It's that time when we look into the new year and set resolutions that we hope to achieve. A very common resolution is to drop some pounds and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Their are many good reasons to lose weight if you are overweight. Excess weight puts extra stress on your body systems, especially on your cardiovascular system. It also increases your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, coronary artery disease, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, etc. Not to mention being overweight will decrease your energy and overall feeling of well-being.
If you have determined to improve your lifestyle and achieve a healthier weight, congratulations! Here are some basic guidelines that may be of use to you. I'm going to emphasize adopting a healthier lifestyle as the primary and best way to lose weight. Fad diets rarely achieve permanent results. It's a proven fact that most people who lose weight very rapidly on a fad diet gain it all back, plus some in only a few years at the most. These fast fixes also do not generally provide your body with the proper nutrients and may cause more harm than good. The best, safest way to lose weight is to eat healthier and to be active. The Mayo Clinic states it like this. “Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from food and beverages and increasing calories burned through physical activity.” Each pound of fat is equal to about 3,500 calories. So if you want to lose 1 pound a week, you need to burn 500 more calories than you need each day. Each person's calorie requirement is different, so talk to your doctor about your needs.
Here are a couple of habits that will help you. Always eat a nutritious breakfast as it jump-starts your metabolism and keeps you from snacking later. Don't eat until you feel full; eat at until you don't feel hungry anymore. Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids daily. I've found that a good replacement for sweets drinks and sodas are NOW Slender Sticks. They have vitamins added, are sweetened with natural stevia, and are only 10-15 calories per drink packet. My favorite is the acai lemonade. Also, be sure you get enough sleep.
Nutrition is essential to good health. Here are some basic guidelines on what to eat and what to avoid for healthy weight loss. Try to focus more on eating healthy, nutritious foods more than just the calorie content. Eat a healthy variety and make sure to get a balance of the main food groups.
Foods To Eat:
*Protein- you should eat a healthy protein with each meal. Protein increases your metabolic rate and balances your release of insulin, as well as being vital in just about every function of your body. If you are wanting a quick quality source of protein, Spiru-tein protein and energy shakes by Nature's Plus are a good source of usable protein. They can replace one meal a day.
*Fats- fats are widely considered to be an enemy of weight loss, but your body requires fats. It just needs the right kind. Good sources of healthy fats are avocados, olives, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, and wheat germ. Even though these are good for you, use them in moderation. Avoid saturated fats completely.
*Carbohydrates- Carbs are your bodies energy source. Again, you just need the right kind in the proper proportion. Simple sugars are what you want to steer clear of. White flour, and sugar are examples of foods that absorb very quickly into your bloodstream as simple sugars. Your blood sugar then soars, and crashes a short time later. The better option are complex carbs, which take longer to break down and therefore provide a steady energy supply. Complex carbs also generally offer some protein and dietary fiber, as well as other nutrients. Good sources of complex carbs are whole grains, brown rice, plain baked potatoes, tofu, lentils, and seeds.
*Fruits and Vegetables- eat lots of these! They provide nutrients galore without providing excessive calories. Try to eat them raw when you can. Some vegetables that are low-calorie choices include: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, kale, lettuce, spinach, onions, radishes, and turnips. Low-calorie fruits include apples, cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, and watermelon.
Foods To Avoid
*Soda, candy, pastries, white and brown sugar, fast foods, white flour, white rice, processed foods.
* Sugar should be avoided because it triggers the release of insulin, which then activates enzymes that promote fat being stored in the cells. Use sugar substitutes such as xylitol, stevia, and barley malt. Do not use artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown them to actually cause and not reduce weight gain. They are chemicals that should be avoided.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer three points for permanently improving your eating habits:
*Reflect on all of your specific eating habits, both bad and good;
*Replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.
*Reinforce your new, healthier eating habits
Exercise is another very important factor in weight loss. Exercise burns calories and boosts metabolism. It improves muscle tone and reduces your body's percentage of fat. Be active! If you are physically able, participate in some form of aerobic activity suited to your fitness level (walking, biking, swimming are exercises you can do on your own. Try to do some exercises for strength and flexibility, such as stretching, yoga, or Pilates.
Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet and exercise. However, some form of supplementation may be helpful to you in supporting your weight loss efforts. Traditionally, there have been three basic approaches to nutritional supplementation: diuretic herbs and nutrients to reduce water retention, lipotropic vitamins that reduce cholesterol and fat, and natural appetite suppressants. Here are some of the supplements that are reputed to be effective in supporting weight loss.
*Garcinia Cambogia- This herb contains a compound called HCA. HCA has been shown to be an effective way to inhibit the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase which turns carbs to fat.
*Green Tea- “Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours.” (webmd.com) Green tea is thermogenic and helps burn fat.
*Lecithin- is a fat emulsifier, helps break down fat and cholesterol for removal.
*Kelp- contains balanced nutrients and aids weight loss.
*Chromium Picolinate- helps reduce sugar cravings by stabilizing sugar metabolism.
*Apple Cider Vinegar- has been shown in one study to help support weight loss, but even more well-documented is its ability to help maintain a healthy blood sugar.
*Safe and Skinny caps- a weight loss formula that incorporates Apple Cider Vinegar, Blue Green Algae, Bromelain, Lecithin, and Kelp.
*Multivitamin and Mineral- Many people have nutrient gaps, so be sure to take a vitamin that meets your needs.
As always, please check with your doctor before changing your normal diet, exercise regimen, or supplements, especially if you are on any medications or have any health conditions. I hope this has been of help to you, and if you're already familiar with this material, I hope it has been a good reminder. I enjoyed learning in the process of bringing it to you! If you have any questions, please come into the store and we'll be glad to visit with you. Wishing you all a very happy and blessed New Year! ~April Barnhart
Resources Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cdc.gov MayoClinic.org Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd Ed., Phyllis A. Balch, CNC WebMD.com