When it comes to dieting and weight loss management, physical activity plays a major role—the more movement and exercise that you do, the more calories you burn. Yet what many forget is that regular exercise also boosts your overall health in addition to losing weight and maintenance. You should always check with your weight loss physician before starting a workout program, but once you get the go ahead, the benefits you reap will be well worth the effort.
Many experts recommend at least a half hour of physical activity almost every day. It’s very important for weight loss management, as it helps you use the calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Everything we do burns calories, from sleeping, walking, running errands, cleaning, driving and even eating, but exercise burns more in a shorter amount of time while giving us energy, boosting our mood and helping us stave off chronic illnesses and diseases.
When you’re dieting and trying to lose weight, doing an hour to 90 minutes of moderate to intense exercise is a great way to expedite the process and increase your lean muscle mass. The greater our muscle mass, the more calories our body burns, so performing a significant amount of exercise can really up that overall burn. In addition, exercise can be very critical to overcoming a weight loss plateau and helping to reset your metabolism.
Everyone’s requirement for physical activity can vary, which is why it’s extremely helpful to meet with a fitness specialist or weight loss physician to help you determine the amount that is right for you. However, keep in mind that it can be helpful to vary the duration, amount and intensity of your workouts from day to day. Make sure to switch up the type of exercise you do, with a balanced focus on the three pillars of fitness: strength, cardiovascular and flexibility training, such as yoga, Pilates or gymnastics classes.
At our weight loss clinic, we promote a low carb, high protein diet for a variety of reasons, mostly because it’s the safest, most effective way to go. Today, we’re going to talk about why protein is so important for weight loss management, building muscle and getting adequate nutrients so that our body functions properly.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, which slows down our metabolism and results in weight gain—and for some, obesity. In combination with exercise, protein helps us increase our lean muscle mass and hold onto the muscle we already have. Our lean muscle mass becomes exponentially more important as we age—much research shows that when the elderly do not take in an adequate amount of protein, this leads to a more rapid health decline and chronic illnesses.
The reason protein is so essential to weight loss management is that it ensures that we don’t feel hungry too soon after a meal. It staves off cravings and takes longer to digest. Many studies show that those who eat a high-protein breakfast feel less hungry during the day and eat less calories overall. Since it helps us increase our lean muscle mass when combined with exercise, increasing protein consumption can boost our caloric burn throughout the day.
In addition to its weight loss benefits, protein is extremely crucial to our overall health. It’s a building block of every single cell in our body and is used to build and repair tissues, as well as to produce enzymes, hormones and other important chemicals.
A general guideline we give members of our weight loss clinic is to aim to get 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal. While most people struggle to eat protein during breakfast, try to get it in, because it will make a huge difference in your day.
Since we promote a low carb diet at our nutrition counseling center, our members are always trying to find delicious recipes that can help them achieve success with their diets and weight management programs. When you’re trying to lose weight and attain better health through nutrition, it’s important to eat meals that are rich in lean protein—and chicken is an excellent source. It’s lower in fat, carbs and sodium than most other types of meat, and is packed with nutrients, such as vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin and selenium.
Always be sure to select recipes that call for skinless chicken, as the fat content in the skin can be detrimental to most diets and weight management programs.
The garlic in this recipe is an excellent choice for those trying to lose weight and achieve better health through nutrition—and not just because it adds flavor. Spices such as garlic help boost our metabolism, which increases our calorie burn throughout the day. Garlic is touted for its antibacterial and antiviral properties as well as its ability to help reduce our levels of bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It helps our bodies metabolize iron, increases insulin release and regulates blood sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes. In addition, much research shows that garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties may help to regulate the formation of fat cells in our body that lead to obesity.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup low-fat, grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and Himalayan sea salt in a bowl. Lightly heat the extra virgin olive oil and garlic in a pan. Dip the chicken breasts in the oil mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. Place in a shallow baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.
Have you been strictly adhering to a diet or one of the weight management programs that are popular right now, but have stopped losing weight? Do you exercise regularly but the scale isn’t budging? This is a common issue that members ask our weight loss physician about—we like to call it “hitting a plateau.” It happens to the best of us, even when we haven’t increased our calorie consumption and are working out consistently.
No matter how healthy and clean you are eating, even the best weight management programs can hit a plateau. It’s a point that everyone reaches, no matter what they do to avoid it. The most important thing to remember is to stay on track and not fall into the old habits that caused your weight gain in the first place.
When you first start a diet, you will typically experience the loss of water weight and lose several pounds right off the bat. Then process slows down a little, resulting in what our weight loss physician refers to as “safe weight loss,” which amounts to approximately one to two pounds per week. When we lose weight, we also may lose some muscle, which slows our metabolism and calorie burn, and ultimately, causes a plateau.
Once you hit this point, it’s time to change your approach. This means either reducing your caloric intake or increasing your physical activity—if not both. If your weight loss physician deems it safe for you, try cutting around 200 calories per day. However, don’t deprive yourself or skip meals, as this can result in overeating or bingeing in the long run.
Once you’ve decreased your calorie consumption, it’s time to start working out if you’re not already. If you do exercise regularly, try increasing your intensity, duration and the number of days you’re working out. If you’ve been focusing on cardio and flexibility training, this is a good time to incorporate strength training, since it builds the lean muscle mass that ultimately causes our bodies to burn more calories.
Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged—stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.
Before we know it, swimsuit season will be here, so now is the perfect time to adopt healthy habits and make changes to our lifestyle in order to achieve weight loss management and look and feel great better than ever. The good news is, making small changes to your diet and fitness plans add up quickly—and according to our weight loss doctor, those small changes are more manageable and therefore easier to adhere to.
Read on for four small changes that will help make weight loss management easier to maintain for the long haul.
1. Start every day off right. We recommend that members of our nutrition counseling center never skip meals—but definitely don’t skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day—the one that revs our metabolism and gets our digestion working. When you skip this essential meal, chances are you will overeat during the rest of the day to compensate. Have something to eat as soon as you wake up, even if it’s just a piece of fruit. The last thing you want to do is put your body in starvation mode, which can ultimately result in metabolic issues.
2. Get your stress levels in check. Our weight loss doctor recommends finding ways to reduce stress, as often times it leads to emotional eating and causes excessive production of cortisol, which can increase belly fat, lower immunity and raise blood pressure when it’s not in balance. Regular exercise and a meditation practice are two excellent methods of stress reduction.
3. Quit soda altogether. Soda is filled with nasty sugars and empty calories—it really has no place in a healthy diet. Stay away from diet sodas as well, as much research shows that drinking it can ultimately lead to weight gain.
4. Alleviate one unhealthy fat from your diet. This simple change can save you hundreds of calories per day—and that seriously adds up over time. It can be a change as simple as switching out the half and half you put in your coffee for non-fat creamer.
Many individual who seek out the help of a weight loss physician want to know if snacking is a healthy or unhealthy habit. While snacking when you’re not hungry or just because you’re bored is not a good thing, it is important to keep your metabolism revved and not let your stomach get to the point where you’re so hungry that you overeat when you do sit down to a meal—a common problem that leads many to search for diets and weight management programs in the first place.
Obviously, junk food and baked goods are not healthy snacks. But when you choose high-protein snacks or fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like our weight loss physician recommends, snacking can be a healthy habit that helps you maintain a balance diet. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Healthy snacks stave off cravings. Most individuals start to feel hunger pangs after three to four hours, which is an appropriate time for a snack. Your metabolism is like a furnace, and when you keep it stoked with healthy snacks, you’ll avoid those cravings for the unhealthy foods that cause weight gain, obesity, high levels of bad cholesterol and other health issues.
2. Snacks can prevent overeating. If you don’t snack and instead try to last five or six hours, chances are very likely that you’ll completely overeat when it’s time to have a meal. Snacking helps avoid going off track with diets and weight management programs. In addition, snacks help to regulate your blood sugar levels so that you don’t experience the spikes and crashes that typically lead individuals to overeat or even binge.
3. Snacking helps you incorporate healthy foods into your meal plan. Snacking gives you the opportunity to work more healthy snacks into your day, such as fruits, vegetables, “good” fats such as nuts and seeds, and good sources of protein, such as a hard-boiled egg, smoked salmon, protein shakes or bars.
This month is deemed American Heart Month by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). With approximately 715,000 experiencing heart attacks and 600,000 dying from heart disease in the United States each year, it’s important to do what we can to eradicate this chronic and often fatal disease.
In honor of this very important organ, our nutrition counseling center is offering some tips for getting heart healthy and enjoying the weight loss benefits these actions will yield.
Eat a diet that’s healthy for life. Consume lots of whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, so you can benefit from the fiber and antioxidant content while keeping calories low, which is critical for weight loss management. Aim for a diet that is low in both saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and unhealthy carbs. In addition, limit your sodium intake and avoid processed, refined foods such as those made with white flour.
Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity and weight gain significantly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Follow a program for weight loss management so you can keep your heart as healthy as possible. To determine whether your weight is healthy, visit our nutrition counseling center and find out what your body mass index (BMI) is so that you can strive to attain a healthy goal.
Get moving. Regular physical activity helps with weight loss management and improves cardiovascular health. In addition, it lowers blood pressure and our levels of LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol.
Avoid cigarettes. One of the biggest factors that increases your risk of heart disease is smoking cigarettes.
Keep your blood pressure in check. It’s essential to have your blood pressure taken on a regular basis to ensure that it is in a healthy range. We will do this for you when you visit our nutrition counseling center, but you can also get it checked at a pharmacy or get a handheld machine for home use.
Many members of our nutrition center worry about dining out at restaurants when they’re trying to follow diets or weight management programs. The concern is understandable, but the good news is, there are strategies you can use to master the art of dining out without derailing your weight loss efforts.
Don’t arrive hungry. When you go to a restaurant, it can take some time to get seated, place your order and then wait for your entrée to arrive—hence, the bread and butter, tortilla chips and other diet spoilers they put on the table to tide us over. Instead of dipping into this well of fattening carbs and other calorie-laden food, have a healthy snack before you go. Pop a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or some Greek yogurt so that you’ll be able to hold out for your entrée.
Dressing on the side. Go old school and order your dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing so that you ultimately use less on your salad and consume fewer calories overall. Be sure to choose an oil and vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Skip the entrée. While it may sound counterintuitive, many members of our nutrition center have the best results from ordering an appetizer or salad instead of a full entrée when they eat at a restaurant. It’s an excellent route to making sure your caloric intake doesn’t get out of hand.
Plan ahead. A great way to ensure you make the right choice at your meal is to look at the menu online before you get to the restaurant. That will give you the opportunity to analyze the menu items and determine what your best choices are before you have to order.
Share. Another great way to stay on track with diets and weight management programs without giving up restaurants is to split your entrée with someone at your table. Restaurant portions tend to be oversized, so a half portion can be more than enough to satiate your appetite.
When you’re working hard to lose weight, it helps to adopt habits that make you healthy for life and expedite your weight loss efforts. When members come to us for nutrition counseling, we try to help them develop healthy habits that they can permanently integrate into their lifestyle so that they can achieve long lasting results. Read on for a few healthy habits that will help you burn fat and lose weight.
Walk it off. In order to lose weight and be healthy for life, we have to get moving—and walking is one of the easiest ways to do this. The more we move, the faster our metabolism works—and the more revved our metabolism is, the more fat and calories we burn overall. A lot of programs recommend taking 10,000 steps per day. If that isn’t possible, try to incorporate walking whenever you can—walk to errands that are local, park at the end of the parking lot wherever you go, and take short little walks whenever possible, such as during your lunch hour, after dinner or first thing in the morning.
Eat lots of protein. Protein helps fill us up and regulates our blood sugar so that we avoid those spikes and crashes that can ultimately lead to overeating. The more lean protein you eat, the less cravings you’ll have. Plus, eating lean protein helps us build more lean muscle mass, which raises our metabolism and caloric burn.
Increase consumption of water and green tea. Proper hydration is essential for weight loss and our overall health. Drinking fluids like water with lemon helps flush the toxins from our body and keeps us feeling full. In addition, we recommends green tea to our nutrition counseling clients as studies show that it contains components that rev your metabolism and possibly burn fat.
Many members of our nutrition counseling center follow a low-carb diet and therefore are constantly on the hunt for recipe ideas that will help them achieve their weight loss management goals. Breakfast is a great place to start, as low-carb, high-protein breakfasts give you energy, help you stay full longer and are the perfect way to rev your metabolism first thing in the morning.
Low-carb breakfasts are easy to prepare—take eggs, for example. You can make a delicious, hunger satiating breakfast with eggs and just a few veggies. Toss in your favorites, such as tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions or whatever else you like to spice up a scramble or omelet, make a burrito with a whole wheat wrap or simply pair some hardboiled eggs with some fiber-rich fruit for an ideal meal to start your day.
Another excellent low-carb choice is low-fat Greek yogurt with berries, which are typically very nutritious, antioxidant-rich and low in calories, making them a perfect choice for weight loss management. Keep in mind that the darker the berry, the stronger their antioxidant content. Some of the most nutritious berries include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries, all of which are delicious and healthy.
If you’re a meat lover, there are plenty of sources of lean protein that are perfect for breakfast, such as turkey bacon, chicken or turkey sausage, or slices of lean ham and smoked salmon. Plus, who says you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast? If you’re craving something traditionally served for dinner but that’s healthy and low-carb, there are no rules saying you can’t have your leftover chicken breast or salmon filet for breakfast.
Many of the members of our nutrition counseling center opt to make smoothies for breakfast, as they are easy and convenient, especially for those of us who are constantly on the go. Smoothies are a great way to get a full serving of fruit and/or vegetables, as well as protein, when you use low-fat yogurt, juice or coconut milk as a base.