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The Home Workout Guide You Need!

More people than ever are working out at home whether via live-stream videos or Facetime, pre-recorded videos or just making things up as they go. But there are some things you’ll want to take into account to maximize your home workout efficacy – and safety!

1. Find Your Spot

Find a space with some room to move, good ventilation, and away from distractions. Are you watching a screen to follow along with your workout? Make sure you can see well enough by viewing on a computer screen, Smart TV, or other larger screened device. This is your time!

2. Find Your Time

Even during chaotic times, schedule your workout and don’t break your appointment! Let those around you know that you have an appointment you can’t miss whether in your home or otherwise. It is all too easy to skip a workout when you simply, “get around to it at some point”.

3. Be Prepared

You have your workout planned. Now make sure you are dressed and ready for your workout, have your water ready, and check-in. Check-in with your trainer, your friend, or whomever you are keeping accountability with. If you are self-motivated and can stay accountable with yourself, awesome, but many of us are not! Find your person! This is a really simple, REALLY effective tool.

4. Find Your Equipment

If you’ve always been a gym-person, you haven’t had to worry about at-home equipment. But what if you are temporarily at home or on the road?

Resistance bands and minibands are very cost effective. It is a great idea to have one for the “just in case” times. They can easily be tossed in luggage or in that drawer to not take up extra space.

– If you normally use some kind of assistance for your pushups, use a chair, a counter-top, a wall, or anything secure to elevate your pushup!

**Have Nothing? If you need some “make do” workout equipment, grab some of your reusable cotton tote bags or a duffel bag and fill your weight as needed. The bags can be held like a kettlebell for Turkish get ups, deadlifts, overhead presses, bicep curls, and so much more!
More ideas: canned foods, laundry detergent bottles, ½ and gallon milk jugs filled as needed can make great substitute weights. Get creative and/or ask for help! How to sub equipment, modify movements, etc. ask us!

5. Find Your Footwear

Although in many cases barefoot is the ideal way to train, if you have not worked out barefoot or in minimalist shoes previously, start slow! Use the same training shoes you have been and maybe try 10-minutes of your workout barefoot to see how you feel. This might be a great time to adjust to minimalist footwear, if it’s right for you.

How To Stay Well When Everyone Else is Sick!

Sickness is running rampant this time of year. Colds and multiple strains of the flu are just the most well-known. Take your health into your own hands by taking preventative measures.

Step 1: Keep Your Hands Clean!

Washing your hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is the most effective in reducing the spread of germs and bacteria.

Keep hand sanitizer with you for when soap and water aren’t available. Make sure to find sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If your hands tend to get dried out, be sure to get sanitizer with vitamin E added.

Try this DIY spray: In a 2 ounce spray bottle, combine 2 Tablespoons of witch hazel with aloe or Vodka (!), a few drops of Vitamin E to keep hands from drying out, 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil blends, and top off with distilled water.

Prefer a gel sanitizer? Try ½ c Aloe, 1 tsp witch hazel, 1 tsp vitamin E, and ½ tsp glycerin along with your favorite essential oils.

Step 2: Get Your Beauty Rest!

Who got 7-9 hours of sleep last night? When you fail to get enough sleep, the number of infection-fighting antibodies (called cytokines)
are reduced AND if you do get sick, a lack of sleep can prolong your illness!

If life prevents you from getting adequate sleep, take up to two 30-minute-or-less naps to try to “catch up” and help ward off illness and reduce stress.

Step 3: Eat well!

During these times of sickness floating around, make sure your diet is loaded with vegetables and fruits. Loading up on foods that contain vitamin B, vitamin C, and B6 will help ward off viruses.

Vitamin C is readily found in bell peppers and citrus fruit. Poultry is a great source of B6. Other immune boosting foods include garlic, yogurt, broccoli, and green tea. Build your immune system with a smoothie with these immune-boosting foods: berries, oranges, spinach, honey, and yogurt.

Step 4: What If It’s Too Late?

If you already feel symptoms coming on, all is not lost! Elderberry has been used for centuries to increase the immune system and fight upper respiratory tract symptoms. Sambucol is one brand that has been directly studied and been proven to reduce the duration of symptoms from 6 days down to 2 in many cases! Sambucol is not preventative, but if you’re not feeling great, it may be worth a shot. As always, check with your doctor first!

Post-Workout Nutrition 101

CONGRATULATIONS! You worked out! If you haven’t, click the “Categories” drop-down list and select “Workouts” and you’ll find some great at-home workouts!

But now it’s time to replenish your energy stores and start repairing/rebuilding your muscles. So let’s get the basics!

Window of Opportunity

There is a “window of opportunity” that you’ll hear varying durations for, but most will agree somewhere between 30-90 minutes post-workout is ideal. This will maximize digestion/absorption of key nutrients to help your body make the most of your workout!

What are My Priorities?

A post workout meal of some carbs and protein will help refill your glycogen stores (from the carbs) and help build muscle (from the protein). Try to get in the habit of approaching your post-workout nutrition as a MEAL – as opposed to a snack. At mealtime we are more likely to make better choices, and avoid “snacky”, high-fat foods that don’t serve out body as well post-workout.

It could be said that your post-workout meal is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs help to replenish its energy stores, increase our muscle quality/size and repair damaged muscle tissue. We want to break down muscle tissue DURING the workout so it rebuilds stronger, but we need to help it recover too.

In the end, although other factors do come into play, calories out still needs match or to exceed calories in to assist in weight maintenance and loss. Make sure your post workout meal matches your goals.

Recipes    

Oatmeal: Are you an early morning fitness fan? Your post workout meal could be oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder, berries, and sliced almonds. Easy peasy!

Tuna and Veggies: Do you work out over the lunch hour and need a fast go-to post workout lunch? Toss a packet of flavored tuna in a cooked steamer bag of vegetables! Have an apple to round out the carbs and replenish the glycogen stores.

Salad: Try salad with chickpeas (the chickpeas have protein and carbs) topped with an oil and vinegar dressing for something quick and light. Or… Have you tried Mason Jar Salads?

Power Shake: In a hurry? Bring a shake with you. Try this Precision Nutrition Tropical Power Shake: Blend 6 ounces of water, scoop of vanilla protein powder, ½ banana, ¼ c pineapple, 1-2 TBSP of flax seed, 1-2 TBSP. unsweetened coconut, ¼ c plain Greek yogurt. Add a fist of fresh spinach and blend until smooth. Add ice as desired.

Salmon and Veggies: Salmon is a “fatty fish” that has the added bonus of omega-3s to help with inflammation and heart health. Serve up your favorite salmon recipe with some veggies and sweet potato for that perfect post workout meal.

Tilapia with Cilantro Lime Quinoa: Although not a source of omega-3s, tilapia will serve up good quality protein too. Try this: cook up some quinoa and toss with corn, lime juice, garlic/onion powder and cilantro. Pan fry tilapia with smoked paprika and serve over the quinoa mixture. Get the full recipe here!

What the “Sitting-Rising” Test Tells You About Your Life Expectancy

In 2012 a research team designed the “sitting-rising” exercise that seemed to predict mortality in those 51 – 80 years old. Over 2000 adults were tested. Essentially it tests strength as well as hip mobility and how it may be related to mortality.

According to the CDC, over 61% of U.S. residents over 65 died from fall-related causes in 2016. Although there are other factors that can come into play, it’s a good reminder that moving well is just as important as other aspects of health/fitness (like heart-health, body composition, muscular strength, bone density, etc).

What is the sitting-rising test?

Sit on the ground and cross your legs. Try standing up from the cross-leg position without touching the ground. Success? Cross your legs the other way and try again!

Start with a score of 10

Subtract 1 point for each time a body part other than your feet touches the ground

Subtract 1 point for placing hand on the knee

Subtract 0.5 points for loss of balance

Interested in other self-tests? Check out this great article!

I took the test…now what?

Bottom line: if you don’t continue to move and put your body through different ranges of mobility, it will go away. Have aches and pains with movement? Try these tips!

1. Start with your feet!

Go barefoot, roll your feet with a tennis ball, walk on a rock mat, give your feet a daily massage/”gymnastics”. Take care of your feet! They are the gateway to your body.

2. Change the way you sit!

When we sit a lot, we tighten our hip flexors which causes the glutes to lengthen and compensate (which can often result in back pain). Our core strength can also be diminished.

Rather than sitting at a computer or on the couch watching TV, try squatting, using a stability ball, using a tall-kneeling position, using a half-kneeling position, sitting back on the heels and/or a combination of all the above.

Offset tight hip flexors and underactive glutes by adding in single leg hip lifts into your exercise routine a number of times per week.

3. Get more mobile!

Are you mobile enough? Another simple test to check your general strength and mobility is to place your feet next to each other and squat down, keeping your heels on the ground. The movement should be simple and pretty effortless.

Today, RIGHT NOW, add some hip mobility into your day with 5-10 reps of “The World’s Greatest Stretch”.

4. Train the postural muscles!

Try sitting on the edge of your chair to keep challenging your body and core strength. Start with 1 minute, and add an extra minute every day for a month. In no time you will be watching an entire episode of your favorite TV show on the edge of your seat with little effort!

What a Decade of Studies Tells Us About Men’s and Women’s Nutrition

Our friends at Precision Nutrition have worked with over 100,000 clients in the past decade. Over the past year, they created a report on the top health nutritional challenges and how to work with them. Here are some things they found…

Women

70.2%
Said their top challenge was emotional/stress eating

52%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

18%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

60.2%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

Men

59.9%
Said their top challenge was eating too quickly

69%
Eat 3 or more restaurant meals every week

50%
Get less than the minimum 7 hours of sleep per night

30%
The percentage INCREASE among women snacking when not hungry

61.4%
Say daily life demands keep them from exercising consistently

While there are some slight differences between men and women, it is clear they struggle over many of the same issues. Most people want to not just lose weight, but also be consistent and have changes that last. Let’s look at our challenges and figure out how to work toward our GOALS and snowball good habits.

What is ONE thing you can focus on improving NOW, in January. On trouble with “New Year’s Resolutions” is that you have too long to put it off! Set a GOAL of January 31 st to form it into a regular habit.

Need Some Help?

Here are some easy-to-handle goals to start with.

1. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning before you even eat breakfast.

2. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.

3. Get out of bed the FIRST time your alarm goes off.

4. Book your workouts at least 1 week prior and keep your appointment.

5. Eat an extra serving of vegetables every day.

6. Eat more whole foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein) to prevent hunger and reduce over-consumption. If you catch yourself mindlessly eating/snacking, get a change of scenery. Go for a walk, go fill your water, make a phone call, get outside, etc.

7. Cook More! Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or take forever. Learn to make 8-10 basic, yet tasty, healthy meals that you can rotate or rely on.

8. Focus on progress, not perfection. Coming late to a workout is better than not attending at all. Eating right 5 days a week is better than 3 days. We’re all human! If you fail, resolve yourself to try again!

9. Create a bedtime routine that will help you “zone out” and bring stress levels down before bedtime. Try to keep the same bedtime and wake times, even on the weekends, to help solidify your routine. This assists with the circadian rhythm and keep hormone levels balanced, which will ultimately assist with hunger and satiation cues.

6 Marvelous “Dishes to Pass” this Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a great time with family and traditions, but for many it brings some fear of falling off the fitness and nutrition wagon. Play it safe by bringing a healthy dish to pass that you know is okay to dig into!

Healthier Strawberry Cheesecake

Need to bring a dessert? Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy presentation.healthier strawberry cheesecake! Combine 32oz of plain Greek yogurt with a small box of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix. Slice up 2 pounds of strawberries and layer with pudding/yogurt mixture. Layer in a glass trifle bowl, and toss a couple strawberries on top, for a fancy!

Spinach Dip

Going with Greek yogurt and/or cottage cheese over mayonnaise or sour cream adds even more protein punch PLUS nutrients from the spinach! Here’s the rundown: Toss cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, pressed/drained cooked spinach, water chestnuts, plain Greek yogurt, a package of dry veg soup mix, onions, and lemon. Chill for a few hours and serve with vegetables!

The full recipe can be found on the blog by searching Spinach Dip – or follow this link!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Add some nutrients to your dessert! Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit? And a nutrient packed one at that! Add some vitamin A and potassium to your next dessert to pass. Whisk 2 cups pumpkin puree, 2 cup milk (almond milk, etc), 1.5 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg, and 1/4 t ginger. Add 1 package (5.1oz) sugar free vanilla pudding. Chill. Top with crumbled graham cracker crumbs and a few sprays of whipped cream to make it beautiful!

Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip

A twist on that classic 7-layer dip adds a healthy flare with plain Greek yogurt, hummus, veggies, and healthy fats!

First, create your yogurt mixture: yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, in an 8×8 dish, layer hummus, yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives. Serve with whole grain pita chips, celery, or cut fresh veggies.

Get this classic Ellipse recipe here!

Healthier Brushetta

Try a healthier twist on bruschetta! Start by using toasted Ezekial Bread, cut in half, as your base.

Combine 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 T fresh chopped basil (or use fresh you may have frozen in cubes from the summer!), 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (tons of great ones at local olive oil shops!), and 1 clove minced garlic. Top your toast with the mixture and top with some mozzarella.

TIPS: Have extra time? Let your tomato mixture marinate in the fridge for a couple hours. Need more protein? Add cooked, cubed chicken, to your tomato mixture.

3-Layer Mexican Dip

Layer 1: Mashed black beans with seasoning and Greek yogurt
Layer 2: Avocado mixed with yogurt and seasoning
Layer 3: Round it out with salsa!

Protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs ready to serve with vegetables or chips. Find the full recipe on the blog by searching 3-Layer Mexican Dip – or follow this link!

Think Sleep is Important? Think Again!

We all know sleep is important, but you may not know the half of it! Disordered sleep has an incredible negative impact on all sorts of facets of your health!

Why Is Sleep Important?

A good night’s sleep is essential for our overall well being. In fact, it’s as important as healthy nutrition and regular exercising.

However, our to-do list is becoming longer and longer each day, and sometimes 24 hours just isn’t enough to take care of all our responsibilities! Because of this, we sometimes neglect the importance of sleep, and the question is: how long our body can put up with this new and fast way of life?

Facts About Sleep You Didn’t Know

Did you know that between 50 and 70 million people in the United States have chronic sleep disorders and that the number hits more than 2 billion people worldwide? People suffer from a variety of sleep issues that are either connected to the lack of sleep or some health problems.

More than 35% of the people in the US get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night, and about 45% of them reported that inadequate sleep affected their daytime activities.

1. You Can Gain Weight Because of the Poor Sleep

Poor sleep is strongly linked with gaining weight. Sleep deprivation causes changes in hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. In fact, sleep deprivation is one of the greatest risk factors for obesity.

Children who don’t get enough sleep at night are 89% more likely to be obese, and adults are 55% more likely. Furthermore, less sleep lowers your energy and motivation for exercising, which also leads to unwanted weight.

To stay fit and healthy, it’s crucial to get enough sleep at night (between 7 and 9 hours).

2. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

Sleep has a huge impact on brain functions. These include cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance.

A study conducted on medical interns showed that interns who had an extended schedule of more than 24 hours made 36% more serious medical errors than interns who had more time to sleep. Another study showed that sleep deprivation could have the same impact on the brain as alcohol intoxication.

On the other hand, enough good-quality sleep can improve problem-solving skills and memory performance in both children and adults.

3. Sleep Improves Your Immune System

Even a small loss of sleep could decrease the strength of our immune system. A two-week-long study showed that people who slept for less than seven hours per night were almost three times more likely to get a cold than people who got eight or more hours of sleep.

The study was done after 14 days when people were given nasal drops of a cold virus. If you often get colds and you’re tired of it, getting more than eight hours of sleep at night could be very helpful.

4. Sleep Has a Huge Effect on Emotions and Social Interactions

Less sleep decreases the motivation for social interactions. One study showed that people who didn’t get enough sleep were less able to recognize facial expressions, happiness, and anger in other people. Researchers believe that sleep deprivation affects our ability to recognize important social signs and process emotional information.

The Bottom Line

Getting enough sleep is very important. It’s not only important for our social interactions, but also for our health. Try getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night and see how your life gets better!

Want more? Check out this infographic here: Sleep Stats and Facts

THE Core Exercise You Should Be Doing Every Day!

The Plank is a simple, but very effective and EFFICIENT core exercise that helps you build stability and strength throughout your entire body. The primary muscles involved are the erector spinae (muscles around the spine that straighten and rotate the back), rectus abdominis (the “6-pack” muscles), and transverse abdominis (a deep core muscle that stabilizes the low back and core).

The Origin

Some credit Joseph Pilates for the concept of the plank exercise, dating back to the 1920’s! Like standard planks, side planks recruit the transversus abdominis muscles, but also the glutes, obliques, and adductors as the primary muscles.

Why Should You Do It?

In today’s world we are in spinal flexion so often, hunching over our phone or computer – therefore doing loads of “crunches” is unnecessary. Instead utilizing planks encourages stacking the spine, improved posture and can greatly reduce the incidence of back pain.

The plank is a popular exercise in yoga, boxing, and sports because it not only increases strength and stability in the whole body, but it also trains balance and flexibility.

On The Go? No Problem!

Planks are perfect for that workout you need to complete at home or while traveling. No equipment is necessary, and it can be done anywhere! Your job is to make a plank hard to be the most effective. Before increasing your time in a plank make sure to master the form, only then increasing INTENSITY to make sure it’s the safest and most effective plank.

Tips For Improving Your Plank

1. In the pushup position, push up through the shoulders (shoulder protraction) to create stability so the upper back feels rounded arm to arm.

2. Set your wrists under the shoulders (in a low plank our elbows are under the shoulders) and stay there! As we fatigue, we tend to push away from the hands causing unnecessary strain on our shoulders, neck and wrists.

3. To keep your head aligned with your spine, pretend you are giving yourself a double-chin or you are up against a wall and pulling your head back against it.

4. When we train deadlifts, you may have seen a coach place a dowel or pole on a member’s back to have them connect their head, shoulders and tailbone to it while hinging. The same three connections should be seen in a plank.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

Wrists under shoulders, actively drive your hands into the ground, double-chin, push up through the shoulders, squeeze your quads/front of your legs, squeeze/engage your glutes, and build tension in the legs by drawing the legs towards each other.

One final tension boost? Make it a STRICT PLANK by drawing your elbows/hands back as if you are on a rug and pulling it toward you.

Back to School Timesaver Tips and Tricks

The end of Summer brings bittersweet changes for some! Whether kids are going back to school, outdoor activities are coming to an end, work is picking up, etc you will want to have some strategies for keeping up with your fitness routine!

Book Your Sessions!

Let’s start today by booking your sessions for the entire week – or 2 or 3 weeks! Not 100% sure? Bookings can be cancelled up to 15 minutes before via the Ellipse App if need be, so set that intention of coming!

Food Prep!

Plan ahead! For those of you with school-age kids going back to early mornings rushing around to get things ready, start food prepping on the weekend! Go spend $10 on Tupperware if you don’t have enough and pre-package snacks and lunches for the kids – and/or yourself! – so you can quickly grab in the morning and be on your way.

Dress Prep!

What?! Do your kids still let you dress them? Take advantage of it! Step your clothing prep up to the level of your food prep! Lay out clothes for the whole week – maybe place them in a Ziplock bag in a particular dresser drawer with the day of the week labelled on it. Get creative!

Winter is coming! Install some hooks by the door you exit every morning, so coats and jackets are on hand! Think you are too old for this yourself? Give it a shot and see if your morning is a little less stressful with one less thing to do!

Schedule The Coffee!

One of the biggest reasons people skip workouts during schedule transitions? TIME. “If only I had more time!” Save yourself 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there and give yourself a chance for success. If you don’t have one already, there are very affordable coffee-makers that have the ability to schedule ahead! Prep the filter, coffee and water the night before, schedule your time and wake up to fresh brewed coffee. One less thing to do!

Gradually Adjust Your Sleep!

Get back to a regular sleep schedule and maybe even start going to sleep a little bit earlier starting this week so you can get the morning started right! If you really want to free your day up, get in here at 5 or 6 am for that morning work out!

Sync The Family!

Share a Google Calendar to put all the family events on. Stay organized! Especially kids old enough to have their own phone. This can really be a game changer. Get them to put their own stuff on there and help your family stay on track together!

What’s The BIG Deal With “Macros”?

If you’ve been around a bodybuilder, you’ve likely heard them talking about getting their “macros” in. Balancing your macronutrients is honestly just another way to look at food consumption, just like any other approach such as Whole 30, Precision Nutrition’s hand/palm/fist/thumb approach, or any other.

If you haven’t found an approach that works well for you yet, maybe macro dieting is the method right for you! Macro dieting/Flexible Dieting can help with portion control as well as more balanced nutrient intake and paying more attention to processed food intake. As with most approaches, finding the right balance will help with energy levels, cravings, and even quality of sleep and workouts.

What ARE Macros?

The three MACROnutrient categories are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Speaking in terms of calories, carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram and fat provides 9 calories per gram. Is a macro the same as a vitamin or mineral? No, vitamins and minerals are MICROnutrients which are also very important! Your body needs less of them (hence the word micro) but they are vitamins and minerals needed for immune function, blood clotting, bone health, growth, and so much more!

How Much Should I Eat?

Macros are based on your height, weight, age, activity level, and goals. For example, a 150-pound, 5’ 5” female who is moderately active and wants to have a steady weight loss would be around 1700 calories per day broken down to a pretty typical 40/30/30 ratio: 40% carbs at 170g, 30% protein at 124g, and 30% fat at 56g.

You can find your own macro calculator here:
https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

NOTE: Calculators are not perfect or right for everyone. A more accurate calculation would calculate based only on LEAN tissue since body fat % plays a roll in the energy needs of the body.

Carbohydrates

*Gasp* Carbohydrates ARE needed for energy. Carbohydrates also tend to be where we consume the micronutrients we need in our diet. Whole foods are the best source for carbohydrates because they will pack more fiber. Fiber is the part of carbohydrates that reduce our risk for disease, improve digestion, etc. Optimally, women should obtain at least 35g of fiber per day and men, 48g.

Fat and Protein

Fats give us energy, support cell growth, and aid in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients (our BRAINS are fat-based! So the next time someone calls you “Fathead” perhaps a “Thank You!” is in order).

Mix up the types of fat you eat to get a balance of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats.

Proteins are the building blocks of our muscle (and most the rest of our body for that matter). A very lean protein is a protein with 1g of fat or less per ounce. Lean protein is 1g-3g per ounce. When looking at your labels, first determine how many ounces you are looking at like a 3-ounce fillet of beef/chicken/pork/fish. If your 3-ounce fillet has 9g or less of fat, you have a lean cut of protein.

Keep in mind that any strict form of eating may not be suitable with a history of disordered eating. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any major changes in the way you eat and be aware of any interactions with medications. Like most healthy ways of eating, eating your macros will come in the form of eating every 3-4 hours, choosing whole foods, and eating your vegetables! In the end, eat mostly plant-based foods and find the system that works best for your lifestyle and goals, and you will likely see success!

Interested in more reading? Check this out:
https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/macro-diet-counting-macros-weight-loss-better-nutrition