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Fat Loss #6

Fat Loss #6

Sleeping isn’t something we necessarily put a lot of thought into because it’s something we automatically do at the end of every day.  Did you know that a good night’s sleep directly affects your ability to lose weight/fat?  If you’ve ever had a sleepless night, you know some the obvious things you will experience are low energy levels, foggy brain, irritability and sometimes anxiety over not getting the sleep you needed.

Sleepless nights can also affect your hormones which will affect your ability to lose weight.  Without the rest your body needs, your sensitivity to Leptin (the hormone that lets you know when you’re full or satiated) will decrease and your Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) levels will increase.  This can be a very difficult cycle to break and my goal is to help you avoid this.

If you’re already getting quality sleep every night and you wake up feeling rejuvenated, keep doing what you’re doing :).  If you find yourself feeling exhausted in the morning more than 3 times a week, you may need to change some things.  Your ability to lose fat or maintain a healthy weight and perform at your level best will depend on it!

Keep in mind, everyone is different so what helps one person sleep may not be what helps you. To be successful with a good night’s sleep you need to take some time to experiment with the suggestions below.  Once you try something new, take a mental note or write down on paper how you feel in the morning.  Are you rejuvenated or do you feel like you could sleep for a few more hours?  Practice the things that promoted sleep and cut out the things that did not :).

Things that will inhibit a good night’s sleep:

  1. Caffeine – Obviously drinking a caffeinated beverage right before bed is not going to prepare your body for sleep, but some have a problem falling asleep when they’ve had caffeine 8-10 hours before falling asleep.
  2. Nicotine – It’s a stimulant which can make it hard to sleep but smokers can also go through nicotine withdrawal making it a challenge to stay asleep.  Email me if you’re interested in quitting smoking, we have resources that can help you :).
  3. Sugar – You can’t avoid sugar altogether and I’m not suggesting you should, however, keeping your sugar intake between 50 – 75g can be very beneficial.
  4. Alcohol – While drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy and may actually cause you to fall asleep, if you drink too much (more than 2 drinks) it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
  5. Eating a big meal less than 3 hours before bed – Your body needs time to digest a big meal.  It’s best to leave 4 hours between your last meal and your bed time.
  6. High Intensity workouts less than 4 hours before bed – Your body needs time to recover and your adrenaline levels need time to come down.  Give yourself 4-5 hours between an intense workout and your bed time.
  7.  Avoid Blue-light 30min before bed – TV, ipad, tablet, phone, computer…all of these things will stimulate your brain making it challenging for you to come to a restful state of mind.  If you are going to watch TV right before bed, turn it off before you fall asleep.

Things that will promote quality sleep:

  1. Don’t get too much and don’t get too little – In general, we all need 6-8 hours of sleep.  How much sleep YOU need is worth taking the time to figure out because not getting enough sleep and getting too much sleep can leave you feeling the same way – anything BUT rejuvenated.  The following article will help you figure out how much sleep you need:
  2. Stick to a Sleep Schedule – Try going to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day – weekends too.  This will help reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle which can lead to a more restful night’s sleep.  If you’re not able to go to bed at your regular bed time, try to stick the same length of time you sleep during the week.
  3. Exercise Regularly – 20-30min of exercise 3-5 weekly will improve your quality of sleep.   An evening stroll is a great way to help you unwind from your day.  Read the article below to learn more about how exercise affects your sleep patterns:

    4. Get some sunlight – Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle and is controlled by light exposure.  Take advantage of the sun and take a walk daily, even if you only have 15min.  If you’re going to spend more than 15min in the sun, apply some sunscreen before you go out :).

    5. Pick the right mattress and pillow – Make sure you have a mattress that supports your body’s needs.  If you’re having a hard time getting comfortable, you might want to look into getting a new mattress.  Here’s a great article that can help you figure out if you have the right mattress:

    6. Room temperature – It can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep if your room is too cold or too hot.  Most people sleep best in a room that is 65* F.  Figure out what temperature is most comfortable for you.

The resources below will give you more information about how to get a good night’s sleep:

Have a great day!!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith and Brian


Fat Loss #5

Fat Loss #5

Good Morning Everyone!

Metabolic Training.  It’s the most effective way to burn fat, gain lean muscle and increase your sensitivity to some very important hormones.  If you didn’t get the chance to read about the hormones I’m referring to, you can find them in the first 3 emails of the Fat Loss series on the Grapevine under “Weight Loss 101”.  Metabolic Training, also known as High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) is a workout where you perform 20sec – 1min of hard work (strength or cardio exercises), exerting 75-85% of your maximum effort/energy, followed by 20sec – 1min of recovery.


  • Fat Loss and the After Burn!!  The After Burn is scientifically known as the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, aka EPOC.  H.I.I.T. training sessions force the body to work harder to build its oxygen stores back up for a period of 10-12 hours after the workout (depending on how hard and how long your workout was, your EPOC can last up to 20 hours).  The result is more calories/fat burned while you go about your day!
  • Saves Time:  These workouts should take no longer than 15 – 30min depending on how hard you choose to work and how much rest you choose to take.
  • No Equipment Required: H.I.I.T. workouts can be done effectively with just bodyweight exercises which means you can work out ANYWHERE!!
  • Improved cardiovascular capacity: Anaerobic exercise increases your V02 max- maximal oxygen uptake.  One of the many benefits of having a high VO2 max is, your muscles will be able to receive oxygenated blood quicker and more efficiently which gives them the ability to meet the demands of your workout.
  • Improved Mental Focus: Focuses your Pulmonary, Cardiovascular, and Neurological systems

Anyone can do Metabolic Training…Really!!

Getting the most out of a H.I.I.T. workout does NOT mean you have to jump, sprint at 10mph on the treadmill or perform complicated exercises.  Getting the most out of a H.I.I.T. workout means you are working as hard as YOU can for that 20sec – 1min.  Below is a short article about 5 Metabolic Training Myths which explains some of the safest ways to perform H.I.I.T.


Metabolic Training Workouts:

How many times a week should/can you do a Metabolic Training Workout?

  • 2-3 times weekly and you should always have a rest day in between workouts.  For clarification, your rest day does not have to be activity free.  You can go for a long walk or jog, play tennis, take a yoga or pilates class…just avoid doing intense intervals 2 days in a row J.

Below are some great resources if you’re interested in learning more about Metabolic Training:

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith and Brian

Fat Loss #4 Part B

Fat Loss #4 Part B


If you didn’t get the chance to read Fat Loss #4 Part A, you can find it on the Grapevine along with the rest of the Fat Loss series.

Ways to help your body adjust to fasting:

  1. Gradually lengthen the time of your fast.  If you naturally fast for 10 hours every day, lengthen your fast by 1 hour every day or every other day.  Once you have experienced the length of fast that works best for your body you can then decide what IF schedule will work best for you.


Sunday – 10 hours

Monday – 11 hours

Tuesday – 12 hours

Wednesday – 13 hours

Thursday – 14 hours

Friday – 15 hours

Saturday 16 hours

Sunday – 10 hours

Monday – 11 hours

Tuesday – 11 hours

Wednesday – 12 hours

Thursday – 12 hours

Friday – 13 hours

Saturday – 13 hours


  1. Drink water as soon as you wake up, warm or cold.  You can also drink a cup of herbal tea…no cream of sugar…just teaJ.
  2. Stay busy!  Don’t watch the clock and count down the minutes to your breakfast.  Go about your day and continue drinking water.
  3. Have your first meal planned with healthy portions of carbs, proteins and fasts.  Take your time eating your first meal and let your Leptin do its job.  When you start to feel satiated, stop eating 🙂 .


Intermittent Fasting Schedules:

If you are trying to fast for 12-16 hours you will either be eating an earlier dinner or a later breakfast.  These lengths of fasts are usually best to try over the weekend.  Based on your current eating schedule, you will decide how many days you would like to fast for 12-16 hours.  Some will choose every day and others may choose one or two days weekly.  Personally, I fast for 12-14 hours 2 or 3 days weekly depending on the week.


14 hour fast:


Last meal – 6:30pm

First meal (break your fast) – 8:30am


Last meal – 8:00pm

First meal (break your fast) – 10:00am

16 hour fast:


Last meal – 7:00pm

First meal (break your fast) – 11:00am


Last meal – 6:00pm

First meal (break your fast) – 10:00am


What’s best for you…2, 3 or 4 meals daily?

This is something most people already have figured out.  If you feel your level best with your current eating schedule…stick with it!  The best advice I can give you is to eat when you feel hungry BUT there is a difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger.  If you don’t know the difference, read this:

Training in a fasted state:

Pros – You will burn more fat for 2 reasons:

  1. Your human growth hormones are elevated which is the hormone that helps build muscle and burn fat simultaneously.
  2. Your body is already converting fat to glucose for energy.  If your body requires more energy to get through a workout, you will increase your fat burning potential.


Cons – Lack of energy and feeling tired.

  1. You could have less energy for your workout which could cause you to have a workout where you’re not able to lift as much weight as you’re used to.
  2. You could feel dizzy and nauseous at which point you would stop your workout.

If you want to try training in a fasted state:

  1. Start out with a moderate cardio session for 20-30 min and assess how your body feels.
  2. If you felt fine during your fasted cardio session, try a light 20-30 strength training routine and assess how your body feels.
  3. Keep a banana or chocolate milk close by so if you start to feel dizzy or light headed you can stop your workout and quickly eat something to refuel your body.

Remember, IF is not going to be the right approach for everyone.  It is a fat loss method that has worked for some and might work for you as well.  There are several articles and opinions about If.  Whatever article you choose to read whether it’s one I’ve suggested or one you find on your own, read the information, learn from it and only put to practice what will work best for you.  Email me with any questions :).

Yours in Health and Wellness,


Fat Loss #4 Part A

Fat Loss #4 Part A

Good Morning Everyone!

Intermittent Fasting, or IF as many call it, is not another fad diet, it’s a way of life.  Actually, we already do it daily to some extent.  At the end of the day we take our last bite of food (for some, this is as early as 6:30pm and others as late as 10:00pm), we go to bed, wake up and break our fast with breakfast :).  Most of us naturally fast daily for 8-10 hours.  Pure IF is when you go without food for 16 hours (consuming only water) and eat your daily calorie allowance in an 8 hour window.  However, you can still reap the benefits with a shorter fast such as 12-13 hours which is what I currently do 2-3 days weekly. Simply put, you’re skipping late night snacks a few nights a week and pushing breakfast back by an hour or two a few days a week.

What are the Benefits?

  1. Burn Fat and Preserve MuscleEveryone is different, but it takes approximately 6 – 8 hours for your body to use the glucose from your last meal for energy.  After that, your body will start using fat stores for energy.
  2. Increased sensitivity to human growth hormone, a hormone our bodies naturally produce in the pituitary gland: Dr. Mercola explains “HGH, human growth hormone, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth, and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism. The fact that it helps build muscle while simultaneously promoting fat loss explains why HGH helps you lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass, and why even athletes can benefit from the practice (as long as they don’t over train and are careful about their nutrition)”.
  3. Increased sensitivity to Leptin: The hormone that regulates the amount of fat stored in our bodies and the hormone that is released when we have consumed enough food/energy for our bodies to function properly.  John Berardi, who has a Ph.D. in exercise physiology and nutrient biochemistry designed a 12 week fat loss system with IF being part of the system specifically because of its effects on Leptin.  Several of his participants made some form of IF a part of their regimen and successfully lost fat!
  4. Increased sensitivity to insulin: The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more likely you’ll be able to use the food you consume efficiently, making it less likely to be stored as fat.
  5. Improved Cholesterol Levels: After a 10 week trial study with 16 participants, both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decreased.

Important Caveat:

There is NO “One Size Fits All” fat loss plan!!!  Therefore, fasting for 16 hours won’t be right for everyone.  Those who suffer from hypoglycemia or have diabetes should have a talk with their Doctor before making any adjustments to their eating schedule.

There is so much information I want to share with you about Intermittent Fasting that I’m splitting Fat Loss #4 into two emails :).  In the next email I will refer you to a few sites for more specifics on IF and will talk about the following:

  1. Different examples of IF schedules
  2. Ways to help your body adjust to fasting
  3. What’s best for you…2, 3 or 4 meals daily?
  4. Training or doing cardio in a fasted state


Yours in Health and Wellness,


Fat Loss #3

Fat Loss #3

 Good Morning Everyone!

Ghrelin is the third and last hormone I am going to talk about in the Fat Loss series.  It is best known as the “hunger hormone”.  Produced mainly in the stomach, Ghrelin stimulates your appetite when your body is hungry and promotes the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area which can be the most harmful.  Ghrelin is released right before a meal time when your body needs food/energy.  Levels of Ghrelin are lower in obese individuals however, when you start your journey towards losing weight and create a calorie deficit, Ghrelin levels increase when the calories you consume are less than what your body is used to. Unfortunately, this can make it very challenging to stick to a decreased caloric intake because you feel hungry.

There are things you can do to help suppress your Ghrelin levels so that when you create a calorie deficit, this hunger hormone won’t control you 🙂.  Here’s how:

  • Eat protein with every meal


  • Eat 3-4 times a day…Some are satisfied with eating 3, 500-700 calorie meals and others do better with 4 smaller meals.  Do what works best for you.


  • Drink 6-8oz of water before every meal


  • Get a good night’s sleep…7 hours is best
  • Lower your stress level or make sure you have a stress release. Allowing your stress levels to stay high for an extended period of time with no release, can increase your Ghrelin levels.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ghrelin, read the articles below:

In the last 3 Fat Loss emails you will learn about some of the most effective ways to keep your hormones balanced so you can increase your fat loss potential!

Email me with any questions 🙂

Yours in Health and Wellness,



Fat Loss #2

Fat Loss #2

Hi Everyone!

Ready to learn about the next hormone?!

Leptin.  It’s a protein hormone made by our fat cells (like adiponectin) and regulates the amount of fat stored in the body.  Leptin has been referred to as our “fat burning thermostat” and “satiety hormone”.  Robert H. Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco says, “When you have taken in enough food (energy) for your body to function, leptin is released sending a signal to your brain that you are full”.

Unlike adiponectin, the more weight you gain the more leptin you produce and while this may sound like a good thing…it’s not.
The more fat you have, the more resistant to leptin you become.  Lustig explains, “In leptin resistance, your leptin is high, which means you’re fat, but your brain can’t see it.  In other words, your brain is starved, while your body is obese. And that’s what obesity is: it’s brain starvation.”

What causes Leptin Resistance?

  2. High quantities of  simple carbs, processed foods and packaged
  3. Overeating and crash diets
  4. Stress

What causes Leptin Sensitivity?

  1. Regular activity: Strength training and cardio
  2. Quality sleep!
    Getting at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep makes a big difference
  3. Intermittent Fasting (This will be talked about
    in detail in a later email)
  4. Gradual and sustainable changes.  You can train your hormones just like you can train your body to run a marathon.  If you’re only used to running 2 miles at a time, you’re not going to set out to run your first marathon this weekend, right?  You gradually build up your endurance over time with consistent training. Well, you can also gradually train your hormones to do what they were designed to do as long as you stay consistent with the lifestyle changes you choose to make.

Below are two articles about leptin if you’re interested in learning more:

Yours in Health and Wellness,