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Feed your gut and lose weight

Are you constantly hungry, dealing with cravings, experiencing various aches and pains and ready for a nap after eating? Do you want to shrink your waist line and feel better? Heck, do you really just want to feel better and lose weight as an afterthought?

Then it’s time to focus on your gut. And I don’t mean what might be adding inches to your waistline. I literally mean your gut – your intestines. You would think that it might be some other more worthy organ like the liver or the kidneys that has that dubious honor of making us feel better but it turns out it really is in your intestines – your colon to be specific and the good gut bacteria that lives there that we want to nurture.

Evidence supports that an unhealthy gut microbiome may contribute to obesity.

In other words, you have to feed your gut to lose your gut. But feed it the right foods.

Restoring the gut biome will help you lose weight. All your gut needs is more resistant starch. Eating resistant starch will help you body burn its stores of body fat.

As mentioned in my last blog, resistant starch (RS) is a type of fiber that resists digestion.  Eating a small amount of resistant starch with every meal will not only keep you fuller longer, but it will prevent some of the starch in your meal from being digested.

It’s like eating free calories while also fortifying your body.

This is a painless way to improve your health and it doesn’t come in a pill or increase your food budget.

Eating foods high in resistant starch nourishes the healthy bacteria in your colon too. When the bacteria digests RS it makes a special compound called butyrate. Butyrate is like a soldier in your body, fighting cancer, making your colon wall stronger and reducing inflammation. See this great presentation from a Denver cardiology group about resistant starch if you want to learn more.

The best sources of RS are found in raw oats, legumes, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, pasta and grains; and nuts, especially cashews.  Heat, processing and ripening reduce the amount of resistant starch in foods. That’s why cooked and cooled pasta, potatoes, rice and beans have larger amounts of resistant starch than when they are eaten hot. That’s why a small, hot baked potato has .17 gms of resistant starch and a roasted and cooled one has 19.2 gms. It’s also why preparing your own dried beans is far better than buying canned. And if you want a little RS boost, buy Great Northern beans instead of red beans. With summer on its way, I’m thinking lots of cold salads: bean salad, quinoa salad and even potato salad. Here’s a list of foods from freetheanimal.com.

There are no dietary guidelines on the amount of resistant starch to consume but one source suggests that getting about 20 gms daily can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of colon cancer and improve post-meal blood sugars.

Here’s how you can make this work

  • Prepare your dried beans in bulk and freeze them. They freeze well and dried beans are cheap and a great topper for salads, addition to soups or stand alone for a three bean salad.
  • Prepare your oatmeal for the week. Use old-fashioned or steel-cut oats(less processing) and cook just enough to keep the oats al dente and store in the fridge to boost the RS.
  • Buy green bananas and store in the fridge to prevent ripening. A small ripe banana has only .3 gms of RS, while a green one has 4.7

Breakfast

  1. Mix in 1/2 green banana into a half cup of cooked and cooled oatmeal and top with 2 tbsp of cashews.
  2. Mix ¼ cup raw old-fashioned oats into ½ cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. Add cinnamon, ½ green banana and 2 tbsp cashews. Greek yogurt has about 5 times more protein than regular yogurt.  Buying flavored or fruited yogurt will boost the sugar. It is much healthier to buy plain and add a tsp of sugar or honey than to buy the presweetened ones at the store. Mix the oats in the Greek yogurt and let sit for 15 minutes to soften.
  3. Make muffins. This recipe is high in fiber and protein and uses oat flour. You could try substituting ¼ cup of the oat flour with Bob’s Red Mill potato starch to really boost the RS.

Lunch

  1. Make sandwiches using bread made from 100% whole wheat or oat. Look under the list of ingredients. The first word must read “whole” or “100% whole”. Instead of chips, have a cold potato salad. Make the potato salad leaving the skins on and cook them just until they are al dente and eat it chilled.
  2. Top a salad with ½ cup beans and a tbsp of cashews. Cashews have 3 times more RS than peanuts.

Dinner

  1. Make bean soups. Bob’s Red Mill makes a bean and grain mix with a delicious recipe on the back of the bag.
  2. Cold salads for sides. Try these salads from Nutrition Action and remember to cook the grains just until al dente.
  3. Experiment with other grains – but keep them al dente. Try these recipes from Nutrition Action.

I plan on making a vichyssoise soup, a cold soup made with potatoes and leeks, next week and will share the recipe once I make it.

Desserts

  1. Fruit crisp. Use fresh or frozen fruit and top with raw rolled oats mixed with butter and brown sugar. To boost the RS you could toss the fruit with a tbsp of potato starch.
  2. No bake cookies. These cookies contain over 2 cups of raw oats and satisfy the chocolate craving with the cocoa powder. I’m going to modify a recipe to make them healthier. Look for the recipe in the near future.

Desserts can also have RS if you either substitute a portion of the flour with potato starch or use raw oats. I like making fruit crisps for dessert because it checks the fruit box and using raw oats boosts the fiber and RS. Being mindful of portion size, you can still have a dessert and lose weight if you use the right ingredients and are mindful of your food choices throughout the day.

RS is huge for your health

I believe RS will be a game changer for your health. Research supports that it improves cholesterol, blood sugars, insulin resistance and reduces the risk of colon cancer. It’s found naturally in some foods and can be enhanced with proper preparation. And cooking these foods in bulk can save time in the kitchen and boost RS by letting them cool in your fridge. Other countries are already on the bandwagon adding it to breads, crackers and cereals. It’s a no brainer and it’s a gut changer. You will feel better. Do you have the guts to try eating more of it?

You can find other healthy recipes on my website, A Healthy Weigh Today. You can get other health tips if you ‘like me’ on my facebook page.

 

 

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To lose weight, practice these 6 habits before bed

When you’re dieting, you may start the day with good intentions, only to have your willpower trail off during the night. But there are actually certain nightly habits that can keep you on track with your weight loss and health goals.

Fox News spoke to Sheah Rarback, a registered dietitian at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and dietitian Jennifer Christman, a clinical nutrition manager at Medifast, for their tips on the best nightly habits for weight loss:

1. Eat a well-balanced meal for dinner.
If you have a well-balanced meal full of carbs, protein, and fat, you’ll feel full longer and won’t go to bed hungry, Christman told Fox News. And high-quality lean protein, such as fish, chicken, chickpeas or lentils, can help boost your metabolism and stimulate muscle growth and repair, she said, so you can keep burning calories all night long.

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2. Have a hot cup of herbal tea.
Both dietitians recommended having a cup of herbal tea—which is naturally caffeine-free — before bed. You can even make a nightly, relaxing ritual out of it, Rarback said. Try hot chamomile tea to unwind before bed.

3. Stay busy.
Often, people overeat at night because they’re bored, Rarback said. As an alternative, try reading a book, taking your dog for a walk, or engaging in some other activity that will keep you from hitting the fridge, she recommended.

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4. Turn off your smartphone.
Try not to check your phone or go on your iPad right before bed, Christman said. She explained that doing so can disrupt your sleep, which in turn can increase the amount of the hormone ghrelin in your body, making you hungrier.

5. Find ways to relax.
Anxiety is another reason that people turn to food late at night, Rarback said. Try practicing breathing exercises or meditation — in her nutrition counseling, Rarback often recommends the app Calm, which can lead you through a guided meditation.

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6. Floss and brush your teeth.
When your teeth feel clean and minty fresh, you might think twice before mindlessly snacking, and instead ask yourself if you’re actually hungry, Rarback said. So wash up and brush early on in the night to help reduce any snacking temptations.

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Fewer Americans Trying To Lose Weight | Fort Smith/Fayetteville …

It seems the battle of the bulge isn’t quite the fight it used to be.

A new study found that the obesity rate across the country continue to rise, but found the amount of Americans going on a diet to lose weight is declining.

Researchers believe that it’s because as more people are becoming obese, people are having a harder time recognizing that they themselves are overweight; which is leading to a lack of motivation to ditch the extra pounds.

Experts said if you are concerned about your weight, see a doctor and work with them to get the tools you need to get on the right track.

Stick with making small daily changes to your lifestyle, because that can make a big difference.

Segment Sponsored By: Mercy Health Systems

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Eve Guzman on Cardio vs. Weight Lifting for Weight Loss

Eve Guzman was featured in PEOPLE’s 2015 Half Their Size Issue after going from 277 lbs. to 138 lbs. by dramatically decreasing her portion sizes and sticking to a high protein, low-fat, moderate carb diet. Since her weight loss, the genetic toxicology research assistant and mom of two, 34, has coached people all over the country on how to lose weight as a certified sports nutritionist and certified personal trainer, helping them drop a combined 2,950 lbs. Guzman recently competed in a figure competition, and will be sharing the next phase of her journey in an exclusive PEOPLE blog. You can also follow her on Instagram.

There has been a huge debate since the years of Jane Fonda workouts to the new powerlifting era about what is better, cardio or weight lifting for weight loss?

Speaking from my own experience, cardio and strength training change the composition of your body in different ways. Cardio will help you drop weight and burn fat and sometimes muscle, even when we aren’t interested in losing muscle. For me, cardio left me as a smaller version of my overweight self. I used to spend 60 to 90 minutes performing cardio six days per week. I still felt flabby and was what you call “skinny-fat.”

I would wonder why other women my weight and height looked more shapely, toned and wore smaller clothing sizes. The difference was that they had muscle mass and I didn’t. My body fat percentage was still 30 percent. As I added in weight lifting, I stayed around the same weight but went from a size 8 to 2, and my body fat percentage dropped to 19 percent. My curves looked better, my arms looked more shapely and defined with less loose skin, and my waist tapered in tremendously. I obtained the #curvyfit look that I had always desired.

As for the scientific take on the cardio vs. strength training debate, Duke University recently conducted an eight-month study comparing the effectiveness of cardio only, strength training only and a mixture of both. The group who did cardio lost the most weight, the strength training only group gained a small amount of weight, and the cardio plus strength training group “improved their body composition best — losing the most fat while adding some lean mass.”

What do I personally advise to my clients? Mix ‘em: enjoy the best of both worlds. High intensity interval training (HIIT), spinning and sprinting are forms of cardio that challenge your fat burning potential and enhance lean muscle development. Twenty minutes of HIIT can help you burn twice as much fat as steady state cardio while increasing muscle mass. Spinning can burn between 400 and 600 calories per session while improving your cardio health, building lean lower body muscle, and training your abs and core. (My spin instructor @coreydiehl kicks my butt!) Sprinting with great intensity can create the same metabolic effect as weight lifting, and develops more muscle mass than long-distance running.

Here is my current workout routine:

Monday: Chest, triceps, abs and sprints

Tuesday: Legs

Wednesday: Back and biceps

Thursday: Shoulders and abs

Friday: One hour spin with Corey

Saturday: HIIT, legs and abs

Sunday: Rest day


Eve Guzman
Courtesy Eve Guzman

RELATED VIDEO: Half Their Size: Their Secrets to Losing Weight

No matter what exercise you choose, remember that at the end of the day, food is the most important factor for weight loss. You cannot out-run a bad diet — I have tried that — but exercise is still very important.

I have maintained my weight loss for more than three years with consistent exercise five to six days per week. I’d rather spend an hour in the gym each day than in front of the television. The average American watches about five hours of television per day — you could just as easily watch Netflix or YouTube while exercising for 30 minutes on the StairMaster.

But when it comes to losing weight remember: Lose weight in the kitchen, get fit in the gym.

A healthier high seas vacation? Weight Watches launches wellness cruise

If you’re the sort who makes a beeline to the all-you-can-eat buffet the moment you board a cruise ship, then MSC Cruise Line’s seven-night Caribbean excursion out of Miami next month is definitely not for you.

But if you’d like to return home and slip into those slacks that were a tad too tight when you left, a week aboard the luxury liner might be just the ticket.

It’s a wellness cruise, a partnership between Geneva-based MSC and Weight Watchers International — just the latest in a growing list of “theme” trips that cruise lines are offering to reach out to new customers.

“Fitness travel has been booming, and it’s transferring over to cruising,” says Darlene Carenza, director of marketing for the travel agency CruConCruiseOutlet. “The cruise lines are working hard to overcome the stigma of lack of activity.”

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MSC’s cruises have focused on health and wellness for some time, Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC North America, tells Fox News. “We’ve had a category called wellness, and within that we have special services for those who want to indulge in a wellness experience.”

Citing a popular vegan-holistic cruise, Sasso said the days of gluttony at sea are over for many travelers. The Weight Watchers venture is about changing with the times and targeting a more affluent demographic, he said.

Jeri Donovan, owner of Well Traveled, a wellness travel agency, said she’s seen an uptick in fitness and wellness travel since she started her business in 2012.

“People want yoga classes, Pilates, fitness, healthy cuisine, a spa with an array of treatments … and the whole focus is mind, body and soul,” she said.

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(MSC Cruises)

“I just booked six millennial-aged women on a bachelorette trip. They wanted a holistic weekend. I gave them five choices.”

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River cruises, many of which cater to American vacationers, used to be all about shopping and visiting museums, but they’ve recently introduced “go active” excursions in Europe and Asia and on the Nile in Egypt, Donovan said.

Guests can go kayaking in France and hiking or bicycling on the Rhine, and they can take guided bike tours through Budapest. “It’s a reflection of our times,” she said. “People are trying to take control of their health.”

Royal Caribbean, which currently offers a variety of fitness options that include rock wall climbing, fly wheel classes, surfing, ice-skating and roller-skating, has been the trendsetter in fitness, Carenza said, adding that Celebrity Cruises has homed in on the holistic wellness experience.

And if weight loss is the goal, there’s a bevy of vacation opportunities, Donovan said. The Ranch at Malibu offers a seven-day exercise vacation for customers who want to lose 3 to 6 percent of their body fat. It includes four hour hikes, fitness classes and a clean menu — for $7,200 per person.

And then there are the Biggest Losers resorts, which average around $2,500 per person for a week. 

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“Mostly I get more people looking for fitness and well-being rather than just to lose weight,” Donovan said.

Weight Watchers has been working since 2015 to branch out from its longtime weight-loss model into a program that centers on health and wellness lifestyles.

“I’ve always been a fan of the cruise industry, and when we looked at Weight Watchers customers and cruise customers, they’re a very similar group,” said Ryan Nathan, Weight Watchers’ vice president of products, licensing and e-commerce. “We gravitated to the cruise to expand what we’re doing and find new ways to extend it.”

But the Weight Watchers cruise isn’t all about watching your weight.

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“Weight Watchers is about living life to the fullest and enjoying life and everything in moderation,” Nathan said. “We say don’t deprive yourself, but have a small portion and count and track what you’re having for the day and the week.

“Within our member base, the response was so enthusiastic. It’s a great environment to practice every day in a safe way with other members, and have a sense of community.”

The cabin blocs for the Weight Watchers cruise have sold out, and at a higher cost — an average of $945 per person — than MSC would normally charge. It’s cheaper than some of the wellness spas frequented by celebrities like Hugh Jackman but is just a few hundred dollars over what you’d pay for standard accommodations on a Norwegian or Carnival cruise to the Caribbean for the same length of time.

The Divina will have four ports of call where passengers can hike, snorkel, dive and just get physical. A second Weight Watchers cruise is in the works for Nov. 11.

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.

 

To Snack, Or Not To Snack To Lose Weight

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, registered dietitian and author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year, weighed in on the topic of snacking. “Proper snacking can assist with weight management, increase metabolism, optimize energy, improve blood sugar control, reduce sugar cravings, better control hunger levels, and improve overall health. This can result in eating less at the main meals and/or choosing healthier food options during the main meals.” This is great advice as Sarah is touching base on the mechanisms of hunger. Hunger is controlled by ghrelin, a hormone secreted in the stomach when we are hungry. Ghrelin is also known to increase appetite, so while the body is asking for food, it strategically triggers appetite in the brain. It also decreases our metabolism and ability to burn fat. So, when is the best time to snack in order to combat this little gremlin in our stomach?

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