You probably already know that balancing different types of nutrients will be key to your weight loss or healthy living plan. But many people aren’t sure of why certain ones are so important, or how much of them they need to eat. Fiber is one of those nutrients. If you’ve wondered about the benefits of fiber and why so many nutritionists focus on it, here’s a brief guide to its important functions in your body.
Lower your cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy. Soluble fiber acts as a sponge for cholesterol, soaking it up and whisking it through your intestines so that it can’t be absorbed into your bloodstream. So, eating adequate fiber can lower your cholesterol levels, and protect your circulatory system.
Regulate blood sugar. Fiber slows digestion, helps you feel full longer, and prevents cravings and blood sugar spikes. According to some research, eating a high-fiber diet can help you to avoid Type 2 diabetes, and promotes weight loss.
Increase longevity. Research has also suggested that a fiber-rich diet contributes to a longer, healthier lifespan. That effect is probably due to the lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Reduce your risk of colon cancer. Speaking of cancer, while a fiber-rich diet helps to ward off all forms of the disease, it is of particular benefit to lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Overall digestive health. Insoluble fiber prevents constipation, while soluble fiber can remedy diarrhea. Eating fiber from a variety of sources helps the gut biome to flourish, and a healthy gut is related to everything from mental health to a strong immune system.
Now that you’re convinced of the importance of fiber, let’s talk about intake. Women need to get 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should shoot for 35 grams. Try to get your fiber from a variety of sources, too, like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole wheat, and brown rice. For more information on the benefits of fiber, or incorporating it into your weight loss plan, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you learn how to best balance your diet to achieve your personal goals.
We all love our snacks, but when you begin a weight loss plan you might fear that the habit has to go. Actually, snacking can be beneficial and help you reach your goals! The issue is not really whether you can snack, but how you can snack constructively.
Snacks can be a good thing. Obviously, if your typical snack is a candy bar and a soda from the vending machine, this has to change. But that doesn’t mean you can’t snack at all! Snacks can be part of a healthy eating or weight loss plan, for the following reasons:
Snacking helps regulate blood sugar
Snacks can provide important nutrients
Snacking can sustain your metabolism between meals
Snacks can boost your mood and energy
Do you need to snack? One of the problems with snacking is that some of us do it out habit, rather than due to nutritional or energy needs. Part of any successful weight loss plan will involve challenging old habits and replacing them with better ones. So before you reach for a snack, ask yourself these questions:
Am I truly hungry, or am I craving a snack for emotional or habitual reasons?
Will it be more than two hours until my next meal?
Did I work out this morning, or is there some other reason my energy is waning?
If you decide to proceed with a snack, you can do so healthfully by choosing an item between 100 and 200 calories. Remember, it doesn’t need to be a complete meal in order to provide a boost in energy.
How to snack healthfully. When choosing a snack, consider the following:
Fiber (such as in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) helps you feel full, and regulates blood sugar
Protein can keep your energy levels more consistent until your next meal
Choose a snack that combines the above three nutrients, and remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water. Avoid processed foods, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates like white flour.
As always, contact us if you have questions about your nutrition regimen or weight loss plan. We can help you understand the type of nutrients and amount of calories you should be eating, in order to reach your goals.
Weight loss isn’t easy for most people, partly due to all of the conflicting advice you hear and read. It can be difficult to block out all the “noise” and simply follow a weight loss plan that works for you, when you don’t know what advice is myth and what is fact. Having said that, what are some of the common myths that you can feel free to ignore?
“Don’t eat beans”. This advice grew out of the low-carb movement, and for some reason beans have been vilified to an illogical degree. If you’re cutting carbs (which is certainly appropriate in many cases), focus on eliminating refined flours and sugars. Beans are rich in fiber and protein, and are an appropriate part of almost any weight loss plan. Obviously, you will consume them within your normal allowance of carbohydrates, but that’s the only factor you need to worry about.
“Ignore your cravings and develop more willpower”. If this advice worked, no one would ever become overweight in the first place. There’s a nugget of truth here; obviously, you don’t want to give into all of your cravings, because our bodies have a way of wanting things that aren’t so good for us. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore them, either. Trying to “power through” often leads to a complete breakdown of willpower, followed by an over-indulgence in the forbidden food.
A better strategy is to address where those feelings are coming from. Are you experiencing cravings because you’re tired, bored, stressed, sad, etc? Focus on finding non-food methods of dealing with these emotions leads to better long-term coping strategies. And, occasionally, it’s okay to give into a craving by indulging in a small portion of the desired food, or finding a healthier substitute that satisfies you. Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect all the time; this usually backfires.
“You just need to eat less and exercise more”. From a logical, mathematical perspective, this is sound advice. Yes, creating a calorie deficit should lead to weight loss. However, if you over-simplify this method in your mind, you will be overlooking a number of factors that contribute to weight gain. Have you been screened for metabolic disorders? Have you examined your mindset toward food and exercise? Have you addressed stress triggers and other lifestyle factors that can lead to weight gain? A well-rounded weight loss plan addresses all of these factors, so that you can lose weight safely and (perhaps more importantly) keep it off for good.
Give us a call to learn more about a weight loss plan that accounts for your health status and lifestyle, and offers the support you need both during your journey and afterward. We can help provide the tools you need to succeed, and to keep the weight off in the long term.
Ideally, we would all have a free hour each day, and we could stop by the gym when it felt convenient for us. We would perform a one-hour workout, rotating activities each time, and emerge feeling refreshed and energized. And of course, our weight loss plan (or weight maintenance plan) would benefit from the hard work.
In real life, of course, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you can only carve out thirty minutes, stopping by the gym before rushing off to work. Or after a full day at the office, you cram in a half-hour workout before it’s time to grab the kids from soccer practice. Whatever your scheduling conflict, you aren’t alone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent workout in that time frame, or that your weight loss plan has to suffer the consequences.
If you only have thirty minutes in the gym, here’s how to make the most of it: Combine cardio and strength training. This will mean hitting your workout hard, with everything you’ve got, but you’ll be done in thirty minutes and ready to rush off to the next item on your agenda.
Grab a treadmill, elliptical, bike, or even a rowing machine for the cardio part of your workout. Now, perform the exercise for two minutes at a moderate pace, and then one minute at a difficult pace (on the treadmill, this will probably mean jogging or sprinting, depending on your fitness level).
Next, pause the machine, and perform two strength-building exercises right there on the floor next to it. This could mean lunges, squats, push-ups, and so on. Do a set of ten repetitions for each exercise, then go back to your cardio. Repeat this cycle for thirty minutes, and you’re finished!
Of course, you can (and should) substitute different strength-building exercises during each workout. You could even bring a set of dumbbells to your workout spot, so that you can do bicep curls, overarm presses, and so on. And if you want, you can skip the cardio machine and simply use a jump rope (or jog). This could be a great alternative to use at the park, perhaps while you’re waiting on that soccer practice to end.
As always, remember we’re here to help guide you through your weight loss plan, and help you craft a workout routine if needed. Give us a call, and we’ll help you devise an eating plan and exercise regimen that fits into your schedule