Holistic health, green smoothies and parenting

Holistic Health Green Smoothies and Parenting | The Organic Beauty Blog

Check out my interview on Rebates.com where I share some of my fave tips for busy moms — getting comfy in the kitchen, making space for self-care, and a quick, easy beauty routine!

Click here to read it!

 

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Ready to Transform Your Health, Life and Body?

No More Diets -- GGG

Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. is open for enrollment!

Are you a busy, stressed out woman ready to finally get off the dieting train, the stressed out mindset, and the body frustration?  Are you ready to start living the gorgeous, calm, and radiant life you’re craving?  Well I created Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. just for you!

Over the course of this 12-week online transformational program, you will:

  • Know how to eat for YOUR body, for the rest of your life — and never utter the word “Diet” again!
  • Understand the roots of your cravings and demystify the workings and needs of your body
  • Be empowered with stress management tools that will keep you more calm, balanced, energized, and happy — no matter what life throws your way
  • Detoxify your home, body, and life or harmful chemicals, patterns and practices that are making you sick
  • Start living the GORGEOUS life you know you are meant to be living!

Enroll by Monday, August 4th to get $400 worth of awesome bonuses, including:

  • AN OPTIONAL EXCLUSIVE EXTENDED PAYMENT PLAN to make the program even more affordable!
  • A GGG GIFT BAG full of my favorite wellness and beauty tools to get you started off right! (a $100 value)
  • A PRIVATE 45-MINUTE SKYPE STATEGY SESSION WITH ME! We’ll discuss your goals in depth and develop a custom strategy to help you get the most out of your program! (a $150 value)
  • PLUS, THE FIRST 10 PEOPLE TO ENROLL WILL RECEIVE AN UP24 BAND to help you track your movement, eating, and sleep, and keep you motivated throughout the program! (a $150 value)

Click here to get all the program details, including a week-by-week breakdown of what we’ll cover.

 

Snacking Is Making You Fat (and moody, and bloated)

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

The whole snack-happy, “six-small-meals-a-day” dieting philosophy is one of the worst things to have happened to Western food culture, and is pretty much the bane of my existence as a nutrition counselor.  Basically, this phenomenon has created a nation of perpetually hungry, moody hypoglycemics, and although this is great for my business, it is terrible for the health of this country.  Allow me to persuade you that snacking is one of your biggest food woes, and to show you a much better way!

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How to Become a Morning Person

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

In my holistic health counseling practice, the excuse I hear most often for why someone just can’t make time for a healthy breakfast, a morning workout, or meditation is “I’m not a morning person.”  I’ve got news for you:  That’s a load of hooey!  Any staunch night owl can become a super productive person before 9am if they want to.  I’ll tell you how I know this.. I did it!  I come from a family of night owls.  We stayed up LATE in my house, and mornings were a time to sleep until the very last minute, rush around getting ready, and frantically arriving late wherever we needed to be.  I kept up this M.O. well into my late 20’s.  And then I decided to change.  I craved calm, nourishing mornings.  I craved time.  I hate the feeling of rushing.  So if I can do it, so can you, if you choose to.  Here’s how:

1.  Get to bed at a reasonable hour (DUH!)

This is so obvious, but always overlooked.  If you want to wake up, totally rested, before your alarm, with time to get some stuff done in the morning, you need to get to bed earlier.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking you do ok on less than 7 hours of sleep. You don’t, and pretending is what’s making you a tired, grumpy zombie in the mornings.  Figure out when you ideally would like to wake up, leaving time for whatever you would like to accomplish in the morning (see below), and get thee into bed at least 8.5 hours before that time (leaving yourself a 30 minute buffer to actually get to sleep). If you have trouble getting to sleep, check out my article, How to Sleep Better, Naturally!

2.  Decide how you want to use your morning.

Morning is a perfect time for exercise, meditation, a healthy breakfast, and some chill time before work.  Figure out what your priorities are and set your intentions for the morning.  Figure out how much time you want to dedicate to these activities, and go to sleep accordingly the night before (see above).  Create a little morning ritual for yourself that incorporates everything you would love your morning to include.  A ritual is an amazing way to create and stick to a new habit, injecting it with calm and meaning (check out my article, The Power of Ritual!).  Here’s my morning ritual:  I wake up, walk the dog, feed him, take my morning vitamins, meditate for 15 minutes, make breakfast and watch the news for about 20 minutes… all before even starting to get ready for the day!  I set my alarm to leave myself time for my ritual, and make sure I get to bed at the right time to allow myself at least 8 hours of sleep (preferably 9 ; )

3.  Leave yourself plenty of time, and stay calm.

Regardless of what you want to accomplish in the morning, leave yourself enough time to do it all calmly.T he number one way to ruin your morning is to rush, or even just to feel rushed.  So always give yourself a buffer to account for any unpredictable events, as well as all the basics of getting ready.  The more time you feel  like you have, the calmer you will be.

4.  Save room for pleasure.

Make sure your morning includes something you find pleasurable (like meditation, checking your favorite blogs, or watching the news).  You’re not going to be motivated to get up early for your awesome mornings if they’re not pleasurable, or if they’re filled with more stuff you have to do.  Morning is an amazing time to start the day with some you time, which sets the tone for a more  enjoyable and less stressful day. So dig deep and connect to what you’re really craving in the mornings.  Maybe it’s tons of time to do your hair or pick out the perfect outfit.  Or sitting down at the table for a real proper breakfast.  It’s YOUR morning, so make it count!  The more enjoyable your mornings, the more you will look forward to them.  And, wait, what?  Suddenly you’re a morning person.

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How to Start Loving Your Body NOW!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

It is very difficult to make healthy choices for your body, take care of your body, and treat it well when you hate it.  Loving your body does not have to mean that you love everything about it, or that you do not want to change things about it.  But loving it, right now, just the way it is, is a crucial step toward getting healthy, happy, and losing weight!  When you love something, you want to take care of it, protect it, and make it feel good.  When you hate something, you abuse it, neglect it, and criticize it.   Which way sounds more conducive to healthy eating, lifestyle, relationships, and thoughts?  Here’s how to start loving your body right now:

1.     Determine where your body hatred comes from. 

We live in a society that deems openly loving your body taboo.  We have trouble accepting compliments; we feel the need to make self-deprecating comments; we bond with other women over hating our bodies instead of loving them.  Find the source of this habit for you.  Is it an attitude you inherited from your mother or a sibling?  Is it a product of your social scene?  Find the root, and vow to step outside it, be bigger than it.  Make a conscious CHOICE to start loving your body, right now.

2.     Loving your body does not mean giving in to what it looks like right now. 

The biggest reason most women give for why they don’t love their bodies is that they fear losing the motivation for change and weight loss if they accept and love themselves as they are.  But know this:  if you hate your body now, you aren’t going to magically be full of self-love when you finally reach your ideal weight.  In fact, you may even miss out on feeling amazing for reaching your goals because you are so mired with that self-criticism you’re so used to feeling.  Regardless of what shape they’re in now, our bodies allow us to live, walk this earth and experience all the pleasures in it.  That is a lot to love!  Having gratitude toward your body for all the amazing things it allows you to do and experience, and loving your body for that does not mean that you don’t want to be stronger, leaner, more flexible and sexier.  We can always be working on improving ourselves in some way, but when that comes from a place of LOVE, we will be so much more successful, and enjoy ourselves along the way!

3.     Prioritize feeling good. 

When you love something you want to make it feel good.  When you hate something, you deprive it of joy, affection, and pleasure.  Which way do you think leads to weight loss, happiness and fulfillment?  When you love your body, you can shower it with things that feel amazing.  Massages, yummy smelling natural beauty products, delicious and healthy food, dancing, sex, trips to the beach, beautiful clothes – all these things show love to yourself, make you feel SO much happier and taken care of, and yes, make weight loss a breeze!  But when you hate your body, you feed it junk food, cover it in frumpy clothing to hide it, keep it inside on the couch,  living a small life, and abuse it with alcohol, sugar, drugs, cigarettes, soda, and other horrible things.  I’ll tell you what, achieving a healthy weight and a happy, healthy body is impossible in that state of self-abuse.  Making your body feel amazing and taken care of should be your TOP priority in your health journey.  See what a huge difference it makes!

Loving your body is just a more fun, healthy, and pleasurable place from which to approach the work of transforming your diet and your life!

In the comments below, share how you are going to show your body more love, more care, more pleasurable experiences!

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Crazy About Coconut Oil..on AllParenting

Check out this great article on AllParenting, featuring several beauty experts, myself included, discussing our favorite beauty uses for coconut oil!

Crazy About Coconut Oil.. on AllParenting

Slim Down for Summer: Your 10 Week Plan

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Summer Slim-DownSpring is officially creeping in, with it’s gusts of 50 degree breezes and stir-crazy excitement in the air. That means bikini season in just a few months away!  So before you jump on yet another, crazy crash diet, or start doing juice cleanses every other week, let me help! Below you’ll find a 10 week plan to slim down for summer, revamp your diet, and revitalize your workout routine. If you make the commitment to yourself, your body, and your sweet, sexy summer self, this plan will take you there. Stay in touch in the comments or on our Facebook page to support each other throughout these 10 weeks, ask and answer questions, and keep yourself accountable!

The Organic Beauty 10 Week Slim Down for Summer Plan

Weeks 1 and 2:

These first two weeks are about starting and sticking to a few super healthy habits, before we move on to eliminating a some nasty ones.  First and foremost, spend these two weeks going gaga for greens.  I mean it!  Commit to having a full serving (at least 1 cup) of greens at two meals a day. For an added bonus, rock greens at all three meals!  And when I say greens, I don’t mean pale, flimsy lettuce.  I mean rich, darkly colored, super nutrient kale, spinach, chard, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, and collards.  Eat ’em raw, eat ’em cooked (just a quick sauté with olive oil or coconut oil, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper does the trick), throw ’em in your smoothies, your eggs, and your grains.  Greens are a super potent, detoxifying slim down food that is essentially “free” in terms of calories.  So eating those 2-3 cups of delicious greens every single day for the next 10 weeks means less room for other bloating, crappy foods.

Next, work on making lunch the biggest meal of your day.  Having a lighter dinner is one of the fastest ways to promote weight loss and detoxification, while helping you feel more energized and balanced throughout the day!  So make lunch dinner-sized, and dinner lunch-sized (think soup and/or salad), and watch the pounds start falling off.

Lastly, commit to working out, in any way that you enjoy, for 30 minutes to an hour, at least 3 days a week for these two weeks.  This could be yoga, pilates, running, Zumba, swimming.. whatever you love!  Don’t worry so much about the what for these two weeks, just focus on making those three days a week a non-negotiable part of your routine.  Set the days, put them in your calendar, and stick to them.  It works best to have a set three days a week that you work out, so you’re not figuring out where to fit it in every day.  Our bodies and minds thrive on routine, and this is the only way to build sustainable, healthy habits!

Weeks 1 and 2 at a Glance:

  1. Greens at least twice a day
  2. Big lunch/light dinner
  3. Exercise 30 min-1 hour 3 days a week

Weeks 3 and 4:

Now that you’re eating tons of greens every day and working out a solid three days a week, we can start to eliminate some habits that are getting in the way of your smokin’ summer bod.  It’s time to cut out processed sugar.  Completely.  As in, sayonara to Snickers, Skittles, and soda.  Does this mean you don’t get to eat anything sweet until summer?  Of course not!  Stock up on delicious fruit (especially potently antioxidant berries that are coming back into season), and sweet seasonal veggies like tomatoes, beets, bell peppers, corn, fennel, and sweet peas.  The more you incorporate these naturally sweet foods into your diet, the less you’ll be craving crappy sweets that relegate you to tankinis all summer long.  Treat yourself to a couple squares of dark chocolate (like, actually 70% dark chocolate) when you want a little something extra, and sip naturally sweetened tea throughout the day to help curb cravings.  Hibiscus, ginger, and dandelion root teas are all deeply detoxifying for spring, and with a touch of stevia to sweeten, they are a lovely drink to sip on all day long to promote slimming and steer clear of sugar!

Next, let’s amp up your workouts.  Wherever you’re at, take it up a notch.  If you’ve been doing yoga three days a week, add a fourth day of cardio or strength training.  If you’ve been running or using the elliptical machine three days a week, add a day of weights or a boot camp class.  If you’ve been a slow starter and have just been walking those three days a week, commit to taking a class of your choice for two of those days.  Wherever you’re at, amp it up!

Weeks 3 and 4 at a Glance:

  1. Cut out all processed sugar
  2. Eat fruit (especially berries) and sweet veggies.
  3. Use natural sweeteners in tea and coffee.
  4. Amp up workouts to 4 days a week.

Weeks 5 and 6:

So now you’re been eating big piles of greens at least twice a day, you’ve cut out processed sugar, and you’ve taken your workouts up a notch.  Let’s keep it going!  These two weeks are all about healthy grains.  First things first, we have to cut out the bikini bod’s mortal enemy, refined and processed grains.  This means cutting out the white bread, pasta, the processed cereals (basically any cereal other than granola), and if you haven’t already done so the last two week, all pastries!  Now I’m not saying you can’t have a slice of pizza for the next six weeks, but keep it to just once or twice a month.  Before you get all panicked at the thought of giving up bread, take a breath and chill.  You don’t need to give up grains!  These next two weeks, we are going to amp up your whole grains, which are awesome for weight loss, digestion, balancing blood sugar, and minimizing cravings.  So make sure to have a serving (about 1/2-1 cup) of whole grains at lunch and/or breakfast every day.  Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats and millet are all your best friends!  Have some oatmeal or quinoa porridge for breakfast, or a slice of sprouted whole grain Ezekiel toast with nut butter with your smoothie or eggs.   For lunch, have some brown rice or quinoa with your stir-fry or in your burrito bowl, have some sushi, or just rock some grains alongside a delicious piece of salmon and a bunch of greens for a perfect, balanced meal!

How are the workouts going??  Hopefully by now you are working out a solid four days a week, even if it’s just for 30-45 minutes! If you’re not, hang that bikini up somewhere you’ll see it every day, and repeat to yourself that YOU NEED TO WORK OUT TO LOOK GOOD IN A BIKINI!!!!  There is no way around this.  Even if you are a lucky, naturally slim person, working out 3-4 days a week, every week is going to tighten everything up in all the right places and take your body from meh to WHOA.  So quit messing around and make it happen!  If it isn’t already a part of your weekly routine, I recommend adding a pilates workout to your regimen.  Pilates is amazing for toning abs, legs, and arms, and creating the long, lean lines that we all want for summer.

Lastly, WATER!!  Make these two weeks ALL about water.  Drink half your ideal body weight in ounces, every single day.  If you need to spruce up your water, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or some lemon slices, or get creative and add fun flavor boosters like sliced ginger, berries, and mint!  Drinking tons of water is crucial to slimming down, detoxifying, and getting that hot summer bod.  So make it happen!

Weeks 5 and 6 at a Glance:

  1. Cut out processed and refined carbs
  2. Increase whole grains at breakfast and lunch
  3. Work out 4 days a week
  4. Add Pilates
  5. Drink half your ideal body weight in ounces of water every day.

Weeks 7 and 8:

Alright guys, we’re almost there!  You are now working out 4 days a week, doing pilates, eating lots of greens and whole grains, and you’ve cut out all processed sugar and carbs.  Amazing!!!  By now your body is looking leaner, slimmer, and you probably have a whole lot more energy too!  Take a minute to write down all the awesome benefits you’ve noticed over the last 6 weeks.  This will help you stay motivated for this final month!

For these next two weeks, we’re going to clean up your proteins to make them leaner, healthier, and more conducive to a hot, slim, summer bod.  If you’re a meat-eater, over the next two weeks, work on keeping your animal proteins to lean, organic, free-range chicken, eggs, and low-mercury fish.  Also, start the practice of have two meatless days per week.  Regardless of whether or not you eat meat, focus on healthy plant proteins for these two weeks.  Beans in all their many varieties, nuts, and whole grains are all wonderful sources of protein.  Even greens have protein!  So don’t feel like you need to center your meals around a Protein, with a capital P.  Eating mostly plant proteins, fish, and eggs will give your body all the protein it needs, and will promote a healthy, lean physique year-round, not just in summer!

If you aren’t doing so already, make sure one of your weekly workouts uses light weights to boost metabolism and tone muscles.  For most women, I don’t recommend using dumbbells over 5 lbs., unless you’re going for a super muscled look.  To keep muscles long, lean, and slim, use 3 lb. weights in your workouts at least once a week.  If you’re a dude, you’re free to lift more, but focus on lower weight and higher reps to get a sexy, sculpted look.

Weeks 7 and 8 at a Glance:

  1. Write down all the amazing changes you’ve noticed so far.
  2. Keep animal proteins to organic, free-range chicken, eggs, and low-mercury fish.
  3. Increase and focus on plant proteins
  4. Have at least two meatless days a week.
  5. Add light weights to your workouts at least once a week.

Weeks 9 and 10:

Here it is, guys, the final stretch!  Your body is just a month away from being totally prepped for summer, and for some of you, you may already be there!

Keep up all the amazing changes you’ve incorporated over the last 8 weeks.  You’re doing such great things for your body!  These next two weeks, we’re going to make just a couple final adjustments that will get you where you want to be in no time at all.  First, we have to cut out bloating foods.  Retaining water and a gassy belly are major buzzkills when it comes to feeling sexy in slim on the beach, so we’re going to cut those puppies out to give your amazing abs a chance to shine!  Salt, dairy, and gluten are the three biggest bloaters around, so let’s be mindful of reducing or eliminating these foods for two weeks to really get some crazy results.  If you’re cooking your own food, you’re in control of how much salt is in everything, which is great.  Keep it to a pinch of sea salt when cooking, and you’re good to go.  If you’re eating out a lot, you don’t have as much control, so use these next two weeks as motivation for getting your cook on!

If you do ok with a little Greek yogurt, I won’t take it away from you, but cheese and milk are a slim-down (and general health) no-no.  Switch to a nut milk in your coffee and granola, and ditch the cheese altogether.  It’s salty, it’s fatty, it’s bloaty, it’s bad!

If you didn’t already do so in week 5 and 6, experiment with cutting out gluten for a couple weeks to see how it effects your digestion, especially if you experience bloat, gassiness, or feel like your belly just isn’t where you want it to be.  Check out this great resource on gluten-free grains!

Your workouts are settling into a nice routine by now, with a good balance of light weights, slimming pilates, and whatever else floats your boat.  These next two weeks, let’s make sure your boat is floated by some cardio.  If cardio isn’t a part of your 4 days of exercise by now, make it one!  Better yet, do it outside!  Biking, running, swimming, or a great boot camp or crossfit-style class are all awesome cardio workouts which will make sure you’re burning off fat and keeping things lean.  If you really want to amp up these last two weeks, add a fifth day of exercise to shred, slim and ensure that awesome bikini bod.  Even if it’s just a yoga class, working out 5 days a week is an unbelievable gift to your body, your mind, and your health.

Weeks 9 and 10 at a Glance:

  1. Reduce salt (cook more at home).
  2. Eliminate milk and cheese.
  3. Experiment with cutting out gluten.
  4. Add cardio (outside if possible)
  5. Add a fifth day of exercise (optional)

YOU DID IT!!!!

Share your experience as you go and definitely at the end of your 10 weeks here or on Facebook, and feel super proud of the amazing things you’ve done for your body.  Make a note of what worked and felt great, and keep those habits up, past summer, year-round.

As always, if you feel like you need some more support getting to where you want to be, please check out my whole body transformation programs and get in touch!

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9 Natural (and fun!) Ways to Relieve Anxiety

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Your job, your health, your relationships, money, the future, the end of the world… Sometimes it seems like life is filled with an endless stream of things to feel anxious about.  If left unchecked, anxiety can run rampant, taking over your thought processes and making everything feel like a major catastrophe.  This is no way to live!  Life is just too short to spend so much of it worrying.  Plus, not to worry you even more, but the long term effects of anxiety can wreak havoc on your body, your immunity, your digestive system, and even your skin!  So it’s time to take control, and stop letting anxiety rule you.  The best part is, the natural ways to relieve your anxiety that I detail below are FUN… which, in and of itself is a wonderful balm against anxiety! Now before you read this list and start thinking of a million reasons why these remedies won’t help, or don’t apply to you (“I mean, how can having more sex help me feel less anxious about money??”), just take a breath and give them a try.  When you are in a happier and more balanced state, you are much more able to calmly take on life’s challenges without letting the anxiety take over!

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10 Weight-Loss Hormones You Should Know About!

By: Stephanie Heino

hormones11It might sound counterintuitive, but calorie counting is not everything when it comes to weight loss. It has been discovered that there is a hidden key to shedding pounds, and it’s got little to do with calories or willpower, ladies (although this still plays a big role, of course!). It is time to talk about your hormones, and the surprising effect they have on your weight. Whether it’s your period, menopause, stress or pregnancy, women have felt vulnerable to hormonal cravings and sluggish metabolisms for years. Now science is uncovering several links between female hormones, hunger, weight loss and fat metabolism. And in fact, evidence suggests that taking advantage of female hormones may help you to manage your weight, shape, and appetite. Hormones are the chief executives of the body, managing everything: our sex lives, our stress lives, our immune response. Research has implicated hormonal imbalance in everything from breast cancer to short-term memory loss — as well as what we eat, why we eat it, and what happens to the body once the food is in our body. Which means that when you picked up that oreo, you weren’t just having a weak moment, you were actually a slave to your internal managers – the hormones.

“The neurotransmitter serotonin, which affects mood and appetite, needs proper estrogen levels to be optimal. Low testosterone has been associated with a worsening of memory and mood, and more fat on your belly.” So it is very important to optimize hormone levels through daily exercise, balancing insulin, sleeping well, and lowering stress, in order to create balance within, let us educate you on the 10 most essential fat-loss hormones you should be familiar with:

Ghrelin. Ghrelin is your hunger enemy. It is produced in your stomach and, like many fat-loss hormones, works with your brain to signal that you are hungry. Reducing calories, in an effort to lose weight, causes an increase in ghrelin. Even after 12 months of a reduced-calorie diet, research shows that ghrelin levels stay elevated. In other words, your body never adapts to eating less and constantly sends the “I’m hungry” signal, which is why maintaining weight loss is often harder than losing it in the first place. Make sure to increase your exercise since it decreases ghrelin levels, making it a key component to fat loss and weight maintenance. Eat a diet rich in healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, and low-mercury fish to give your system the good calories it needs to stay full. Also, make sure to eat three meals a day (with dinner being the smallest and lunch the biggest), so keep your blood sugar stable, and ghrelin in its place!

imagesLeptin. Leptin is a type of hormone called an adipokine that is released exclusively from fat cells. Leptin interacts with your brain to get your body to eat less and burn more calories. Its the hormone that tells your body it’s full. The more body fat you have, the more leptin your fat cells will release. However, too much body fat leads to too much leptin being released—a condition called leptin resistance. When this occurs, your brain becomes numb to leptin’s signal. To maximize leptin sensitivity, get adequate sleep and pack your diet full of antioxidant-rich berries and green and red vegetables. Losing weight also enhances leptin sensitivity and gives you some momentum, as the more weight you lose, the more effective leptin will become in your body.

Adiponectinhealth_benefits_of_2_tablespoons_avocado_2. Adiponectin is another adipokine, but unlike leptin, the leaner your body is the more adiponectin your fat cells will release. Adiponetin enhances your muscle’s ability to use carbohydrates for energy, boosts your metabolism, increases the rate at which your body breaks down fat, and curbs your appetite. You can maximize your adiponectin levels by moving more during the day (getting leaner) and replacing simple carbohydrates in your diet with complex carbs (whole grains and legumes) and monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocados, etc).

Insulin. Insulin plays a very important role in your body and is key for recovering from exercise, muscle building, and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels. However, when carbohydrate intakes are high and insulin is left to run wild in the body, it can inhibit the breakdown and burning of stored fat. Insulin and carbohydrates are very tightly linked. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin will be released. To optimize insulin for fat loss, aim to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruit. Limit processed grains, sugar and starches. Keep it to whole grains and have a little fruit if you need a sweet fix. “When insulin is secreted in higher amounts, you feel hungrier and you eat more. Willpower does not exist when insulin is high.”

Glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that acts directly opposite to insulin. While insulin stores carbohydrates and builds fat, glucagon is responsible for breaking down stored carbohydrates and fats and releasing them so your body can use them for energy. Eating healthy proteins with meals is the best way to maximize glucagon release.

CCK. Short for Cholecystokinin, this hormone is released from the cells in your intestines whenever you eat protein or fat. But Catalonian-Spanish-Greens-with-Raisins-and-Pine-Nuts-ForkFingersChopsticksCCK doesn’t just stay in your gut. Instead, it communicates with your nervous system to flip the satiety switch while simultaneously working with your stomach to slow the rate of digestion. The end result is that you feel fuller longer. Take full advantage of CCK by making sure you have healthy protein and fats at every meal.

Epinephrine. Known as a fight or flight hormone, epinephrine drives the burning of fat and its release for energy in the body. Epinephrine can also aid in appetite suppression. Exercise is the best way to turn on epinephrine release in your body, interval training in particular cranks up epinephrine.

Growth Hormone. Considered to be the fountain of youth by many, growth hormone also helps with fat loss. Growth hormone interacts with fat cells and coaxes them to break down and burn stored fat for energy. Growth hormone can be increased through intense exercise like intervals or circuit training and sleep. To maximize the fat-burning effect of growth hormone, train hard and sleep well.

Cortisol. If you’re like many people, you’ve got a demanding job, a family who needs you, and a never-endingoriginal to-do list. No wonder you feel tired or depressed, anxious or irritable. Do you have insomnia, or a non-existing sex life? All are those are symptoms of chronic stress. Stress activates the fight-or-flight response, the body’s involuntary response to a threat that makes our hearts pound and our breath shorten. Chief among the hormones released during this response is the stress hormone cortisol that increases glucose in the blood so we have more energy to fight and deal “dangerous” situations. Cortisol automatically kicks up your appetite, prompting you not only to want to eat huge quantities but especially to want sweets and simple carbohydrates-foods that make insulin levels spike and then plummet, leaving you feeling hungrier than ever-and eating again. And this “stress fat” is also placed in the worst possible place – your belly. Lower your cortisol levels by exercising and doing yoga, sleeping well, meditating, keeping blood sugar stable with regular meals, and eliminating caffeine.

Thyroid Hormone. The most influential for weight loss is the thyroid hormone, which helps regulate metabolism, and insulin, which allocates sugar in the bloodstream. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. To regulate these hormones it is important to follow all of the other tips above.

4 tips for regulating your hormones:

Eat Whole Foods620-best-cancer-fighting-foods-prevent-nuts-berries-greens.imgcache.rev1355167418396
Think a diet high in fiber, complex carbs, and low-glycemic-index foods like whole grains and fiber-rich vegetables and fruit, as well as unsaturated fats, which will take longer to metabolize and help you stave off cravings.

Move
By exercising (even if you just walk, bicycle, run, do yoga, run after your kids at the playground) 40-60 minutes per day, five days a week, you can combat hormonal weight gain. Strength-training can also help with hormonal balance since it alters the cortisol level, helping you burn calories and fat. Even at rest, muscle burns calories, which fat doesn’t.

Check Your Stress
For most people, basic stress-relief measures, such as getting a massage or seeing a life coach, will lead to better hormonal balance. Or why not engage in some yoga? People who practice yoga three times a week tend to gain less weight according to a research.

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According to a research in 2004, people that slept less had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin. Other research has shown that just three days of sleep disruption increases insulin resistance in humans!

Raise Those Endorphins
We are all familiar with with eating to make ourselves feel better. To get that natural high, exercise is the way to go (but not the only way!) Let it be finding a new hobby that makes you happy, listening to music you love, dancing while no one is watching, taking a class and learning something new, laughing, and making love, often. I assure you that all these steps may lead you toward feeling more whole as a person, while also shedding those extra pounds on that beautiful body!

Take control of those hormones and lose that weight! If you need help, schedule a free consultation with holistic health and nutrition counselor Natasha Uspensky for guidance! You can do it!

Let Deepak and Oprah Teach You to Meditate!

Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques you can employ to decrease stress and pain, manage anxiety and depression, increase longevity and optimum health.  Not only does it lower blood pressure and clear your head, but it can help with weight loss and motivation to exercise!

But starting to meditate can be really hard.  I’ve been working on it for years, and even I have trouble just sitting, focusing on my breath.  Luckily, there’s an easier way.  Guided meditations start you off with some thoughts, insights, or a mantra, and then lead you into a short solo meditation that is much more manageable and user-friendly for novices.  And who better to lead you down this healthy and enlightened path than everyone’s favorite gurus, Oprah and Deepak Chopra!

The 21 Day Meditation Challenge is an easy, effective, and really powerful way to start a regular meditation practice, and best of all, it’s free!  You just sign up online, and starting March 11th you’ll receive an email every morning with a short guided meditation to start your day with.  The theme for this particular challenge is Perfect Health, with inspirations, visualizations, and mantras geared toward helping you reach that perfect place of balance, well-being, and happiness that does indeed lead to optimum health.  Plus, the daily practice helps you build the habit of meditating, so you can continue your practice after the program is over.

The digital program includes:

  • Daily welcome from Oprah Winfrey
  • Daily guided meditations by Deepak Chopra
  • Inspirational messages, images, and centering thoughts
  • Sanskrit mantras and their meanings
  • Daily reflection questions with a private, online journal to save responses and additional notes
  • Mindful Moments – daily takeaways showing you how to incorporate daily lessons into your life right now

Now you have no more excuses about not being able to meditate or not having the time!  This easy to follow, 21 day challenge helps you to develop your practice with help from the experts.

Click here to sign up!