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Positive Life Changes with Natural Weight Loss

Making positive life changes with natural weight loss will make you look and feel great.

Making positive life changes with natural weight loss requires commitment. There are no quick fixes when it comes to losing weight and building healthy habits for a lifetime. However, there are two basic concepts that you must understand before you will be able to lose weight. Calorie intake and physical activity. If you are consistently burning more calories than you eat, you will lose weight.

Positive Life Changes with Natural Weight Loss

It took more time than you think for those extra pounds to push you into the next larger clothing size. Weight loss can’t be accomplished in a week — or likely even a month, if you have a lot of pounds to take off. According to MayoClinic.com, the proven method to lose weight is to count calories and boost your level of physical activity. If you’re doing everything right, you should be able to safely lose 1 to 2 lbs. a week. If you’re not, take a look at what you can do to speed up your weight loss plan.

Calorie Reduction

Step 1

Do a calorie re-count. Harvard School of Public Health explains the equation to weight gain is anything but complex: if you consume more calories than you burn, the excess is stored in the form of body fat. One lb. of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Cutting 500 calories from what your body needs to maintain its current weight should result in 1 lb. of weight loss each week. But you don’t have to cut calories that drastically; if you only cut out 100 calories each day — less than what’s in a single can of regular soda — you’ll lose 10 lbs. of weight in one year.

Eliminate sugary, fatty snacks from your life. Skip the calorie-dense snacks that may be a part of your customary routine, such as the gourmet coffee drink you have for breakfast or the cookies you mindlessly reach for after a meal. If you crave a snack, reach for healthy, lower-calorie substitutes, such as 3 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn or 1 2/3 cups grapes, each of which weigh in at 100 calories.

Step 3

Eat servings — not portions. A portion is all of the food you can eat in a single sitting. The Cleveland Clinic explains that your perception of what constitutes a serving size is skewed by generous “super-sized” portions you get when eating out. Consult the Nutrition Facts panel on the foods you buy to see how many servings there are in the package or can so you don’t overeat. When you prepare your own food, downsize your portions visually. A 3-oz. serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A baked potato is about the size of a fist. And a serving of cheese is the size of four die stacked together.

Step 4

Give some love to healthy foods. A healthy diet that gives you all of your essential nutrients consists of foods from all four food groups, including vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods, low- or non-fat dairy foods, lean sources of protein, nuts and seeds. Keep the discretionary calories you get from fatty and sugary foods at a bare minimum; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many people go overboard on foods high in sugar and fat, as well as alcohol. Most people have only between 100 and 300 discretionary calories at their disposal.

Physical Activity

Step 1

Ask your doctor if it’s safe to get active. If you want to speed up weight loss, regular exercise gives you a distinct advantage. But, there are times when you need your doctor’s OK. If you’re a man or woman age 45 and 55, respectively, if you’ve been sedentary for a long time or if you have health complications such as heart disease or diabetes that make physical activity a risky endeavor, seek your doctor’s advice before hitting the gym.

Step 2

Focus on cardiovascular activity. Cardiovascular activity is any exercise that gets your blood and heart pumping and makes you break a sweat. According to the American Council on Exercise, most healthy adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity almost every day of the week. Don’t limit yourself to walking or jogging; choose an activity that motivates you to keep moving, be it dancing, rowing or cycling.

Step 3

Build lean muscle. ACE indicates that strength training often falls a distant second to cardiovascular activity; however, it’s important, because it increases your lean muscle mass — and lean muscle burns more calories, even at rest. Start out with strength training sessions twice a week. Hit all of the major muscle groups. Once you can sufficiently perform 12 repetitions with ease, increase your repetitions and resistance.

Read More on living a healthy lifestyle on Livestrong.com

Of course everyone is different which means that no one program works for everyone. There are many health issues that can effect weight loss. In general if you work these steps on a regular basis you will notice positive life changes with natural weight loss.

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Check Your Thyroid If You Can’t Lose Weight

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Check your thyroid if you can't lose weight

Losing weight and keeping it off is often difficult for many people. Sometimes the problem can be traced back to a physical condition. If your doctor hasn’t mentioned it yet you may want to ask him or her to check your thyroid. If you can’t lose weight because of a sluggish thyroid or fluctuating hormones or low levels of certain nutrients there are things that your doctor can do to help.

Check Your Thyroid if You Can’t Lose Weight

Most of us already know that eating less and moving more are the keys to dropping extra pounds. But if you’re already doing everything “right” and can’t seem to lose weight — or are even gaining it — you may have a hidden health condition that’s sabotaging your efforts. And the symptoms may be so subtle that even your doctor can miss them. Here, some possible weight-loss blockers — and how to get the help you need.

A Sluggish Thyroid
Your thyroid gland makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) disrupts your metabolism, as well as many other aspects of your health. Some estimate that as many as 10 percent of adults have hypothyroidism, which is more common in women and is most often diagnosed in the 40s and 50s.

Could this be you? Besides weight gain or an inability to lose weight, you may notice fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, joint pain and muscle weakness, heavy periods, increased sensitivity to cold, even depression. Many people with low-grade hypothyroidism just feel “off,” with no obvious signs of being truly sick.

How to get tested: Ask your internist to run a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) screening. In general, the higher your TSH level, the slower your thyroid is. “While traditional ‘normal’ values are between .45 and 4.5, if your level is above 2, you might still struggle to lose weight,” explains Dr. Jamie Kane, M.D., medical director of Park Avenue Medical Weight and Wellness in New York City. Your doctor may also want to check your levels of T-3 and T-4, the two main thyroid hormones.

But hypothyroidism isn’t always a straight numbers game; more and more doctors are now treating the symptoms, not just the blood-test results. “If a patient isn’t feeling well, it’s often because her thyroid isn’t functioning as well as it should for her body,” says Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., an internist in New York City.

How it’s treated: Your doc will usually start by prescribing a low-dose T-4 thyroid hormone like Synthroid. If your symptoms don’t improve, discuss upping your dosage or switching to a combination of T-3 and T-4.

Click here to read more from Jennifer Benjamin, in the CNN Health section.

You probably feel very discouraged at this point in your weight loss efforts, if you have tried many different weight loss programs you may think it won’t make any difference but have your doctor check your thyroid if you can’t lose weight. Even if you have had it checked before, sometimes you need a second opinion or a more thorough test. Don’t give up even if you have a thyroid problem with the right treatment and diet plan you can still lose weight!

 



 

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I Do All the Right Things and l Still Can't Lose Weight © Photographer Alexander Ryabchun | Agency: Dreamstime.com

This time of year always gets people in trouble because they’ve often made some ridiculous New Years resolution to lose a lot of weight very quickly. It probably seemed like a good idea a month ago, but in spite of  your new diet and extra workouts unfortunately it’s the same old problem, you say “I do all the right things and I still can’t lose weight.” Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., Lifescript Nutrition Expert has a full ten reasons why that happens all the time.

I Do All the Right Things and I Still Can’t Lose Weight

You’re no slacker when it comes to your health: You exercise, watch what you eat, use portion control, and can resist Ben & Jerry’s without a problem. Yet the scale needle still won’t budge. Why are so many dieters destined to regain lost weight or never lose anything at all?

Here are 10 reasons your body isn’t behaving:

Physical Factors
1. You don’t have enough muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Fat and muscle tissues consume calories all day long whether you’re running, reading or sleeping. No matter what you’re doing, muscle rips through more calories than fat.

That’s why men burn calories a lot faster than women; they have more muscle.

What to do: Lift weights. You don’t have to get huge, but building and maintaining muscle week after week, year after year makes a difference in the long run.

Registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Marci Anderson has her clients alternate between strength exercises and heart rate-raising cardio in each session.

“That way, their strength training includes the calorie-burning effect of cardio.”

2. Genetics: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
If both parents are obese, you are much more likely to be obese, says Jill Comess, M.S., R.D., food science and nutrition program director at Norfolk State University in Virginia.

“Researchers estimate that your genes account for at least 50% – and as much as 90% – of your stored body fat,” she says.

What to do: You’re not doomed. Your weight-loss challenge is just 10%-50% greater.

“Losing even just a few pounds makes you healthier and less likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer,” Comess says. “So you don’t have to be super-slim to improve your health.”

If an overweight woman loses even 5%-10% of her total body weight, she has a greater chance of reducing or getting off her high blood pressure or other meds, she adds.

If you’ve been saying for a long time; “I do all the right things and I still can’t lose weight” Click the link in the first paragraph to read eight more reasons your weight loss may not be going so well and what to do to change things around.

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How to Control Starchy Food Cravings

How to control starchy food cravings.

If you want to know how to control starchy food cravings then you must remember the brain runs the show when it comes to food. The dopamine is what creates the cravings.

Learning to switch from foods that produce craving to foods that do not will help you along in your weight loss goals. ABC’s Good Morning America published this piece on how to control food cravings.

How To Control Starchy Food Cravings

Ever felt like your constant cravings for chocolate, cookies or cheese are beyond your control? According to the author of Breaking the Food Seduction, you’re right.

There are biological reasons for those cravings, and people who think that they are too weak-willed to stop eating their favorite foods may simply be addicted to them, said Dr. Neal Barnard, president and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

“Certain foods — chocolates, cheeses, sugars, starches and meats — are capable of stimulating the same part of the brain that responds to alcohol, tobacco, even heroin,” Barnard said. “They unleash a chemical called dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical, and that’s why those foods are addictive.”

Foods that produce such cravings, and sabotage healthy diets, include sugary and starchy foods such as cookies, cakes and white bread, as well as chocolate, cheese and meat. As with drugs, coffee or alcohol, people go into withdrawal when they don’t have the foods.

“That’s where the cravings come from,” Barnard said. “People feel hooked on these foods.”

Mood-Lifting Meals

Those foods all stimulate the release of opiates in the brain, lifting your mood, he said.

Some are not only addicting, but are appetite stimulants as well.

They play havoc with your blood sugar, which brings on cravings. Basically, the rush of sugar in the blood causes a person’s energy to rise too quickly. After the rise, the energy falls just as quickly, so the person feels as though they need to eat something to bring it back up again.

Not all starchy foods are on the list. Pasta, for instance, does not cause a blood sugar spike.

“Eat it — it’s not a bad starch,” Barnard said.

Despite the fact that certain foods are addictive, it doesn’t mean people should cut them out of their diets entirely. Instead, they should give themselves a break for them. The more you eat, the more you crave, Barnard says.

“If you haven’t had chocolate for three weeks, you won’t crave it,” he said. “You’ll break the cycle.”

Like Mom Said, Eat a Good Breakfast

If you’re not eating your favorite foods, what do you eat? One of Barnard’s key recommendations is eating a good, solid breakfast every day. A good choice for breakfast is oatmeal — the old-fashioned kind.

“That phrase that it will “stick to your ribs” is true,” Barnard said.

His study found that instant oatmeal prompts children to actually snack more. The instant oatmeal is powdery and actually spikes blood sugar, but the oats in the old-fashioned kind are more fiber-filled and slow down digestion.

Also for breakfast, he recommends fresh fruit, whole-grained, darker breads and veggie sausage. Always choose darker breads over white bread, which is one of the addictive starches, he said. Veggie sausage can serve as a source of protein. In general, Americans need to look to plants for proteins, rather than animals, because they are lower in fat and cholesterol, Barnard said.

“This breakfast will block our food cravings because nothing in it stimulates dopamine,” Barnard said. “It blocks hunger, as opposed to no breakfast at all. Second, it is high in fiber, and will stick to your ribs, so you’re not dying of hunger by 10:30, and looking for a cookie.”

Dopamine isn’t bad, it is the behavior that releases it that becomes the problem. So clearly we need to replace eating with another less destructive behavior. Exercise is the most logical choice because it is so beneficial in so many ways, but mostly because when we exercise we release “feel good” hormones. Pay close attention to advice on how to control starchy food cravings and you will have greater success losing weight.

Click here to read more from ABC’s Good Morning America

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Incredible Ways to Customize A Healthy Meal Plan

Incredible ways to customize a healthy meal plan.

Many people are concerned about their weight and are trying to eat better. The problem is many times diets have foods that don’t work well with our lifestyle or our palate. These tips are for anyone who needs incredible ways to customize a healthy meal plan so that you and your family can stick to it and finally get in shape.

Sandra Brown, Food Safety and nutrition faculty for Washington State University writes for the Columbian and has many useful tips to guide you so you can achieve your weight loss goals.

Incredible Ways to Customize a Healthy Meal Plan

Cutting just a few hundred calories per day can reap big benefits to your health. Fish, like this Herb Crusted Tilapia, lots of fresh vegetables and brown rice creates a healthy and still delicious meal.

“The word diet really means a healthy eating plan aimed at attaining and maintaining good health permanently for the entire family. It is not a temporary plan, but one that everyone in the family sustains for the rest of their lives. A healthy diet includes balanced food choices, appropriate serving sizes, plenty of plain water, activity and rest,” writes Brown.

This week, she presents 10 tips for planning healthy meals:

  1. Take time to plan. Plan meals a week or more ahead. Then shop for what you need for those meals.
  2. Try to have two or more different fruits and/or vegetables in each meal. This allows for more variety and color in your meals.
  3. When making casseroles, soups and sauces make extra to put into the freezer for lunch options or quick meals for another day.
  4. Cook once; eat two or three times. Cook a chicken or large roast in the crock pot and then plan two to four meals from that one protein item. Chicken can become enchiladas, topping for salad, chicken soup, pasta and chicken with marinara sauce, stir fry or chicken wraps with lots of veggies.
  5. Cut up fresh vegetables like peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli and make your own pre-packaged vegetables ready for salads, snacks, or veggie wraps Consider freezing them to use in soups. It saves time on chopping.
  6. Buy and eat seasonally. If buying fresh produce, seasonal produce is much more flavorful and cheaper. If you want some that is out of season consider frozen or canned. They are still full of nutrients and cheaper than fresh out of season. Also consider preserving your own produce when in season or on sale.
  7. Change up your salads by using colorful vegetables or adding black beans, shredded radishes, or chopped red cabbage. Cut the vegetables differently, dice one time and shred the next.
  8. Always keep canned tomatoes, kidney or garbanzo beans, mushrooms and beets on hand to add to soups, casseroles, sauces, etc.
  9. The color of the food is not an indication of whole grain. Read ingredients lists for wholegrain first on the list. Look for ‘whole wheat’ ‘brown rice’ ‘whole oats’. Words like multi-grain and stone-ground are not always whole grain and may not even contain any whole grain.
  10. Mix whole grains in casseroles, soups, and stir fry. Try brown rice in casseroles, or whole grain pasta in macaroni and cheese.
Start thinking about healthy foods you know you already like and look up recipes online that have those ingredients in them. Make sure to watch the fat and calories, sugar and salt. Another idea is to take a recipe you love that may not be a good choice for a healthy diet but with some substitutions could still be included. I actually learned how to cook my moms meat chili without red meat and by adding extra vegetables and beans it has become a favorite healthy go-to recipe. There are many incredible ways to customize a healthy meal plan without sacrificing your favorites.
Add your comments and questions below and tell us what’s on your mind.

 

 

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Quickest and Easiest Way to Lose Weight

Quickest and Easiest Way to Lose Weight

Almost every American wants the quickest and easiest way to lose weight but doesn’t want to put forth the time and effort that is required to shed those pounds/inches. Losing weight is hard of course and we don’t like to do it. Jodie Orwig educates us about the right way to lose weight with this informative article on the York Daily Record.

Quickest and Easiest Way to Lose Weight

So you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and it’s only January. Losing weight is one of the most commonly made and most frequently broken New Year’s resolutions.

One reason is because the average dieter is looking for the quickest and easiest way to lose weight, which usually leads to falling into the fad diet trap. For most, fad diets are rarely adhered to long-term, and any weight lost is usually regained.

Fad diets are easily detectable. Promises of fast weight loss of more than one to two pounds per week, weight loss without required exercises, great-tasting special supplements and foods or too-good-to-be-true before and after photos in advertising are just some red flags to look for. Fad diets often emphasize eliminating one food or food group, which can be dangerous.

To determine if a diet plan is right for you make sure that it: includes foods from all five food groups, foods you would enjoy eating for the rest of your life and some of your favorite foods; encourages the proper number of servings from each food group; fits your budget and lifestyle; and includes regular physical activity.

Trim down without the fad diet approach with these suggestions:

  • Become a mindful eater. Pay attention to your body. Stop eating before you feel stuffed. Leave food on your plate.
  • Eat at least three times per day and plan meals in advance.
  • Use a smaller plate. A 9-inch plate is recommended.
  • Balance your plate with the proper portions. Half the plate should be vegetable,¼ should be lean meat, fish, or poultry, and ¼ should be grains. Round out the meal with 8 ounces of fat-free milk and a piece of fruit for dessert.
  • Drink plenty of calorie free beverages. You may be thirsty rather than hungry.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen. Don’t eat in the car, bedroom, or TV room.
  • Enjoy your meal for at least 20 minutes. Eating fast does not allow time for your brain to realize that you are full.
  • Get leftovers in the fridge before you begin eating your meal. This will help you avoid having seconds.If you are eating to deal with feelings other than hunger, such as boredom, stress, habit or being tired, here are some things to try:
  • Call a friend for support.
  • Use inspirational quotes to help avoid temptation to eat.
  • Take a warm bath or shower.
  • Listen to music or a relaxation CD.
  • Take a walk.
  • Try activities that keep you from eating, such as exercise or gardening.Now, it’s time to set some realistic goals. Start with two or three specific, measurable and attainable goals. Track your progress by keeping food and activity logs. When you have accomplished a goal, give yourself a reward. Eventually, these attained goals will become habits or lifestyle changes. Here’s to a healthier 2012!

I think the author makes two very important points when she says that a diet should include food you will want to eat for the rest of your life and that it should fit both your budget and your lifestyle. I find that a lot of us force ourselves to eat salads or other foods that we don’t necessarily like when we’re on a mission to lose weight. Then someone in the office, or your husband/wife/parents and/or kids has to go and order pizza or food from your favorite restaurant. It looks so delicious and you’re so tempted. So you give in “just this once.” Too much temptation and not enough time to work out are the two “biggest” excuses.

Like I said, it’s hard work. To wrap things up I can just say that your life will be so much easier once you stop trying to find the quickest and easiest way to lose weight and follow the suggestions above. I wish you a happy weight loss journey!

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Stop the Diet Sabotage!

 

Stop the diet sabotage and stick to your plan!

We need to stop the diet sabotage now! There is no hiding from the fact that Americans are fat. Sadly, we see this every day when we walk around places like Wal-Mart or a mall and we see young children who are obese; every bit the product of inactivity in favor of sitting around playing video games and/or watching tv and having what I call “hand-to-mouth disease.”

I can almost gaurantee that %99.99 of Americans’ first New Years resolution was/is “to lose weight.” In order to help with that resolution The FIRM nutrition expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N. wrote an article about the things we do to sabatage our weight loss goals. Please, stop the diet sabotage!

Do you eat well most of the time, but just can’t seem to lose stubborn pounds? It could be that you are eating the right foods, but in the wrong combinations. Or you could be eating the right combinations of food, but not timing your meals correctly. No matter how you slice it, your weight loss is determined by your metabolism. A revved-up metabolism will easily yield more weight loss than a sluggish one. The good news is that you do have control over your fat-burning capacity!

We are not created equal

Before I teach you how to eat well for an active metabolism, let me dispel the myth that we are all created equal. When it comes to calories-in and calories-out, we are NOT all equal. I might work with two clients who are the same age, same sex, and do the same amount of exercise, yet one can get away with eating a lot more food than the other, and still lose weight. Some of it will depend on muscle mass (the more muscle, the higher the metabolism), however some of it is just straight genetics. This is one of the reasons that obesity runs in families.

To help rev-up your metabolism, I offer the top eight ways we slow it down and how to avoid them.

1. Not eating enough during the day

Not eating enough during the day slows down your metabolism two ways. First, your body thinks it’s starving, so it will slow down your calorie-burning capacity in order to “survive.” Second, you are likely to make up for low caloric intake in the last few hours of the day, causing your body to hang on to the food through the night in preparation for another day of “starving.” Plain and simple — eat early and eat often — it will get your engine revving on high!

2. Not drinking enough fluids

Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to turn up your fat-burning capacity. I cannot say that drinking water alone will cause weight loss; however, if you are eating a perfect diet, but are dehydrated, you will lose less weight. When your body is dehydrated it cannot burn fat. So please, get 64 ounces per day—and as a bonus your hair and skin will shine!

3. All-or-nothing dieting

One of the biggest problems with “fad” and “crash” diets is that they usually provide a very low calorie allowance. Not only will this cause your body to burn fewer calories, but it will also make you more likely to binge. A slower metabolism combined with an increased likelihood of binging spells disaster. So play it safe; find a well-balanced diet that does not overly restrict calories.

4. Eating too much sugar

I often find that my clients are eating the right amount of calories for weight loss, but are not losing weight. The culprit is

                                           

Stop the diet sabotage and live the life you deserve!

usually sugar. Sugars and refined carbs have the unique ability to stop weight loss in its tracks. Think of this: Your body is burning fat (from your hips, maybe?), and all of a sudden it gets an influx of sugar. It will use the sugar as energy and promptly stop burning the fat. So really, cut the sugar.

5. Not weight-training

So many of my clients tell me about the hours they spend on the treadmill — thinking that this is the secret ingredient to burning more calories. Sadly, it just doesn’t work out. Sure, you burn more calories by walking on the treadmill than by lying on the couch; however, without the proper amount of weight training, you will not increase your metabolism. Your resting metabolism is directly affected by how much muscle you have — so go on,build more muscle!

6. “Eating back” your exercise calories

Many people want to know how many calories their exercise session burned. Usually the reason they want this information is to quantify it in terms of food. In other words, they justify eating a candy bar since they already worked off those calories. However, this equation just doesn’t work. You’ll end up not losing weight, or you might even gain some weight. So remember, food and exercise are separate issues.

7. Drinking too much alcohol

There is nothing wrong with a few cocktails per week, but too many will absolutely reduce your fat-burning capability. Not only does alcohol provide a hefty dose of calories, but it also stops fat burning in its tracks (similar to sugar). Add in the side effect of the increased hunger you might feel while imbibing, and you’ve set yourself up for weight loss failure. Enjoy your cocktails… sparingly.

8. Skimping on protein

During the low-fat food craze of the late 1980s, we all became afraid of protein. It was linked to higher-fat diets, and many trendy diets limited protein to 2 ounces per meal. This has a disastrous consequence on weight loss. When you skimp on protein, your body has to burn its own muscle for fuel, resulting in decreased lean muscle mass. Less muscle means less calorie-burning action! Additionally, without adequate protein you can’t build more muscle mass (to burn calories). And lastly, diets that are low in protein cause increased sugar cravings. So eat your protein, often!

The New Year is the perfect time to commit to healthy living, which includes a balanced and consistent exercise and nutrition plan. Let’s kick this year off right!

I found the first point very interesting. While we all know that starving yourself isn’t going to provide continued weight loss, most people might not realize that while it seems counterintuitive to eat more to lose weight, doing so will actually help you! I have been told by several trainers that eating 3-5 smaller balanced meals a day in addition to exercise is the ideal way to lose weight. Drinking water is a great way to help curb cravings and surprisingly it will make you feel full for a little while so you eat less.

A caveat on the protein portion however, would be that you don’t want to eat too much protein because your body will have trouble breaking it down and eliminating all the waste products of that breakdown. All of these suggestions are great. I don’t think I can name one person who is not on a mission to lose weight or maintain their weight (I know less of the latter.) I look forward to implementing these steps in my own weight loss plan. Who is with me? Together let’s stop the diet sabotage!

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Balance Your Life,Balance Your Weight

Balance your life, balance your weight

Balance your life, balance your weight say many health professionals. How does a person have balance in their life and isn’t balance different for everyone? I am always looking for insightful answers to the complex issues around weight loss and body image.

The following article by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP appeared on a website I really trust and enjoy called Women to Women. I enjoyed it very much, I hope you do too.

Balance Your Life, Balance Your Weight

Over the years I’m sure I’ve lost over 100 pounds — the same 10 pounds, 10 times! And so many of my patients tell me the same thing, I wonder how many American women (and their daughters) are on a diet on any given day. We spend billions of dollars a year on diets and weight loss products, yet nearly two-thirds of us are overweight — a trend that’s steadily inching upwards along with our waistlines!

Never mind that all these weight loss efforts don’t work, we are putting ourselves through hell to get nowhere. I’ve seen women willing to sacrifice just about anything to lose weight — even their health and well-being. But when I tell women I have a solution for them that doesn’t involve suffering or a magical pill, many say, “Oh, come on, Marcelle, can I really lose weight the natural way?”

The answer, I assure you, is “Yes!” I wholeheartedly believe you can lose weight, and that you can do it naturally without starving yourself, without eating food that doesn’t resemble food, without gimmicks, drugs or fad diets. You can do it and create balance, health, and well-being in your life while you’re at it.

                

Balance your life, balance your weight

I’ve worked hard on this issue in my practice, and in over 25 years of clinical experience, I’ve developed a highly effective way to help women unravel the stubborn knot of issues surrounding unwanted excess weight.There are five essential areas to address:

Overcoming weight loss resistance

These are the systemic imbalances I see most often undermine weight loss efforts and create weight loss resistance:

  • Hormonal
  • Adrenal
  • Neurotransmitter

Weight loss in one word: balance

Think of your body like your home. When everything is running smoothly in my house, I can create delicious meals in a well-organized kitchen, I can entertain and enjoy my guests, I can feel the sunlight beaming through the windows, I feel at peace yet poised to resolve a crisis if one should arise, I feel spontaneous and generous.

Even my family seems to get along better when the house is in order. This is also true of our bodies. When all the major systems are in balance, we not only feel good, but our adrenal glands are able to protect us, our hormones relay their messages smoothly, our digestive system can adequately nourish us, and we can efficiently get rid of or “detoxify” the things we don’t need. All of our systems depend on one another and if one is out of balance, the others can suffer, making weight loss a miserable uphill battle.

Discovering if you have a systemic imbalance in your body may be the missing piece to your weight loss puzzle. Whether it’s hormonal imbalance, adrenal dysfunction, neurotransmitter, digestive, inflammatory, or detoxification system imbalance, correcting it is key to natural and lasting weight loss — and to your overall health. Because once your body is restored to its natural balance, excess weight will come off. To learn if your stubborn weight could be rooted in one of these imbalances, take ourWeight Loss Profile.

Getting the right raw materials — nutrients your body can put to good use

Most of us were raised to think that if we only ate less and exercised more, we could easily lose weight. I found out the hard way that the calories in/calories out concept just doesn’t work for everyone. When I was just 19 I joined Weight Watchers to lose weight and followed all the rules — counting calories religiously and exercising vigorously — but only lost a half pound! It wasn’t until years later, after learning that I was gluten-sensitive that I was able to solve my personal weight loss puzzle.

No doubt we’ll continue to hear that it all comes down to calories and will-power. But the reality is, if you eat 1,200 calories of junk versus 1,200 calories of balanced nutrition, the messages your body receives are drastically different — no matter how much you exercise. Make that a lifelong pattern and over time — no matter what the Twinkie diet guru says — it’s going to make a huge difference to your wellness and your waistline.

  • Strive to eat whole, natural foods. Load up on vegetables and fruit, emphasize plant-based proteins like nuts and legumes, use whole grains in moderation rather than refined flours and sugars, and select high-quality meat and fish — the less processed the better.
  • Help your metabolism operate at full capacity with a high-quality multivitamin/ mineral complex like the one we offer in our Personal Program. We also now offer a delicious snack shake in that will not only satisfy your hunger, but help to support your metabolism. This micronutrient and phytonutrient support will help ensure that your cellular pathways are continually supplied to function well each day.
  • Drink plenty of filtered spring water, mineral water, or freshly brewed or iced herbal tea or green tea each day, to help flush any built-up “clutter” from your system.
As I get older I realize how important it is to recharge my emotional and spiritual self. I think that is an important part of finding balance. You’ll be amazed but it’s true you can balance your life, balance your weight and really take the best possible care of yourself. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

 

 

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Controlling Weight Gain During and After Menopause

Controlling Weight Gain During and After Menopause

Are you interested in controllling weight gain during and after menopause?  Well the more information you are armed with the easier the transition will be.  Hormonal changes can be the hardest to manage at any age if you add the concerns about children growing up and moving off and disruptions to work or career, that all adds up to a lot of stress.

Controlling Weight Gain During and After Menopause

Most women gain weight as they age, but excess pounds aren’t inevitable. To minimize menopause weight gain, step up your activity level and enjoy a healthy diet.

As you get older, you may notice that maintaining your usual weight becomes more difficult. In fact, the most profound weight gain in a woman’s life tends to happen during the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause). Weight gain after menopause isn’t inevitable, however. You can reverse course by paying attention to healthy-eating habits and leading an active lifestyle.

What causes menopause weight gain?

The hormonal changes of menopause may make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen, rather than your hips and thighs. Hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger weight gain after menopause, however. Instead, the weight gain is usually related to a variety of lifestyle and genetic factors.

For example, menopausal women tend to exercise less than other women, which can lead to weight gain. In addition, muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, your body composition will shift to more fat and less muscle — which slows down the rate at which you burn calories. If you continue to eat as you always have, you’re likely to gain weight.

For many women, genetic factors play a role in weight gain after menopause. If your parents or other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you’re likely to do the same. Sometimes, factors such as children leaving — or returning — home, divorce, the death of a spouse or other life changes may contribute to weight gain after menopause. For others, a sense of contentment or simply letting go leads to weight gain.

How risky is weight gain after menopause?

Weight gain after menopause can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. In turn, these conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Excess weight also increases the risk of various types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and breast cancer. In fact, some research suggests that gaining as little as 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) at age 50 or later could increase the risk of breast cancer by 30 percent.

What’s the best way to prevent weight gain after menopause?

There’s no magic formula for preventing — or reversing — weight gain after menopause. Simply stick to weight-control basics:

  • Move more. Aerobic activity can help you shed excess pounds or simply maintain a healthy weight. Strength training counts, too. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently — which makes it easier to control your weight. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine and do strength training exercises at least twice a week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase your activity even more.
  • Eat less. To maintain your current weight — let alone lose excess pounds — you may need about 200 fewer calories a day during your 50s than you did during your 30s and 40s. To reduce calories without skimping on nutrition, pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking. Choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Opt for lean sources of protein. Don’t skip meals, which may lead you to overeat later.
  • Seek support. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who’ll support your efforts to eat a healthy diet and increase your physical activity. Better yet, team up and make the lifestyle changes together.

The bottom line? Successful weight loss at any stage of life requires permanent changes in diet and exercise habits. Take a brisk walk every day. Try a yoga class. Trade cookies for fresh fruit. Share restaurant meals with a friend. Commit to the changes and enjoy a healthier you!

The Mayo Clinic is a reliable resource for weight loss and menopause information. Simple changes can make a huge difference in your quality of life. pick one change at a time, make a plan and get on it.

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Losing Weight Benefits Diabetes Patients

 

More proof that losing weight helps diabetes patients

There is enough medical evidence to support the idea that losing weight benefits diabetes patients. Diabetes is one of the easiest diseases to prevent by controlling diet and exercise. The January issue of Health Affairs explores four different reports that all point to the same conclusion. People who are inactive and overweight tend to have more complications from diabetes.

So what are you waiting for?I love the cartoon my doctor has on the wall in the examining room. A man is sitting in his doctors office and the doctor says. “When will you schedule time to take care of yourself? After the funeral?”

Losing Weight Benefits Diabetes Patients

In the United States almost 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes and it is estimated that over the next 10 years 40 million more individuals in the country could develop diabetes. Furthermore, an additional 100 million people could develop an insidious prediabetic condition that frequently leads to diabetes.

Often being overweight or obese triggers the condition. According to increasing scientific evidence, fitness programs and weight loss can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing. However, do lifestyle interventions save money in the long term and do they lead to maintained weight loss?

Several aspects of this complicated issue as well as the hurdles that need to be tackled in order to control diabetes are explored in the January issue of Health Affairs. One report in this month’s issue by Deneen Vojta and colleagues at UnitedHealth Group suggests that by the year 2021 the increase in new cases could add an estimated $512 billion to the country’s yearly health care costs.

The New York State Health Foundation, UnitedHealth Foundation and Novo Nordisk supported this issue of Health Affairs.

In this month’s issue, four reports reveal scientific evidence indicating that lifestyle interventions can effectively prevent or inhibit diabetes:According to an examination by Xiaohui Zhuo and Ann Albright at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their team, it would require an efficient use of resources to establish a national program of community-level interventions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Using a computer simulation model, the researchers estimate the costs and benefits of such a nationwide program. According to their estimates, such an intervention could prevent of delay approximately 885,000 individuals developing type 2 diabetes within 25 years, saving the U.S. health care system an estimated $5.7 billion.

Several human trials demonstrate that individuals who are seriously overweight or obese who lose between 5% to 7% of body weight can prevent progression of prediabetes to diabetes, say Deneen Vojta and colleagues at UnitedHealth Group. Although, programs designed to help individuals lose weight have not been executed on a large scale.

They conclude that in order to prevent the situation from worsening, the country should enroll high-risk individuals in proven models that encourage maintaining lifelong fitness habits and weight loss. Recently community-based interventions designed to help individuals at risk of developing diabetes follow a healthier eating habits and regular physical activity were launched by UnitedHealth Group in collaboration with the YMCA of the USA as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, UnitedHealth Group established retail pharmacy-based interventions across communities to help those with diabetes choose healthier behaviors.

In order to determine if cheaper interventions based on the Diabetes Prevention Program encourage individuals to lose weight in real-life settings, Mohammed K. Ali and his team at Emory University carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28 investigations. They discovered that the average participant lost approximately 4% of baseline body weight (an amount that can offer protection against diabetes) after 1 year of enrollment in lifestyle intervention programs.

The team found that regardless of whether the program relied on lower-cost lay staff trained to deliver healthy eating and fitness advice, or higher-salaried professionals – the weight loss was the same. According to the researchers the most successful programs were those that were structured and motivate higher session attendance.

I think Americans are a little numb to the diabetes issue. They hear repeated messages about eating better and losing weight but the messages are perceived as being for other people. Even when a doctor enters into the picture and gives a strong message that losing weight benefits diabetes patients, if there is a response it is usually only temporary and then old habits return.

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