Lowering Your Insulin Sensitivity to Loss Fat

Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle, insulin plays a significant role in our life. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to the food we consume. Since our body likes our blood glucose (sugar) to stay within a specific range, insulin is released to help bring an elevated glucose back into a normal range. For a variety of reasons, we can become less efficient at this process with time. We can become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance will lead to weight gain and if present for long enough diabetes. For more on insulin, see our article Hormones Part 3.


Insulin sensitivity is simply how efficient your body is at using insulin to control blood glucose. Our bodies can malfunction and begin to secrete too much insulin when we eat. On the other hand, a diet high in processed foods and refined carbohydrates can have a roller coaster effect on our blood glucose causing a rapid rise and fall in this level multiple times in a day. This roller coaster effect causes the pancreas to over work and “wear out” over a long period of time. Prior to this happening though, we can spend years slowly becoming insulin resistant resulting in weight gain and feeling poorly. I want to talk today about some steps we can take to recover our insulin sensitivity, help us to lose weight and improve our health.


So how does insulin play a role in weight loss? Insulin is known as the storage hormone.  While insulin is necessary for life, insulin also inhibits our body from breaking down fat for energy production.  When insulin is high, we will not burn fat. As insulin drops back down along with blood glucose, we will start burning fat again for fuel. Therefore,  when wanting to lose weight, it is important to keep our blood glucose steady and preserve our insulin sensitivity. Creating this internal environment will help improve body composition and overall health.


There are a number of steps we can take to help our body utilize insulin more efficiently and here are a few.


  1. Exercise


All exercise improves insulin sensitivity. It does this by improving insulin signaling which is how glucose is transported from outside to inside cells for use as fuel. Anaerobic exercise is one of the most efficient at improving insulin sensitivity-strength or resistance training and sprinting are examples.  Walking after meals helps to lower glucose and is especially beneficial if done regularly. It is important to exercise as we grow older as the aging process lends itself to insulin resistance. Here is our article on NEAT.


  1. Carb Intake


Carbohydrates are either simple (quick) or complex (slow). The difference being how quickly they enter the bloodstream after breakdown. This is important because the faster they are broken down, the higher the spike in blood glucose. Simple carbs have no fiber attached to them. Simple carbohydrates are most processed food, candy, cookies etc. Complex carbs have fiber attached. Complex carbs are most vegetables, fiber filled fruits like berries and steel cut oats for example.  Saving starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes and rice for after your training session helps as well by quickly restoring necessary the stored fuel in our muscles and liver known as glycogen. This helps to improve our performance at our next training session. Every meal should focus first on protein and vegetables rounded out by either starchy carbs or healthy fats.


  1. Special Foods


Vinegar, green tea, spices and nuts are beneficial foods that promote insulin sensitivity. Nuts provide magnesium, which is an important mineral for insulin sensitivity. Before eating a high carb meal, try having a tossed salad with vinegar based salad dressing. The fiber in the salad will help fill you up and the vinegar will help control the glucose spike from the carbohydrates.  Drinking green tea with your meal will also help. Resistant starches are foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut plus lower the glucose response in our bodies to these carb based foods. Cook, cool then reheat your carbs like potatoes to create resistant starch. Spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and garlic help improve our sensitivity. Add cinnamon to coffee, sweet potatoes or oatmeal. Turmeric is wonderful in eggs but add in some black pepper to increase its bioavailability. Garlic makes everything taste more delicious plus it keeps vampires away!


  1. Adequate sleep


You can be doing everything correctly and still not lose weight if you do not make sleep a priority too. Sleep is just as important for insulin sensitivity as exercise and food. Try to be consistent with the time you go to bed and get up each morning. This helps support our circadian rhythm. Limit screens (TV, computer and phone) leading up to bedtime. Turn them completely off 1 hour prior to sleep. Establish your own sleep routine like a relaxing bath or quiet reading that helps wind you down for the night and strive for 7-8 hours every night.


There are many reasons why we might develop insulin resistance, some we can control and some not. Implement these steps to increase your insulin sensitivity. It certainly will help with weight loss.  More importantly, you could avoid becoming one of the 29 million people living with diabetes not to mention the 86 million who are prediabetic in the world today.  Creating the best internal environment in our body can lead to better health and vitality.

How to Get More NEAT in Your Life

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a workshop at the Governor’s Safety Conference on sitting. Yup, sitting. Sound interesting, doesn’t it?! Well, if it doesn’t directly, that’s okay. However, it should interesting to everybody as this is what is causing or contributing to most of the health problems in our community today.


And while I’d love to go over the workshop with you (I don’t want to give away all of the good stuff in one article), I specifically want to hit on one particular point that goes against what most people would believe is “common knowledge” (word to the wise, if most people belief it to be true, it’s time to be skeptical).


But, before we get to that point, let’s start from the beginning. And that’s understanding energy expenditure in everyday life…


How We Expend Energy Throughout the Day


Very rarely do we take the time to look at where we are actually spending our energy. And, no, I don’t mean mental energy or emotional energy (although, I don’t not mean those things…). I literally mean energy…calories. Your body is constantly burning calories throughout the day, whether you’re sitting, sleeping, eating, or playing. Actually, there are only 3 ways in which your body burns calories, in which all of these activities can fit into one of them:


#1) Metabolism


Okay, metabolism is a simplistic way to put this idea. What I really mean here is Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR. Your RMR is what most people talk about when they say they want to increase their metabolism. RMR is simply the amount of energy (calories) your body burns at rest. There are many things that impact your RMR, but high up on the list how much lean mass you. So the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn while you’re doing nothing.


RMR accounts for approximately 60% of your daily energy expenditure.


#2) Food


Yes, when you eat food, you burn calories. It seems counter-intuitive, but it happens. This is called the thermogenesis of food. Different foods have different thermic effects (burn more or less calories). For instance, protein has the highest thermic effect on the body, followed by carbs, and finally fats. This is (partly) why most fat loss diets recommend high protein.


Thermogenesis of food accounts for approximately 10% of your daily energy expenditure.


#3) Activity


Activity accounts for the remaining 30% of our daily energy expenditure. This one seems to be mostly self-explanatory. However, in the beginning of the article, I mentioned a bit of common-knowledge that I was going to fight against. Well, this is where I start to build my fortress. Activity (or activity thermogenesis as it’s known) can account for an energy-expenditure difference of about 2000 calories. Which means, if we measured the daily calorie burn of 2 people of the same weight and muscle mass, the difference could be as much as 2000 calories. Activity can be divided into 2 categories. Each category is important in and of itself. However, when it comes to calorie burning, one category far outweighs the other:


  • Exercise Activity Thermogenesis


At this point, everyone understands what exercise is, but I want to make sure we make the distinction. Exercise is literally defined as “activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness” (thank you Google). So exercise is something that you’re doing ON PURPOSE to improve your health and fitness. On purpose is the important distinction here.


  • Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)


So, if exercise thermogenesis accounts for the calories we’re burning on purpose, to achieve greater vitality, then NEAT accounts for everything else we’re doing throughout the day. This includes, but is not limited to, doing laundry, cutting grass, taking the dogs for a walk, cleaning the house, manual labor, etc.


Before I listed the 2 types of activity (exercise and NEAT), I mentioned that this overall category can account for a difference of 2000 calories burned within a day. That seems like a big difference, maybe big enough to have an impact of our fat storage and overall energy levels. And, although that number itself may not surprise you, what may surprise you is what will have the biggest impact on reducing that deficit.


How to Eliminate the 2000 Calorie Deficit


Let’s say the average person works out about 60 minutes each time the workout. Their workout could be running or resistance training or pilates. And let’s say the average person workouts about 3 days a week (I’m being VERY generous here. The national average for people who exercise regularly is under 50%, and regularly for the government is defined as less than 2 days a week). And, finally, let’s say, on average, we burn about 12 calories per minute of exercise (assuming most people are doing moderate to low-moderate intensity exercise). That’s 720 per workout, times 3 workouts, or 2160 calories per week, on average, that someone might be burning during a workout. Spread that over 7 days and your talking about a difference of less than 310 calories per day.


So, if exercise is only accounting for about 300 calories of our 2000 calorie daily deficit, that only leaves one category that account for the other 1700 calories, and that’s NEAT.


Building up your NEAT is imperative to you overall health and longevity. And, to do so, you need to look at the you movement on a micro level, not a macro level. As Gray Cook says, “Move well. Move often”. We’ve been slammed so much over the years about getting 30 minutes or 60 minutes of exercise a day that we overlook where we might make the biggest impact. Now, don’t get me wrong. Daily exercise is absolutely imperative for ultimate vitality. We just need to add regular movement throughout the day to truly start to counteract the effects of our sedentary lifestyles.


The simplest way to add movement into your day is by setting an alarm. The alarm should go off every 30 minutes. And when the alarm goes off, you should get up and move around for 3-5 minutes. So you’re about a minute for every 10 minutes of sitting. It’s important to break it apart in these segments because your body needs regular movement, not just one big lump sum. And don’t tell me you don’t have time to do this. Most of us spend this much time on Facebook or Twitter or Texting or Emailing or catching up on the news.


It’s up for you to decide to prioritize your health and vitality over keeping up with the Jones’s. Move often and you’ll start to see a drastic increase in your energy. And, of course, you will improve your likelihood of achieving your ultimate goal, of living as long and well as you can.

Exercise of the Week: Waiter Carry

As it goes with exercise, there are 6 basic human movements that each and every one of us should incorporate into our programs and strive to perfect. Most of us know 5 of them pretty well: hinge, squat, pull, push, and everything else (push being the most prevalent of the 4…not necessarily the most important. Everything else meaning…well, anything useful that doesn’t fit into the other 5 categories).


However, of the 6 basic human movements, the last one is the one that can have the biggest overall effect on performance and function. And this is also the one that is often overlooked and underutilized.


Carrying Your May to Better Health


I’ve talked extensively about the carry family. If you look back at previous iterations of the exercise of the week, you’ll see article on the suitcase carry and the farmer’s carry. These are the more well-known of the carries and 2 of which you do see it programs are a relatively frequent basis (the farmer’s carry, especially, has become more prevalent thanks to strongman competitions).


These 2 exercises are wonderful at increasing strength and capacity for anybody willing to push themselves. And I would highly recommend that you all put them into your programming on a regular basis and try to increase your weight every other week.


The carry that we’re going to cover today will not have quite the impact that the suitcase and farmer’s carry have on overall strength and capacity. Yes, it will help improve strength and it will help improve capacity. However, it’s more relevant purpose is to increase stability in the shoulder girdle and improve postural deficiencies.


Using the Waiter Carry to Improve Your Posture


The waiter carry looks a little scary at first, especially for someone who hasn’t picked their arms up higher than shoulder height in some time. This movement requires you to stabilize a weight overhead for distance or time. In stabilizing the weight, there are 2 important functions that are happening:


#1) You are improving the strength of the shoulder stabilizers, which weaken overtime due to inactivity.

#2) You are improving postural deficiencies that have taken hold overtime due to sitting.


I know postural deficiencies sounds painful. Basically, as we slowly grow into a sedentary society (this is a topic for another time), we are sitting more and more. And this sitting not only creates problems with our metabolic and circulatory processes, it also creates dysfunctions in our posture. Overtime, the muscles on the front of the body shorten and tighten, while the muscles on the back of the body lengthen and weaken.


This is a basic generality, but you get the picture. If you can visualize your 80 year old grandma hunched over on her walker, this is a product of sitting in a slouched position over a period of time (80 years!).


So simply implementing the waiter carry can go a long way in helping improve those imbalances. Start off really small, and preferably use a kettlebell. The reason a kettlebell is more suitable than a dumbbell is because of the weight distribution. We want the weight to sit behind you as you carry it, so that it puts your shoulder into a position that will require more stabilizing actions.


If you are a women, start with a 6 or 8KG kettlebell (about 10-15lbs). If you are a man, start with 10 to 12KG (20-25lbs). Understand that this exercise is not about brute strength…at least not in the beginning. You’ll find that it is hard to keep the weight from waving around as you walk. But overtime, that wave will get smaller and smaller, and you’ll slowly begin to start to concentrate on going up in weight.

3 Keys to Forming and Sustaining a New Habit

Habit formation is the process by which an action is repeatedly done and becomes automatic. It doesn’t matter if the action is good or bad. It’s the fact that you repeatedly do it enough that it becomes imprinted in the neural pathways of the brain. Once imprinted, a habit is born. This “imprinting” explains why old habits are tough to break and new habits are hard to form. Whether you want to save money, start exercising or eat better you need to form new habits and break your old ones. The following are three key steps that can help you get started.


#1) Self Knowledge


Self-knowledge is the understanding of one’s own capabilities, character, feelings and motivation. Self-knowledge is important in habit formation. While there are many things to know about yourself, I want to mention two for the sake of brevity. First, what works for one person may not work for another because each of us has different character traits. For example, my grandfather was the person who woke up one day and decided to stop smoking. His mentality was one of “all or nothing” and that was his approach in life. My mother, on the other hand, needed others to help her in the process of habit change. She struggled to quit smoking when my father didn’t agree to join her in the process. The next thing to know is what motivates you? Motivation comes in two forms-extrinsic (outside of you) or intrinsic (inside of you). Do you need a “Biggest Loser” contest (reward) to get you off the couch and into the gym to exercise? Or are you the type of person who looks forward to your “gym” days because you enjoy exercising and how it makes you feel? We are not born possessing self-knowledge. We develop it overtime. It requires honesty in assessing your past successes and failures to figure out what makes you tick.


#2) Scheduling


Habit formation requires us to repeat an action or activity in a consistent pattern for it to stick. To be consistent we need to schedule. The simple act of scheduling an activity on our calendar commits us to that activity. When I started my lifestyle change many years ago, I scheduled my training on my calendar for every Monday and Thursday at 5pm. I didn’t “pencil it in”. I wrote it in ink. I don’t like to scratch things out and create a mess of my calendar. Yes, I have perfectionist tendencies (self-knowledge). I treated my training appointments just like my hair or dental appointments. Once I committed, it required effort to reschedule. Scheduling also made me assign time out of my busy day to the activity. I was working full time and raising two kids who played sports in high school. If you don’t set time aside in the day, you can easily fall into the “I don’t have enough time” trap.


#3) Accountability


Scheduling an activity like exercise doesn’t equal success without following through and that means being accountable. To be held accountable is to face consequences for what you do or don’t do. Due dates get us to pay bills, deadlines get us to complete projects and traffic laws get us to drive safely. Research shows that when we feel someone is watching we behave better than when we feel they aren’t. There are many forms of accountability in life. In our Lifestyle Mentoring Program, the first habit we build is to write down everything you eat. This is a powerful accountability tool if you do it consistently. A client who made this one simple change lost nearly 4 pounds in her first week. I asked what she felt lead to her success and she said that writing things down made her more aware of what she ate. People are also forms of accountability as in performance coaches and training partners. If you are extrinsically motivated then this is a great option for you. Going public with your goal or signing up with a group of friends for a marathon is another means of accountability. See our article on What isn’t measured, isn’t managed to understand how measuring metrics holds you accountable.


Does it take 7, 21 or 66 days to make a habit?  I was told, “It will take as long as you want it to”.  Spend some time getting to know yourself and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself am I motivated by outside or inside factors? Whatever your goal is schedule it on your calendar and then figure out what will hold you accountable. There will be slip-ups along the way but don’t give up. Sometimes the habit is too large and all you have to do is make it smaller. Make it so small even that you cannot fail. Success in habit formation doesn’t happen overnight for many of us. It takes a series of small steps strung together to get us there.

What Isn’t Measured, Isn’t Managed

Many of us complain about how useless we believe the majority of our required curriculum was during our schooling years. Whether you were bad at English or bad at Science or bad at Math, we all had a subject or two that we thought was a waste of time (mostly because we were poor at the subject, but that’s a different story for a different time).


Now, I’m not here to argue the structure of education or importance of one subject verses another. That could take up a book in-and-of itself. I am here to talk about how one subject, math, taught us a very important practice that we failed to see. And, although we may not need to be able to perform statistical analysis on a regular basis or figure out the missing angle of an obtuse triangle, understanding certain numbers in our lives can have a huge and lasting impact. An impact so big that, once you start to keep track, you wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.


But, before we really get into the meat of what our metrics should be, let’s back up and talk a bit about the importance of measurement itself.


Why Measurement is Important


Measurement has always been part of my life in one way or another. Whether I was measuring my 100 meter time against someone else’s, or measuring my squat weight this week verse my squat weight last week, I have had some form of metric to follow and track for the majority of my life.


And if I look at what part of my life in which I’ve achieved the most success, it makes total sense. Did you see the two examples I gave above as metrics? 100 meter time and squat weight. That’s because, the majority of my life has been spent measuring some form of physical, nutritional or biomechanical metric. I’ve tracked my speed on the track and my tackles per game and my weights in the weight room and my reps per exercise and my bodyweight and my body fat and my macro-nutrient portions…and on and on and on. And up until recently, my health and vitality have been absolutely on point.


Now, I say up until recently only to prove a point. By all means, my life has not fallen apart and I’m not all of the sudden an out-of-shape, 32 year-old couch potato. I have only lost ground on the level of health and vitality I used to have (more on this point later). So what happened? Why did I all of the sudden grow from being in astronomical shape to just being in good shape? I stopped measuring. I stopped measuring my weights and reps and bodyweight and body fat and so on (understand, you don’t have to measure all of these aspects in order to get healthy. These are simply the things I measured). Not because it is less important to me to be as healthy as I can be. Because I opened a business and suddenly had other metrics I needed to start managing (still working on getting all of this balanced out…I’ll keep you updated).


Who to Measure Against?


Being in the fitness world, and especially having TF for the last 3 years, has taught me a lot. One of the most important things that it’s taught me, which would have saved me a tremendous amount of pain and heartache in the past, is that there is only one person or business or family or team that we should constantly measure ourselves against…and that’s yours.


When a reporter asked Michael Jordan why he’s so much better than everybody else, his answer was not as flashy as you might expect it to be. As most would expect him to talk about all the fancy moves he’s worked on or the thousands of shots he’s taken (these were certainly factors, of course), the response Jordan gave related to the metric that he followed. He told the reporter (in relative terms), “Everyone is competing and measuring against who I am. I’m constantly competing and measuring against who I know I can be”.


Constantly measuring yourself against the performance of others around only serves one purpose, and that’s distraction. Yes, it is important to peep your head up every once and while and take a look around. You certainly don’t want to be on the completely wrong track, after all. The majority of your time should be spent comparing your current metric against your past metric (to figure out what you can do better) and your future metrics (to figure out what progress you’ve made so far).


So What Am I Measuring, Anyway?


I can’t tell you the number of people I talk to on a regular basis that have tried 25 different exercise programs and 54 different diets. With the amount of information out there, it’s no surprise that we have trouble deciding what can work and what can’t.


One common theme that I see from person to person is lack of measurement OVER TIME. Many people will track their weight for a week or so. And when they stop making progress, they give up and move on to the next fad. The truth is, most diets or cleanses or exercises programs work. Actually, I would argue that all of them work. But the majority of them only work for about 6 weeks. This is typically the time where people give up and move on (in which time the same company has invented another groundbreaking cleanse for you to try).


So the first suggestion that I would have is, for any measurement you choose, measure it for at least 6 weeks, 12 weeks, preferably. This is the minimum amount of time it takes for your body (or marketing plan, or game strategy) to truly start showing the results you are getting from your actions.


And, speaking of actions, let’s look at a few key points on actually picking the metrics that you want to keep track of. This can be attributed to health or business or athletics or any other aspect of your life. Remember, if it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed:


#1) Be as Specific as Possible


When I ask a potential Pack member what their goal is, the answer that I get a lot is “I want to lose weight”. Now, if I were a lesser person, that would be music to my ears. If I can get you to lose 1 pound, then you’ve lost weight, right? And now I can say that I’ve helped you achieve your goal.


Saying that you want to lose weight is a statement, not a metric. Be specific with how much you want to lose. Don’t say “I want to lose about 10 pounds” or “I want to lose around 10 pounds”. Again, this gives you an out. If you get to 5 pounds, you can round up and your brain says “we’ve achieved our goal, time to give up!”. Be exact!


#2) Less is Better


Another hurdle people generally run into is trying to change too much at once. When you’re trying to keep track of your carb intake and your protein intake and fat intake and your vegetable intake and your water intake and your bodyweight and your body fat and your meal timing, it can get overwhelming (and demoralizing sometimes).


Pick your top 3 metrics and stick with those. Your top 3 metrics meaning, what are the 3 things that are going to give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to understanding and tracking them.


#3) Understand and Adjust the Process for Each Metric


Each metric that you’re going to keep track of has a process attached to it. If you’re wanting to eat 3 ounces of protein at each meal, there’s a process behind doing that. Pay attention to the process that. If it’s not helping you achieve the metric you’re shooting for, the process needs to be adjusted, simple as that.


Pick your metrics wisely, as you’ll start to see a huge change in whatever area of your life that you decide to start making progress in. Whatever you do, don’t over think it, don’t worry yourself about it, just do it (no, I did not get Nike’s permission to use that saying). Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

What is Ghee and How Do You Use It?

Many people hate to shop for groceries but I have always enjoyed the grocery store. In my prior life and now as a nutrition coach, I am always intrigued by all the choices we have when it comes to food. I appreciate reading labels and being a food detective. I am forever scanning the shelves for new items so when clients ask me “what I think” I have an answer for them. Okay, yes call me weird but that’s alright! Anyway, I had heard of ghee and had seen recipes using it so I was excited when I recently spotted it at the store while shopping. So what is it exactly and is it healthy?


Many might think ghee is new but it originated in India many years ago. Due to the hot climate, they “clarified” butter to keep it from spoiling. Ghee is merely clarified butter from buffalo or cow’s milk (preferable grass fed) that is simmered for a longer period of time to remove the water, milk fats and casein. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine because it is believed to cleanse and support wellness. This clarified butter heals the body inside and out. Many use it topically to treat burns, rashes as well as a moisturizer for the skin. While I’m not sure I want to walk around smelling like butter to each their own. This might sound familiar to coconut oil and all it’s benefits right? Let’s break down the health benefits of ghee and why you might want to add it to your list of healthy cooking oils.


  1. Higher smoke point.


The smoke point of oil is the temperature at which it will begin to smoke when heated. There are two reasons why this is important for us to know. The first is that once a cooking oil reaches its smoke point, the flash point is not far behind meaning it could catch fire. This is the cause of many kitchen fires. Secondly, the smoke point of oil will determine at what temperature it begins to “oxidize” or loose it’s phytonutrients and form free radicals. This is something you want to avoid. Each type of oil has a different smoke point and that is why olive oil (smoke point 325 degrees) should be used mainly for salad dressings or added at the end of cooking. Coconut oil (smoke point 350 degrees) is the safer oil for frying and higher heat cooking. Ghee (smoke point 450 degrees) is even better. Check out our article on Seed Oils to learn more about oils and which ones to avoid for better health.


  1. Lactose and casein free (Dairy free alternative)


The cooking process of making Ghee renders it free of the compounds that cause sensitivities or allergic reactions in people. By removing the lactose and casein from butter, ghee becomes a dairy free alternative. It still retains the delicious, nutty flavor of butter for those dishes we love to enjoy.


  1. Rich in fat-soluble Vitamins A, D and E.


Fat-soluble vitamins are important to our health. In the winter months especially, we need to supplement our diets with vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight that is unless you live in the south. Those who have gut issues like Crohn’s disease or leaky gut syndrome etc. will have problems absorbing vitamin A from their diets. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to balance our hormones, great for healing skin issues among other benefits. Cooking with Ghee will help boost the intake of these necessary vitamins in our daily diets.


  1. Ghee’s Fatty Acid Profile


Fatty acids are strung together in short, medium and long chains. In short, these chains determine the type of fat (such as monounsaturated) and a particular fat’s health benefit. Ghee contains more than 25% short and medium chain fatty acids which are metabolized differently in our bodies than the long chain fatty acids. Short and medium chain fatty acids are also not linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. Ghee is rich in butyrate, an essential fatty acid, that is detoxifying and beneficial for colon health.


In summary, these are just a few of the many benefits of Ghee. When looking at the over all health of the food you are consuming, also consider the types of oils you are cooking with or adding to your food. Make sure you are using the most beneficial type and at the right cooking temperature so as to maintain the oil’s nutritional value. Check the labels of the food you buy for the oils used in them as well. Avoiding industrial or seed oils will go along way in decreasing inflammation that is currently linked to the development of chronic disease. I admit Ghee is expensive to buy prepared so here is a recipe link to make your own. It’s not complicate and I hope you will consider adding it to the coconut and olive oil you should be currently using.



Chunking Your To-Do List to Achieve Greater Results

We all been taught the importance of list-making, typically from a very young age. When we’re in grade school, we’re taught make a list of words and to memorize how to spell them. When we’re in middle school, we’re taught to write our homework assignments down so that we can check them off as we go. When we get into our professional career, we’re taught to make to-do lists so that we keep up with our work and don’t make the boss angry.


And list making is wonderful thing to help us stay on task and moving forward. But do to-do lists really get you moving forward? And, if so, is this the most impactful way to achieve the result you’re looking for?


Why To-Do Lists Hold You Back


To-do lists have been ingrained in us over a long period of time. Most notably, in our adult years, we’ve learned to make to-do lists to make sure we’re accomplishing all of the tasks that need to get done in a period of time. But what happens over time is, our to-do lists turn into to-don’t lists. This is because, as we continue to accumulate more and more tasks, we eventually become overwhelmed. So much so that, when we look at our list, we don’t even try because we convince ourselves that we don’t have enough time.


And you might be right. You probably don’t have enough time to achieve everything that you want to achieve in a given day or week. Let’s look at the typical soccer Mom, for instance. Now, I’m no soccer Mom, but I work with them on a regular basis, and hearing them talk about all the things that they are hoping to accomplish in a typical afternoon starts to stress me out. Maybe their list for a day looks like this:


  • Wake the kids up
  • Wake hubby up
  • Make breakfast
  • Get the kids ready
  • Get lunch ready for hubby
  • Take the kids to school
  • Vacuum the house
  • Clean the windows
  • Take the dog to the vet
  • Pick the kids up from school
  • Take the kids to soccer practice
  • Get a snack for after soccer practice
  • Pick the kids up from soccer practice
  • Take the kids home
  • The dinner ready for the family
  • Greet hubby when he gets home from work
  • Have dinner with the family
  • Get the kids ready for bed
  • Read the kids a bedtime story
  • Tuck the kids into bed
  • Spend some “quality time” with the hubby
  • Get cleaned up before bed
  • Go to sleep
  • Rinse and repeat


Now, if looking at that list doesn’t stress you out, then you must be a superhuman. This is why so many of us don’t achieve the things that we’re hoping to in a day, week, year, or lifetime. We look at all the trees in the forest and get overwhelmed. So, maybe there’s a better way to get our lives together and get us moving forward, instead of just spinning our wheels.


How to Make Progress Happen at a Rapid Rate


Like I said in the beginning, lists are a great tool to have. Without a list, we would most certainly struggle to keep our priorities straight and our lives on task. So changing the way we make lists and utilize them may be a better way to go about planning and preparing for our day.


There are 3 steps that I want to take you through that will help get your life moving in the right direction while also freeing up more of your time by not getting overwhelmed by the minutia of the daily list. For this to work, you’ll need a tool to capture all of your thoughts and ideas. It can be your phone or a notebook, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is, you put all of this in one place as you’re planning it out. You’ll also need to set aside 2 hours a week to do this. Yes, 2 hours of planning. But remember, these 2 hours of planning may save you 10 hours of unnecessary work that week. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do what is necessary to get what you want.


#1) Take Everything Out of Your Head and Onto Paper


Start by writing everything down that you want to achieve, and covering every possibility you have to achieve it. If you’re working on a proposal for a work project, write down all the possible avenues you have to achieve the end result you want. If you’re wanting to get the kids to soccer practice, who else can you call, what options do you have to get them there? Literally unload everything you can now.


#2) Start Cutting Everything Down into Smaller Chunks


Chunking is the term scientists use to describe our brain’s ability to put multiple bits and pieces together into on coherent step. For instance, have you ever tried swinging a golf club? If so, do you remember the first time you swung, how awful it was. And then someone tried to teach you how to hold your hands and move your head and keep your eye on the ball and drive your hips and keep your firm. Well, if you’re like me, all of that was too much to think about and you didn’t have the patience to learn, so you moved on to the next sport. But if you’re like a good number of adults in this country, you continued to play and learn. And, over time, all of those steps just became your swing. You chunked 100 different steps into one step.


That’s what we want to do with our list. Everything in your list has a common element. Maybe you want to lose weight, so you wrote down “find a trainer” or “eat more veggies” or “start walking 5 times a week”. Find the commonalities, and move them under one chunk. For most people, exercise is 10,000 steps, but eating is 1 east step. That’s why so many of us are overweight. Take that 10,000 steps and turn into 1 step…exercise.


#3) Apply Pareto’s Law


Once you have everything broken up into chunks, you’ll still notice that you have a lot on your list. In order to cut some things out that may be unnecessary, you need to apply a little bit of math. Pareto’s Law states that we get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts. As you look at your list, start to visualize each step, and decide if it’s actually going to get you drastically closer to your outcome. Because the ultimate goal is achieving your outcome, not doing every step. What 20% of the things on your list will get you 80% of the results you want? When you start to think this way, your mind will slowly start to become more efficient and eliminate that things that are unnecessary.


Remember, the purpose of a list is not to do the things on the list for the sake of finishing the list. The purpose of the list is to achieve an outcome. When you can get clear on that, you can start to free yourself of the bits and pieces that are holding you back, and start to focus on the 20% that will get you exponential results!