Ask Leala Luna!

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Send Leala your burning health and fitness questions via the contact form below, and she will select several weekly to answer below! These questions may concern diet and nutrition, health, wellness, exercise, training advice…anything that you want to know. The question will be published anonymously. Keep in mind that as silly as you may feel your question is, it may inspire someone else who has been wondering the exact same thing! Miss Strong is open-minded and open-hearted towards all ladies, so please share!

Q: I love drinking soda and soft drinks, but I’m trying to drink diet sodas for less calories. Is this healthier?

 A: Yes and no! First of all, soft drinks aren’t healthy to be drinking a lot. Period. It is true that drinking your calories contributes to weight gain, so drinking something with zero calories, compared to 130 or so calories, allows you to not worry about excessive calories adding up. Diet drinks have zero fat, carbohydrates, and protein. However, keep in mind that even if a soda is labeled “diet”, it still contains ingredients like artificial sweeteners that also may contribute to weight gain. The third ingredient in diet Coke for example, is Aspartame (an ingredient that serves as a sweetener and has been discovered to cause brain and nervous system harm, as well as cramps.) Stick to water, juices, or natural fizzy drinks.

Q: I cut fat out of my diet because fat is bad, and obviously will make me gain weight. Why isn’t it helping???

A: Don’t cut fat out of your diet! There are lots of different fats. You’re right, some are bad, and will make you gain weight. The fat in McDonalds french fries and butter for example, packs on the pounds when eaten all the time. However, healthy fats are very important for your body…I eat LOTS of healthy fats…in moderation, but I do not cut these fats out. Healthy fats include Coconut oil, olive oil, fats in fish like salmon (omega-3), avocado, almond butter, nuts…when you balance fats, protein, carbs, etc and train appropriately, you’re body will actually change in a good way. Too much of anything is never a good thing, but natural healthy fats are good for you.

Q: I’m in college. I like to party and go out on weekends, but I don’t eat a lot of food and I still have been gaining a lot of weight. How is this happening?

A: One word…drinking. If you’re going out, being social and partying, even JUST on weekends, alcohol and drinks are caloric and add up, quickly. Drinking calories will make you gain weight. In addition, alcohol slows down your metabolism and therefore makes it more difficult for your body to burn fat. Having a drink once in awhile is ok, it’s like having a cheat meal. However, drinking on a consistent basis is something that you need to be mindful of, and monitor while in college, and in your future.

Q: I have fat on my stomach and keep exercising…I do a lot of crunches too. Why don’t I have a good stomach?

A: You cannot get rid of fat in just one area…in order to lean out, you need to lean out everywhere. The stomach is a difficult place to tone, especially on women because it does hold a lot of excess fat on the body. You might be building some great muscle underneath, but if your diet is not clean and you aren’t losing overall body fat, your stomach is not going to tighten up. ABS ARE INDEED MADE IN THE KITCHEN! Just like the cinnamon buns you bake in the kitchen. Mix up the right ingredients, and you’ll end up with the right result. Don’t frustrate yourself by doing hundreds of crunches everyday…make sure to eat clean, be healthy, happy, stress free…and take appropriate measures to reduce your overall body fat!

Q: What are some good foods to eat for getting a six-pack or toned stomach??

A: There aren’t special foods that guarantee development or toning in just one area of the body, but since abs are made in the kitchen and reflect what you put into your body, I’ll list some good ones for the mid section. Ready? Let’s go: protein shakes, eggs/egg whites, chicken, fish, low fat cheese, good fat, nuts, brown rice, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, oranges, limes, grape fruit, beans, yogurt, brown bread, plain meats. Avoid: alcohol, chocolate, white rice, white bread, white pasta, WHITE ANYTHING, fried food, jam and processed food.

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