Start 2018 Now!


This year, I want to help you do resolutions a better way!   For the month of December, I am going to post 18 new blogs sharing tips, tricks, motivation, recipes, Real Warrior Updates, and game plans for kicking off your 2018!

***But WAIT there’s MORE ***

When you share and/or follow my blog, you will be entered to win one of 3 sessions with me!  On New Year’s Day, I will award the following:

  • 1 free personal training session to a current client
  • 1 free personal training session to anyone who shares / follows
  • 1 free nutrition and coaching session

And don’t forget …

For the month of December Free Boot Camp Sessions! All Boot Camp Sessions on Thursday evening (5pm, 5:40pm, 6:20pm, 7pm) will be free. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends and family to come workout with you. Your 2018 goals start now, so plan your schedule accordingly so you can be here on Thursday Evenings.

Don’t wait until January to start attacking your goals.

Start now, start today and let’s cruise into 2018.

words I can

Transformation Tuesday Recipe Edition!

54ead6c10d391_-_thanksgiving-elegant-food-1114-xlnI have featured some incredible client transformations, but none of the warriors’ transformations would have been possible if they did not focus on making healthier food choices.  Exercise alone will not result in long-lasting, or consistent weight loss results.  As I shared in Mini Treats Can Have a Major Impact!, the holiday splurges really add up and can derail your progress before you know it!

If you take the time to research “Healthier Holiday Food Makeovers,” you will find over 400,000 pages and each page contains multiple recipes. pumpkin pie cake “Cooking Light” magazine offers a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie and a lower-calorie. dairy-free mashed potato recipe for your Thanksgiving table.   If your holidays have more of a down home Southern flair, the FOOD NETWORK has a great selection of “Healthy Comfort Food Makeovers,” including Mac & Cheese!   YES!!! I said HEALTHIER Mac & Cheese!  BAM!!!  One of my favorite articles is Eating Well’s “How to Cut Calories at Thanksgiving Dinner!”  This article offers total makeovers of all of your holiday favorites, Turkey, stuffing, and even SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE!!!  The key is staying on track without feeling deprived! Dive into these articles and when you try they #CoachRobJCooks!!!

Take Action!

There’s an action step right before you, TAKE IT!

Coach Rob, BAM

#nextstep #nextsteps #takeaction #fitness #fitfam #fitlife #goals #eatclean #healthy #lifestyle #gymaholic #hardwork #bam #bamlogic #workoutmotivation #fitnessmotivation #fitnessinspiration #fitnesscoach #coachrobj #procoach #motivation #gymlife #getfit

“Set Your Bar Ridiculously High”

Don’t sell yourself short!!

#aimhigh #mindset #growth #takeaction #fitness #life #neversettle #fitfam #fitlife #goals #eatclean #healthy #lifestyle #gymaholic #hardwork #bam #bamlogic #workoutmotivation #fitnessmotivation #fitnessinspiration #fitnesscoach #coachrobj #procoach #motivation #gymlife #getfit

Happy, Healthy BBQ Side Dishes


bbq-healthyHealthy eating is an integral part of any weight loss or healthy lifestyle plan, but we also know, you shouldn’t deprive yourself.   With this weekend being filled with barbecues for Labor Day and the Fresno State Bulldogs tailgating season kicking off in full swing, I decided to share something healthy BBQ side options.  Let’s just assume we are all going to indulge in something tasty off the grill but this does not mean your entire meal has to be “an unhealthy indulgence.”

As I discussed on my blog last week, access to healthy eating has never been easier.  Easy Access to Eating Healthy   The central California is especially lucky to have fresh produce on every street corner, farmer’s market, and even in some of our own backyards.

CLOVIS Farmer’s Market Friday nights and Saturday mornings!

Heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, and fresh stone fruit are all in season and can add a new twist to your normal barbecue side dish selection.  Change up those high fat sides of macaroni and cheese, chili, and potatoes salad with some healthy alternatives using fresh produce which is rich in natural flavor and can be locally sourced!



Cooking Light Magazine’s Easy Barbecue Side Dishes!

I googled “healthy barbecue side dishes” and within .66 seconds, I had 5.31 MILLION webpages, all loaded with recipes and photos at my finger tips!  Here are some great resources to help you contribute healthier sides to any BBQ or tailgate.

If you get adventurous this weekend and make a new healthy side dish, post a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and #CoachRobJCooks or you can SNAPCHAT me at coach_robj and I will feature some of the photos next week! Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday weekend! Go Dogs!

Fitness Magazine has a great healthier “Mac and Cheese” made with cauliflower.



#TeamKilla is Taking People Higher Up!

IMG_7312When people see good things going on in your life like physical changes, healthy lifestyle choices, and an overall change in your mindset and focus, they want to know what you are doing!  Stephanie, from Hire Up Staffing Service, aka #TeamKilla, wanted to share a bit of her new and improved lifestyle with her staff, as they prepare for a busy time of year and set new corporate challenges.

We sat down and laid out a plan for “Corporate Wellness with Coach Rob!”  Our main goal for the staff was to help them learn how to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable” in order to help them push through and achieve new goals.  On Fridays, I head to the Hire Up offices to pump these ladies up with a mini-bootcamp and a motivational topic for the week.

There are many topics that can fuel a change in lifestyle, but I started with some basics.  A great place to start was to teach the team about having focused thoughts and walking through discomfort to achieve new accomplishments.  IMG_7313

  • Control your mindset.
  • Passion comes from your core.
  • Do your personal BEST.
  • Achievement is limitless.

Mindset Matters: We choose our state of mind and our thoughts dictate how we perceive the world, so limit the negative and focus on all of the positive. Exercise your choice and find a way to claim your mindset.  Check out my “Claim Your Morning” blog.

Passion comes from your CORE:  In fitness, all movements originate from the CORE and in life our passions and desires originate from our Soul.  The soul is the core of our being and when we listen, it guides us to what we love, what we are good at doing, and what leads us to pure joy.  My soul lead me to coaching, where does your core lead you?  Called to Coach!!


Achievement is LIMITLESS:  There are thousands of public speakers, webpages, businesses, and books all dedicated to success and achievement.  One key factor of any plan for success is not to allow yourself to be limited by your own doubts.  Life is LIMITLESS.

I am happy to report the team at HIRE UP STAFFING SERVICE has had positive reviews about our Friday mornings! As a coach, especially as Steph’s coach, it is exciting to see a client incorporating her new goals and life changes into her role at work.  Check out Hire Up Staffing Service.


Vitamin D- The Sunshine Vitamin


Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” was identified in the 17th century by Dr. Daniel Whistler and Professor Francis Glisson when they discovered the causative factors of rickets.

Circa 1920, Sir Edward Mellanby worked with dogs raised exclusively indoors. He devised a diet that allowed him to unequivocally establish that rickets was caused by a deficiency of a trace component present in the diet and that cod liver oil (an excellent source of vitamin D) was an effective antirachitic agent.


Along with vitamins A, E and K, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin D actually refers to several different forms. Two forms that are important in humans include:

  1. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)- derived from plants
  2. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)- derived from animal products and made in the skin when exposed to sunlight

In addition vitamin D has three analogs, each with different potencies:

  • Cholecalciferol – 1x
  • 25 hydroxycholecalciferol – 5x
  • 1, 25 dihydroxycholecalciferol – 10x
  • (Marz, 2009)


Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin after exposure to ultraviolet light or obtained from the diet either from unfortified or fortified food sources or supplements. Unfortified sources include animal products such as cod liver oil, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, and shrimp. Fortified sources include milk and some brands of alternative milks (rice, soy, almond, etc.).

(Marz, 1999)

Some vitamin D researchers suggest that approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis and that the moderate use of commercial tanning beds that emit 2%–6% UVB radiation is also effective.

Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diets or consider supplements to achieve recommended intake levels.

(Rizwan, 2013)


As with many nutrients, vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestine. It is transported through the lymphatic system by chylomicrons and stored in the liver, bone, brain, and skin.

Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is inactive and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first hydroxylation occurs in the liver, where vitamin D is converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second hydroxylation takes place in the kidneys, where it forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol.

(Marz, 1999)


The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D ranges from 400-800 IU, depending on age, pregnancy/lactation status, skin color, sun exposure, diseases affecting nutrient absorption, and health status. This RDA is considered a daily intake that is sufficient to maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism in 97-98% of healthy people.

(Rizwan, 2013)

It is important to note that numerous studies support much higher intakes for the prevention and/or management of a number of diseases, some of which will be mentioned later. These intakes can be as high as 10,000 IU/d, or >10 times the current recommended intakes.

(Vieth et al. 2007)

Measuring Vitamin D Status

Serum concentration of 25(OH)D is the best indicator of vitamin D status. It reflects vitamin D produced in the skin and that obtained from food and/or supplements.

Based on a review of the data on vitamin D needs, a committee of the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) concluded that people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency at serum 25(OH)D concentrations <30 nmol/L (<12 ng/mL). In addition, some are potentially at risk for inadequacy at levels ranging from 30–50 nmol/L (12–20 ng/mL). In general, the recommended range is 30–100 nmol/L.

(Rizwan, 2013)


There are two primary diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency:

  • Rickets – a malformation of the bones seen in children
  • Osteomalacia – skeletal demineralization seen in adults

(Marz, 2009)

Functions and Health Effects of Supplementation

A primary function of vitamin D includes calcium absorption in the gut for normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. In addition, vitamin D modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and inflammation.

Vitamin D has been extensively reviewed for potential health relationships warranting supplementation. Some of these include resistance to chronic diseases (such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases), physiological parameters (such as immune response or levels of parathyroid hormone), and functional measures (such as skeletal health, physical performance and falls).

(Venkataraman, 2008)   (


Low 25(OH) D levels have been associated with all-cause mortality and even more pronounced with cardiovascular mortality. It is still unclear whether vitamin D deficiency is a cause or a consequence of a poor health status, though vitamin D supplementation could perhaps be an approach to consider in reducing mortality and cardiovascular disease.

(Pilz et al. 2009)

Bone Health

Vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy mineralized skeleton. Sunlight causes the photoproduction of vitamin D3 in the skin. Once formed, vitamin D3 is metabolized sequentially in the liver and kidneys to 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The major biological function of 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D is to keep the serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations within the normal range to maintain essential cellular functions and to promote mineralization of the skeleton. It is generally accepted that an increase in calcium intake to 1000-1500 mg/day, along with an adequate source of vitamin D of at least 400 IU/day, is important for maintaining good bone health.

(Holick, 1996)


1, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D [1, 25-(OH)2 D] exerts its effects via the vitamin D receptor that belongs to the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily leading to gene regulation and a number of biological responses. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that 1, 25(OH)2 D can induce differentiation and inhibit proliferation of a wide variety of cell types. The anti-proliferative action makes 1, 25-(OH)2 D and its analogs a possible therapeutic tool to treat hyperproliferative disorders, such as certain forms of cancer.

(Bouillon et al. 2006)

Cardiovascular Disease

1, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D (1, 25[OH]2 D) or calcitriol, has been implicated in many physiologic processes beyond calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, and likely plays a role in several chronic disease states, including cardiovascular disease.

Experimental data suggest that 1, 25(OH)2 D affects cardiac muscle directly, controls parathyroid hormone secretion, regulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, and modulates the immune system.

Treatment with vitamin D has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension and modify the cytokine profile in patients with heart failure.

(Nemerovski et al. 2009)


Some cross-sectional clinical and epidemiological studies have found that low levels of vitamin D are significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. While cross-sectional studies cannot establish causality, vitamin D supplementation for depression in those who are deficient warrants further investigation.

(Howland, 2011)

Dementia and Cognition

A review of thirty-seven studies suggests that lower vitamin D concentrations are associated with lower cognitive function and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are required to determine the significance and potential public health effect of this association.

(Balion et al. 2012)


Vitamin D appears to play a role in the prevention of type 1 diabetes in genetically predisposed individuals, as well as type 2 diabetes, by affecting insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.

(Mathieu, 2005) (Palomer, 2008)

Immune System

Recent studies have shown that the hormonal form of calcitriol can act as a regulator of immune cell differentiation and proliferation, specifically in T cells and activated macrophages. Vitamin D may have a similar role to that of other immune regulatory molecules such as cytokines, by modulating the inflammatory process.

(Hewison, 1992)

Infectious Disease

Vitamin D plays a role in the synthesis of antibacterial peptides (short chains of amino acids) and in autophagy (cell degradation of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components). Several studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with the susceptibility and the severity of acute infections and with an unfavorable outcome of some chronic infections including the HIV infection. Vitamin D supplementation improves response to treatment of some viral and bacterial infections.

(Ghosn, 2013)

Autoimmune Disease

Vitamin D is an important component in the interaction between the kidney, bone, parathyroid hormone, and the intestine, which maintains extracellular calcium levels within normal limits in order to maintain physiologic processes and skeletal integrity. Vitamin D is also associated with hypertension, muscular function, immunity, and one’s ability to deal with an infection, autoimmune disease (including multiple sclerosis), and cancer.

Vitamin D influences immunity via CD4 T cell differentiation as well as increasing the function of T suppressor cells. The active form of vitamin D produces and maintains self-immunologic tolerance. Some studies show that 1, 25(OH)2 D inhibits induction of disease such as thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, collagen-induced arthritis and Lyme disease.

(Ginanjar, 2006) (Soloman, 2011)


Vitamin D status has been hypothesized to play a role in musculoskeletal function. In a study by Houston et al, 2007, vitamin D status was inversely associated with poor physical performance. Given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in older populations, additional studies examining the association between vitamin D status and physical function are warranted.

ADHD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and Impulsive Behavior

Brain serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan and is activated by vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids. Inadequate levels of vitamin D (∼70% of the population) and omega-3 fatty acids can result in suboptimal brain serotonin synthesis, leading to a number of cognitive and behavioral disorders.

(Patrick & Ames, 2015)


Gloth et al, 1991, identified a pain syndrome associated with vitamin D depletion that is worsened by light, superficial pressure, as well as movement. This pain restricts mobility and function.

Faraj & Mutairi, 2003, evaluated 360 patients attending spinal and internal medicine clinics over a 6-year period who had experienced low back pain. They found that a vitamin D deficiency was a major contributor to chronic low back pain in areas where vitamin D deficiency is endemic.

Screening for vitamin D deficiency and treatment with supplements should be mandatory in this setting. Measurement of serum 25-OH cholecalciferol is sensitive and specific for detection of vitamin D deficiency and could be a useful assessment in patients with chronic low back pain.

(Gloth, 1991) (Faraj & Mutairi, 2003)


Because vitamin D is fat soluble and can be stored in the body, excessive amounts can be toxic and cause a constellation of symptoms, including: Hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, kidney stones, hyperphosphatemia, polyuria, polydipsia, ectopic calcification of soft tissues, nausea & vomiting, anorexia, constipation, headache and hypertension.

(Maji, 2012)


It is generally accepted that vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem affecting a wide range of acute and chronic diseases. Individuals should try to achieve optimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations from dietary sources, supplements, and sun exposure.

The effect of vitamin D on epigenetics and gene regulation could potentially explain why vitamin D has been reported to have such wide-ranging health benefits throughout life. Increasing the vitamin D status of children and adults worldwide is an imperative strategy for improving musculoskeletal health and reducing the risk of chronic illnesses, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), neurocognitive disorders, and mortality.

(Hossein-nezhad, A., & Holick, M. F. 2013)

By Geoff Lecovin, MS, DC, ND, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS, WLS


Balion, C., Griffith, L. E., Strifler, L., Henderson, M., Patterson, C., Heckman, G., … & Raina, P. (2012). Vitamin D, cognition, and dementia A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurology, 79(13), 1397-1405.

Bouillon, R., Eelen, G., Verlinden, L., Mathieu, C., Carmeliet, G., & Verstuyf, A. (2006). Vitamin D and cancer. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 102(1), 156-162.

Faraj,A & Mutairi,A. (2003). Vitamin D deficiency and chronic low back pain in Saudi Arabia. Spine, 28(2), 177-179.

Ginanjar, E., Setiati, S., & Setiyohadi, B. (2006). Vitamin D and autoimmune disease. Acta Medica Indonesiana, 39(3), 133-141.

Ghosn, J., & Viard, J. P. (2013). [Vitamin D and infectious diseases]. Presse medicale (Paris, France: 1983), 42(10), 1371-1376.

Hewison, M. (1992). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of endocrinology, 132(2), 173-175.

Gloth, F. M., Lindsay, J. M., Zelesnick, L. B., & Greenough, W. B. (1991). Can vitamin D deficiency produce an unusual pain syndrome?. Archives of internal medicine, 151(8), 1662-1664.

Holick, M. F. (1996). Vitamin D and bone health. The Journal of nutrition, 126(4 Suppl), 1159S-64S.

Hossein-nezhad, A., & Holick, M. F. (2013, July). Vitamin D for health: a global perspective. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 88, No. 7, pp. 720-755). Elsevier.

Houston, D. K., Cesari, M., Ferrucci, L., Cherubini, A., Maggio, D., Bartali, B., & Kritchevsky, S. B. (2007). Association between vitamin D status and physical performance: the InCHIANTI study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 62(4), 440-446.

Howland, R. H. (2011). Vitamin D and depression. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv, 49(2), 15-18.

Maji, D. (2012). Vitamin D toxicity. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 16(2), 295.

Marz, R. (1999). Medical Nutrition from Marz, 2nd Edition. Omni Press. Portland, Oregon.

Mathieu, C., Gysemans, C., Giulietti, A., Bouillon, R. (2005). Vitamin D and diabetes. Diabetologia, 48(7), 1247-57.

Nemerovski, C. W., Dorsch, M. P., Simpson, R. U., Bone, H. G., Aaronson, K. D., & Bleske, B. E. (2009). Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy,29(6), 691-708.

Palomer, X., Gonzalez-Clemente, J., Blanco-Vaca, F., Mauricio, D. (2008). Role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism. 10(3), 185-97.

Patrick, R. P., & Ames, B. N. (2015). Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior. The FASEB Journal, fj-14.

Pilz, S., Dobnig, H., Nijpels, G., Heine, R. J., Stehouwer, C. D., Snijder, M. B. & Dekker, J. M. (2009). Vitamin D and mortality in older men and women.Clinical endocrinology, 71(5), 666-672.

Rizwan, M. (2013). Defeat the ‘D’ deficiency–be sun smart. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists, 23(4), 357-359.

Solomon, A. J. (2011). Multiple sclerosis and vitamin D. Neurology, 77(17), e99-e100.

Venkataraman, R. (2008). Functions of Vitamin D. Journal of Young Investigators. Carnegie Mellon University.

Vieth, R., Bischoff-Ferrari, H., Boucher, B. J., Dawson-Hughes, B., Garland, C. F., Heaney, R. P. & Zittermann, A. (2007). The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(3), 649-650.

– See more at:

All About Appetite Regulation

What is eating the right amount?

Ideally, our physiology regulates our appetite perfectly.  We evolved to eat when we’re hungry, and stop when we’ve had enough.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way in our modern society.

Appetite has a massive “real life” component. Subtle eating cues can trump physiology. These can include:


For example, the size of dishes, how close the food is to us, etc. One study found that people ate more from a candy dish right in front of them but much less from a candy dish 6 feet away. They also ate more from an uncovered candy dish than a covered candy dish.


  • We like certain tastes and textures.
  • We like sweet, fatty, and “umami” (savoury) things.
  • We like creamy textures and crunchy textures.
  • We also like multiple tastes and textures together, such as sweet-salty.


As the saying goes, “You eat with your eyes first.” We like food that looks pleasing, and we favour certain colours (ever seen candy with boring gray packaging?). Our smell is closely bound to our appetites as well as our memories and emotional associations. There’s a reason that Cinnabon smells so delectable — it’s part of a deliberate strategy to lure us in.


  • family, friends, peers
  • cultural messages about when and where it’s OK to eat


  • stress
  • anxiety
  • desire for comfort
  • symbolic associations with a certain food, e.g. “baking cookies makes me feel happy”


  • morning coffee in our special mug, or “the usual” at the coffee shop
  • being rushed in the mornings, so stopping at McDonald’s drive-thru
  • Friday beers after work with the boys
  • snacking in front of the TV while watching our favourite shows
  • cake at birthday parties
  • mom’s casserole at holidays
  • etc.

Sometimes these cues are helpful. Most have an evolutionary purpose. For example, knowing what food looks and smells good can prevent us from eating something that’s gone rotten. Eating when we weren’t hungry, but when food was available, would be helpful in a context when we couldn’t be sure where our next meal was coming from.

However, in 21st century society, our evolutionary survival mechanisms don’t work very well. Now, we’re surrounded by good-looking food that is available to us 24/7. We’re chronically stressed and seeking comfort. Our eating impulses are out of whack. Our biology no longer matches our environment.

When we are perfectly in tune with appropriate appetite and fullness cues, we eat when physically hungry and stop when satisfied (not stuffed). We maintain a healthy body weight.

When we are not in tune with these cues, our health and weight suffer.

Under-eating and over-eating

There are many reasons why we might under- or over-eat more than we need.

Under-eating might occur because of:

  • social pressures (e.g. among women to be thin)
  • stress
  • a desire to restrict food to feel “in control”
  • over-preoccupation with “health”
  • rigid restriction/elimination of certain foods

Over-eating might occur because of:

  • social pressures (e.g. wanting to fit in at social events)
  • stress
  • feeling “out of control”
  • a desire for comfort or self-soothing
  • disrupted biological routines such as lack of sleep or shift work
  • highly palatable tastes such as fatty and sweet foods
  • food availability: the food is there and it ain’t gonna eat itself!


Eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied is something that nearly all mammals are programmed to do from birth. Yet, in the U.S. we tend to “unlearn” this and only stop eating when we are “full.” Many cultures discourage this.

Throughout India, Ayurvedic tradition advises eating until 75% full.

The Japanese practice hari hachi bu, eating until 80% full.

hara hachi All About Appetite Regulation, Part 2

Islamic guidance from the Qur’an indicates that excess eating is a sin.

The Chinese specify eating until 70% full.

The prophet Muhammad described a full belly as one containing 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid, 1/3 air (nothing).

There is a German expression that says, “Tie off the sack before it gets completely full.”

“Drink your food and chew your drink,” is an Indian proverb that encourages us to eat slowly enough and chew thoroughly enough, to liquefy our food, and move our drink around our mouth and thoroughly taste it before swallowing.

When someone is finished eating in France they don’t say “I’m full,” rather, “I have no more hunger.”

And countries outside the U.S. emphasize that eating should be pleasurable and done in the company of others.

Group of people sitting at table outdoors on Qubecs gourmet dining route 329526 All About Appetite Regulation, Part 2

Homeostasis: The body’s secret weapon

The body likes things to stay the same, aka homeostasis. When homeostasis is interrupted, the body tries to self-regulate and get back on track.

With body weight, there are internal challenges in maintaining homeostasis. As nutrients are used, they must be replaced. Our bodies say “Please replenish these nutrients”, aka “Eat.” Our bodies say “Thank you, that’s enough for what I require”, aka “Stop eating.”

When we honour homeostatic hunger signals, we achieve optimal health.

  • If we eat when we are not hungry, the distraction and pleasure are only temporary; consequently, we have to eat more to feel better, feeding the cycle.
  • If we do not eat when we are hungry, our body gets us back eventually by cranking up our appetite signals and smothering our fullness signals. The biggest trigger of binge eating? Dieting.


Have you ever observed an infant eating? They eat when they are hungry, and they stop when they’ve had enough. If they don’t like something, they spit it out.

Mindful/intuitive eating is kind of like that.

When we eat this way, it promotes physical and psychological well-being. Physically, it’s gratifying to not feel overly stuffed or empty. Psychologically, it’s gratifying to be able to honor the internal cues of hunger and satiety, much like it’s psychologically gratifying to drink water when thirsty, get warm when cold, urinate when the bladder is full, or breathe after diving 8 feet to the bottom of a pool.

Years of mindless eating, restrictive dieting, and the “good” versus “bad” food mentality can warp the way we respond to internal body signals.

When the idea of “bad” food is discarded, it often removes the punishing cycle of restricting and gorging. Why? Because when we acknowledge that a food is available to us whenever we want, we can begin to select a variety of foods we enjoy and become the expert of our own body.

cows eating grass All About Appetite Regulation, Part 2

Three key components of mindful/intuitive eating are:

  • Unconditional permission to eat
  • Eating primarily for physical rather than emotional or environmental reasons
  • Relying on internal hunger and satiety cues

Why is eating the right amount so important?

If we don’t eat the right amount for our needs, our bodies will try to self-regulate to maintain homeostasis or meet evolutionary needs. If we’ve under-eaten, we might compensate with a binge. If we’re over-eating on highly palatable foods, our bodies might say “This is great! Have more, just in case of famine!”

While many people periodically eat in response to sensations other than physical hunger, this type of eating becomes destructive when it’s the principal way of dealing with feelings or going along with easy food availability. If we eat each time we get lonely, sad, bored or happy, or if food is around us, we’re in trouble.


Few nutrition professionals question the wisdom of using food deprivation as a means to manage weight. “Eat less” is the most common advice given to people wanting to lose weight.

Still, it doesn’t seem to be working for anyone. Some are beginning to acknowledge that “dieting” — as in significant, short-term food restriction — doesn’t work for sustained health and weight management.

“Dieting” can increase food cravings, food preoccupation, guilt associated with eating, binge eating, weight fluctuations, and a preoccupation with weight.

We might get into a cycle of “deprivation mentality”: we restrict, then lose control, then vow to “get back on the wagon” (ie. restrict further), then lose control again, then apply an even more rigid control, then lose control… over and over and over.

“Dieting” can work in the short term. People can and do lose fat and weight… for a while. But more than 90% of individuals who lose weight will regain it within 2 years.

“Dieting” doesn’t address either the underlying deprivation-binge mindset, or the real problems of why you’re overfat in the first place.


Mindful/intuitive eating asks “Why am I eating?” and “Am I truly hungry?” Thus it can reduce binging and emotional eating episodes. The more mindfulness and meditation someone uses, the more weight they can lose (and keep off).

Mindful/intuitive eaters aren’t obsessed eaters. Rather, they simply appreciate the value of food as opposed to hurrying through a meal. As they stop judging themselves, they are more present and aware of what they are doing.

What you should know


Figuring out satiety cues involves trial and error. The level and intensity of hunger can vary, as can knowing what foods/amounts will satisfy hunger. How the body responds to food is going to be different for everyone. It can also be different at different times of the day.

As I mentioned above, consider children. Kids generally push food away when they’re content. And they know when they don’t like something. Intuitive/mindful eating is about tapping back into that wisdom.

Be aware of how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. For example:


  • Is your stomach growling?
  • Do you have a headache
  • Are you feeling shaky or irritable?
  • Do you feel “stuffed”?


  • Are you thinking, “I want to eat this” or “I need to eat this”?
  • Are you aware of what you are eating or are you just plowing in the food while you do something else?
  • If your eating routine is disrupted, are you upset because it’s a change in habit, or because you’re genuinely hungry?


  • Are you anxious or stressed?
  • Are you happy or sad?

One way to approach eating may be to start with a typical meal and then tune in to how you feel physically, immediately after and every hour after that meal.

  • Immediately after eating: If you’ve eaten the right amount for optimal health, you’ll likely feel a slight level of hunger, but still content. It takes about 20 minutes for the satiety signal to go from the gut to the brain. The composition of a meal can influence satiety, so include real/whole foods with fiber, protein, and fat (and balance omega-6 with omega-3).
  • About 60 minutes after eating, you should feel satisfied with no desire to eat another real food meal.
  • When you approach the 2 hour mark, you may be starting to feel a little hungry, and could probably eat something, but it’s not a big deal yet. If you are feeling quite hungry, you may not have had enough food or enough of a given type of food to hold your satisfaction.
  • At 3 to 4 hours, you should be feeling like it’s about time to eat again. Your hunger should be stronger, and will vary depending on when you exercised and what your daily physical activity level is. If you aren’t hungry yet, you probably had a bit too much food at your previous meal.
  • After 4 hours, you’re likely hungry and ready to eat. This is when the “I’m so hungry I could eat anything” feeling kicks in. If you wait much longer, chances of making a knucklehead food selection goes up dramatically. It’s important to have nutritious and appealing foods available.

There is variability with all of this, but getting to a point where you’re slightly hungry between meals is a healthy sign. If you are eating every 2-4 hours without ever feeling a level of hunger, you are likely eating more than you need.


If you’re trying to get or stay lean, it’s OK and normal to feel hungry occasionally.

It’s important to accept this feeling because it’s not going anywhere. Nor would that really be a good thing since hunger plays a vital biological function.

“Hunger is not an emergency.” — Judith Beck


We didn’t evolve with highly processed foods. These foods confuse our natural appetite mechanisms.

Eating a dessert on its own will often increase the craving for more. It’s not that you necessarily need more processed carbs, just that you’ve triggered the body into thinking it wants more. Processed foods trigger our natural reward systems (think: opioids and dopamine released in the brain) and we want more (and more).

Unprocessed foods help keep hunger/satiety cues clear, and it’s easier to make adjustments. Remember, if you’re not hungry enough to eat broccoli, you’re probably not hungry.


Regular exercise makes us more efficient at using body fat, which can help balance appetite.

The type of activity can determine our appetite. Intense exercise, such as heavy weight training or high-intensity interval training, tends to suppress appetite in the short term, while low-intensity, endurance-type activity tends to stimulate appetite. (Ironically, many people do a lot of “cardio” when trying to lose fat, which can end up making them more likely to overeat!)

Still, some people play games when it comes to exercise and eating. They might allow themselves more food because they exercised, regardless of hunger changes. This “reward” system can be fickle and create a negative relationship with eating. “Exercise bulimia” occurs when we engage in a cycle of overeating then overexercising to “compensate”.

Practicing yoga can help with mindful/intuitive eating and assist in overall body satisfaction. This makes sense since yogic philosophy aims to unify mind, body and spirit.

Summary and recommendations

Dieting and cognitive control of food intake may actually lead to weight gain, disease, and disordered eating patterns.

Intuitive/mindful eating involves:

  • Slowing down the pace of eating (e.g., break during bites, chewing slowly, etc.).
  • Eating away from distractions (e.g., television, books, magazines, work, computer, driving).
  • Becoming aware of the body’s hunger and fullness cues and utilizing these cues to guide the decision to begin and end eating as opposed to following a regimented diet plan.
  • Acknowledging food likes and dislikes without judgment.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing and nourishing, and using all of the senses while eating.
  • Being aware of and reflecting on the effects caused by non-mindful eating (e.g., eating when bored or lonely or sad, eating until overly full).
  • Meditation practice as a part of life.

The goal of a meal is to finish feeling:

  • Better than when you started
  • Satisfied
  • Able to move on (not think about food until you are hungry again)
  • Energy to exercise and stay active
  • Mental focus

Eating too much or too little will result in variations of the normal responses mentioned above. This may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Fullness
  • Anxiety or jitters
  • Low or nervous energy
  • Food cravings, even when physically full
  • Headaches
  • Mentally sluggish
  • Heavy gut
  • Extremely thirsty

Extra credit

What type of person is most likely to eat unhealthy food? A restrained eater depriving themselves of a forbidden food. This is the psychological phenomenon ofdisinhibition. Habitual disinhibition — in other words, regularly overriding our natural fullness cues — is the factor most closely linked to weight gain.

The goal of mindful/intuitive eating is to master the process of eating and not focus on weight loss. For dieters, this task is extremely difficult.

In 2006, American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee told the media she won her battle against bulimia through intuitive eating. And yes, the popularity of intuitive eating grew.

One study found that infants cry more intensely when hungry than when in pain.

Those who eat intuitively naturally are slimmer than those who diet.

If hunger doesn’t tell you to start eating, what tells you to stop?

If you eat when you’re not hungry, you’ll never be satisfied.

Food is a costly antidepressant.

If you have any doubts about whether you’re hungry, you’re probably not.

Hunger is physical. Over-eating is psychological, mental, and emotional.

When your true needs are unmet, triggers will return again and again.

by Ryan Andrews

All About Vitamins & Minerals

We all know that vitamins and minerals are important, but why?

Here’s what you need to know about what’s in your food… or your Flintstones chewables.

What are vitamins & minerals?

Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amounts for supporting normal physiologic function.

We need vitamins in our diets, because our bodies can’t synthesize them quickly enough to meet our daily needs.

Vitamins have three characteristics:

  • They’re natural components of foods; usually present in very small amounts.
  • They’re essential for normal physiologic function (e.g., growth, reproduction, etc).
  • When absent from the diet, they will cause a specific deficiency.

Vitamins are generally categorized as either fat soluble or water soluble depending on whether they dissolve best in either lipids or water.

Vitamins and their derivatives often serve a variety of roles in the body – one of the most important being their roles as cofactors for enzymes – called coenzymes. (See figure below for an example.)

krebs cycle 300x279 All About Vitamins & Minerals

Most minerals are considered essential and comprise a vast set of micronutrients. There are both macrominerals (required in amounts of 100 mg/day or more) and microminerals (required in amounts less than 15 mg/day).

0212 sci subMUSCLE All About Vitamins & Minerals