Do you tend to blow it on the weekends?

The unofficial start to summer is finally here!  Memorial Day Weekend is the first of many weekends ahead filled with outdoor parties and summer BBQs.  It’s the perfect season to GET HEALTHY!

Don’t let the summer weekends ruin your healthy eating plan. 

You’re so “good” during the week; then the weekend comes and you blow it.  Many of my clients report this scenario – not just in the summer but all year long. They stick closely to their healthy eating plan during the work week and then overdo it with junk food, restaurant meals, and alcohol from Friday through Sunday.  It’s no surprise that this eating pattern will not work if you are trying to lose weight and improve your health.

The extra calories and you consume on the weekend will cancel out any deficit you create during the week. Furthermore, this pattern of overeating tends to include too many foods containing unhealthy refined carbs and saturated fats, and not enough fruits, veggies, and fiber.

grilling meat-1440105_1920 (1)

Simple solution:   KEEP A FOOD LOG

To stay on track with your healthy eating plan on the weekends, commit to writing down everything you eat and drink.  Use a form, notebook, or app on your phone.  Be diligent about it and don’t skip anything.

This doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself. If you want to indulge a bit on the weekend, go for it; just do it mindfully. Plan your indulgence, enjoy it thoroughly, and then add it to your food log.   This accountability will help you stick to the plan.  For a greater degree of accountability, share your food records with someone. It can be a huge motivation to eat healthy when you know that your healthy eating buddy (or nutritionist!) is going to be reviewing your food log.

Don’t have a healthy summer eating plan?  I’d be happy to help you with that!  Give me a call so we can set up a time to meet.  Learn the best nutrition for weight loss. Together we will create an eating plan for a FUN and HEALTHY summer.

Lorraine

PS…
Grab your free copy of the Daily Monitoring Form to help you stay on your healthy eating plan.

 

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5 Tips to Lose Belly Fat

Fat on the body, like gas in a car, is stored energy.   But when there is too much – especially around the middle – we tend to not like the way it looks.  Unfortunately, it’s more than just tight pants; an expanding waistline can be seriously unhealthy.  Excess belly (or visceral) fat is a major risk factor for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Some people are predisposed to having an unhealthy apple shape due to genetics.  Age and gender also play a role.  As we get older, our lean body mass (muscle) tends to decrease while fat increases, especially in men whose testosterone levels start dropping around the age of 40. In aging women, hormonal changes are a contributing factor, but inactivity seems to be more instrumental in belly fat.

If you want to check your waist size, it’s easy; all you need is a tape measure.  According to the American Heart Association, you have abdominal obesity and are at risk for chronic disease if your waist measures greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men.

Although losing fat from this area of your body can be difficult, there are a few proven strategies effective in decreasing belly fat.  Do it for the health of it!

exercise-female-fitness-601177 (1)

USE THESE 5 TIPS TO HELP REDUCE YOUR BELLY FAT

  1. Exercise regularly. To help trim belly fat, get at least 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise at least 5 days a week. Walking counts, as long as it’s brisk enough that you breathe harder and get your heart beating faster than usual. Strength training (weight lifting) is important as well.  Based on research in people with prediabetes, type-2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease, it can support stomach fat loss. Furthermore, strength training helps to preserve as well as increase muscle mass.  If you are new to it, check out this strength training video for beginners.  It’s only 17 minutes and you don’t need any special equipment.
  2. Eat adequate fiber. Getting enough fiber can help you lose weight; and belly fat usually goes first.  In one study, researchers found that people who ate 10 grams of soluble fiber per day – without any other diet changes – built up less belly fat over time than others.  Amongst the best sources of dietary soluble fiber are oranges, black beans, and flax seeds.
  3. Cut back on sugar in processed foods and soft drinks. When consumed in excess, added sugar especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can have a very negative impact on your health. Some sources of sugar are worse than others – sugary drinksappear to be the worst.  They are loaded with liquid fructose which can increase belly fat.  This primarily applies to sugary soda, but also to fruit juices, highly sweetened coffees, and other sources of liquid sugar like sports drinks.  To quench your thirst and keep your body hydrated, drink water, unsweetened herbal teas, and sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
  4. Get adequate sleep. Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including your weight.  Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight including unhealthy belly fat.  Aim for at least 7 hours per night and make sure you’re getting good quality sleep.
  5. Manage stress. Stress is a major culprit in the accumulation of belly fat.  This happens because stress triggers the adrenal glands to produce cortisol – a stress hormone.  Research shows that consistent high cortisol levels increase appetite and contributes to the accumulation of abdominal fat.  To help combat this, look for ways other than eating to relieve stress such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness.

Please get in touch if you have any nutrition or diet-related questions.  I’d love to hear from you.

Lorraine

PS…

Spring is the perfect time to get back on track with healthy eating.  Let’s talk about how we can create the perfect plan for you.  Give me a call today!

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Which vegetables are best for weight loss?

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that vegetables are good for you. But which ones are best when it comes to managing your weight?   Research shows that vegetables with a higher fiber content or lower glycemic load are more strongly associated with a healthy weight.  This includes carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and string beans.   Here’s why –

  • Lower blood sugar and insulin spikes
  • Controlled food cravings
  • A longer-lasting “full” feeling

However, ALL veggies have health benefits and support a healthy weight.  They are incredibly low in everything we don’t want too much of (calories, fat, and sodium) and packed with all of the things most of us need more of like antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

saute veggies

Use these ideas to eat more veggies every day –

Please get in touch if you have any nutrition or diet-related questions.  I’d love to hear from you.

Lorraine

PS…

Spring is the perfect time to get back on track with healthy eating.  Let’s talk about how we can create the perfect plan for you.  Give me a call today!

 

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Can chia seeds help you lose weight?

Remember those ch-ch-ch-chia commercials years ago for Chia Pets?   As a kid I found them so intriguing.  They were selling kits that included a little terracotta pot and a small packet of black seeds.  In just a few days, you could grow a green-haired puppy, pig, or even Mr. T.

Now-a-days those little black chia seeds are often referred to as a superfood.  Claims have been made that chia seeds can help with weight loss.  This seems to make sense since chia seeds are a good source of fiber and high fiber foods help people feel full for longer, and they are usually low in calories.

chia seeds on spoon

However, there is not much evidence to support these claims. A review, published in the Journal of Obesity, concluded that “there is limited data to suggest the use of chia seeds for weight loss.”  Another study, published in Nutrition Research, concluded that, in overweight adults, chia seeds have “no influence on body mass or composition, or various disease risk factor measures.”

Although they may not help to shrink your waistline, chia seeds are nutritious and have some health benefits.   Plant-based foods have long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Chia seeds are black in color and they have a mild, nutty flavor.  They are relatively easy to find online or in any major grocery store.  They can be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, and oatmeal or added to smoothies.  They can also be used in baking.  One tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water will form a gel that can be used instead of eggs in baking.

strawberrie chia

One of my favorite uses for chia seeds is to make pudding.  If you’re looking for a dairy-free creamy dessert, check out this Strawberries and Cream Chia Pudding.  For those times when you’re craving chocolate but really don’t want to eat junk food, give this easy recipe for Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding a try.

Lorraine

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Whole grain salads for your Easter table

Cut out carbs!  Carbs will make you fat!  If you want to lose weight, don’t eat carbs!

Sound familiar?

This dieting rule has been around forever and I’ve heard it many times from my clients.  Truth be told, carbohydrate is a macronutrient that we cannot live without.  In fact, carbs are vital for optimal health.

  • Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. You need to eat them every day to fuel not only your muscles – your brain, digestive system, and nerves need carbs too.
  • Complex carbohydrates contain dietary fiber which keeps your digestive tract running smoothly and can promote weight loss by keeping you feeling satisfied between meals.
  • Eating carbs can boost your mood by increasing the production of serotonin (the feel good chemical) in your brain.
  • Carbs taste good and satisfying foods are an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

It’s time to stop demonizing carbohydrate foods – in particular, grains.

Earlier this month, I lead a grocery store tour at my local Whole Foods that focused on healthy whole grains. We met with Luis at the bulk bin section who shared many interesting facts about grains.  I was surprised to learn that barley is the top selling grain from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Luis from Whole Foods

The tour participants learned how to shop for the healthiest grains and had an opportunity to taste farro and bulgur.  Like most of my clients, they were impressed with the nice flavor and texture.

When eaten as part of a balanced diet, whole grains will not cause you to gain weight or prevent you from losing.  Don’t be afraid to eat them.  They are a good source of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium).

golden beet and barley salad

These whole grain salads would make a perfect side dish for your Easter dinner menu:

Farro Apple Pecan Salad, Broccoli Tabbouleh, and Golden Beet and Barley Salad

Enjoy!

Lorraine

P.S.
Are you ready to get off the diet roller coaster and GET HEALTHY? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s talk about how we can work together so you can achieve your personal best weight and maintain it with ease. NO MORE DIETING.
 

Image Credit:  https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-riff-golden-beet-and-ba-88567

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Are you a speed eater? Tips to help you slow down (+Shamrock Shake recipe)

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy a delicious healthy green smoothie (a.k.a. Shamrock Shake).  The recipe is down below but first, let’s talks about how quickly you’re eating.

green smoothie

Do you find that you eat faster than everyone else at the table? Are you always the first one done?  You may want to take a pause and slow down.  According to research published in the online journal BMJ Open, your eating speed may be negatively impacting your weight.

Researchers suggest that slowing down the speed at which you eat, along with cutting out after dinner snacks and not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep may help you to decrease your waistline and body fat.  Furthermore – and more importantly – interventions aimed at reducing the speed of eating may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks such as impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.

Eating slowly can help you feel full with less food and fewer calories.

Use these 5 simple tips to help you slow down, enjoy your food, and eat less.

1.  Avoid extreme hunger. Eating slowly can be near impossible when you’re feeling famished.  Most people need to refuel every 3 – 5 hours so never let more than 5 hours pass without eating.  If you allow yourself to get very hungry, you’re likely to inhaling your food and end up overeating.

2.  Chew each bite thoroughly. Take small bites and increase the number of chews before swallowing.  Aim to chew each bite of food about 10 – 15 times.  Savor the food as you chew and be sure to swallow before taking the next bite.

3.  Drink water with your meals. Research has shown that sipping on water during meals can help slow down the pace of eating and influence weight loss.

4.  Pay attention while you eat. Multitasking – like eating while watching television or working – can distract you and result in overeating.  Whenever possible, sit down to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions.  Give full attention to your food while you are eating.

5.  Take a pause during your meal. About half way through your meal or snack, take a few minutes to assess your level of hunger/fullness.  Push away from the table a bit and take some deep breaths.  If you are starting to feel satisfied, it’s time to stop.  If you continue to eat beyond this point, you’re likely to end up feeling too full or stuffed.

Don’t forget to grab your Shamrock Shake recipe.  Enjoy!

Lorraine

PS…
Are you ready to get off the diet roller coaster and GET HEALTHY? I’d love to hear from you.  Let’s talk about how we can work together so you can achieve your personal best weight and maintain it with ease.  NO MORE DIETING.

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Power grain waffle recipe + healthy carb tips

March is National Nutrition Month.  It’s a great month to EAT CARBS!

In honor of NNM (and the health of your body!), I encourage you to eat carbs.  But not just any carbs –the healthy ones of course and yes, that includes waffles.  Recipe below but first a bit about how carbohydrate foods can help you get to your personal best weight and optimal health.

Get to know the carbs in your “low carb” diet and make sure they are good for you.

waffles

There are two general types of carbohydrate:

Simple (aka “bad”) carbohydrates are simply sugars.  All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules.  They are digested rapidly and provide the quickest source of energy.  Unfortunately, most foods high in simple carbohydrates contain few nutrients and are often high in calories.  They lack fiber, pass into the bloodstream rather quickly, and can lead to cravings, overeating, and weight gain.  Therefore it’s best to limit your intake of simple carbohydrates.

Some sources of simple carbohydrates:

  • Table sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Jams, jellies
  • Fruit drinks
  • Soda
  • Candy

Complex (aka “good”) carbohydrates are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace.  They are commonly found in whole plant foods making them high in vitamins and mineral.  They digest slowly keeping your blood sugar more stable than simple carbohydrates do.  Complex carbs are often rich in fiber making them more filling so you feel satisfied with less food. This can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

These whole plant foods are among the healthiest complex carbs:

  • Green veggies including kale, arugula, Swiss chard, spinach
  • Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, winter squash
  • Whole grains like oatmeal, pasta, bread, barley
  • Beans, lentils, peas
  • Whole fruits including as berries, citrus, apples, kiwis

Lastly, choose the least processed carb options most of the time. This means limiting your intake of sweetened beverages, potato chips, white bread, sugary cereals and cereal bars, candy, pastries, fried foods, and other highly processed or refined foods.  These items can contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

For a filling and delicious healthy carb breakfast or anytime meal, check out this healthy waffle recipe.   Skip the syrup and top with fresh fruits, nuts, and even peanut butter. I like to call them Power Grain Waffles because they keep me feeling satisfied and give me sustained energy for several hours after I eat them.

Lorraine

PS…

One of the best ways to take charge of your health is by choosing nourishing foods. Even the busiest of people can learn to do this.  I’m happy to help.  Give me a call and let’s talk.

 

 

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Chocolate without the guilt (5 indulgent recipes you can make today)

It’s that time of year again.  Those big heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are everywhere.

I’m sure you’ve heard that chocolate isn’t as bad for you as once believed.  Chocolate has gotten a lot of media coverage in recent years because it’s believed that it may help protect your cardiovascular system due to its antioxidant powerBut what impact does it have on your weight?

Although chocolate is often perceived as an indulgent and fattening food, research has shown that sustained consumption of small amounts of cocoa or dark chocolate do not increase weight.  But common sense must prevail.  When chocolate is processed with added ingredients (especially sugar), the end product will be a concentrated source of calories – think store-bought cookies, donuts, cake, ice cream, candy, and even cereal – making it a poor choice for your health and weight.

strawberry chocolate yogurt-2563664_1920

However, it is possible to enjoy chocolate AND maintain a healthy weight!  Here’s how …

Choose dark chocolate.  Go for minimally processed dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa content or higher.  This is one of my favorite brands and not just because it tastes amazing.  The company uses strict standards for quality, ethical trade, and environmental sustainability.

Eat it in moderation (one ounce or less per day).  When you choose a quality brand with a very rich taste, a little goes a long way.  Take small bites, let it melt in your mouth, and truly savor it.

Enjoy it without guilt by creating your own healthy indulgent chocolate desserts.

  • Spread a thin layer of almond butter over a 1-ounce square of dark chocolate and top with 1 tsp of all-fruit raspberry preserves.
  • Cut a medjool date in half (remove pit); fill each half with natural peanut butter and a few extra dark chocolate chips; top with a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut.
  • Blend 4 – 6 oz. plain low fat Greek yogurt with 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder, 1-2 tsp maple syrup or honey, 1 tsp cacao nibs, and ½ tsp vanilla extract; top with berries and nuts.
  • Finely chop 1 ounce of dark chocolate; microwave on 50% power until almost melted, about 1-2 minutes; stir until smooth.  Dip mandarin orange segments in the chocolate, place on a parchment-lined plate and chill until set, about 10 minutes.
  • Make Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding. This recipe is sure to satisfy your taste for chocolate without all the added junk of the store-bought kind.

Lorraine

PS…

Do you want to learn how to get to your personal best weight without dieting?  I can help you with that.  Call me today  and let’s talk about your struggles and come up with a solution.

 

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Super Bowl game plan + tasty taco recipe

Will you be watching the big game tomorrow as The Eagles take on The Patriots?  I know I will!

The Super Bowl is an unofficial American holiday that is celebrated with lots of food and drink. It can be so much fun and yet disastrous if you’re trying to eat healthy.  

Typical Super Bowl party food is loaded with sodium, sugar, saturated fat, and calories. But with a good game plan, you can indulge and enjoy yourself without overindulging and feeling guilty.

Use these 3 tips and have a truly “super” day

  1. Make a plan of what you are going to eat for the day. Be sure to include a nourishing breakfast and a light lunch.  Actually write down your plan and stick to it.  Don’t go to the party hungry!
  2. At the party, fill your plate with lots of colorful veggies. This easy taco recipe for Chipotle Tofu Lettuce Tacos will help you do just that. If you are a guest, offer to bring these tacos to the party.  They’re a real crowd-pleaser and will help you stay on track with healthy eating. Note: chicken can easily be substituted for the tofu if you’d prefer.

tofu taco

  1. Keep yourself well hydrated by alternating alcohol with water if you plan on drinking. Start out with water or seltzer before you have any alcoholic beverages. Sip your drinks slowly. Set a limit on alcohol and keep to it.

I hope you enjoy the day tomorrow whether or not you spend it watching the big game.

Lorraine

PS…

If you are ready to get off the diet roller coaster and GET HEALTHY instead, I’d love to hear from you.  Let’s talk about how we can work together so you can achieve your personal best weight and maintain it with ease.  NO MORE DIETING.

 

Image credit:  www.nutritionaction.com

 

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Stop counting calories and track fiber instead (+ easy dinner recipe you can make today)

If you’re trying to lose weight and find it helpful to track your progress, why not track something that will actually benefit your weight and health?  That something I’m referring to is FIBER.

High fiber foods can help with weight loss and decreased risk if heart disease.

According to research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, adding high fiber foods such as vegetables and fruits to your daily diet is effective at producing weight loss and lowering heart disease risk.

Use these simple strategies  to boost your fiber intake.  Gradually work your way up to 25 – 35 grams per day and be sure to drink plenty of water.  Always read the Nutrition Facts Label and choose foods with a higher %DV of dietary fiber; for example, 20% DV or more of dietary fiber per serving.  FYI – the ancestral human diet contained upwards of 100 grams of fiber per day – imagine that!

red lentil curry(1)

One of the best sources of fiber are lentils.  According to NutritionAction.com, each ¼ cup of dry red lentils (which makes ¾ cup when cooked) packs 9 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein, plus roughly 25 percent of a day’s folate, 15 percent of a day’s iron, 14 percent of a day’s zinc, 9 percent of a day’s magnesium, and 6 percent of a day’s potassium.  Not bad for 180 calories, zero sodium, and around 25 cents per serving.

Check out this delicious recipe for Red Lentil Curry containing 9 grams of fiber per cup.  Enjoy!

Lorraine

PS…

If you are ready to get off the diet roller coaster and GET HEALTHY instead, I’d love to hear from you.  Let’s talk about how we can work together so you can achieve your personal best weight and maintain it with ease.  NO MORE DIETING.

 

Image courtesy of OZphotography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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