Sharon's Pontifications
Fit to Print
Fall 2012 Volume 2 Issue 2
In This Issue
The Energy Equation
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
Easy is Good
Small Asides
Quick Link
Join My Mailing List
Sharon 2
My really big news is I am opening up a NEW STUDIO in Rockville, MD. My studio will be located at  11333 Woodglen Drive, near the new Whole Foods and I am hoping to host the grand opening in October.  I welcome you all to come and check it out.  It is definitely going to be a different type of place, though that doesn't mean there will be a wine bar in the corner (although I have not ruled it out just yet).  Here is a sneak peak at the Kinesis One. a really cool piece of equipment I am having installed.

Look for new and improved website, new options for programs, videos, support applications, and a whole host of other really cool stuff.  All geared towards better function, health, and general fun.

I would like to say Thank You, for without you, this dream would not have been possible. I am really looking forward to continuing our training.

Cheers to new beginnings,

The Energy Equation:
Energy Expenditure equation

Energy in (food) should equal energy out (activities), right? If it were only that simple. To the left, you will find some equations I would use to figure out Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), TEF (Thermic Effect of Food), TEPA (Thermic Effect of Physical Activity), NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) which would give me the amount of calories and exercise a client should have. In a perfect world, I figure out the numbers and give them to client, who miraculously follows them and loses weight.


On closer examination, the error factor in these equations can range from 15% to 42% (something not highlighted when we are taught them) , depending on a multitude of factors. The biggest mistake one can make is a miscalculation of the RMR; it accounts for 60-75% of total calories burned in a day. If this is off by even a small percentage, it can mean the difference of 25-30lbs a year. Self-reporting logs for activities function psychologically the same way as food logs; when you know someone is going to see them, all of sudden you can get to the gym 4 days a week, get to bed early, and walk the stairs at the mall, but this creates an imprecise result. Many medicines and combinations also have an impact on RMR, yet there is nothing in the formula to account for them. Because of these factors, it is highly unlikely you will get an accurate number to work with.

You can stop the smoke coming out of your ears-there is an answer.

Start thinking in more general terms of what can increase your RMR; this is going to have the biggest impact. You have been reading and hearing about them forever: taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, getting better quality sleep, parking at the back of the parking lot, walking to lunch around the corner, standing up and move around at work, all of these little things start adding up to big totals if done on a consistent basis (that means daily, not just for one week).

Make better choices in food-the better quality the food is, the more it will benefit your body and you. You know that soda is not as good for you as water. Buy smaller plates, studies have shown that our brains will eat a certain portion of what is put in front of us, so eating from a smaller plate does the same psychological work as eating from a larger plate. Read the calories on the menu-current research indicates that we don't necessarily eat better when we know the calorie content of food, but clients have told me anecdotally that it definitely influenced their choices.

Use scoring systems for both food and exercise-you get high points for intense activities and duration of activities (for example, an hour walk at 3.8 miles per hour or participating in a competitive sport), low points or negative points for sitting on the couch, eating bon bons, and watching TV. I am working to develop one for my website, but there are scoring systems already available for use at www.nuval.com.The better the food (e.g.; broccoli), the higher the score; the not-so-good (e.g., butter), the lower the score. The incredible benefit of this approach is you don't have to give up some of the items/activities you love; you just have to keep it in balance.
Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Sharon Happy

New studies are coming out that state that being happy is a better predictor of overall health and longevity, even more so than eating your vegetables (that does not mean you can give up eating vegetables). It means we might need to focus on positive, well-being activities in order to live longer and have a better quality of life.


Pursuits of happiness were considered frivolous, but now there is a growing body of evidence that indicated that happiness reduces risk of illness, surviving illness if we do get one, and how long we will live. (Diener 2011). That's worth time in my book; no wonder the writers of the Constitution included it in the Preamble, right up there with life and liberty.

We know that constant stress and fear contributes to a host of different ailments, but Kubzansky and Thurston (2007) conducted a 20-year study and determined that emotional vitality (general good feelings, happiness) reduced the risk of coronary heart disease. Other studies have shown that optimism is a significant predictor of better immune functions, cancer survival, pregnancy issues, how we deal with physical symptoms and pain (Ramussen, Scheier & Greenhouse 2009). Just as negative thoughts and feelings have an impact on our hormonal levels, so do positive ones; people with greater subjective well-being get fewer colds and are less likely to get the flu. Spend the time and money on making yourself happy, even in small ways, and feel the difference.

Now the bigger question, what is happiness? According to research, it is not money, beauty, or thinness; only 10% of our happiness is associated with these things. This explains why some people (have everything going for them (according to our wealth- and beauty-focused society, at least) and are unhappy. People magazine is full of examples. Happiness is not a constant state of bliss, or the absence of being sad; it is about a life full of meaning, values, love, gratitude, contentment, worthwhile endeavors, and experiencing and liking yourself.


What Happy People Do:
(IDEA Journal, The Happiness Factor, June 2012 and a little editing from me)
  • Devote a large amount of  time to nurturing and growing relationships (they do not say whether this includes Facebook, but I would like to know)
  • Express Gratitude and don't feel funny about it
  • Offer to help other people
  • Stay optimistic about their futures (take that stock market)
  • Savor life's pleasures, live in the moment 
  • Make physical exercise a weekly and daily habit. We do know exercise improves overall positive feelings by increasing endorphins.
  • Commit to lifelong goals and ambitions
  • Have stresses and even tragedies, but are able to cope in the face of challenges.
Happiness interview:
What is your definition of happiness? 
Are you living it? 
Who is the happiest person you know? 
What has this person taught you about true happiness?

Exercises to increase your happiness quotient: 
  • Recall and write down three good things that happened daily.
  • Participate in physical activity (it really is one of the best mood enhancers, make it something you enjoy)
  • Commit acts of kindness (this produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being)
  • Play with puppies or look at pictures of puppies (OK, I added that one...it works for me!)
  • Expose yourself to daily positive messages, there are even apps that can send positive messages daily with activities for enhancing well being.
Good Luck and Be Happy!  
If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Look Perfect & Feel Better
Part 1

We bang our heads against the wall (and if you read one of my earlier newsletters, you would know this actually burns calories) wanting to lose weight, feel better, get more sleep, lower our medication level, eat healthier...Whew! I am exhausted just writing about it. For some reason, though, people say that it eludes them. To that I am going to reply "REALLY?" Does it actually elude us, or do we block out all those questionable choices we made that prevented us from achieving our goal?

So what could I possibly be talking about? Well, they say confession is good for the soul, or maybe it is good for the clients to hear that we professional are not perfect. I, too, sabotage my quest to feel better. How do I do that? I choose not to eat foods I know will help with my blood sugar levels stay even, and I do things I know will prohibit me from getting exercise on a more consistent basis. I like my wine, but wine does not like me. I choose to drink it anyway. I stay up late for me (the amount of rest you need varies greatly among individuals). So why do I do this? Because it is harder to change than stay the same. Because I get enjoyment out of good wine, really good food (which usually is not salad, in my opinion), staying up late and having a heart to heart chat with my kids, or choosing to pass time with friends. All of this, in turn, does not leave me the energy to work out. I do not get enjoyment out of eating salad and vegetables (though I eat them anyway), drinking water as opposed to wine, going to bed early and missing things, and I do not get the same exhilaration I used to from working out.

So where does that leave any of us? I am sure that if you are in the confessing mood, too, you would find a similar conundrum; it is just extremely difficult to make yourself do it. You might succeed for a while, but day in and day out, unless it appeals to your emotions and self-identity, we go back to our comfortable bad habits. How do we change our ways then? Do we suddenly up and decide we love salad, going to bed early, doing that 20 minute stretching routine daily?

Well you will have to tune in to part II.
Small Asides
Exercise and Make More Money - Yes, it is true, people who exercise regularly make about 9% higher salary than those that don't. For women, it's almost an 11% difference.

Popcorn - It's been hiding something - A study done at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania) shows that popcorn holds a more concentrated amount of polyphenols than...wait for it...vegetables and nuts. And a separate study found that the hulls (the outer layer before popping) contain the concentration of both polyphenols and fiber. Keep in mind adding a bunch of butter and salt will negate any good you got out of eating the popcorn.

Beer-Here I come! Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise magazine shows imbibing nonalcoholic wheat beer for 3 weeks prior to and 2 weeks after a marathon, reduces the occurrence of post-race inflammation and upper respiratory tract infection. Nonalcoholic wheat beer has the same polyphenols that are in popcorn, so kick back tonight and have popcorn (air popped) and beer (nonalcoholic), enjoy!

Active Video Gaming-Not as good as thought
. A new study in Pediatrics (March 1, 2012; 129 [3], 636-42) divided kids into two gaming groups, one "active" (requiring the participant to actually move in order to play the game) and the other "inactive" (sitting and punching buttons). They wore accelerometers to monitor total activity for entire time of the study. Unfortunately they found no significant difference in total activity between the two groups. So if your child uses the excuse that it would be beneficial to have the video
don't buy it.

Watch this spot for exciting pre-opening savings!

In Health and Fitness,
Sharon Bourke
Grand Poobah
Life Energy Fitness LLC