Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Everything in this post should be obvious.  But sometimes we ignore the obvious in favor of the expedient.  So it’s always worth a quick review!

As we all know, if you want to lose weight the two indisputable universal factors are healthy eating and exercise. In fact, everything you will ever read about how to lose weight will fall into one of these two categories.  That said, here are some simple, but very effective tips to remind you of the obvious.

Walk!

We all have to get around.  So walk whenever possible.  Even if you have to drive to get where you are going, stop looking for that close parking spot.  Park on the other side of the lot and force yourself to walk!  Forget the elevator and take the stairs.  Walk!  Best of all, you don’t have to make time to fit these walks in.  You have to go anyway!  Just don’t be lazy.  Look at it as an opportunity.

Exercise First

If you exercise first thing in the morning, your body is a lot more likely to actually burn away fat.  This is because when you are asleep, it is as though you are fasting.  So when you wake up, your body is in a state of low blood sugar and a high amount of fat-burning hormones like adrenaline.  So by doing cardio exercising first thing, research shows you end up burning more calories and fat than exercising during other times of the day.

If You Are Going to Eat Carbs Do It After Exercising

This is called carb backloading, eating complex carbohydrates after intense exercise that was done after essentially fasting, i.e., sleeping.  The benefit of this that the carbs you consume after the workout will not be stored as fat, but will by your cells to replenish depleted amounts of glycogen.

So you can kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, by exercising early and then enjoying your complex carbs for breakfast.

Brrrr.. Cold Showers!

A cold shower is great for waking you up.  But it can also help you lose weight since your body will use up calories trying to warm itself.  Cool! (pun intended)  In addition, the shocking cold increases your levels of adrenaline and testosterone.

Don’t Drink Sugar. Drink Water.

You want to lose weight and save money?  Drink water.  Very simple.  Enough with the soda that is dripping with sugar.  Just switching to water alone is enough to improve your health and lower that number on your scale.  It’s wasted calories!  And for what?  A candy hit?  Grow up.  And that includes all the fancy coffees and cappuccinos that are loaded with fat-giving cream.  Oh yah…and chuck the beer too.  Okay, okay, I hear you.  Fine, you can cheat with a periodic light beer.  But the bottom line is drink water.  Believe it or not, drinking water will even accelerate your metabolism!

Get More Sleep

Most Americans are sleep deprived.  We are also mostly overweight.  It could be that there is a correlation here since sleeping helps burn fat!  So sleep often and sleep well to maximize all of your fat burning opportunities.

Eat Slower

Slow eating will not, in and of itself, help you lose weight.  It’s not like exercising your jaw more or less is going to burn calories.  It’s psychological, but it works.  If you chew slower and eat slower you will feel fuller and your food will digest easier.  Consequently, you will also end up eating less.

So there you have it.  Hopefully, there was nothing new here for you.  But if there was or if you have been ignoring the obvious, time to get back to basics.

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The Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

The Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

Every article about healthy eating that you read will tell you that one of the most important factors in living a long and healthy life is the foods you eat.  The typical article will push vegetables, fruit and exercise.  And they are definitely right.  They will also tell you that if you are eating grains you should only eat whole grains which still contain all of their vitamins and nutrients before being washed away in the processing.

But in this article we want to boil it down to the most healthy foods that a person can eat in order to get the most nutrients one can.  Eating these foods regularly as part of your ongoing healthy diet will certainly help most people to live a longer and healthier life. 

Not only that, but each of the five we have chosen, are not only among the healthiest foods that are easily available, but they are also extremely versatile.  That means it is very easy to prepare and fit them into your regular menus.  It will not be necessary to learn to cook all over again and taste things you’ve never heard of before.  It’s just a matter of getting more of the right foods that have the right ingredients for your improved health!

So here we go with Dietgirl’s list of the Top 5 Foods for Healthy Living

1. Berries (Cranberries) 

Another  delicious and very healthy food is berries.  Not only can they be easily incorporated into your meals, but they are great for a snack. All berries have antioxidants that are important for your diet. Cranberries, in particular, are very high in antioxidants, but all berries are benefitial and should be enjoyed often.

2. Quinoa (Whole Grains)

All whole grains are far better to eat than processed grains.  But quinoa is in a class of its own. Please note that by itself, quinoa has a bland taste, but you can fix that easily with some garlic, salt, lemon or oils.  Better yet, just grab a few recipes off the internet and you will see that it is quite easy to jazz it up.  It’s worth that extra little effort because quinoa is very high in  fiber and in protein, and is an excellent source of magnesium and iron. 

3. Salmon

Naturally filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and other terrific nutrients, salmon is one of the best foods on the planet that a person can eat.  This one grilled piece of fish has almost everything in it that your diet requires. And on top of all that it is low in fat and bad cholesterol, but high in good cholesterol.  Quinoa makes a terrific add to everyone’s diet.

4. Spinach (Greens)

As mentioned above, green vegetables are very important to your diet.  And some of them can be important sources for calcium  fiber, protein, and other important slices of the nutrition pie. Interestingly, spinach does not provide all the benefits that collard greens and kale do, but since spinach is easier to mix into your recipes and add to your menu in ways beyond a simple salad, we have focused on it over all other greens. 

5. Soy

By now, everyone has heard of soy.  Unfortunately, this unique incredible food does require learning how to cook it.  But it is so worth it.  Soy is simply a fantastically healthy food. It has fiber, protein, Omega-3, calcium, vitamins, —almost everything a person could want from a meal. The good news is that soy can also be found in lots of foods, as vegetarians can find soy cheeses, soy meats, tofu and other things that can all be used to help you find ways to include soy in as many meals as you want.

So there you have it!  The Top 5 Food for Healthy Living.  Bon appetite!

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The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

Get up and go! That’s all it takes, right? Not so fast! Many things that people think are true about exercise are actually wrong. Like anything else, if you don’t do it right, you are unlikely to get the results you expect. So let’s cut the fat and slim on down to the facts.

Lie Number 1. You will always achieve your goals if you stick with your exercise program.

Well, obviously, this depends on your goals and your program. Goals must be realistic and your exercise program must be designed with you in mind. Not everybody responds the same to the same exercise program. Given each of our genetics, it is likely that your personal gains in speed, power and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.

Lie Number 2. You can lose as much weight as you want just through exercise.

Exercise is very important. But it will not do the job alone. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is dependent on many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. As discussed above, not everybody will lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. Believe it or not, it is possible to be active and still be overweight. You won’t believe how many black belts in karate I have known who were quick, strong and talented, but they just could not lose their beer bellies! Nevertheless, even though exercise by itself probably will not guarantee you reach your desired weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important variables in achieving a healthy and fit body.

Lie Number 3. You will burn more fat with low intensity workouts.

It’s a darn lie! The truth is that you will burn up more calories per minute the faster you move. The problem is that high-intensity exercise may be hard to maintain in the beginning, so most people are not able to exercise very long pushing so hard. Because of this, it is much safer and more practical to start out at a lower intensity and gradually work your way up. In general, the main benefit of low intensity exercise, other than as a starting point, is that it is less stressful on joints. However, the bottom line is that fat reduction depends on the total energy cost or how many calories are used up when exercising.

Lie Number 4. With specific exercises anyone can build their arm muscles or get a six-pack.

It’s just not true. What is true is that specific exercises will definitely tone and strengthen specific areas of your body. But if you have fat there you may not be able to see those strengthened muscles as they are covered with your fat! Not only that, but you cannot control where you will lose fat on your body through dieting or exercise. That is all genetic. That’s why being careful with what and how much you eat goes hand in hand with exercise. It’s a package deal. The good news is that research continues to show that any exercise is better than no exercise. For example, regular walking or even gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to help a person feel more energetic and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Lie Number 5. People who are obese are not likely to benefit too much from exercise.

That’s outright nonsense. Everybody benefits from exercise and everybody should consult with their doctor before beginning any workout program. Those who are very overweight probably need much more professional oversight and guidance so they do not try to do too much too quickly. But the truth is that research shows that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of the fact that they are so overweight. Even a little bit of exercise is significantly better than no exercise.

Lie Number 6. If your goal is to lose weight, forget about strength training since it’s going to bulk you up.

Life is about balance. Your body needs cardiovascular exercise, such as aerobics or running, as well as strengthening, through push ups, planks or weight lifting. Strength workouts help increase muscle mass and decrease your body fat ratio. Everyone needs both.

Lie Number 7. Yoga and Tai Chi may be enjoyable but the fitness benefits are still unsubstantiated.

That may have been true years ago. But more recent research clearly illustrates that these exercise forms are quite beneficial in multiple ways. Some of these benefits include, improvements in coordination, flexibility, posture, balance, strength and stress management. Tai Chi has even been shown to help improve fibromyalgia and pain in the lower back.

Lie Number 8. Exercise programs in water are mainly for seniors and the handicapped.

Just because water fitness programs are primarily marketed to the handicapped and seniors, does not mean that they aren’t terrific alternatives for all of us. Water exercise offers many benefits, such as going easier on the joints, but don’t be fooled. These fitness programs can be just as challenging and successful for improving fitness and losing weight as any other. There are many athletes who incorporate water fitness programs into their workouts.

Lie Number 9. The best way to get healthy and lose weight is by going to a gym.

Poppycock! The best workout is one you are going to do! It has to be at least somewhat enjoyable, convenient, easily accessible and affordable. In fact, studies have shown that many people strongly prefer a home-based fitness program for all of these reasons! So ignore the hype about the latest fitness fads and trendy exercise equipment and facilities. Your best workout is what fits into your schedule, budget and needs. Do what works for you. But ya gotta do it!

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Ingredients to Make your Healthy Office Lunches More Exciting

Ingredients to Make your Healthy Office Lunches More Exciting

Many people tend to pack leftovers or something unhealthy and quick as an office lunch. It’s understandable considering you may be busy in the morning but always remember your health comes first. So why not prepare something hearty and exciting so you’ll always have something to look forward to at work. Here are some healthy ingredients that’ll make your office lunches way more exciting:

Eggs
Eggs can be cooked in many different ways and added to almost any dish to make it more interesting. Not only is it an excellent source of protein, but it can make every dish taste better. You can prepare eggs at the beginning of the week by boiling a few to add to your lunch as a side dish or fry some to add to a sandwich.

Rice
Rice can be very filling and is great with vegetables or even last night’s leftovers. You can quickly make yourself some fried rice or make plain white rice with a side dish.

Chickpeas
Canned chickpeas are always great to have in your kitchen. You can blend them to make hummus or make a quick chickpea and egg salad.

Soy Sauce
If you don’t have time in the morning and want to add some flavor to last night’s leftovers, add soy sauce! You can add it to almost anything to make it more flavorful.

Olive Oil
Not only is olive oil great for cooking, it’s also amazing when you add it to salads or even when you mix it with greek yogurt for a dip.

Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt can be eaten with honey and granola for a quick breakfast or even as a savory snack with chickpeas or olive oil. It can also be used as a healthy mayonnaise alternative and mixed with many other ingredients to add more flavor.

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The Healthy Way to Lose 15 Pounds in One Month

The Healthy Way to Lose 15 Pounds in One Month

Losing 15 pounds in one month can sound like an extremely dangerous and hard task to accomplish. Some may even deem it as impossible while others may think it’s possible only using unhealthy techniques. However, it actually is possible to lose 15 pounds in one month in a very healthy manner by following a few simple and easy guidelines:

Reduce your Caloric Intake

While counting your calories may not always work, reducing the amount of calories you intake can make a major difference. An average woman needs to eat around between 1,600 and 2,400 calories and an average man needs to to eat 2,000 to 3,000 calories to maintain weight. However this all depends on age, lifestyle, general health, height and weight. In order to lose weight, you can start by cutting off as much as 500-1,000 calories on a daily basis..

Increase your Protein Intake

By increasing your protein intake, you can feel more full for a longer period of time and it can also help boost your metabolism. The best protein sources include meat, fish, beans, nuts, and eggs.

Perform Cardiovascular Exercise

Select a cardiovascular exercise you’ll enjoy doing over the course of 30 days. Doing cardiovascular exercises regularly is a great way to lose weight and increase metabolism rate in a healthy and efficient way.

Protect your General Health

Along with all of the other tips, it’s important to not neglect your general health. By cutting down calories, make sure to not end up starving yourself or eating unhealthy foods that are low in calories. Make sure to get eight hours of sleep and take vitamins if you need them. If you notice any negative changes, be sure to see your doctor.

Want some more information about how to lost weight the fast and healthy way? Check out the great infographic below! The insights are awesome, without too much information overload- and it’s easy to get started!

How to lose weight

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Don’t Blame Metabolism on Age-Related Weight Gain

Don’t Blame Metabolism on Age-Related Weight Gain

As many people age, they tend to lose interest in taking care of their body physically. In some cases, many feel that they may be past their prime, and in other cases, they would blame their metabolism rate for being the reason why they gain weight. In reality, the weight gain that comes as people get older has very little to do with metabolism.

Okay, we must say that yes- every year from age 30 onwards our metabolism rate does indeed begin to slow down, however, it slows down at a very minimal and almost unnoticeable rate. Instead, the weight gain that comes with older age has to do with the fact that as people get older, they tend to get less active. Even if you didn’t formally exercise as a kid or teen, you did surely go out more and be more active. You played with friends in the park, and took part in other physical activities such as dance or gymnastics routines. At the very least, you simply ran around more from store-to-store, or from school to your job. And those things pretty much tend to come to a halt once people become established in their careers and adult life in general.

At first, the idea of gaining weight as a result of being less active at an older age may not seem so relieving. However, it actually is very alleviating because now you know that you can slowly work your way to start being active and do something to prevent age-related weight gain! The best calorie-burning and weight losing activity is simply to just get active. Making small changes in your daily life that you know will lead you to becoming a more active person overall can efficiently help you avoid gaining those extra pounds. For instance, by doing something as simple as taking the stairs more often, you may notice feeling more energized and motivated to being more active. Staying more active is also great for avoiding diseases like diabetes and heart disease that people commonly develop at an older age.

In addition to being less active, as people get older they tend to not pay attention to what foods they eat and are more likely to eat unhealthy foods. We advise you to stick to multiple small portioned healthy meals throughout the day, and be mindful of what exactly you are eating. By staying active and eating healthy, you can definitely steer clear of age-related weight gain.

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Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Every year or so, a new weight loss trend spreads either through social media or from what celebrities suggest. Yet sometimes these trends don’t actually work and may even make it harder for some people to lose weight. Here are some weight loss myths that many people who are on their weight loss journey may hear, and the truth behind them:

Carbs are Bad for You
A common misconception that many people tend to believe is that any form of carbs are terrible for you. Complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, etc.) are actually very important for providing energy. However like any other food group, portion sizes and what you eat the carbs with are important to control.

Skip Meals
Skipping meals is never a good idea. Not only will you end up gaining more weight, but people who skip meals, like breakfast, are more likely to develop heart diseases and mess up their metabolism rate.

Diet Pills are a Quick Solution
Any dietary pill or supplements that claim to have quick results are never long term solutions and can possibly end up being extremely dangerous! Most diet pills are not regulated by the FDA. Your body may react very badly to some of the ingredients and there are many negative side effects that come with it.

Cut off Whole Food Groups
Many people believe cutting off dairy or gluten is healthier. However, cutting off gluten and dairy also means losing out on calcium, protein, and carbs that your body needs. This can lead to serious long term effects.

Always Count Your Calories
According to many dietitians, counting calories may actually be a complete waste of time. Firstly, you don’t actually know how many calories your body needs or ends up absorbing.  Sometimes, many nutritional panels will not even have an accurate calorie count as the FDA allows up to a 20 percent margin of error. Instead of constantly counting your calorie intake, go for healthier food choices, and remember that moderation is key.

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Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Skipping breakfast has become very normalized in today’s world due to just being busy for it, or simply just not wanting to eat a meal so early on in the day. Sometimes people skip breakfast because they think they can lose weight easily that way. Researchers claim that people who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat the rest of the day, and that there actually is no difference in weight between people who eat breakfast and people who skip breakfast. In fact, people who eat breakfast tend to have lower risks of developing heart diseases and higher cholesterol. Still, there is not enough research to prove that people who don’t  have a habit of eating breakfast should actually start.

Other research has also suggested that not eating for a certain period of time (e.g., having dinner at an earlier time) could actually help people lose weight efficiently. Researchers from the University of Hohenheim in Germany conducted an experiment on 17 healthy adults on three different days. On the first day they skipped breakfast, the next day they skipped dinner, and the third day they ate three regular meals. At the end of the experiment they found that on the day they skipped dinner, they actually burned the most calories compared to the other two days. So if you skip breakfast to lose weight, you might want to consider skipping dinner instead. They also found that on the day they skipped breakfast, they oxidized more fat, meaning their body broke down their stored fat.

Although this may sound like a good thing, this actually leads to the body’s inability to switch between burning fats and carbohydrates. Skipping breakfast can essentially even cause the body to slowly become metabolically impaired which can raise the risk of diabetes and obesity. It is also known that our body has better sugar control and metabolism rates earlier in the day, so eat more food earlier in the day! Therefore, breakfast is actually a really important meal which is not worth skipping, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

 

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The Perks of Prenatal Fitness

The Perks of Prenatal Fitness

Pregnancy is a very important and beautiful experience for many women. Since being an expecting mother is such a huge responsibility, isn’t taking care of the body that will carry the baby also crucial?

Staying physically fit while being pregnant and after giving birth can sound difficult and almost impossible. However physically training yourself so that you can stay fit during and even after your pregnancy makes all of this much easier and efficient. Many physicians say that they have noticed a trend in pregnant women who are physically fit or trained for the pregnancy beforehand, they are all much happier during their pregnancies and have less complications. The infographic below goes into detail on fitness exercises during pregnancy, which can also be practiced before pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy

In some ways, prenatal fitness can make it easier for many women to become pregnant. For instance, weight can be an issue for women who want to become pregnant but can’t because of how their weight affects their hormones. By exercising and having a proper diet, it can be much easier for these women to lose weight, conceive and have a healthy pregnancy all at once! Prenatal fitness can also decrease chances of health risks that occasionally come along with pregnancy. Although actually delivering the baby can be a very different process from person-to-person, studies show that having a fit cardiovascular system can make a normal delivery much easier and lower your chances of needing a C-Section.

Many women worry about how their bodies will look after their pregnancies. It is completely normal to not look fit right after delivering the baby, and it does take time and effort to eventually get back into shape. But staying fit during your pregnancy and maintaining a routine can make it much easier for women to get back to their routine soon after their delivery. There is never any disadvantage to staying fit and having a healthy lifestyle. So if you plan on getting pregnant, make sure to plan ahead and try your best to maintain a fit body during and after your pregnancy!

 

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