~ Coach Kasha, Registered Dietitian
Well, it’s about that time again… Football season is upon us!
Whether you’re a football fan or not, you likely have friends or family who love football. That means you’ve likely spent a Sunday or two (and the occasional Monday night) hanging around certain “football foods” like pizza, wings, and all sorts of yummy, not so calorie-friendly foods.
As we know we definitely do not have to avoid these foods all together. Sometimes you can (and should) eat the pizza! However, if this is becoming every Sunday thing you may find it difficult to hit your goals and stay on plan.
Perhaps you can try doing football season a little differently this year.
Here are some healthy swaps that may help you stay on plan:
Here are a few more fun and healthy ideas to try:
Happy football season and may the odds forever be in your team's favor!
~ Coach Kasha, Registered Dietitian
𝗜𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁?
Well, this gets pretty science-y but let's break it down so we can better understand the effects stress may be having on achieving fat loss goals.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that works in the body as a stress response and is often measured in research as an indicator of stress. It is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands.
Cortisol plays a large role in nutrition science by regulating energy, and when chronically elevated, cortisol can have harmful effects on weight, the immune system, the gastrointestinal track, and chronic disease risk.
When we experience stress in our lives our bodies go through what is often called the “fight-or flight” response & has a temporary increase in energy production. In short, in the event an individual faces stress, our bodies release cortisol from the adrenal glands. This process produces 𝗴𝗹𝘂𝗰𝗼𝘀𝗲 as an immediate energy source to our large muscles which then 𝗶𝗻𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗹𝗶𝗻 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored.
Epinephrine (aka adrenaline hormone) increases the heart rate which then results in the hormone levels returning to normal after the individual resolves the problem.
So, can chronic elevation of cortisol from stress have a negative impact on weight gain and fat loss? The answer is YES!
Chronically elevated cortisol can gather triglycerides from storage and relocate them to visceral fat cells (abdominal fat that surrounds the internal organs). In layman terms, cortisol can quite literally create fat storage around your belly.
Increased cortisol levels effect cravings for high-calorie foods & increased appetite. Multiple different studies have shown a direct association between increased cortisol levels and calorie intake in populations of women.
Seeing how cortisol increases the production of glucose, frequent high blood glucose levels along with insulin suppression sends hunger signals to the brain, which can result in overeating.
So, what can we do?
Well, for starters, we can improve stress management and optimize our diet and lifestyle.
Some strategies for stress management may include:
Optimize diet by increasing anti-inflammatory foods such as whole foods, fruits and veggies & limiting pro-inflammatory foods & lifestyle factors such as:
In summary, stress can cause difficulties when it comes to reaching our weight loss goals, but luckily, there are many things you can control & improve from a nutrition standpoint.
When your long term goals feel a bit daunting, it is of great benefit to set short term targets to focus on; some of which might be related to Non Scale Victories, some directly related to the scale.
Many of you might be familiar with the concept of SMART goals because of your career or business aspirations. This concept can easily be applied in the area of health and wellness.
The SMART framework is an effective strategy for creating and focusing on more specific and attainable goals. Additionally it provides benchmarks against which you can measure your progress — if you have a larger, more daunting goal, smaller steps can help you remain motivated.
SMART goals are important to set as they:
When you make goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, you're increasing your odds for success by verifying that the goal is achievable, identifying the metrics that define success, and creating a roadmap to reach those metrics.
If your goals are abstract, if you don't know what it will take to achieve success, or if you don't give yourself a deadline to complete steps, you may lose focus and fall short of what you want to accomplish.
For example, perhaps you have a long term goal of losing 65lbs, completing your first marathon, breaking your 5x per week beer habit and getting off the blood pressure meds you’ve been on for 10 years.
That’s a life transformation for sure and will require a lot of determination, patience and a tenacious drive. Sadly, many would set out towards this all encompassing long term goal through diet & exercise and lose steam very quickly as it’s too much of an undertaking.
Perhaps your first SMART goal is to walk 7,000 steps per day. Ask yourself:
Map it out by answering the questions shown on the meme next to each letter of the acronym, and off you go towards your first SMART goal! When you achieve it, set your next SMART goal and off you go again.
As you are focusing on your SMART goal, you will be working on the big picture as well. You might be following a diet, a training plan, transitioning to a bit of a different social life, trying new activities; we can do many things at once. But it’s the SMART goals that help us to not feel overwhelmed by the long game.
If you are working with a PLT Nutrition coach, talk to them about setting a target, about what your next SMART goal should be.