Losing Weight the Right Way

[Posted 15 Feb 2013]

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States, and yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 36 percent of all adults in the United States suffer from obesity. This means that at any given time, at least one-third of the population may be searching for a safe and effective way to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people right here in Texas turn to ineffective or even dangerous diets or supplements to help them with their weight loss goals. Many experts believe that the reason so many people struggle to lose weight successfully is because they choose the promise of “quick” weight loss over safe, healthy programs that take ensure Weight Loss Houston success.

Successful Weight Loss

The simple facts about long lasting Weight Loss Houston goals is that it takes a committed and positive attitude. Successful weight loss means losing weight and keeping it off as well as improving your muscle tone and your overall health. Weight loss is not only about losing pounds; it is also about lowering cholesterol or lipid levels, improving blood sugar control, and ultimately becoming a healthier person. Here are some facts about weight loss that can guide you to make healthy choices for your body and lose weight successfully.

Set Small Goals

Small goals are more important than large ones. Trying to lose 50 pounds is daunting, but almost anyone can lose two pounds. Therefore, make two pounds your week’s (or two week’s) goal, and do not look beyond that point when you first start dieting. By cutting down on your calories and increasing your exercise moderately, two pounds a week is a reasonable weight-loss goal. If you pay attention to one week at a time, soon you will find that you have lost a significant amount of weight almost without realizing it.

Calories Count, but so do Macronutrients

Earlier research on weight loss focused only on calorie-counting. The general wisdom was that a calorie was a calorie, so eating a diet of just candy or just celery would have similar results as long as you counted calories. Further research has revealed that this is not the case. Both the types of foods you eat and how much of them you consume have an impact on weight loss. Diets high in fiber and protein cause you to lose weight faster than diets high in refined carbohydrates and fat.

Exercise Boosts Weight Loss in Several Ways

Many people think of exercise only in terms of how it burns calories. This is one benefit of exercise, but not the only one or even the most important one. Exercise builds muscle which in turn burns more calories. The more muscular you are, the more you can eat and still lose weight.

Further, exercise makes your heart and lungs stronger, encouraging your body to burn calories more efficiently. Experts recommend 30 minutes per day of exercise that raises your pulse to at least 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This type of aerobic exercise is best for strengthening your heart and burning calories. However, you should also include gentle strength training to build muscle mass.

Start Small

Remember that anything you do today toward your weight loss goals is more than you were doing yesterday. If you cannot exercise for thirty minutes, exercise for fifteen or even ten. Cut out one processed or refined food and substitute a fresh fruit, vegetable or whole grain.

By taking small steps and setting reasonable weekly goals, you will reach your overall weight loss goals before you realize it.

Farm Fresh Kale, Strawberry, & Beet Salad

This past weekend couldn’t have provided a more beautiful setting for shopping at the local farmer’s market. The weather was inviting to all walks of life with a cool breezy 75 and clear blue skies. There’s something so rejuvenating and refreshing about purchasing locally grown and organic produce from local farmers. Of course – the produce is extra fresh, alive, and more nutritionally-dense, but the conversation is equally satisfying. Typically I spend a solid two hours there eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and conversing with different vendors; however, I had a bridal shower to host and not much time to shop. So, I popped in the market right when it opened and picked up my nutritional delights for the upcoming week. Let’s see the checklist… farm fresh eggs, butternut & spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, strawberries, kale, beets, carrots, grapefruit, oranges, chevre (lemon blueberry & orange cranberry!), sprouts, peach balsamic vinaigrette, lavender tea, raw unfiltered local honey, and even a block of lavender white chocolate for dessert. Yum!

So now the question presents itself – what meals to prepare?! I know, I know… it would be more cost effective to plan out my meals ahead of time. But let’s be honest – lists don’t work for me in an atmosphere of fresh food. It’s my playground! So again, what to make? Since tomorrow is the deemed “Meatless Monday”, I suppose one of my dishes should be respective of the movement. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Kale, Strawberry, & Beet Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed

½ cup strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp sliced almonds, roasted
2 cups beets, steamed, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
Sprouts, of your choice
Lemon-blueberry chevre
Peach balsamic
Olive oil
Maple syrup
Salt & pepper

Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette:

¼ C olive oil
¼ C peach balsamic vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp pure maple syrup
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

  •  Combine ingredient in a small jar, secure the lid and shake. Yields 2/3 cup.

 Directions:

  • Wash, de-stem, and cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Lightly drizzle the kale with olive oil and massage until coated. Set aside in large glass bowl.
  • *Steam the beets, then place under cool, running water to gently peel off skin. Allow the beets to cool; cut into chunks and toss into kale.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients with the bed of kale and enjoy the beautiful concoctions of fresh flavors!

*steam the beets according to the recipe; the additional ingredients are not necessary for this particular recipe.

Pursuing Weight Loss in Houston the Right Way

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States, and yet according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 36 percent of all adults in the United States suffer from obesity. This means that at any given time, at least one-third of the population may be searching for a safe and effective way to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people right here in Texas turn to ineffective or even dangerous diets or supplements to help them with their weight loss goals. Many experts believe that the reason so many people struggle to lose weight successfully is because they choose the promise of “quick” weight loss over safe, healthy programs that take ensure Weight Loss Houston success.

Successful Weight Loss

The simple facts about long lasting Weight Loss Houston goals is that it takes a committed and positive attitude. Successful weight loss means losing weight and keeping it off as well as improving your muscle tone and your overall health. Weight loss is not only about losing pounds; it is also about lowering cholesterol or lipid levels, improving blood sugar control, and ultimately becoming a healthier person. Here are some facts about weight loss that can guide you to make healthy choices for your body and lose weight successfully.

Set Small Goals

Small goals are more important than large ones. Trying to lose 50 pounds is daunting, but almost anyone can lose two pounds. Therefore, make two pounds your week’s (or two week’s) goal, and do not look beyond that point when you first start dieting. By cutting down on your calories and increasing your exercise moderately, two pounds a week is a reasonable weight-loss goal. If you pay attention to one week at a time, soon you will find that you have lost a significant amount of weight almost without realizing it.

Calories Count, but so do Macronutrients

Earlier research on weight loss focused only on calorie-counting. The general wisdom was that a calorie was a calorie, so eating a diet of just candy or just celery would have similar results as long as you counted calories. Further research has revealed that this is not the case. Both the types of foods you eat and how much of them you consume have an impact on weight loss. Diets high in fiber and protein cause you to lose weight faster than diets high in refined carbohydrates and fat.

Exercise Boosts Weight Loss in Several Ways

Many people think of exercise only in terms of how it burns calories. This is one benefit of exercise, but not the only one or even the most important one. Exercise builds muscle which in turn burns more calories. The more muscular you are, the more you can eat and still lose weight.

Further, exercise makes your heart and lungs stronger, encouraging your body to burn calories more efficiently. Experts recommend 30 minutes per day of exercise that raises your pulse to at least 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This type of aerobic exercise is best for strengthening your heart and burning calories. However, you should also include gentle strength training to build muscle mass.

Start Small

Remember that anything you do today toward your weight loss goals is more than you were doing yesterday. If you cannot exercise for thirty minutes, exercise for fifteen or even ten. Cut out one processed or refined food and substitute a fresh fruit, vegetable or whole grain.

By taking small steps and setting reasonable weekly goals, you will reach your overall weight loss goals before you realize it.

The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Anyone else seen those highly annoying commercials with the lady walking in the farm, corn stalks blowing in the breeze, as she’s saying that high fructose corn syup is A-okay for her and her family (innocent children having a picnic in the background)? There are few things in life that have ruffled my feathers as much as those commercials because High Fructose Corn Syrup, aka corn sugar as you can now find it on food labels, is NOT, I repeat, NOT good for us, nor our waistline.

When we eat the right foods, our hormones function properly. Triggers are sent to the brain to signal that we’ve had enough to eat and we are thereby full. When we eat the wrong foods, like simple sugars in processed foods, our bodies go haywire hormonally, and that ends up in one result… a new pair of larger sized pants, my friends.

Fructose found in HFCS, a sweetener in many processed foods, isn’t seen by the brain as regular food so it doesn’t see HCFS as excess calories or fat. Therefore, we don’t turn off the “full” signal and continue eating, which leads to excess calories and weight gain.

As Americans we consume more than 63lbs of fructose per year! that’s 128,000 calories and a huge contributor to weight gain!

Stop the madness now! When looking at food labels beware of the following as ingredients, but especially as one of the first 5:
1. Simple sugars- fructose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, dextrose, maltose, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin.
2. Enriched/bleached or refined flours- these have been stripped of all nutrients and are processed just the same as sugars.

Common HFCS culprits include, but are not limited to: Fat free foods, such as salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, honey mustards, barbecue sauce, granola bars, cereal bars, cookies, chips, and other pre-packaged snack foods.

Know what doesn’t have HFCS?? Fresh fruits and veggies :)

Meatless Monday Movement!

The Meatless Monday Movement is a global campaign dedicated to raising awareness on our health and health of our planet. For those of you who choose to eat meat, this is simply a way to contribute to eco-friendly practices and reduce your carbon footprint – visit www.meatlessmondays.org for more details. Each week we will post a blog related to the Meatless Monday Movement and will accompany it with an easy, breezy meatless recipe. The movement’s decision to feature “Healthy Mondays” was done with the intent to begin each week with a fresh, healthy jump-start – especially if you spent this past Super Bowl weekend harboring Blue Moons and fried Oreos!

The Post-Super Bowl Elixir aka THE RAVEN

Ingredients:
1-2 organic carrots
1 organic apple
½ inch ginger root, peeled
4-6oz Greek yogurt (rBgh free)
Organic cinnamon to taste
1-2 cups organic greens (spinach, kale, chard, beet greens)

Directions:
Cut the carrots and apple to assist with blending
Place all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Keys to Staying On Top of Your Houston Nutrition Goals

[Posted on Jan 31]

With a month into the New Year, many people have made the decision to eat healthier, and live a healthier lifestyle with Houston Nutrition goals. The road to living a healthier lifestyle is not easy, but by setting fitness goals and sticking to a healthy diet, a positive change can be realized throughout the year. Below are tips for remaining loyal to this important commitment by staying true to your nutrition goals and becoming motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Why Eat Healthy

Research has revealed much information regarding the process by which we get our food. Knowing Houston Nutrition details information can help retain motivation to keep a diet healthy. Different nutrients benefit specific parts of the body, making us realize that a variety of foods are needed for optimal health. Being aware of the nutritional contents and value of the food you consume will support the desire to be ensure your body is receiving the nutrients it requires.

A healthy diet will keep your body and mind functioning at full capacity. Proper nutrients help muscles become stronger and burn fat more efficiently. Eating healthier is highly associated with a person’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. Your most important muscle, the heart, will benefit the most from a healthy diet. Nutrition also helps us fight off chronic diseases and avoid illnesses. Eating less saturated fats can control cholesterol and lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are also known to reduce multiple types of cancers.

Setting Goals For Healthy Living

Before going into the kitchen and cleaning out the pantry and fridge, sit down to make a plan. Begin your new eating habits in a strategic way.

By slowly filtering out unhealthy foods and snacks and replacing them in your diet with low calorie and nutrient rich items, you will begin to train your body to sustain itself on quality rather than quantity. A sensible plan would be to decide to only indulge in a pleasurable, but not-so-healthy snack no more than three times per week. Going “cold turkey” may not be the best option for most individuals looking to begin a healthy lifestyle; it may even be counterproductive.

Maintain your Goals

Now that your goal is set you know what you what to achieve and by when. You have implemented strategies to change your diet and increase activity. What are some ways to avoid those road blocks that will appear?

One strategy to help stay motivated for a healthier lifestyle is to study your family history of diseases and conditions. Be sure to include any incidence of type 2 diabetes in your research as this can be hereditary and can be prevented with weight loss and proper eating habits. If you come across a particular disease that runs in your family, consider foods, exercise, and other methods that can combat contracting them. For example, if melanoma is in your family history, be sure to avoid overexposure to sunlight. If you know you will be in direct sunlight for a long period of time, be sure to apply sunscreen. If there has been any type of cancer in your family, learn about foods that contain antioxidants that can prevent it.

Diet and exercise are the key to a long and healthy life. Set obtainable goals and see positive change both inside and out.

How to Begin 2013 With a New Houston Diet

There’s never a better time to start a new Houston diet than in 2013. With a new year brings new goals and challenges, and what better way to prepare for the coming seasons by slimming down and living healthier. With a bit of motivation and encouragement, you can start the year off right for a healthier, happier you in 2013. Many Houston residents have started a healthier New Year with assistance from Life Long Weigh, a leading wellness clinic.

Never Skip a Meal

The trusted medical professionals of Life Long Weigh can advise you that skipping meals, or eating less, is a common trap that many prospective dieters fall into. When beginning your day, it’s never a good idea to try and cut calories by skipping breakfast and waiting until lunch to eat. This only drains your energy more quickly and reduces the speed of your metabolism. Opt for fiber in the morning by eating oatmeal with fresh fruit and berries on top. You can also add natural yogurt for great taste, and added protein to keep you fuller for longer. Try steel cut oats which are a healthier option than regular rolled oats, and pack more nutrients and vitamins.

Be Creative

Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Lunches, even salads, can be full of flavor. For lunch, you can certainly try creative and healthy meals that will give you plenty of protein for enough energy in your days. Eat a grilled chicken salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, a light sprinkle of fresh cheese, thin slices of cucumbers, and sunflower seeds. Some salads may be too light to keep you full, but the grilled chicken will help you trim down quickly, while staying healthy and energized.

Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby

You always want to make sure you have enough snacks to keep your energy and metabolism up to speed throughout the day. Many dieters have found that eating several small meals a day is often the key to losing weight and feeling rejuvenated. Opt for a handful of raw almonds (go for raw—salted can increase your cholesterol), which will keep you full and satisfy your appetite. Almonds effectively nourish the nervous system and also lower the rise in blood sugar and insulin.

Another nourishing snack to try is organic rice cakes. They’re light and have a low amount of calories, while also giving you a healthy portion of grains in your daily diet. They’re easy to take on the go and will increase your weight loss.

Juicing for Added Nutrients

When trying to stay full, juicing is an effective way to increase your consumption in nutrients while staying full until dinner. Juicing is easy and a great detox, which is one of the most effective way to shed pounds. When juicing, try combining vegetables like kale, spinach, cucumbers, apples (for taste), and broccoli. You can also add different types of berries, pineapple, papaya, or strawberries for extra antioxidants.

Enjoy Hearty Dinners

For dinner, salmon is a delicious option and promotes proper digestion and contains fatty acids like Omega-3 and vitamins D and A. Pair the salmon with couscous, a side of grilled asparagus, baby carrots or quinoa.

Instead of depriving yourself by skipping dessert, curb your sugar craving and treat your sweet tooth with a piece of dark chocolate. It’s a much healthier alternative than opting for ice cream or a candy bar, and has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Purchase dark chocolate with a cocoa percentage higher than 70 percent to get the most anti-oxidant benefits.

By choosing healthier meals and snacks throughout your day, you’ll easily lose weight and feel better even after the first few days. Pair your new 2013 diet with proper exercise from 3 to 6 days a week and you’ll feel and look better in no time.

Another reason to eat your Spinach!

Magnesium deficiencies cause sugar cravings, which can lead to binging on the wrong stuff. If your diet typically isn’t rich in magnesium, it could be causing you to reach for that late night cookie or hit the drive-thru window. Or if you’re having a hard time transitioning to a more natural diet and letting go of the sugar-rich foods, adding these magnesium-rich foods to your diet may help get you on the right track:

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli)
  • Beans (black, navy, pinto, kidney)
  • Green peas
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
  • Seeds (pumpkin & squash seeds)
  • whole, unrefined grains (whole grain bread)
  • Fish & Seafood (Halibut, scallops, &oysters)

Check out this recipe for Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Clean Eating Magazine to get on board with Magnesium!

Serves: 16 Hands-on time: 15 minutes. Total time:35 minutes.

CATEGORY: Vegetarian, Under 45 Minutes, Gluten Free

INGREDIENTS:

• olive oil cooking spray • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 6 oz fresh spinach • 12 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed • 8 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened • 1 cup Greek Yogurt • 3 tbsp low-fat, reduced-sodium Parmesan cheese, grated • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning • 1⁄8 tsp sea salt (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat nonstick or cast iron pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Spray pan with cooking spray and let heat for another minute. Add onion and sauté until caramelized, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring so that it does not burn. When onions are caramelized or golden brown, add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. If the vegetables are on the verge of burning, mist with cooking spray. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until just wilted. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put artichoke hearts and spinach-onion mixture into a food processor fitted with a standard cutting blade. Chop for 1 minute. Add cream cheese and yogurt and whirl for about 2 minutes. Add Parmesan, chives, pepper, seasoning and, if desired, salt. Chop for another 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are finely minced and well blended into dairy mixture.
  3. Place dip in a 4-qt ceramic baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Remove from heat and serve on a trivet with sides of vegetables and crackers.

*Some adjustments have been made from the original recipe!

Plant your Good Habit Seeds in 2013

Let this truly be a new year. Refocus your energy on positivity and think goals, not resolutions. Think small, positive changes with long-term health benefits. For example – “I am going to drink 16 oz. Of filtered water every morning when I rise” or “I will perform 15 minutes of resistance exercises each evening before rest”. Making these small, simple changes will add up quicker than you think. By drinking 16 oz. of filtered water every morning, you’ll increase your intake by 480 oz. In an average month, that’s 60 glasses of water more than you’re drinking now!

Too often we put our health aside until the “new year”, and then expect ourselves to magically wake up on the 1st with renewed vigor and a disciplined mindset. We think we’ll have this overnight tada! transformation that will allow us to go from couch potato to marathon runner. Well, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but that simply is not how it works. If you do in fact want to run a marathon and are indeed a couch potato – start small. Begin by walking 10 minutes daily (at the same time for consistency). Then turn that walk into a 10 minute light, brisk jog. Then maybe your next progression would be to add 5 minutes on each week thereafter. Do you see where I’m going with this? Make a small positive change, create space for that change, or habit, to exist by being continuous, then grow that habit.

I suppose one could call this planting a good habit seed.

So, do it. Make this the year of small changes dedicated towards self-growth and personal creation. Take time for yourself. Train yourself to become a master in planting good habit seeds. And whatever you do, do it for you. You are unique, you are special, you are you. We all work so hard to create something – whether it be a product, an art piece, a service – that we forget to create ourselves; even worse, we forget to cherish and nourish our health. Please share what good habit seeds you’ll be planting!

Stress is a mess – clean it up!

S-T-R-E-S-S.

As with all things – there are good and bad types of stress, and stress affects both our mental and physical health. Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect us against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress. On the contrary, we are under more stress than ever by living in a fast-paced society where work comes first and health comes last. Long-term, unhealthy stress – heavy workloads, financial instability, family responsibilities, and rush hour – can have detrimental effects on our health, longevity, and overall quality of life. Stress has no right to be in your life, get rid of it!

Understanding the natural stress response:

If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That’s because your body’s “fight-or-flight reaction” — its natural alarm system — is constantly on.

When you encounter perceived threats — a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

When the natural stress response goes haywire:

The body’s stress-response system is usually self-regulating. It decreases hormone levels and enables your body to return to normal once a perceived threat has passed. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.

But when the stressors of your life are always present, leaving you constantly feeling stressed, tense, nervous or on edge, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The less control you have over potentially stress-inducing events and the more uncertainty they create, the more likely you are to feel stressed. Even the typical day-to-day demands of living can contribute to your body’s stress response.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart beats
  • Menstrual problems
  • Acne and other skin problems

Clean up the mess of stress by making time for yourself, exercising regularly, and eating a wholesome, clean diet! It’s your life and your time – you have the freedom and choice to increase the quality of your life…do it!

References

  • Karren KJ, et al. Mind Body Health. San Francisco, Calif.: Benjamin Cummings; 2010:28.
  • Creagan E (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 10, 2010.