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28 Day Challenge

28 Day Challenge Final Recap!

28 Day Challenge Final Recap!

The 28 Day Challenge is over!  At least this version of it.  We had several success stories come out of, most of which you can read about in the 28 Day Challenge Facebook group here.  Overall, this was a great challenge for everyone involved as I was the first time we had a specifically ketogenic bent to the teachings instead of just a general low carb focus so there was a ton of new information for everyone to learn and enjoy.

As for my own personal 28 days, I started January 2nd at 230.1 and ended January 30th at 220.4 which means I was about .3 lbs away from losing 10 lbs during the challenge.  Overall, I’d have to say that I was pretty happy with the results.

Just because the challenge is over doesn’t mean that you can’t lose weight!  Just join us in the FaceBook group and let us know if you need any help with what to do.  Everyone in that room is happy to help.  You can also get caught up on the lessons here.

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Day 26: How to Improve Your Sleep

 

How to Improve Your Sleep

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.

Sleep is an incredibly important but often overlooked component of your overall health routine.  Sleep has been proven to increase overall health by improving your sex drive, reducing chronic pain, helping your body recover from injuries faster, improving your mood, increasing your ability to resist sugar cravings, improve your cognitive function, and increase your immunity.

 

You should experience better and more restful sleep in ketosis but there are things you can do to improve your sleep time.

 

Stick to a sleep schedule

Consistently going to bed and waking up at the same time every day trains your body when to sleep.  You will go to sleep faster and sleep more soundly.

 

Stop eating a few hours before bedtime

 

Your body shouldn’t have to work on digesting food while sleeping.  Not only will cutting out those late night snacks help you lose weight faster but your sleep will be more restful as your body can focus on doing the restorative work it needs to do at night instead of digesting food.

 

Create a bedtime ritual

 

Do the same thing every night before going to bed.  It might be a warm bath or reading a chapter in a book or listening to soothing music.  Try to limit your exposure to screens in that last hour before bedtime because that stimulates hormones that will keep you awake.

 

Create a “comfort zone”

 

Invest in things that make your bedroom a relaxing place.  This might be a new mattress or high thread count sheets.  You could get black out curtains, earplugs, or anything else that makes you more comfortable.

 

Destress

 

Stress keeps you awake.  Whether you are worried about bills or personal relationships, these stresses can keep you awake at night.  Some basic things you can do to reduce stress are getting organized, setting priorities, setting and meeting goals, stretching, being with friends and family and setting a budget.

 

If you would like to learn more sleep hacks, take a look at Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson.

Want some great meal ideas? Click here to sign up for our daily email and get a FREE 28 Day Sugar Free Meal Plan!

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!

Day 25: What Exercise is Best when You Are in Ketosis?

What Exercise is Best when You Are in Ketosis?

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.

So what exercise should you actually do?  The great thing about living in ketosis is that most of the needed weight loss will be happening regardless of how you exercise,  now it’s just a matter of enjoying the benefits we discussed in yesterday’s lesson.

 

Stretching

 

Stretching is probably the most important thing you can do before you start exercising, especially if you are new to exercise or older as it will prevent injuries.  I spend about 10 minutes stretching before doing anything and I have a short 10 minute video on my phone that walks me through some easy stretches that I play every time I start.  Just look for an easy video perhaps on YouTube that is at your level that will stretch you out and follow that.

 

Aerobic exercise

 

Aerobic exercise is exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you breath harder.  Again, this doesn’t take much.  You can get many benefits from taking a walk around the block at a brisk pace.  You are just trying to get your heart rate up.  If you think you are ready for something more advanced, look into HIIT training as it will increase your heart rate and exercise you in a very short amount of time.

 

Weight Training

 

Weight training or resistance training is the exercise that will allow you to begin to put on muscle mass.  It is the weight training that will encourage your body to make new insulin sensitive muscle fibers so it is important that it is included in your routine.  I use the app StrongLifts to walk me through a simple weight lifting routine but if you don’t want to join a gym and don’t have weights, you can just do simple bodyweight exercises to get many of the same benefits.  I have used the app madBarz in the past for Bodyweight exercises and have been happy with it.

 

Rest

 

The most important part of any exercise routine is the rest you take between sessions.  The time you are asleep and the time you are not exercising is when your body is hard at work adjusting to the the benefits of exercise like increasing your bone density, muscle mass, and cardiovascular capacity.  Don’t overdo it.

Want some great meal ideas? Click here to sign up for our daily email and get a FREE 28 Day Sugar Free Meal Plan!

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!

Day 24: Is Exercise Important When In Ketosis?

Is Exercise Important When In Ketosis?

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.

Exercise is a terrible way to lose weight.  That’s a maxim that I think needs to be repeated as often as possible because the “Eat Less, Move More” idea has been so ingrained in us that we just naturally associate weight loss with increased exercise.  But as anyone who has spent hours in the gym every week for years can tell you, exercise doesn’t always correlate to weight loss.

 

Having said that, we need to make clear that there are several benefits to exercise that contribute directly to your overall health.  Let’s take a look at what those are.

 

Exercise increases Bone Density

 

This is important for anyone but especially for women as they approach middle age and beyond.  Your bones are not static but living things that are constantly being broken down with old bone matter being removed by Osteoclasts and new bone being generated through osteoblasts.  Exercise, but especially weight bearing exercise, increases function of the osteoblasts to increase bone density and health.  If you are concerned at all about osteoporosis, the answer isn’t calcium supplements but regular weight bearing exercises.

 

Exercise Improves Your Immunity

 

Several studies have shown that people who exercise regularly get sick less often.  The exact mechanism for this isn’t quite clear but here are a few possibilities.

 

  • Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
  • Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. However, no one knows whether these changes help prevent infections.
  • The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.

The exact reason why isn’t important, the important thing here is that exercise keeps you healthy.

 

Exercise improves Your Insulin Sensitivity

 

Insulin sensitivity is the name of the game when it comes to weight loss.  The less insulin your body has to produce to deal with the food you eat, the faster the weight will come off.  As we exercise, older insulin resistant muscle tissue is replaced with new insulin sensitive tissue to be able to get the needed energy to support your new activity level.  As your insulin resistant tissue is replaced, you begin to use the energy from the food you eat more efficiently which means less of it goes into the long term storage of your fat cells.  When you exercise, your body responds on a molecular level!

 

Exercise Improves Brain Health

 

We discussed a last week how exercise combined with a ketogenic diet improves brain health by stimulating the production of BDNF, a hormone that has been proven to stimulate the brain to create new brain cells and improves overall brain function.  New studies have also correlated exercise in older people to lower rates of Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Decline with people being able to remember more and for longer periods of time after just moderate levels of exercise.

 

Exercise improves Cardiovascular Health

 

Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart causing it to be more efficient with every pump.  As your heart’s pumping capacity increases, it can do more with less and it will last longer.

 

Exercise increases Life Expectancy

 

Many studies have been shown that exercise increases life expectancy.  It does this primarily by reducing the risk of many of the diseases that afflict us as we age like Diabetes, cancer, alzheimer’s, Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.  If you would like to live longer and enjoy your life into old age, make regular exercise part of your routine.

 

But what exercise should you do and which give you the most benefits?  That’s what we will be discussing tomorrow.

Want some great meal ideas? Click here to sign up for our daily email and get a FREE 28 Day Sugar Free Meal Plan!

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!

Day 23: Which Artificial Sweeteners Are Best?

Which Artificial Sweeteners Are Best?

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.

 

One of the most common questions I get when I explain how and why I eat is “What artificial sweeteners should I use?”  The answer to this couldn’t be easier.  None of them.  Once you start removing sugar from your diet, you are going to find that your “sweet tooth” becomes less and less important and you are going to want less “sweet” in your foods and drinks.  This is a good thing and something you should really watch out for as you continue along your sugar free journey.

 

However, you are probably still going to want an occasional dessert or sweetened drink so here is what you need to know about the different sweeteners.

 

Natural Sweeteners

 

Stevia

Stevia is an herb, which is commonly known as “sugar leaf” and has only been approved for use in the last few years.  From all reports there are few side effects and as a personal note, has become my sweetener of choice.  Watch out for the powdered varieties though as they are typically mixed with maltodextrin which can cause an insulin reaction.

 

Inulin

Derived from chicory root, it has a natural taste very close to sugar.  It can caramelize like sugar and has very little aftertaste.  Some will mix it with a sugar alcohol to make it a little sweeter so less is needed.  Some studies suggest we can absorb a small amount so it may cause a small insulin reaction but nothing is conclusive.

 

Monk Fruit

 

Also called Luo Han Guo, is native to China and has been used as an herbal remedy for obesity.  The biggest drawback is it is very expensive compared to other sweeteners.

 

Sugar Alcohols

 

Erythritol

 

Great sweetener.  Can be used as a 1 to 1 replacement for sugar.  Can cause intestinal distress when consumed in large amounts but your body doesn’t absorb it.  It is secreted in the urine so most of it never even makes it to the intestines.  An excellent alternative to sugar

 

Xylitol

Causes a small insulin reaction and intestinal distress when consumed in large amounts but many people prefer it because the taste is so close to sugar.  (This is my wife’s sweetener of choice for her morning coffee and she is VERY picky)

 

Maltitol

Most commonly used sugar alcohol because it is similar in taste to sugar and very cheap.  Will cause more of an insulin reaction than the other alcohols so it’s better to avoid it.

 

Synthetic Sweeteners

 

Sucralose

Recent studies suggest than when used in powdered form, it may cause a larger insulin reaction than sugar which means definitely avoid it.  If you can find it in liquid form, it is 600x sweeter than sugar and does not appear to cause an insulin reaction at all.

 

Aspertame

The most controversial sugar substitute as it has been linked to a whole host of neurological problems.  If even 10% of what has been said about it is true, I would avoid it like the plague.

 

Saccharin

The first synthetic sweetener and has been in use for about 150 years.  Appears to be relatively safe and doesn’t cause an insulin reaction.

 

Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K)

While you will never buy Ace K for home use, it is widely used in diet soft drinks.  It causes a small insulin reaction and may be the reason why it is so difficult to lose weight while drinking diet soft drinks.

Want some great meal ideas? Click here to sign up for our daily email and get a FREE 28 Day Sugar Free Meal Plan!

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!