When you’re following a weight loss plan, you learn that sugar is not exactly your friend. Not only does sugar increase your total calories consumed; it is usually associated with “empty calories” devoid of any nutritional value. So in an effort to avoid those problems, many decide people decide to switch to sugar-free versions of their favorite foods and drinks. Diet soda is one popular option.
Of course, now we’re hearing warnings against diet soda, too. If you’re wondering whether diet soda is really all that terrible, read on…
Studies on the topic have shown mixed results. But we do know that the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas will indeed fulfill and encourage your cravings for sweets. Yes, a diet soda might relieve a craving temporarily, but as with real sugar, your body soon wants more. One study compared diet soda drinkers with water drinkers, and found that those who opt for diet soda still consumed 196 more calories and 15 more grams of sugar daily than the water drinkers. That’s probably because the diet soda fueled cravings for more sugar, and that group simply opted to get their sugar from another source.
Aside from undermining your weight loss plan, artificial sweeteners in diet soda might carry other negative effects. After tracking more than 80,000 post-menopausal women for a decade, researchers found that those who drank more than one diet soda per day faced an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death. Another study linked the sweeteners to diabetes and high blood pressure.
On the other hand, there are studies that have shown no clear links between diet soda and negative outcomes. We definitely recommend playing it safe until we have more clear answers regarding artificial sweeteners and their safe limits. Plus, drinking water is always a healthy choice for anyone. Having said that, an occasional diet soda is unlikely to interfere with your weight loss plan; just take it easy and don’t make a daily habit of it.
If you have other questions about weight loss or healthy eating, give us a call. We can answer your questions and help you adjust your diet to promote better health at any size or age.
By now, you might have picked up on the secret to lasting weight loss: It’s all about habits. When you can change your daily and weekly routines, you get into the habit of living a healthier lifestyle. Rather than fighting a battle of willpower every day, you simply make healthier choices without even thinking about them overly much. And then, even after losing the weight, it’s less likely to return.
So which habits, specifically, should you work on changing? That obviously varies from person to person, but the following four practices can help almost anyone with their weight loss plan.
Snack smarter. Most of the time, we grab whatever snack is most convenient. So you will need to plan ahead in order to circumvent any potential problems. Make a list of snacks that fit into your weight loss plan, especially those that combine protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Then make sure to keep yourself stocked up on those, both at home and at the office.
Make your new habits a treat. It’s easy to say, “well, now I’m following a weight loss plan, so I have to eat these foods”. That’s not a very optimistic outlook, and doesn’t make healthy eating sound like much fun. Turn your new dietary plans into a treat, by trying one new health-minded restaurant each week, or attempting new recipes at home.
De-stress with activity. When you’re feeling stressed, combat those feelings by going for a walk, jumping on the trampoline, or pumping some iron at the gym. When you consistently pair endorphins with stress relief, you will develop a positive mindset around exercise. Now it’s something you do to feel better!
Join a support group. A group of people on the same journey will understand your process like no one else. Join an online group if you lack time for the traditional group; studies have shown these to be just as effective. You will motivate and challenge one another, and potentially make friendships that will last for years to come.
Of course, if you’re having trouble just getting started on your weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you set realistic goals, learn which foods you should be eating, and offer support and guidance along the way.
We live in a culture that prizes youthfulness, so it’s no wonder that so many people dread aging. But getting older also brings many positive attributes that we tend not to consider. Wisdom, patience, and life experience have a lot to offer.
Still, most of you might dread the idea of age-related diseases, and the physical changes that aging can bring. If you’re curious about ways to combat the aging process, and experience the process more gracefully, these tips are for you.
Stop smoking. Aside from drastically raising your risk of several diseases (cancer and heart disease, to name a few) smoking also impacts the elasticity of your skin. The end result is that you look older than you are, and are more likely to experience serious health problems. But it’s never too late to quit. Stop smoking now, and your risk of health problems will begin to drop.
Put down the cell phone (after you finish this article, of course). Spending extended periods of time looking down at a phone will strain your neck, and lead to stiffness and discomfort. It can even contribute to wrinkles along the neckline! The light from a phone screen can also disrupt your sleep patterns. Plus, most people feel better when they spend less time looking at a screen, and more time socializing “in real life”.
Practice forgiveness. Several studies have actually linked the ability to forgive with lower blood pressure, less stress and anxiety, and lowered risk of depression. Better physical, spiritual, and psychological well-being is often the result. If you’re the type of person who tends to hold a grudge, self help books or counseling might help you learn how to change this bad habit.
Correct your diet. You knew we were going to say this, didn’t you? Sorry, but a poor diet deprives your body of much-needed nutrients that fight disease. And if your concerns are aesthetic, you should know that sugar in your diet will interfere with collagen production and lead to dullness and premature wrinkling of the skin.
Come see us. Sometimes, patients still desire a little extra “help” even after pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Make an appointment with us to discuss your concerns, and we’ll help you decide whether aesthetic treatments, a weight loss diet, or other changes could help you age more gracefully.
We talk about fiber a lot, but we really aren’t just trying to nag you! There are several great reasons to monitor your fiber intake and increase it when necessary (and almost everyone is eating a diet deficient in fiber these days).
Prevent disease. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a correlation between a high-fiber diet and lower rates of serious diseases such as heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a meta analysis of 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials found that a diet high in fiber is associated with a 30 percent decrease in all-cause mortality during the study periods (in other words, participants were 30 percent less likely to die of any cause).
Build a healthy gut biome. Fiber acts as a sponge in the gut, removing waste and soaking up excess cholesterol. While cleaning you out, it also contributes to the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut biome can translate into everything from reduced risks of disease, to glowing skin, to better mood.
Lose or maintain weight. Because fiber helps you feel full between meals, you’re less likely to struggle with cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain.
As you add fiber to your diet, take it slowly! Increase your intake by a few grams per day to start. Suddenly adding a lot more fiber to your diet can sometimes trigger bloating and discomfort, and we want you to be happy with your eating plan.
So, how much fiber is enough? Current recommendations state that men should aim for 30 grams per day, and women should set 25 grams of fiber as their target goal. Get your fiber from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and seeds whenever you can, because those foods contain other important nutrients. But if you’re worried about your fiber intake and don’t feel that you’re getting enough from your diet, give us a call and we’ll discuss the possibility of supplementation as well.