Welcome to DFitLife

At DFitLife.com you will find the tools necessary to combine fitness, health and nutrition for an optimal balance that fits your lifestyle.

Daniella Dayoub will help you find ways to feed your body and train it to prevent illness, combat chronic conditions, and let your body thrive.

 

Food choices and exercise selection are based on your individual needs, goals, and challenges.  There is no blanket prescription for everyone. In fact, there are no prescriptions here at all, just sound educational information and helpful advice so that you can make your own fitness decisions. No matter who you are, or what your situation is, there is always something you can do to take your health to the next level.

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Most Recent Blog Entries

Are You Treating Yourself? Or Is It Really Punishment?

Posted On: August 21, 2016

So, you’ve stuck to your diet, killing it in the gym, logging in some serious hours on the trails.  You are starting to see the results you’ve hoped for:  waistline is slimming, energy is increasing, and you feel pretty darn good about yourself.  THAT’S THE BEST!!!  Once every few days or so, you deviate from your diet without worrying.  A few bites of ice cream or an extra glass of wine here and there.  All good.

But then, you have a rough day.  Everything that could go wrong at work does.  You get a notice about jury duty coming up the same week you were hoping to head out to Cabo for some R&R.  Your dog leaves you a special little something on the carpet while you went out to the grocery store.  The hits just keep on coming.  You think “I deserve a REAL treat!”

It starts off innocently enough.  Instead of a few bites of ice cream, you dig into a huge bowl and cover it with some chocolate sauce that somehow is in the back of your cupboard.  Then, you wonder what those chocolate chip cookies the kiddo likes so much would taste like crumbled on the side.  Next thing you know, the whole pint of ice cream has disappeared, and you’re feeling well-satiated.  You say to yourself, “Now THAT was a treat!”

The problem comes the next day when you wake up feeling like a blow fish.  You’ve been off sugar so long that you almost feel hung over from the crash that ensued last night.  Your eyes have so much baggage under them that you wonder if you even need your luggage for that Cabo trip.  The next day, you feel better, and yet your belly is still bloated and you haven’t, um, made a deposit in the lavatory recently.  In fact, it seems that it’s about 4 days before you feel your lithe, clear-headed self again.  What the heck!!  It was just a darn treat afterall….

cupcake

Okay, okay, sorry for the long story telling there, but I want you to see how easy it is to fall prey to a “treat” that in actuality turns into punishment.  I see this happen with clients over and over:  they are feeling on fire with their fitness and nutrition, and then POW- one treat sends them spinning out for a few days.  Sometimes it’s intentional, in that they were so proud of their accomplishments that having a few extra “treats” that week is an earned right!  But sadly, it sets them back a few weeks on their progress towards their goals.

I’m not saying you should never have a “cheat day” or a deviation from your nutritional plan.  However, there’s a difference between a few bites to placate yourself and a smorgasbord.  And honestly, you have to understand what YOU can get away with verses someone else.  If you’ve been at your goal weight/shape for a year or so, an occasional meal or even day off course will not derail you completely.  But if you have just lost the first 5 or so pounds and have 25 to go, you might want to think twice about “treating” yourself just yet.

 

For some of us, myself included, some deviations off our nutritional program can lead to consequences like brain fog, skin irritations, and IBS.  In fact, it could start a cascade of autoimmune issues.  When I first gave up dairy I was quite saddened by the fact that my skin was immediately clear, and all the “baby” goo on my belly disappeared.  Mostly because I love cheese SO much that I wanted it not to be!  So, for the first several months dairy free, I would “treat” myself to a few bites of cheese when eating out or if it ended up on something I ordered by mistake.  But sadly, every time I would have to deal with a few days of bloating and dermatitis before it settled back down.  After a while it just didn’t become fun anymore to indulge in that creamy goodness because I would honestly feel like crap afterward.  I was not treating myself at all; I was punishing myself!  And honestly, I didn’t deserve that!

So, when you decide to “treat” yourself, make sure it’s a real treat.  If you decide that food-related treats are in order, choose things that don’t make you feel bad, derail your progress, or even just bring on guilt.  I encourage my clients to find other ways to indulge themselves.  Here are few of my favorite treats that are completely calorie and guilt free!

  • Meet friends out for a walk/jog on a sunny day
  • Cuddle with my kiddo
  • Listen to music I loved as a teenager and dance around the house like a crazy person
  • Get my nails done
  • Go for a foot massage in the middle of the day
  • Lay on the couch watching wonderfully bad reality TV or a sappy rom-com
  • Call my mom and rant about anything
  • Grab my BF and run around the mall buying nothing and talking about everything

You get the idea.  We all deserve a good “treat” now and again.  Just make sure it makes you feel REALLY good!!

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself?  Chime in below and give the rest of us some ideas 😉

Yours in health,

Daniella

Mindful Eating

Posted On: July 27, 2016

eatwhileworkingThe other night, I sat down to my favorite big ass salad like I always do.  I took a picture of it to put up on YouFood where many of my nutrition clients and I share our picture food journals.  Then I started scrolling through the dinners of other people I follow.  Next I slid my way over to Instagram and scrolled some more.  I might have gotten distracted once or twice by the action of my fork entering my mouth, but otherwise I was on automatic pilot with the shoveling.  Next thing I knew, the huge mixing bowl I use for my nightly salad was empty, and yet, I was still hungry.  Calorically and nutritionally I was well fed.  But psychologically, I was still starving.

We’ve all done it at one point or another:  worked right through nibbling on lunch and found yourself starving for snack.  Or maybe you were so rapt in the sports on T.V. that you couldn’t possibly remember how many buffalo wings you knocked back.  Who hasn’t watched the latest blockbuster movie and mindlessly made your way through a gallon of popcorn?

For many of us, food is often simply eaten on automatic pilot with little to no thought about the tastes, textures, source of, or benefits of our meals.

When did eating become so mindless?

If I go to a nice restaurant and order something special off the menu, there’s no way I would stare at my phone while eating.  I would be excited to see what showed up in front of me:  How was it presented?  Was it warm? How did they combine flavors? That first bite would be slow, appreciative, curious.  I might be engaged in conversation, but every so often would take my eyes back to my plate to assess what bite would come next.  I’d stop every so often, put my fork down, and allow myself to fully focus on the chat at hand before taking another bite.  When done, I would likely feel satisfied.  Maybe even get full way before I could finish it all.  I’d be satisfied.

Why is this not often the case at home or work?  Routine.  Monotony.  Same salad.  Same space.  Same flavors.  But is the food any less nourishing?  Is it any less filling?  Likely not, but my perception of fullness and satiety are diminished as my attention is elsewhere.

The benefits of mindful eating are many:

  • increased satiety (maybe overall less consumption)

  • peristalsis (signaling to the digestive system to start up)

  • better nutrient absorption (from increased enzymatic activity from peristalsis)

If you were able to take a similar focus on your meals at home and work as you do at a special dinner out, would you be able to actually be healthier?  Well, if mindless snacking were eliminated, you’d likely decrease your overall caloric intake (especially empty calories).  If you were able to notice your fullness early in the meal, you likely would not consume such high volume, and even save money!  If you “got your juices flowing” by chewing slowly and allowing your body to properly digest, you likely might have less GI distress.  Bloating, gas, or distention might be caused by overeating or even under-chewing.  I imagine you might even lose a pound or two.

After noticing how little satiety I got out of that salad, I was disappointed in myself.  How could I take all that time to put together such a healthful meal only to not appreciate one darn bite?  I decided then and there it was time to be more mindful about my eating.

So, I invite you to join me in a 30-day challenge of MINDFUL EATING.  Starting Aug 1st, here are the rules:

  • NO eating in front of a screen:  this includes phones, tablets, T.V.s, computers, movie screens, you name it.
  • NO eating while reading:  this includes magazines, emails, books, etc.
  • TRY to eat seated and in a calm state of mind
  • TRY not to rush your meal/snack.
  • TRY to avoid eating while doing any other activity:  driving, working, playing a game, etc.
  • DO taste your food, enjoy the flavors, or even think about how it could be better
  • DO chew your food slowly and intentionally
  • DO put your fork/spoon down occasionally to finish chewing or engage in conversation

One tactic I have tried in the past and find very helpful is to eat with my non-dominant hand.  Funny how much more focused you are on each and every bite when you are uncoordinated.

I’ll be posting on Facebook this Monday August 1st, and invite you to join in the 30 day challenge.  Put up pictures of your lovely meals, anecdotes, tips and tricks, challenges, whatever you like.  Let’s do this together and see how we feel after 30 days.  You’re also welcome to chime in via the comments section below to share your journey.

Who’s in??

Yours in Health,

Daniella

Sleep: The Missing Link to Your Fitness

Posted On: July 8, 2016

Note: this is a re-publish of an article I wrote about 2 years ago.  I had someone ask me about this and was going to write a whole new article, but then I found this.  Enjoy (again). 

So, you think you’ve dialed it all in: you’ve shunned every piece of gluten-laden goodness that has come your way. You’ve cut that nightly wine ritual to an occasional social imbibe. Your supplement stack looks like an apothecary. All the farmers at your local market know you by first name. Heck, you’ve even got your friends meeting you for weekly sprint sessions at the local track. You’re a primal rock star!

Despite all your efforts to dial in the diet and exercise, you still have one minor issue: sleep. It’s not like you can quit your job. You have rugrats at home that seemingly function on fairy fumes and don’t need a lick of rest. Deadlines. Bills. Impending work drama. Spousal miscommunications. Um, need I go on? LIFE

All these things, and more, can be robbing us of that last crucial piece to the health puzzle. If you’ve nailed down all the other health factors (food, fitness, lifestyle) and are still not able to lose those last few inches, beat that lingering PR, or fit into your coveted skinny jeans, you might want to read on…

Would you believe that just one stinking night of rough sleep can leave you in the pre-diabetic range the next day?

In fact, it can drop your insulin sensitivity by 25%- that’s just ONE night of bad sleep (characterized in most studies as 4 hours total).(1)  Haven’t you noticed how hungry you are on the days when you are underslept?  You reach for the second/third/fourth cup of coffee.  Those Danish that never ever turn your head at work are suddenly sporting stilettos.  When dinner rolls around, you are ready to top it off with that glass of wine even before you sit down.  You know the drill.  You are craving carbs in the worst way! When insulin sensitivity goes down that means that you have free-floating sugar gumming up your system longer than you’d like.(2) All those carbs you are craving are only adding insult to injury (A.K.A. excessive inflammation).  See here to find out why this is bad.

But why? Why do we crave carbs when our bodies can’t deal with them?  When we are sleep deprived, ghrelin (hunger-stimulating hormone) gets all revved up and leptin (satiety-signaling hormone) gets suppressed.(3)  If leptin is a new one for you, see this post for more.  So you have an already exhausted body that is in a constant search for the one thing you think can help save the day (carbs), but getting them only makes you crave more, and makes you fatter by the second.  Wow.  Sounds like a perfect storm to me.

You want a real kicker?  If you are already lugging around a few extra pounds, you get it even worse.  It seems that the specific cells that become insulin resistant are fat cells.(4)  The more fat cells you have to manage, the more sleep deprivation affects you the next day.  That’s right.

As if that weren’t enough to make you start popping horse tranquilizers, it actually gets worse.  For those who are chronically sleep deprived, there is a high risk of developing diabetes and obesity.(5)  So if you think that waking up an hour earlier to do even more cardio is going to help you bust through the weight plateau, think again.

If you are already diabetic, don’t think that this is an excuse to not worry about burning the midnight oil.  It seems that when you have existing issues with blood sugar regulation, sleep will get disrupted because of the high blood sugar.  Crazy!  If you have high blood sugar at night, your body will fight to shed it and it you’re up all night peeing.(5)

finger prickHigh blood sugar then begets higher blood sugar.  Nuts!

So what the heck should you do? Get that hyper-productive, over-achieving, parental-superhero, and all round amazing rear end to bed!

  • Carve out at least 8 hours to be in bed.
  • Stop looking at your phone, computer and even television while in bed.
  • Make your room the sacred space it should be for only two :0 activities.
  • On the off-night when you have no choice but to be up, make sure you mitigate the damage the next day:  drink a lot of water, keep the caffeine to normal levels, aim to get lots of protein, veggies and fats into your day.  If you are good and full from a real meal, you might be able to stave off the carb cravings.  fasting blood glucose
  • If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, make sure to check your fasting blood sugar regularly, as well as your post-prandial (after meal) numbers.
  • Finally, remind yourself that a good night’s sleep is actually crucial to your weight loss goals, your muscle-building goals, and even your maintenance goals.

You owe it to yourself to get some shut-eye and feel like the true champ you are!

Do you need help fueling your days to maximize your results?  I’m here to help!  Contact me now

1. http://www.news.leiden.edu/news/lack-of-sleep-affects-blood-sugar-level.html
2. https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=&authuser=0&q=what+is+insulin+resistance&oq=what+is+insulin+resistance&gs_l=news-cc.1.1.43j43i53.2292.9394.0.10781.32.4.3.22.25.1.139.302.2j2.4.0…0.0…1ac.1.MJFwYEWhZAA
3. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss?page=2
4. http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/15/health/sleep-insulin-resistance/index.html
5. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201401/sleep-deprivation-raises-diabetes-risk
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