NUTRITION

Where Fitness Becomes A Lifestyle 

Why Lose Weight?

There are all kinds of reasons to get rid of extra pounds. They raise health risks and can interfere with your emotional well-being, too. Losing weight can:

  • Lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
  • Increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Reduce joint pain.
  • Improve sleep.
  • improve self-confidence and self-image.

You do not need to lose a lot of weight to get a lot of benefits. You can expect improvements in health with a loss of 5 to 10% of your total body weight, or 10 to 20 lb. if you weigh 200 lb.

How Can I Lose Weight?

If you are among the millions of Americans who want to lose weight, you need accurate information to learn about your options. Different strategies can work better for different people, so it is vital that you consider your individual preferences and situation as you narrow your options. The main choices are:

  • Dietary changes.
  • Increasing physical activity.
  • Diet drugs.
  • Weight loss surgery.

The way to lose weight is to shift your calorie balance. The calories

you take in through food and beverages need to be fewer than the calories you expend from daily living and exercise.

 

Bottom Line — That is, you need to burn more than you eat.

Make Small Changes

You can shift the calorie balance by making small changes to your regular diet

This can be the best choice for you if you love the foods you already eat, and do not want to change your habits much. Each little change saves calories

, and those saved calories add up. For example…

  • Have a cup of puffed cereal instead of a cup of granola, and save 300 calories.
  • Drink water instead of a 12-oz. soda, and save 250 calories.
  • Use 4 egg whites instead of 2 whole eggs, and save 80 calories.
  • Order half of a turkey and avocado BLT sandwich instead of a full one, and save 300 calories.
  • Serve ½ cup of rice and a side salad instead of 1 cup of rice, and save 150 calories.
  • Serve strawberries with 2 tablespoons of whipped topping instead of sugar, and save 70 calories.

These changes take little effort, since you are still eating your typical foods. You can shop the same aisles of the supermarket, cook the same recipes you always do, and order your usual choices at restaurants.

Diets For Weight Loss

Changing what you eat is the biggest factor in weight loss for most people. There are many different diets you can choose from, and many of them have a seemingly different focus, such as nixing carbs or adding protein it all weight-loss diets that work have something in common: they reduce calories 

In some way.

The number of diets  to choose from can be nearly overwhelming, but you can work towards selecting the right one for you by considering certain factors. You might try asking yourself, and/or a healthcare provider, these questions as you sift through your choices.

  • Does it work? Do people who follow the diet lose weight?
  • Does it include foods you love? You are unlikely to be able to follow the diet long-term if you do not enjoy the foods on it. If you live for cheese and meat, for example, you may not be able to tolerate a plant-based diet for long.
  • Does it allow for special treats? Life happens. Does the diet allow you to work in holiday parties, restaurant meals, and the occasional craving?
  • Is it safe? “Safety first” applies here. Be sure the diet provides enough caloriesLinks to an external site. to keep you going; a minimum of 1,200 calories per day is a good rule of thumb. Another benchmark for safety is to lose no more than 2 lb. per week.
  • Is it nutritionally adequate? The diet should have a range of foods to provide the vitamins and minerals you need. Weight lossLinks to an external site. should not lead to malnutrition!
  • Is it healthy? Does the diet improve health markers, such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduce risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease? If you do not want to dig into the scientific research on the diet you are looking at, you can take a look at the foods and nutrients on the diet to get a good idea of its healthiness. There are no tricks here – common sense dictates that you opt for more vegetables and fiber, and less sugar and processed foods, for starters.
  • These are some of the most popular and top-ranked diets and strategies you can follow.

Low Carb Diet:

The principle: Starches and sugars are carbohydrates that provide 4 calories

 per gram. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that these carbohydrates contribute about 50% of calories to the average American diet

. Furthermore, carbohydrates serve very little purpose besides providing energy, or calories. So, cutting out some carbs can help you cut calories and lose weight.

Most low-carbohydrate diets limit or exclude high-carbohydrate foods, such as some or all of the following:

  • Grains, such as wheat (including couscous and farro), barley, rice, and oats.
  • Grain products, such as bread, crackers, pasta, and breakfast cereal.
  • Flour-containing baked goods, such as cookies, cake, and pie.
  • Starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, and corn.
  • Sugary foods, such as desserts, candies, and processed foods with sugar, such as certain types of yogurt and sweetened cereal.
  • Juices, and sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
  • Fruit, especially dried fruit and higher-sugar types.
  • Beans, peas, and lentils.

Your reduced-carb diet is likely to include:

  • Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs.
  • Non-starchy vegetables.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Fats, such as avocados and olive oil.
  • Lower-sugar fruits, such as strawberries.

There are many diet plans that reduce carbohydrates. Some are stricter and minimize carbohydrates. Others emphasize a controlled intake of nutritious carbohydrates. These are some popular approaches.

  • South Beach. This diet starts only low-carbohydrate foods, but progresses to include nutritious carbs, such as whole grains and fruit.
  • Atkins. This diet starts with severe carbohydrate restriction, and you gradually reintroduce carbohydrates as you lose and then maintain weight.
  • Ketogenic diet. Your carbohydrate intake is so severely restricted (to 30 grams or less per day) that your body must use fat or protein for fuel.

These diets can help you lose weight and improve health factors, such as:

  • Increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Lowering heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and triglycerides.

It is important to choose healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocados, instead of butter, shortening, and lard. Saturated fats, such as those in fatty meats and poultry skin, can raise your levels of small dense LDL particles, which are related to heart disease.

Whole Food Diet

The Whole30 program is essentially an elimination diet that removes certain foods from your diet for 30 days. During the 30 days, you avoid sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy, and other foods which are considered inflammatory in order to “reset” your body.

 

So what are inflammatory foods?

 

Inflammatory foods are those which trigger an immune response within your body. When your body doesn’t recognize or know how to process a food, it sees it as a “harmful substance” that must be eliminated. So to protect itself, your body switches on its immune system in order to fight the invader. But if the “invader” is actually a food you continuously eat, your body can enter into a state of chronic inflammation, which can lead to all kinds of other health issues (Links to an external site.).

 

But not all foods that are considered inflammatory are “unhealthy” to all people. This is why some people can thrive on a high carbohydrate diet while others can’t. So there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. However, since the Whole30 diet is an elimination diet, it can give you some insight into which foods may be causing negative responses within your unique body.

Whole Food Rules

Yes: Eat Real Food

Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

No: Avoid

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol. If there is added sugar in the ingredient list, it’s out.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.* Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change. These are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
  • Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or breaking out the tape measure during the 30-day elimination period. (You may take photos and/or measurements on Days 0 and 31, however.)

Paleo Diet

A paleo diet is based on a caveman’s way of eating. It includes foods that people ate in the Stone Age, with meat, poultry, and fish making up the majority of the diet. You can also have eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and oils. The diet excludes grains, dairy products, added sugars, added salt, legumes (beans, peas, lentils, and soy products), and processed foods.

How healthy is a paleo diet? The theory behind the diet is that cavemen did not suffer from chronic diseases, so eating the way they did can help you prevent these conditions. The diet can help you lose weight since it excludes so many foods, but it can cause nutrient deficiencies. It is hard to follow long-term, and it excludes certain foods, such as whole grains and legumes, that are linked to lower risk for many diseases.

Intermediate Fasting

Intermittent fasting is the process of cycling in and out of periods of eating and not eating. Although people do experience weight loss with intermittent fasting, it is less of a diet plan and more of a lifestyle choice to reap some incredible health benefits.

There are different intermittent fasting methods. These are:

  • 5:2: This method allows you to eat normally five days a week. The other two days are your fasting days, although you do still eat. Just keep it between 500 and 600 calories.
  • Eat-stop-eat: With this one, you restrict all food for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
  • 16/8: You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. You can do this every day, or a few times a week.
  • Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting
  • Links to an external site.
  • most closely resembles the 16/8 method, but with one crucial difference: you drink a cup of Bulletproof Coffee
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  • in the morning. It’s a clever hack to keep the hunger pangs at bay while still staying in the fasting state. But more on that below.

Vegan and Plant Based Diets

A vegetarian diet

 excludes meat, poultry, and fish, a vegan or strict plant-based diet also excludes dairy products and eggs. The diet has some potential benefits.

  • It help reduce hunger while you lose weight because it can be high in fiber from vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
  • A high-fiber diet can help lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
  • It can help lower harmful small, dense, LDL particles because you do not get saturated fat from meat, butter, or other animal products.

Still, a plant-based diet is not automatically healthy or good for weight loss

 

. For the most benefits, remember that:

  •  without nutrients.
  • Whole grains are healthier and better for weight loss than refined grain products, such as white bread, pasta, and rice, refined cereals, and white crackers.
  • French fries and doughnuts can be vegan, but they are high in unhealthy fats and refined starches.
  • You can get two filling nutrients – protein
  •  and fiber – from beans, peas,

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