Promising Solutions for Weight Loss Results

The buzz in weight loss these days is to decrease carbohydrates and reduce calories. However, if you decrease carbohydrates too much, blood sugar drops, stress hormones increase (cortisol rises) and insulin levels become imbalanced. When this occurs, the body resists weight loss. A better approach is to modify the types of carbohydrates eaten to allow blood sugar, insulin and cortisol levels to remain stable. Eliminating refined starches and simple sugars is a perfect start.

Next is the selection of quality protein (lean meats, poultry, fish, whey and eggs or egg whites). Increasing protein decreases the potential for weight gain and regain. Higher protein, combined with a lower intake of starch and sugar also has a favorable impact on belly fat.

Fat intake alone will not impact insulin or cortisol levels, but the combination of fat, starch and sugar eaten together spells disaster. The combination of protein and vegetables, however, does not spike hormonal imbalances. Additionally, protein and vegetables sources suppress hunger and increase fiber. This is a powerful punch to enhance fat burning at the cell level.

Obviously some individuals lose weight and burn fat quicker than others, but results are achievable for everyone with a positive mind-set and personal commitment to one-self. Losing weight is a systematic process that takes time. Be patient, results will not happen overnight.

The Fat Burning Plan

A healthy, fat burning plan limits the intake of simple sugar and starch, increases quality protein, vegetables and legumes, includes small portions of low-sugar fruits, advocates healthy fats rich in omega fatty acids and allows for skim or low fat dairy and dairy substitutes. The fat burning plan requires meal spacing and exercise. No skipping these two.

For exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a minimum of 150-250 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week and resistance exercise at least 2x/week. You can split exercise sessions into 10-minute bouts performed 2-3 times/day, or cut back the intensity and increases the duration to a do-able amount for your body.

When choosing an exercise plan, pick something you enjoy! If it’s walking the dog, gardening, hiking, using in-home equipment, swimming or biking, make it a routine. Set realistic goals and schedule your exercise in advance. Make an appointment with yourself.

I also recommend self-monitoring weekly activity and food intake. When you have a visual, the success rate increases dramatically. There are several aps to help with this or you can journal by hand.

Finally, when attacking fat stores, expect to lose no more than 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. This equates to 5,250 to 7,000 calories burned per week! If you are losing more than 2 pounds per week, the additional loss is likely water or lean body mass.

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Dieters Beware!

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Quick and Easy Weight Loss…Not so Fast

According to recent data (MarketResearch.com 2014), approximately a third of the U.S. population, over 100 million Americans are on a weight-loss “diet” at any given time. Americans spend billions of dollars each year desperately trying to lose weight, yet the ability to maintain results remains a mystery for most. One of the several reasons diets fail in the long run is due to an exponential explosion in advertising deception. Marketing campaigns professing their program (product or diet) is the “weight loss solution” for America. These claims are simply false, misleading and ambiguous. Not surprisingly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that over fifty percent of weight-loss advertisements make claims that lack scientific data supporting lasting results. As a consumer, you deserve to be aware of the marketing strategies being used against you before embarking on a program or investing in a product that may prove to be deceptive in the long run.

Deciphering Dubious Claims

Most weight loss “diets” have specific rules. Unfortunately, they vary from program to program. Do you cut calories, eliminate fat, reduce carbohydrates, eliminate dairy, increase protein, or select gluten free? Exercise at a high intensity, low intensity, lift weights or perform whole body training? It’s very confusing and the options are endless! To evaluate a nutritional product, exercise program or diet, look at the claims. If it transmits to one of these words or phrases, remain skeptical.

New Discovery                  Mysterious               Easy

Breakthrough                      Magical                    Exotic

Exclusive                              Miraculous               Effortless

Ancient Research             Amazing                   One of a Kind

Money Back                        No Risk                      Quick Start

 

SUPERMARKET SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR 2014

The first step to eating smart and preventing weight gain in the New Year begins with the shopping cart.  From the moment you step in the grocery store, be sure to stock up on power foods before anything else.

1.  Hit the fruit and vegetable isle first.  The is one of the most important choices you can make to maintain your health.  The darker the color for vegetables in general, the higher the nutrient content.  Romaine lettuce, for example, has six times more vitamin C and eight times fore vital A by weight than iceberg lettuce.

2.  Choose beef that is labeled with the words loin, 99% fat free ground beef, leg and round cuts.  Pork should be purchased as tenderloin, leg, shoulder or canadian bacon.  Veal is generally all lean unless it is ground.  Choose poultry without skin, ground breast of turkey/chicken and lean white meat (chicken breast) over dark (legs & wings).  Opt for fresh fish, frozen filets or shellfish over breaded or fried varieties.  Deli meats should be broiled, baked, lean (at least 95% fat-free) and free of injected oils or nitrates.

3.  Choose non-fat, skim or 1% milk fat dairy or non-dairy alternatives.  The calcium content of low-fat dairy products is still equal to or greater than that of full-fat products.  You’ll still get bone-building nutrition but without the extra fat.  If you prefer non-dairy items, almond milk, soy milk and flax milk are good options.

4.  Fats.  The more liquid a fat, the better!  When you are shopping, look for unsaturated fats and oils (olive, canola, safflower, grape seed extract or corn oil) over lard, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated soy bean oils.

5.  Dressings and Condiments.  Look for low-fat or fat free dressings, fat-free mayonnaise, reduced fat peanut or nut butter, low-sugar jams and jelly, low-sugar syrups and sugar-free gelatins and puddings.

6.  An average supermarket has well over 30,000 foods in the store.  The ones they want you to buy are often high in fats and carbohydrate and usually stocked at eye level.  Be on guard for tempting cookies and candies, high-sugar cereals, pre-packaged snacks and chips, packaged baked goods, cake mixes, pies, breads, pastries, sugary sodas, pre-made pizza, fat filled frozen dinners and most boxed foods.

7.  Never, never shop on an empty stomach.  Make a power food shopping list and stick to it.  If you keep it up, your body will love you forever!

 

Boost Immunity, Reduce Stress and Fight Common Ailments with YOGA

Practicing yoga can help unite the mind and body in a way that fosters health and well-being.  Numerous studies have shown that yoga positively affects the body’s musculoskeletal, circulatory, endocrine and nervous systems.  Yoga can also increase muscular strength, balance , flexibility, precision of movement and tonicity while reducing the risk of injury commonly found in contact sports and high-impact exercise.

Additional good news!  Yoga’s influence on health is gaining increased recognition in mainstream medical circles.  Studies from the Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts Medical Center conclusively show that yoga and meditative relaxation boost immunity, reduce stress and aid in the healing of many chronic illnesses.  This is why many prestigious hospitals and wellness centers now offer yoga classes to their patients. Powerful proof that yoga is beneficial to our health!  Ready to give it a try?

Yoga for Immunity and the Common Cold – Downward Facing-Dog

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Yoga helps keep the immune system strong on a day-to-day basis using poses, asanas, to lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system.  It also strengthens your resistance to viral and bacterial intruders that lead to infection.  Recommended asanas (like Downward Facing-Dog, Camel Pose, Child’s Pose, Supported Bridge, Cobra Pose, Back Bends, Forward Bends and Twists) also condition the lungs and respiratory tract, stimulate the lymphatic system to release toxins and bring clean, oxygenated blood to the organs.

Yoga for Insomnia – Standing Forward Bend

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If you have difficulty falling asleep, stress is a likely culprit.  Regular asana practice can reduce tension and help you wind down when it is time for bed.  Calming asanas such as forward bends, twists, simple inversions, lying with your feet elevated or up on the wall and gentle breathing can all help with insomnia.

Yoga for Back Pain – Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend

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When it comes to back pain, consistent stretching of the low back and hamstrings are your best bet.  Backaches can result from injury, overuse or mis-use, but the prime culprit often lies in mis-alignment.  A constant tug-of-war between your abdominals pulling the pelvis forward and the hamstrings counter pulling the pelvis back.  Yoga poses like the Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend give the spine and opportunity to lengthen horizontally while the hamstrings and inner thigh muscles lengthen vertically, thus reducing pressure on the back.  Another good way to stretch the low back is to lie down while drawing your knees into the chest and lifting your nose toward your knees (like giving yourself a big hug).

Yoga for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Cobra Pose

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Mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be treated with asanas that facilitate wrist rejuvenation and counteract repetitive movements, stress and strain on the upper back, neck, shoulders, hands, arms and wrists.  A regular practice of yoga can strengthen these areas and reduce overall physical stress by teaching you how to be aware of your posture, alignment and breathing – how to sit, lift, stand and stretch – when performing activities that contribute to CTS.

Yoga for Strained Eyes and Blurry Vision – Corpse Pose

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Blurry vision, distorted vision and stinging dry eyes are common in individuals who sit at a computer or mobile device for more than three hours at a time.  It is also common in individuals who study, read or do paper work for extended periods without a break. The best remedy – dim the lights, lie down and take a break.  If you are in an office setting and you cannot lie down, force yourself to get up and stretch at least once for every hour spent at the computer.  Close your eyes, quiet your mind, practice deep breathing and let your mind relax!

Two Great Suspension Training Exercises

Top Picks for Upper Body Conditioning and Core Strength

1.  Suspended Side Plank:  Lower suspension cables so they hover about 12-14 inches off the floor.  Using your forearms for support, place your feet into the suspended cables.  Move your upper body into a push-up position.  Gradually rotate (spiral) to one side.  Hold  position for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.  You can alternate repetitions between each side or perform multiple sets (8-10 reps each) on one side before switching to the other side.

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2.  Angled Push-Up on One Leg:  Raise suspension cables to armpit height or above.  Grasp the cable handles and move forward into a leaning position.  The greater the lean, the harder the exercise.  Lift one leg keep it elevated throughout the duration of your set.  Perform 12-15 push-ups, or as many as needed to reach a state of momentary muscle fatigue without losing your form.

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Intro To The Schwarzbein Principle for Weight Loss

Sometime ago, I read a book by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville entitled “The Schwarzbein Principle – The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger.”  From my perspective, I found their material quite interesting and factual.  Much appreciated was an approach that did not suggest fad dieting, miracle pills, potions or weight loss gimmicks.  Just clean, healthy eating with real foods designed to decrease the metabolic aging process, balance hormonal response and improve overall sense of well-being.  Fast forward to 2013 and I have sense read many, many books advocating the basic guidelines presented by Dr. Schwarzbein and Nancy Deville in 1999.   The following are key elements to consider:

  1. To maintain hormonal balance, particularly insulin, and hunger control,  you don’t want to skip meals.  When you skip meals, a number of things can happen.  You can become mentally unfocused, tired, and blood sugar levels can drop. When they drop too low, a person may start to get light headed, dizzy, sick to their stomach and feel the urge to eat even more at their next meal.
  2. Try to eliminate the consumption of man-made, artificial, processed and packaged foods.  These items contain food substitutes, chemical compounds and preservatives that are not good for our bodies.
  3. Try to eat real foods in their most natural state (fresh fish, tofu, pasteurized milk, whole cottage cheese and yogurt, nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality protein, lean meats, eggs, flax seed oil, olive oil, 100% all natural nut butter or peanut butter, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables).  Real foods spell healthy food.  They provide our bodies with good nutrition for healthy living.
  4. Eat a variety of good fats, real foods, non-starchy vegetables and protein at each meal.  Note the phrase “at each meal.”  The combination will not only provide you with essential nutrients and productive enzymes, it will help to satisfy hunger between feeding.
  5. Avoid taking too many over-the-counter medications, drugs, excess stimulants and refined alcohol.  Many of these contain by-products which are filtered through the liver (hopefully) and stored as toxins in our fat cells.
  6. Exercise on a regular basis.  Regular varies from individual to individual.  For myself, I try to stay active on most days of the week.  Five to six is my personal exercise goal.  Two to three days/week is beneficial.  One to two days/week is better than no exercise at all.

Believe me, these simple steps can have a major impact on your health and well-being! If you live a fast-paced and busy lifestyle (eat most of your meals out side the home) try following the 80/20 rule.  Follow the steps eighty percent of the time, give yourself a break twenty percent of the time.  Enjoy life and be good to your body!

Understanding Food Labels

Understanding how to read a food label will help keep you abreast of wise food selections for yourself and your family.  For  consumers, it breaks down to an applicable knowledge on product packaging.  Digging deeper and looking at the nitty gritty of ingredients going into our bodies.  Mainly, the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and artificial flavorings that are hidden in products you buy.

For example, did you know that the label on a Kid Cuisine Fried Chicken Dinner says it is “88% fat free” but the actual fat amount is close to 50% of the fat a child should eat for the entire day?  Some labels list the percentage of fat in the product by weight rather than calories of fat per serving.  To find the calories of fat per serving, simply multiply the total grams of fat by 9.  Look at the total number of calories per serving compared to the total number of calories from fat.  If it is over 30%, buyer beware!

Real Fruit Additions.  Did you ever notice that the package on Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars say “made with real fruit” but the actual amount of fruit per bar is only 1/50 of an apple?  Any inclusion of fruit, no matter how much or how little, allows the manufacture to say it is “made with real fruit.”  I would rather buy something without fruit and add my own later.

Wheat and Whole Wheat.  Did you know that the words “wheat” or “whole wheat” on a label don’t guarantee the flour is whole grain?  Nabisco Whole Wheat Premium Plus Saltines, Nabisco Wheatsworth, Pepperidge Farm Hearty Wheat and similar “whole wheat” crackers all have more white flour than wheat flour.

Oat Bran.  Did you know that you would have to eat almost 28 bowls (over 3,000 calories) of Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal to get as much oat bran as you would in one bowl of hot, oat bran cereal?  The packaged name of a product does not necessarily justify the ingredients that are in the product.  Real oats are much healthier and less expensive than some of the top-brand, packaged cereals.

Beef Franks and Fat-Free Hot Dogs.  Did you know that a standard beef frank labeled 73% fat free has over 12 grams of fat and 130 calories per serving?  As a consumer, you might notice the label and automatically think “this beef frank must be ok – it’s low in fat”, right?  Once again, remember to look at the number of fat grams per serving.  In this case, 12 grams.  12 x 9 calories/gram = 108 fat calories in one beef frank with 130 calories.  The hot dog is really 83% fat.

If you would like additional help in understanding the new food labels, please call or email our office.  We’ll take you on a tour of the shopping isles and teach you what to put in and leave out of your cart!