Michael Kenney is a father of two, and Daddy Mike is cut! It’s hard to believe that 90 pounds ago, he was pre-diabetic and experiencing crippling migraines. With hard work, miles of spinning under his smaller belt, and tracking portion sizes, Mike says he feels better than he has in years. This Father’s Day, he’ll celebrate with daughters Jamie and Jordan, and continue to set a healthy example for his girls.
We love his mantra: Eat clean and train dirty.
More from Mike in his own words –
When did your weight struggles begin? I have always struggled with my weight. I played sports in high school, and this kept it under control but after I stopped playing sports, over the years my weight just kept increasing.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Definitely overeating. Portion sizes played a huge factor. It was not unusual for me to eat a whole pizza by myself. I really didn’t know how many calories I was consuming, or how many I was burning.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? Health issues. I had a routine checkup with my doctor and when my blood work came back, I was pre-diabetic. I was also suffering from frequent ocular migraines.
Health researchers continue to study—and warn about—the rising rate of obesity worldwideand particularly in the United States. The concern, of course, is for people’s overall health: Being obese is associated with a ton of medical problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is why you’ve probably heard that obesity is one of the main causes of skyrocketing health care costs. (more…)
You know the drill: Wake up, work all day, come home exhausted and yet your to-do list seems to have grown longer. The last thing you want to make time for is a workout. You’ve worked hard and feel exhausted—why go running?!
When I hear this from my clients, or when I think these thoughts myself, I pose two questions:
1) Will I feel better or worse after I finish my workout?
2) Will I regret going to work out?
Chances are, your answers are BETTER and NO, respectively. But I get it! It’s hard to justify turning off Netflix and leaving your comfy couch to spend even a few minutes boosting your heart rate. But find your reason to remember that it is worth it. We don’t exercise simply to look smokin’ in our summer bikini; hopefully, you also exercise to feel strong, to have more energy, to sleep better and stress less, and to bring out the best version of yourself. If you don’t have 60+ minutes to devote to burning calories, that’s okay!
Anything is Better Than Nothing.
A recent article fromShape.comexplained how your brain responds to running. There’s a lot of science in the piece, but the take-away is that running definitely boosts your mood and the more in-shape you are, the better you feel. How’s that for incentive to get out and move more? (more…)
There is a new documentary in the works, and it has certainly captured my attention. Executive produced by Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, the film “Fed Up” explores the American obesity epidemic, specifically focusing on sugar. However, the film differentiates itself from other books, movies, television specials that focus on sugar in one big way: In addition to railing on sugar as the cause of obesity, “Fed Up” focuses on the fact that skinny is not a sign of healthy.
It’s about time.
I’m so glad that we are finally having a conversation around the fact that someone can thin but still have as much internal body fat as a morbidly obese person. In recent years, emerging research has shown that just because a person is skinny it does not mean that they are healthy. People of average weight can suffer from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions once thought to be associated with only obese individuals. Weight may not be the driver behind this, but body fat that comes from foods loaded with sugar most certainly is, according to “Fed Up”.
The film attacks sugar pretty seriously, even referring to it as the “new tobacco,” and blaming the food industry and the government as the biggest pushers of the substance. Fed Up focuses on the importance of not blaming children for the fact that they are obese, but rather the marketing that has pushed our country into a sugar induced epidemic. (more…)
Sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages! What am I referring to? The tiny goji berry, which is one of nature’s most nutritionally complete foods.
Never heard of it? Goji berries are referred to as “red diamonds” in their native Himalayan China and Tibet. The bite-size super foods contain 18 different amino acids, aka the building blocks for protein, including 8 of the 9 essential food-based amines that our body cannot produce on their own. This makes them especially crucial for vegetarians and vegans who are not eating complete animal proteins like eggs, fish, and meat products.
Goji berries are sold around the world and are usually packaged as dried berries. (They kind of look like pink raisins.) You can find them in most health food stores and increasingly in regular grocery stores too. The berries are pretty sweet in taste, but they’re also pretty complex tasting overall because of all the nutrients and minerals they deliver.
History of Goji Berries Goji berries have always played an integral part in Chinese medicinal practices since ancient times, dating back as far as 5,000 years! They are still prescribed for their eye, liver, and kidney-supporting properties and they are also believed to boost “chi”, or invigorating life energy, in those who eat them. There are many well-documented claims that daily consumption of goji berries played a key role in unbelievable longevity: one man even claimed to have lived 252 years! (I’m not convinced of his math, but still!)
Super Food Superpowers Here’s a cheat sheet on the benefits you can expect from go-go-goji berries:
Contains 21 trace minerals like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and phosphorus
Richest source of carotenoids of all known foods on earth. Way more than even carrots!
500x more Vitamin C than oranges by weight
8 of 9 essential amino acids, almost a complete protein (more…)
Some of us know all to well that as we age, there are dramatic changes to our skin, and not usually for the better. Crow’s feet, laugh lines, sagging skin, the works. But now, science is proving that moderate cardio exercise can reverse these natural processes at any age.
The New York Times recently reported on a study from McMaster University in Ontario, one of the big names in exercise physiology research. Essentially, scientists found the above to be true: that exercise can slow or even reverse the signs of aging skin. How? Well, they’re not quite sure how it works—one theory is that an increase in a certain muscle protein called myokines helps halt and reverse the process. Regardless of the actual process, researchers say they have clear proof that it does work—and that younger looking skin could be just a few workouts away. (more…)
For years I felt original for using what I thought was my own word to describe how cranky, snippy, and sassy I get when I haven’t eating in a long time. The word is “hangry”, a fusion between hungry and angry, and it describes pretty perfectly the mood that affects many of us when we have low blood sugar. Hearing the first few people use my word was exciting and unifying, like we were apart of the same witty food-pun club! But lately I’ve been hearing it more than ever, so I am reluctant to admit that perhaps I did not, in fact, invent the word hangry. (I’m also being overdramatic, so perhaps I am currently hangry.)
At any rate, science has recently solidified the use of this word: A new study shows that being hangry is a real thing, or at least proves that being hungry definitely affects a person’s mood.
Researchers from Ohio State University set out to prove that low blood sugar is indeed the underlying cause of hunger-induce crankiness. (Read the full NPR report here.) But they didn’t just want to look at how strangers interacted, they wanted to know how we treat our loved ones when we’re hangry, so they studied spouses. 107 couples were recruited for the study and each given voodoo dolls. (more…)
The chia plant didn’t have the best introduction to the American market. (Ch-ch-chia, anyone?) But don’t be fooled into thinking that chia seeds—which are being added to everything from smoothies to cookies—are all hype. The truth is, chia seeds may be just what your diet is missing!
Chia’s Superfood Superpowers Chia is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” and these tiny seeds, which are primarily grown in Southern Mexico and have been eaten for thousands of years, live up to their name. They’re packed with amazing amounts of goodness to keep you strong and vibrantly alive. Here are just some of the superpowers packed into the minuscule seeds. A serving boasts:
Ask your stressed out friends how they deal with feeling overwhelmed and they’ll likely list off the usual suspects: Sleep. Caffeine. Sugar. Alcohol. Exercise. Yoga. Some of these are clearly healthier options than others, but even the easy fixes take time—something that a lot of people who are stressed out tend to have in short supply. But there is a quick fix for the times when you have too much stress and too little energy: The simplest and most effective tool for instant energy, banishing stress, and ridding toxins from the body is breath!
That’s right. Breathing—the thing we do all day and night long without thinking about it—is responsible for a whole lot more than fuel our body with oxygen. The rate at which we breathe actually helps regulate our heart rate which in turn controls a bunch of other physical aspects. Breathe slow and fast and our body and brain will automatically shift to that fight or flight mode, the one that comes with stress and sends your blood pressure and shoulder tension soaring. Focus on slower, longer, and deeper breaths and you’ll help calm your body and mind, fighting stress in a matter of seconds while also filling your body with energizing oxygen, the lifeblood of acreativity, productivity, focus, and fire for whatever our life demands.
There is not a specific number that I am shooting for – I’ll stop when I’m healthy.
Kelly Therieau isn’t striving to reach a magical number on the scale, she just wants to be a better, healthier version of herself. After losing 113 pounds, she’s well on her way. Today, Kelly opens up about the “light bulb” moment that created clarity for her “cold turkey” weight loss, and the way she’s using her journey to help others.
At almost 300 pounds, Kelly knew she was headed into dangerous territory. When diabetes, liver issues and heart distress made her a weekly visitor to her doctor’s office, she felt her health spiraling further out of control. Her doctor confirmed this when he sat her down and told her if she didn’t make a huge lifestyle change, she wouldn’t live to see 40. She was only 36.
She had often joked that she was still carrying 19 years worth of baby fat, but sitting in the car after that appointment, she remembers having a, “huge meltdown.” At that moment she knew it was time for the jokes and excuses to end. A lifetime of bad eating habits and inactivity had taken their toll.
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