Hello, my name is Brandi Mahan, Founder of Tiger Training Temple, a studio for fitness and nutritional well-being. I work with dozens of individuals each week to live healthier, more active lives. My work in the well-being industry began eight years ago when I became successful in my own weight loss journey and my love for clean eating and fitness became something I naturally wanted to share with others. I have become so passionate in helping others feel this good that I furthered my education and in 2011 I graduated with an Associate’s degree in Personal Training and my training certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Immediately after graduation I opened Tiger Training Temple and have been crushing client’s health goals ever since.
I recognized a year or two into working with my clients that America’s rise in obesity and chronic disease wasn’t just a matter of sedentary lifestyle vs. active lifestyle. The problem ran much deeper. Documentaries such as Super Size Me and Food Inc, revealed to me an absolute injustice in the American food system, all the while Americans were being made to feel as though their gluttony and laziness was responsible for the rise in weight gain we are seeing in epic numbers. I began teaching my clients about organic and local whole foods and how the damaging effects of processed and sugary foods are to our body composition and for overall health. I wanted to go deeper into my understanding of food and nutrition so I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2015 and I am a recent graduate from their Holistic Health Coach program. This was an eye opening experience in which I can never forget the awful truths I learned about our food system and how it affects the majority of us negatively.
Here is MY STRUGGLE:
Even with all this education, food is one of my greatest struggles and has been most of my adult life. It seems as though progress looks like three steps forward and two steps back (like dancing the cha cha) and that the struggle to find a sustainable healthy diet plan is a constant evolution in which trial and error is my teacher. One of the truths I have discovered for myself and then have rediscovered time and again (just in case it might be different this time) is that sugar is like crack to me and can be my kryptonite if I indulge even just a little bit. I’m not talking fruit sugar, raw honey, or maple syrup; I’m talking the high fructose corn syrup, beet sugars, cane sugar, and fructose which if you’ve ever read a food label you know how common some of these ingredients are. Sugar has thrown me into spirals of apple fritter tornados and Ben and Jerry’s smack downs. The problem lies in the fact that once I begin I become out of control, much like an addict with a drug. The cycle can last weeks because the cravings are so real and it is increasingly more difficult to abstain with use. Studies have shown that sugar lights up the same pleasure centers in your brain that heroin and cocaine do however, some studies show that sugar is more addictive. Lab rats that had previous experience using heroin choose sugar over the highly toxic street drug when offered both sugar and heroin at the same time. My name is Brandi and I am a sugar junkie!
WHAT’S THE HARM?
What is so wrong with sugar anyway? You may already know there is a link between sugar/carbs and the lifestyle related disease type two diabetes. Too much sugar in your blood leads to insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome, and in time leads to the dreaded type two diabetes. Too much unnatural sources of sugar can also lead to inflammation in the vital organs, swelling and pain in the joints, rapid aging, arthritis, cardio vascular disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
Is abstinence the key if moderation is impossible? Personally, I cannot moderate processed sugar. One bite and the monster awakens. I have found myself in the midst of a sugar binge eating a candy or treat that I don’t really enjoy that much, just for the sugar fix. UGH! This behavior will add pounds and inches to me in a matter of days. We may tell drug addicts that abstinence is the way to go, however, the difference is in how readily available sugar is compared to illegal street drugs. If you think about the billions of dollars in advertising used to convince you to buy this addictive substance which is in 80% of items sold at your mainstream grocery store you can plainly see the disadvantage the sugar addict has in comparison.
SOME TIPS TO HELP:
Here are five tips that have helped me wean off and even quit sugar completely for months and months at a time. Use these five guidelines at least 80% of time and you see and feel the difference!
- Quit convenience and processed foods. I know you know this already. The number one reason I hear that this is such a challenging change to implement is that it is very time consuming to shop, cook, and clean. I realize this to be truth however, with some planning, practice, and commitment you will have your kitchen running like a well-oiled machine. Research healthy recipes online, make meal plans, make grocery lists, spend one afternoon a week shopping and preparing your meals in advance, take healthy snacks everywhere you go, and drink tons of water. I know that you can find the time in your schedule if it’s truly important enough. If you would like help with this – I can help, my contact info is at the bottom of the page!
- Replace sugar with raw organic honey, organic maple syrup, xylitol, stevia, dates, apple sauce, or banana puree. These sugars are nutrient dense and are delivered to the blood slower so they don’t spike your blood sugar and cause further sugar cravings.
- Eat breakfast! Eat a substantial breakfast in the morning to ensure that you won’t be making up for lost time later in the day when it hits you exactly how hungry you have been all day. Not eating breakfast leads to late night binging. Eating three meals a day of healthy whole foods can balance your appetite and energy levels.
- Plant based is the way to go! The closer to nature you eat the better it is for you. The plant based food group is loaded in vitamins, nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. This is where your level of energy, vitality, and immunity comes from. Eat the majority of your foods from this group! Fruits, dried fruit (unsweetened), vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, beans, and legumes. These foods all contain lots of fiber to enhance digestion and keep your belly full longer.
- Get a move on! Moving is essential for good health and hormone balance. Movement also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. There are so many awesome ways to get your movement in, you can walk, jog, run, dance, Yoga, hike, swim, ride a bike, group fitness class, personal training, martial arts, boxing, sports, and much more. The important thing is that you enjoy the activity and look forward to it. So I encourage you to try different activities and get your friends and family involved too, accountability can increase your success!
Though it may seem the cards are stacked against us with the current food system in play, we still have options for success. Shopping at whole food markets, farmers markets and health food stores can be a great tool in your tool box, they tend to have less processed foods. The road to health and well-being is a continuous life time journey, it can be a personal evolution as you allow yourself to grow, learn, and transform. The more open and willing you are, the more you will get out of every back step you take (cha cha cha) and the quicker you will return to the feel good way of eating. Best of luck as you discover your own journey, remember we are all in this together!
Please feel free to contact me with inquiries, comments, or inspirational shares at Brandi@TigerTrainingTemple.com or 619-756-2931 or follow me on Facebook Brandi Mahan at https://www.facebook.com/MohanTheTiger or Tiger Training Temple page.