Healthy For Life - Blog Roll
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.