

Your total workout time is 28:45.

  • Lunge + Front Kick
  • Skater Jumps
  • Wall Sit
  • Glute Bridge Pulse (R)
  • Glute Bridge Pulse (L)

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 💫

Did Someone Say Dinner?!?!

Let’s just say it’s so worth it! ❤️ Try the healthy recipe below.

Baked Salmon with fried cauliflower rice

Salmon (flavor your meat with spices to your liking) 🤤

Salmon marinade ingredients:
Sesame Oil
Organic Granulated Brown Sugar
Cinnamon
Liquid Aminos

Cauliflower ingredients:
Bag of frozen cauliflower
Liquid Aminos
Sesame Oil
Eggs
Peppers
Chopped Carrots & Mushrooms

Directions:
Pour eggs into heated pan with sesame oil. Remove from heat and set aside. Add the cauliflower rice, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and a splash of water. Once tender, add a drizzle of sesame oil in pan along with dashes of liquid aminos. Add in your eggs and stir to your liking. Combine sesame oil, sugar, cinnamon, liquid aminos, and pour over the salmon inside a baking dish. Bake on 400 for about 15-20 minutes then broil for no longer than 5 minutes. Enjoy your meal!

Inspired by @kissmywheatgrass_



Signing Off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

12 Foods That Don’t Cause Weight Gain

One piece of advice often given to dieters is to eat until you reach satiety — that is, until you feel full.

The problem is that different foods can have vastly different effects on hunger and satiety.

For example, 200 calories of chicken breast may make you feel full, but it could take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.

Thus, weight loss isn’t just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.

What Makes a Food Filling?

Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index (1Trusted Source).

The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.

Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.

Filling foods tend to have the following qualities: 

  • High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When foods contain a lot of water or air, the volume is increased without adding calories (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).
  • High protein: Studies show protein is more filling than carbs and fat. Diets higher in protein increase satiety and lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets do (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source). 
  • High fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full. It also slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer (6Trusted Source).
  • Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel full for fewer calories (7Trusted Source).

So if you eat foods with the above characteristics, then you can usually eat them until fullness without getting in too many calories.

Here are 12 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.

1. Boiled Potatoes

Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t. 

Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called resistant starch (89Trusted Source). 

Resistant starch contains half the calories of regular starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts a lot like soluble fiber, helping you feel full.

Because adding resistant starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories (10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

Interestingly, cooling potatoes after they’re cooked increases their resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes multiple times continues to increase their hunger-suppressing effect (12Trusted Source).

In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest (1Trusted Source).

While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, fried potato chips were found to be three times less filling.

BOTTOM LINE:

Boiled potatoes, which are highly nutritious, are number one on the satiety index. Fried potato chips are three times less filling and not considered weight loss friendly.

2. Whole Eggs

Eggs are another food that has been unfairly demonized in the past. The truth is, eggs are incredibly healthy and high in several important nutrients.

Most of the nutrients, including about half of an egg’s protein, are found in the yolk.

Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.

In addition, they’re very filling.

Several studies found that people who ate eggs for breakfast were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel for breakfast (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source). 

In particular, one study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast lowered their body mass index (BMI) and lost more weight than those who ate a bagel (16Trusted Source). 

BOTTOM LINE:

Eggs are a great source of nutrients, including high-quality protein. They may help you eat less for up to 36 hours after a meal.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a type of porridge, or hot cereal, that is often consumed for breakfast.

It’s incredibly filling and ranks third on the satiety index (1Trusted Source). 

This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to soak up water. 

Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs (17Trusted Source). 

When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal was better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

BOTTOM LINE:

Oatmeal is high in fiber and soaks up water, which makes it incredibly filling. It is more filling than traditional breakfast cereals and may help you eat less throughout the day.

4. Broth-Based Soups

Liquids are often considered to be less filling than solid foods.

However, research shows soups may be more filling than solid meals with the same ingredients (20Trusted Source21Trusted Source).

When soup was eaten at the start of a meal in one study, subjects consumed 20% fewer calories at that meal (22Trusted Source). 

Several studies found that routinely eating soup can reduce calorie intake, enhance satiety and promote weight loss over time (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source25Trusted Source). 

Stick to broth-based soups, as they tend to be lower in calories than cream-based varieties.

BOTTOM LINE:

Soups are very filling foods. Eating soup at the start of a meal may increase satiety, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.

5. Legumes

Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are well known for being good sources of fiber and protein.

This, combined with a relatively low energy density, makes them a filling food that may even promote weight loss (26Trusted Source). 

A review of several studies indicates that beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are 31% more filling than pasta and bread (27Trusted Source). 

BOTTOM LINE:

Legumes are high in protein and fiber, which make them very filling. They are also relatively low in calories, which makes them a weight loss friendly food.

6. Apples

Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet.

Several studies indicate eating fruit is associated with lower calorie intake and can contribute to weight loss over time (28Trusted Source29Trusted Source30Trusted Source31Trusted Source). 

In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index (1Trusted Source). 

Because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows digestion, they help you feel full (32Trusted Source). 

They are also over 85% water, which provides volume and improves satiety without adding calories. 

It’s important to note that whole, solid fruit increases satiety more than puréed fruit or juice, both of which are not particularly filling (33Trusted Source).

One study looked at the effects of eating solid apple segments, applesauce or drinking apple juice at the beginning of a meal. 

It found that those who ate solid apple segments consumed 91 fewer calories than those eating apple sauce and 150 fewer calories than those drinking apple juice (34Trusted Source). 

Eating apple segments also resulted in higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings than other forms of fruit. 

BOTTOM LINE:

Apples are high in water and soluble fiber but low in calories. Eating whole, solid apples may help you consume fewer calories and contribute to weight loss over time.

7. Citrus Fruits

Similarly to apples, citrus fruits are high in pectin, which can slow digestion and increase satiety.

They also have a high water content. Both oranges and grapefruit contain over 87% water, which means they’re able to fill you up for very few calories. 

It has often been suggested that eating grapefruit can promote weight loss.

In one study, obese participants eating grapefruit lost significantly more weight than those given a placebo (35Trusted Source).

In another study, eating half a grapefruit three times daily at mealtimes for six weeks was associated with modest weight loss and a significant reduction in waist circumference (36Trusted Source).

When combined with calorie restriction, consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals resulted in a 7.1% weight loss, a significant reduction in body fat and weight circumference (37Trusted Source). 

However, these results may not be exclusive to grapefruit, as drinking water before meals had similar effects. 

BOTTOM LINE:

Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are also weight loss friendly foods. They’re high in fiber and water, which can help you feel full and consume fewer calories.

8. Fish

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in people who are overweight or obese (38Trusted Source).

They’re also loaded with high-quality protein, which is known to be very filling.

In fact, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods on the satiety index and ranks second of all foods tested (1Trusted Source).

One study found the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef (39Trusted Source).

Another study found participants who ate fish consumed 11% fewer calories at their next meal than those who ate beef (40Trusted Source).

BOTTOM LINE:

Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which may increase satiety. Fish may also be more filling than other types of protein such as chicken and beef.

9. Lean Meats

Lean meats are high in protein and very filling.

In fact, higher-protein diets lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets (5Trusted Source).

One study found that people ate 12% less at dinner after eating high-protein meat at lunch, compared to those who had a high-carb lunch (41Trusted Source).

Beef scored second highest of all protein-rich foods on the satiety index, but other lean meats such as chicken and pork are also weight loss friendly (1Trusted Source).

BOTTOM LINE:

Meat is high in protein and very filling. Eating high-protein lean meat may help you consume fewer calories at subsequent meals.

10. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is low in calories but very high in protein.

It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.

These characteristics make cottage cheese a weight loss friendly food. 

One study found that its effect on fullness is similar to that of eggs (42Trusted Source).

BOTTOM LINE:

Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories. Its effect on satiety may be comparable to that of eggs.

11. Vegetables

Vegetables are low in calories and high in volume.

They’re also packed with all kinds of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that make them an important part of a healthy diet. 

Furthermore, they’re high in water and fiber, both of which help fill you up.

Research shows that salads, in particular, help satisfy hunger, especially when consumed before a meal.

In one study, participants who ate a salad at the start of a meal consumed 7–12% fewer calories at the meal (43Trusted Source).

Another study showed that eating a salad at the start of a meal increased vegetable consumption by 23%, compared to eating it with the main course (44Trusted Source). 

In order to keep your salad low in calories, avoid adding high-calorie ingredients and dressings.

BOTTOM LINE:

Vegetables are high in water and fiber, which may keep you full for longer. Eating low-calorie salads can help increase your vegetable consumption and decrease your calorie intake.

12. Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snack foods.

It is also high in volume, so it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, despite being relatively low in calories.

Studies have found that popcorn will fill you up more than other popular snacks such as potato chips (45Trusted Source).

Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest. Commercially-prepared or microwave popcorn can be extremely high in calories and contain unhealthy ingredients.

To keep your popcorn low in calories, avoid adding a lot of fat to it.

BOTTOM LINE:

Popcorn is a whole grain that is high in fiber and volume, both of which help you feel full. Studies have found that popcorn is more filling than potato chips.

Take Home Message

Filling foods have certain characteristics. They’re high in volume, protein or fiber and low in energy density.

Including more of these foods in your meals may help you lose weight in the long run.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How to Make A Healthy Blueberry Smoothie

By: Well Plated (Erin)

Blueberry smoothies are good for you, and this one also includes the perk of being completely and totally delicious.

It’s bursting with fresh blueberry taste, yes, but what really sets this Greek yogurt blueberry banana smoothie apart is that its flavor is reminiscent of a slice of fresh blueberry pie with a creamy scoop of ice cream. Yum and YUM!

This smoothie is thick, luxurious, and craving-worthy, as any self-respecting pie imitator should be.

It also offers protein and healthy fats, so you can count on it keeping you full all morning.


The Ingredients

  • Frozen Blueberries. The star of the show!
  • Frozen Banana. Banana is good in smoothies because it adds natural sweetness and makes the smoothie thick and creamy. For a blueberry smoothie (no banana), check out Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie.
  • Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Protein-packed Greek yogurt gives this smoothie the boost it needs to be extra satisfying.
  • Rolled Oats. Oats give the smoothie body, make it more filling, and add a subtle “crust” vibe. (For another oat-packed option, check out Oatmeal Smoothie!)
  • Almond Butter. Helps make the smoothie more satisfying and gives it rich flavor. If you prefer peanut butter, you can try this as a blueberry banana peanut butter smoothie instead.
  • Vanilla + Cinnamon. The key ingredients that take this from being a basic blueberry smoothie to one that tastes like a blueberry pie in a glass.
  • Almond Milk. I chose to make this a vanilla almond milk blueberry smoothie, but you can use any milk you have on hand. Making this a blueberry smoothie with milk helps us reach the ideal consistency.

DIETARY SWAPS

To make this blueberry smoothie vegan, make sure to use a non-dairy milk and non-dairy yogurt. You can also make this a blueberry smoothie without yogurt, but you may want to swap in some extra ice cubes to thicken it up. 

The Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender. 
  2. Puree until smooth. ENJOY!

OPTIONAL MIX-INS

  • Protein Powder. For an extra protein boost, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder. I like vanilla here.
  • Maple Syrup. If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, add a teaspoon or two of pure maple syrup or honey.
  • Spinach. Make this into a blueberry banana spinach smoothie by adding a handful of spinach to the blender. Spinach will alter the color of the smoothie a bit, but you won’t be able to taste it.

Serving Idea

Make this into a blueberry smoothie bowl by adding a few ice cubes and additional frozen blueberries to make it as thick as possible. Pour it into a bowl and add favorite toppings. Fresh blueberries, banana slices, or granola would be tasty! Grab a spoon and enjoy.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 day. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze smoothies in an airtight freezer-safe storage jar for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. 

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MAKE-AHEAD TIP

You can also make your smoothie in advance, then pour it into an ice cube try and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve, add your desired number of smoothie cubes to a blender and puree.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

My Reason Behind A Healthy Slate

It’s been a year since I started my blog! I’ve learned to celebrate the small victories and appreciate everything in life. I always try to look at all situations in a positive light. As some may know, I wrote about the time I had brain surgery back in 2016 and I’m here to share more about the experience. I am an acoustic neuroma survivor!!!! If you don’t know what acoustic neuroma is, let me give you the details. 

Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main (vestibular) nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain. Branches of this nerve directly influence your balance and hearing, and pressure from an acoustic neuroma can cause hearing loss, ringing in your ear and unsteadiness. Treatments for acoustic neuroma include regular monitoring, radiation and surgical removal. Common signs and symptoms of acoustic neuroma include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing (tinnitus) in the affected ear
  • Unsteadiness, loss of balance
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Facial numbness and very rarely
  • Weakness or loss of muscle movement
  • Headaches

I only had one of the symptoms before surgery, headaches. This was a challenging time in my life and made me look at things very differently. Once I learned that I had this rare tumor and the only option was to proceed with brain surgery, I didn’t realize my life would totally change afterwards. I was under the impression that I would recover within 6 weeks. Oh, how I thought WRONG but I still believe God knows best. Had I known what I would endure, I probably would have prolonged the surgery which could have cost me traumatizing damage or even my life!

Let’s talk about the issues I had to face after surgery:

  • Lost an entire week of memory post-op
  • Learned to rebalance so I could walk without the entire world spinning
  • Learned to swallow properly (the doctor had me on food thickener)
  • Wore a patch over my eye to focus correctly (and had to wait patiently until my double vision went away)
  • Suffered loss of hearing and facial paralysis on left side

Once I was able to comprehend the reality of the challenges ahead, I thought my world had crashed. I was devastated and nervous I would never be normal again. Boy, I had my work cut out for me to become the normal RAYAN again! After a week in the hospital, it was time for me to start physical therapy. This terrified me because I didn’t know what to expect.

I will never forget day two of my physical therapy; I totally shut down and would not finish my sessions. The nurses just let me have my moment and the next day was so much better. I needed the time to gather myself from this horrifying experience and come to terms with the challenges I was facing. This was the start of my “NEW NORMAL LIFE.”On the third day, my entire mindset changed. My goal was to complete all my sessions to the nurses’ satisfaction so I could get home to my own bed. I had to perform walking, speech, and mind challenging exercises. I was determined to overcome my issues and get back on the road to normal.

After a few weeks of therapy, I was ready to go home. The work didn’t stop there! I had to attend outpatient physical therapy until my nurses felt I was ready to receive my completion certificate.

Needless to say, I mastered my sessions within a month. The nurses told me I was doing great at everything and there was nothing left to do but let the rest heal with time. I felt so accomplished and was ready to continue my somewhat normal life. After two and a half months post-operation, I returned to CrossFit class. This was so exciting and important to me. The night before, I laid out my workout clothes and never looked back!

CrossFit helped me so much with my stability. It was so challenging to get back to myself but the small victories were rewarding! It’s been five years since my surgery, and I am still conquering my new norm. With God, we will not fail! I am a living witness.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness 〽️✨

Want permanent weight loss?

By Ethan Bowman

Short-term weight loss is easy. Long-term weight loss is much harder to achieve.

However, you know people who are permanently in beach-ready shape, so it is possible to be lean for life.

This begs the question: how can you lose the weight for good?

The answer is not found in a single habit or action, but rather in the following 5 Lean for Life Habits…

Habit #1: Reimagine Yourself

Up until now you’ve accepted the shape that you are in, and even if you hate it, you’re comfortable with it. Read that again to make sure it sinks in. You are comfortable with the body that you have right now, and until you decide it’s no longer comfortable then you’ll be stuck in the shape that you currently have. 

Now spend time reimagining yourself leaner. Really let that new image sink in until you’re more comfortable with it than you are with the image of your current body. Rinse and repeat. The clearer you can see and feel and imagine yourself in a lean body, the more urgency and desire you will create to achieve and maintain it. 

Habit #2: Break-Up With Sugar

Look, Sugar, we have to break up. It’s not you; it’s me. Sure, we’ve had some good times. You’ve tickled my sweet tooth and pleased my taste buds, but loving you is a double-edged sword that leaves me heavy and out of shape. So this is it, we are through! 

As silly as that sounded, your relationship with sugar is holding you back from living in a lean for life body. It’s not only refined sugar that is messing with your body composition; in order to be lean for life you’ll also need to manage your intake of natural sugars. 

The good news is that every day spent without sugar will make the next day that much easier and your cravings will become that much weaker. Stay strong and soon you’ll be more than happy with the occasional sweet treat rather than the all-day sugar drip that’s sabotaging your swimsuit dreams. 

Habit #3: Forget Dieting

Going on a “diet” implies a start and end date, but if you really want to change your body composition for good then there is no end to your healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon of adapting to healthier (and healthier!) habits to maintain for the rest of your life. The day that you stop trying is the day that your body reverts to its old (less svelte) shape. 

Don’t worry, the more time that you get under your belt with healthy living, the easier it becomes. Soon your lean for life habits will feel like a normal day – just as your current habits feel like a normal day now. The key is to stick with it until the habits fully stick, and to vigorously fight the urge to give up.

Habit #4: Plan Your Cheats

Being lean for life doesn’t mean swearing off pizza and ice cream for the rest of your days. (Thank goodness!) On the contrary, you’ll find that planned cheat meals of your favorite foods are more enjoyable than ever before. The key is that you will be planning your cheat meals in advance and containing the excitement to one sitting each week. 

The fun thing about enjoying a cheat meal while living a lean lifestyle is that there is absolutely zero guilt associated with the pleasure. Most of us experience twinges of guilt associated with most of our meals, because in the back of our mind is the thought that we should really be eating healthier in order to lose the weight that we have yet to lose. Once you’ve lost the fat and are actively living a lean life those cheat meals will be 100% pleasure!

Habit #5: Be Part of a Fitness Family 

Belonging to a group of fellow fitness enthusiasts is key to making and maintaining your body transformation. Being fit is easier achieved in a supportive and encouraging group, rather than alone. The accountability provided from your fitness peers will save you from missing workouts and will get you to push yourself to try harder.

One of the most gratifying parts of being in a fitness family is the day when your support makes an impact on a new member. To give the encouragement that was given to you is a special moment that will stick with you and will recommit you to your fitness lifestyle. 


Feels Good, Doesn’t It?

A challenging exercise routine is a quick and simple solution to get you feeling good fast.

This is because every time you exercise your body increases its production of endorphins, which are responsible for that feel-good euphoria you get after a great workout or while chomping down on a piece of chocolate. 

However, before you turn to chocolate and skip the gym, remember the end result of each and choose which one will help you reduce stress in the long run. 

Do you choose what you want NOW or what you want MOST OF ALL? 


Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato

​Here’s a flavorful, nutritious meal that comes together quickly. It’s a perfect weeknight dinner that takes chicken breast and infuses it with a sweet and spicy poaching liquid of chipotle, pineapple, fresh cilantro, savory Worcestershire and tangy lime. These flavors are robust and delicious! 

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

What you need
Servings: 4

4 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil OR Butter
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
3 tablespoons minced canned ​chipotle chile in adobo sauce (or MORE if you like it spicy!)
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel and pierce several times with a fork or knife. Place on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender when poked.

3. Melt the coconut oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, bell peppers, onion and chipotle and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the orange juice to the skillet along with 1/2 cup cilantro and the Worcestershire and bring to a simmer.

5. Add the chicken to the skillet, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chicken registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and veggies to a plate and cover.

6. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the liquid left in the skillet until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in the mustard. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken and return it and the veggies to the skillet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Slice each baked sweet potato down the middle and fill with a heaping spoon of the chipotle chicken. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Nutrition
One serving equals: 372 calories, 8g fat, 34g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 9g sugar and 39g protein.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness

Air Fryer Egg Rolls

BY MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES

Air Fryer Egg Rolls

If you’ve been disappointed by baked egg rolls before, be prepared to be delighted by air-fried ones. The dry, constantly circulating air gives the wrapper a shatteringly crisp texture. If you can, aim for vegan egg roll wrappers (Nasoya is an easy-to-find brand), which get particularly crispy.

Active time: 19 minutes Total time: 35 minutes

Air Fryer Egg Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (170g) green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (20g) green onions, chopped
  • 8 ounces (227g) ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 8 (24-gram) egg roll wrappers

Directions

Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cabbage and carrot, saute 2 minutes. Add the green onions and turkey, and saute until turkey is cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and pepper.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a dry work surface with the corners set vertically (pointing up and down like a diamond shape). Moisten all edges of the wrapper with water. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling horizontally across the center of the wrapper. Fold in the left and right corners of the wrapper, and roll up. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat the air fryer, if necessary, to 400°F (200ºC). Coat an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Arrange 4 egg rolls in a basket in a single layer, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Air-fry until browned and crisp, 7–8 minutes, turning over after 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1 egg roll

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 144; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 277mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 3g; Protein 9g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 128mg; Iron: 7%; Vitamin A: 30%; Vitamin C: 14%; Calcium: 8%


We all want ideas on recipes made from the air fryer themselves. This is definitely an interesting one to try! I’ve been hooked on my air fryer for over 3 years now , and it’s the best investment for me. I don’t have to stand over a stove cooking for long periods of time which gives me time to get other chores done around the house. And it’s also QUICK! 😍


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

FAQs On Waist Beads

On Your Mark, Get WAISTED! ❤️✨

Q: What is the purpose of waist beads?

A: History

You may have grown up around women that decorated their waists with beads made from seeds, glass beads, or crystals; perhaps you’ve seen one of your favorite influencers decoratively wearing beads around their waist too. From giving you awareness of how much weight you have lost to being a representation of a certain virtue, they are collectively a beautiful aspect of the feminine proclamation of self in several African cultures. They also serve as a form of stylistic expression as you can customize what colors you want to display, how many waist beads you want to stack, and what types of beads you want to use. These pieces stem from various areas of the Diaspora, ranging from Ghana’s Dipo ceremonies to Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe and those in between. Although trendy, African women have traditionally worn these beads as a symbol of femininity and prosperity for centuries. The history of waist beads can be traced back as early as the 15th century.

According to the Africa Facts Organization, “Jewelry in Africa is seldom just ornamental; rituals, religion and ceremonies play a large part.” With that said, there is such a large amount of influence that stems from cultural aspects and is concentrated in the colors of the beads. 

Waist beads can even be traced back to ancient Egypt, as shown in Figure 1. Hieroglyphs depict dancers adorned with braids and waist beads.

Many people question when an appropriate time for waist beads is or if they should wear them at all. The decision to wear them is up to the individual and what occasion they choose. From going on a beach trip with your girls to walking into an interview and having them be a subtle reminder under your business wear. Angela Hill from the Bay Area News Group states, “They’re for you. It’s personal. The meaning of the colors varies with every tribe — it’s kind of like visual dialects. And here in America it’s certainly a form of personal expression and individual interpretation. They’re for all women — any body type, any race, any background.” The beads are customary for promoting fertility, womanhood, and power. Often, they can be associated with the country you choose to represent depending on the colors chosen (i.e. Nigeria – green and white). Whether you want to show them off or have them under your clothes as a less obvious reminder, they are unique to you. Culturally, African waist beads can have a sensual significance as well, for potential male suitors.

West Africa

One of the most beautiful aspects of waist beads is the prominence of individuality when choosing the colors and materials of the beads. For example, Ghanaian girls may be presented with waist beads as a token of their “coming-of-age” into womanhood. They can also represent what class a woman is in, her economic status, and fertility.  Traditionally unmarried women of the Yoruba tribe wear an ileke, also known as waist beads or waist chains. Waist beads are romantic, fashionable and attract attention to the waist by making the waist appear slimmer and bringing out the curves of the hips. Modern-day wear includes decorative adornment and waist and weight management.

East Africa

According to Google Arts & Culture, “Glass beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and (from the 16th to 18th centuries) Portuguese traders, and reached southern Africa in small quantities through internal trade.” Wearing waist beads is largely popular across East African countries as well; women can add essential oils to their bead strings in order to promote healing properties and utilize them in similar ways as the Diaspora (i.e. promoting fertility, puberty, or class.

South Africa

The influence of waist beads spans across several countries and spreads to the Caribbean as well. Southern parts of Africa utilize waist beads in unique ways as well. Notably, women in Zambia and Malawi use their beads while pregnant or in order to seduce their husbands

Adorn your waist this summer! The beads will be sure to add a stylish yet meaningful addition to your outfits and swimsuits this season. We have given you a list of different waist bead colors along with their respective meanings below. Additionally, we have linked examples of our very own waist bead collection!

Q: What does different color beads mean?

A: Black – Power and protection

Blue – Loyalty and truth

Brown – Earth and stability

Gold – Good health, power and wealth

Purple – Royalty, spirituality and wisdom

Green – Abundance, fertility, nature and prosperity

White – Light, truth and purity

Orange – Courage, self confidence and vitality

Yellow – Energy, joy and happiness

Pink – Care, beauty, love and kindness

Red – Confidence and vitality

Turquoise – Communication and self awareness

Sources

African waist beads: Age-old tradition makes modern-day statement. (2012, July 31). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Mercury News website: https://www.mercurynews.com/2012/07/31/african-waist-beads-age-old-tradition-makes-modern-day-statement/

Beads, E. B. (n.d.). Waist Beads: Color Meaning. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Exotic Body Beads website: https://www.exoticbodybeads.com/beads-color-meaning/

Blog — MY AFRICAN WAIST BEADS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from MY AFRICAN WAIST  BEADS website: http://www.myafricanwaistbeads.com/blog

Chest, T. B. (n.d.). Ghana Waist Beads: Meaning & Culture. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Bead Chest website: https://www.thebeadchest.com/pages/beads-in-ghanaian-culture

Uju. (2016, April 2). African Waist Beads, Meaning, Significance, And Uses. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Answers Africa website: https://answersafrica.com/the-african-waist-beads-significance-and-uses.html

Q: How do they relate to waist training or weight loss?

A: As far a waist training, waist beads are being used more and more in North America as a way to control weight gain and shrink your waist. Naturally, as the beads get tighter, you know you’re gaining a few pounds. So you can nip that weight gain in the bud before you’re struggling to button your jeans.

Q: Where do I place them?

A: Traditionally waist beads are worn along the hips semi-permanently, which means they are worn while bathing, sleeping, swimming, etc. until they break or they are cut off.

Q: How do I tie them on?

A: To tie them on, you simply place them around your waist, decide where you want them to sit, remove the excess beads and tie 3-4 knots.

Q: Can I wear waist beads all the time?

A: You can wear your waist beads all day, everyday. They may dull after time from showering, if that happens just polish them with a cloth. If you do want to take them off from time to time you‘ll want to tie them loosely from the beginning and then just pull them up and off like a shirt.

Q: How tight should my waist beads be?

A: Depending on how you want to wear your waistbeads, you can measure yourself above your navel, just at your navel, or right above your hips. Use a tape measure and measure against your bare skin without sucking in your stomach. You shouldn’t hold the tape loose nor too snug. Think about where you want to wear the beads.

Q: How many waist beads should I wear?

A: You can wear as few or as many waist beads as you feel comfortable in. Most women wear about 3 strands.


What you see is what you get! 🤷🏽‍♀️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide

BY SHANA VERSTEGEN

Your “core” is much more complex than the infamous “six-pack abs” which refer to the muscle group known as the rectus abdominis. Dozens of muscles make up the core musculature, which has three-dimensional depth and creates or resists movement in all planes of motion.

Proper core strength and function can contribute to:

This quick and easy workout targets the essential stability from your deeper core muscles and the necessary mobility that the core can produce. Days 1, 2 and 3 repeat with higher volume during the second half of the week. If you experience back pain during any part of these exercises, please stop. This signifies that either the core is fatigued and no longer able to stabilize your spine in proper alignment or the form may not be spot on.

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide

THE EXERCISES

MCGILL CURLUP

The move: The McGill curlup differs from a crunch in that there should be no movement from the lumbar spine to protect the discs and promote proper posture. Begin by lying flat on your back with only one knee bent. Place your hands under the small of your back to monitor movement, ensuring your back does not touch the floor. Brace the core muscles and lift your head and tops of your shoulders, keeping the spine in neutral. For an added challenge, lift your elbows off of the floor.

SIDE PLANK

The move: Line your elbow up with your shoulder and your shoulder with your hip and heel. With a very tight and braced core, push the ground away from you, staying active in the shoulder joint. Feet can be stacked or the top foot in front of the bottom, pressing the blades of the feet into the floor.

Option: To reduce the intensity, perform this exercise as a side bridge from the knees instead of the feet.

BIRD DOGhttps://9db558f75e7ff14b00905df38f89d7bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

BIrd Dog

The move: The bird dog is a co-contraction of one leg and the opposite arm in the quadruped position. Begin by posturing the spine in neutral, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and the knees directly underneath your hips. Find a neutral spine and gently brace your core. Sweep the floor with your hand and knee after each 10-second hold.

STIR THE POT

The move: Find a strong-and-straight plank position on a stability ball. Ensure your shoulders are directly over your elbows and away from the ears. While keeping the rest of the body completely stable, rotate your forearms in a clockwise motion, stop and unwind in a counterclockwise pattern.

Option: To decrease the intensity, this exercise can be done with your knees placed on the floor.

STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCKS

The move: Place the stability ball at your shins, hands on the floor, and press up into a strong-and-straight plank position. Ensure the hips never sag, as this can lead to back pain. Simultaneously press into the floor with your hands and onto the ball with your shins, tuck both knees into your chest and return to the plank position. Your hips should elevate slightly during this movement.

Options: The closer the ball is to your feet, the harder the exercise is. For an even greater challenge, this move can be done with only one leg.

STABILITY BALL OPPOSITE ARM/LEG RAISES

The move: Begin with your midsection on the stability ball and your weight equally distributed between your hands and feet with your gaze slightly out in front of your hands. Squeezing your backside, simultaneously raise the right arm and left leg. Lower both back to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Option: For a greater challenge, a full superman (both arms and legs raised at the same time) can be completed, but this is a tricky move!

SINGLE-ARM FARMER CARRY

The move: Grab a heavy dumbbell (or any weighted object) in one hand. While bracing the core and resisting side or forward bending, walk slow and controlled during the entire 30-second set. Repeat on the other side.

Option: If forearm strength is an issue, a weightlifting strap can be used on the working side.

BICYCLE CRUNCHES

The move: Begin by lying on your back with your head gently resting in your hands and feet about 4 inches off of the floor to create a strong abdominal brace. Lift your shoulders slightly off the floor and rotate your right shoulder toward your left knee. Without lowering back down to the ground, repeat on the other side.

Option: To reduce the intensity, place your feet flat on the floor and march your alternating knee toward the rotating shoulder.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

The move: Start in a strong hand plank position, keeping the ears, hips, knees and heels in straight alignment. While maintaining this plank, bend one knee into your chest, followed by the other.

Option: This movement can be done in slow motion with a strong focus on abdominal contraction, or it can be sped up. However, as speed is added, the strong plank should be maintained.

PLANK WALKDOWN

The move: Begin in a high-plank position with the core and backside tight and in alignment. With minimal movement or rotation, drop down to the right forearm, followed by the left. Again, with a tight midsection, return to the high plank, one arm at a time.

Option: This move can also be performed from the knees.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Recover Time

By: Ethan Bowman

The holidays are OVER! Your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight. 

Let’s quickly get you back on the fitness fast track. 

1) It’s Over. Draw a line in the sand. The bad eating stops now.

2) Hydrate. The only way to restore balance is to get hydrated with lots of water.

3) Eat Whole. For the next few weeks stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and some lean meat. 

4) Drink Greens. Either powdered or fresh, greens will help restore balance. If you’re drinking fresh green juice avoid adding lots of fruit. (try the low carb green smoothie recipe below)

5) Hit the Gym. Time to sweat it out. 

I have just the exercise plan for you – one that will not only help you recover from your holiday indulgences but will also help keep you motivated and going strong in the future.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

5 Strategies For Eating in Moderation

By Coach Sam

Eating in moderation sounds simple enough in concept — eat only until you feel satisfied.

Despite its simplicity, many individuals (possibly even you) struggle to keep their calorie intake moderate, especially when they’re around delicious, indulgent foods like pizza, pasta, and sweets.

Now, some diet “experts” will tell you that you should never have certain foods because they’re “bad” or contain “anti-nutrients.”

The truth is that you can eat any food you like. There are no “bad” foods, but you do have to eat in moderation.

If you’ve struggled to keep within your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day, here are 5 expert strategies for eating in moderation.

5 Expert Strategies For Eating in Moderation

 

#1 Slow Down

These days we’re busier than ever, with more demands for our time, attention, and efforts. As a result, we constantly seek ways to optimize, streamline, and multi-task, so that we can get everything done in a day that still needs doing (and still have sometime to Netflix and chill!).

One of the many things that has become a “hurry up and get it over with” is mealtime.

It used to be that sitting down to a meal wasn’t just about nourishing the body and mind. It was a chance to relax from the stressors of the day and enjoy company and conversation.

In other words, eating used to be a social experience, not merely a pitstop on your way to “#crushingit”.

A byproduct of eating too fast, aside from GI upset and bloating, is that we tend to overeat since the brain hasn’t had a chance to receive the signal from the stomach that it’s had enough to eat.

Research shows that taking your time eating leads to less calorie intake, which can help you stay on point with your weight loss goals.[1]

Eating more slowly also allows you to focus on what you’re eating, bringing some much needed mindfulness to the meal and allowing you to truly savor each and every bite. You’ll also have more time to enjoy conversation with those you’re sharing a meal with.

 

#2 Alter Your Mindset

It has become commonplace in diet circles to moralize foods as either “good” or “bad.”

The reality is that no single food is good or bad. Some foods may be more nutritious or less processed than others, but putting a moral label on a food as “good” or “bad” can set dieters on a dangerous path towards disordered eating.

Rather than labeling foods as “good” and “bad”, try to base your decisions on which foods are most micronutrient-dense (fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats) and minimize the amount of foods that are less micronutrient-dense (processed goods like cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, and candy bars).

Viewing food in this light helps shift your mindset away from “good” and “bad” foods and keeps you focused on nourishing your body with the most nutritious choices.

And besides, even prototypical “bad” foods can do some good if they bring you joy or happiness when you eat them (cake on your birthday, for instance).

 

#3 Be Aware of Portion Sizes

Research shows that portion sizes are dining establishments have continued to expand since the 1970s.[2] In fact, it’s not unheard of for a typical entree at a restaurant to contain (and even exceed) 1500-2000 calories. That’s some individuals’ entire daily caloric needs!

And, when you factor in that the average individual eats a significant portion of their food prepared outside of the home than inside the home, it’s easy to understand why more and more individuals are gaining weight.

If you are going to dine out, rethink how you approach your plate.

Since you know that restaurant portions are on the hefty side, be prepared to split an entree with someone at the table, or set half of it aside to take home and eat later. If you’re tempted to eat the whole thing when it’s placed in front of you, simply ask the waiter to box half of it up before he brings you the entree.

Being aware of your portion sizes will pay tremendous dividends towards helping you stay on track with your diet goals when eating out.

 

#4 Revamp Your Favorite Recipes

Still another way to practice moderation, and stay on track with your weight loss transformation, is to retool some of your favorite recipes.

Simple swaps in classic recipes can help reduce calories and improve the fiber and micronutrient content.

For instance, you can substitute some of the white flour in your grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe for oat flour. Another option is to replace some of the fat with applesauce, canned pumpkin or greek yogurt.

Another example is amping up the veggie content of marinara sauce by folding in some pureed zucchini or frozen spinach. Instead of serving the sauce over just pasta, use a mixture of pasta and zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

Finding revamped recipes made with smart substitutions are easy to find and have the triple benefit of being healthier, allowing you to enjoy your favorite classics, and being more diet-friendly!

 

#5 Use Supplements

Even with the above strategies, eating in moderation can still be challenging at times, especially if you’re someone with a voracious appetite.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

5 Ways to Overcome Food Guilt

BY BRITTANY RISHER

5 Ways to Overcome Food Guilt

Our relationship with food can be very complex, especially if we struggle with body image issues. Guilt and shame are two emotions sometimes linked to food that can result in negative eating habits. Although the two are similar, there are distinctions between them that are important to understand to develop a healthier relationship with food. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND SHAME

“Food guilt is a negative emotion where you feel bad for something you did or didn’t do related to a decision or behavior around food,” explains Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author ofBody Kindness. “The emphasis is on the thing — ‘I did a bad thing,’” she adds.

For example, maybe you made a batch of cookies and then ate too many before bed while standing up in the kitchen instead of sitting down and savoring them. Perhaps you wished you had made a cup of tea, put two cookies on your plate and slowly eaten them at the table. That’s food guilt.

Food shame would be thinking: I suck. I shouldn’t have eaten cookies right before bed. I didn’t even sit down to enjoy them. I’m never going to reach my goals. “You feel an intense amount of guilt that’s a judgment about you as a ‘person’ because of something related to food,” Scritchfield explains.

Many of us experience food shame because of our appearance-driven diet culture. “We think we need rigidity to pursue this ideal appearance we have in our mind,” Scritchfield says. When we break the “rules” of a diet or other eating advice, we feel guilty and, in turn, criticize our worthiness.

WAYS TO DEVELOP A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH FOODnull

Here are five ways to overcome food guilt and shame to cultivate a better relationship with food once and for all: 

Because food is a huge part of our social lives, it’s not realistic to skip happy hours, birthdays, weddings and almost every event. If you catch yourself feeling guilt or shame, Scritchfield says to first come up with a compassionate response: “It’s OK that I ate in front of the TV after dinner.” Then reaffirm your commitment to your goals: “Tomorrow, it’s really important for me to not eat in front of the TV. After dinner, I’ll brush my teeth and go to bed.”

We have certain beliefs about food, but our beliefs aren’t always facts. Nurse practitioner Robyn Nohling, RD, suggests writing a list of your beliefs about food, your body and exercise, such as “pizza makes you fat” or “white carbs are bad.” Then dismantle all those beliefs. 

“Where is that belief rooted — in fact or is it some arbitrary belief made up by diet culture?” Nohling asks. Take your thoughts to paper in this way and discover what is and isn’t true, working with a therapist or dietitian if you need help.


READ MORE > 5 WAYS MINDFUL EATING CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT


“If you are truly healthy, you’re not stressing about what you are eating,” Nohling says. She recommends writing down the things that, at your core, you want to live by. Then when you second-guess your food choices and guilt or shame starts to creep in, recall your values. If ordering chicken parm because it’s what you want, then own it, even if your friend orders a salad because he’s “trying to be healthy.”

“Dieting isn’t helpful. Those external rules are what grows shame the most,” Scritchfield says. But she understands that going on your own is scary. Because of this, intuitive eatingcan be a powerful tool.

Scritchfield suggests three things to start this practice: 1. Most of the time, eat when you’re hungry. 2. Balance your plate. You can still have pizza night, but consider adding a salad for more veggies or making sure you have a protein. 3. Savor your meal. Eat off of a plate or bowl and notice the texture and tastes of each bite. (Hint: Turning off the TV helps.)

Try to shift your perspective when food guilt attempts to rob you of living your fullest life. “What are you going to remember a year, three years, five years, 10 years down the road?” Nohling asks. “You will never remember the food you didn’t eat or the number of calories you consumed or the run you did. But you will remember the experiences you had and the people you engaged with.”



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

BY LAUREN KROUSE

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

While the potential health benefits of coffee are well-known — sharper cognition, lower risk of developing chronic conditions like dementia, and Type 2 diabetes, even a longer lifespan — exactly how coffee might affect your weight-loss plan is a little more complicated. As it turns out, scientists are still sorting out the pros and cons of upping your coffee intake to slim down.

Here’s a quick guide to how your coffee habit might benefit or harm your weight-loss efforts.

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

Weight loss requires a small calorie deficit (or fewer calories than you burn through day-to-day activities and exercise), and coffee might help tip the scales in your favor. “The caffeine in coffee is an appetite suppressant, so it could curb your hunger between meals,” explains Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD. In fact, drinking coffee half an hour to four hours before a meal may help you eat less than you would otherwise (so your morning coffee has you covered for lunch), according to a review published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and NutritionEven better, another small study shows this appetite-reducing effect may even extend to the next day for people who are overweight or living with obesity when they drink a moderate amount of coffee (200ml or 6.7 ounces a day).

If you regularly find yourself ordering a donut or pastry to go with your coffee, it may be because caffeine triggers cravings for sweets by tweaking your perception of sweetness, per a study in the Journal of Food ScienceAnother problem: Many of us add cream, sugar and flavored syrups to our coffee to offset the bitterness, and that boost in taste can make for a major calorie bomb if you overdo it. That said, coffee is a low-calorie beverage on its own, so healthier options like drinking it black or with just a touch of mix-ins could make it a useful addition to your diet for weight loss, says Kostro Miller.

Upping your physical activity along with a healthy diet can help support weight loss, but if you’re struggling to stick with your exercise plan, consider adding coffee to your pre-workout routine. “Caffeine in coffee has also been shown to boost energy, especially if taken before a workout, allowing you to feel more energized and go harder at the gym,” says Kostro Miller. This is thanks to the stimulating effects of caffeine, which can get your blood pumping, increase muscle strength, endurance and power, and even lower your perception of how hard you’re working. All in all, coffee makes for great fuel for sweat sessions. Still, it’s also important to hydrate with water, says Kostro Miller, and electrolytes are important if you’re exercising for longer than 60 minutes.


READ MORE > THE CONFUSING LINK BETWEEN CAFFEINE AND WEIGHT LOSS


The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

You’ve likely already experienced this firsthand: Coffee can affect you radically different compared to someone else — and that’s thanks to certain genes that determine how your body processes caffeine. While “fast metabolizers” can enjoy as much coffee as they’d like and reap the benefits, “slow metabolizers” may experience the exact opposite: A decrease in athletic performance along with a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and prediabetes. If coffee tends to make you jittery, you might be a slow metabolizer.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“Coffee is fine to consume when you’re trying to lose weight. It can give you energy, it tastes good, and it can be a low-calorie beverage,” says Kostro Miller. Although the effect of caffeine is highly individualized, in general, it’s safe to drink about four cups of coffee per day (or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine). However, make sure to drink plenty of water and never use coffee as a meal replacement, notes Kostro Miller.

While some promising studies suggest caffeine could boost weight loss, it’s important to understand coffee is not a magic bullet. To lose weight, it’s best to lean on tried-and-true weight-loss tactics like creating a slight calorie deficit, eating nutritious whole foods, and engaging in regular movement.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

The Best Workouts For Your 30s, 40s, 50s and Beyond

By: Kevin Gray

As we age, our bodies change, so our training and nutritional plans should change, too. When we’re younger, we’re more resilient and better able to compensate for muscle imbalances and for skipping warmups and cooldowns. As we age, smart training becomes more important — not just for feeling good, but also for health and longevity.

During your 20s, you can get away with more because your body is better able to adapt and recover, says Nate Feliciano, owner and head of training at Studio 16 in New York City. But continuing to work out without fixing those imbalances only makes them worse, and possibly leads to injury. “As we age, our goals for training change. They go from specifically training for appearance, to training for performance and then training for health,” he says.

“In our early 30s, most people are strong enough and recover fast enough to do anything they want to do,” says Feliciano. “With the proper training, and especially if you’ve been training correctly in your 20s, you should be able to do all types of different training methods.”

So, don’t hold back. Lifting weights, HIIT, team sports, running, swimming and cycling are all fair game. But Feliciano stresses that it’s very important to focus on strength training and building muscle in your 30s to stave off sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss. It happens to everyone, but you can delay the onset with healthy living and plenty of resistance training.

By the time you reach your 40s, you’ll notice your body takes longer to recover, and you may experience more aches and pains, says Feliciano. “If you haven’t already worked on your muscle imbalances yet, then it’s mandatory to start working on them in your 40s.” He suggests performing stability exercises and tailoring your workouts toward weight training, cardiovascular endurance, recovery and mobility. “Your older self will thank you the sooner you start balancing out your training routines,” he adds.

During your 50s, consistency is key. Follow a steady workout schedule, and get annual physicals to stay on top of your health. “Focus your training on whatever your doctor recommends,” says Feliciano. “If you have high blood pressure, then adding a bit more aerobic training to your routine will help. At this age, you want to make sure everything you’re doing at the gym has a purpose.”

Feliciano notes that following a regular weight training program is vital when you’re in your 50s. This is when sarcopenia becomes more noticeable, and you’ll lose more bone density than you gain. “Less dense bones are more susceptible to fractures and other injuries,” he says. “While weight training, make sure to stay away from exercises that put unneeded stress on your joints. I would stay away from pulling or pushing from behind the neck, really heavy back squats and burpees.” But that still leaves you with plenty of strength-honing exercises at your disposal.

Once you’re in your 60s, there will be more variability from person to person. Again, it’s important to consult a doctor and ensure you’re training for optimal health. While many people can still be very active and perform their favorite activities, doing the wrong movement or moving at the wrong tempo can cause injury, says Feliciano. “At this age, one of the main causes of injury is falling down due to a decline in proprioception and neuromuscular control, so part of your training routine should have exercises that focus on improving balance.”

There are countless options for working out, whether you’re at home, outside or at the gym. But if you’re able to, try working out with a trainer. They’ll be able to create an exercise routine that targets your body’s needs and ensures you’re getting the most out of your workouts, no matter your age.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Your Go-To Cleansing Guide for That Post-Halloween Candy Binge

By LiveWell Labs

Everyone has been there at least once in their lives. You’ve overindulged, and now you feel miserable. While you wish you could take it back, you’re stuck with a yucky feeling from too many treats. The day-after-Halloween candy-hangover is a force to be reckoned with.

While you can’t undo your choices, you can take steps to help your body detox and get back on the right track. And once you are back on track, maintain the routine with tips you can always find on our Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs.

Get Hydrated

Start your morning off with a glass of water. This is a great habit to have for every morning, but especially when you’ve overindulged the night before. A morning glass of water helps jump-start your digestion, rehydrate your body, and boosts your metabolism.

Eat Breakfast

You’re probably doing some calorie math and are a little shocked and upset with yourself for all those fun-sized calorie bombs you consumed. Skipping breakfast sounds like a good way to get back on track and make up for it, but it’s one of the worst things you can do.

Overindulging in sweets is about more than just calories. Too much sugar gives you a sugar rush, which inevitably leads to a huge sugar crash. It’s not just draining on you, but it takes its toll on your body. 

To fight the sugar crash, aim to eat a low-sugar, high protein, and good fat breakfast. Avocado multigrain toast with a poached egg is a perfect way to keep your energy up and get your body back on track.

High Fiber Day

Moving all that junk through your body requires digestion. Your body will take care of that on its own, but you can help it along by focusing on foods that are high in healthy fiber

While whole grains are obviously good fibers, you don’t have to only eat them to have a high fiber day. Bananas, raspberries, pears, avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and many other delicious fruits and vegetables are high in fiber too.

Another option, which might be easier for those who find it hard to diversify their diets, is LiveWell’s DigestWell. Formulated with 10 broad-spectrum, plant-based digestive enzymes, DigestWell acts fast to support digestion while also helping you absorb nutrients more effectively. You don’t have to worry about toxins, as key plant-based enzymes such as bromelain from pineapple and papain from papaya are just a couple of the many naturally-sourced ingredients you’ll find in each serving. 

Skip the Carbs

Carbohydrates are not the enemy that they’ve been made out to be, but after a day of sugar binging, they’re not your friend either. Cut out any unnecessary carbs for the day, and focus on more nutrient-dense foods instead.

Drink More Water

You drank your glass in the morning, but it’s time to drink more. While the rough guideline is to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, on this day it’s a good idea to have even more. 

Make Protein Your Go-To Snack

One of the strange things about a sugar overload is that while you may feel sick to your stomach in the morning, by late afternoon you’ll be craving the sweets again. Your body is still recovering from having a very high blood sugar level and the subsequent crash. 

Fight this by planning ahead and keeping protein-based snacks at the ready. Think meat and cheese sticks and nuts.

Exercise

Sweating out those toxins is a great way to kickstart your recovery. But it’s more than that. Exercise gets the blood pumping in your body. Once your circulation is revved up, it flushes nutrients throughout your systems to fuel them. 

Now that you’ve had a healthy breakfast and you’ve focused on eating good foods packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, it’s time to take advantage of those good choices.

Stick With It

Resetting your body after a huge sugar binge may take more than a day. This probably isn’t great news because there’s still a lot of candy left, but your body will thank you if you hold off for a couple of days. 

After you’ve recovered and set things back on track, allow yourself a moderate amount of treats. Only one serving of candy per day, and if you’re doing that, skip any other desserts you would normally have.

Be Reasonable

Yes, all that sugar was a mistake, but it probably wasn’t as much of a mistake as you think it was. A pound roughly amounts to 3500 calories. If you consider that a fun-sized candy bar has an average of 70 calories, that means you’d have to eat 50 of them to have gained a pound. 

While you want to recover and not cause your body to have any hyperglycemic effects in the future, you also need to accept the fact that people aren’t perfect, and a little binge here and there isn’t the end of the world.

Do You Have Other Health Issues?

If you binge on sugar one night, it’s not going to give you diabetes. It’s also not going to cause other health issues except for perhaps a stomach ache, some lethargy the next day, and maybe a headache. But if you have an underlying health concern that you were unaware of, a massive sugar binge could be more of a problem.

If you’re experiencing other symptoms, or your sugar crash symptoms seem very severe, you might want to schedule a visit with your primary healthcare provider to do some routine blood work.

This is the perfect time to look at your normal eating habits and how much sugar you’re consuming. If you’re routinely eating a lot of sugar, you might be putting yourself at risk for some very serious health problems, including liver disease, cancer, high cholesterol, obesity, chronic inflammation, and more. 

Cutting back on the sugar you regularly consume will help you avoid binges or make them less impactful, so you don’t have this problem again next Halloween.

Living Well

If it feels like you’re battling a hangover, it’s because you are in a way, but it’s more like a sugar hangover. While there aren’t the toxic effects of alcohol in sugar, sugar still takes a toll on your body. Any type of overindulging can leave your body struggling to find homeostasis again, so these tips can be transferred to other situations.

The key is to support the healthy functions of your body, get rehydrated and appropriately fueled, and prompt your digestion with the help of naturally-derived support such as DigestWell.  Then, while your body is recovering, give it time to refresh and revive by finishing your day with plenty of quality sleep. 

And remember — sometimes giving in to your cravings is good for the soul, and that’s A-OK too! Everything in moderation!



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨