Are Your Workouts Effective?

 

Many people think they have to spend hours in the gym to get in shape. They think if they can’t put an hour into a workout, then why waste the time working out. The truth is, it’s not about the time you put in, but the quality of your workouts.

I see so many people mindlessly going through their workouts with poor form. In addition to poor form, I see the overachievers with heavy weights using momentum and performing their reps way too fast. Consider putting more thought into your workouts and each exercise. Focus on controlling the weight and contracting the muscle; it will make a tremendous difference in your workouts.

Therefore, can you do less with more focus and still get a great workout AND accomplish your goals?

 

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Ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. What am I trying to achieve in my workout today? Is my goal to build muscle, build cardiovascular endurance, work on flexibility, or do I want to bust through a plateau with some interval training? If you don’t know what the purpose of your workout is, you won’t get the results you are trying to achieve.
  2. Are you challenged with your workout? Is it intense enough? Is your weight challenging enough to make it difficult to get through your last few reps?
  3. Are you wasting time in the gym, too much rest between sets? Are you socializing too much- Are you wasting time on social media?
  4. Is your mind on your workout? Are you focused and present to give your workout all you got??
  5. Are you getting results from your workouts that match the time you spend each week on your training?

The truth is, if you’ve ever tried a circuit workout, in which you perform exercises with very little rest between sets, you will realize that you can get an amazing workout in less than 20 minutes.

RE: Jillianmichaels.com reports circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength, and stamina. The circuit training workout is composed of two to six different circuits, each containing two or more strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between. The strength training works your muscles, and the cardio keeps your heart rate up.

Here’s is my sample circuit:

Pushups- 12

Jump squats -12

Pull-ups- 8

Burpees- 12

Squat with bicep curl -12

Tricep Pushup/Plank Jack combo-12

Plank- 1 minute

Repeat 3x

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Creamy Chocolate Power Smoothie

 

This is one of the best shakes I’ve ever made. It was smooth and creamy and tasted just like a delicious chocolate milkshake.

Here’s the recipe:

8 oz of organic almond milk

1/2 banana

1/3 avocado

1 scoop plant-based chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp of organic cocoa

1 tsp of flaxseed

2 tbsp of organic tahini or nut butter

ice cubes

Place in processor and blend until creamy; top with blueberries to add antioxidants!

 

No Coffee, No Dairy, No Meat – Day 10

 

Day 10 update on my Alkaline Diet Challenge. Although I haven’t been perfect in selecting all non-acidic foods, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve been able to cut out all meat, coffee, and processed foods. I’ve cheated a little when it comes to dairy; I’ve eaten cottage cheese due to the fact I had purchased a new container of it prior to starting the challenge.

I thought for sure that it would be rough coming off coffee but surprisingly it hasn’t been difficult. I haven’t had any headaches or crazy cravings for my morning brew. I’ve substituted hot tea with turmeric which is perfect for taking the place of my coffee.

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Results so far:

  1. Down 4 lbs
  2. Abs/Arms appear more defined
  3. Allergy symptoms gone: No more mild headaches/ eyes watering
  4. Cravings gone
  5. Energy increased
  6. Skin looks better

I’m very pleased with my results so far; I plan to definitely continue this for thirty days. After that, I plan to re-evaluate and decide if I want to continue with this new lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Lean Legs Four Week Challenge

Are you up for the challenge?

Snowbird In Training

justanotherday

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Do you want lean, sculpted legs, and tighter glutes? Many women store more body fat in the hips and thighs than in the upper body. This four week challenge targets the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Include the dietary recommendations below to lose those extra pounds and to get more dramatic results.

The quote above by Frank Wright is the formula for success. “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” This challenge will require hard work, dedication, and devotion. Set a goal to follow the dietary recommendations and do the lean leg circuit three times a week on nonconsecutive days.

Work out at your own pace. Remember to check with your physician before starting…

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Make Your Workouts More Effective

 

Many people think they have to spend hours in the gym to get in shape. They think if they can’t put an hour into a workout, then why waste the time working out. The truth is, it’s not about the time you put in, but the quality of your workouts.

I see so many people mindlessly going through their workouts with poor form. In addition to poor form, I see the overachievers with heavy weights using momentum and performing their reps way too fast. Consider putting more thought into your workouts and each exercise. Focus on controlling the weight and contracting the muscle; it will make a tremendous difference in your workouts.

Therefore, can you do less with more focus and still get a great workout AND accomplish your goals?

 

dolesswtfocus

Ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. What am I trying to achieve in my workout today? Is my goal to build muscle, build cardiovascular endurance, work on flexibility, or do I want to bust through a plateau with some interval training? If you don’t know what the purpose of your workout is, you won’t get the results you are trying to achieve.
  2. Are you challenged with your workout? Is it intense enough? Is your weight challenging enough to make it difficult to get through your last few reps?
  3. Are you wasting time in the gym, too much rest between sets? Are you socializing too much- Are you wasting time on social media?
  4. Is your mind on your workout? Are you focused and present to give your workout all you got??
  5. Are you getting results from your workouts that match the time you spend each week on your training?

The truth is if you’ve ever tried a circuit type workout in which you perform exercises with very little rest between sets, you will realize that you can get an amazing workout in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.

RE: Jillianmichaels.com reports circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength, and stamina. The circuit training workout is composed of two to six different circuits, each containing two or more strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between. The strength training works your muscles, and the cardio keeps your heart rate up.

Here’s is my sample circuit:

Pushups- 12

Jump squats -12

Pull-ups- 8

Burpees- 12

Squat with bicep curl -12

Tricep Pushup/Plank Jack combo-12

Plank- 1 minute

Repeat 3x

 

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Are You Too Acidic?

I’ve gradually cleaned up my diet over the past few years and also transitioned to more raw fruits and vegetables in my meals. However, I still suffer from mild headaches, sinus issues, and eye irritation. I recently stumbled across an article on the benefits of an alkaline diet and discovered I have many symptoms associated with being too acidic. That being said, I did some research and to my dismay, coffee is top on the list to cut out. I love coffee and look forward to it every morning to jump-start my day. Needless to say, cutting out my java is going to be a major challenge. Next on the list was chocolate. I love having a piece of dark cholate after dinner; of course two of my favorite things would have to be on the list.

Check out this picture below that details acidic symptoms:

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“You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one.― Natalia Rose

A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution that is a number on a scale on which a value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity.
Going on a more alkaline diet means I will need to also cut out meat and dairy. Although I’ve reduced my meat consumption, I love yogurt and cottage cheese. Therefore, it’s going to be a challenge to find optional protein sources. This picture shows some examples of acidic and alkaline foods.
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I’ve decided to experiment with an alkaline diet for the month of August. I’ll keep you updated on my meals and results.

Don’t Blame Weight Gain On Aging

That’s me in my first and only figure competition at the age of 53. To be honest, I’ve struggled with my weight all my adult life. But when I became serious about improving my health, it all changed. I’m now a fitness instructor and trainer and in the best shape of my life. All it takes is a commitment to healthy food choices and a consistent workout plan.

In our youth-oriented culture, many people think of aging as losing their health, looks, and their value in society.

Aging is inevitable; everyone gets older, but how you age is greatly influenced by lifestyle factors. The foods you eat, the daily decisions you make, how you take care of your body, all have a huge impact on how you age.

Many people associate aging with weight gain. That’s not surprising when you look around and notice that many of your friends, co-workers, and loved ones, seem to pack on pounds with each passing year. Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND- of discovergood.com states,

Don’t assume that weight gain is inevitable. With that attitude, you’ll be a lot less likely to take the necessary steps to keep your weight in check. Gaining weight in your middle years doesn’t ‘have to’ happen – and if it already has, it isn’t too late to get it under control.

You can prevent weight gain as you get older by following a consistent exercise program and a healthy diet. Age-related weight gain is often due to decreased activity and poor food choices. Many people become less active after retirement and begin to eat out more often. Eating away from home can be challenging due to high calorie, high-fat menu items. This can lead to extra pounds from larger portion sizes and extra calories. When you factor in a less active lifestyle, it can lead to weight gain and increase your risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

A weight training program can help you maintain a healthy metabolism and prevent weight gain as you age. Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND- also points out, “Since muscle tissue does a lot of metabolic ‘work’ that uses up a lot of calories, the loss of muscle tissue as you age means that you will burn fewer calories per day than you used to – in other words, your metabolic rate slows down.”

The solution is to follow a well-balanced, consistent workout program to manage your weight and help promote strength and flexibility. Furthermore, it’s imperative to add stretching and balance exercises to your routine to stay limber and strengthen your core.


FOLLOW THESE FIVE STEPS TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN AS YOU AGE:

  • Monitor your weight- Although it’s important not to obsess over the scales, you should check your weight periodically. Gaining just a few pounds each year can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Consider weighing yourself once a week and logging your results. If you notice a slight gain, then simply increase your activity and cut back on portion sizes. Tracking your weight weekly will help you avoid unwanted pounds that can creep up over the years.
  • Clean up your diet- As you get older you may find yourself more relaxed about your appearance and the pressure of maintaining a certain image. Retirement often brings a more relaxed lifestyle without the pressures of a career and children. This is an optimal time to explore life, new restaurants and travel. The key is to maintain a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and to limit your food splurges to one meal a week.
  • Remain active– Staying active is a key factor in maintaining an optimum weight as you age. Many people become more sedentary after retirement when they no longer have the pressures and activities of a daily job. It’s important to remain active so you can enjoy a good quality of life as you age. Brisk walking is a great cardiovascular exercise or join a gym and become involved in group fitness classes. Many gyms offer programs specifically for seniors and offer discounts for memberships. You may want to consider trying aqua aerobics or a senior yoga class. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and can adhere to on a consistent basis.
  • Avoid processed foods- Processed foods are typically high in calories and contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to weight gain. If you frequently eat out, try to select grilled lean meat without sauces. Select a salad, baked potato, or steamed vegetables as a side dish. Try to cook and eat most of your meals at home. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible and experiment with healthy new recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Do resistance training- Weight training is vital as you get older. Studies show that muscle mass declines with age. Muscle mass peaks around the mid-twenties; starts to decline in our thirties, and picks up speed as we age. Weight training helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and helps combat the loss of muscle tone as you get older. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week can play a major role in maintaining your strength and muscle tone. Therefore, if you are already strength training, you are on the right track! If not, it’s never too late to pick up a set of weights and get started.

Check out these wise words from Ben Franklin:

I guess I don’t so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.”

The key to a healthy metabolism as you age, is to stay active and eat lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Weight gain and inactivity can increase your risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Weight gain does not have to automatically occur just because you are getting older. Take charge of your health by following a well-balanced fitness and nutrition program and periodic monitoring of your weight.

Don’t Let The Weekend Destroy Your Progress

 

I love Fridays! It’s the end of the week and I like to start the weekend off right with a great workout. If you are like most of us, the weekend means relaxing and splurging on some “not so healthy food choices.” But there’s nothing wrong with that; life is all about balance. So how do you adjust your goals on the weekend so that you don’t destroy all the grueling work you put in during the week?

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat and enjoy working out; it makes me feel good about myself. Sure it would be a lot easier on the weekends to lay on the couch and eat junk food. But what about all your killer workouts, planning your meals,  and eating healthy all week? Surely you don’t want to destroy that progress over the weekend.

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To keep on track with my goals, I know realistically that I’m going to be splurging a little on the weekend.  Therefore it makes sense for me to offset the extra calories with extra activity.

Tip # 1: Increase your activity level. I typically get up early on the weekends and try to do at least a couple of miles on the treadmill.  If I don’t have time for that, I simply do a “high-intensity interval training workout” such as this from:  Muscle and Fitness

–> Perform circuit two times.
–> Rest as little as possible.

30 Bodyweight squats
10 Elevated pushups (feet on a bench)
30 Lunges (total, not per side)
10 Inverted rows (lying on the ground underneath a fixed bar)
30 Side-to-side hops (total)
10 Inverted rows
30 Close-grip pushups (either on knees or standard)
10 Underhand inverted rows
30 Jumping jacks
10 Burpees
30 Diagonal lunges (total, not per side)

Either rest for 1-2 minutes or jog in place for 1-2 minutes (repeat)

These type of workouts are super effective and burns loads of calories.  Dr Josh Axe reports that High Intensity Training

Research from the past decade continues to report that high intensity interval training actually balances both leptin and ghrelin, which increases fat burn and weight loss. In fact, burst training is one of the best ways to best manage unhealthy hunger behavior and maximize ghrelin and leptin to lose weight.

I also try to make sure I use my activity tracker on the weekends to help motivate me to get my steps in (either by moving more throughout the day or from my workouts).

 

photo of person walking on road
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

 

Read my article below for the benefits of  tracking your steps on a daily basis:

Do You Need An Activity Tracker?

Tip #2: Drink more water.  Stay hydrated on the weekend. This simple tip will curb your appetite, help prevent dehydration, and give you energy.

woman drinking water while standing beside her bike
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Just check out the benefits for drinking water- especially number 7:   Healthline.com reports in   7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

In two studies, drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours (2627).

This means that drinking 2 liters of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day.

The timing is important too, and drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full, so that you eat fewer calories (2829).

In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks (30).

It’s easy to keep on track with your water intake by just following these rules:

Drink water:  Upon arising, with morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and with the evening meal. This schedule will keep you hydrated and help prevent overeating.

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So when the weekend rolls around, enjoy yourself. But stay on track by scheduling your water breaks and increasing your activity. Take a walk at lunch, park further away from the office, or take the stairs. It all adds up.

If you don’t have time to fit in a workout, try to break the workouts into ten-minute segments. Ten minutes in the morning upon arising and then another mini-workout on your lunch hour or after work. It’s all about priorities and staying on track with your goals.

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Enjoy your weekend!

 

An Unhealthy Vegetarian Lifestyle?

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The vegan lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular these days. A common reason people consider converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to lose weight, improve health, avoid contaminants in meat, and compassion for animals. However, it’s imperative to research the proper way to plan meatless meals to avoid serious nutritional deficiencies.

If you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you may want to start by reducing your meat intake and incorporating more meatless dishes into your weekly meal plans. Further research and experimentation can help you determine if a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is right for you.

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There can be some confusion regarding the terms vegan and vegetarian. Vegetarians eliminate meat but some include dairy products and eggs in their diets.

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Vegans, on the other hand, eliminate all animal products, dairy, eggs, and often avoid any products made from animals.

Global Healing Center explains the

Differences Between Vegan and Vegetarian

A vegetarian excludes meat, poultry, and seafood from their diet. Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. Vegans avoid foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey. Many vegans also avoid household products, clothing, or other items made from animal products or tested on animals.

Additionally, the terms vegan and vegetarian can be difficult for many to differentiate as some people think the words have the same meaning.

To add to the confusion, some vegetarians are called “lacto and or ovo” and include dairy/eggs in their diet.

So as you can see, the term “vegetarian” can mean different things to different people:

  • A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including poultry and fish.

  • A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry.

  • A lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs.

  • An ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.

Therefore, when considering converting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle it’s imperative to do your research. Make sure you are clear on the differences between the diets and that you have a good understanding of what’s involved in the switch.  Making the change to a more restricted diet can be challenging to follow. Many restaurants don’t offer vegan options, so understand your choices for grabbing food on the go will be limited.  Also, making meals will require more preparation and pre-planning.

It’s important to make sure meals are well-balanced and include sources of vitamin b12, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin d.

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Per Dr. Josh Axe a wellness physician certified in clinical nutrition, popular radio show host, and sought-after national speaker points out some important issues when considering a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Switching to a vegan diet is considered a healthy move by many, but it may not be all it’s cracked up to be in some bases. Below are some of the downsides to eating a completely vegan diet long term (more than several months): (6)

  1. Protein deficiency (lack of amino acids). Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are important for cellular health and proper metabolism. Too little protein can call muscle wasting, cognitive changes, mood swings and weakness.

  2. Low levels of vitamin B12. You can only get vitamin B12 in substantial amounts by consuming meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, so vegans usually need to take supplements.

  3. Lower intake of other nutrients like zinc, sometimes calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

  4. Higher intake of antinutrients like phytic acid. There are grains, beans and legumes, such as raw soybeans, lentils and mung beans, that may contain trypsin inhibitors. These inhibitors can block key digestive enzymes. Also, grains can contain phytic acid that can keep you from digesting calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, soaking and sprouting your grains and legumes can greatly reduce phytic acid.

  5. Potential inability to put on muscle. This may be due to the lack of certain vitamins that we normally get from meat and fish.

  6. Overconsumption of carbohydrates. One of the most common trends I’ve found from working with hundreds of vegans and vegetarians is that they tend to overconsume carbohydrates and hidden sugar foods. Eating too many carbs can cause candida and yeast overgrowth along with weight grain. There are some vegans who have created a better balance, but this is far from the majority.

  7. Fatigue and feeling exhausted. Again, this is usually due to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals that we normally get from meat and fish, such as iron and B vitamins.

SOME ALARMING CONCERNS FOR KIDS:

The issue of children consuming vegetarian/ vegan diets is controversial. Some experts report it’s not safe for children while others state it can be perfectly healthy if followed properly.

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Per EurekAlert! an online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society : reports that when:

parents pursue a vegan diet for their child, they must seek and strictly follow medical and dietary advice to make sure their infant receives adequate nutrition. Both mother and infant should follow advice regarding supplementation” advises Professor Mary Fewtrell, chairman of ESPGHAN’s nutrition committee comments:

The biggest risk to vegan children is that of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Foods derived from animals have been shown to be the only reliable source of vitamin B12 and a deficiency of the vitamin can have devastating effects. Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of DNA, indispensable for the maintenance of the nervous system, and a lack of it can result in hematological and neurological disorders, causing damage in young children which can be irreversible.

Therefore problems can arise when parents are unaware of the associated risks of switching to a more restricted diet….

Per CBS news:

Stories of vegan parents being arrested for malnourished children pop up every few years in the U.S., and the cases in Italy have made international news.

In Arizona, Kimu Parker was arrested in April 2005 for nearly starving her three children with a diet she and the children’s father called vegan. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison; the father, Blair Parker, got 15 years.

In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.

In Georgia, Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of their 6-week-old son, who starved to death after they fed him a too-limited diet of soy milk and apple juice.

Therefore, do your research! Know that if you make the decision to change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you must make sure you and your family get the proper nutrients. It can be challenging with a busy schedule and eating out can be difficult with many restaurants offering limited or no meatless options. It can be easy to fall into the trap of relying on unhealthy choices such as junk food, pizza, fries, and desserts due to the lack of available choices. Meals should be well balanced with complete proteins and you may need to consider supplementation.

Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician, family physician and or certified nutritionist to ensure you and your family are getting the proper nutrients in your diet.

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Converting to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can be a great way to help the environment, combat obesity, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, make sure to consult with a nutritionist and your physician on proper guidelines.

Follow these tips to make sure your diet is healthy and provides the proper nutrients:

  1. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with all your meals. Make smoothies and juices to make it more appealing for kids and picky eaters.
  2. If needed consider supplementation with a multivitamin that contains b12, iron, zinc, and vitamin d. Discuss this with a nutritionist or your family physician.
  3. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet- beans, nut butter, protein supplements, etc.
  4. Have regular family check-ups with complete blood workups to make sure you and your family are getting adequate nutrients on a daily basis.
  5. Plan your meals and snacks each week to make it easier to avoid eating processed foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.