We all know that weight loss requires significant focus and effort. It often necessitates a complete lifestyle overhaul and careful strategies for weight loss management once you reach your ideal weight. Often times, it’s not as simple as just following a diet—many people have to get nutrition counseling to help determine the underlying causes of their weight gain.
If you have a difficult time sticking to your weight loss plan, you are not alone. The good news is, there is something you can do about it. Read on for strategies from our nutrition counseling center for overcoming obstacles to your weight loss success.
Pitfall #1: You don’t always eat because you’re hungry. Many people are “emotional eaters,” meaning they seek comfort in food when they’re feeling sad, angry or stressed out. If this is your issue, you’ll need to find new ways to cope with stressors. The next time you’re feeling emotional and are about to head to the refrigerator, stop and acknowledge the feeling. Instead of reaching for the cookies or potato chips, let the feeling be. Experience it and try something different to make yourself better. Call a friend, read a book, go for a walk or hit the gym. The point is to do something that you enjoy or that you know will make you feel better. Exercise is an excellent way to boost your mood, as it releases endorphins—and the calorie burn will help your weight loss efforts as well.
Pitfall #2: Environment. What you have in your refrigerator and pantry, as well as what you keep in the office, has an enormous effect on your weight loss success. Get rid of all temptations and take charge of your environment. Clear out your cupboard and refrigerator—throw out all the processed foods, baked goods, products with refined flour and items filled with empty calories. Always have healthy snacks on hand, try to not even pass by the vending machines at work and don’t drive past the local drive-thru you used to hit up when you had a craving.
Pitfall #3: Lifestyle. Don’t think of your effort to lose weight as a short term diet—instead look at this as a lifestyle transformation geared towards weight loss management. It’s important to choose a plan and adopt habits that are realistic for your lifestyle. For example, if you don’t like to cook, you probably shouldn’t choose a meal plan that requires a lot of preparation. If a restrictive diet makes you feel deprived, you’re probably better off with something more flexible. That deprived feeling often leads to overeating and binging, which ultimately makes things worse.
If you made it through Thanksgiving without overindulging, you are a champion! If you’re like the majority of Americans, then you most likely overindulged. Whether or not you’re a member of our nutrition counseling center, we’re sharing some killer tips for damage control tips to help you get back on track after one of the biggest meals of the year.
Load up on lean protein. Resist the urge to purge on pie for breakfast and instead start your day with a healthy, low-carb, high-protein breakfast. Lean protein sources help us build more muscle mass so our body burns more calories, keeps us feeling full for longer periods of time and promotes healthy digestion. Eat like this the entire day, avoiding processed foods and other hard-to-digest culprits.
Avoid the urge to skip meals. Don’t starve yourself to “make up” for the extra calories you consumed over the holiday. This strategy never works—it only makes you overeat later in the day. Diets and programs for weight loss management and maintenance require you to eat healthy, nutrient-rich meals every day, so stay in alignment with that principle at all times, especially now.
Hit the gym. Schedule physical activity as soon as possible after the holiday to stimulate your lymphatic system, help detoxify your body and burn off some of the extra calories you consumed. Our nutrition counseling center recommends incorporating exercise into your weight loss plans, so it’s imperative to get back on track as soon as you can after the holiday. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to resume your regimen.
Drink lots of water. Increase your water consumption to help flush out your system and reduce that bloated feeling that can be uncomfortable and discouraging. Drinking water is key for success with diets and programs for weight loss management, as it helps fill us up so we are less apt to overeat—and the last thing we want to do right now is overeat again!
When it comes to creating a healthy meal plan for diets and the management of weight loss, many people overlook the condiments they use to enhance flavor. Many people think if they just add a dash or small amount of a certain sauce, dip or dressing, it won’t add up to much. In reality, the opposite is true—many sauces and other condiments are loaded with hidden calories that can completely sabotage even the best weight loss efforts.
To avoid this common pitfall, you’ve got to factor in the calories these condiments yield and choose wisely—or better yet, find substitutes. Here are a few condiments that our nutrition center recommends avoiding as much as possible.
Mayonnaise. Made of oil, egg yolk and vinegar, this common condiment is nothing but a mass of pure fat and empty calories. In just one tablespoon of mayonnaise, there are 100 calories per serving, 10 grams of unhealthy fat and zero nutrients. This plain looking condiment can turn the leanest chicken, turkey or other protein into a fat-laden, high cholesterol meal—the worst choice possible when you’re following a program for the management of weight loss.
Ranch Dressing. In one tablespoon of Ranch dressing, there are eight grams of fat—and you know you don’t stop at a teaspoon. While it may add a tangy zing to your salad, chicken wings or sandwich, it can wreak serious havoc on your diet. Plus, it has literally no nutritional value.
Butter. Our nutrition center suggests that clients moderate their butter consumption and find alternatives as much as possible. One tablespoon of butter can add 100 calories and 11 grams of fat to your meal. In addition, that one tablespoon of butter yields 33 mg of cholesterol, which can raise your levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. You could easily use that entire tablespoon on one slice of bread.
Gaining weight over Thanksgiving isn’t inevitable. While the average American eats approximately 4,500 calories and over 200 grams of fat on the big day, you can enjoy yourself without falling into that category. The key is moderation, not just during Thanksgiving but throughout the entire weekend, especially considering the bevy of leftovers you’ll have at your disposal.
Despite the calorie-laden spreads that characterize holiday meals, you can still stay on track with a few tricks and tips from our nutrition counseling center. Here are some of out tried-and-true strategies for a Thanksgiving that’s healthy for life.
Start your day right. Make sure to have a healthy breakfast that features a combination of protein and fiber so that you’re not starving by dinner time. This will help you practice moderation when it’s time to enjoy the feast.
Don’t save up. If your dinner is later in the day, make sure to have healthy snacks or even a low-calorie lunch during the day. We often hear members of our nutrition client center say they’re going to “save up calories.” Bad idea—chances are you will really go overboard once you do sit down to eat.
Don’t go big on the appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. Many people consume between 1000 and 1500 calories before the meal is even served! Have just a small portion of your favorite app and then fill the rest of your plate with healthy choices like fruits and veggies.
Focus on your favorites. Instead of eating every single thing in the spread, focus on the traditional dishes that you don’t have every day and your favorites. Aim for just a small scoop of the really fattening dishes—that will probably be enough to get your fill.
Eat slowly and savor the company. Focus on enjoying your family and loved ones so that you slow down your eating, and therefore, give your stomach more time to signal your brain that it’s full. This is a healthy for life habit that we should adopt across the board, but especially on those occasions where we may be tempted to overindulge.
Naturally low in carbohydrates and calories, pumpkin is a nutritious food that is perfect for individuals following weight management programs. Since it’s currently in season, why not take advantage of the many benefits this super fruit boasts? Loaded with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in our systems, pumpkin can boost our health and help us achieve better health through nutrition.
Pumpkin is also an excellent source of vitamins C and E, potassium, zinc and the kind of fiber that promotes healthy digestion and keeps us full for hours on end. It also packs some protein and L-tryptophan, which has been shown to elevate our moods and keep us relaxed, and therefore, helps prevent the overeating that so quickly derails weight management programs.
Try this basic but delicious recipe for sweet pumpkin puree, which can be served in a variety of ways and tweaked to appeal to different tastes. It’s the perfect dish for when we’re trying to achieve better health through nutrition.
One medium sized-pumpkin
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. crushed clove
¾ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the pumpkin. Use a long knife to cut air vents in the top of the pumpkin. Then bake the pumpkin on a baking sheet—keep in mind that some of the juices will run off as it cooks. Typically, the pumpkin will take between one and two hours, depending on its size.
After removing the pumpkin and letting it cool, cut it in half. Scrape out all the seeds and messy fibers. Scoop out all of the pulp.
Per each cup of pumpkin, mix three teaspoons of coconut oil with ½ tsp. ginger, ¼ tsp. crushed clove, ¾ tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. allspice.
Thanksgiving is a special day that we only celebrate once a year—but with all the hard work you’ve done with nutrition counseling and overhauling your diet, it doesn’t make sense to derail it all by indulging in a day of splurging.
Every year, Americans gain an average of five to seven pounds during the holidays. While we would love for an influx of customers hit our weight management center after the holidays, we would truly rather see our clients achieve success with their weight loss efforts now. So we’re sharing some of our top tips for avoiding Thanksgiving weight gain. Good luck!
Move it. You know you’re going to be eating more than normal during the holidays, so your best bet is to strive to create a calorie deficit, especially on the day of a big meal. Exercise to burn off extra calories by hitting the gym Thanksgiving morning, or going for a run as soon as you wake up. Promote healthy digestion by taking a walk after dinner—invite the family so you can enjoy your time together to the fullest.
Don’t skip breakfast. At our weight management center, we hear members say that they skip breakfast, the most important meal of the day, to make up for the extra calories they will eat during Thanksgiving dinner. If you do this, you’ll be bound to overeat at the big meal. Instead, have a healthy, protein and fiber-rich breakfast so that you’re stomach isn’t growling when you arrive to your holiday meal.
Monitor your portions. While the Thanksgiving buffet may be one of the most tempting of the year, it’s important to carefully choose what you’re going to eat and then allow yourself normal-sized portions only. If you’re unaware of what normal sized portions look like, ask the staff at our nutrition counseling center to see some examples. Completely skip the items that aren’t your favorites, especially those items that you can have any day of the year.
Skip seconds. This can be difficult, but do whatever you can to resist seconds. Your stomach takes about 20 minutes to signal your brain that it’s full, so eat slowly and give it time to send the message. When you do this, chances are you will be too full to endure a second serving.
Limit the libations. The empty calories from alcoholic drinks can add up quickly, so limit yours on this holiday. Select wine and limit yourself to one or two glasses, with a glass of water in between each.
It feels great to achieve your weight loss goals—but once you attain the results you want, maintaining them is a whole new battle that many nutrition counseling clients struggle with. Even when you work diligently to implement and maintain a healthy new lifestyle, statistics show that many dieters put at least some of the weight lost back on.
Weight loss management is a tricky thing to accomplish, but it’s definitely possible, especially when you’ve overhauled your lifestyle to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Here are a few strategies that some of our nutrition counseling clients use to maintain their weight loss results for the long term.
Chew more. Studies conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that many individuals who suffer from obesity chew less and had a higher ingestion rate than those who do not suffer from weight issues. It takes the stomach about 20 minutes to signal your brain that it’s full, so it makes sense that chewing slower and longer will result in eating less overall.
Slow down regularly. When we practice some sort of mindful regimen, whether it’s meditation, Tai Chi or taking Yoga or Pilates classes, this helps us slow down at critical times so we can make better decisions about what we eat, how we eat and how we spend our time.
Provide resistance. As you probably learned while dieting, resistance training is key for weight loss management. It tones, strengthens and helps us build lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat does. While strength training is great for maintaining weight loss as well, regimens such as TRX, Pilates and other workouts that use our own body weight as resistance are excellent for building and maintaining that lean muscle we need to increase our caloric burn.
It’s almost mid-November, and you know what that means. The holidays are around the corner, and for many Americans, this translates to overindulging and weight gain. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way for those of you who are adhering to diets and weight management programs and don’t want to derail all your hard work. Fortunately, our nutrition center has shared three simple strategies you can use to help you stay on track and even lose weight during the holiday season.
Use these tips to help overcome temptation and stick with your plan.
1. Plan your holiday meals in advance. With a little strategic planning, you can enjoy your favorite holiday treats while staying on track with diets or weight management programs. Write down the meals during which you’re going to allow yourself to enjoy your favorites—not just any treats but the ones you really look forward to. Once you’ve allotted those meals, you can plan to make up for those splurges by cutting a few extra calories during breakfast and lunch on those days and the ones surrounding those meals to help compensate. It’s also a great way to plan ahead so you can make sure to get your nutrients as well.
2. Research your calorie intake. Look up nutrition information in advance with a nutrition tracker or by reading labels so you can see if you can really afford the calories certain foods will cost you. Make this a habit—for example, if you’re at work and someone offers you a holiday cookie or piece of fudge, look it up really quickly and decide if you really want it.
3. Prioritize your fitness. While what you eat is extremely critical to weight loss, it’s only part of the equation. Physical activity and exercise is also very important for burning calories and boosting overall health. During the holidays, make sure to prioritize your workouts. Don’t skip them because you feel like you’re too busy with the holiday madness. In fact, you should work out more during the holidays to help keep the pounds at bay and keep you motivated. One of the members of our nutrition center shared that she works out 10 to 15 minutes longer during the holiday season to help stay on track and combat weight gain—that sounds like a great idea to us!
Lean protein consumption is an essential part of losing weight and attaining better health through nutrition. Our nutrition counseling center promotes a low-carb, high protein diet because it’s safe, effective and a two-pronged method for weight loss. The best sources, including fish, meat and legumes, satiate your hunger to make you feel full and prevent overeating. Plus, the more lean protein mass we build in our bodies, the more calories we burn.
In addition to helping with weight loss, lean protein has been shown to promote better health through nutrition in a variety of ways. A diet rich in lean protein can help reduce blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. Newer research shows that high protein diets can also help prevent an array of chronic illnesses and diseases, including obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Members of our nutrition counseling center experience success on lean protein diets because it takes longer to digest and metabolize, which is what raises caloric burn. Sources of lean protein take longer for your digestive system to process, which makes you feel full for a longer period of time. Protein is also essential for ensuring that you burn fat as opposed to muscle. The amino acids that protein contains is what builds muscle and torches calories—and allows you to eat a treat every once in awhile.
Start your day off right with a lean protein breakfast, which has been shown to help regulate your diet all day long, and try to incorporate different sources at your other meals. Not all proteins contain the nine essential amino acids we need to build lean muscle, so aim to get your fill from options like skinless white chicken or turkey, seafood, pork tenderloin, and lean, grass-fed beef. If you’re a vegetarian, pair some incomplete protein sources together to compensate—brown rice with black beans is a great example of a healthy source of protein.
It’s that time of year—pumpkins are in season and in high demand, and not just for jack-o-lanterns and pies. Our nutrition counseling center recommends antioxidant-rich pumpkins because of the incredible benefits that they yield on our health and diet. Whether you roast pumpkin seeds, make pumpkin soup or find some other way to celebrate this tasty winter squash, the health benefits make it an ideal food to incorporate into your diet, especially when you’re trying to lose weight.
Here are five benefits of nutrient-rich pumpkins.
1. Eyesight. Pumpkin are rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, which converts into a form of vitamin A. This essential nutrient promotes healthy vision and has been shown to improve eyesight in dim light.
2. Weight loss management. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber—while it boasts three grams per each one cup serving, it only costs you 49 calories. Incorporating pumpkin into your meals will keep you fuller longer so that you eat less—making it ideal for weight loss management.
3. Heart health. Pumpkin seeds have a naturally high content of phytosterols, plant-based chemicals that have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol, and ultimately, improve heart health.
4. Healthy skin. The carotenoids in pumpkin help combat the damage from free radicals that result in aging and unhealthy skin. The beta-carotene content helps prevent sun damage as well.
5. Improved moods. Pumpkin seeds are rich in tryptophan, the famed amino acid also present in turkey that many believe makes us tired after Thanksgiving dinner. While research points to overeating as the cause of the post-Thanksgiving sleepiness, tryptophan has been proven to be essential to the production of serotonin, which is a key player when it comes to elevating our moods. Our nutrition counseling center often recommends these types of foods to emotional eaters—by boosting our moods naturally, we may be less apt to overeat and indulge in comfort food.