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Coconut Oil: Friend or Foe?

POSTED ON April 21, 2014

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Coconut oil for alternative therapy

So many of you seem to be asking me my thoughts on coconut oil. While some may know I applied this oil religiously to my growing belly during my 2 most recent pregnancies (and thereafter, just incase it could help the loose skin!), I  haven’t done too much talking and sharing on the other aspects of this deliciously-scented oil.

Coconut oil is one of the hot new trends these days. So is it all a bunch of hype, or is there some truth to all the coconut oil claims? Let me see if I can shed some light on the coconut oil dilemma.

Virgin (unrefined) coconut oil (VCO) is a bit different from other oils:

  • It is 92% saturated fat, compared to the saturated fat in other products: olive and soybean oils (about 15%), butter (63%), and palm kernel oil (82%). For further comparison, the fat in beef is about 50% saturated fat. Now don’t start freaking out thinking coconut is already a foe. Just wait…
  • It contains a high percentage of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), whereas other oils are made up of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Without getting too deep into the science end of things, here’s why one researcher says this is important: “MCTs are transported directly from the intestinal tract to the liver, where they’re likely to be directly burned off as fuel and raise the metabolic rate slightly.”

After some research, here are some interesting things I’ve discovered about VCO:

Besides including VCO in your diet, it also has some other uses:

If you decide to cook with coconut oil, it’s important to know which form (virgin or refined) is best. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, VCO is best for baking or medium-heat sautéing (up to 350*), if you’re looking for a bit of a tropical flavor, as a substitute for shortening (VCO has no trans fats), or as a vegan replacement for butter. Refined coconut oil can be used for medium-high heat sautéing or stir-frying (up to 425*). VCO is also often used by candy makers because it doesn’t go rancid quickly. New to baking with coconut oil? Try these yummy—and Powell approved—Sweet Potato Brownies created by my sweet friend, Lynn Manning aka Fit2Fat2FitWife.

So…coconut oil: friend or foe?

Friend to me, but you be the judge! In the meantime, go pick up some coconut oil, and give Lynn’s amazing Sweet Potatoe Brownies a try!

Sweet Potato Brownie - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/3259

Sweet Potato Brownie From Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit.
Copyright (c) Lynn Manning

Sweet Potato Brownies
Serves 9

What you’ll need:

Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 cup Truvia
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 eggs, whisked
1 medium sweet potato

How to make it:

1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Use a knife or a fork to puncture the sweet potato before baking it for 25-30 minutes.
3.  Once your sweet potato is cooked all the way through, peel the skin and mash it up in a bowl.
4.  Turn your oven down to 350 degrees.
5.  Add in the Truvia, vanilla, whisked eggs, and coconut oil. Mix together.
6.  Add in the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix together.
7.  Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish with coconut oil and pour in the mixture.
8.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until you can poke a toothpick in the middle and have it come out clean.
9.  Let it cool and enjoy.

What’s in it:

Each serving has: 102 calories, 3 g protein, 8 g fat, 113 mg sodium, and 15 g carbs.

Category: blog / food / living

Family Circle: The 4-Minute Workout

POSTED ON February 5, 2014

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Family Circle has given us yet another, amazing opportunity to share a few of our fitness secrets with the world and we are SO excited!

Chris and I have designed a week’s worth of 4-minute workouts, making getting healthy and feeling great a realistic goal for even the busiest schedule. Check out the solution to your workout woes *here*.

Sleep Is Overrated. Not.

POSTED ON December 26, 2013

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Sleep…or the lack thereof…is a hot topic around our house right now. Especially around the holidays. Baby Ruby is such a good baby, and sleeps really well for her young age, but still. I miss those regular, non-interrupted ZZZs I’m so used to getting.

Besides making us feel tired and a bit grumpy (as Cash often reminds me!), a lack of sleep can cause so many issues you might not be aware of:

So, how do you find time for more ZZZs in an already crazy busy life? Here are some tips from the experts at WebMD:

  • Get enough sleep at night (7-9 hours). Ladies, this one is especially crucial for us—a recent study at Duke University found that women need more sleep than men because of our awesome multi-tasking brains! Having a hard time doing this? Try this next tip.
  • Instead of going to bed an hour earlier, which is a difficult thing to do, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights, and make night four’s bedtime your new regular bedtime.
  • Keep other activities (reading, working/playing on the computer, paying bills, watching TV, etc.) out of your bed and reserve it only for sleeping and intimate-type activities (*wink, wink*).
  • Wake up at the same time every day. Even on weekends.
  • Eat meals on a regular schedule, like we do in carb cycling, so your energy levels will stay constant. Not only will you be more likely to make better food choices, but you’ll also be less likely to get sleepy from a lack of energy.
  • Exercise regularly. While this might not make sense, exercise helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Can’t find time to go to bed earlier? Re-examine and re-prioritize your schedule. When you get enough sleep, you’ll be much more successful with all your most important tasks!
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: Soak in the tub, read a book, listen to your favorite soft music, or whatever helps you relax. Our little Ruby has her own bedtime ritual and it works like a charm!

Does this all seem totally overwhelming? Pick just one tip and set a SMART Goal. Even one tiny improvement can make a world of difference!

Sweet dreams!

Ruby Lane Sleeping

Category: blog / living

Ask Heidi Anything: How Can I Minimize Loose or Sagging Skin?

POSTED ON September 20, 2013

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As people start losing weight they may often find themselves with loose or sagging skin. Skin surgery may not always be an available option after losing weight. Here are some of my favorite secrets and tips for giving your skin the best chance at natural retraction — minimizing loose skin when possible. And, what to do with that loose skin that isn’t retracting and has lost its elasticity.

After watching the video blog, check out some of my favorite compression gear here: Reebok.com .

Graduated Compression Knee Sock - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/3485

Graduated Compression Knee Sock

Reebok CrossFit Printed Lightweight Long Sleeve Compression Top - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/3485

Reebok CrossFit Printed Lightweight Long Sleeve Compression Top

Reebok CrossFit Compression Pant - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/3485

Reebok CrossFit Compression Pant

Category: blog / fitness

To the Inspiring Coach Bob

POSTED ON September 4, 2013

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To one of our dearest friends,

Bob, we couldn’t be any more proud of the person you have become over the last year. Let’s be honest…you’ve been as amazing as they come from the start, but proved that even the best of the best have room for self-betterment.

As a father, a husband, and a friend, you lead by example in all that you do. You live what you preach, and are one heck of a buddy ☺. Even from thousands of miles away most of the year (except our awesome trip to Paris, and a few occasional flights to each other’s home towns), you made it easy to feel connected to you and your awesome wife Kelli ☺. Your life-advice is always appreciated and will never be forgotten.

Now let’s talk about the record-breaker you are!!!! Did you ever think you would be the greatest weight loss of any many we had ever worked with?? How darn cool is that? Your hard work sure did pay off, and I know it wasn’t easy. You are proof to this world that bumps, bruises, and roadblocks don’t have to stop you from reaching your dreams. You teach by your actions that you can, in fact, use these challenges as springboards for greater success!

We are blessed and honored to have you in our lives, Bob. You and Kelli are two wonderful people, and we are BEYOND excited for all of the great stuff you have in the works! This is JUST the beginning for you, my friend!

Love,

Heidi and Chris

Category: blog / living

From Fit2Fat2Fit: Drew Manning on Food Addiction

POSTED ON August 15, 2013

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Ever wish there was a trainer that could feel your pain? Someone that could understand and has dealt with the struggles that come along with obesity? If you don’t know this man already, then you should get to know him. Our good friend, Drew Manning, took the courageous trip from Fit2Fat2Fit, and is here to share some of his words of wisdom. PS – Drew comes with one amazing PIC (partner in crime)! His sweet, adorable, funny, amazing wife Lynn works side-by-side with him. The kind of partnership Chris and I appreciate!

Drew Manning - From Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/2897

Drew Manning – From Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit. Copyright (c) Drew Manning

Food Addictions
by Drew Manning

The hard truth is that most “fit” people hear “food addiction” and roll their eyes. I admit, even I was that closed-minded once. Until I embarked on a journey that showed me just how real food addiction really is.

Fit2Fat2Fit in a nutshell is my journey of going from fit (which I had been my entire life) to fat (gaining 75 lbs.) back to fit (in a year’s time). For 6 months I allowed myself to eat an unrestricted diet and stop exercising in my attempt to see a different perspective. My clients kept telling me I didn’t understand their struggles. They’d mention late night snacking and food addiction, and I felt they were just being lazy and making poor choices. Until I walked (a small ways) in their shoes…

Food became a comfort, a friend and an escape within a few short months. I’d get headaches without my Mountain Dew and I found myself emotionally eating as my relationships, job and self-esteem struggled during my journey. When it was time to go back to a healthy lifestyle, giving up these addictive foods was not just a challenge but required a detox (just like a drug). In fact, most studies show that food is just as addictive as drugs.

This may not be news to you. You may be struggling with food addiction right now. Though I can only scratch the surface in a short blog post, here are 3 tips on how to push through food addiction:

1) Keep “trigger foods” out of the house.
For me this is Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Zingers and Mountain Dew. It’s different for everyone, but there are certain foods that really trigger your emotional eating. It is those foods that make it hard to quit eating and make you feel you have no self-control. If it’s in the house you will eat it, so don’t bring it into your house! Even when I have a cheat/treat meal I still avoid those items because they trigger an episode that leaves me with an empty box of cereal and a massive stomachache.

2) Be prepared.
Often, our poorest food choices have everything to do with lack of preparation. After a late night at the office the last thing you want to do is cook a meal. Or anytime you’re starving you grab the quickest thing you can find. If you don’t have healthy food prepared in advance you will always go for fast food or packaged (processed) food because it’s convenient. So make healthy eating convenient too by being prepared. My wife and I cook in bulk (often using the crockpot) and we cut and separate snacks for several days so they are just an arms reach away. This helps so you aren’t as tempted with fast food.

3) Find another emotional outlet.
As my wife likes to say “we eat our emotions”. A common phrase she uses when she has a hard day and made a lot of poor food choices. Anyone that has struggled with food addiction understands that you “eat your emotions”. It’s hard not to use food for comfort. This will always be a struggle, even years later. Something that helps is finding another emotional outlet. I like to use exercise as my emotional outlet (I know, big surprise-ha). Find something besides food that can help relieve stress such as reading, working in the yard, etc. When you have a stressful moment and want to search through the cupboards, acknowledge you want to emotionally eat, then steer yourself to your new outlet. It’ll take time, but you’ll create a healthier habit.

Food addiction doesn’t just go away. It will be something that creeps back up and will be something most of us battle with our whole live

Drew and his wife, Lynn - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/2897

Drew and his wife, Lynn

Want to connect with Drew Manning? Find and follow Drew here:
Website: Fit2Fat2Fit.com
His Book:Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose

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Category: blog / living

Are You Losing All Your Marbles?

POSTED ON August 5, 2013

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Use marbles or rocks in a jar to count pounds you've lost says celebrity trainer Heidi Powell - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/2779

In Chantell’s episode of Extreme Weight Loss, she used 2 mason jars and marbles to help her visualize her first goal. One jar held  91 marbles, each representing 1 pound, that she needed to lose, to reach that first milestone. The other, empty, awaiting to be filled!

As she lost each pound, she moved a marble to the second jar, and continued to move marbles  from one to the other, as she worked off each and every one of those pounds, helping her visually see her progress. She was literally watching herself lose her marbles! :-)

Creating a way to help you see how you are doing as you work on a goal can help you see greater success and serve as a reminder of what you are focused on attaining. Keep it where you will walk past it and see it regularly to help you stay on track.

You can fill a jar not only with marbles, but with anything similarly small like decorative rocks or even buttons! Mason jars are inexpensive, and if you don’t have any readily handy, check the goodwill for fun jars and containers to hold “your weight”.  I love these darling apothecary jars filled with pebbles! The possibilities are endless as you create a way to visually track your goal. You can even include your favorite motivational quote to give you additional inspiration!

How do you track your goals? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Category: blog / living

Clear Clutter & Drop Extra Pounds!

POSTED ON July 25, 2013

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We are so lucky to have such a fabulous human being guest-blogging for us today :). Meet Dana Claudat, and soak up her wise words on clutter…and how it actually affects your weight loss!

Dana is a Pyramid School Feng Shui consultant, writer, and founder of the feng shui lifestyle blog The Tao Of Dana. Dana’s mission is to help everyone in the world become more positively engaged in their environment and, thus, in their lives.

Clear Clutter & Drop Extra Pounds! - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/2639

When people think of physical fitness, the first and most obvious thing to think of is your body and perhaps food. However, in the grand scheme of fitness, weight loss and wellness, there are so many other factors that influence your success in gaining and maintaining balance. Your mental state, the way you can organize and carve out time, the supportive people in your life and, yes, your environment all have a hand in striking and maintaining those awesome fitness goals. Even if you know what your plan is to get in shape, even if you have the best information and even love the physical activities, if you are weighed down with the burden of clutter in your life you may find that you are struggling to make it through your awesomely planned weeks!

Clutter is an extra burden that makes everything far more of a challenge. Clutter is excess weight, negative emotion, confusion, defeat and obstacles. Clutter is the feeling of being stuck. Clutter is frustration. Clutter is also easy to eliminate.

In my world of modern feng shui, working to create environments that support healthy lives, clutter stands out as a huge obstacle in nearly every space I encounter. There are four main kinds of clutter: actual junk piled up, lots of bad memory stuff, mental clutter and what I call “the clutter of obligations.”

Let’s look at a few ways to clear some of this clutter to lighten the load and set you free to accomplish your goals:

1. Actual junk. This is an easy clutter fix, although a daunting one. If you have some serious dumping to do, there are two great ways to tackle it. First, you can set aside 10-15 minutes every day to actually round up and haul out a bag of stuff from your home. Do this for a week or two and you will gain momentum as the space clears. Alternately, if you have a friend that is up for the task, put on some music, invite them over and tackle a big mess. You can also hire someone to do this with you- the motivated company makes a big difference.

Keep in mind that junky food is also actual junk. Doing a good de-cluttering in the kitchen and washing out your refrigerator will set you up for a fresh start with a healthy diet.

2. Bad memory stuff. The gifts from former lovers that didn’t end on a high note, the pictures that remind you of bad times, the ephemera of less-than-great seasons in your life: there’s no reason to hold on to that stuff. I once had a client tell me that she had cleared out every last vestige of her cheating husband from her house, but she was still miserable. I asked her what she kept in a box in her bedroom corner and she answered, “ My divorce proceedings.” Those papers left the house and her life started to flourish. The bad memory stuff can go. You don’t need to hold on to anything that does not make you feel good.

The Artist's Way - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/2639
3. Mental clutter. In this category I lump both the clutter of self-defeating thoughts as well as the clutter of turmoil words and actions of vampire people. I’ll explain! First, self-defeating thoughts. That’s fairly self-explanatory. I have had a lot of personal success dumping the thoughts that clutter my mind by keeping a journal and writing them out on a page so I can purge them objectively. If you want to go deeper, I always recommend The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron. The exercises in this book over the course of twelve weeks help you get out of your own way and start creating freely. Living a balanced life is a huge act of creativity, and it is something worth the investment.

Now, I mentioned vampires. Vampires: You know, the people who leave you feeling like you are about to fall asleep or jump out of your skin after a conversation, the people who spin your head, make your life all about their crisis and take you along for a thankless ride on the rollercoaster of their lives? Those people are clutter a lot of the time. While I don’t suggest ever cutting people out of your life, if you recognize that these types of relationships are adding lots of weight and effort to your day you can mindfully keep these relationships lighter and stay focused on the positive.

4. “The clutter of obligations.” Busy-clutter. Saying yes to everything except yourself creates a clutter of obligations that will litter your life with lots of stuff to do and nothing accomplished in your own world! If I find myself looking at the week ahead and sighing with dread, I know I have started to create a cluttered mess of my schedule. Saying NO more often and starting to excuse yourself from everything non-essential is so key to having a lighter life, especially when you are focused on making changes in your habits and routines. Taking more time for you is a key way to get grounded. When you are grounded, it is much easier to make life-affirming decisions and it is much more intuitive to exercise, to eat well, to sleep soundly and to enjoy it all!

In my way of feng shui, your space should help you feel invigorated every day. Basics go much farther than complex rules and absolutes. If you can de-clutter just a bit every day for the next month in all four ways, I guarantee you will feel lighter and likely more energized as well. Motivation won’t be something that comes from someone else, it will be intrinsic to your life and reinforced by all the clear, dynamic space you have created. Many clients have lost significant physical weight in the process as well! One parting note on this: clutter clearing can be emotional, so don’t be surprised if you actually do something like cry out of the blue (it has happened to me) after eliminating lots of junk. That junk has emotions attached to it and you are letting it go.

Have a great time sweeping away the old that you no longer need and creating the radiantly new, lighter life that is waiting for you!

xoxo Dana

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Category: blog / living

Ask Heidi Anything: Is the Fit Cycle for Losing Weight or Bulking Up?

POSTED ON July 19, 2013

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In this week’s “Ask Heidi Anything”, I address the question of whether the FIT Carb Cycle is for losing weight and who it is most ideal for, or if it is for bulking up. Watch to learn more!

To learn more about carb cycling and the FIT Cycle, click here.

Category: blog / fitness

Carb Cycling: The Turbo Cycle

POSTED ON July 31, 2012

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If you want to shed those extra pounds extra fast, the Turbo Cycle is for you. Of the four carb cycles, this cycle takes off weight the fastest. Unlike the Easy and Classic cycles, which alternate low and high-carb days, the Turbo Cycle pits two low-carb days against every high-carb day. That means you’ll burn fat two days in a row before your body’s furnace (metabolism) is re-stoked on your high-carb day, and you’ll lose weight really, really fast!

Even though the Turbo Cycle has an extra low-carb day as compared to the Easy and Classic cycles, it is not a calorie-restricted cycle. Women should not consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day, and men should not consume fewer than 1,500 calories a day. And since you’ll have two low-carb days in a row, you may feel less energetic on the second low-carb day. But this is okay. These low-carb days are powerful weight-loss accelerators!

Here’s what a Turbo Cycle week looks like:

  #CarbCycling: The Turbo Cycle #HeidiPowell #ChrisPowell #ChooseMoreLoseMoreforLife Learn More at http://HeidiPowell.net/2724

As with the other cycles, you can stay with the Turbo Cycle as long as you want, or you can change cycles. This program is tailor-made to you and you alone!

For more information on the Turbo Cycle or any other cycle, check out my book, Choose More, Lose More for Life.

Category: blog / food

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