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Sugar and Lima Beans. The Key To Great Health?

Ever met someone who says "I hate sugar"? 

Me neither.

Sugar just tastes good. It makes food taste good. You can put sugar on just about anything and it's going to taste better. 

And that's kinda that problem, right? It's not like you have to trick us into eating more sugar, like my mom did when she was trying to get me to eat my lima beans.

True Story. When I was a kid, before the advent of stores like Sam's and Costco, my parents used to but food in bulk from Rich Plan, in Pittsfield. They bought cereal that way. I remember one time getting a case of Wheaties, a case of Cheerios, and a case 100% Bran. The rule was we had to eat ALL of those before they would buy anymore. A good strategy would have been to alternate the boxes of sawdust (100% Bran) with the other two. But, kids being kids, we would eat the Wheaties and Cheerios first, and be left with 11 3/4 boxes of the Bran. 

The ONLY way to eat that stuff was to drown it in milk and add sugar in about a 1:1 ratio. It was almost tolerable that way. It was kind of like eating milkshake syrup mixed with the leftovers from the sawmill down the road.

In other words, sugar made it better, much better.

So let's get that off the table. Nobody is denying that sugar tastes good.

Remember those lima beans I mentioned before? What if I told you that eating lima beans was linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia, as well as all cause mortality? And on top of that increased your likelihood of getting type II diabetes? What if I told you they contributed to systemic inflammation, higher cholesterol and triglycerides, and excess body fat?

Could you force yourself to stop eating lima beans? 

I thought so. ūüôā

In fact it would be, dare I say it, kind of dumb not to at least work on reducing the amount of lima beans you were eating, right?

Well as I know you have guessed, all those diseases and conditions I mentioned above HAVE been linked with high blood glucose. And without going into all the complicated mechanisms involved with our metabolic pathways, a chronically high carbohydrate load (eating more carbs than our body can efficiently process) leads to problems.

I am a pretty healthy guy. My normal bodyweight and lower than average levels of body fat would indicate all systems go, right? 

Not so fast.

You see a fasting glucose level of 100mg/dl or above is an indicator of pre-diabetes. About 84.1 million Americans fit that profile, and I was one of them. If you are one of them and don't do something about it, your likelihood of developing type II diabetes soars.

Even though I ate pretty "clean", my level were consistently over 100, and sometimes much higher. Even though I had lost 100 pounds and looked pretty good on the outside, my insides were not healthy. My pancreas just doesn't function optimally anymore, and there are millions in the same boat as I was.

It took me almost two years to get my blood sugar where my levels are now consistently in the 80's. And part of that intervention was, you guessed it, reducing my overall carbohydrate intake, and especially the sugar. Those once a week "FREE" meals had expanded well beyond that scope, and my body was working overtime to try to keep up. 

Maybe that's you right now. You did great with Sizzlin' Summer Slimdown, but you could use a little tune-up on the diet. That's where I am at. 

Or maybe you need a little deeper dive into getting your eating habits on track, and a simple but focused plan is right up your alley.

Either way, Sugar Free Me is for you, and me and really just about everyone I know.  (why oh why couldn't it be "Lima Bean Free Me?") 

What Is Sugar Free Me?

Sugar Free Me is a 28-day step-by-step education, accountability, and strategy course that helps you understand the root causes of sugar addiction, how to address them to create your plan of action, and help you kick the cycle of eating excess sugar.

And if you read my earlier post with all the detailsyou know that this course is being offered as our "Fall Freebie" this year. But "no charge" does not mean it is not valuable. In fact kicking your sugar habit to the curb could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. 

The "Sugar Free Me" Challenge Officially Starts Monday, September 17, but we are absolutely cutting registrations off on Wednesday September 12, so get in today!

Let's do this thing together!

- DC



Sugar Free Me 2018 Signup is Here!

I can't even begin to tell you how pumped up ‚Äčwe are to be teaming up with Dan DeFigio, the bestselling author of "Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies", to help you get off sugar and help you take back control of your eating.

The goal of Sugar Free Me is ambitious. To give you the education, resources and support you need to overcome your addiction to sugar and carbs, and regain control of your life!

Now some of you may think I am going overboard with the word "addiction". After all while we know eating too much sugar isn't great for us, does it really reach that level? Evidence suggests it can, as sugar has been shown to stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain as some drugs.

I don't think it's any big secret that sugar and sweets are a big "go-to" when we are stressed, or tired, or lonely. The kick of dopamine that sugar gives us can lead to a very destructive cycle, actually altering our neural pathways , and it's also no secret the cycle of sugar addiction can be hard to beat.

What Is Sugar Free Me?

Sugar Free Me is a 28-day step-by-step education, accountability, and strategy course that helps you understand the root causes of sugar addiction, how to address them to create your plan of action, and help you kick the cycle of eating excess sugar.

What we are going to learn:

  • How to create your "New Normal"
  • The Different Types of Sugar Addicts
  • Meal Planning
  • The Anti-Craving Blueprint
  • Sustainable Nutrition
  • How To Fall Off The Wagon and Still Win
  • What To Do When A Craving Does Strike

We are also going to fill up your "Sugar Free Me Toolbox" with tools that are going to help you Avoid Temptation, Find and Avoid Your Food Triggers, and explore What You REALLY Want when you reach for the sweets. (Hint: It's not sugar)

The most valuable thing you are going to get over the course of this course (see what I did there) is daily accountability and incredible support from both those taking this journey with you and our incredible team of coaches.

You will have your own account created in a really cool program called "Coach Catalyst". Every day you will get an email or message to your phone that delivers your daily "Sugar Free Me" lesson and asks the question: "Did you avoid eating all added sugars yesterday?" 

Don't underestimate the power of answering that daily question honestly. This simple action does a couple of very important things. It creates a record for you to look back on and evaluate under what conditions and in what circumstances you tend to reach for the sweets. But it also helps your coach know when you need a little extra help to get moving in the right direction.

You also get access to our Private Facebook page, where you can hang out with folks on the same journey and where your coaches can offer more support. We have found these groups are a powerful way to stay connected and see that you are not the only one struggling. Take advantage of this page!

‚ÄčSo by now you are probably asking "How Much For All This?"

All we are asking is that you are "All In" and willing to open your mind (and mouth) to new ideas, foods, tastes and possibilities.

‚ÄčThat's Right. ‚ÄčAs a gift to you, we are offering this full 28-Day program as our "Fall Freebie" this year. You're welcome! ūüôā

The "Sugar Free Me" Challenge Officially Starts Monday, ‚ÄčSeptember 17, but don't be "that guy", and sign up today!  As a bonus, you will get immediate early access into the Facebook Support group. 

‚ÄčA Note From Coach Dean

‚Äč‚ÄčFor someone who loves sweets (like I do), you may be wondering what you might be getting yourself into.

As with anything we do that is "new", it's going to take a little time to adjust to your "new normal". Here's a thought to consider.

Did you know that one of the keys to success and happiness in life is to practice self-compassion?

We are SO hard on ourselves when we don't live up to our expectations for ourselves, and that usually leads to a downward spiral of guilt and feelings of failure. I have lived it, and it usually meant reaching for more food. That's how I got to 280 pounds.

But I learned really fast that to take it off I needed more than education (I knew eating junk food wasn't good for me), or more willpower (when I am tired or feeling blue I have none). I needed a strategy for dealing with the inevitable stuff that comes up to derail me perfect plans - I think it's called life!

And that is what Sugar Free Me is all about. Sure there is an education component involved, but more importantly we are going to give you real world strategies to set yourself up to succeed, including what to do if (when) you aren't perfect and fall off the wagon.

No program is magic. Change takes effort and self-reflection. It takes a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and embrace something new.

‚ÄčAnd I believe in you. You can do this. We are here to help!

Make It Happen!

- DC

It’s Time to Fall Out of your Sugar Habit!

‚ÄčCheck THIS list out!

  • Agave nectar
  • Agave syrup
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown rice solids
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Confectioners‚Äô sugar
  • Corn sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Crystalized fructose
  • Date sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastase
  • Diastatic malt
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape juice concentrate
  • Grape sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiners‚Äô syrup
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Sucrose
  • Turbinado sugar

Those are just a FEW of the names for the oh so sweet, but not so good for you (at least to the excess most of us eat it) substance known as...

SUGAR.

‚Äč‚ÄčOnce again we are teaming up with Dan Defigio, bestselling author of "Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies" to bring you a ‚Äčour 28-Day program called "Sugar Free Me".‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

More details will be coming soon, but we are going to posting a registration link soon, and the program will start on Monday September 17th.

Oh and one more thing!

It's our gift to you. This program is our "Fall Freebie", and seeing it's worth about a bajillion dollars in real life :), that a pretty sweet (see what I did there) deal.

Stay Tuned!

- DC

‚Äč

What to eat before, during, and after your workout [Infographic]

One of the great mysteries of the world, finally solved!

Dean Carlson, Pn2


A very common question I hear regards what to eat around workout times. When, what type of food, and how much. If you know anything about me by now, it's that my answer is going to be; "It depends".

Personally I train in the morning, and the only thing I have before I train is a cup of coffee. On strength training days, I consume BCAA's, and recently have played around with adding Creatine to that mix as well. Then I eat a regular meal when I get home. The cool infographic below, produced by our friends at Precision Nutrition, outlines that strategy. I use it for two reasons:

1. It applies to my body type and goals. I have a slow metabolism, am sensitive to carbs, and am trying to keep my body fat down while getting stronger.

2. It works for me. It's not just a matter of someone telling me to do it, it's experimenting and seeing what happens. I have tried to higher carb workout shakes and post-training regimen, and I just gain body fat when I used that method. 

The take home? Do what works for you. Determining that may take a little trial and error, but I assure you it's worth it. Your results and recovery will show you the way!

You can get a fully printable version of this infographic by clicking here, and you can get a more thorough explanation of the infographic and see the latest research in the PN article: Workout Nutrition Explained: What to eat before, during, and after exercise.

Need More Help?

Our passion is helping cut through the confusion surrounding your diet and exercise, and coaching you up so you can learn to live lean and healthy for the rest of your life. We offer as little or as much coaching as you need. Check out some ways to get started here.

You are busy and missed a workout. Do This. [Infographic]

Two things, don't sweat it, and don't make it a habit. Just do this.

Dean Carlson, Pn2


It can happen to any of us. You haven't missed a day in the gym for weeks, and then BAM! You get sick, or have a week of late meeting, or life "just happens". Sound anything like your life? Don't despair - you can still keep things moving in the right direction by taking just 10 minutes to focus on yourself.

It's inevitable. One of my best clients, the superstar who does "everything right" - never misses training, is on point with their eating, gets enough sleep - "that guy or girl", gets derailed by the holidays, or vacation, or a stressful time at work.

Falls right off the wagon, and stays there for months, or worse.

Doing all the "right things" does great things for you, physiologically and psychologically. When you are taking care of yourself and exercising regularly your heart and lungs function better, your move better, heck you even think better - TRUE STORY.

But the opposite is true when you stop exercising regularly. Those benefits start to fade away, and it happens quicker than we would like.

The good news is it doesn't have to take a ton of time to maintain the gains you have, at least over the short term. The workout below isn't going to turn you into Buff Buffington, but it will keep you moving and even more importantly, in the habit of moving when life gets in the way.

Download the infographic for your printer or tablet, and keep it handy when your regular workout just isn't going to happen. 

To make sure you have your "stay in shape" plan handy next time you need it, download the infographic and print a copy or save it to your tablet.

Want to learn more?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and learning to manage stress are important for not only looking better, but for health. But for applying that knowledge we can sometimes use a little help.

We specialize in giving that help to our clients - who have busy, stress-filled lives, and need help making it easier to fit "one more thing" (even though it might be the most important thing) into their life.

If that's you, let us know, and we'll see how we can help you too.

Good stress vs. bad stress [Infographic]

Stress is Stress is Stress. Job, family pressures, traffic, how you train, how you eat - it all adds up. Here's how to find the "sweet spot" to help push your progress forward. 

complied by Dean Carlson, Pn2


It's something we face every day, and usually we think of stress as a "bad thing". 

Too much stress is, but not enough stress is just as bad when it comes to making your best progress.

For those of you who train using a system like BioForce HRV, you have a great tool to dial in just the right amount of stress to reach your potential, without burning out.

This infographic from our friends at PN explains the crucial factors in balance allostatic load, and some concrete steps to get it right. 

You can also read this article on Heart Rate Variability and how you can further dial it all in.

Don't forget you can also download the infographic for printing, and share it with your frazzled friends! ūüôā

Stress is no joke, and taking positive steps to focus stress to our favor is a big part of not only our fitness, but our happiness in general. 

For those of us who tend to the "anxious, obsessive, aggravated side of the spectrum, putting these action steps into practice could be just what we need. Put some of that new found knowledge into action, today!

5 Ways To Control Your Appetite So You Can Drop The Weight You Want

Losing weight (body fat) ultimately comes down to one thing. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn. It's science (physics), and you just can't get around it, no matter how much we would all like to.

Exercise alone (or maybe at all) isn't going to cut it. Exercise burns at best a few hundred calories an hour, and that is very dependent on your physiology. You can't out-exercise overeating. I know, I've tried.

On the flip side, you might be surprised how easily you can cut a thousand calories out of your eating a day with just a few small changes to your diet. 

And it doesn't mean you have to starve yourself, or never eat the foods you enjoy. Here are 5 ways you can control your appetite, make smart food choices, and eat fewer calories.

1) Count calories for two weeks

It's about awareness. We are really good at telling ourselves we aren't eating too much, but we are rarely willing to back up that claim. The simplest way to create awareness is to do the work of tracking your calories, and the good news is you don't have to do it forever. The good news is once you create awareness and start making better food choices, you probably won't have to. 

I suggest buckling down and tracking everything you eat for two weeks using an app like MyFitnessPal or FatSecret. Be honest, and track everything, food and drink. You are going to have to weigh and measure the food, which takes a little getting used to. The other thing that tracking helps me do? Simplify. It's a lot easier to enter 6oz of steak or chicken into a calorie tracker than a complicated recipe.

If this sounds like too much of a hassle, we can "goldilocks" this habit and make it easier. Simply carry a little notebook and write down every food you eat and every thing you drink. For some of us, this creates all the awareness we need. If your log has primarily eggs, lots of veggies, chicken and fish, you know you are on the right track. If it is mostly bagels, cereal, and pasta washed down with coke or a latte, you know that too. Just the habit of writing it down can help us make better choices. Ask yourself the question: Would I show this list to my coach or nutritionist? ūüôā

2) Create a crowd

I don't like crowds. But when it comes to controlling our appetites, crowds are our friend. Huh?

You have probably heard that "a calorie is a calorie", and in terms of energy content that is true. But when it comes to a foods ability to help you feel full, that's baloney. You know it to be true - 100 calories of broccoli (over 3 cups!) fills you up way more than that 100 calorie pack of cookies or crackers, or even 100 calories of a better choice, like almonds are walnuts.

The broccoli creates a crowd in your stomach; more volume of food means less room for other food. It's magical! Use your MyFitnessPal app or a tool like the SELF Nutrition Database to get an idea of the nutritional content of the foods you love. I'll bet you'll find that you already make some good choices - eat more of those!

Once you figured out those "fuller foods", a good strategy is to eat those first. Filling up on veggies, lean meats and healthy fats creates that "crowd control" we are looking for, and you will automatically eat less.

3) Exercise for your health, not to burn calories

While it might seem that exercising more is just going to make you hungrier to compensate, that is not necessarily the case. This article explores many of those factors, and many studies show the opposite to be true. Learning to refuel your body appropriately after exercise is crucial; you don't want to train and then not eat for hours and hours.

Mindset is key here. Viewing food as a reward for exercise is counterproductive. I have done it, and it's just plain a bad strategy. Exercise for the health benefits, not so you can have another donut. 

4) Hack your food prep 

Even those of us who enjoy cooking don't always make/find/have the time to spend in the kitchen. If you do, that is awesome - so enjoy!

The good news for the rest of us is we don't have to. Getting in the habit of cooking in bulk, twice a week, is a tremendous help. It's just as easy to grill or roast 5 or 6 chicken breasts as it is two. Roasting veggies and Chicken-in-a-Crockpot are two of my "go-to's" when time is tight. 

Another favorite "hack" of mine is to spice it up! There is a whole wide world of flavors open for those brave souls who use more than just salt and pepper. Coriander, Cardamom, Cloves, Cumin. And those are just some of the "C's". Be bold and experiment, it's a lot of fun.

5) Go to bed

When I don't get enough sleep I find it much harder to control my appetite, and I found out at least one reason. Turns out when you don't get enough sleep your body produces endocannabinoids  - you literally can get the munchies.

But even when your appetite doesn't increase, your willpower and decision-making abilities are affected by lack of sleep. Less sleep = more bad food choices. For me that tends to lead to overeating. I can turn a handful of nuts into half a pound of nuts pretty fast. 

Human beings need 7-9 hours of sleep a night to perform at their best, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have seen people exercise religiously and make positive changes to their nutrition and still have trouble dropping the weight. Sleep made the difference.

Less Calories = Less Fat

Fat Loss is simple - you just have to eat fewer calories than you burn. But that doesn't mean it's easy, far from it. The good news is that you don't have to follow a specific diet plan or food restrictions to lose weight. There is no one-size-fits all, but you do have to put in the work to discover what works best for you.

If you are having trouble nailing down your diet and you want to make real progress this year, use these 5 tips to help you get dialed in. And as always, we are here to help.

- DC

Phyto-what-are-we-talking-about? [Infographic]

Mom was right about eating your fruits and vegetables. Here's Why.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2


You have probably heard "eat the colors of the rainbow", and no I am NOT talking about candy. But it's a true story, the colors tell the tale of the power packed punch hidden inside all the goodness, as the colors hold the key to the "phytonutrients" or plant nutrients, that help us fight disease and stay healthy.

Learn what phytonutrients are all about, what they do, and why you need more purples, blues, yellows, oranges, reds, greens and even whites.

Download this free Infographic and print it out for reference. You might even send a copy to mom in a thank-you card!

Pretty co‚Äčol, huh?

Not only are all these colors good for you, they taste really good too, and help you get the fiber your body needs. 

Don't forget to download your copy to print out and hang by the fridge. There are a few dozen different ideas and tips for getting more of these into your diet, and you'll want it handy for easy reference.

3 steps to fix a broken diet [Infographic]

‚ÄčHere's ‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äčhow to get your eating back on track.

‚Äčby Dean Carlson, Pn2


‚ÄčIt's just about the beginning of a New Year, or at least it is when I am writing this.

But no matter what the calendar says, sometimes we get off track and just aren't making it happen.

‚ÄčOur friends at Precision Nutrition created this very helpful infographic, which shares the 3 main strategies we use to help clients fix a "broken diet", as well as some troubleshooting techniques for when the eating plan you are on "just stops working".

These are powerful and purposeful strategies to help you improve your eating, at the beginning of a brand new year or anytime!

Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.

‚ÄčSo what did we learn?

‚ÄčIf you just aren't making progress, and you aren't sure what's wrong, remember these important things to try:

  • First, remove "red flags" and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Control your calorie intake without counting calories.
  • Consider your body type and daily activity level.
  • ‚ÄčMonitor your progress carefully, and adjust how much you are eating as needed.
  • Be consistent with these steps and think long-term first, before looking for new strategies.

‚ÄčThat last point cannot be overstated. Consistency over days, weeks and months is almost always the real problem with our eating, whether we are a beginner trying to get started, or you are experienced but spinning your wheels. There is a solution, but we need to stick with it for long enough to figure out if what we are doing is effective. A few days or even weeks isn't going to cut it.

Don't forget to download your printable copy of this infographic, and please share with your friends and family!

Is it a good idea to exercise when sick? [Infographic]

‚ÄčGood idea?  Bad idea? Can exercise actually help boost our immune system, even when we are sick?

‚Äčby Dean Carlson, Pn2


‚ÄčIt's not an uncommon question:

"Should I exercise when I am sick?"

Well, as with many things, it depends.

‚ÄčIf you are laid out in bed with the flu, the answer is obvious. But what about certain stages of a cold? While we don't want to share that joy with others, can getting some movement in be helpful?

Our friend at Precision Nutrition produced this excellent guide for sorting it all out.‚Äč

Print out this infographic for some very specific guidelines on exercise, and how it affects your immune system before, during, and after an illness.

‚ÄčReading that infographic makes me feel better already!

Want to share these tips with your friends, family and co-workers (especially the washing your hands part)? Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.

‚ÄčHere's to staying healthy!


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