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Following the eight healthy eating goals above can help your body get the nutrients it needs. Here are some other tips to keep in mind if you also are trying to manage your weight.

  • Balance calories: Find out how many calories you need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to find your calorie level. To help plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity, use the SuperTracker.
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less: Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
  • Watch your portion sizes: Check to see what the recommended portion sizes of foods you eat looks like in the bowls, plates, and glasses you use at home. When dining out avoid “supersizing” your meal or buying “combo” meal deals that often include large-size menu items. Choose small-size items instead or ask for a take home bag and wrap up half of your meal to take home before you even start to eat.
  • Be physically active: Being physically active can help you manage your weight. Youth (6-17 years old) need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day (or 12,000 steps). Adults (18 and older) need to be active for at least 30 minutes (or 8,500 steps) a day. Learn more about being active.
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How to Eat Healthy

It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.

Eight Healthy Eating Goals

Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet. Commit to incorporating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks. You can track your progress through PALA+.

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.

Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Read the ingredients list and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredients first. Look for things like: “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “rolled oats,” quinoa,” or “wild rice.”

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk: Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.

Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group. Select leaner cuts of ground beef (where the label says 90% lean or higher), turkey breast, or chicken breast.

Compare sodium in foods: Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”

Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or watermelon or a splash of 100% juice to your glass of water if you want some flavor.

Eat some seafood: Seafood includes fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as crab, mussels, and oysters). Seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat). Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood. Children can eat smaller amounts of seafood, too.

Cut back on solid fats: Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are cakes, cookies, and other desserts (often made with butter, margarine, or shortening); pizza; processed and fatty meats (e.g., sausages, hot dogs, bacon, ribs); and ice cream.

Use the MyPlate Icon to make sure your meal is balanced and nutritious.

Source: How to Eat Healthy

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9 Things to Look For in a Quality Weight Loss ProgramMaintaining a healthy weight can be challenging and, for some people, even more difficult than losing weight. The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use these 13 tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals.

Dr. Kevin Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health recently published the results of his six-year study of participants from the television show, The Biggest Loser. He found that all but one of the people he studied regained all or more of the weight they had lost. But even more staggering was that their resting metabolic rates dropped significantly, so much so that weight regain was inevitable. Participants’ resting metabolic rate continued to stay low even after they had gained back the weight.

Now, we already know that a body at a higher weight burns more calories than the same body at a lighter weight because there is less mass to move and keep alive. However, with weight loss, one has to look at a few variables: how fast the weight loss occurred, and how much of the lost weight came from fat and how much came from lean tissue, primarily muscle mass.

Muscle mass is directly linked to resting metabolic rate, as this tissue requires more calories to keep alive. When lean muscle mass makes up a significant portion of total weight loss, resting metabolic rate takes a nosedive. However, a weight-loss program that promotes weight training to increase muscle mass can potentially offset the decline in metabolism.

The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use the following tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals:

1. Stay consistent both with your activity levels and eating plan.

We often see people use the achievement of their weight-loss goal as a sign to stop what they’re doing, celebrate and subsequently revert to their old habits. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for weight gain. Whatever it took to help you lose the weight is the same plan that will help you keep it off—with some tweaks, of course. Remember, you no longer burn the same amount of calories that you did when you were heavier, so you’ll need to recalculate your calorie needs and make adjustments to your nutrition and/or exercise.

2. Build those muscles.

As stated earlier, muscle mass is directly tied to your resting metabolic rate. Having more muscle mass means your resting metabolic rate will be higher. Focusing on building muscle mass through strength or resistance training is the only way to create new, metabolically active muscle tissue. For weight maintenance, weight training becomes just as, if not more, important as aerobic conditioning.

3. Continue to set goals.

We encourage you to set both long-term and short-term goals and make sure that they are both realistic and achievable. Goals can be about exercise (trying something new), nutrition (have a go at changing up macronutrient percentages, cut out sugar, or stick with a whole-food diet) or training for a race. You might also consider setting goals outside the diet and exercise realm, such as booking an adventure vacation. When you are having fun and are happy, you reduce your production of the stress hormone cortisol, making you more likely to be successful with maintaining your weight.

4. Practice mindful and intuitive eating.

Mindful eating means that you are present when you eat—no television, emails, Facebook or surfing the web. When you are focused on your meal, you can notice the taste, texture, temperature and aroma of it and really find enjoyment with what you are eating. You will be more likely to walk away from that meal feeling full and satisfied. Being an intuitive eater means that you are listening to your body’s signals when it comes to being hungry and full. You eat when you are hungry (not waiting until you are ravenous), and stop when you are full (about 80 percent full), but not stuffed.

5. Have a plan.

You know the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Plan out your week—each day’s workout, as well as what meals you will be preparing and eating. Having a plan means you will more likely stick to it and be successful.

6. Come up with a list of non-food coping strategies.

Emotional eating causes many people to turn to food when they are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, bored, lonely or even happy. And the foods most people typically reach for are salty, crunchy, fatty foods and sweets. When you are in an emotionally neutral state, come up with a list of non-food coping mechanisms that can make you feel better. Try singing, dancing, a short burst of exercise, taking a walk, calling a friend or our personal favorite, laughter therapy. Find some funny video clips to watch and once you start laughing, the stress hormones quickly recede and it becomes easier to feel better.

7. Find support.

Nothing feels more difficult than going through something alone. If your weight-loss journey was a solo trek, reaching out to others, especially people who are going through the same thing, can be both comforting and rewarding. You need to be able to open up and express your thoughts and feelings to like-minded people. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you’ll come away with, as well as an increased sense of motivation.

8. Eat real, whole, clean food.

Once you achieve your goal weight, you might find yourself a little lax when it comes to your diet. A piece of chocolate cake, a slice of pizza and an extra glass of wine can really add up quickly. Remember what got you to your goal weight in the first place—a sound eating plan. Ditching the refined, processed food and replacing it with real, whole, clean foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, clean complex carbs and plenty of water and green tea, can get you back on track for success.

9. Stay within 3 pounds of your maintenance weight.

While we don’t believe in being slaves to the scale, a once-a-week weigh-in should be enough to make sure you are staying on track. If the scale indicates more than a 3-pound gain, it’s time to check in with yourself and assess what you’ve been doing differently. Are you keeping food records? Do you get enough sleep? How’s your stress level? All of these factors play a role in weight gain.

10. Setbacks happen.

You travel for business or pleasure, attend parties and have holiday gatherings—all of which typically mean an abundance of food is available. Again, have a plan for handling these food environments to your advantage. But if you do slip up and decide to overindulge at the buffet, that’s O.K. Learn how to move past it and go right back to your consistent new lifestyle.

11. Stay hydrated.

Did you know that most of the time you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty? Next time you find yourself with the munchies, go drink 12 ounces of water and wait 15 minutes. You might have just solved the problem. However, if you find yourself physically hungry go ahead and eat. As for how much water you should be drinking each day, a general rule is to drink (in ounces) half of your body weight (in pounds). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (150 x 1/2 = 75), you need to drink 75 ounces (approximately 10 cups of water). Add 1 cup if you live in a hot climate and another cup when exercising and sweating.

12. Practice stress management.

Stress plays a big role in weight regain. The main stress hormone is cortisol and when it is high, due to stress, it causes your body to become more insulin resistant. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so the more you have floating around your bloodstream, the more fat you are likely to store, especially around your abdominal region. Stress-management techniques can be as simple as taking a few one-minute breaks during the day during which you close your eyes and practice deep breathing. If you have more time, try longer stretches of meditation or breathing exercises. Again, laughter therapy is a great way to deal with stress.

13. Sleep seven to nine hours each night.

There is ample scientific evidence about the role that sleep plays in weight. When you sleep fewer than seven hours per night, there is a disruption in the production of two main hormones that control hunger and fullness. Poor sleep causes your brain to produce more ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier, and less leptin, which helps make you feel full. So now you’re feeling hungry all the time. And who wants a salad when you’re tired and hungry? This is what it’s like when ghrelin and leptin are out of whack. Proper sleep keeps these hormones at proper levels and hunger and fullness are back to normal.

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N., are the co-founders of U Rock Girl!, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life. They have just authored the rockin’ breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast! available at http://www.URockGirl.com

Source: ACE Fit | Fit Life | 13 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss Over the Long-term

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16793654How often do you eat out? Once a day? Once a week? Rarely? Almost every meal? People who eat out more often, particularly at fast food restaurants, are more likely to be overweight or obese. However, you can still manage your body weight when eating out by making better choices.

To eat out without blowing your calorie budget, there are three things to think about:

  • What you are eating and drinking,
  • How much you are eating and drinking, and
  • How your meal is prepared.

Get started

What are you eating and drinking?

  • Check posted calorie amounts, and choose lower calorie menu options. Many restaurants post calories on menus, in pamphlets, or on their websites. Compare food and beverage options and think about how they fit within your daily calorie limit. For example, if your daily calorie limit is 1600 calories, think twice before ordering a meal with 1300 calories. Also, don’t forget about the calories from drinks, dressings, dips, appetizers, and desserts. They all count!
  • Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods. Focusing on smart food choices from each of the 5 food groups can help you stay on track at restaurants.
  • Think about what you drink. Ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, select options with fewer calories. For example, a frozen pina colada or margarita can have over 400 calories! You can check the calorie content of other beverages by going to Food-A-Pedia.
  • Watch out for desserts. Some restaurants are serving small portions of desserts, which can help decrease calorie intake. However, as a good rule, eat dessert less often.

How much are you eating and drinking?

  • Avoid oversized portions. A major challenge for many people when they eat out is being served large portions. Most people eat and drink more when served larger portions. To overcome this challenge, choose a smaller size option, share your meal, or take home half of your meal. For example, hamburgers can range from as few as 250 calories to 800 calories or more. Choose a smaller option with fewer calories.
  • To help you eat less when eating out, order from the menu instead of heading for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Many people overeat at buffets. Getting a plate of food, instead of unlimited access to food, may help you eat less. Don’t forget that you don’t have to clean your plate!

How is your meal prepared?

  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sauteéd. Avoid choosing foods with the following words: creamy, breaded, battered, or buttered. These words indicate that the food is higher in calories.
  • Ask for dressings, sauces, and syrups “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want. These sides are often high in calories – so don’t eat much of them.Stumbling blocks

Avoiding Stumbling Blocks

Concerned about making better choices when eating out? Below are some common “stumbling blocks” and ideas to help you overcome these barriers.

“I feel that I have to eat everything on my plate since it is there in front of me or else I feel like I’m wasting food.”

To control how much you eat, ask for a take home box with your order, and box half of the food up as soon as it arrives. This way you know that you will have saved on calories and also have a delicious lunch for the following day.

“I like to have a cocktail with dinner.”

Moderate alcohol consumption can be a part of a healthy diet. Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Don’t forget that some drinks provide a lot of calories. Many alcoholic beverages range from 100 to 400 calories each.

“I have heard that salads can be worse for you than a big meal!”

Salads can be high in calories if they have toppings like fried chicken, loads of cheese, and creamy dressing. To start a meal, choose a salad that is all vegetables, and ask for dressing on the side. For a main dish salad, choose one with topped with grilled or baked chicken, seafood, or lean beef.

“It’s a tradition now to get dessert after our meals when we eat out.”

Ask your friends or family to support your efforts to eat less by understanding that you won’t be ordering dessert. While they eat dessert, have a cup of tea or coffee. Have one bite of someone’s dessert if they offer to share. If fruit is available as a dessert option, order it without the whipped topping or sauce.

– See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/when-eating-out#sthash.1H5aboVU.dpuf

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What's Your Ideal Body Weight?To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. But it’s not always clear how to do that. For most people, a successful weight-loss plan has two parts: healthy food choices and physical activity. Understanding the balance between the two can help you lose weight more easily and keep it off!

According to the National Weight Control Registry, of adults who have successfully maintained their weight loss:

  • 98% have modified their eating habits.
  • 94% have increased their level of physical activity, especially walking.
  • 78% eat a healthy breakfast every day.
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

So you think you’re ready, but you’re not sure how to take that first step? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Start your weight loss journey using these 5 steps:

Set realistic goals.

Before beginning a weight-loss program, assess where you are today so you know what you need to improve. Learn your BMI to help determine how much weight you would like to lose to reduce your risk of health problems.

Set yourself up for success with short-term goals, like “I will make lifestyle changes which will help me lose (and keep off) 3-5% of my body weight” or “I will reduce the amount of times that I eat out each week from ___ to ____.”

Short-term goals like these can seem more achievable, and can, little by little, keep you on track toward your long-term goals. If the goal is too difficult, it’s harder to achieve and can lead to self-judgement and disappointment that can derail the smaller successes you’ve achieved.

Understand how much and why you eat.

Use a food diary or tracking app for a while to gain an understanding of what, how much, and when you are eating. If you tend to snack late at night or visit fast food restaurants several times a week, those might be opportunities to make healthier choices. Being mindful of your eating habits and aware of common roadblocks and excuses in your efforts to lose weight can help you set and reach realistic goals.

Manage portion sizes.

It’s easy to overeat when you’re served too much food. Smaller portions can help prevent eating too much. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving and how to keep portions reasonable.

Make smart substitutions to reduce sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.

Foods high in saturated and trans fat and sugar are often high in calories too. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite flavors. Learn to make smart substitutions instead. Learn how to reduce the added sugars in your diet with these infographics. Take the 21-Day Sodium Challenge to reduce the sodium you eat. Discover healthy snacks for between meals and fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods to help keep you fuller longer.

Balance what you eat with physical activity.

Most of us can agree it’s easier to take calories in than to burn them. The amount of physical activity an individual needs to lose weight can vary, but in the weight-loss equation, healthy eating and physical activity complement each other. Both are essential parts of losing weight and staying at a healthy weight. Physical activity is anything that gets your heart rate up. Learn the AHA Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults.

Tips to help you on your weight-loss journey:

  • You may want to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) to create a healthy eating plan. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a “find a dietitian” resource on their website.
  • Learn how sleep can affect eating and see if there are changes you could make in your sleep schedule.
  • If you feel you need more support, look for a weight-loss program that’s been proven safe and successful. Get personal support from a weight-loss group or buddy.
  • Aim for a gradual weight loss with healthy lifestyle changes until you reach a healthy weight.
  • If you have any heart conditions or you are experiencing symptoms of other chronic health issues, talk to your healthcare provider before starting a weight-loss or exercise program.
  • Include maintenance in your goals to help you keep the weight off.
  • Remember, these steps lead to life-long healthy eating. They are not a quick-fix diet.

Source: 5 Steps to Lose Weight

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Reflecting Forward 20113…2…1…happy New Year! It’s time to put the last year behind you and work toward what you couldn’t accomplish the year before. Lose 25 pounds, exercise daily, stop eating so much chocolate…it’s all so possible!

You go to the gym and it’s packed! Looks like you weren’t the only one who had a weight loss resolution. You start awkwardly fumbling around and after about 20 minutes, you begin to sweat. It’s working! After a month or two, you would have noticed the gym attendance has tapered off a bit—had you continued to go.

Most people are full steam ahead at first start, but often times that steam begins to run out and old habits return. So how do you maintain your resolution and accomplish your goals for the New Year? Here are some tips to keep you going throughout the year.

Make a Plan

Most people just jump into whatever activity they want to improve on, with little thought of the long run. One of the biggest problems with New Year’s goals is the fact that most of them are an abstraction. “Losing weight” and “going to the gym” aren’t very concrete and they fall apart easily. Try putting realistic numbers on your goals. “Lose 2 pounds a week for 3 months” or “eat out one less time per week” give numerical value to your goals and they begin to material and become more concrete.

Start Small

Notice the weight loss goal was was 2 pounds, not 10 pounds. It is best to take time with accomplishing your resolution. Most people kick-start the New Year with a vengeance, but they begin to fizzle within weeks. Most of the time this is because they started too strong and didn’t ease into the transition. Take your time with your resolution, it’s not a race. Start with small victories and work your way up to the big picture.

Create Accountability

One of the best ways to accomplish something is to broadcast it to the world. Tell everyone about your goal, but not as a New Year’s resolution. No one will expect you to keep a New Year’s resolution, but they will hold you to your word on a goal. Tell your friends and family what your goal is and what you’re doing to accomplish it. Over time, they’ll ask how you’re doing and support you, which will in turn give you something to be accountable for.

A new year brings new challenges and an opportunity to change your behaviors for the better. The hard part is sticking to your guns and accomplishing all you want to accomplish. Set a realistic goal, tell your friends and plan it all out and by the same time the next year, you’ll be celebrating the new year and the completion of your goal!

©2016 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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22571019The good news is that no matter which is first, cardio will improve everything from your heart health to your mood and weight training will improve everything from bone density to metabolism. However, depending on your fitness goals, there may be some benefit to doing cardio first followed by weight training or vice versa.

If power, strength or building lean muscle mass is what you’re after, you don’t want to fatigue your muscles with cardio first, so do it after your hit the weights. If general fitness is your goal, then definitely mix up the sequence of aerobic exercise and resistance training on different days. Each sequence has advantages. Research shows that a person burns slightly more calories when they finish the workout with weight training. However, studies also show that since a person has more energy in the first part of a workout, they can train at a higher intensity which is advantageous for those doing resistance exercise first. So for variety and total benefits, mix up the sequence on different days of the week.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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