How To Beat A Plateau

How To Beat A Plateau

It gets pretty discouraging to step on the scales and see it display the same weight for weeks. That’s plateauing and one of the reasons many people often give up their efforts to shed pounds. There’s no reason to quit. You can beat a plateau by making some changes. I help clients in Lakeland, Florida push past that plateau and help them begin to lose weight again.

One of the most common reasons for plateauing is repeatedly doing the same exercise routine.

The body works like a magnificent self-healing machine that gets more efficient with every repeated movement. While that efficiency is important most of the time, it’s not good if you’re trying to lose weight. The more efficient a body is, the fewer calories it burns. That’s why doing the same routine without changing it can eventually bring about plateauing. It’s also why I use a variety of workouts and change each person’s routine frequently.

It may not be that you’re plateauing, it may be that you have too high of expectations.

While having high expectations can help you shed weight, it also can be quite depressing when you don’t get the same results you did when you first began. Consider the person that started with an ambitious goal of shedding 50 pounds. That first few months, weight came off rapidly and you lost 30 pounds, but it slowed slightly as the months continued. It’s to be expected. When you started, it was like you were carrying a 30 pound weight everywhere you went. Now that your body weighs less, you’ll be carrying less weight and burning fewer calories. The solution is to up the ante and make the workout tougher as you get fitter.

A good weight loss program should also include a program of healthier eating.

If you haven’t changed what you consume, don’t expect the results to be stellar. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Consider those people who go to the gym and immediately go for a beer or two and a pizza after they workout. Not losing weight isn’t because of lack of effort or the right workout, it’s the food you eat before and after you workout. Sometimes, people don’t realize that they’re consuming extra calories, since they come in the form of soft drinks, like cola. Jut one 12-ounce Coke contains 140 calories and the same size Pepsi contains 150 calories. You can see how drinking two or three during the day can set your weight loss efforts back and maybe even make you gain weight.

  • Maybe you’re successful, but not measuring it the right way. When you workout, you build muscle, which weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. You may be slimming down and losing inches, but not shedding weight. Use inches as a guide to success, too.
  • Don’t give up. You may and probably will fall off the weight loss wagon a few times. Get back on and continue your plan. One indulgence isn’t a failure. In fact, healthy eating means you can eat high calorie foods occasionally.
  • Find ways to increase your daily activity. Park further from the store and walk, take the stairs and not the elevator and get up at least five minutes out of every hour. You’ll burn extra calories and be healthier.
  • Enjoy your workout and know that you’ll get results with my program. If I see a problem in your progress, I adjust the workout to get you back on track.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness

How To Keep A Health Journal

How To Keep A Health Journal

When you go to a new doctor, he or she will ask you about previous illnesses, surgery, family medical history, allergies and medications you take. It’s handy to have these jotted down in a health journal. It provides all the information and you don’t have to tax your memory. You should also include your height and weight, as well as your age. It’s also good in the event of a serious condition where you’re incapacitated and can’t tell the doctors about your past. You can expand it to include the food you eat, supplements you take and how you feel after eating specific foods. It’s a great way to isolate problem foods and identify an intolerance or allergy.

Doctors appreciate a health journal, especially if trying to identify illusive symptoms.

You don’t have to be fancy, just put a header on each page once you get the basics that don’t change, like age, identified. Maybe you’ve noticed you feel out of sorts after a meal. Record what you ate and be specific about how you felt. Were you bloated? Did you have sharp pains? If so, where and were they constant or intermittent? If you just feel out of sorts, try to figure out why or whether it only occurs when you’re sitting in a certain position. Anything you think that may be relevant can help.

Don’t forget to record what you did to feel better.

Not everything people do to feel better helps, but knowing what didn’t work is also helpful. Did taking an ibuprofen help or not touch the pain? Did you find that walking actually helped you feel better? There’s nothing too minimal or insignificant if it played a role on your health. Sometimes, the things you don’t feel are important really are.

Tracking your food intake can help you in many ways.

As noted earlier, sometime foods just don’t like you. If you are tracking what you eat each day and how you felt after you ate the meal, by deduction, you can find foods that are difficult for you to digest. By tracking your food, you can actually see how many calories you eat in a day and the types of food you eat more than others. It can be quite enlightening, particularly when you realize how many nibbles and bites you eat throughout the day between meals that you may do mindlessly and forget about later.

  • Track your medical appointments, including the reason you went to the doctor and the date. If there was a drug prescribed, list it too and how effective it was.
  • A health diary can be particularly important if you’re traveling, particularly if you’re alone. It can provide information when someone else who knows you isn’t there.
  • Even when you have family with you, they may not be versed in your health conditions, particularly if it’s a grown child that no longer lives at home.
  • A health journal can be important for your workout program. If you have any health conditions or limitations, it’s important for your trainer to know. Of course, you always need to consult with your primary health care advisor before embarking on any fitness program.

For more information, contact us today at

Benefits Of Eating Organic

Benefits Of Eating Organic

Just like everywhere else, the cost of organic food in Lakeland, Florida, is slightly higher than conventionally grown food. However, there are benefits of eating organic that make the extra price worthwhile. There are very strict standards set by the USDA—the United States Department of Agriculture before a food product can be called organic. For crops, there are no synthetic pesticides, irradiation, biotechnology or artificial fertilizers used. For animal products, the feed must be organic and the animals need to be free range at least part of the time. Animals don’t receive growth hormones or antibiotics either.

Just eliminating the pesticides and hormones can make the food healthier.

Several studies link pesticides to many serious conditions and events. These can be as minor as headaches or as debilitating as cancer. Some studies show it can cause birth defects, which is why it’s important for pregnant woman or new mothers to be extremely cautious. While there’s evidence that conventionally grown food can be safe for most healthy adults, it doesn’t hurt to error on the side of caution. Animal products that contain hormones and antibiotics can also affect your health, including antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Studies show that organically grown foods contain higher nutritional value.

A new mega study found that after reviewing more than 343 studies found that while the amount of traditional vitamins and minerals didn’t vary in organic food. However, they contained more antioxidants. Antioxidants are a phytonutrient that play a significant role in our health, protecting every cell in the body from oxidation. The organic fruit and vegetables had from 20 to 40 percent more.

Organic food doesn’t have to break your budget.

When selecting vegetables and fruit, there’s a list called the “Dirty Dozen” and another called the “Clean 15.” The EWG—Environmental Working Group—tests hundreds of vegetables and fruit from groceries to find which ones have pesticides, even after washing. The results of those tests are ranked by the amount of pesticides they contain. The Dirty Dozen are the worst and the Clean 15 the most pesticide free. You can save money by choosing organic for the Dirty Dozen, while buying traditionally grown fruits and vegetables that are often lower in cost from the list of the Clean 15.

  • Pregnant and lactating women should focus on using more organic vegetables from the “Dirty Dozen list.
  • The Dirty Dozen list includes strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
  • The Clean 15 list includes sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, onions, papayas, eggplants, asparagus, kiwis, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli Mushrooms and honeydew melons.
  • To be your healthiest, you need nutritious food and regular exercise. At Habitat Health and Fitness, we can help you shed weight, while getting other health benefits.

For more information, contact us today at

Become More Productive

Become More Productive

So many studies show that you become more productive when you incorporate a program of regular exercise into your schedule. Sure, it’s one more block of time that could be used for other demanding tasks, but it also may be just what you need when you have too much to do and too little time. It’s like taking the time to get adequate sleep, eat a decent meal or taking a few minutes to clear your head. Exercise helps you become more focused.

Studies suggest that exercise makes you more productive and even should be part of the job.

A study at Leeds Metropolitan University found that exercising during regular work hours even increased productivity in the office, even though they took the time to exercise. The study used several companies and over 200 employees who self-reported productivity daily. It also compared the productivity on the days when they exercised and when they didn’t. On the days the employees exercised, they reported being more productive with better interactions with co-workers. They also felt better at the end of the day, leaving work feeling more satisfied.

Exercise burns off the hormones of stress that leave you feeling foggy.

That alone and the improved mood should be enough to get you to the gym, but there’s more. It boosts concentration, improves your memory, increases your ability to focus longer and makes learning easier and faster. If that isn’t enough to convince you, it also enhances your creativity. Sometimes, thinking outside of the box is just what you need to get the results you want. Exercise can help.

When you consider exercise as a mandatory part of your work, you’ll be more likely to do it.

Too often people find it noble to self-sacrifice their health as proof they’re a dedicated worker. That’s one reason people put exercise on hold. Focusing on exercise as a way of getting more done and being more productive can be the best way to overcome the feeling you’re participating in self-indulgence when you workout. Change that perception and you’ll find working out no longer requires you to justify working out.

  • Make exercise more enjoyable by working out with someone or in a group. Not only does it make you more accountable, it makes exercising more fun.
  • Reframing how you think about exercise, as part of your daily work, rather than a luxury, can help you boost your performance in the gym, particularly if you’re goal driven.
  • You’ll have fewer sick days, illnesses and injuries when you workout regularly. Staying healthy makes you far more productive. Healthy people have more energy.
  • At Habitat Health and Fitness we let you see the difference for yourself. Try our three free workout offers and you’ll see how it makes the day smoother and far more productive after working out.

Be In A Better Mood

Be In A Better Mood

I see a lot of clients come into our gym in Lakeland, FL angry, stressed and sometimes ready to blow, but by the end of the workout, they’re in a better mood. Why the change? It’s one of the benefits of working out. Working out burns off the hormones of stress that can make you ready to hit the next person that looks at you or scream at the top of your lungs. The process of working out actually mimics the very things that the fight or flight response was meant to prepare you to do, fight or run like the wind.

When you start a workout, hormones cause changes in your body.

While the body makes changes, so does the brain. It releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor—BDNF—to protect itself and repair any memory neurons, while also allowing it to be a reset for the brain. Don’t worry about the pain from running or fighting—-or in this case, exercising—endorphins are released to block pain or discomfort. If those weren’t present, you’d focus more on how your legs hurt when running from a predator than looking for places to hide or how to get away successfully.

Your brain increases neurotransmitter production, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

Serotonin and norepinephrine are both neurotransmitters and hormones. In fact, they’re often called happiness hormones. They boost your feelings of happiness and peace in your brain. You get the biggest boost in the first 20 minutes of working out and the effects can last all day. Clinical psychologist, James Blementhal, PhD from Duke University, found that adults suffering from major depression had higher rates of remission, comparing exercise to antidepressants for treating patients suffering from major depressive disorder and that exercise also preventing a relapse in a follow-up a year later.

Healthy eating can increase your sense of well-being.

You may already be aware that eating products with added sugar or simple carbohydrates can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels that can take you from a high to a deep valley. Cutting out sugar and simple carbohydrates is one change that has a positive impact on your mood. One study found that people who ate almost no servings of fruit and vegetables and switched to eight portions a day had a boost in the feeling of satisfaction.

  • Exercise can be the cornerstone for building habits that make your life better and more productive. Sticking with the habit of working out boosts your self esteem and adds to the feel-good response.
  • While nobody is sure why consuming more vegetables and fruit makes you feel good, most hypothesize it’s the nutrients like carotenoids that boost optimism or vitamin B12 that increases serotonin.
  • Studies show that just starting a program of regular exercise boosts your self-image, even before any results are seen. Knowing you’re doing something good for yourself that’s tough to do is part of the feel good results.
  • Get a boost of happiness today. Habitat Health and Fitness offers an opportunity to get three free workouts to become familiar with our program. Take advantage of this offer and you’ll see the difference.

Eat Healthy Without Depriving Yourself

Eat Healthy Without Depriving Yourself

Clients in Lakeland, Florida find it’s not hard to eat healthy once they know the right foods to eat. It doesn’t come at the cost of depriving yourself of foods you love, either. Eating healthy isn’t like dieting. Anyone who has ever dieted knows that at some time it ends. Either you reach your goal or simply give up and consume every treat in the refrigerator. Eating healthy is about making smarter choices and consuming more whole foods. If you want to have those “forbidden treats” occasionally, it’s not a problem. Keep portion control in mind, but if you don’t, just go back to healthy eating the next day.

Making substitutions can give you more nutrients and fewer calories.

If you’re a cook, you’ll appreciate some of these cooking tips that can lower calories and boost nutrition. Want to make a sweet treat but hate to use all the sugar? It’s easy to lower calories and improve its nutritional value by substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugar. You’ll need to reduce the liquid when you do that. Applesauce can also substitute for oil or butter when baking. Avocados mashed are a good substitution for butter, especially in recipes with chocolate.

You’ll be amazed at how these vegetables can taste so delicious.

If you’re a pasta lover, but hate to add the extra pounds, consider zoodles. Those are zucchini noodles. Spaghetti squash is also good. It tastes like spaghetti and is great with sauce or a little garlic butter. Mashed cauliflower is a good substitute for mashed potatoes, too. Some people do a 50/50 blend. Whether you’re making a taco or a sandwich, big lettuce leaves can be the bun, bread or wrap.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you starve yourself.

In fact, it might even mean you’ll eat more food than normal. You do have to plan ahead a bit to ensure you have things like healthy mid morning and afternoon snacks. In fact, most people find that taking the time to plan a week’s worth of meals with a shopping list for the store and cooking all the meals over the weekend can help avoid that last minute stop for a pizza.

  • Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream. It still gives that creamy goodness, but with far few calories and more nutrition.
  • Consider making simple switches, like choosing brown rice over white for fewer calories and more nutrients.
  • When you want a sweet treat, but want to cut out some of the calories, use one cup of pureed black beans (a 15-oz can) for a cup of flour. You’ll cut the flour while boosting the protein.
  • Watch your serving sizes when you’re eating healthy. While some foods won’t matter, like many vegetables that are lower in calories, portion control is important if you’re eating high calorie foods.

Common Diet Mistakes

Common Diet Mistakes

If you’re not having any success trying to shed those extra pounds, you might be making one or more of the common diet mistakes that sabotage your efforts. One of the biggest ones is failing to eat enough calories and using a fad diet. Dieting, whether it’s a fad diet or not, just doesn’t work. It’s not sustainable and eventually you go back to old eating habits, which put on weight in the first place. You also often feel hungry and deprived. Eating to few calories can actually slow your metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight. While you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, do it by eating whole foods and skipping the empty calories in processed and sugary food.

Is exercise part of your weight loss plan?

It should be if it isn’t. Not only does exercise burn extra calories, it boosts your energy and builds muscle tissue. Who wouldn’t love a little extra energy to get more accomplished throughout the day and still feel like doing something active when your work day ends. That means you’ll burn even more calories. Building muscle tissue is also important, since muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does, boosting your metabolism and making weight loss even easier. If you’re not working out regularly, add it to your schedule and you’ll find weight loss easier.

Don’t be fooled by the label “low fat” or “no fat.”

Eating less fat may seem like a great idea when you’re trying to shed a few pounds, but it will backfire and make you gain weight. Even though it’s higher in calories per gram, it also makes you feel fuller for longer, so you’ll eat less. Since removing the fat also takes some of the flavor, manufacturers often add sugar to make the food taste better. That extra sugar adds up to extra calories and actually makes you hungrier, so you’ll eat even more than you would otherwise.

Check your diet for the amount of protein it contains.

Not only does protein make you feel fuller longer, it also helps to boost your metabolism. Lack of protein can affect how much muscle mass you have, too. By now you should realize that the more the better when it comes to muscle tissue. Studies show that eating protein can make a significant difference in weight loss. In one study, the subjects ate a diet with 30 percent of those calories from protein sources. Those people ate fewer calories than they did when they lowered that amount to 15 percent of their calories from protein.

  • You can get too much of a good thing. While exercise can help you shed extra pounds, if you’re overdoing it, can stress your body. Stress hormones like cortisol add pounds around your middle.
  • While exercise is important, so is the type of exercise you do. Aerobic exercise like running burns tons of calories, but they come from both lean muscle tissue and fat. The less lean muscle tissue you have, the harder it is to lose weight. Include strength building exercises in your workout that build muscles.
  • Don’t forget the fiber. Sure, you probably know that fiber keeps you regular, so you don’t have a bloated belly, but did you know it can help you lose weight? It blocks the absorption of some calories while boosting your satiety level.
  • If you think you’re eating less, but don’t track what you eat, you may be eating far more calories than you expected. Keeping a food diary can help you find out where your weaknesses are and just how many calories you’re really eating.

Eat Right, Live Strong

Eat Right, Live Strong

When you eat right, workout and get plenty of sleep, you’re doing the things you need to do to live strong in Lakeland, FL. The secret to healthy living, no matter where you are, starts with the food you consume. If you eat junk food that’s loaded with calories, you’ll put on weight and won’t provide the nutrients you need to build healthy cells and boost your immune system. Eating healthy means cutting out foods that have a toxic effect on your body.

Unhealthy food can cause you to consume even more unhealthy food.

Food high in sugar can be addictive. It actually releases opioids and dopamine in the brain and those make you feel good. They’re also released when taking addictive drugs. Eating sugar makes you want to eat more sugar. It also can cause joint pain, can make your skin wrinkly by damaging collagen, can cause insulin resistance, heart disease, kidney problems and affect your sexual drive. Foods in high fructose corn syrup mess with the hormones that make you feel hungry and full, leaving you to feel hungry and never quite able to fill that need.

Not only does unhealthy food cause you to gain weight, it also contains chemicals and toxins.

Have you ever read a label on processed meat or many of the processed foods commonly purchased? It often contains words that look like a chemistry lab experiment. Processed foods means foods that are altered chemically. If you make a roast, the meat is processed because you cook it, but that’s not the same as the processing required to make a hot dog. Processed foods are designed to make you want to eat more. The manufacturers create them to reward the brain and cause over consumption. Many of the ingredients aren’t found in nature and can’t be properly processed by the body.

Eating healthy means eating whole foods.

That fresh salad, the grilled chicken and fresh cooked green beans are all whole foods that provide nutrients without providing junk. Eating healthy means choosing food with a variety of natural colors. If your plate looks like a rainbow of whole foods, you’re doing it right. Each color of vegetable means a different phytonutrient that can help your body in different ways. When you choose healthy eating, you’re making a difference that can help you live longer, lose weight and keep it from returning.

  • Not only are processed foods high in calories and low in nutrients, they’re low in fiber to help keep the digestive system healthy. Don’t forget what you drink counts too. Make it water, not soft drinks.
  • A healthy lifestyle means more than just eating healthy, although that should be a top priority. It also means working out regularly. Exercise helps keep you younger looking, improves your mood and makes you healthier.
  • Living strong means getting all types of exercise, including lifting weights. Strength building exercises can help make bones stronger and prevent injury. Flexibility workouts improve your range of motion and a good cardio workout makes you heart healthy.
  • Sleeping is important for heart health. It also helps improve your mental well being.

Drop The Fries And Move Those Thighs

Drop The Fries And Move Those Thighs

Getting in shape for the summer means more than just working out. While you do have to move, in order to get the waist, thighs or overall body that you want. You have to eat healthy, too. It can start by eliminating processed foods and sugar from your diet and focus more on eating fresh whole foods. Whole foods can include poultry, beef, pork, seafood and fish you bake, broil, steam or grill at home. Whole foods have minimum ingredients and you know what’s in each one. Instead of chicken McNuggets, you eat a baked chicken breast. Forget about the fries and chips, have a baked potato instead.

Exercise tones and builds the muscles, burns calories and gives you the shapely body you want.

Eating healthy can help you lose weight and make your body healthier, but only exercise can shape your body to improve your appearance. Besides toning your body, working out does so much more. It builds muscle tissue and while doing that, burns calories. Building muscle tissue is also important because muscle tissue burns more calories 24/7 than fat tissue does, so it helps you boost your metabolism. You’ll increase your energy level, too.

Besides a program of exercise, adding more movement in your life can shape those thighs.

Sure, you can work out three times a week and get results, but if you want to boost those results, start making other changes. Increasing your overall activity can help you lose weight and get fitter faster. It doesn’t mean you have to workout every day, but it does mean that making changes like walking to lunch rather than taking a car, taking the stairs not the elevator and even parking further from the store to add steps to your day can help you get the body you want.

Don’t forget to take snacks with you.

One reason people often fail at losing weight is that they starve themselves, rather than switching to a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t take long before you find yourself anxiously searching the candy machine at work for something to eat or sneaking a donut that was brought in by a co-worker. Rather than starving yourself, make sure you have a supply of healthy foods, snacks included. Take fresh fruits and vegetables and some healthy dip for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack. A single serving of mixed nuts or a few pieces of apple with peanut butter will help you stay full and keep you on track.

  • Starving yourself isn’t the way to lose weight. While you might shed a pound or two, they return the minute you eat again. It can even slow your metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight.
  • You can have family fun while helping those thighs become thinner. Plan a hike or picnic with the family or take a walking tour of the city. Even shooting hoops with the kids can help burn calories and tone your legs.
  • Lunges with jump changes, jump crunches, leg raises while laying on your side and leg raises all help thin those thighs and get your legs swimsuit ready.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep. Too little sleep can mess with your hunger hormones and thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Both are healthy lifestyle changes that can slim you down.

Help Eliminate Chronic Disease With Lifestyle Changes

Help Eliminate Chronic Disease With Lifestyle Changes

While you’re probably aware that you’ll feel and look better when you workout and make lifestyle changes, did you know you can eliminate chronic disease? I see it happen frequently in the gym in Winter Haven, Florida. People often start out just to get into shape and then find that chronic issues that have bothered them for years seem to get better or disappear. It can be anything from chronic back or stomach issues to arthritis and diabetes.

It makes sense, when you consider one of the causes of chronic ailments is obesity.

Obesity is now the leading cause of preventable death. It takes more than just cutting back on calories to conquer it. It takes exercise and knowing what to eat. In fact, cutting calories to extremely low levels actually encourages weight gain by slowing the body’s metabolism. Eating healthy on the other hand not only provides all the nutrients you need to be healthy, but also reduces calorie counts to help shed weight. Exercise also plays a big role in weight loss. Both exercise and healthy eating can attack obesity, which then reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, breathing problems and high blood pressure.

You’ll boost your health with exercise.

If you want to be healthier at a cellular level, consider exercise. Every cell has telomeres that prevent damage to the DNA. It allows the cells to live longer and prevents damage, which stops premature aging and cancer. Exercise also boosts circulation. It clears the arteries, lowers blood pressure, helps prevent or improve diabetes. You’ll strengthen your lungs and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The pain from arthritis improves, just as your mood and energy level.

Exercise and weight loss helps shift where the weight is stored or reduces it.

Carrying extra weight isn’t always a health issue, unless it’s a huge a mount. The problem come from where you carry it. People with an apple shape, carrying weight around the waist and stomach, increases their risk for conditions like fatty liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, depression, cellular aging, mental decline, gout, kidney disease and gout. You won’t escape the problem by using artificial sweeteners. They actually have their own risk. In fact, studies show that people who drink diet soft drinks often develop more fat around their abdomen.

  • If you aren’t ready for a formal exercise program, just start by walking more. Take the stairs, walk to the store or just get out and walk every day. It can help you get into shape and be the start of a workout program.
  • Exercise can help eliminate the hormones of stress and undo the changes they make. Stress hormones can cause serious conditions if not dealt with frequently.
  • Other lifestyle changes that pack a wallop and can boost your overall health include quitting smoking and avoid abuse of alcohol and controlled substance.
  • One of the great benefits of making lifestyle changes is that you attain a healthier looking you. If you needed to lose weight, you’ll lose weight. If you need to gain weight, you’ll put on healthy pounds and muscle tissue.