Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

4 Tips for Lightening Up Holiday Meals

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Lightening Up Thanksgiving MealsThanksgiving and Christmas are 2 days each year that are particularly treacherous to dieters and anyone trying to watch their weight. Here are a few simple switches that you can make that will substantially reduce the voluminous amounts of fat and calories that you’re sure to be presented with during the holidays.

  1. Whole Grains. It’s always a good idea to try and eat only whole grain breads and pastas, and holiday meals are no exception.
  2. Skinless Chicken and Turkey. Much of the fat and calories in poultry is found in the skin, so removing it before cooking can substantially improve it’s healthiness.
  3. Low Fat Products. Reduced fat cream cheese, shredded cheese, milk, cream, and sour cream are all great ways to reduce the fat in your meals without greatly changing the flavor.
  4. Less Carbs, More Veggies. Try making (or eating) one less carb-loaded dish and replacing it with a vegetable. Beans instead of mashed potatoes, for example.

Try these simple substitutions and let us know how it goes. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

What We Can Learn From the Biggest Loser

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” is a reality competition in which overweight contestants try to lose as much weight as possible to insure their survival in the game. The show draws a lot of interest from the fact that contestants routinely lose vast amounts of weight in a relatively short amount of time. It’s commonplace for contestants to lose more than 10-15 pounds in a week, particular during the early part of a season.

The show has received a lot of criticism for the very same reasons. The weight loss that the contestants experience is completely unrealistic for the average overweight person. Contestants on the show have 24/7 access to some of the best fitness professionals in the world as well as the fact they can spend their entire week exercising. I’ve heard a few different reports saying that contestants spend upwards of 6 hours per day exercising, which is out of the question for most people with jobs and families. Another criticism is that some of the contestants end up putting back on some of the weight after the competition. As their lives return back to normal, i.e. no more 6-hour daily workouts, their bodies will naturally adjust and weight will certainly be gained.

There are, however, still many things that we can learn from “The Biggest Loser”. First and foremost, losing a significant amount of weight requires commitment and hard work. If you’ve ever watched the show then you know just how hard the contestants are working. They aren’t in the gym just going through the motions, the trainers are constantly pushing them. There is a big difference in the benefit of pushing yourself in the gym versus just doing the exercises.

A second important learning is that reaching your goals takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. Depending on how much weight you need to lose to reach your goals, it may take up to a year or more to actually achieve your desired weight. Contestants on the show don’t reach their desired weights in 2-3 weeks. Even in the fast-forward atmosphere of the reality competition it still takes them a few months of extremely hard work. Realizing that weight-loss is a marathon and not a sprint is important. It’s more about making lifestyle changes than fad diets, and more about long-term dedication than short-lived inspiration.

The Lowdown on Superfoods

Monday, November 8th, 2010

BlueberriesYou’ve probably heard the term “superfood” over the past few years. Superfoods are a class of foods that are powerful in helping to lower cholesterol as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Superfoods are a great alternative to medicines and prescription drugs because they are innately safe and won’t have any side effects. Incorporating superfoods in your daily diet should greatly improve your quality of life and have a tremendous impact on your long-term health. All superfoods are simple, pure foods like fruits and vegetables that are unprocessed and consumed in their natural state.

Common Superfoods

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green & black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

How To Fit Snacks Into Your Weight-loss Plan

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

You’re hungry and you need something quick; so you grab a snack.  Healthy snacks can complement your weight loss plan, which is why it’s important to always have some on hand. Here are some of the best snack foods options for weight-loss.Snacks - Hummus with pita bread and vegetables

  • Keep fruits and vegetables around; they will keep you feeling full with a relatively small number of calories.
  • Nuts and seeds provide you protein which will keep you feeling fuller longer. They are higher in calories so make sure you eat them in small quantities.
  • Whole grains which are full of fiber which will give you energy. Look for crackers and bread and other snacks that are whole grain.
  • Low-fat dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein and calcium.  Dairy products are typically high in fat so make sure you opt for the low fat options.

The Benefits of Eating a Healthy Breakfast

Monday, February 15th, 2010

BreakfastEveryone’s been there. You’re in a rush with so many things to do and trying to get out the door on time. So what do we do? Skip breakfast. Sadly, this is an all-to-common occurrence. It seems to be the most overlooked meal of the day, which is not a good thing considering it is also the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast really sets the tone of the day as far as your eating goes. If you don’t eat breakfast or eat too little then you’re likely to snack before lunchtime or overindulge at lunch.

You shouldn’t trick yourself into thinking that by skipping breakfast you will be helping yourself lose weight. Studies have shown that eating breakfast is important in maintaining a healthy weight. When you eat breakfast you are jump-starting your metabolism -  getting your body ready to burn fat and calories for the day.

Here are just some of the benefits of eating a health breakfast:

  • More energy for the day
  • More complete diet: you will be consuming more vitamins and minerals that your body needs
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Better productivity, especially in the morning
  • Control your weight: You will be less likely to snack mid morning or eat a heavier lunch if you had eaten a healthy breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast has benefits for yourself as well as your children. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination.

Stay tuned for some healthy breakfast ideas!

The Shrinking Team
Weight-Loss is Hard, We’re Here to Make it Easier

Does Coffee, Tea, etc. Count Toward Your Water Intake?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Water, of course, is essential to our survival as human beings. As a follow-up to our previous article, How Much Water Should You Drink, we want to explore what exactly counts as water. Does it have to be pure water or can anything that we drink that contains water count towards our daily intake? As you might expect, this is widely disputed.

Some seem to think that coffee, teas, and soda do not count towards your daily water intake because they contain caffeine and therefore act as diuretics which increase the dehydration process. Some even say that for every cup of caffeinated beverages you consume you should add a extra glass of water to your diet. But what if you are drinking decaffeinated coffees and teas? Because decaffeinated beverages do still contain trace amounts of caffeine they could still act as diuretic, but certainly would not be as bad as drinking their fully caffeinated counterparts. However, there are opposing views as well. An article from the Mayo Clinic states that recent research shows that caffeine only has a diuretic effect if you consume large amounts of it — more than 500 to 600 milligrams (or 4 to 7 cups of coffee) a day.

There are many people that rarely drink a pure glass of water and they are still alive. Is this the healthiest way to live? No. If you’re trying to maintain your weight or lose some you should not be filling yourself by consuming the empty calories that many beverages offer. So, it would seem that coffee, tea, and soda probably do count somewhat toward your water intake, but they simply cannot replace the beneficial properties of pure water.

The Shrinking Team
Weight-Loss is Hard, We’re Here to Make it Easier