Is Including Fiber in Your Diet Good for Weight Loss?

Is Including Fiber in Your Diet Good for Weight Loss?

Making one change to your diet by adding more fiber can be as good for weight loss as a more complicated change of both diet and exercise. According to the results published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the University of Massachusetts Medical School used 240 volunteers in a study separated into two groups. All of the volunteers had metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the research meaning they had high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and were overweight.

Group One followed the American Heart Association’s recommendations of eating more fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, fish and lean protein in their diet, while cutting back on salt, sugar, fat and alcohol. Group Two’s only change was to add fiber to their diet. As far as fiber, each group ate about 19 grams daily. Exercise was not added to either group’s recommendation.

At the end of the study, both groups lowered their blood pressure, improved their response to insulin and lost weight. Group One lost 5.9 pounds on average while Group Two lost 4.6 pounds. Both groups were able to maintain their weight loss for the 12 months.

What is significant about the study results is the weight loss between the two groups was not all that different proving that by just adding fiber to a diet, weight loss is possible without making any other dietary changes. And if weight is lost, it reduces the risk of other health issues such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes – some of which can be life-threatening.

While it is possible to add fiber to a diet through fiber-fortified foods like breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers, fiber from whole foods is better (for several reasons). Use a goal of 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day. Because fiber can cause bloating and gas, increase your daily fiber content gradually, thus giving your body some time to adjust to the increase of fiber.

Good sources of natural fiber include beans and lentils, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and fruits and vegetables. Beans and lentils are particularly beneficial as they are not only a good source of fiber, but also lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Adding fiber to your diet from the above sources is also a great start to a healthy diet. By eating fiber-rich foods, you will stay fuller longer, thus reducing your desire to snack on unhealthy foods between meals, and you’ll reduce your intake of refined grains, salt, sugar and saturated fats and increase unsaturated fats – all of which work toward improving your health.

 

How to Stop Using Food as a Reward for Exercising

How to Stop Using Food as a Reward for Exercising

Using food as a reward is a very common habit among dieters and fitness enthusiasts. Therefore, it is no surprise that quite several people who exercise regularly feel that it is okay to indulge in some heavy eating after a grueling workout. After all, it stands to reason that filling up on food to replenish energy would be fitting after burning hundreds of calories during intense workouts.

While there is nothing wrong with a little snacking after a workout, overdoing it can send you into a workout plateau or worse, see you gain weight despite all your hard work. So, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, it is essential that you stop using food as a reward. To help you with that task, here are a few ideas on how you can hold back from overeating after a strenuous workout.

  1. Keep Full on Less Food. (without driving consumption up). A full stomach will not crave food. Consequently, you will not feel the need to treat yourself to a massive post-workout feast. A good way of staying full is to include foods that have a satiating (filling) effect into your diet. A few examples include protein packed, fiber-rich, and whole grain foods. Alternatively, you can schedule your workouts right before major meals but still making sure to fuel for your exercise session as required. This way you can eat to your satisfaction after a workout and consequently avoid packing in extra calories later in the day.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is another way that will help keep your belly full and cravings under control.

  1. Keep Sugary Treats Out of the House. Avoid stockpiling sweets, chocolates, ice cream, and other sugary treats in your refrigerator or kitchen pantry. The presence of these treats increases chances of falling victim to using food as a reward.
  2. Make a List of Things That Make You Happy. Create a list of things you enjoy doing but normally do not get to do. It could be a day at the spa, a shopping spree, a night out with friends, movies you have not got around to watching, or any fun activity that does not involve overindulging in food. Keep this list close by and make it your go-to option for treats whenever you feel like rewarding yourself for sticking to your diet or getting through a hard workout.
  3. Change Your View of Exercise. Most of us look at exercise as a difficult task that requires a lot of effort to accomplish. So, when we have a good workout, we feel the need to reward ourselves with a heavy meal. This trap all too often leads to overindulgence, thus driving up calorie intake and messing up weight loss or muscle building progress. One very simple but effective way of stopping this cycle is to view exercise in a new light. If you start looking at exercise as something fun and necessary for enjoying overall health and fitness, you will not feel the need to reward yourself for reaching a huge milestone in your fitness journey.
  4. Remember Your Fitness Goals. Lastly, when everything else fails, simply remind yourself why you started exercising and/or dieting in the first place. Perhaps you wanted to drop extra pounds to improve overall quality of life. Or, maybe you simply wanted to get a ripped physique. Whatever your fitness goals are, think and meditate over them. After that, take stock of how far you have come and how much closer you are to achieving your fitness goals. By assessing your progress and looking forward to reaching your ultimate fitness target, you will definitely think twice about jeopardizing your progress for a tub of ice cream or some chocolate bars.
4 Tips for Making Exercise More Fun

4 Tips for Making Exercise More Fun

If you go to the gym because you think you have to, verses going because you want to, then maybe you need to put some fun into your workouts. These tips are guaranteed to make your workouts more enjoyable…

Find an Exercise Buddy: Some people are happy working out alone just listening to their music. They get enjoyment from not being disturbed by others. However, if you are a people person and miss the interaction with exercising with a friend during your workouts, find an exercise buddy. It can be a friend you already have or somebody you meet from your gym. Just having someone to talk to when working out can add enjoyment to your workouts.

Vary Your Workouts: Like the old saying “Variety is the spice of life”, so is variety to your workouts. If you do the same thing over and over, day in and day out, you will get bored with it. Switch things up with a new exercise. Change up the intensity. For something different try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine or if you always do cardio, switch out two days per week for strength training. Also by doing the same thing over and over, your body gets conditioned to it and you end up not burning as many calories and you did when you first started. Doing something different kick starts your metabolism.

Set Goals: Some people can be happy exercising for the sake of exercising. For them it is not the destination, but the journey; they never care if they get to the end. However, if you are the type of person that not lonely enjoys the destination, but also needs something to work toward, then set a modest goal. Once you reach it, set a higher or different one. This way you are always challenging yourself to reach a higher level of fitness.

Get Outdoors: If you always exercise in a gym, try moving your workouts outdoors. Parks, walking trails, bike paths, all are good exercise playgrounds at your fingertips. Add some intensity to your workouts by trying new paths or trails on varied terrain. Not only will it challenge your body differently, but also your mind.  There is nothing as refreshing as smelling the fresh air, listening to the birds sing and soaking up the sunshine (getting your Vitamin D naturally).

Exercising doesn’t have to be boring unless you want it to be. Use these 4 tips to add fun to your workouts.

Good Cholesterol Linked to Lower Cancer Danger

Good Cholesterol Linked to Lower Cancer Danger

When you remember family members or friends who have had cancer, one of your next thoughts may be, “How can I keep it from happening to me?”

There is no simple answer, but as scientists work to determine the factors involved, they have come up with findings that decrease cancer risk. Some of these findings could apply to you.

INCREASE YOUR GOOD CHOLESTEROL

The surprising result of studying many controlled trials indicates that for every 10 mg/dl higher increase of HDL (good) cholesterol, cancer risk dropped by 36%. This analysis was done by Tufts Medical Center’s Molecular Cardiology Research Institute and colleagues.

While researchers can’t say for sure how high-density lipoprotein does it, they say HDL probably has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects that can reduce cancer risk. Or HDL might also be helping the body’s immune system search out and destroy abnormal cells that could grow into tumors.

They do know that HDL carries bad cholesterol from tissues to the liver, which removes it from the body.

HOW TO RAISE HDL LEVELS

  • One great way is to eat fish. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (as found in fish) is associated with HDL increases. For every 10% increase in omega-3s, HDL levels rose by about 2.5 mg/dl.
  • Lower levels of omega-3s are found in walnuts and leafy green vegetables, flaxseed and soy products.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages is associated with modestly higher HDL levels; of course if it is done in moderation.
  • HDL levels are also increased by regular exercise, avoiding overweight and not smoking.

Researchers say the optimum HDL level for heart protection is 60 mg/dl. That number is probably a worthy target for cancer prevention as well.

Can You Build Muscle as a Vegetarian or Vegan?

Can You Build Muscle as a Vegetarian or Vegan?

When it comes building muscle, diet is key – especially eating enough protein and carbohydrates, and keeping food in your stomach throughout the day. However many bodybuilders get their protein from animal sources – in particular eggs, dairy and meat. So can you get enough protein and carbs from a primarily plant-based diet to build muscle? Absolutely!

But first, let’s define vegetarian and the associated variations to the basic term: A person that does not eat meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish, or crustaceans or by-products of slaughter. The definition can further be broken down into these four variations:

  1. Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats both dairy products and eggs
  2. Lacto vegetarian: Eats dairy products, but not eggs
  3. Ovo vegetarian: Eats eggs, but not dairy products
  4. Vegan: Does not eat any animal products (including; dairy, eggs or any other animal products)

If you are vegan, you have fewer choices in protein selection than other types of vegetarians. As a vegan, you are mainly limited to beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu and whole grains. However, because most vegetables are not complete proteins, you must eat a good mix of fruits and vegetables to get in all of the amino acids, to make up a complete protein.

f you are lacto-ovo, you have it easier because of the protein in dairy products and eggs. But, because ovo vegetarians and vegan choose not to eat dairy, they can’t use whey protein powder. However instead, they can use in their protein shakes one of the many vegetable protein powders available.

If you need a vegetable protein powder, you can choose from ones made from soy, peas, hemp, or brown rice, just to name a few of vegetable-based sources. Rice protein not only tastes great, but also supplies lots of digestible protein. Mix in a scoop of powder in almond or coconut milk and you have a protein shake that rivals one made with whey, but without the possible allergen and bloating that can occur with dairy-based powders.

If you are training to build muscle, then you need at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This is entirely doable by eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day. A good post-workout snack could be a handful of almonds, hummus on crackers, or almond butter on toast. Or mix up one of your great vegetable protein shakes!

In the end, it is fairly easy to build muscle from eating only vegetarian or vegan. It just requires a different mind-set as far as diet and having the discipline to eat a good variety of allowed foods to get in a complete diet.

A Tip for Parents of Fussy Eaters with Older Siblings

A Tip for Parents of Fussy Eaters with Older Siblings

Right around the time a child turns 2 or 3 years old they begin to develop a sense of independence. This happens in many cases because your child is looking up to an older sibling. They want to be like, act like and do things like their older brother or sister.

Use Your Child’s Older Sibling as a Healthy Eating Role Model

Young girls and boys naturally look up to their older sisters and brothers. Yes, they may argue and fight from time to time, but looking closely, you can recognize behaviors, attitudes and verbal clues that shows your fussy eater actually respects and wants to be like his older sibling.

Get the older child involved. Tell him how much his little brother or sister looks up to him. Then tell them how important eating healthy foods is. Doesn’t he want his little sister to grow up big and strong? Of course he does.

This can also help improve the bond between your children, make both your younger and older children feel better about themselves and their siblings. It additionally removes your role as the “mean person” that is always trying to make you child eat foods that she does not like.

A Quick Guide to the Science of Muscle Growth

A Quick Guide to the Science of Muscle Growth

How and why do muscles grow? Scientifically, the process is very simple. If you consistently weight train, add cardio, enjoy a healthy diet and drink lots of water, you will burn fat and gain muscle. Practice the following 4 steps and you will harness the science of muscle growth for a leaner, stronger, healthier body.

1) Your muscles will only grow when they are forced to. Weight training (using free weights or your body weight) causes micro-tears in your muscle fiber. Your body’s incredible ability to repair itself steps in, and your muscles are adapted to grow stronger than before. This growth never occurs if you do not experience enough micro-tears. You have to force your muscles to work so hard that they literally tear down. If you work muscles too hard, you can over-tear them. Your body may never fully heal, stunting muscle growth. Not hard enough, very little muscle growth occurs.

2) Muscles grow when you overload them. Ever hear weight trainers talking about “feeling the burn”. This is not what causes your muscles to grow and is not a sign of a perfect workout. What you are feeling is a surge of lactic acid in your muscles (muscles are burning energy). High repetition workouts with lower weights do not cause muscle growth either. Overload has to occur before your muscles grow. Overload your muscles by consistently and steadily increasing the amount of weight you lift, and you will grow muscles.

3) Muscles grow after you stop working out. Stressing your muscles and overloading them is preparing them for the recovery period. This is when your body heals, causing muscles to grow in strength and size. This means plenty of rest between workouts.

4) Your muscles will only grow if you feed them properly. You can do everything properly to boost muscle growth, but if your diet is unhealthy, you may see little to no effect. Working out, lifting weights and doing body weight exercises only dictates 20% to 40% of how you look. Yep, your diet is that important. Get the proper ratio of carbohydrates, protein and good fats, drink lots of water and feed your muscles the right amount of calories and even minimal workouts will show quick results.

The Closest to a Cure for Breast Cancer is Know Your Risk

The Closest to a Cure for Breast Cancer is Know Your Risk

One in eight women will get breast cancer. And until there is a breakthrough cure for all stages of breast cancer, the best way to survive it is to detect it early. Survival rates for early detection are 95%, but only 41% when diagnosed later. Fortunately, there is good news and all it takes is a visit to your healthcare professional. With all of the right tools and a comprehensive breast health plan outlined by a healthcare professional, you and your loved ones can find out the risk for developing breast cancer and do something about it.

As part of a routine evaluation, your healthcare professional has most likely taken your family history into account as a key indicator of your chances of getting breast cancer and could have recommended regular mammograms, and maybe even an ultrasound or MRI, as a first line of defense for breast cancer screening. However, more than 80% of women who develop breast cancer have little or no family history of the disease. While these tools should be considered as part of an overall breast health plan, women can better understand their risk for developing breast cancer through a validated risk test called Oncoblot.

Oncoblot a blood test that detects over 24 different types of cancer.  Can detect breast cancer cells is 2 million cell count, i.e. 5 years before mammogram can detect breast cancer. Oncoblot can also be used to confirm tissue diagnosis of breast cancer and follow effectiveness of treatment.  Lastly, Oncoblot can be used as an early monitor of cancer recurrence.

Developing and following a comprehensive breast health plan and knowing your risk can be one of the best ways to fight breast cancer. Here is a checklist that can help you and your healthcare professional make informed decisions:

  • Breast self exam—women should start this beginning in their 20s. Any changes in breasts should be reported to a healthcare professional right away.3
  • Clinical breast health exam—women in their 20s and 30s should have this exam performed by a healthcare professional every three years. Women in their 40s should have this done every year.3
  • Mammogram—women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so as long as they are in good health.3
  • Oncoblot: Early detection. oncoblot.com
Why Sleep Is So Important for Weight Loss

Why Sleep Is So Important for Weight Loss

Studies show that when deprived of adequate sleep and this can have a big impact on your weight.

1)Increase in Appetite: When sleep deprived, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. This is one of the hormones that control appetite. More cortisol in your system, the hungrier you are. It can get so bad that even when full, you feel hungry and can lead to overeating and weight increase. Cortisol is also produced when we are under stress; it is produced by our body when we feel   threatened – the fight or flight syndrome. If you are under a lot of stress while you are awake, and      then don’t get enough sleep at night, that can really throw your cortisol levels out of whack.

2) Increase in Body Fat: If you eat more calories than you burn, you are going to gain weight, muchis body fat. However, that may not be all that is causing you to gain weight. Another culprit could be reduced metabolism (number of calories burned in a day). Sleep deprivation interferes with the ability to burn carbohydrates. This can lead to high blood sugar; causing an excess secretion of insulin, causing increased body fat. Not only are you eating more than you should, your body is not burning it at the rate it should.

What causes us to not sleep enough? Most of our sleep loss is caused by sleep apnea, being overweight and insomnia.

Sleep Apnea: A medical condition where breathing stops and starts up to hundreds of times per night without you even knowing it. Even though you are not physically waking up, your body is and as a result, you are not getting the sleep you should.

Obesity: Weighing more than you should can cause difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep. As a result, you end up being awake more that you should. Also, if you have not replaced your mattress within the last eight years, you are due for a new one. That alone could help you sleep better as it will support you better than your old one, thus allowing for a more and better sleep cycle.

Insomnia: Worrying (work or family problems) will not allow you to sleep as much or as well as you should. In time, this takes a toll on your body and as we know, can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Adequate sleep is just as important to your weight loss efforts as is the food you eat and exercise you get. If you are sleep deprived and can’t figure out the cause, see your healthcare professional to see if a medical condition is causing your sleep loss.

Does Obesity Run in Families?

Does Obesity Run in Families?

Is obesity hereditary? Are you going to be large, overweight and suffer the afflictions and diseases associated with being obese if your parents or grandparents were? Unfortunately, in many cases obesity is a family affair. Incredibly, obesity is common in friendships and other close personal relationships as well. Let’s take a closer look at just how your ancestry affects your body weight, and see if there is anything you can do about it.

DNA and Chocolate Cake – Understanding the Obesity/Genetic Link

Countless studies have shown that there is a definite link between your risk of becoming obese and having overweight or obese parents. The way your body stores fat and burns calories when you eat chocolate cake or any other food is closely related to your genetic ancestry. How your body converts food into energy is also a process which can be a result of your DNA.

The Family Lifestyle Impact

Even if genetics played little to no role in deciding your body weight, your family’s lifestyle certainly does. If your parents lead a sedentary life, suffer from poor nutrition and do not put a big priority on exercise, you will grow up in inherently learning those lessons. The simple fact is that families tend to enjoy similar lifestyle habits, including exercise and nutrition.

Can Your Fat Friends Make You Obese As Well?

Aside from an increased risk of obesity through family relationships, your sedentary friends can have a negative impact on your health as well. Studies have shown that people with a few obese friends are much more likely to be obese themselves. This could be because obese friends were each raised by overweight parents, and naturally tended to bond because of similar interests and social factors as they were growing up.

Can The Genetic/Obesity Relationship Be Defeated?

The Mayo Clinic reports that, ultimately, environmental and personal factors are responsible for you being obese, overweight or at a healthy body weight. Their research shows that even with a “genetic predisposition” towards obesity, your lifestyle will eventually be the determining factor in whether or not you are healthy and fit.

This is because, for most people, nutrition determines from 50% to 60% of their level of physical fitness and health. That is how incredibly important eating right is, especially if you are battling a hereditary obesity history. Drink lots of water, and exercise 2.5 hours each week. Walk instead of sitting whenever you have the opportunity. Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and non-processed foods over sugar-filled, salty, processed fast foods, drinks and sweets. Proper diet and exercise can keep you slim and trim, fit and healthy, even if everyone in your family is overweight or obese.

If you tried diet and exercise but are unable to reach your healthy weight, give us a call to see if you are a candidate for HCG Fat Reduction Plan.

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