That's what it's all about

It is rumored that Dr. Oz has been promoting something called a raspberry ketone supplement for weight loss and swears by it.

This reminds me of the Great Oprah Acai Cleanse/Diet. Acai supplement flew off the shelves for a year after Oprah announced how it was the greatest thing for dieting!

Actually Acai and Raspberries have a lot in common. As do blueberries, caffeine, cherries, red grapes, green tea, and vitamin C! They’re called antioxidants. Antioxidants inhibit molecular oxidation. Molecular oxidation causes something called oxidative stress, and releases “free-radicals, “which are not so good to have in a healthy person. Excessive amounts of free radicals can lead to cell injury and death, which may contribute to many diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and major disorders.

So antioxidants keep us healthier by helping to cleanse the system of excess free-radicals/ however free radicals are necessary for life, and the body has a number of mechanisms to minimize free-radical-induced damage all on it’s own. We get oxidative stress when an imbalance of our bodies’ normal defenses occurs.

The claim is that antioxidants can also help metabolism by increasing energy at the cellular level. That’s pretty much what ketones are supposed to do. You can put your body into ketosis by doing the Atkin’s diet, but I think that’s not exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with raspberries. Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel.

Caution if you’re diabetic:

Ketones are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick. http://www.joslin.org/info/ketone_testing_what_you_need_to_know.html

http://www.beyonddiet.com/bd/landing?food=avocado&a=noanim

OMG!  This is what I’ve been saying all along!  Great site, great video.  Worth the watch!

 

 

P.S. Love that peanut butter cups are good for you!!

I’m not an alarmist, but I am a believer in eating whole, natural foods as much as possible because I’m convinced a preponderance of food additives in our system is unhealthy.

My friend Susan Hirsch, clinical herbalist at  Growing Wisdom Herbals,  posted this Dr. Mark Hyman, MD article on her FaceBook page about the dangers of eating gluten.  The worst part of this article is the title.  The best part is Dr. Hyman provides a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

Believe it or not, this food is all gluten-free!

And for many, it is and they aren’t even aware of what gluten is, nevermind that it could be causing issues with their health.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are dramatic findings from researching over 30,000 people over a nearly 40 year span, including increases in the risk of gut inflammation and even death.

WebMD says that gut inflammation hampers the absorption of nutrients and can lead to malnutrition and weight loss.   The online Wall Street Journal says one study shows gluten can set off a distinct reaction in the intestines and the immune system, even in people who don’t have celiac disease.

Don’t despair if you decide to go gluten-free.  The good news is that there is much more choice at the grocery store when it comes to gluten-free foods.  Wall Street Journal.com had this to say:   The growing market for gluten-free foods, with sales estimated at $2.6 billion last year, has made it even harder to distinguish a medical insight from a fad.   Even the Mayo Clinic has a sponsored gluten-free diet.

Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
Nikolai Berdyaev

I’m all about being efficient, especially when it comes to working out in my busy life.  I found this article interesting, and since I’ve been so busy with starting a new job recently, and have very little time to write, I’m re-posting this article from About.com.  Enjoy.

It’s hard to believe that there’s still so many controversial opinions about exercise but, when it comes to strength training, there are plenty of conflicting opinions. There’s the free weights v. machines controversy, and don’t forget the protein issue that never seems to get resolved. And of course, there’s the question of how many sets you should do to get the most results. Some recommend doing anywhere from 3 to 5 sets for maximum gains, while others say just the opposite, that one set is just as good as two. So, who’s right?

One Set vs. Multi-Set Training

The conflicting opinions about how many sets is best stems from the overload principle. Research suggests that, in order to gain strength and size, you have to overload your muscles–push them beyond their present capacity. From this theory, we know that intensity is to key to strength gains. So, can you get the kind of intensity you need from one set? Some folks think it doesn’t matter if you fatigue your muscles in one set or several sets — as long as your muscles experience a sufficient level of exhaustion.

Some studies, including Strength training. Single versus multiple sets published in Sports Medicine, suggest there is no significant difference in strength or muscle mass as a result of single versus multiple sets. However, another study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that trained exercisers get more strength gains out of multi-set training as opposed to one set training. These different studies suggest that beginners can get solid strength and muscle gains with one set training, providing you’re challenging your muscles with enough weight. People who are experienced with weight training may need more sets to improve strength and muscle gains.

The Basics of One Set Training

Whatever your fitness level, one set training can be a good choice because it’s:

  • Time efficient – It takes less time to do one set of each exercise as opposed to 3 or more sets, so you can easily squeeze in a short workout, even when you’re short on time.
  • Enhances compliance – People are more likely to stick with an exercise program when they don’t have to spend hours in the gym.
  • More cost effective
  • Easy to change your workouts – You can easily substitute new exercises when you get bored or when you body stops responding.

Making Your Workout Efficient

If you decide to go with one set training, you actually have to work a little harder to make sure you get everything out of each and every rep. Focusing on what you’re doing can ensure that every second of your workout counts.

  • Make it a quality workout – Take your time during each rep and focus on the muscle that you’re working.
  • Focus on the exercise – Do every single repetition with perfect form: no jerking, bouncing, slumping or cheating.
  • Use heavy weights – To fatigue your muscles, you should be lifting enough weight that you can only complete the desired number of repetitions (somewhere between 8-15). If, at the end of your set, you can keep going, that’s a sign that you need to increase your weight.
  • Go slowly – Using momentum means that you’re not recruiting all of your muscle fibers. For each repetition, count to 4 during the lifting and lowering phase of the movement.
  • Think maximal effort – Remember, you’re only doing one set, so go all out while staying within your own limitations and capabilities.
  • Warm up – Get your muscles ready by doing at least 5-10 minutes of cardio or by doing light warm up sets of each exercise.
  • Rest – Rest at least one day between strength sessions.

Sources:

Carpinelli RN, Otto RM. Strength training. Single versus multiple sets. Sports Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):409-16.

Rhea MR, Alvar BA, Ball SD, et al. Three sets of weight training superior to 1 set with equal intensity for eliciting strength.. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Nov;16(4):525-9.

If you want to run faster, you have to run.

the path I travel

If you want to be stronger, you have to lift heavy things.

If you want to be more agile, you have to move and jump.

If you want to have better balance, you have to put your self off-balance.

Whether physiologically or neurologically, we get better at what we do.  It’s called the S.A.I.D. principal, also known as Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands and it’s the basis for nearly every exercise program design.

When you were learning to ride a bike you had to practice…a lot…and you began to notice that you could ride without the training wheels after a while.  This is the principle in practice.  It happens daily, sometimes without us even realizing it.  We get more proficient at typing, at kneading bread dough, at climbing the two flights of stairs at work.

The reason is simple and it has to do with neuro-muscular coordination.

When you go hiking in the woods, you probably wouldn’t trudge into the undergrowth and through the briar patches…you’d probably  follow a well-worn path…whether it was made by human or animal.  It’s easier to travel the path already traveled, right?  The same principle applies to movement.  When we learn something new, it’s more difficult. We have to struggle to get the movement down, but pretty soon, the path starts wearing, and the movement gets easier.

(Then, as every good sadistic trainer knows, you have to change what you do and how you’re doing it in order to keep progressing toward your goal).

So if you want to stop being out of breath when you climb the two flights of stairs at work, I’m sorry to tell you, honey,  that you’re going to have to climb those stairs.  Over and over and over.

Remember when I told you how much more beneficial it is to  Stand Up while exercising?   Some of you have asked me to post an example of a Stand Up workout, so here it is!

You can do these exercises at the gym or at home, and for many of them you can use dumbbells, bands, medicine balls, even or no weight at all.  Perform the exercises as a circuit (do Exercise #1, move to #2..and so on), resting no more than 30 seconds between exercises and doing only one circuit to start.   Be sure to keep track of your progress, increasing either the number of circuits, your reps,  or weights every week or so.

Be sure to warm up before working out (jumping  jacks, a walk around the block) and cool-down with a short walk and stretching after.

1) Side Shredder – 15x each side

Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips and raise your right arm. Shift onto your left leg and rotate your right leg at the hip, turning your toes out. Crunch your right elbow and right knee together, pinching your waist. Return to start.

#1. Side Shredder - 15x each side

2) Squat-Press – 12x

Holding  dumbbells at ear-level with elbows bent.  Lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Push back up while pushing the weights overhead with the palms facing out.

  • Keep head and neck in alignment throughout the movement
  • Keep your weight in your heels. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes when squatting.
  • Use medium-heavy weights for this exercise.

#2. Squat Press - 12x

3) Wall Pushup – 15x

Stand facing a wall and ex­tend your arms in front of you. Lean forward slightly and place your palms against the surface. Bend your elbows until your nose nearly touches the wall. Push back out to start. That’s one rep.

#3. Wall Pushup - 15x

4) Alt. Canoe Row – 12x each side

Stand with your feet 3 feet apart, knees slightly bent, and hands clasped. Keeping your hips still, bring your hands down to your left hip, “paddling” backward. Next, raise your hands up to chest level, and then paddle them to the right hip. Do 10 alternating reps for each side. If it’s too easy, hold a 2- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand.

#4. Alt. Canoe Row - 12x each side

 

5) Straight Arm Pulldown – 12x

Start by grabbing the band, or wide bar from the top pulley of a pulldown machine and using a wider than shoulder-width pronated (palms down) grip.

Step backwards two feet or so.  Bend your torso forward at the waist by around 30-degrees with your arms fully extended in front of you and a slight bend at the elbows.

While keeping the arms straight, pull the bar down until your hands are next to the side of the thighs. Breathe out as you perform this step.  While keeping the arms straight, go back to the starting position while breathing in.

#5. Straight Arm Pulldown - 12 x

6) Alt. Plie’ and Reach – 10x ea side

Stand with your feet 3 feet apart and hands clasped. Contract your abs and perform a plie keeping your hands toward the floor. As you push up, raise your arms to the right. Next, lower your hands with another plie and then lift them to the left.

#6. Alt. Plie' and Reach - 10x each side

7) Standing Cable Chest Press – 12x

Attach the center of the band to a stationary object and hold one end in each hand.  Stand with your back to the attachment, elbows bent  (upper arm level with shoulder) so that your hands are next to your chest.  Push forwards and straighten your arms out in front of you.  Slowly return to the starting position

#7. Standing Cable/Band Chest Press - 12x

8) Elbow-Knee Crossover w/ Press – 12x each side

Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips, and extend your right arm up and your left leg to the side, toes pointed. Next, lower your right elbow and raise your left knee, crunching them together on a diagonal line. Return to start.

8. Elbow-Knee Crossover w/Press - 12x each side

9) Standing Wood Chop – 12x each side

Feet are shoulder width apart, toes slightly out…keep knees slightly bent. Just like having an ax, bring  your hands together (holding a ball or dumbbells if you want) and extend arms to the top right of your body.  Swinging down and across the body to the bottom left, sit hips back and bend knees into a slight squat.   Always have your chest facing the move.   Repeat on other side.

**Variation:  you can stand with feet extra wide, performing the same chopping move. Instead of squatting, side-lunge to the left, bringing hands down to the inside of the left ankle.

#9. Standing Woodchop - 12x each side

 

Pictures and some descriptions courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine  and Men’s Health Magazine.

Can you say the magic words...

There is a strong appeal for losing weight quickly, and not having to put in the hard work of counting calories or exercising.  With this appeal,there is a huge market for over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, but do any of them actually make more than your wallet lighter?  And if they do work, what are the consequence of their side effects?

The Mayo Clinic did a study of OTC weight loss remedies.  They say dietary supplements and weight-loss aids aren’t subject to the same rigorous standards as are prescription drugs. Thus, they can be sold with limited proof of effectiveness or safety. Once a product is on the market, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors its safety and can take action to ban or recall dangerous products.

The table shows common weight-loss pills and what the research shows about their effectiveness and safety.

Product

Claim

Effectiveness

Safety

Alli — OTC version of prescription drug orlistat (Xenical) Decreases absorption of dietary fat Effective; weight-loss amounts typically less for OTC versus prescription FDA investigating reports of liver injury
Bitter orange Increases calories burned Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly unsafe
Chitosan Blocks absorption of dietary fat Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly safe
Chromium Increases calories burned, decreases appetite and builds muscle Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Likely safe
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Reduces body fat and builds muscle Possibly effective Possibly safe
Country mallow (heartleaf) Decreases appetite and increases calories burned Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Likely unsafe and banned by FDA
Ephedra Decreases appetite Possibly effective Likely unsafe and banned by FDA
Green tea extract Increases calorie and fat metabolism and decreases appetite Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Possibly safe
Guar gum Blocks absorption of dietary fat and increases feeling of fullness Possibly ineffective Likely safe
Hoodia Decreases appetite Insufficient reliable evidence to rate Insufficient information

Other supplements you might have heard about from Oprah or Dr. Oz include

  • African Mango: also known as Irvingia, clinical studies of African Mango claim it thermogenically burn more fat, detoxifies the body, suppresses appetite, fights belly fat, gives you more energy, controls leptin, and lowers cholesterol with an entirely stimulant free approach. A limited dosage is recommended, and taking more doesn’t have any more of an effect. Long-term effects of African Mango use may not be known, since it is relatively new to the market.
  • Acai:  pronounced ah-sigh-ee, Oprah Winfrey  put Acai on the map as a weight loss aid. Researchers have found the acai berry has antioxidants that may protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules in the body called “free radicals,” and may possibly help against diseases such as heart disease and cancer. But when it comes to weight loss, the hype is ahead of the science, because the research evidence for such a connection is lacking. And now, even Oprah has posted comments on her web site disassociating herself with acai products that claim to promote weight loss.
  • Konjac Fiber: aka Gluco- or propolmannon, konjac offers many health-promoting benefits through its ability to form a soft gel with water. Research indicates that soluble fibers help lower blood cholesterol, slow glucose absorption, lowers the Glycemic index and promote regular bowel movements.  Glucomannan has the potential to bind with and reduce the absorption of certain nutrients – so a daily multivitamin supplement may be advisable for individuals consuming high doses of glucomannan Konjac root fiber on a regular basis.
  • White Kidney Bean Extract: White Kidney Bean Extract is purported to be a starch blocker.  Phaselous vulgaris, the clinical name for white kidney bean extract, according to manufacturers,  prevents a natural enzyme in saliva and the pancreas, called alpha-amylase, from breaking down carbs into simple sugars which could prevent the body from absorbing carb calories and thereby promote weight loss. Because white kidney bean inhibits the breakdown of carbohydrates, it can reduce the glycemic load of foods such as white bread and potatoes. White kidney bean may be a viable complementary treatment for people with diabetes.

While some of these may be effective initially, it’s important to remember that ALL of them disclaim that you need to follow a healthy eating and exercise plan while taking them.

So the truth is there is no magic pill.  You’ll need to make lifestyle changes no matter what.  Make healthy food choices, watch your portion sizes, and get regular exercise. It’s not magic, but it works.

Flexibility is Freedom!

It’s Thanksgiving Day.  Imagine you trying to reach for a large platter that is on the high shelf. You cannot lift your arms above shoulder height, nor do you have the strength to hold anything that high above your head.  Or, you want to take the turkey out of the oven, but bending over and lifting that much weight at the same time might cause you to tumble into a dangerous situation.  So you have to ask for help.

Have you ever known someone who can’t lift their arms above their heads to get something from up high?  How about being able to squat and bend and then get back up?  I know many who can’t touch their toes unless their feet are wide apart, and even then it’s a struggle.

There are six components to fitness:

  •  muscle strength – the amount of weight you can lift at one time
  •  muscle endurance – the number of times you can repeat a motion, like lifting or running.
  •  cardiovascular endurance – how well your heart and lungs function during activity.
  •  body composition– fat vs lean
  •  balance  – both physical and emotional balance
  •  flexibility – being able to squat, bend, and reach.   In the fitness world we call it “functional” fitness.

All components of fitness are important, but I think flexibility is one of the most important for maintaining a quality of life as we age.

There are different ways to stretch. From Tailored-fitness-home-workouts.com

  • Static stretching–moving towards the full range of motion of the muscle you’re stretching and holding for 20-60 seconds (the safest method for most people)
  • Dynamic stretching– swinging the muscle through it’s full range of motion (common among martial arts experts, not recommended for the average person)
  • PNF Method– angled, rotating, dynamic movements cued by a registered physical therapist
  • Contract-Relax Method– also known as pnf, a contracting against resistance from a partner then stretching (inhibits the stretch reflex allowing you to stretch further)
  • Contract Antagonist/Relax Method– isometric contraction of the opposing muscle before stretching (similar to above and very effective)
  • Fascial Stretching– deep tissue manipulation by a professional to increase range of motion (ie. Rolfing, Thai massage, and neuromuscular therapy)

The S.A.I.D. principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) tells us that we get good at what we do.  Likewise, if we don’t bend, stretch, reach, or lift, we will get good at not doing it.  So the best way to improve any area of fitness is to use Nike’s philosophy and JUST DO IT.

However, be sure to DO IT safely by easing into whatever it is. Your muscles like to stretch … even dogs know it’s important … but unlike lifting weight, where it’s okay to push a little harder to become a  little stronger, a stretch should only be slightly uncomfortable.  If it hurts you’re doing too much.

basic stretching exercises

 

How often you do it depends on your training goal. If your goal is increased mobility, stress relief, or endurance, it’s a good idea to stretch daily. Basic stretches, yoga, pilates, and tai chi, are all great ways to improve flexibility. If your goal is to get stronger and prevent injuries, stretch after your strength-training workout, between sets, or after your cardio training. Remember to stretch slowly into a position that feels slightly tight but not painful. Try not to bounce and hold that position for at least 20 seconds before moving on to your next stretch.

 

 

It’s 8:30 a.m. and time to eat breakfast.  At noon, it’s lunchtime.  Six o’clock brings dinner.

What time works for you?

Do you eat on a schedule similar to this one? Or do you eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full?  Which is better for maintaining weight?  What works better for weight loss?

These are questions we might not think about, but actually how you eat might be as important as what you eat when trying to maintain a healthy weight, and even more so when trying to lose it.

A Weight Watcher’s blog post says,

Contrary to popular belief, most people don’t eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full.   More usually, people eat at mealtimes and stop when they’ve finished the contents of their plate…. maybe topping up with a snack in between.

If your eating habits and appetite signals aren’t aligned, you may need to think about developing a healthy habit of   regular meals/snacks, evenly spaced, with the right amount on the plate.  Eventually, you’ll come to expect certain amounts at certain times and that is what’ll keep you at a healthy weight when you get there.

This is the theory behind programs like Jenny Craig, etc. and the concept is called “Never Hungry/Never Full.”  You eat breakfast in the morning at close to the same time every day.  Two hours later, you eat a healthy snack, and two hours after that, lunch.  Mid-afternoon brings another light snack, with dinner following about 2 -3 hours later.

Say you eat breakfast at 8:30 a.m.  Here is an example of  how your day might look:

8:30 – Breakfast of 1-egg veggie omelet, 1/4 cantaloupe, 6 oz low-fat yogurt.

10:30 – 15 almonds and 1 oz. cheese

12:30 – 1 cup vegetable soup, 3 oz grilled chicken on mixed green salad dressed with 2 Tbsp light salad dressing.

3:00 – Apple with 1 Tbsp almond butter

5:45 – Steamed asparagus, 4 oz. baked salmon, 1 cup brown rice.

7:45 – 1/2  frozen yogurt w/ 10 grapes

Calorie count: 1373

Using this eating concept is especially important if you tend to eat according to mood rather than listening to your body’s hunger signals.  It also is helpful for maintaining moderate (rather than spiking!) blood sugar levels throughout the day

A word on satiety (aka the feeling of fullness):  It  has less to do with calories and more to do with bulk and fiber.  A 500 calorie plate of cheese (about  four 1-oz pieces) wouldn’t be very filling.  But if you ate 500 calories of broccoli you’d probably struggle to finish it.  That said, don’t exile all of  the fat calories. They help with satiety too, and provide important nutrients for brain and cellular function.

believe it

Tired of calorie counting and food deprivation? When you think about losing weight, do you immediately become moody knowing that dieting means restrictions, rules, going hungry, and craving all your favorite foods?

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Sure, the only way to successfully lose weight is to consume less calories than you use overall …it’s simple math really.  But, making subtle adjustments to both your food choices and your activity level and add up to caloric deficits that will make an impact on your waistline and give you more energy to boot.

The reason eat this/not that “diets” don’t work is that you will eventually eat “that” and more of “that” because it’s human nature to desire what we can’t have, plus your body may actually be craving “that” food for it’s specific nutrients.  It’s called dieting rebound.  So you start eating a little of “that” and maybe some of “that” too, and eventually you gain back the weight.  Sometimes you gain even more that you initially lost!  That sucks, right?

Why dieting is bad…from DSDforlife.com

  • Yo-yo dieting can cause long-term damage to major organs, such as the kidney, liver, heart and muscles as well as hypertension.
  • Dieting denies your body the essential food nutrients it needs, therefore it’s impossible to stay on a diet permanently without damaging your body.
  • Constant dieting has been found to reduce the body’s natural killer cells. This means your immune system won’t function so well and this can increase your chances of getting [ill].
  • Dieting messes up your metabolic rate. Harsh diets slow down your metabolism and eventually bring about the rebound effect (where food intake makes you fatter than you were before you went on a diet!).
  • Yo-yo dieting damages the skeleton. Each time you lose weight you lose bone density. This isn’t replaced when you regain the weight and the risk of osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) increases to dangerous levels.
  • A single episode of sudden weight loss followed by rapid weight gain may actually increase your odds of developing heart disease so will actually do you more harm than good.
  • The production of an important enzyme in fat production and storage increases when large amounts of weight are lost. The increased activity leads to more fat storage and makes continued weight loss very difficult. The faster the weight is lost, the more active the enzyme becomes.

So, how do we lose weight without deprivation, and without spending hour upon hour exercising?

Choosing the right foods over the less-right foods has to be because you want to, not because someone told you one food was “good” and one was “bad.”  Choosing wisely doesn’t mean you can never have those treats your love.  Choosing wisely means knowing you can eat anything, but for today…this meal…you’re going to pick something else.  And if you decide to eat the treat, by gum, ENJOY it!!  Savor every bite.

How do you get in the mindset?

a)      Make your plate pretty, either with a pretty plate, or by using lots of different food colors and textures, arranged in a nice way.

b)      Make meaningful associations with healthy food. Many of us connect positive, nostalgic feelings with foods. A corn dog might conjure a childhood memory of a summer day at a carnival, while your grandmother’s vegetable soup makes you always feel the warm-fuzzies.   Try to make affirmative connotations with good-for-you dishes.

c)      Always have fresh—and long-lasting—stuff in your refrigerator. Carrots, red cabbage, bell peppers, and romaine lettuce all last for up to a week.

d)     Treat the protein like a side dish.  If you just have to have a steak, save it for dinner, make the portion no more than 5 oz. and smother the rest of your plate in veggies.

e)      Always eat dessert. You read that right. It teaches us balance and moderation, plus everyone needs a little decadence now and then.

A healthy plate, courtesy of NIH

A healthy plate, courtesy of NIH

Today’s healthy food pyramid is now displayed like one of those dinner plates you used to use as a kid…you know, the ones that separated all the foods so they didn’t touch.  The plate should be divided so that nearly half of it is vegetables and whole fruits, one-quarter lean protein, and one quarter whole grains.

Produce is loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants. It also has lots of fiber, which prevents blood-sugar spikes (so you don’t get hungry again right away), says Lisa Drayer, a registered dietitian, a nutritionist, and the author of The Beauty Diet ($23, amazon.com).  Lean protein (salmon, chicken) makes you feel full longer. And whole grains, like barley and bulgur, are nutrient-packed alternatives to processed carbs. The final component: healthy plant-based fats, found in olive oil and avocados, which are unsaturated and cholesterol-free, unlike the old animal fats.  Throw in some super foods every now and then.

 

Often, weight loss occurs on its own simply when you start making better food choices, such as avoiding

  • processed foods,
  • sugar-laden foods,
  • white bread and pasta (substitute whole-grain varieties instead),
  • foods with a high percentage of calories from fat,
  • and alcoholic drinks.

While nothing is absolutely forbidden, when you do succumb to temptation, keep the portion size small and add a bit more exercise to your daily workout.

By replacing some unwise food choices with healthy ones, you’ll be cutting back on calories. If you add some moderate physical activity, you have the perfect weight-loss plan without the need for special or inconvenient (and often expensive) diet plans.

Making small changes can make a big difference:

  • For breakfast, instead of a donut on the run, grab a yogurt and an apple.  If you have time, sprinkle some Cheerios or granola on the yogurt.
  • Eat a piece of whole fruit, or munch on baby carrots and hummus for a quick energizing snack.
  • Get up early to walk for 20-minutes, or do a yoga tape… or join a gym or an activity between where you work and live to make exercising convenient.  Choose something you like to do.
  • For dinner, fill your plate with lots of vegetables, color,  and texture.  Eat your favorites.  Make your protein a side dish.  Choose non-white carbohydrates.
  • Snack on healthy nuts…a few at a time between meals can stave off even chocolate cravings!
  • And speaking of chocolate…INDULGE yourself periodically with a favorite treat.  It doesn’t have to be much, but don’t deprive yourself of the joys of yummy foods.

 

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