Are you one of those people who anticipate the holidays, but dread the "inevitable" holiday weight gain? Do your holidays revolve around eating even more than the presents, decorations, travel and company? Avoiding holiday weight gain and eating healthy during the holidays can be a real challenge unless you have a great strategy. These 15 holiday eating tips will help you avoid holiday weight gain and enjoy the season more while eating less.
It is easier to get distracted from signals of physical hunger and satiety at social gatherings, especially if food is the main event. Make an effort to pay close attention to your body's signals.
Be a food snob. Skip the store-bought goodies, the dried-out fudge and the so-so stuffing. If the food you select doesn't taste as good as you expected, stop eating it and choose something else. Think of how much less you'd eat if you only ate things that tasted fabulous!
Think of your appetite as an expense account. How much do you want to spend on appetizers or the entrée? Do you want to save some room for dessert? Go through this process mentally to avoid eating too much food and feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the evening.
Pace your eating prior to the event so you will be hungry but not famished at mealtime. But ignore the old diet advice of "eat before you go to a party so you won't be tempted." That is absurd! You want to be hungry enough to enjoy your favorites.
Socialize away from the sight of the food. People who tend to overeat are "food suggestible" so just hanging around food causes them to eat more than they need.
Survey all of the food at a buffet before making your choices. Choose the foods that you really want most at that time and remind yourself that you can have the other foods at a later time.
If the food is so special, give it your full attention rather than eating on autopilot. Eat mindfully by reducing distractions and sitting down to eat - even if it's just a cookie. Appreciate the appearance and aroma of your food and savor one small bite at a time by putting your fork down. You'll eat less food but enjoy it more.
If the food doesn't taste as good as you expected, stop eating it and choose something else.
Since the duration of the meal tends to be extended at social events, you may need to have your plate taken away (or put your napkin on it) once you are satisfied to avoid nibbling unconsciously.
Be aware of the effects of alcohol on your food intake. And don't forget that many beverages contain calories too.
Be cautious of "obligatory eating" - avoid eating just because it is on the table, on your plate, because you paid for it, or because someone made it. Deal with Food Pushers with a polite but firm, "No thank you." If you're concerned about hurting their feelings, ask for the recipe or a small portion to take home with you for another meal.
It's common to have candy and snacks lying all over the place this time of year. Avoid indulging in food just because it's there. Grazing unconsciously will lead to many extra calories that you probably won't even remember enjoying.
Before having a cookie, a piece of fudge or other holiday treat that was laid in the break room, check your hunger scale. If you are hungry and you wish to choose a particular food to satisfy you, remember to sit down and eat it mindfully.
At restaurants, the portion sizes are usually huge - almost always "two for the price of one." Request appetizer portions, co-order and co-eat with your dining partner, or have the server package up your meal to go as soon as you feel satisfied. Remember, "super-size" is no bargain if you didn't need that much food in the first place!
Look for opportunities for physical activity - take a walk after dinner to enjoy the lights, take a few laps around the mall before it opens to do some window shopping or take guests to local attractions.
Most importantly, delight all of your senses. Enjoy the company, the atmosphere, the entertainment, and the traditions as much, if not more, than the food.
You know, fitness and nutrition guy Jon Benson has a humorous way of putting things that we all need to hear. I received this email from him and had to share it with you. It's not only funny, it's true.
What do these six things have in common?
--- Renee Zellweger
--- Epileptic children
--- Yours truly
--- Most bodybuilding and fitness competitors
--- Kiefer Sutherland
All the above employ the strategies of the low-carb dietplan.
Recently researchers have found that low-carb nutrition plan reduced the number of seizures in epileptic children.
Most of the world's leanest physiques get that way on a regimen, limited or not, of low-carbs and higher protein.
Even McDonalds is getting into the act.
Even Renee Zellweger.
Even Kiefer Sutherland.
Read on and I'll explain what I mean...
Why Low-Carb Works
When McDonalds starts counting carb grams in their food, you know someone is either jumping on a trend or finally seeing the light.
In this case, both -- but it is a good thing. Low-carb dietplans. They work.
For the masses, they work because they are the easiest nutrition plan to follow when you're busy.
McDonalds and stars like Kiefer Sutherland figured this out. The busy on-the-go guy or gal doesn't want to make the time to prepare six meals per day and carry them around in Tupperware.
When choosing my own lifestyle nutrition plan, time and convenience played a major role. I looked at role models who were very busy, formerly obese, and very lean.
Most of them rely in some form or fashion on a low-carb strategy.
Low-carb also works, much to the hem and haw of traditional doctors and nutritionists, due to the way the body processes fuel.
For those of us fortunate enough to grow up on whole grains and very low-sugar mealplans, a moderate to higher-carb nutrition plan may work just fine.
But most of us grew up eating junk.
Processed foods, fast foods, and downright junk was the cornerstone of our dietplans. That puts your body on the "carb defense."
After years of abuse the body becomes resistant to carbohydrates. The insulin they produce can cause all sorts of health issues, fat-burning problems, and more.
When carbs are removed, even healthy carbs like whole grains, the body has time to re-adjust.
In some cases, you can go back to a moderate-carb plan with whole grains and fruits after a period of time.
In others, you are a "low-carber" for life.
Guess which one I am?
Finally, low-carb works because you tend to eat less. Fat is very satiating, and most low-carb plans are fairly high in dietaryfat.
So, in recap:
--- Easy and convenient;
--- Metabolically important for carb recovery;
--- Lower in total food volume (eat less)
Do not make light of that first point. Any plan that is not simple is one very few people will stick to. Making your plan simple and tasty is key, even if that plan is not "perfect" by nutritional standards.
Now, by far, the best low-carb dietplan in the world (yes, I'm bias for good reason!) is this:
EODD works so well because your carbs are low for "most" of the time. Not "all" of the time. And the times when your carbs are not low you can enjoy your favorite foods.
Personally I enjoy pizza and burgers on my non-low-carb days. You can enjoy whatever you want if you just keep it reasonable.
You see, there's no need to diet-perfect.
Progress always trumps perfection.
Why Low-Carb Fails
There are two primary reasons for the failure of the low-carb nutrition plans: boredom and media bashing.
One causes irritability. The other, doubt. Unless you're certain that your plan will work, you will eventually go off of it.
This is true of any plan, no matter how ideal it is. Certainty rules.
That's why I believe in having a flexible, tasty plan like EODD.
Then boredom is easily solved.
Using my cycle strategy you will rarely if ever become bored. And your body will burn more bodyfat too. It's just a cheap metabolic trick...but boy, it works.
The second reason is media and medical bias. One study after another has proven that low-carb plans, even the Atkins plan, works and is safe to use for most people.
Check with your doctor first, of course.
I've seen researchers get down-right angry when the results come back. In one study, carried out for a full year, the low-carb plan out-performed the so-called "healthy" Dean Ornish plan.
Lower blood fats, more fatloss, and more energy were the results.
My preference always comes back to low-carb nutrition. I just cycle it in a way that allows me to get plenty of veggies, some grains, and ample fiber.
Even a slice of cheesecake here and there... : )
Hey...I said "low-carb", not "low-life!"
P.S. One of these days the mainstream medical community will wake up to the fact that 90% of the population will never eat 15 servings of veggies per day.
While this may be "optimal", it's not at all practical. I'd rather give you down-to- earth practical nutrition advice that you CAN and WILL follow -- and enjoy.
Some important facts you should know about losing weight:
Be aware of gimmicks. I'm sure you've seen ads that say something like, "Lose 10 pounds in 5 days without dieting and without exercise!" Well, mathematically this is impossible, unless you will be losing a lot of muscle, fiber, and water, and probably very little fat. Look, 10 pounds is 35,000 calories. If you only use about 2,000 calories per day you would need at least 17.5 days to lose 10 pounds. This is assuming that you don't eat or drink anything at all during those days, which is of course impossible. These ads play on our emotions and our weaknesses. They know many people are desperate and will try almost anything and pay good money to try it. As for their guarantees, most people are too embarrassed to ask for their money back because they failed. So the company makes a lot of money and don't deliver what they promised.
Watch out for drugs. Most of these don't work. The ones that do can be addictive, can have serious side affects, people have even died from them. Some drugs may cause tolerance which means you need more and more of them to have the same affect. Most of them work by artificially increasing your metabolism by increasing your body heat. But, once you stop your metabolism will go below what it was before and you will probably gain all the weight back. If you are thinking of taking any drugs at least talk to your doctor first.
There is no such thing as a food which will burn all the fat off your body. You may have heard something like; eating celery sticks will burn more calories than you get from it. Who knows if this is true. But even if it is how many calories will this be? Probably very few. And, how many celery sticks can you eat? Point is the body is much more clever than that.
Some studies have shown that with age losing fat becomes harder. It seems that as we get older our bodies like to hold on to the fat we have. Our metabolisms are slower, and we are less active.
With each diet losing fat becomes harder. Because the body remembers what you put it through in your last diet it is now more efficient at holding on to what it has and fights you all the way in losing weight.
After dieting you may find that you've gained more weight than what you were at before the diet. This happens because during severe dieting the body's metabolism slows down, meaning you now burn less calories than before. When you stop dieting you go back to eating regularly but your metabolism does not increase as easily. So, now you need less calories but you are eating the same. And the result is weight gain.
Set point theory is the belief that your body likes to maintain the weight it is at. And the longer you've been at a certain weight the harder it will fight you to stay there.
Genetics is the belief that some people are more predisposed to gaining fat. This is inconclusive and there is plenty of controversy if it's true or not. The argument is whether nature is stronger than nurture (lifestyle). For example, if a child with obesity predisposition is raised in a family with good eating and exercise habits, will they end up obese?
Beware of side effects of "Fad" Diets
Example: Atkins Diet
According to Atkins, the diet causes no adverse side effects. Many health care professionals disagree.
Individuals considering the Atkins diet should consult their physician.
Under the Atkins diet outline, dieters are recommended to stop any unnecessary medications. Any changes to medication should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional. Diuretics, and, to a lesser extent, other cardiovascular medications and diabetes medications, including insulin, when combined with this diet may produce dangerous effects. Psychotropic drugs, phenothiazines and anti-depressants such as Prozac®, tranquilizers, lithium, and similar drugs may cause metabolic resistance to the diet. Estrogen, prednisone and other steroids, and antiarthritic drugs, especially NSAIDS, can cause weight gain or prevent weight loss. For persons metabolically resistant, any medications may aggravate the condition.
This diet is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, especially if women are on the induction phase because carbohydrate intake is very restricted. Individuals with high blood pressure and a history of heart attack should not go on the Atkins diet.
People with diabetes taking insulin are at risk of becoming hypoglycemic if they do not eat appropriate carbohydrates.
Short-term side effects: Ketosis, which can result in bad breath, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, and nausea, may occur. Constipation may also occur as a consequence of avoiding high-fiber foods such as fruit, vegetable, and beans.
Long-term side effects: Some medical experts question the health safety of the Atkins diet over the long term because the Atkins diet allows consumption of foods containing saturated fats and proteins without any restriction. Health concerns include the impact of large amounts of protein on kidney function, the impact of saturated fats on cholesterol and heart disease, and the potential for some types of cancers to develop from eating a diet low in complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, certain vitamins and minerals, and fiber. There are also concerns that the unbalanced nature of the Atkins diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies, which cause health problems in later life. For example poor intakes of bone-building calcium may increase the risk of osteoporosis, while poor intakes of antioxidant nutrients have been linked with a host of health problems ranging from heart disease and cancer to premature ageing and cataracts.
Doctors highly recommend a balanced diet teamed with lots of exercise to keep the body healthy and prevent disease. Many associations still do not recommend any fad diets, such as low carb or high protein diets which are potential health hazards.
Forbes Magazine found the Atkins diet to be one of the five most expensive food diets available. According to this report, the Atkins diet costs, on average, $100.52 per week. This number is 84.6% higher than the $54.44 an average American spends per week on food.
by, Dr. Phil Domenico, a nutritional scientist and educator with a research background in biochemistry and microbiology. Formerly an infectious disease scientist, he now works as a consultant for supplement companies and the food industry.
The American diet is anything but balanced. The mass consumption of meat, grains and processed foods causes the body to become overly acidic, which strips it of minerals. Over the long haul, those who do not balance their diet with alkaline foods (fruits and veggies, primarily) become prone to weak bones, joints and muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other health problems. In other words, long-term health and longevity have everything to do with acid-alkaline balance.
Consider the Inuit (a.k.a., Eskimos), who do not have access to many fruits and vegetables. Their diets consist largely of seal meat, fish and whale blubber. While they eat few grains, their diet is nevertheless highly acidic. Though a sturdy bunch, with healthy hearts, their bones start breaking down prematurely. Indeed, the Inuit people have the worst longevity statistics in North America.
In contrast is Okinawa, where more people live to 100 years of age than anywhere in the world. While meat, rice, soy and seafood (highly acidic foods) are squarely in the diet, so are a vast range of different vegetables and fruits, rich in anti-oxidants, as well as minerals that counteract acidity. A wealth of fascinating anthropologic and scientific evidence exists that supports the acid-alkaline theory of health and longevity; there is much information to research this further.
The typical American diet is similar to that of the Inuit in that there is entirely too much meat and not enough alkaline vegetables to balance it. Factory farms in the US manufacture meat and animal products in unhealthy ways, leaving them loaded with toxins and inflammatory compounds. Furthermore, charring meat adds flavor, as well as cancer-causing substances.
To make matters worse, the acidity of the American diet is compounded by all the starches and sweets consumed. Many of these processed foods can be as acidic as meat, chicken, fish and seafood (colas are even more acidic), but are not nearly as full of nutrients. Acidic foods are also generally lacking in fiber, which helps control blood sugar and improves bowel health. The friendly bacteria in the gut need fiber to function. Without them, not only does the digestive system suffer, but also the immune defenses.
The problem is not so much any particular food, but rather the cumulative effect of a highly acidic diet over many decades that eats away at our health. For some, the answer is to give up meat. However, this choice is not that easy or fun, and could lead to protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies. There is also nothing easy about giving up sweets and starches, as most people crave these foods, especially if there is delicious fat, salt, or caffeine in them. The food industry knows how to get us hooked, and it is not easy going cold turkey.
So, where does that leave us? What can we do to reduce the impact of an acidic diet? For one, reduce the serving sizes of the acidic foods, while increasing the amount of greens and other alkaline veggies during a meal. Think of it as a deck of cards (the acidic food serving size) surrounded by a forest of greens. This markedly reduces the total number of calories consumed, while reducing the acid impact. Eating organic foods (especially animal foods) helps, because it reduces the toxins present while increasing the nutritional content and alkaline balance. Learning about what foods are highly acidic or alkaline can help one balance the diet better.
Yet, to make it easy, here are a few highly alkaline foods that - if used liberally at breakfast, lunch and dinner - would go a long way towards improving the diet. It is as easy as sprinkling a bunch of black pepper on everything. Consider adding paprika, parsley and horseradish as well, or squeeze lemon or lime juice on fish, salads, or in your beverage. Add onions to everything. Munch on pumpkin seeds, or add them to the salad. Use sea salt (Celtic, French or Himalayan preferred) rather than regular table salt. Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes. Use Apple cider vinegar rather than Balsamic vinegar. Choose miso soup with seaweed. Drink ginger tea, or add crushed ginger to your morning eggs and other foods. If you like radishes, eat them like candy. If you want something sweet, eat unsweetened pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, tangerines, mandarin oranges, kiwi and assorted berries. Let watermelon or vegetable juice be your summer thirst quencher. Quell a hunger with celery smeared with nut butter. Smear half of an avocado on toast, rather than margarine. Add asparagus, winter squash and chestnuts to round out the list of extreme alkaline foods.
Along with green leafy vegetables (especially collard or mustard greens, endive and kale), the foods mentioned above can make a major difference in the balance of things, and protect the bones, joints, muscles, heart, brain, liver and kidneys. Alkaline bodies are also much more resistant to infection and cancer.
As diets go, these are not boring foods by any means. Indeed, there is a great variety to choose from, and hundreds of simple recipes to play with. In addition, many other healthy and tasty foods are alkaline forming, though not with the same impact as the foods listed above. There are also alkaline mineral supplements, such as the citrates of potassium, magnesium and calcium, which can have profound effects on health and well-being.
Who knows? You may enjoy these foods and the health benefits so much you will wean off the refined grains, sodas and toxic meats - the easy way...one alkaline food at a time.
It’s What You Eat – Not What You Don’t Eat That Matters Most in Weight Loss: Some Dos and Don’ts for Long Term Dieting Success
By Joel Kaye, MA
The saying goes, “You are what you eat.” It doesn’t say, “You are what you DON’T eat.” That is because health, nutrition, and yes, dieting are as much about what you do eat than what you don’t eat. Sure, there are some foods that are sure to make you fat. But did you know there are many more foods that work with your body to make you thin? By reducing the amount of or eliminating only the worse food choices, and adding foods that support weight loss, you can achieve lasting weight loss success.
Let’s start first with the “Don’t” list since some of it is just plain common sense.
Other items on this list may surprise you, though. Here are the foods to avoid:
Simple sugar. This is your store-bought, shrink-wrapped kind of “treat.” It’s the snack cakes and candy bars that provide zero nutritional value yet are packed with refined white sugar and other versions of sweeteners that spike blood sugar, only to leave you feeling deflated soon after consuming them.
White flour. This is bleached to make it white. What that does is remove all the nutrients, so then the processors have to “enrich” it with vitamins to make it resemble a food. By doing this, it has the same basic effect on the body as white sugar.
Milk. Cow’s milk is for cows. Human babies should have human milk until they are at least a year old, and then they no longer have a need for milk. Milk is thought to be nutritious because of the calcium, and vitamin D (which by the way is added when they fortify it). The nutritious qualities of milk are not enough to outweigh the fact that most people are lactose intolerant to some degree and don’t even realize it. The nutrients found in dairy products are there because of what the cows consume – leafy greens!
Now here is the “Do” list.
Adding these foods to your diet will help you curb your appetite naturally by staying more satisfied for longer and by speeding up your metabolism.
Whole grains. Wheat, oats, and barely are forms of whole grains. The problem is that processing done to store-bought foods usually alters these. As the market demand for more nutritious choices has taken hold, more foods contain ingredients in whole form. Look for food labels that list “whole wheat flour” instead of just “wheat flour.” The difference is in how in-tact the wheat grain is in the finish food.
Eat the good kinds of carbohydrates. High fiber fruits should be one of your top carbohydrate sources. These include blueberries, grapes, and strawberries. The fiber and antioxidant properties of these foods help boost the immune system. They will also satisfy the craving for sweets, making it less likely that you will turn to the snack foods.
Drink water. It cannot be emphasized enough that water is one of the easiest ways to aid in weight loss and is so essential to good health that a lack of enough water will eventually kill you. Slow and sustained dehydration that results in a break down of organ tissue is the prognosis of not drinking enough water. The positive effects of plenty of water are that it builds muscle tissue, which then increases metabolism. It also rids the body of toxins that can result from eating too much protein or other unhealthy foods. About 2 quarts of water every day is one way to achieve long-term weight loss.
The dos and don'ts of dieting will always be debated by the fads and trends of the day. Sound nutrition and moderation has to be applied for long term success.
Joel Kaye holds a Masters Degree in Physical Health Education and he is currently teaching classes at the prestigious New York University's Coles Sports Center On Weight Management, Nutrition And Exercise And Cancer Wellness.
The most basic approach to dieting and loosing weight is to burn more calories than you take in. Sometimes no matter what you do it just does not seem to be working. When it seems like you need an ace up your sleeve for a critical moment, try one of these six tricks to jump-start your weight loss and get you back on track.
Trick #1 - Add weights to your routine
Adding weight-lifting to your routine is one of the best and fastest ways to see real results. Your body will respond almost immediately, shaping and toning muscle. Remember, the more muscle you have, the more fats you burn! This will be an easy way to determine the weight you should start with.
Grab a 5-lb. dumbbell and do as many bicep curls as possible. If you can do more than ten repetitions comfortably, use a heavier weight. On the other hand, if you can not do more than eight repetitions without strain, try using a small weight. Maybe try using a 3-lb. weight instead For those of you who are already training with weights, go to the next weight up to see results.
If you don't have weights in your household, it is highly recommended that you invest in at least a small set that ranges from three to ten pounds. These usually cost no more than $30 and are well worth the investment.
Trick #2 - Increase the intensity
During your cardio workout routine, try to assess the intensity level to determine just how hard you are really working. If you can still carry on a conversation with ease while exercising, it's time to boost the intensity. That's right you need to turn it up a notch. You can do that by simply taking deeper strides as you move and placing a greater demand on the muscles of your thighs and buttocks, which then in turns burns more calories.
The best and easiest way to gauge the intensity of your workout is to pretend to carry on a conversation. You may get some weird looks but it will work. You should be able to speak in short sentences with a breath after each one. Never exercise to the point where you cannot talk. There is no reason to overdo it.
Trick #3 - Shake up your routine
Despite being called a routine, your exercise program should keep you interested in it. Add different activities for variety and to spice it up. You will not only maintain your concentration but also constantly challenge your body to meet new obstacles and develop more than just a few muscles.
The more muscles you work out will equal a greater calorie burn – what's not to love? Try new activities that keep your mind engaged and experience an extra boost for your brain!
Trick #4 - Give your diet a makeover
The daily diet is usually the worst problem area when you're trying to lose weight. Between home and work and the responsibilities that come with both of them, it can be almost impossible to find a health choice at the last minute.
Spare yourself the daily scrounging around for a meal and stock up on healthy foods that can be ready to eat at a moment's notice. Make a point to stash some of your good-for-you snacks at work so that when the mid-afternoon cravings hit, you have something that is both satisfying and diet-friendly.
Trick #5 - Challenge yourself
Set personal goals for yourself and don't forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments! If your goal is to be more active at work, buy a pedometer and set a challenge for yourself. An example would be to take 6,000 steps during your workday. Be creative about it: walk to a colleague's desk rather than email, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or even go to the bathroom three floors down instead of using the one on your floor.
Challenging yourself can be very fulfilling on a personal level when you achieve your goals, and can encourage you on to greater achievement. Not to mention challenges keep your diet interesting.
Trick #6 - Keep a food journal
One of the most common characteristics that most successful dieters share is keeping a daily journal of food intake or food journal. There's no real mystery about this: when you must write down everything that goes in your mouth, it forces you to realize exactly how many calories you consume through out the day.
Keeping a journal is also beneficial because you can find patterns in your eating. For example if you become ravenous at a certain time of the day everyday or if your meals and snacks are spaced too far apart. It can also be helpful to note your frame of mind you are in when you eat or even mention the circumstances.
If you begin eating as soon as you get home from work it could indicate a stressful job or it could mean it's simply just been too long since lunch. A basic food journal will require you to enter the food you ate, number of calories, amount of fat, and how much you consumed. This can be expanded as much as necessary to meet
individual needs. Just make sure you actually review it every few days and try to spot any habits that need to be brought under control.
So start using these six simple tricks today. You will start noticing how much easier it is to diet and you might even have some fun. Dieting does not have to be a tedious task or something you absolutely dread from day to day. It should be an interesting and enjoyable part of you life. So keep positively focused and start using these tricks immediately.
“How could you eat that junk? It’s so bad for you!” (nag, nag).
“Don’t you know those fries will give you a heart attack?” (nag, nag).
“You have to stop eating all that fast food, it’s going to make you fat!” (nag nag).
“You have to eat more healthy food like fruits and vegetables - they’re good for you!” (nag, nag).
Your friends nag you, your family nags you, your doctor nags you, the health newsletters, websites and magazines - they all nag you, and of course, your personal trainer nags the heck out of you, to stop eating all those BAD FAST FOODS.
But does all that nagging you and bad-mouthing the fast food industry really help anyone stop?
It doesn’t look that way. The fast food industry is thriving, even in the bad economy. The Chicago Tribune recently said that McDonalds is “recession proof.”
As one of only two companies to turn a major profit over the last year (the other being Wal Mart), McDonald’s is laughing its way to the bank. In fact, McDonalds plans to open 1,000 new stores this year.
I was driving down Route 95 a few weeks ago and pulled over to use the rest room at Mcdonalds on a Saturday morning (there’s a McDonalds conveniently located immediately off almost every exit up and down the full length of Interstate 95).
The parking lot was full, it was standing-room only inside and the lines snaked around into the seating area! You’d think Brad and Angelina were there signing autographs or something. Nope. Just a regular weekend at breakfast-time.
I was shopping in Wal Mart the same week and I almost passed out when I saw (smelled, actually) a McDonalds... INSIDE THE WAL- MART! Also, with lines.
Yep. It looks like your friends and family’s nagging you to stop eating fast food, and all the messages of the health and fitness industry to get people eating more “health food” are not working!
So what does work?
The results of a new survey from the behavior and psychology section of the journal, OBESITY (Feb 2009) provide some answers:
Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public health surveyed 530 adults about their attitudes towards fast foods.
They found that people already know fast food is unhealthy. (like, no kidding!)
The primary reasons they eat it anyway are because of the perceived convenience and a dislike for cooking! (I’d add another: they think fast food is always cheaper than healthy food).
So, said the authors of this research paper, nagging people to eat more healthy food and warning them that “fast food is going to make us fat and kill us” is not the best approach.
What’s the right approach?
Focus on teaching people how to make healthy eating fast, convenient and easy, because those are the reasons people are choosing fast food in the first place.
So what’s holding us back from implementing or taking this advice?
Well, I think that most people can’t get over the ideas that they “just cant cook” or that cooking is “too time consuming” or that healthy food “tastes like dirt” (as if McDonalds is gourmet food!)
That said, I’m not going to nag you, scold you or try to scare you out of eating fast food. I’m not going to lecture you about health food (not today, anyway).
Nor am I going to bad-mouth the fast food restaurants.
I’m going to lead the new charge by showing you just how easy and convenient it is to eat healthy and nutritious food and make it delicous.
Here’s a few meal ideas (for starters) to prove my point.
3-MINUTE APPLE CINNAMON OATMEAL
(For a thorough write-up and cooking instructions you can check out the Free Preview section of the Inner Circle where I posted this yummy "Burn The Fat Recipe":
This takes 30 minutes, however, if you get a rice cooker and make a giant batch, you can have your rice on standby for instant eats and this will take less than 10 minutes.
It doesn’t get much easier than that. (I like those chinese veggies that come with the little mini-corn-on-the-cobs… reminds me of that Tom Hanks Movie, BIG)
2-MINUTE BLACK BEANS AND SPICY SALSA
* black beans (15 oz can)
* Medium or hot salsa
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic or chopped garlic to taste
* salt and pepper to taste
This one takes you all of 2 minutes to make. No cooking required! And it’s good! It’s vegetarian as listed above, but if you’re a high-protein muscle-head like me, just add chicken breast or lean ground turkey.
Best part: this is all inexpensive food! Oats, rice, beans… doesn’t get much cheaper than that - buy your healthy staples in bulk and the cost per serving is probably less than mickey D’s! (yes, even the “Value” meals)
Every one of these recipes is compatible with my "Burn The Fat" program:
This means that my way of eating makes you more muscular and leaner… so you can look hot wearing very little clothes this summer... and be healthier... and save money too.
Many people are attracted to vegetarian diets. It's no wonder.
Health experts for years have been telling us to eat more plant foods and less fat, especially saturated fat, which is found in larger amounts in animal foods than plant foods. C. Everett Koop, M.D., former surgeon general of the Public Health Service, in his 1988 Report on Nutrition and Health, expressed major concern about Americans' "disproportionate consumption of foods high in fats, often at the expense of foods high in complex carbohydrates and fiber-such as vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products--that may be more conducive to health."
And, while guidelines from the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services advise 2 to 3 daily servings of milk and the same of foods such as dried peas and beans, eggs, meat, poultry and fish, they recommend 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, 2 to 4 of fruits, and 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta/ in other words, 11 to 20 plant foods, but only 4 to 6 animal foods.
It's wise to take precautions, however, when adopting diets that entirely exclude animal flesh or dairy products. "The more you restrict your diet, the more difficult it is to get all the nutrients you need," says Marilyn Stephenson, R.D., of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "To be healthful, vegetarian diets require very careful, proper planning. Nutrition counseling can help you get started on a diet that is nutritionally adequate."
Certain people, such as Seventh-day Adventists, choose a vegetarian diet because of religious beliefs. Others give up meat because they feel that eating animals is unkind. Some people believe it's a better use of the Earth's resources to eat low on the food chain; the North American Vegetarian Society notes that 1.3 billion people could be fed with the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock. On the practical side, many people eat plant foods because animal foods are more expensive.
"I'm a vegetarian because I just plain enjoy the taste of vegetables and pasta," says Judy Folkenberg of Bethesda, Md. Reared on a vegetarian diet that included eggs and dairy products, Folkenberg added fish to her diet five years ago. "I love crab cakes and shrimp," she says.
Just as vegetarians differ in their motivation, their diets differ as well. (See box on next page.) In light of these variations, it's not surprising that the exact number of vegetarians is unknown. In a National Restaurant Association Gallup Survey in June 1991, 5 percent of respondents said they were vegetarians, yet 2 percent said they never ate milk or cheese products, 3 percent never ate red meat, and 10 percent never ate eggs.
Vegetarians who abstain from dairy products or animal flesh face the greatest nutritional risks because some nutrients naturally occur mainly or almost exclusively in animal foods.
Vegans, who eat no animal foods (and rarely, vegetarians who eat no animal flesh but do eat eggs or dairy products), risk vitamin B12 deficiency, which can result in irreversible nerve deterioration. The need for vitamin B12 increases during pregnancy, breast-feeding, and periods of growth, according to Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D. of Tufts University Medical School and the New England Medical Center Hospital, Boston. Writing in 1988 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dwyer reviewed studies of the previous five years and concluded that elderly people also should be especially cautious about adopting vegetarian diets because their bodies may absorb vitamin B12 poorly.
Ovo-vegetarians, who eat eggs but no dairy foods or animal flesh, and vegans may have inadequate vitamin D and calcium. Inadequate vitamin D may cause rickets in children, while inadequate calcium can contribute to risk of osteoporosis in later years. These vegetarians are susceptible to iron deficiency anemia because they are not only missing the more readily absorbed iron from animal flesh, they are also likely to be eating many foods with constituents that inhibit iron absorption-soy protein, bran, and fiber, for instance. Vegans must guard against inadequate calorie intake, which during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, and against protein deficiency, which in children can impair growth and in adults can cause loss of hair and muscle mass and abnormal accumulation of fluid.
The Institute of Food Technologists, in the July 1991 issue of its journal, Food Technology, describes six types of vegetarians. They are listed here by degree of exclusion of animal foods and by the foods included in the diet:
Semi-vegetarian--dairy foods, eggs, chicken, and fish, but no other animal flesh
Pasco-vegetarian--dairy foods, eggs, and fish, but no other animal flesh
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian--dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh
Lacto-vegetarian--dairy foods, but no animal flesh or eggs
Ovo-vegetarian--eggs, but no dairy foods or animal flesh
Legan--no animal foods of any type.
According to the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Dietetic Association, if appropriately planned, vegan diets can provide adequate nutrition even for children. Some experts disagree.
Gretchen Hill, Ph.D., associate professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Missouri, Columbia, believes it's unhealthy for children to eat no red meat.
"My bet is those kids will have health problems when they reach 40, 50 or 60 years of age," she says, "mostly because of imbalances with micronutrients [nutrients required only in small amounts], particularly iron, zinc and copper." While meat is well-known as an important source of iron, Hill says it may be even more valuable for copper and zinc. Copper not only helps build the body's immunity, it builds red blood cells and strengthens blood vessels. "A lot of Americans are marginal in this micronutrient," she says, "and, as a result, are more susceptible to diseases. Children can't meet their zinc needs without eating meat."
Also, vegetarian women of childbearing age have an increased chance of menstrual irregularities, Ann Pedersen and others reported last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nine of the study's 34 vegetarians (who ate eggs or dairy foods) missed menstrual periods, but only 2 of the 41 non-vegetarians did. The groups were indistinguishable when it came to height, weight and age at the beginning of menstruation.
Can Veggies Prevent Cancer?
The National Cancer Institute states in its booklet Diet, Nutrition & Cancer Prevention: The Good News that a third of cancer deaths may be related to diet. The booklet's "Good News" is: Vegetables from the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables) may reduce cancer risk, diets low in fat and high in fiber-rich foods may reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, and diets rich in foods containing vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Part of FDA's proposed food labeling regulations, published in the Nov. 27, 1991, Federal Register, states, "The scientific evidence shows that diets high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are low in fat and rich sources of fiber and certain other nutrients, are associated with a reduced risk of some types of cancer. The available evidence does not, however, demonstrate that it is total fiber, or a specific fiber component, that is related to the reduction of risk of cancer."
As for increasing fiber in the diet, Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., R.D., of the University of Minnesota, in 1990 in Nutrition Today, gives this advice: "Animal studies show that soluble fibers are associated with the highest levels of cell proliferation, a pre-cancerous event. The current interest in dietary fiber has allowed recommendations for fiber supplementation to outdistance the scientific research base.
Until we have a better understanding of how fiber works its magic, we should recommend to American consumers only a gradual increase in dietary fiber from a variety of sources."
FDA acknowledges that high intakes of fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene or in vitamin C have been associated with reduced cancer risk. But the agency believes the data are not sufficiently convincing that either nutrient by itself is responsible for this association.
Pointing out that plant foods' low fat content also confers health benefits, FDA states in its proposed rule that diets low in fat give protection against coronary heart disease and that it has tentatively determined, "Diets low in fat are associated with the reduced risk of cancer."
FDA notes that diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol increase levels of both total and LDL cholesterol, and thus the risk for coronary heart disease, and that high-fat foods contribute to obesity, a further risk factor for heart disease. (The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends a diet with no more than 30 percent fat, of which no more than 10 percent comes from saturated fat.)
For those reasons, the agency would allow some foods to be labeled with health claims relating diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol to decreased risk of coronary heart disease and relating diets low in fat to reduced risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer. "Examples of foods qualifying for a health claim include most fruits and vegetables; skim milk products; sherbets; most flours, grains, meals, and pastas (except for egg pastas); and many breakfast cereals," the proposed rule states.
Dwyer, in her article, summarizes these plant food benefits:
"Data is strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic [reduced muscle tone] constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower. Data are only fair to poor that risks of breast cancer, diverticular disease of the colon, colonic cancer, calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, dental erosion, and dental caries are lower among vegetarians."
Vegetarians who don't eat dairy foods or animal flesh face the greatest nutritional risks because some nutrients occur mainly or almost exclusively in animal foods.
Death rates for vegetarians are similar or lower than for non-vegetarians, Dwyer reports, but are influenced in Western countries by vegetarians "'adoption of many healthy lifestyle habits in addition to diet, such as not smoking, abstinence or moderation in the use of alcohol, being physically active, resting adequately, seeking ongoing health surveillance, and seeking... guidance when health problems arise."
It's generally agreed that to avoid intestinal discomfort from increased bulk, a person shouldn't switch to foods with large amounts of fiber all at once. A sensible approach to vegetarian diets is to first cut down on the fattiest meats, replacing them with cereals, fruits and vegetables, recommends Jack Zeev Yetiv, M.D., Ph.D., in his book Popular Nutritional Practices: A Scientific Appraisal. "Some may choose to eliminate red meat but continue to eat fish and poultry occasionally, and such a diet is also to be encouraged."
Changing to the vegetarian kitchen slowly also may increase the chances of success.
"If you suddenly cut out all animal entres from your diet, it's easy to get discouraged and think there's nothing to eat," says lifelong veggie-eater Folkenberg. "I build my meals around a starchy carbohydrate such as pasta or potatoes. Even when I occasionally cook seafood, I center on the carbohydrate, making that the larger portion. Shifting the emphasis from animal to plant foods is easier after you've found recipes you really enjoy."
Because vegans and ovo-vegetarians face the greatest potential nutritional risk, the Institute of Food Technologists recommends careful diet planning to include enough calcium, riboflavin, iron, and vitamin D, perhaps with a vitamin D supplement if sunlight exposure is low. (Sunlight activates a substance in the skin and converts it into vitamin D.)
For these two vegetarian groups, the institute recommends calcium supplements during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and breast-feeding. Vegans need to take a vitamin B12 supplement because that vitamin is found only in animal food sources. Unless advised otherwise by a doctor, those taking supplements should limit the dose to 100 percent of the National Academy of Sciences' Recommended Dietary Allowances.
Vegans, and especially children, also must be sure to consume adequate calories and protein. For other vegetarians, it is not difficult to get adequate protein, although care is needed in small children's diets.
Nearly every animal food, including egg whims and milk, provides all eight of the essential amino acids in the balance needed by humans and therefore constitutes "complete" protein. Plant foods contain fewer of these amino acids than animal foods.
The American Dietetic Association's position paper on vegetarian diets, published in its journal in 1988 and co-authored by Dwyer and Suzanne Havala, R.D., states that a plant-based diet provides adequate amounts of amino acids when a varied diet is eaten on a daily basis. The mixture of proteins from grains, legumes, seeds, and vegetables provides a complement of amino acids so that deficits in one food are made up by another. Not all types of plant foods need to be eaten at the same meal, since the amino acids are combined in the body's protein pool.
Frances Lappe, in Diet for a Small Planet, writes that to gain the greatest use of all the amino acids, it's best to consume complementary proteins within three to four hours. High amounts of complete proteins can be gained by combining legumes with grains, seeds or nuts.
Replacing Animal Sources of Nutrients
Vegetarians who eat no meat, fish, poultry, or dairy foods face the greatest risk of nutritional deficiency. Nutrients most likely to be lacking and some non-animal sources are:
Vitamin B12--fortified soy milk and cereals
Vitamin D--fortified margarine and sunshine
Calcium--tofu, broccoli, seeds, nuts, kale, bok choy, legumes (peas and beans), greens, calcium-enriched grain products, and lime-processed tortillas
Iron--legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, whole grains, and iron-fortified cereals and breads, especially whole-wheat (absorption is improved by vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, dark-green leafy vegetables, and potatoes with skins)
Zinc--whole grains (especially the germ and bran), whole-wheat bread, legumes, nuts, and tofu.
As all plant foods--including fruit--contain some protein, by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains, even vegans probably can get enough of this nutrient. To improve the quality of protein and ensure getting enough:
Combine legumes such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, peas, peanuts, lentils, sprouts, and black, broad, kidney, lima, mung, navy, pea, and soy beans with grains such as rice, wheat, corn, rye, bulgur, oats, millet, barley, and buckwheat.
There are also foods made to look like meats (protein analogs) such as hot dogs, sausage, and bacon.*
Also available are various protein analogs. These substitute "meats"--usually made from soybeans--are formed to look like meat foods such as hot dogs, ground beef, or bacon. Many are fortified with vitamin B12.
The accompanying chart lists sources of the nutrients of greatest concern for vegetarians who don't eat animal foods.
As with any diet, it's important for the vegetarian diet to include many different foods, since no one food contains all the nutrients required for good health. "The wider the variety, the greater the chance of getting the nutrients you need," says FDA's Stephenson.
The American Dietetic Association recommends:
Minimizing intake of less nutritious foods such as sweets and fatty foods
Choosing whole or unrefined grain products instead of refined products
Choosing a variety of nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, including good sources of vitamin C to improve iron absorption
Choosing low-fat varieties of milk products, if they are included in the diet
Avoiding excessive cholesterol intake by limiting eggs to two or three yolks a week
For vegans, using properly fortified food sources of vitamin B12, such as fortified soy milks or cereals, or taking a supplement
For infants, children and teenagers, ensuring adequate intakes of calories and iron and vitamin D, taking supplements if needed
Consulting a registered dietitian or other qualified nutrition professional, especially during periods of growth, breast-feeding, pregnancy, or recovery from illness
If exclusively breast-feeding premature infants or babies beyond 4 to 6 months of age, giving vitamin D and iron supplements to the child from birth or at least by 4 to 6 months, as your doctor suggests
Usually, taking iron and folate (folic acid) supplements during pregnancy.
With the array of fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs available in U.S. grocery stores and the availability of vegetarian cookbooks, it's easy to devise tasty vegetarian dishes.
People who like their entres on the hoof also can benefit from adding more plant foods to their diets. You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy dishes from a vegetarian menu.
QUESTION: Tom, Is it possible to not lose body fat because you're eating too little?
ANSWER: Yes and no. This gets a little complicated so let me explain both sides.
Part one of my answer: I say NO, because if you are in a calorie deficit you WILL lose weight.
Most people have heard anecdotes of the dieter who claims to be eating 800 calories a day or some starvation diet level of intake that is clearly in a deficit and yet is not losing fat. Like the mythical unicorn, such an animal does not exist.
Every time you take a person like that and put them in a hospital research center or metabolic ward where their food can be counted, weighed, measured and almost literally "spoon fed" to them, a calorie deficit always produces weight loss.
There are no exceptions, except possibly in rare diseases or mutations. Even then metabolic or hormonal defects or diseases merely lead to energy imbalance via increases in appetite, decreases in energy expenditure or changes in energy partitioning. So at the end of the day it's STILL calories in versus calories out.
In other words, NO - it's NOT your thyroid (unless you've got a confirmed diagnosis as such...and then guess what... it's STILL calories in vs calories out, you're just not burning as many as someone should at your height and weight).
One famous study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine years ago proved this point rather dramatically. After studying obese people - selected specifically because they swore they were eating less than 1200 calories but could not lose weight - Steven Lichtman and his colleages at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York came to the following conclusion:
"The failure of some obese subjects to lose weight while eating a diet they report as low in calories is due to an energy intake substantially higher than reported and an overestimation of physical activity, not to an abnormality in thermogenesis."
That's right - the so-called "diet-resistant" subjects were eating more than they thought and moving less than they thought. This was probably the single best study ever published that debunks the "I'm in a calorie deficit but I can't lose weight" myth:
Part two of my answer : YES, because:
1) Energy intake increases.
Eating too little causes major increases in appetite. With hunger raging out of control, you lose your deficit by overeating. This happens in many ways, such as giving in to cravings, binge eating, eating more on weekends or simply being inconsistent, so some days you're on your prescribed 1600 calories a day or whatever is your target amount, but on others you're taking in 2200, 2500, 3000 etc and you don't realize it or remember it. The overeating days wipe out the deficit days.
2) Metabolism decreases due to smaller body mass.
Any time at all when you're losing weight, your metabolism is slowly decreasing due to your reduced body mass. The smaller and lighter you get, especially if there's a large drop in skeletal muscle mass, the fewer calories you need. So your calorie deficit slowly shrinks over time as your diet progresses. As a result, your progress slows down even though you haven't changed how much you eat.
With starvation, you always lose weight, but eventually you lose so much weight/body mass that you can reach energy balance at the same caloric intake you used to lose weight on. You might translate that as "I went into starvation mode" which wouldn't be incorrect, but it would be more accurate to say that your calorie needs decreased.
3) Metabolism decreases due to adaptive thermogenesis.
Eating too little also causes a starvation response (adaptive thermogenesis) where metabolic rate can decrease above and beyond what can be accounted for from the change in body mass (#2 above). This is "starvation response" in the truest sense. It does exist and it is well documented. However, the latest research says that the vast majority of the decrease in metabolism comes from reduced body mass. The adaptive component of the reduced metabolic rate is fairly small, perhaps 10% (ie, 220 calories for an average female with a 2200 TDEE). The result is when you don't eat enough, your actual weight loss is less than predicted on paper, but weight loss doesn't stop completely.
There is a BIG myth about starvation mode (adaptive thermogenesis) that implies that if you don't eat enough, your metabolism will slow down so much that you stop losing weight. That can't happen, it only appears that way because weight loss stops for other reasons. What happens is the math equation changes!
Energy balance is dynamic, so your weight loss slows down and eventually stops over time if you fail to adjust your calories and activity levels in real time each week.
I teach a system for how to adjust calories and activity weekly using a feedback loop method in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program (more info from www.BurnTheFat.com)
So what can be done to stop this metabolic slowdown caused by low calorie dieting and the dreaded fat loss plateau that follows? I recommend the following 5 tips:
1) Lose the pounds slowly.
Slow and steady wins in long term fat loss and maintenance every time. Rapid weight loss correlates strongly with weight relapse and loss of lean body mass. Aim for one to two pounds per week, or no more than 1% of total body weight (ie, 3 lbs per week if you weigh 300 lbs).
2) Use a higher energy flux program.
If you are physically capable of exercise, then use weight training AND cardio to increase your calorie expenditure, so you can still have a calorie deficit, but at a higher food intake (also known as a "high energy flux" program, or as we like to say in Burn The Fat, "eat more, burn more.")
3) Use a conservative calorie deficit.
You must have a calorie deficit to lose fat, but your best bet is to keep the deficit small. This helps you avoid triggering the starvation response, which includes the increased appetite and potential to binge that comes along with starvation diets. I recommend a 20% deficit below your maintenance calories (TDEE), a 30% deficit at most for those with high body fat.
Increase your calories (re-feed) for a full day periodically (once a week or so if you are heavy, twice a week if you are already lean), to restimulate metabolism. On the higher calorie day, take your calories to maintenance or even 10, 15, 20% above maintenance and add the extra calories in the form of carbs (carb cycling). The leaner you get, and the longer you've been on reduced calories, the more important the re-feeds will be. (You can learn more about this method in chapter 12 of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle at www.BurnTheFat.com)
5) Take periodic diet breaks.
Take 1 week off your calorie restricted diet approximately every 12 weeks or so. During this period, take your calories back up to maintenance, but continue to eat healthy, "clean" foods. Alternately, go into a muscle building phase if increasing lean mass is one of your goals. This will bring metabolism and regulatory hormones back up to normal and keep lean body mass stable.
There is much confusion about how your metabolism, hormones and appetite mechanisms are affected when you're dieting, so this was really one of the most important questions anyone could have asked.
If this didn't REALLY click - then you may want to save this and read it again because misunderstanding this stuff leads more people to remain frustrated and stuck at plateaus than anything else I can think of.
If you'd like to learn exactly how you should be eating to lose 2 lbs of fat per week, then visit http://www.burnthefat.com.
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a certified personal trainer (CPT). Tom is the author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using methods of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: www.burnthefat.com