Health & Beauty

So I got this email today touting the benefits of drinking tea. There are many benefits to drinking tea. They are very high in anti-oxidants which can help prevent and even help in fighting existing cancer cells in your body. There are also elements in tea that are reported to increase the fat burning ability of your body by increasing metabolism and helping your body burn fat.

This is all great stuff, but what kind of tea do you choose?

First, you should know that all true teas come from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. The difference in teas is simply in how the tea is processes. There are also herbal teas and others such as rooibos that are made from plants, fruits and flowers and contain no actual tea.

Types of teas include white, yellow, black, green, oolong and post-fermented. In China what we know as black tea is referred to as red tea, which is what rooibos tea is commonly called here. Post-fermented tea is what is called black tea in China. It’s all very confusing, right?

Anyway, let’s refer to things in the US vernacular for simplicity.

Black tea has the most caffeine of all the teas, but it is still about 40% of a regular cup of coffee. Drink it as dark as I do and maybe it’s even a greater difference. Black tea is high in polyphenols, a common antioxidant. There has also been research completed stating that consumption of black tea can have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Green tea has earned quite a reputation for it’s health benefits and some even claim that you can lose weight by drinking green tea. There is really no scientific proof of these weight loss benefits, although I imagine (with no authority) that some people, given their personal circumstances, may lose a little weight by increasing their water intake and/or balancing some internal chemical imbalance due to the beneficial elements of the tea.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants and scientifically associated with (not proof) with many health benefits including hear health and fighting cancer and glucose stabilization as well as an increase in fat oxidation during exercise. Guess I might have a cup of tea before my next workout :)

The newcomer on the weight-loss hype scene is “Wu-Long Tea”. Let’s be very clear here. There is no difference between Wu-long and Oolong tea.

Do not be fooled and do not pay the unreal prices that companies are asking for this “special” tea. You can pick up a good quality organic oolong tea as a high quality grocery store or health food store for the same price as any other type of tea.

Oolong tea is the same at wu-long tea. don't be fooled or cheated.

Oolong tea has many of the same health benefits as green tea. Preliminary research is stating that oolong tea may have a more significant effect on weight loss by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption. Oolong tea has been showed to have be a less effective antioxidant than green tea.

Overall tea is great for you and green or oolong may be a good supplement during your weight loss efforts, but don’t for a minute think you can drink tea or even take tea extract pills and lose weight without diet and exercise. Let’s be real folks. And for god’s sake don’t spend a bunch of money on the marketing hype of “Wu-long” Tea. Just try out a couple of varieties of widely available and reasonably priced Oolong Tea.

As always, thank you for following my personal journey and good luck with your own.

References:
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/oolong-tea-health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea – and links deeper

Because I am one of the bare all – no holds barred bloggers who believes that sharing my life honestly is the right thing to do for both me and my readers, I feel it is very important to applaud others who do the same.

Not only is Tasha a brave and amazing blogger, she speaks to a topic that is close to my heart and a message that I think it is important for you, my readers, to hear as well. She learned to listen to her body and do what was best for her, even when it bumped up against everything she believed in and thought was right and true in the world.

Read Her Story

Life is not black and white and you can not and should not believe everything you read and hear. I am always amazed how we can suspend the use of our perfectly healthy and functioning brains to feed our belief systems. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years of struggling with my own battle with depression, anxiety and a bunch of familial bullshit is that no matter how much you believe something to be true that is not always the case.

It is so important that we learn to trust ourselves. Our minds and bodies yearn to speak to us, to tell us what is right and true for us, but so often we ignore them. We ignore that we are tired or sad or not feeling well and all the little ailments that we attribute to our lives or getting older or whatever our excuses might be.  We push aside our uneasy feelings and that little nagging tug that something here is hinky.  In reality all these little things are our bodies ways of speaking to us, of telling us that something isn’t right and that we should take a good look at how we are living and what changes our hearts know we need to make.

Instead of listening to these warnings, more times than not we ignore them until they turn into monsters that come back and bite us, sometimes with devastating consequences.  My mind and body were screaming and I just blatently ignored it, shoved it down until my whole world exploded.  Not necessarly the best way to go about it.

Read how Tasha learned this very same lesson

Learning this important lesson comes to each of us in it’s own way.  For Tasha it was her Vegan-ism, as much a doctrine as a lifestyle choice in her mind.  For each of us it will always be something personal and most likely painful.  Facing our personal truth is certainly not an easy task, but one that faced with bravery and an open heart will forever make us and everyone we touch better for it.

There are many things that I could say about being vegan or how I feel about the importance of quality natural animal protein sources, but I think the bigger lesson here is that if you listen, your mind and body will tell you what you need.  And if you refuse to listen, it will just yell louder, believe me.

And just one more little rant.  Be very careful how you judge others and what you believe from so-called experts.  We each have our own beliefs and our own reasons for them.  Do your own research, and I mean real research – not just asking your friend or your favorite talk show host, and listen to your gut.  If someone seems all over the top about stuff, there is probably a reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you.   And if you disagree about something with someone, no matter how vehemently, remember to have some respect.  Being an asshole only hurts you in the long run.

I am not a protein shake person so I have been struggling a little with the shake days on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet.

I do make a lot of smoothies for my kids so I just modified that recipe a little for a fruit smoothie, which is quite tasty.  I also supplement dinner and one snack with real food carefully calculated to ensure I am staying within my calories and ratios.

This morning I was feeling I might need to try something a little different.  When I started this I bought one vanilla and one chocolate protein powder.  My chocolate hasn’t been getting much use really as I couldn’t figure out what to put with it.  I am not a huge fan of chocolate peanut butter flavored things so the protein/fat smoothies are my big challenge and I also don’t really like chocolate and fruit together so you can see my dillema here.

Side Note: I use and recommend Jay Robb Whey Protein.  It tastes great and meets all the recommended quality and nutritional recommendations — high quality ingredients and sweetened with stevia.

I threw some things together this morning and it turned out pretty good, so I thought I would share my couple of shake recipes with you.

How Much of Each Ingredient?

Each one of us will have specific quantity requirements to meet our calories and macro-nutrient ratios.  For this reason I have left the amount off of anything that would add to the caloric total or affect the ratios.

There is a whole section of the diet manual dedicated to calculating your needs.  This is a very important part of the program so don’t skip over this part.

Morning Wake Up Call

Chocolate protein powder
Non-Fat Milk
Banana
1 t. instant coffee
1 t. unsweetened baking cocoa

Mix it all together in a blender. May need a little more time in the blender than other shakes to fully dissolve and incorporate the instant coffee granules.

Basic Fruit Smoothie

Vanilla protein powder
Orange Juice
Banana
Fresh or Frozen Berries (whatever you have works great – I love the frozen mixed berries)

Blend and enjoy!

Side Note: If you like your smoothies colder or thicker, add a couple of ice cubes after you have blended the ingredients together and then spin it again until all the ice is crushed up.

Bonus Tip: One thing I have noticed about protein powder is if you let it sit for a minute or so after blending but before you drink it, it tastes better and has a better consistency. This gives it time to fully dissolve. What I do is blend it up and then let it sit for a minute or two and then give it another little spin before I pour it into a glass. Way Better!

Learn More about the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

When I started the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet I had never heard of BCAAs.  I am not a body builder and have no desire to be one or even live that lifestyle, but I really like what Joel Marion has to say about the science of metabolism and fat loss and my system needs a major reboot.  That is why I am completing this 25 day program.

But, not being a body builder and not know about all the various supplements they take, I had some questions.  What are BCAAs?  Why do I have to take them?  How much do I take?  Where do I get them?

As I see what others are asking about them, I also see that people are having a hard time interpreting the label and determining how many pills they need to take.

So, I thought I would take a few minute and share what I have learned and give you a few resources.  I am not a doctor or a trainer or a nutritionist or anyone with any expertise in this.  I am simply following the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet and searched out some additional information I thought some others might find helpful.  Please do not take this information as gospel.  Do your own research and by all means talk to an expert if you have any concerns.

What are BCAAs

BCAA  stands for Branch Chain Amino Acids.  Amino Acids are the “building blocks of Protein”.  Proteins are made up of strings of amino acids.  BCAA are just a specific kind of amino acids that contains a branch in it’s molecular structure.

When we eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids which are then used by our bodies in different ways.  How efficiently we absorb these amino acids varies greatly depending on the quality of the food we eat and differs in different kinds of protein (dairy vs. meat for example).

So, BCAAs are really just the basic fundamentals of proteins in a pill.

Why am I taking BCAA on my fast day?

BCAAs make up about a third of the bodies amino acids and are an essential component of skeletal muscle mass.  The purpose of taking them on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet fast day is to prevent the loss of muscle mass that would typically go along with the giant caloric deficit we are creating on this day.

How Much Do I Take?

These calculation are specific to the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet and the amounts are just for the fast day.  If you are not using this system, please follow the dosage recommendations on the package.

For the fast day you want to take .3 grams (or 300 mg) per pound of total weight.  You want to take this total amount and split it by six so you can take it six times a day.

Let’s use me as an example…

.3 x 163 lbs = 48.9 grams BCAA per day

Six servings of 8.15 grams

Now lets look at how to determine how many pills to take.  It will very likely be unclear what amount of BCAA will be in each pill so you will need to look at the label and do some math.

On the nutritional label of your BCAA bottle it will list the total amount of BCAAs per serving.  This will likely be broken down on the label by specific amino acids.  You want to add up the amounts listed for each amino acid.  The amino acids start with an L- .    This doesn’t mean per pill though.  It will say how many pills per serving.

For example, my bottle of MRM BCAA+G 6000 says that each serving contains 6000 mg ( = 6 grams ).

There are five pills per serving…

6000 mg / 5 pills = 1200 mg per pill ( = 1.2 grams/pill )

OK, so I need 8.15 grams per serving.

8.15 /1.2 = 6.79 pills per serving

Now we all know you can’t take a part of a capsule so I take 6 pills for a couple of servings and seven for a couple of serving to make it work out.

Close enough.

Where can I get BCAAs?

I got mine at my local natural supplement store, but you can easily get them online as well.

I use the MRM brand and they are available on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price, quite a bit less than what I paid.

Amazon:  MRM BCAA+G 6000 High Potency Formula

Amazon:  Browse BCAA Supplements

Learn More about the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet – Main Website

I hope that this information has been helpful and good luck on your journey.

Well I am having a hard time figuring out if I chose the best or worst time to take this on.  Right now, life is simply lobbing me one stressful event after another.  The timing has definitely not been ideal for extreme weight loss, but it has been primed for personal growth and that sometimes is even more important.

The last several days my son has been very sick and Monday we spent the good part of the day and all evening in the ER.  He is getting better and is going to be just fine, but the stress has been profound.  Believe me, the last thing I want is excuses for why I can’t succeed at this.

This is what I struggle with time and time again.  Life gets in the way, the stress gets to me and then I eat to make myself feel better and then I feel guilty and crappy about myself so I give up.

This cycle, I only lost half a pound.  I have hit my mark in that 163 pounds is this sticking point for me.  I have not been below it since my son was born three years ago.  I try and I try and I get to 163 and it just won’t budge.  Well, here we are again after a stressful and disappointing week and I have to say I am not surprised.  I am trying very hard to look past that number and not feel defeated.

But a couple of really good things have come out of this cycle and right now I am celebrating the littlest of victories.  I am still here.  I haven’t given up, I haven’t blown my diet.   I am sticking to the plan, despite all the obstacles.  I will finish what I started and push past my fears.

I also started exercising again.  There are still many things that I can’t do with my thumb as it is, but I went for a run and biked as well.  I also tried out some of the bodyweight exercise routines, which I totally love.  There were several of the exercises that I couldn’t do as I am unable to put my full weight on that hand, but I either modified, substituted or skipped the moves I couldn’t do and kept going.  Tonight I am going back to swim classes for the first time since the accident.

The biggie though has been gaining some control back over the food.  The fast days have been so pinnacle in this.  Yes, I get hungry but I embrace that and I have control of whether I eat or not.  And that gives me more control over the rest of the days when I have to choose what I will eat, whether I will stick to the plan or give into the little gremlins in my head.

Through all the last few weeks of craziness with family in and out of the house and two major medical events, I have stuck to the plan as much as I could.  There have been moments of weakness and moments of circumstance, but I didn’t let them affect my resolve.  I just kept going.  This may not seem like much to you, but for me it is a pretty big deal.

I have two more cycles to go and I hope that I can get it together enough to lose a little weight in the process.  But even if I don’t, I have gained a lot from this and I will be completing the program again in July before my husband and I take a trip to Sonoma.  So, I will have another chance to make it happen for me.

I have updated the Xtreme Fat Loss page with the latest.  Not much to look at though…

Don’t let my lack of success deter you from this program.  My results have nothing to do with the program.  I have no doubt that it works and that you could achieve significant results.

Learn More at the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet Website

Don’t let your fears or reservations stop you in achieving your goals.  When we fall all there is to do is to get up and keep going.

This week we are celebrating being healthy and small victories. This thing with my thumb could have been so much worse and although it has kept me from being as hard core as my heart would like right now, I am thankful.

I will take my one pound and rejoice it. I am also looking forward to rocking it this cycle. I have three to go. That is plenty of time to do some serious damage.

Wow, I sound cheezy.

Anyway, new stats and even a new photo (eek!) have been posted on the Xtreme Fat Loss Page.

Despite my obstacles I am dedicated and feeling very positive about this program.

Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

Well, here we are on protein day of cycle two of the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet. This week has been a struggle with me because of my thumb.

I have not been able to work out at all. I tried to do some lower body work, but any bouncing of my body is painful and any significant increase in my heart rate starts it throbbing.

I also just generally don’t feel particularly well with a feeling of general wooginess. When part of your body is dealing with trauma it is like the rest just functions at half mast.

I have been pretty good about sticking to the food plan though, with a few minor exceptions. I couldn’t fast entirely, but I did manage to keep it to three small bites of food corresponding with when I needed to take my medication.

I didn’t have a chance to plan as well as I would have liked and grocery shopping got pushed out a couple of days so I had to wing it a little. I found myself very hungry yesterday during moderate carb day. I assume that had something to do with not planning and therefore not eating enough of the right things at the right time. Hunger is not something that has been an issue with this program at all, except on fast days and that is to be expected and easily managed.

All of this makes me a little nervous for this cycles results. I am just hoping that I can really dig in next cycle.

Joel had a bodyweight workout made to accompany the program and I am really excited about that. I am a huge fan of bodyweight workouts and much prefer them to weight lifting. Included is a booklet explaining everything and with logging sheets. Also there are instructional videos for each exercise as well as follow along videos for each type of day. I am really excited to give these a try next go around.

My new cycle starts tomorrow and once again I have family coming into town. I have definitely had my challenges with the program and ultimately I am impressed that I am still motivated and dedicated to making it happen. Big step for me.

Learn more about Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

I have updated The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet page with my latest stats and measurements.  I lost 4 pounds!!!!

Unfortunately we have hit a little bit of a snag for this next cycle.  Saturday night I slammed my right thumb in the car door and it is pretty bad.   I can’t work out for a couple of days at least, heck I can hardly take care of myself.  My mom stayed an extra day to help me out and take care of the kids.

Also, this is my fast day but I am having to take pain killers and therefore I have to keep a little food in my stomach.  I am keeping it to the bare minimum, but total fast and the three workouts I had planned for today are out the window.  So, I am definitely not expecting much from this next cycle.

This is a total bummer because I feel like I had really good results the first cycle and I learned so much about what I need to do.  I am just going to have to be super strict on my food for the rest of the week.  I guess we will see what happens.

My protein only day went pretty well with my protein grams ending up spot on and my carbs super low, but my fat was too high.  Another thing to think about about this next cycle.

I lost 4 pounds in five days!  Want to learn more yet?

Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

Remember to plan ahead, log your food and exercise and keep your thumbs out of car doors.  OUCH!!!!

After logging my food for yesterday, my ratios are once again a little off. This time my fat was a little high and my carbs a little low. My calories were pretty dead on so that was good.

I was worried as I was adding foods to my log that I was going to go over but at the end it worked out fine since I logged my entire breakfast and only ate about two thirds of it.

I tend to be over critical and think too much about things but getting all these ratios just right is not that easy. This probably means I should have bought the upgrade with the calculator and menu plans.

This all gives me more to think about when planning out these two days next week.

Maybe I just need to give myself a break as well. It is my first cycle and the truth will be told Sunday morning when I check my stats. Stay tuned for that.

I have been really good about my workouts all week, but didn’t get my workout in yesterday since my mom was coming last night and I had so much to do. Need to make sure I make working out a priority and to make time for it. Doesn’t take that long, really.

Check out the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet Now!

Have a great day and remember to do something nice for you mom tomorrow.

Today’s email from Isabel De Los Rios and The Diet Solution touched on something that rings close to me and that I think is really important.  The mental and emotional side of losing weight.  Anyone who ignores this is only destined to fail.  Yes, you may lose some weight now, maybe even a lot of weight, but if you don’t feel that you deserve it, see yourself as a thin person who is happy and active and whole or if you continue with the negative talk, it is very likely you will gain all the weight back and more.

This is something I have really struggled with.  In The Gabriel Method Jon talks a lot about envisioning yourself as a thin happy person.   I have had such a hard time with this.  Not only could I not see myself thin, but I didn’t believe I could ever be thin again or even that I deserved to be.  This is the exact reason I took a break from actively trying to lose weight and concentrated on getting my head straight while continuing to improve my eating habits (nutrition and portion control) as well as learning to like exercising because it makes me feel good and not to punish myself for being overweight.

Isabel gets this too and the first chapter of The Diet Solution is dedicated to this.  Today she sent an email that talked directly to this part of the weight loss journey with some really good ideas for changing these patterns.

The strategy that touched me the most was that we should be talking to ourselves like we talk to our children.  Isn’t that so powerful?

We fill our children with love and support, we tell them they can do anything they put their minds to, that if they work hard and show passion they can achieve anything.  And when they are scared or nervous or feel insecure, we give them the best, most heartfelt pep talks.  We hold them close and tell them how proud we are of them and how we know that they are capable and brave.

But when we feel those same things, we turn on ourselves.  I would fill my head with doubt and fear, blame and anger.  I would tell myself how lazy and stupid I was for not being able to do it.  I would get angry at anyone who tried to encourage me or support me, because I didn’t really deserve it anyway.  Sound familiar?

Well, I’m done with that.  I deserve to accomplish anything in my life that I set my mind to.  I deserve to be happy and healthy and loved and supported.  I deserve these things just as much as my children do and I can see that thin, healthy, happy, fulfilled person now and I’m going after it.  And you can too.

Every day I am more and more impressed with Isabel.  I really encourage you to check out The Diet Solution.

This is the email she sent today in it’s entirety.  I hope it is ok that I shared it this way, I just felt it would be important for you to read.

Hey Karin,

I was remembering back several years ago when I used to do one on one client coaching, I had a great call with a client. It was actually her last coaching call with me and I wanted to be sure that I left her with all the “tools” she needed to maintain and continue her incredible weight loss success.

Me: “What do you think will be the most difficult challenge for you moving forward?”

I was expecting an answer like traveling, going out to dinner, maybe even cravings, but that was not the case.

Client: “Isabel, the absolute hardest thing for me is the mental part of losing weight. I see how successful I’ve been and I clearly see the results in the mirror, but I still find myself doing a lot of negative self talk. It’s almost like I know I’m going to blow it, just like I have so many other times.”

WOW! Talk about honesty. And I know she is not the only person who is going through the same thing. I can remember years ago when I first lost all of my weight, I would get compliments from people and I would always thing to myself, “Yeah, whatever, let’s see how long this really lasts.”

But there is a reason why the FIRST chapter in the Diet Solution Program Manual is about MENTAL PREPARATION because this is an ESSENTIAL first step. It doesn’t matter how good the information is, how easy I have made it for you, or how delicious the food is. If you’re going to talk yourself out of your own success all day, then you might as well just throw in the towel now (in this case, walk away from the computer and stop reading).

So how exactly did I overcome this common hurdle? Here are some strategies I use even today in my life that keep me focused, motivated and always working towards my goal.

1. I start each and every morning with a gratitude list. This is non-negotiable! It takes me no more than 3 minutes and it changes my spirits for the entire day. How’s setting aside 3-5 minutes for a joyous rest of the day? Worth it, right? I write “I am so grateful for…” and then just write, write and write. For me that list always includes my family, my health and my work. I wouldn’t start any day without this!

2. I go to sleep each night playing my personal mind movie in my head as I go to sleep. What is a personal mind movie? Basically, it’s you imagining yourself looking, feeling and doing whatever it is you would do if you achieved your health and weight loss goals. Imagine yourself in a particular outfit, at a party getting compliments, participating in some awesome athletic event. Athletes have actually used this strategy for decades with much success. This approach helps me to fall asleep happy and is much better than lying there thinking about all the things I have to do the next day or harping on stressful events. I sleep so much better at night like this!

3. Only talk to yourself as you would a small child (This one is my favorite and given to me by my best friend Jackie). Would you tell your children all day long that they were never going to achieve their goals, that they should stop trying or that they shouldn’t even try in the first place? No, I sure hope you wouldn’t. You would encourage them, give them hope, and tell them that anything is possible with hard work. Treat yourself, in your own mind, the way you would want to speak to your children or better yet, the way you would want others to speak to your children or speak to you.

Karin, keep your eye on the prize because the prize of the body you are dreaming about is within your reach! If I can do it, so can YOU! Tell yourself how awesome you are and how this time you are changing your life and there is no looking back.

Speaking of keeping your eye on the prize, I just got the most wonderful celebration email from my friend Joel Marion. He had set his goal to help as many people around the world achieve their own weight loss goals and getting his information out to every person that was ready to take his Xtreme weight loss challenge.

He has accomplished just that and is celebrating the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet system officially becoming the #1 Bestselling e-book on the internet right now!

To celebrate this monumental event in Joel’s life, he’s decided to keep the $30 OFF offer open for a couple more days.

If you haven’t secured your discounted copy, THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT! (before Saturday).

The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him, and if you are one of the 20,000 people that has decided to take him up on his offer, I am proud of you too!

Take a look at Joel’s celebration page here:

The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet
And join me as we give Joel a big round of applause. Bravo…(clap, clap, clap).

Keep your eye on your own prize…and you will get there!

In health and happiness,

Isabel De Los Rios
Certified Nutritionist
Certified Exercise Specialist
Author of www.TheDietSolutionProgram.com

PS – If you enjoyed today’s newsletter, feel free to forward this email on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that would also enjoy the information.

Have a really great day and remember to care for yourself, you deserve it.