Energy Vitality Quiz

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IS THIS WONDER DRUG FOR YOU?

One important aspect of having maintaining your waistline more energy is having access to a wonder drug. Yes, you read that correctly: There’s a wonder drug I’d like to recommend. It’s a drug that won’t just help you lose weight. It will also help you combat stress. It will make you smarter, faster, happier, and might even make you look years younger. Ready to start taking this magic little pill? Well, it’s called cardio – also known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise.

When I discovered my passion for running and cardiovascular exercise after losing my parents at a young age, and I realized that simply by jogging I had found a key to battling depression and a feeling of hopelessness, I was amazed at the difference I felt after these runs. Suddenly the clouds seemed to part just a bit. The world, and life in general, seemed brighter and more manageable. It literally felt like a weight had been lifted. And so my journey began, from the lost, orphaned college student to a woman on a mission. It was how I discovered my love of exercise (and my desire to share this with others), and it was the beginning of quest for more of whatever that feeling was.

So when I experienced that peaceful feeling I got from running, what was going on there? We’ve all heard of runner’s high. But let’s talk about what that really means.

Cardio activities –like running, cycling, rowing, using an elliptical, or hiking outdoors - release a whole flood of endorphins and feel-good chemicals into the brain: There’s dopamine, which gives our brain the “reward” signal; and serotonin, which is the happiness hormone. Dopamine and serotonin are designed to make us feel good, and they actually resemble opiates in the way they create a feeling of well-being - and they can even provide a natural sense of pain relief.

That’s because when you do cardio, you activate the same parts of the brain that are involved when you fall in love, or when you listen to music that gives you that “chill” feeling of euphoria. And there’s more: cardio can even battle depression. A study at Duke University found that doing moderate cardio just 3 times a week was just as effective as Zoloft in reducing major depression.

There’s an important relationship between cardio and our chromosomes. And at the center of that relationship is something called telomeres. Telomeres are the bits of DNA found on the tips of our chromosomes. And these little DNA bits are incredibly important; in 2009, several scientists won the Nobel Prize for discovering the true function of telomeres. When we experience physical and mental stress, telomeres start to erode, which kills cells and leads to premature aging, while also damaging our immune systems. So, to break it down for you: Shorter telomeres, bad. Longer telomeres, good.

And as a bonus, cardio will make you feel younger, which gives you more energy!

Discover The Easiest Way To Skyrocket Your Weight Loss

The 2-week Walking For Weight Loss plan helps you say goodbye to old habits and retrain your body with healthy, new ones. You’ll make incremental improvements in how you eat and workout that builds one day at a time. This plan is the best way to jumpstart your weight loss and lay a solid foundation for the future. It will rescue you from your old patterns and give you clarity, focus, and motivation.

IS SLEEP MAKING YOU FAT?

Getting a good night's sleep means much more than just catching up on your beauty rest. If you cheat yourself out of a long slumber, you're setting yourself up for unhealthy consequences afterward.

Occasionally falling short of the seven to nine hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation won't really affect you, right?

Wrong. When your regular sleep pattern is less than the recommended amount, it can compromise your immune system causing symptoms like irritability, depression, and a lackluster demeanor due to your body releasing stress hormones.

Sleep deprivation creates an imbalance of ghrelin and leptin, the hormones responsible for alerting your body when you're hungry or full. So when you're sleep deprived, not only are you tired but also you're also prone to overeating.

People often respond to tiredness by consuming caffeine or sugar. While both may give you a noticeable burst of energy, the downside is a big drop in energy shortly after. When that happens, people reach for the caffeine and sugar again and this reoccurring cycle throughout the day can leave you even more fatigued than when you started your day.

So what do you do? Well, it's not as hard as you may think.

You’re probably familiar with the terms larks and owls, and probably know someone (maybe even yourself) who fits the classic description of a morning or night person. Truth is, though, most of us are not extreme larks or owls, but fall somewhere in the middle. If left to our natural rhythm, we tend to rise somewhere between 7 and 8 a.m., get sleepy around ten at night, and fall asleep by midnight, with variations of up to an hour or two either way.

More important is the fact that, whatever hours we keep, we tend to follow a consistent pattern of energy and bodily function over the course of the day. This inner clock is governed by chemical processes in the human body that synchronize themselves to the light–dark cycle of the environment. Coming to terms with your cycle will help you in everything you do.

Knowing and, more importantly, respecting your body’s daily energy map is a great way to make yourself feel full of vitality, more productive, improve the effectiveness of exercise, reduce the likelihood of accidents, improve your sexual performance, and, in general, increase your enjoyment of life.

You don’t need to accept waking up in the early hours of the morning, unable to go back to sleep. It isn’t “normal.” I don’t want you to feel “Okay.” I want you to revitalized, full of energy, and able to lose unwanted pounds.

So how do you get a good night’s sleep? Here are six tips that have worked for thousands of women, and they work for me too:

  1. Release The Weight Of The Day

    If you go to bed uptight, it will be harder to get a restful sleep. Unwind and relax before your bedtime with a meditation or calming yoga routine so you can release all of the weight of the day and have a good night’s sleep. Watch the video below for a restful night’s sleep:

  2. Moderate Aerobic Activity

    Studies have shown that if you incorporate moderate aerobic activity into your schedule four times a week, you will sleep better…and BOOST your energy levels! The key is to time your workout earlier in the day so you aren’t stimulated with energy before you prepare for sleep. Working out earlier in the day will help calm your body and mind for a restful night.

  3. Disconnect From Electronics

    Disconnecting before you go to bed helps increase your melatonin levels (the sleep hormone). Around 7 pm, turn off your electronics, stop answering emails, and start to unwind.

  4. Pamper Yourself

    This is my favorite tip…and will probably be yours too :) Before you slip into your sheets, treat yourself like a newborn baby. Take a warm bath, lather on your favorite cream or lotion, and play relaxing music. Make it a ritual…just like brushing your teeth!

  5. Set A Schedule And Stick To It!

    It’s easy to run on a perfectly-timed schedule all week long, and then stay up late on the weekend. The problem with this is that staying up late on the weekends (or any day) throws off your sleep cycle for the week ahead.

  6. Cut Down On Caffeine 8 Hours In Advance

    This is a big one! Caffeine can come from coffee, green tea, sodas and even chocolate! You want to be conscious to cut the caffeine eight hours before your bedtime. This will allow you to relax into the night.

These six tips, will have a huge impact on your life, your sleep, your energy, and even your weight.

The 2-week Walking For Weight Loss plan helps you say goodbye to old habits and retrain your body with healthy, new ones. You’ll make incremental improvements in how you eat and workout that builds one day at a time. This plan is the best way to jumpstart your weight loss and lay a solid foundation for the future. It will rescue you from your old patterns and give you clarity, focus, and motivation.

ARE YOUR STRESS LEVELS MAKING YOU FAT?

To illustrate the role that stress plays in our lives, let’s look for a moment to the animal kingdom. There’s a neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress and made a terrific PBS documentary about it. I had the honor of learning about his work a few years ago when we were both presenters at a USC event an event for the University of Southern California. His documentary was called “Stress: Portrait of a Killer.” How’s that for a dramatic title? Well, Sapolsky does a beautiful job showing us how the stress response process plays out in the animal kingdom, using it as a metaphor for modern day human behavior.

Sapolsky shows us that we have a little too much in common with the wild baboon. Think about it: Baboons have it pretty easy. They spend 3 hours a day gathering their food...And that’s it! That leaves them with 21 hours to sleep, mate, and relax. Sounds like a pretty great existence, doesn’t it? But have you ever seen them in action? Here’s how they spend all that free time: They make each other miserable. They scream at each other, they jump on each other, they attack each other – basically, they act like baboons. So they’re extremely stressed out! And for no good reason. They’re not running from lions. They’re just choosing to drive each other, and themselves, crazy. They’re like us: So much of our stress seems beyond our control…and as a result, we end up acting a bit like baboons.

Zebras, on the other hand, have a whole different approach to stress. You’ve seen them at the zoo, or on TV – they’re pretty calm animals. But when they’re running from a pack of lions, their stress responses kick in: Adrenaline starts pumping through their systems, oxygen gets pumped into their bloodstream, and they run for their lives. And then, just like that, it’s over. The chase ends — because either the lions catch them, or they get away. And when they get away, they don’t start zebra support groups: “OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THAT LION WAS DOING? I NEED A DRINK!” Nope. When they’re out of danger, their stress responses simply shut off, and they go about their zebra business. They stay calm, steady, and relatively stress-free.

Well, most of you probably aren’t worried about a pack of lions. Most of you are more concerned about the complexity of your jobs, or managing client expectations, or as we learned from our survey, the fact that it’s so difficult to keep your work life separate from your home life. Those are all stressors unique to you. And we all have some form of those stressors in our lives. Now, in small doses, stress can be a good thing. Some of us work well under pressure, so most of the time, a little stress just puts a fire in our bellies, motivating us to succeed. But a little bit goes a long way.

With stress – and, more importantly, our bodies’ response to stress - there’s a tipping point. And when we go past that point, we start to put our health at risk – in part because we begin to gain weight. There’s a strong connection between our nation’s obesity epidemic, and our skyrocketing stress levels. And the link is cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s triggered when we experience stress. So anytime we’re in a situation that activates our stress response, cortisol floods our bloodstream. And it’s bad news for several reasons. It’s a domino effect: High stress equals high cortisol levels, and high cortisol levels can lead to a whole host of issues, including depression, anxiety, and weight gain.

When cortisol kicks in, it shuts down our fat-burning systems, and actually tells the body to start storing fat, specifically in the midsection. That’s why there’s such a strong connection between high levels of stress and high levels of belly fat – it all comes down to cortisol.

And by the way, cortisol is also right in the middle of the intersection between stress and sleep. The less sleep we get, the higher our cortisol levels – so that lack of sleep doesn’t just cause crankiness and brain fog – it can also lead to belly fat.

But even if you can’t climb into bed and get 8 hours of sleep right this minute, there’s an exercise you can do, right here, right now, to help you battle stress and curb your cortisol levels. It’s a surefire technique that could help slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, flush out extra feelings of anger or frustration, and even re-train your brain, so that you shift away from the limbic part of the brain, where emotional, irrational thinking takes place, toward the frontal cortex: the logical part of the brain that helps you make slower, calmer, conscious decisions. And it’s called a BLT.

BLT stands for Breathing Listening Technique, and it’s just as simple as it sounds. You can try it, right now, wherever you are:

Get comfortable in your chair. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed, down and back, and that your chest is nice and open.

  • Take a nice, steady inhale on a count of 6.
  • When you reach the top, try and hold it there for a count of 6. And while you’re holding your breath, listen. Try and identify any sounds around you, however distant or faint they may be: An air conditioner rumbling…A dog barking down the street…A car driving down the street…Or maybe just the soft song of a bird nearby. Whatever it is, be specific and mentally pinpoint the source of each sound.
  • And then, slowly, exhale on another count of 6.
  • Repeat this cycle 4-5 times.

The great thing about this exercise is that it forces you to be in the moment. When your sole focus is inhaling, listening, and exhaling, it stops the incessant chatter that we all have in our minds. I’ve often referred to it as the “Itty Bitty Sh*tty Committee” – that chorus of voices we all have in our heads. The voices that tell us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, or just simply not enough in general. Sometimes we get those voices from the criticism of our parents or a loved one – and sometimes we simply get them from our own neuroses or lack of self-esteem. Wherever they came from, most of us have them – and when that committee is in full session, a BLT is a surefire way to quiet them back down.

Stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and our health – and sometimes, taking a moment to breathe deeply and listen can help you regain your sanity.

The 2-week Walking For Weight Loss plan helps you say goodbye to old habits and retrain your body with healthy, new ones. You’ll make incremental improvements in how you eat and workout that builds one day at a time. This plan is the best way to jumpstart your weight loss and lay a solid foundation for the future. It will rescue you from your old patterns and give you clarity, focus, and motivation.

IS THE BLOOD SUGAR ROLLERCOASTER PREVENTING YOU FROM LOSING WEIGHT?

We often associate the idea of “balancing blood sugar” with diabetes. But balancing healthy blood sugar levels is a key concept for maintaining energy throughout the day! Here’s why:

Food, and the types of foods we eat, trigger the sugar, or glucose, in our blood. And when our blood sugar levels rise or fall too dramatically or too frequently over the course of the day, we’re suddenly stuck in a vicious cycle. Our energy levels are quickly depleted, we become prone to fuzzy thinking, and we start to crave sugary foods. We reach for those foods, get a quick sugar boost, and suddenly it all begins again.

And, it all Starts with Insulin.

Most of us have a vague idea about insulin. We know it’s got something to do with how our bodies process sugar, and that’s of particular concern to people living with diabetes. But it’s vital for all of us, regardless of our age or fitness levels, to have a deeper understanding of the insulin process. Here’s an intro to insulin:

When we eat carbohydrates - grains, cereals, pastas, fruit and, yes, anything containing sugar - our digestive systems start to break them down into glucose, the simple sugar found in our body’s tissue. Glucose rushes through the bloodstream, which signals insulin, the hormone produced in the pancreas, to kick in. Insulin’s job is to sweep in and distribute that glucose to various cells to our livers, muscles and brains. Those cells, in turn, turn the glucose into energy.

A well-balanced blood sugar level is crucial to your overall fitness and well-being, regulating your hormones, triggering your body to burn stored fat, and increasing your metabolism to help you lose weight.

Unfortunately, most people’s blood sugar is not properly balanced. If you’re getting too much glucose, it leads to high blood-sugar levels, which your body can’t break down and stores as fat. This can lead to a condition that leads to insulin resistance, and eventually, diabetes.

This process varies depending on our own genetic makeup, but it also depends on the makeup of our meals. The type of food we eat determines whether our insulin levels stay balanced, or whether they skyrocket too quickly, creating that infamous blood sugar “spike” we should try and avoid. That spike leads to a crash in energy quickly afterward, leaving us groggy and often craving more sugar.

Here are a few reasons for blood sugar swings:

  • Sugar – Eating sugar (whether the white stuff or in the forms of cookies, cakes and cookies) has an immediate effect on blood sugar levels.
  • Sugar-free foods can still raise your blood sugar levels, because they may have plenty of carbohydrates, so make sure you check the label before indulging.
  • Foods high in carbohydrates and fat, such as pizza, fried foods, and even Chinese food can keep your blood sugar elevated longer.
  • Sports drinks…they have a lot of sugar!
  • Dried fruits…because their sugar content is so concentrated; you can get a big dose of sugar very quickly! Just 3 dates has 15 g of carbohydrates.
  • Alcohol – Remember, it’s not just the alcohol that has carbs, but the sugary mixers can cause a spike!
  • Stress – Feeling overwhelmed or unhappy can trigger the release of hormones which cause blood sugar to rise.
  • Some over-the-counter drugs including antihistamines and cold medications may contain sugar or alcohol which can cause a blood sugar spike.
  • Remember, when you love a certain food, you don’t have to give it up completely! Learning how to manage your portion sizes and taking into account total carbs and calories will keep you off the blood sugar roller coaster. Here’s to your health!

Remember, when you love a certain food, you don’t have to give it up completely! Learning how to manage your portion sizes and taking into account total carbs and calories will keep you off the blood sugar roller coaster.

The 2-week Walking For Weight Loss plan helps you say goodbye to old habits and retrain your body with healthy, new ones. You’ll make incremental improvements in how you eat and workout that builds one day at a time. This plan is the best way to jumpstart your weight loss and lay a solid foundation for the future. It will rescue you from your old patterns and give you clarity, focus, and motivation.

DISCOVER THE EASIER WAY TO SKYROCKET YOUR WEIGHT LOSS!

Say goodbye to old habits and retrain your body with healthy, new ones with the 2-Week Walking For Weight Loss Program!