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low carb diet

What is Carb Cycling?

What is Carb Cycling?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight then you’ve probably heard someone talk about the evils of carbs and how they are single-handedly responsible for making America obese. Well, the way a typical person consumes carbs, this is true to an extent. While there are plenty of people out there who would like to demonize carbs in all forms, science is clear on the matter: we need some carbs for our bodies to function optimally. So why the fuss over carbs and their role in weight loss or weight gain?
Processed carbs like those found in sugary foods, white breads and sodas, offer no nutritional value...so they are considered “empty calories.” To be fair, these foods certainly do play a part in America’s obesity epidemic. “Empty carbs” don’t fill you up and make it far easier for you to overeat. They provide your body with little to no nutrition while leaving you craving more. This naturally leads to over-consumption, weight gain, and causes hormone imbalances.


However, not all carbs are created equally. Complex carbs, like those found in fruits and veggies, are necessary for brain function, energy levels and good moods. So, saying no to all things carb-related is probably not your best plan of action. That’s why carb cycling is such an effective strategy for weight loss.


Carb cycling is exactly what it sounds like: a cycle of carbohydrate intake. When utilizing this strategy, you rotate your days between higher carb days and low carb days.


Why should you consider carb cycling?
When you cut out carbs completely, your energy levels will bottom out, you will experience brain fog and you will find yourself unable to complete challenging workouts. In addition, people who restrict carbs often don’t eat enough. This will ultimately lower your metabolic rate and make it harder for your body to burn fat effectively.
Plus...we all love carbs, don’t we? Living a carb free life can be incredibly challenging for most people. While many are able to make the change for a period of time, they find it difficult to sustain that type of lifestyle.


However, there are benefits to having some low carb days during your week. When you cut back on carbs, your glycogen levels quickly become depleted. Since glycogen is the first thing your body burns for energy, it will have to reach into its fat stores because there won’t be any glycogen available. 1-2 days per week of eating low carb with some HIIT workouts will do
wonders for your body in terms of fat burning.
If you have too many low carb days, you will find it incredibly hard to complete a challenging strength training workout. These are important for building muscle that will rev up your metabolism. So, having a few days per week where your carbs are less restricted is ideal, specifically on strength training days.
Higher carb days increase your thyroid output and help you control hunger. Higher carb days are also important for lean muscle gain and prevent muscle breakdown. When you cycle your higher carb days with your low carb days, you will see fat loss, lean muscle gain, increased energy levels, and improvements to your overall body composition. You will also see improved insulin levels which will teach your body to store less fat.
Carb cycling isn’t quite as difficult as it seems and is best paired with strategic workouts for optimal fat burning. Low carb days can be challenging at first, but once you find some go to meals, you will find them to be a lot easier than they seemed. Higher carb days are easy to fill up with all kinds of delicious fruits and veggies to keep you energized and thinking clearly.


Carbs are not the enemy my friend. In fact they play an important role in helping you look and feel your absolute best. They keep your body running optimally and keep you feeling alert and energized throughout the day. If you would like more information about carb-cycling check out this video on carb cycling and hormone regulation!


Talk to you soon,
Kim


P.S. If you are interested in learning more about how to implement this nutritional strategy,
check out the next round of the FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION- FAT Loss Program
(http://refineyou.leadpages.co/refine-you-1/) Carb cycling is a huge part of this program and has helped countless MEN AND WOMEN reach their goals, including me! Let me help you take the guess work out of implementing this strategy and give you everything you need to burn fat and feel great all while eating the foods you love! Sign-up soon to secure your spot and be on your way to Refine YOU! LETZGO!
 

Cajun Meatloaf

Cajun Meatloaf

A fan favorite with a kick!  My modifications make this great for low carb day!

My Fitness Journey

My Fitness Journey

My Fitness Journey

How Refine YOU Started

I have had a lot of clients, friends and family interested in why I started Refine YOU and what Refine YOU is all about. Well, here it goes…

My journey in health and fitness really begins years and years ago. I am one of those people who has ALWAYS had to be careful with my activity and nutrition. I have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight and body composition and because of this I had an interest in fitness early on. I was a trainer, fitness instructor and enjoyed hitting the gym at an early age. I worked in physical therapy part-time while going to school. During this time, there were some people close to me in hospitals with serious health issues. This fueled my interest in medicine and my career as a physician assistant with a degree in health sciences.  

I am one of those people who has ALWAYS had to be careful with my activity and nutrition.

I began my physician assistant career in Emergency Medicine for 5 years then switched to orthopedics.  In my 16+ years as a physician assistant, I have seen and taken care of people of all shapes, sizes and personalities. One thing that has always struck me to the core, is how all these people could really make a difference in their lives if they would only make the right choices. Everything we put in our bodies and everything surrounding our bodies can affect our health short and long term. Many diseases and disorders are preventable by simply eating healthy and maintaining a healthy body composition. I have been passionate in helping my patients understand that their health starts with them and the choices they make.

Personally, throughout the years, I have always been active and working out in one way or another.  Weight training, step aerobics, spinning, half-marathons and marathons, interval training, etc. I do this to maintain a good body composition but I also really enjoy working out. It is my “me-time.” Time for me to just do and not think. It has, in a way, become a mental release for me.  

About 3-4 years ago (after having 2 children) I got to the point where I was doing high intensity workouts 5-6 days a week along with eating clean and low carb. It worked initially to get the baby weight off and then it backfired.  

About 2 years ago I noticed my energy levels plummeting, I was hungry ALL time and my cycles were off (big time) but my blood work and hormone levels were normal. Not wanting to go on hormone pills for cycle regulation, I ended up having a uterine ablation. This helped that problem, but I still felt tired and hungry all the time. Then, I started to gain fat. Yep! My clothes were getting smaller and not fitting despite all my healthy eating and working out.  

Something was wrong.  I went back for more bloodwork and this time my testosterone was LOW. I was offered a prescription for hormone cream which I was not going to use. Sometimes healthcare providers like myself can be the worst patients. I knew what the problem was. I had, in the back of my head, thought about what the problem was… but I was in denial. I was in denial until the lab result was right in front of my face.  

Sometimes healthcare providers like myself are the worst patients.

I did a lot of research, looked at a lot of studies and looked at a lot of programs and techniques. With my knowledge in healthcare and fitness I came up with a plan I could follow.  I took before pictures and went for it. 14 weeks later, I was shocked! I felt like a completely new person! No joke! I couldn’t believe how great I felt! Even though I wasn’t focused on the fat loss, my clothes were fitting again! I finally took after pictures and just couldn’t believe it! The pictures speak for themselves. I began thinking about how much of an impact this had on me and my life and had to share it with others! Refine YOU was born!  

My emphasis is to Refine YOU, Mind, Body, and Spirit. This program is a game changer on the inside and out. Emotionally, physically and spiritually.  

It is truly all about regulating your hormones. Your hunger hormones, insulin, cortisol and all the sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, etc.). Working smarter not harder to target stubborn fat, increase your energy levels and stabilize your hunger.  

I am so happy and excited about this 7-week program which I named The FAST ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss Program. It is a transformation because it changes your body to use fat for energy and not carbohydrates for energy. It combines carb-cycling, intermittent fasting, quality cardio workouts utilizing HIIT (to target fat loss) and strength workouts (to build lean muscle). It is a jump start to a lifestyle change and not a quick fix. No more yo-yo dieting, cleanses or omitting everything in your diet. It is not realistic to think that you are never going to have the foods you enjoy. This program teaches you how to work in what you enjoy occasionally and strategically so they work for you and not against you.  

My clients are having amazing results from this program and if you have the dedication to stick with it for the 7 weeks you will too! LETZGO!

 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe

Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe

Spaghetti squash has gained a lot of popularity through recent years as a great alternative to high-calorie, and high-carb pasta. You’ll see a lot of these pop up in stores as it is harvested in early fall and surprisingly keeps well for months in cool storage.

This veggie contains vitamins A and C, which prevents cell damage, manganese, a mineral that helps with bone growth and fiber which helps lower cholesterol. Additionally, one cup of plain spaghetti squash is only 42 calories! This is one of my favorites and my clients love it as well!  

If you think spaghetti squash is a bit bland… think again! This recipe from Well Plated has some kick to it! I have substituted edamame noodles and chickpea noodles in this recipe during times when I cannot get spaghetti squash. I personally avoid dairy so I typically do not add the cheese in the recipe and instead just sprinkle some on the top. This recipe is 193 calories per serving, has 10g fat, 8g carbs, 2g fiber and pairs great with a salad or steamed veggies. It’s also a great dish to bring to pitch-ins or prepare for a family who needs help with a meal because this dish is even better as leftovers the next day.   

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 6 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 small/medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound (93% lean) ground turkey

1 small red onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, cored and diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes with Italian spices, drained

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasonings of choice (or a mix of oregano, basil, and thyme)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon if sensitive to spice)

1 cup freshly grated part-skim mozzarella or provolone cheese, divided

Chopped fresh parsley or basil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  • Place in a shallow baking dish, cut-side down, then pour 1/2 cup water into the dish, around the squash.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
  • When cool enough to handle, pull the squash strings out of the squash’s center with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl. The squash strings should look like spaghetti.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high.
  • Add the turkey, onion, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  • Cook, breaking apart the meat, until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the drained tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Let cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked off, about 4 minutes, then add the reserved squash.
  • Cook and stir until most of the remaining liquid has cooked off, about 1-2 minutes
    more, increasing the heat if needed. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. There may be some liquid remaining in the pan.
  • Lightly coat a deep 8×8-inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • With a slotted spoon, scoop the squash mixture into the pan in an even layer, discarding any excess liquid (some in the pan is OK—just not too much).
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 5-10 additional minutes.
  • For an extra-golden-brown top, place the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and/or basil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve hot.