Ask The Fitness Expert

Q. Lately I can’t seem to stay awake towards the middle of the afternoon. I drink coffee but still feel sluggish even though all I’ve done is sit at my desk all day. What’s worse is I can’t stay asleep through the night, despite how tired I am when I lay down. My productivity is suffering, and anything “fun” is out of the question due to lack of energy. Is there anything I can do to boost my energy?

A. There are a couple of things to consider: activity and nutrition. Exercise is a proven energy-booster, especially in the morning. When you exercise, your body responds by releasing endorphins and adrenaline— these work together to boost mood and energy. Revving your metabolism through exercise will keep you going all day. Secondly, if your “fuel” comes processed, sugared, or frosted, then you’re on a dangerous roller coaster. High sugar intake results in energy slumps. Your pancreas has to secrete a lot of insulin to take in all of the sugar and blood sugar levels plummet due to the high insulin. You’re left feeling dead tired—along with having another sugar craving! Beat the slump by exercising and having protein-rich snacks throughout the day.

Ask The Fitness Expert

Q. I’m training for a 10k and have noticed that despite the hours I’ve spent on the pavement, my endurance has not gotten any better. I feel like my legs just aren’t strong enough to keep going. What can I do to keep this from happening so I can go further without tiring?

A. A simple solution is to incorporate a few days of strength training into your running program. Muscle fatigue is caused by a buildup of lactic acid (that burn you’re feeling) in your working muscles. Increasing your leg strength through resistance exercise will make your muscles more efficient at converting lactic acid into energy for your run – not to mention those hills won’t seem as treacherous once you’ve gotten stronger. Better yet, you’ll become less prone to injury since resistance training strengthens the connective tissue around and within the joints, not just the muscles themselves. One other thing you should consider is flexibility training. Tight muscles can fatigue quickly and are also more prone to injury. A personal trainer can design a customized resistance and flexibility program based around your running schedule and individual needs.

Blair Meadows is the manager at Fitness Together, a private personal training studio in Greensboro. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Science from UNC-G and is certified through the American Council on Exercise, Titleist Performance Institute and The American Academy of Sports Dieticians and Nutritionists.

Reject The Diet Mentality; Cindy Mondello

Become an Intuitive Eater

In the August 2010 edition of Guilford Woman, I began writing a series of articles to share some information that every woman should have – the steps to freedom from the shackles of dieting and disordered eating! Research suggests that 83% of college women diet on a regular basis…no matter what they weigh. Another study by UNC at Chapel Hill reveals that 3 out of 4 women between the ages of 25 and 45 suffer from disordered eating. It is estimated that 30 billion dollars is spent in the weight-loss industry annually. And, yet, the reality is that nearly 95% of all diets fail.

So why are we women (and men) still allowing ourselves to be deceived by the dieting mentality…doing the same things over and over and expecting different results? This reminds me of an Old Testament Scripture found in the book of Deuteronomy, when Moses and the children of God were made to wander in the wilderness for forty years. In chapter 2, verse 3, the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.”

Do you feel like you have circled this mountain of failed diets and disordered eating long enough? Are you looking for the way to “turn north”? Well, if so, that is what this series on intuitive eating has been all about! Nutrition experts and authors Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., are responsible for paving the way “north” for us with their 10 Intuitive Eating Principles. And it has been my pleasure to provide you with a peek into the process through these summary articles featured monthly in Guilford Woman. (Find the previous nine in the online editions at http://www.guilfordwoman.com.) However, before we say good-bye, we have one more step to take – the final principle in this life-giving, bondage-breaking journey we’ve been taking together.

Principle Ten: Honor Your Health e Nutrition

Many times when people hear about the intuitive eating principles, they mistakenly believe that it’s an “eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and don’t worry about health” program. While honoring your hunger and welcoming back all formerly forbidden foods is central to becoming an intuitive eater, making healthy choices is an equally important piece of the puzzle. Both Tribole and Resch are registered dieticians and have years of experience with nutrition. However, they also know that if nutrition and healthy eating are introduced too soon in the process, even the most sincere chronic dieter on the road to recovery will still equate “nutrition” with “diet.” And, if you remember, the first principle of this process is rejecting the dieting mentality. Therefore, it is with purpose and intent that nutrition comes last, suggesting the need for a healthy relationship with food to be in place first.

So, What Is Healthy Eating? This question is difficult to answer in light of a nation consumed with reading food labels and counting calories. Michelle Stacey, author of Consumed: Why Americans Love, Hate, and Fear Food, introduces a unique concept for healthy eating – enlightened hedonism, or a balance between information and pleasure. Information is derived from listening to your body, as well as following nutritional guidelines (a modified Food Pyramid presented in detail in the book Intuitive Eating.) In regard to pleasure, it is important to never lose sight of the satisfaction factor lest you slip into the role of diet/health martyr. In other words, you need to make sure you actually like the taste of the nutritional food you are choosing!

Healthy eating also includes choosing foods from across the food groups. Many chronic dieters have learned to “manage” their diets by just eliminating certain foods altogether. Yet, gentle nutrition involves balancing these foods into your meals, and for good reason. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that people who omit several food groups from their diet have a higher risk of dying sooner! In summary, eating healthfully is not about a perfect diet. It is about choosing foods that honor your overall health and your taste buds!

Well, friend, this may be the end of the series, but if you choose to put into practice these ten principles of Intuitive Eating, it is just the beginning of a wonderful new way of living. You have been circling that mountain of dieting chaos for too long now. It is time to change direction. Turn north.

Cindy Mondello is a Licensed Professional Counselor and founder of Restoration Place Ministries, a local nonprofit organization offering significantly-discounted Christian counseling services for women. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, call 336-542-2060 or visit us at http://www.restorationplaceministries.org.

Ten Core Principles of Intuitive Eating

by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R. D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace with Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Feel Your Fullness

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

7. Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise – Feel the Difference

10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition