Tagged "stress management"

6 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing That Weight

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Eating clean, lifting weights and running all the way from here to Timbuktu but still can’t lose weight?  It’s a common problem in my coaching practice.  Time after time, I encounter dedicated gym bunnies that are checking off all the boxes and seemingly doing it all “right,” but the number on their scale just won’t budge; even more demoralizing, sometimes the number goes in the opposite direction. What’s that about?! 

First, let’s have a little lesson in what the number on the scale really means.

Our weight is a compilation of body fat, muscle mass, water weight and more.  So when you see the numbers on the scales increase, it doesn't necessarily mean you’ve gained fat.  To dig more into this, let's have a little biology lesson, shall we?

Body Fat percentage & Body Fat Mass:

  • Body Fat Percentage is the proportion of fat to the total body weight.
  • Body Fat Mass is the actual weight of fat in your body.

Visceral Fat:

  • Visceral fat is located deep in the core abdominal area, surrounding and protecting the vital organs. This tends to increase with age and can cause more fat around the abdomen. 

Muscle Mass:

  • The predicted weight of muscle in your body. This includes the skeletal muscles, smooth muscles such as cardiac and digestive muscles and the water contained in these muscles. Muscles act as an engine in consuming energy.  Often, when we exercise more, our muscle mass increases.  Since muscle weighs more than fat, it can often cause the scale number to shift in the other direction. 

Total Body Water:

  • Total Body Water is the total amount of fluid in the body expressed as a percentage of total weight. Over half of our body weight is water and it helps to regulate temperature and eliminate waste.  The amount each of us needs varies from day-to-day, depending on the climate we live in and the amount of physical activity we’re doing. 

 Yes, it’s true that increased muscle mass can make us weigh in a little more, but if you have a smart scale, you’ll see that that isn’t the case.  There could be more at play.  Like what, you’re wondering? Here are some weight-gaining culprits:


We all have a ton of stress in our lives.  But if we don't manage it properly, it can lead to an over-production of cortisol, the stress hormone.  Cortisol also causes higher insulin levels, which can impact your food choices.  It often leads to craving fatty and sugary foods which contribute to weight gain specifically in the stomach area.  Managing stress through breathing exercises, meditation and relaxing activities is a great way to reduce cortisol. 


 Many of us type A's are busting our a$$es at the gym, thinking it will lead to increased muscle mass and lower percentage body fat… but the numbers often go the other way.  The reason being is that when we exercise with great intensity, we often overestimate calories burned and then overeat calories needed for recovery.  Additionally, intense exercise also produces cortisol which can cause weight gain and encourage overeating.  So pull back on the seven days of intense workouts and vary your exercises incorporating gentle yoga practice, long walks and leisurely bike rides. 

Bad Bacteria

Our microbiome is a delicate balance of bacteria and occasionally, some bad bacteria can work its way in there.  Recent studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the makeup and variety of our flora can have a big impact on our weight. The most current literature suggests that obesogenic bacteria can exacerbate weight gain and trigger metabolic dysfunction.  If you suspect this may be the cause, speak to your health care provider about a stool analysis test to better understand the bacteria at play in your gut. 


 Overgrowth of Candida Albicans or yeast as a result of overuse of antibiotics, birth control pills or just the standard American Diet can lead to weight gain and stubborn pounds that just won’t budge.  Candida is fed by sugar and carbohydrates so a diet rich in both can perpetuate weight gain.  Some health care practitioners even believe that yeast overgrowth can even cause thyroid imbalances which only further perpetuate metabolic challenges.  A stool analysis will identify the role of yeast in your weight challenges. 

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities, overgrowth of bad bacteria and candida can all greatly affect the gut and lead to widespread inflammation.  Digested food particles can leak into the bloodstream causing your immune system to react to the perceived toxins and triggering inflammation, weight gain, joint pain and more.  So if you're eating foods the leave you bloated and achy, it might be time for an elimination diet to understand which foods might be taking you down.  

PH Levels

The optimum PH level is between 7.2-7.4.  Very specific, I know.  Symptoms of PH imbalance including everything ranging from heart burn, constipation, slow metabolism, hormonal imbalances, brain fog, low blood sugar, sore muscles and more.  How do we become too acidic, you ask?  Even if you’re eating somewhat clean, years of less-than-perfect eating could be contributing.  Meats, sugar, caffeine, dairy, beans and grains are all acid forming.  The remedy?  More greens, please!  Swap your morning coffee for green juice, eat more raw veggies and scale back on meat. 


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Ways to Deal with Family Stress

Posted by Amina AlTai on

This time of year is such a challenge.  And it's not just because we're tempted by the crazy desserts and adult beverages.  We're often forced out of our environments and thrust into situations where tempers run high and patients run low.  I'm talking about family time.  But this year, let's put the drama on hold, or at least our reaction to it.  
1. Know your triggers: If you're from a type-A family who love to control certain situations and you know that behavior usually sends you running for the hills, jut be aware of that going in.  If you feel pressured or like you're about to have a freak out, press the pause button.  Call the situation by it's name and visualize yourself pausing before you say or do anything. Think of a response you'd be proud of and proceed that way.  If the first thing that comes to your mind doesn't make you proud, then don't do or say anything that all.  Doing nothing is a response too.  
2. Breathe:  If you feel yourself getting flustered and your mind is reaching for a whole host of unflattering expletives, take some deep breathes.  I extol the praises of 4-7-8 breathing all the time because it really does work.  If you're curious about other exercise that might work for you, you can find a few more breathing exercises here.  
3.Take some alone time:  Never be afraid to excuse yourself and take a walk, a hot bath or same old fashioned alone time.  When we're alone and quiet we can hear ourselves and listen to what we really need.  In those quiet moments we can get a better sense of what we're reacting to and often find the solutions too.
4. Journal: I'm a big fan of a good free-writing sesh.  When I put pen to paper, I see what's really in my mind and bothering me.  It's also such an awesome way to see my own role in something and how I may have contributed to the discomfort.  The way forward also becomes glaringly obvious as well.
5. Forgive:  If you're feeling overwhelmed, so is the rest of your family.  But, they might not have the same tools that you do.  So forgive, and let it go.  Instead of holding onto anger or hurt, chose to focus on all the reasons you love your family. Coming from a place of love will take you out of hurt and fear and will immediately disarm them.  
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