The Fab Five Must Haves for Losing Weight

 

The Fab Five Must Haves for Losing Weight:

 

Diet: Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is the most important factor to lose weight. We all have a daily nutritional requirement and anything extra gets stored as fat. Diets are highly individual, but all diets should provide sufficient food throughout the day, plenty of options to choose from and should be balanced in providing nutrients. Your diet shouldn’t be some random plan that you saw online or heard your neighbor talking about, but it should be a plan made according to your current diet, routine, and habits. If you dislike raw veggies and work at a job that doesn’t allow you to snack throughout the day, a diet that requires eating veggies every two hours is just not going to be successful.

 

Exercise: It is difficult to get maximum weight loss results without a workout. Yes, you could probably control your diet and calories, but it takes longer to lose weight, and what do you think is under those layers of fat? When you exercise you build muscle, which creates a tone fit body underneath. When the fat goes, the muscle shows. Without it, you will probably get SSS – Saggy Skin Syndrome. Diet helps you lose the weight, but exercise gets you into shape. Exercise burns calories, burns fat, increases your metabolic rate and flexibility, and helps to increase your endurance.

 

Motivation: Diet and exercise are the most important but being motivated is an absolute requirement. If you are used to eating whatever you want, once you start restricting your choices, cravings and feelings of deprivation set it. Motivation is what gets you through. Motivation is also highly individual. What motivates me may not make sense to you, so it’s gut check time to figure out what’s going to be your motivation. Only you can decide.

 

Stress: Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and the body. And for many people, eating and stress go hand in hand. There are those who eat when they are stressed, and on the flip side, those who can’t eat because they are so stressed. Both are bad. The first step to reducing stress is to recognize it and accept it. Then take steps to minimize it… this can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths or getting up from your desk and walking outside for a few minutes. Or it might require something more involved like a day at the spa or a yoga class.

 

Sleep: Sleep is essential for weight loss. The body needs to recover and reboot. Crazy sleep patterns will decrease the efficiency and recovery time for the body. Sleep also regulates the hormones that stimulate appetite and control hunger, so even the best diet and exercise plan can get derailed if you don’t get enough sleep.

Fit Tips to Start the Year Off Right

It’s opportunity time. The year is almost over, so most of us start to focus on what we are going to do differently next year.  If getting fit and healthy is on your list, here are a few tips to start the year out right.

1. What you eat is everything.  You can work out until the cows come home, but if you want to see those rock-solid six-pack abs, you need to stop eating your way to tubby town.

2. Don’t agonize over genetics. Each and every body is different, but great results are possible for all shapes and sizes. So don’t blame genetics either.  And speaking of the blame game, don’t blame anything — not the temperature of your house, not the color of your kitchen, not the smell of your office.

3. The foundation of any good weight loss nutrition plan is lean protein and green vegetables. You can eat broccoli until you throw up before it would cause you to gain weight.   And protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.

4. Add low Glycemic Index foods (such as brown rice, whole grains, nuts, and oatmeal) to each day. Carbs often get a bad rap, but the reality is that they provide many vitamins and nutrients that are essential for fat loss and metabolic function.

5. Watch liquids. Water should be the most common drink — try for at least 6 to 8 glasses per day. Drinking water before and after meals causes that full feeling, which can prevent overeating.

6. Cheat meals every now and then are okay.  I love to go to Red Robin for the endless basket of fries. Pizza also tops my list. This may sound counterproductive, but weight loss can’t happen if people are too strict with their diets. Eventually, they break down and fall off the wagon for good.

7. When snacking, always add a protein to that carb. Only eating carbs for a snack can cause an insulin spike, which can lead to big time cravings or hunger pangs later on. Adding protein keeps the insulin stable and produces a slower release of energy that keeps us on track throughout the day.

8.Fill up on fiber by eating fruits, whole wheat, lentils, beans, nuts, veggies,  and even certain types of cereal can be a great way to create a sense of fullness, while providing a key  nutrients to the body that will help with weight loss.

How You Eat Affects How Much You Eat

What we eat and how much we eat can be key to staying fit and healthy, but how we eat can be equally as important. With a few simple strategies, changing the way you eat can automatically affect the ‘how much’ you eat.

With our busy lives it can often seem like we mindlessly go through our day. This includes during meal times. Here are a few simple tricks that you can use during every meal to keep your weight in check.

1. Take time during meals to truly savor every bite you eat. Eat slowly. Chew each morsel and taste the food you put into your body. Turn off the television, radio, and any distractions, and allow meal time to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment.

2. Use a plate. Eating directly out of the box or package can easily lead to overeating. When you don’t set aside a portion, that small handful of almonds quickly becomes two, then three and so on. Take time to put a serving of food on a plate or in a bowl. Eat that portion and only that portion. One of my favorite tricks is to use a smaller plate to eat meals. A small plate loaded with veggies and chicken seems like a lot of food, but in terms of calories it’s a very reasonable amount. The message your brain receives is that the plate is full, so it should be more than enough to eat.

3. Use hunger as your guide. Let your stomach tell you when you’re hungry and full… not your brain. Eat when you feel hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Often we let the clocks guide our eating: it’s noon, so it must be lunchtime. We often eat whether we’re actually hungry or not. We also allow ourselves to finish an entire meal without even realizing we were full 15 minutes earlier. Our stomach is full, but our brain says keep eating, force-feeding ourselves out of habit. The way to stop this is through awareness and listening to our bodies. It is helpful to stop eating when you are 80% full and allow your brain to catch up with your stomach to signal it is full. This really works, but it can be difficult to do. Once you’ve developed a lifestyle that includes a routine of healthy eating, your body will let you know when it’s hungry and it will also crave healthy foods.

4. Doggy bags are the new accessory! You don’t have to clean your plate, no matter what you were told when you were a child. Save the leftovers for another meal or snack. Many people make a habit of ordering a meal or sandwich and immediately asking for half of it to be put in a doggy bag. They are more than satisfied with half a serving (especially with the jumbo sized servings in restaurants) and also have another meal to take home. If you choose to stay at the table and talk after a meal, remove your plate so you’re not tempted to keep nibbling…and never pick off someone else’s plate (this includes your kids)!

5. Slow and steady. We all want to reduce our weight quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily allow us to establish habits that will sustain our new weight over time. When we make overall lifestyle changes, the weight that disappears is not going to return. Focus on healthy living and feeling good versus losing weight. This will effectively lead you to your ideal weight—one that will be easy for you to maintain permanently. After all, there‘s no point in losing weight only to gain it back! When your focus is on a healthy lifestyle and not a number on a scale, your ideal weight will come!

Cut the Calories Not the Taste – Quick Tips to Healthier Eating

25 Quick Tips

It’s the little things that can make all the difference, and the little things can be easy to change without feeling taste deprived.

Here are 25 quick tips that will help you diet smarter not harder. By making small tweaks to your food choices you don’t have to sacrifice flavor, but you can cut a calories, fats, and sugar to help slim down your waistline. Increase your vegetables and whole grains, but decrease the fat, salt and sugar. If you’re really serious about changing your family’s diet, clip this page and post it on your refrigerator as a daily reminder for everyone.

INCREASING VEGETABLES

Learn to properly steam vegetables.

Decrease the meat and increase the vegetables called for in stews and casseroles.

Add grated carrots, zucchini or cabbage to chili and meatloaf.

Offer washed and trimmed carrot and celery sticks for snacking.

Add finely grated carrots, pumpkin, or zucchini to baked breads and cakes.

INCREASING WHOLE GRAINS

Substitute whole-wheat flour for bleached white flour when you bake.

Top casseroles with wheat germ or whole-wheat bread crumbs.

Serve bran-based cereals, or those made from shredded wheat.

Serve imaginative whole-grain side dishes (bulgur, kasha, etc.) instead of egg noodles.

Offer crackers and corn chips containing whole grains.

REDUCING FAT

Cook with less fat by using non-stick skillets.

Blot all fried meats on paper towels.

Add a spoon of water or broth as needed instead of more fat when sautéing onions and vegetables.

Substitute low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise.

Substitute ground turkey for ground beef.

REDUCING SALT

Substitute lemon juice or herbs for salt when cooking pasta or grains.

Avoid cooking with soy or Worcestershire sauce.

Substitute garlic or onion powder for garlic or onion salt.

Avoid using products that contain monosodium glutamate.

Use unsalted or low-salt vegetable broths and products.

REDUCING SUGAR

Choose canned fruits packed in water instead of heavy syrup.

Use only fresh-frozen fruit without added sugar if fresh is unavailable.

Cut the sugar called for in most recipes by one-third to one-half.

Sweeten waffles and quick breads with cinnamon and vanilla or almond extracts.

Add pureed banana to baked goods and reduce the sugar or applesauce to reduce the fat (oil/butter)

 

Making Healthy Choices – The Fewest Ingredients Wins

Is it just me, or does it seems like there are more contradictions than ever about diet and nutrition? Milk is the new super food. Milk, public enemy number one. Eat more protein. Eat less protein. Fats are bad for you. Fats are good for you. It’s making my head spin trying to keep track of it all.

There is one way to make sure to “do it right”, and that is to eat foods in their natural state. We talk about this at the dinner table quite often with the kids. We play the “which is healthier game”. For example, which is healthier a banana or a granola bar? When they are not sure, I tell them to count the ingredients. The one with the fewest ingredients wins… every time. I try to make sure and always compare a fruit or veggie to something else, so the winner is always the item with only one ingredient.

I know how easy it is to choose the processed stuff, since this type of food product has been modified to last longer, manufactured to distribute easier, and is more convenient to store and use. As moms, having access to processed foods can be a life saver.

However, we may want to re-think the way we use processed foods. Take apple juice as an example. Even the simple act of removing the pulp to make apple juice detracts from its value for both health and weight loss. A medium size apple contains just 72 calories and over 3 grams of fiber, while 8 FL Oz of apple juice contains 120 calories and no fiber at all. And I’m talking about pure, “healthy” apple juice.

What if we start using processed and pre-packaged foods more for emergencies only? For ourselves and for our kids, when we have a choice to make (and we have more than 20 seconds to get out the door), choose the apple. You will never go wrong by choosing the apple.

 

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