« Jen's Den

Fit Friday's In The Den-Obstacles & Guts

by Jennifer Taylor

Here is the latest edition of Fit Friday's in The Den. Kalea Delezenne has written a great article about how to get yourself to the gym and not sabotage yourself and I have added an article about how meat and dairy effect your gut.

Enjoy!

Jen Taylor

Getting over ourselves; one step at a time

By Kalea Delezenne,
ACSM -Certified Personal Trainer
MSU Graduate-Kinesiology & Health Promotion Degree 
Trainer at The YMCA Downtown Wellness Center  

The benefits of staying physically active are numerous and widely known. The consequences that may occur to our health and body if we choose to remain sedentary are also numerous and widely known. What separates those who choose one path over the other are intentions and action. Intentions are a course of action that one intends to follow and actions are deeds; something you are doing or have done. (For example: I intend to work out after work today for an hour and you end up going home and flipping on the T.V.  You had the intention but not the follow through.) Intentions lead to actions and actions lead to habits. It is not always what you do that form habits it is also what you do not do.

“So what?” you might find yourself saying. “It’s common sense that if I intend to do something and don’t then the action never occurred.” You are right. However, it is the culmination of your intentions and actions that create not only your habits in the gym, but in life. Look around your apartment, your desk at work, your car, even just one closet; how many projects have you intended to start but never followed through with? “Well I meant to” you might say. With the New Year fast approaching it is time to discard the ‘meant to’s’ with the ‘I did’. Take the bull by the horns and act! It will get easier each time you follow through to the end with your intention and in the process you will learn more about yourself, gain self-respect, confidence AND have a whole list of accomplishments under your belt (instead of a long ‘to do ‘ list).

Sometimes our intentions are hindered by a little thing we know as an obstacle. These serve no purpose other than to make us stronger. Yet sometimes they have the opposite affect and serve to deter us from our goal. The next few articles are going to take apart, go over, under, around and through some common obstacles and leave them in the dust. The question to ask yourself is “How bad do I want it?”

Obstacle #1: Self-esteem. Often times the largest barrier between getting what you want and what you have is, simply, YOU. As a trainer I work with many different clients of all ages and one of the biggest things I hear is that they put off coming to the gym for one of several reasons:

  1. You don’t want people looking at you.
  • It is inevitable that people will look at you, however, the difference between looking and judging are two entirely different sides of the spectrum. No one is judging you at the gym, and if they are why would you give the opinion of another person more importance than your own? You are there making a healthy choice for yourself and your life, and they are not a part of that. A way to change this thinking from a negative to a positive is to say to yourself “I must look pretty good today”, with humility of course.
  1. You want to get in shape first.
  • I get it. The idea of donning tighter clothing than you may be used to and sweating in front of strangers as you maneuver your way through seemingly odd exercises can seem embarrassing. If you get yourself more in shape no one will notice you as you struggle through the learning process and that your shoes are new. We all started out as a beginner at something. Everyone. We all had to struggle through figuring out the equipment, how to get the right form on the squat so our knees are not over our ankles and how to appreciate the beauty of it all. Embrace the journey and awkwardness with grace (and a book about how to lift, or a personal trainer never hurt either. Just make sure both are reputable.)
  1. You feel intimidated.
  • Again, this is understandable. When you are new to something it seems as though everyone in the whole place knows more than you. Remind yourself of why you are there and what your action steps are in order to accomplish your goals. This is about YOU. Also remember, even experts don’t know everything and learning new things makes you smarter!
  1. Why bother? I am never going to look like ‘that’.
  • I have yet to discover what the elusive ‘that’ is but apparently everyone else has it but you. Nonsense. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You have a few areas you would like to see firmer and you want to be in better shape? Let’s go. This takes time, patience, consistency and a gradual appreciation for the body you have.

I was recently introduced to an amazing video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXJ1FZKwI7c) that brought it all into perspective. You have a certain body type and gifts (maybe you are really good at mini golf, or writing, or can play an instrument by ear, or perhaps you are an amazing cook) that are yours to develop to the best of your ability. So go out, keep your head up and keep trying. 


Chowing Down On Meat, Dairy Alters Gut Bacteria A Lot, And Quickly


By NPR.Com

To figure out how diet influences the microbiome, scientists put volunteers on two extreme diets: one that included only meat, egg and cheese and one that contained only grains, vegetables and legumes.

Looks like Harvard University scientists have given us another reason to walk past the cheese platter at holiday parties and reach for the carrot sticks instead: Your gut bacteria will thank you.

Switching to a diet packed with meat and cheese — and very few carbohydrates — alters the trillions of microbes living in the gut, scientists Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The change happens quickly. Within two days, the types of microbes thriving in the gut shuffle around. And there are signs that some of these shifts might not be so good for your gut: One type of bacterium that flourishes under the meat-rich diet has been linked to inflammation and intestinal diseases in mice.

"I mean, I love meat," says microbiologist , who contributed to the study and is now at Duke University.

"But I will say that I definitely feel a lot more guilty ordering a hamburger ... since doing this work," he says.

Scientists are just beginning to learn about how our decisions at the dinner table — or the drive-through — tweak our microbiome, that is, the communities of bacteria living in our bodies. But one thing is becoming clear: The critters hanging out in our intestine influence many aspects of our health, including weight, immunity and perhaps even.

And interest in studying the links between is growing. Previous research in this field had turned up tantalizing evidence that eating fiber can alter the composition of gut bacteria. But these studies had looked at diets over long periods of times — months and even years. David and his colleagues wanted to know whether fiber — or lack of it — could alter gut bacteria more rapidly.

To figure that out, the researchers got nine volunteers to go on two extreme diets for five days each.

The first diet was all about meat and cheese. "Breakfast was eggs and bacon," David says. "Lunch was ribs and briskets, and then for dinner, it was salami and prosciutto with an assortment of cheeses. The volunteers had pork rinds for snacks."

Then, after a break, the nine volunteers began a second, fiber-rich diet at the other end of the spectrum: It all came from plants. "Breakfast was granola cereal," David says. "For lunch, it was jasmine rice, cooked onions, tomatoes, squash, garlic, peas and lentils." Dinner looked similar, and the volunteers could snack on bananas and mangoes.

"The animal-based diet is admittedly a little extreme," he says. "But the plant-based diet is one you might find in a developing country."

David and the team analyzed the volunteers' microbiomes before, during and after each diet. And the effects of all that meat and cheese were immediately apparent.

"The relative abundance of various bacteria species looked like it shifted within a day after the food hit the gut," David says. After the volunteers had spent about three days on each diet, the bacteria in the gut even started to change their behavior. "The kind of genes turned on in the microbes changed in both diets," he says.

In particular, microbes that "love bile" — the Bilophila — started to dominate the volunteers' guts during the animal-based diet. Bile helps the stomach digest fats. So people make more bile when their diet is rich in meat and dairy fats.

A study last year that blooms of Bilophila cause inflammation and colitis in mice. "But we didn't measure levels of inflammation in our subjects," David says. "That's the next step."

Instead, he says, his team's data support the overall animal model that Bilophila promotes inflammation, which could ultimately be controlled by diet.

"Our study is a proof of concept that you can modify the microbiome through diet," David says. "But we're still a long ways off from being able to manipulate the community in any kind of way that an engineer would be pleased about."

Even just classifying Bilophila as "bad bacteria" is a tricky matter, says Dr. , a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"These bacteria are members of a community that have lived in harmony with us for thousands of years," says Kashyap, who wasn't involved in the study. "You can't just pick out one member of this whole team and say it's bad. Most bacteria in the gut are here for our benefit, but given the right environment, they can turn on us and cause disease."

Nevertheless, Kashyap thinks the Nature study is exciting because the findings unlock a potentially new avenue for treating intestinal diseases. "We want to look at diet as a way of treating patients," Kashyap says. "This study shows that short-term dietary interventions can change microbial composition and function."

Of course, figuring out exactly how to do that will take much more research.

"The paper has made the next leap in the field," Kashyap says. "With discovery comes responsibility. Once you make this big finding, it needs to be tested appropriately."