Location, Location, Location

I’ve come to terms with my quads, I enjoy squeezing my arms which have developed thanks to yoga, and during the Summer I often distract myself by playing with the bulge on my flexed calf. But there is an area I’m always a tad weary about. It’s my stomach. It is where I tend to store extra fat. I’m kind of a dude, actually, since women have a greater tendency to accumulate excess fat around their hips, thighs, and butt; Dear god, for once can’t that extra slice of cake go to my butt cheekies?  Alas. In fact, I get a little neurotic about my stomach area. Most days I do the whole bit where I stand in front of the mirror, pinch, and frown, turn to the side, and pinch again. Chris, being the dutiful boyfriend he is, will comment that he loves me no matter what, but it still doesn’t take away the concerns, which stem not only from aesthetic consideration, but also health factors. Unfortunately, where you hold your fat matters, and stomach fat can cause a whole mess of maladies.

Let’s break down the two layers of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin. Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat people dislike for vanity reasons. But the fat doesn’t stop there. Moving into further layers of skin we reach visceral fat. Ew, it’s a word that sounds so similar to gristle (and it’s not to far off.)  And believe me, visceral fat should make you go “ewww” and “ahhh!” Visceral fat hugs your organs. And this isn’t a loving kind of hug. It’s the type of hug your big brother will give you that crushes your bones. It can affect your cholesterol levels and raise your blood pressure. Here are some of the other negative side effects excessive visceral fat can have on your body:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/WO00128

 

It gets a little trickier. Just like I discussed Skinny Fat several blog posts ago, sedentary men and women who are naturally thin may also be at risk of carrying visceral fat. Because it’s not as apparent as someone with a “beer belly”, a thin person wouldn’t know they carried any unless they were to undergo a high-tech MRI. But why go spend the money when you can realistically audit yourself with a few simple questions. Do I work out regularly? Do I eat healthy food? Do I practice portion control? If you don’t do any of the above and do fill yourself with greasy foods more than fruits, vegetables, etc., then there is a good chance you might carry some visceral fat. No more playing out of sight-out of mind!

Thankfully this post isn’t all doom and gloom. Like most diet related health issues, they can corrected with time and patience.  For one, practice portion control. This is much easier to do if you are able to cook your own meals or chose the food you eat at a dining hall rather than eating out a restaurant; don’t you just hate how the meals are too big for one sitting, but are two little if cut in half? Conspiracy, I tell ya!

Here is a good way to portion control your meals for your body size, because you use your own hand as a “yard stick.”

Proper Portion Sizes:

1 serving of lean protein= Palm of your hand

1 serving of complex carbs from whole grains: 1 cupped hand

1 serving of complex carbs from Fruits & Veggies: 2 cupped hands together

(Source: The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno)

The next thing you need to do is get off your lovely behind and start working out. Sigh, this goes for me as well… I feel as if this goes without saying, but don’t, don’t, don’t for the love of all things common sense crash diet. In fact, studies have shown that crash dieting can encourage visceral fat. Exercise smart. If you feel that you really need to work on that area you have to push a little harder than someone who wants to maintain. Walking briskly and worth purpose (no feet dragging here!) for 30 minutes, six times a week will help stave of accumulation. Bring that walk to a jog, start lifting weights, and/or try out some HIIT and you’ll blast that gunk away!  And there are so many YouTube trainers out there with certifications and free workouts, so there’s no need to plunk down dollar bills on a gym membership.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose my stomach fat for vanity reasons. But at the same time I realize exercising and dieting in a safe, slow, and appropriate manner will also keep my unseen organs healthy, which is what really counts.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Look what I did last night! One giant step for me;one dying breath for visceral fat kind!

 

Links to check out

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/MC00054

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/WO00128/NSECTIONGROUP=2

http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/12/20/the-two-types-of-fat—-visceral-and-subcutaneous—-and-which-poses-the-greatest-risk-to-you.htm

New Year:: New Plans

New Year’s Resolution

I put on my sports bra, my leggings, and I sort of look like the girl who was running this past summer, but it’s all a beautiful and cruel illusion. Three back to back to back reps of that fitness list was NOT happening. The first go around took almost 6 minutes, and, really, is it that realistic to imagine myself moving for 20+ minutes when I haven’t done any cardio for months? I think not. I did the first round, thought I was going to puke (even Body Rock workouts have 10 second breaks every minute or so), laid on the floor for a few minutes as the world twirled above me, and contemplated defeated. We all have your weaknesses and honestly if I wasn’t blogging I probs would have given up—you guys keep me on my toes. I did today’s Random Abs workout (I really have no strength in that region) and mustered up the courage to try another round of the fitness list. The second time was much better. Maybe after a few more tries I’ll be well on my way to three reps.

 

…Which brings us to looking forward to New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve mentioned before that we generally make diet/body related goals and we usually let go of them come February. I’ve been really hitting you guys with these opening posts about diet and a bit of exercise, because they’re things I’m passionate about (well the food yes, not so much the exercise), but being healthy means also having a positive state of mind. What makes a person attractive is not only their body and how we perceive they treat it, but also their brain. Smart and even tempered people are sezzy, and thus many of my resolutions actually revolve around ways to better my brain and life.

Diet/Body/Exercise Based Changes

1.)    Get Gluten out of my diet: Honestly, I really need to do this. Since realizing I cannot eat it I’ve been being stupid and munching on it regardless. It’s not fair to my intestines, my poor hands (they always get so sore), or Chris who has to deal with me doubled over in pain. Step one: start checking labels. Step two: start making my own buns (they are my weakness.) Step three: sucking it the hell up. When I see other people who are in an obvious rut and only insist on digging themselves deeper I cringe, so I best not start being hypocritical.

2.)    Continue to refine my diet: I like this one because I’m not saying eat more this and less of that (except for the gluten.) Instead I’m leaving it open to add more veggies, reduce my Reese’s intake, and continue to try more recipes. I have big hopes and dreams for that kitchen.

3.)    Drink more water!: Okay, this is something I really need to do more. We can go weeks without food, but hardly a few days without water. For environmental reasons I’m normally anti- plastic bottle, but when I was home for Christmas my mom had bought me and Chris a huge pack of these mini orb water bottles. The spaceship shape is supposed to be appealing to kids and the smaller size is better suited for them. I had no issue swigging back 2-3 in a short time period. My brilliant idea: maybe if I reduce the size of my water bottles it’ll be less daunting and I’ll drink more. See, we often have the solutions to our problems, and they are often rather easy. We just need to face them and put our big girl panties and big boy boxer-briefs on.

4.)    Do more yoga: Self explanatory. I want to start working on having a better self practice and really start opening this right hip of mine up. Lotus here I come.

Other Resolutions:

1.)    Start reading before I go to bed:  Studies have shown that spending time watching T.V, browsing the internet, and texting friends before bed is horrible for our sleep cycles. It makes it much harder for us to go to bed and we end up staying up longer than we want or need to. With reading you are actively using your brain instead of randomly clicking; admit it college students and 20-somethings,  what sites do you really go on besides Facebook? Also, the lights in our computers and TVs are constantly pulsating, though, we just don’t realize it, and our eyes must work extra hard to focus. With this change I can finally stop complaining that I don’t have time to read. I already have several books in mind! Tomorrow I’m going to the library to borrow We Need to Talk about Kevin, which is going to be out in theaters the end of January. Below are the American & UK Trailers. I really hope it comes out in all places and not just artsy movie houses or I might be out of luck.

Ezra Miller plays Kevin and can I say CUUUUTIE? Those cheek bones, those full lips, that dark hair. I feel like a cougar in training all ready. I also want to get The Hunger Games. Apparently they were a really good series of books growing up that I never heard about, and the movie is coming out in a few months.

2.)    Learn a foreign language, sort of: Right now I’m battling between French or German. I did take French for 3 years, and I can read it okay, but I was never in love with it. They all spoke so fast anyway. Something about German speaks to me. It’s so fierce, so bold, and so guttural. Plus, my last name Harvey is derived from German Warlords.  Maybe I’ll put a poll up so you guys can decide, though I’ll probably go with German for the fun of it.

3.)    Submit work once a month to Literature Magazines: My poetry needs to start making its way into the world, and it clearly isn’t going to do that collecting dust on my desk.

4.)    Start Vloging: I love writing, but I really love talking. They called me Jabber Jaws when I was little. I’d love to make this place part blog/part video chats because sometimes it’s nice to absorb stories and ideas through your ears instead of your eyes. This also means I need to learn how to video edit. Any awesome suggestions on programs to use? I have a basic Toshiba laptop, so nothing to fancy here.

5.)    Become more DIY: One of my interests on StumbleUpon is DIY projects. I’m envious of people who can take something old and make it awesome and “new.” Sadly, aside from writing I’m really not artistic. My handwriting sucks. My mother didn’t even post my art pieces on the fridge. Boo. I’d love to learn basic sewing techniques so I could hem pants, make cool scarves and shirts, and put my Goodwill Discount to better use.

 

Well, I think that is a pretty extensive list. I imagined this post being tiny, but why should we short change our future hopes and dreams? Tell me about yours. I want to know what you plan on achieving this next year, and I hope I’ve inspired you to look beyond the body goals and typical resolutions we like to cling to year after year.

Now let’s peel back that last month on the Calendar and spring into the Near Year.

❤ Jocellyn

I’m baaaaccckkkk!

My stomach has rolled over, waved the white flag, and admitted defeat. Thank goodness those 2 days of gluttony are finished. I quickly re-evaluated my saint-like idea of only eating lots of shrimp when, upon my arrival home, I found a Tupperware container brimming with peanut butter fudge; touché Christmas, touché. No one ever said eating 30 shrimp, 4 cinnamon rolls, various other goodies, and 6 glasses of wine would be a good idea, but it was ohhhhh so delicious. Thankfully everyone else was so knee deep in a food coma that they couldn’t muster the energy to take a picture of me passed out in front of the heater. Oh Christmas. But Christmas is over, and I’m excited to get back to my usual diet, as this food baby I’ve been totting around is unsightly!

As the New Year approaches we are all probably thinking of resolutions and most are diet related. Instead of grasping for goals that we only have so much control over—like losing 10 pounds, because maybe that just isn’t going to happen for you—lets discuss realistic ways to overhaul the way we eat. This year (and for the rest of our lives) we are going to eat more food and feel lighter at the same time! How is the possible, Jocellyn, you might ask? Simple! We are going to ditch the idea of 3 square meals a day.

No More 3 Meals-a-Day

Imagine your digestive system is a furnace. Your furnace is going to work a lot harder if you feed it wood, wait for it to burn out completely, and then start the process all over again. Your body is the same way. Only feeding ourselves a breakfast, lunch, and dinner leaves us susceptible to low blood sugar. This can lead to irritability, painful headaches, and other maladies. Digesting is also one of the most energy consuming tasks our body can undertake and if we wait till we are starving we run the risk of over loading our stomach. So instead we throw away this silly, old notion and look to a more efficient way of eating: mini meals.

Several magazines will touch upon this idea, but the term mini meal can be a bit misleading. Instead it is three meals with two or three snacks strategically placed throughout the day. Eating every two-three hours will keep the “furnace” burning and curb any hunger-related anger. It also allows us to digest smaller amounts of food which is much more manageable. For my snacks I’ll usually have some fruit, a granola bar, chopped veggies, or some “healthier” crackers or chips. I’m able to eat a diverse amount of food and stay sharp throughout the day.

Surprisingly, eating so much food can take some getting used to. People may not eat a lot of food, but many unhealthy snacks and goodies that are calorie dense and nutrient deficient. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense, but don’t have a lot of calories so feel free to fill up. Plus they are also packed with water, which is great for the body.  Instead of feeling hungry or disgustingly full, you’ll feel satisfied throughout the entire day. So how do we tackle this? Start checking produce sales at your local grocery store. They change weekly and you’ll get to try new foods on a regular basis. Get lots of containers to transport your snacks. Set aside an extra 10 minutes each morning (or the night before) to prepare your food so the next day you’ll be out the door on time. Relish in your new, efficient way of eating as your friends have grumbling tummies. Okay, at least give them a few bites of food!

Peel Away<3

Jocellyn

Shameless Baiting: Why you should check in later this afternoon

I have an AWESOME recipe for guilt free ice cream coming up later today. Honestly, everyone should get a mini Cuisinart food processor and try their hand at raw (mostly vegan)  ice creams. They’re creamy, decadent, healthy, and just over all amazing. This treat will be full of dark, lusty desire.

I’ll also be popping in a super informative post on either why it’s important to kill the idea of three meals a day or an angry rant on sugar: the white devil. Comment if you have a preference (the other will be posted, no worries.)

 

Now I’m off for a 10am meeting with my work-study boss. Start your day off right, and I”ll see you later!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

To Binge? Or not to Binge?

Ohhhhhhh jingle bells, jingle bells. Christmas is upon us and while we all want to have a jolly ole’ time we don’t want to end up with a tummy like Santa Clause when all is said and done. How cruel is it that Christmas falls right before New Years. We eat, eat, eat, (or deny, deny, deny) and promise ourselves that, like, omg, this is going to be the year I get in shape and by February  failure has already planted its dirty seeds into our ambitious hearts. Then there are the “get in shape by summer” articles and by summer we’re still sucking in a little at the beach wondering how this happened AGAIN for the fourth year straight. We are such cyclical beings, but let’s ignore the bikinis and ponder the task at hand: how do we successfully navigate holiday eating.

Every magazine and YouTube Guru (and me, I suppose) is trying to say they have the best tips and tricks for minimizing holiday gain & guilt, but at the same time you need to look inside your heart, stomach, and personality to see what is right for you. If you are someone who feels emotionally stable enough to not have a break down the next day after eating more than usual then you are free to nosh. If you find that you tend to beat yourself up and slip into unhealthy acts ranging from working out too abusively the next day, dangerously limiting your calories, and falling down an emotional hole (which will probably lead to emotional eating), then be mindful of how you approach the snack table.  Don’t feel bad if you fall into the latter category. It isn’t the best place to be, but realizing  is half the battle. Keep reading my blog, reading other people’s blogs, and watching informational YouTube videos, and maybe next year the holiday season will be a less stressful time.

First consider how many parties you will be going to. At 20 I understand that I’m not going to the amount of massive soirees my 28 and 30 year old siblings are. If you are going to be attending multiple parties, then you really do need to consider how much you are going to eat. One night of eating won’t have a negative outcome;  After a week of holiday eating and the scale might start to creep. Try to fill up at the veggie and fruit platter. Walk around and mingle, but try to keep that separate from your eating. When you watch TV, write e-mails, or have conversations during meals you have a tendency to not realize how much food you’re taking in.  Wait awhile before going back for seconds; it takes about 20 minutes for your body to register being full. Ask around to see what your friends will be serving and figure out what houses have the better food. I find ham to be lackluster, so if I were a situation where ham was being served for dinner I’d be more liberal with my other choices. Here’s another trick you can try. Bring a small blue plate with you and use that instead of the paper plates being offered (of course, only do this at the house of a close friend.) Studies have shown that eating off of blue plates makes you consume less. Aside from blueberries, many blue things in nature used to make us sick, so they believe it might be part of a primal instinct we still have. I also think it isn’t the most appealing color to eat off of. I was at my Uncles this summer and was having my usual breakfast of eggs with toast & jam. I couldn’t’ figure out why I was eating so slowly and everything felt bizarre until I realized he had see- through blue plates!

Aside from how many parties you go too, you also need to consider the significance certain foods hold. At my house Christmas means Filet Mignon and Shrimp. I adore shrimp, more so than Reese’s, and Christmas is the one time of the year I can eat a lot of it for free; Thank you daddy-o! Taking that into consideration I have no qualms about eating an ungodly amount of shrimp. Shrimp isn’t the unhealthiest food cluttering the table, but let’s say Christmas is the one time your aunt from across the country comes and makes her blueberry pie that you never get to have except on the 25th. Pssh, have 2 slices if you want. Be naughty: have three. It’s not like it’s something you have access to it on a regular basis. If you are an average person with no severe health issues (aside from being a slave to the Standard American Diet, which is a health issue in it of itself, but I digress) then don’t feel bad about splurging. But if the item at hand is run of the mill apple pie from Shaw’s, well, I think we know that that means. I’m by no means saying to force food into the belly for the sake of the holiday, but if after an hour you’re thinking a second slice is looking good then have it. Another thing to watch out for is alcoholic beverages. Eat your calories, don’t drink them! And for the sake of whatever dear lord you pray to, do not get behind the wheel of car if you even have an inkling of hesitation. Cops are out, I imagine DUI’s suck, and tragedy and/or vehicular manslaughter is no way anyone wants to remember the holidays.

 

The Morning After (you don’t think I’d end on a dour note, do you?)

It begins with the walk of shame past the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the food baby has already taken root. If you ate a bunch of food, well duh! You might even feel like a rumbling pile of intestinal crud. Hey, I didn’t say trudging down the path of over indulgence would be consequence free. How you approach these next few days is what truly matters. For one, don’t starve yourself the next day. A day of eating a little more than usual is not going to do long term harm. Just eat simply. Fill yourself with fruits, berries, veggies, water, tea, and try to stay away from heavy things like bread and meat. If you are already a lover of the flax seed then add an extra tablespoon to your daily regiment, as it is a very mild, natural laxative. Go about your life as usual. If you normally work out then maybe throw in 20 more crunches or an sprint or two if you’re a runner. There’s no need to go overboard. I guarantee you that within a day or two your body will be fine and you’ll be proud of yourself for smoothly navigating the holiday season.