Getting the Portion Sizes Right: Helpful Hints

The latest craze in dieting is actually not dieting at all – it is simply an increased awareness in portion control and how to monitor what you are eating to ensure you’re not eating portions that are too large.  When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it is hard to go overboard but we tend to eat too many carbohydrates without even realizing what a correct portion size looks like.  Here are some hints on how to control your portion sizes and how this can fast track your weight loss progress:

Using Portion Control Containers as a Helpful Guide

One of the smartest ways to monitor your caloric intake and learn how to eat the right amounts of food each day is to use portion containers as a guide to teach you on a day to day basis what a healthy and waist friendly portion size consists of.  The popular fitness program called the 21 day fix uses various color coded containers in various sizes to give you an easy way to keep within your desired target calorie bracket for the day.  It is very easy to consume 3000 or more calories a day even just by indulging in one or two treats that you might think are harmless.  But in consuming these treats on a daily basis, you’re setting your weight loss progress up for failure.

Use the Palm Of Your Hand to Track Portions

By measuring the size of meat you have using the palm of your hand, you can get a rough estimate of what 3 ounces of meat looks like.  If you are on a high protein diet, you might be eating anywhere from 4-6 ounces of meat per meal. A low carb diet will involve you eating a lot of low fat and high protein sources from chicken or fish.

You can also use your fingers to measure a tablespoon or ounce when using oils or butters in your cooking.  Remember that you shouldn’t be having more than 2-4 servings of carbs per day initially when trying to lose weight.

Keep Hydrated and Drink Plenty of Water

Once you learn about what a “healthy” serving of food looks like, cravings can hit. It’s hard to go from eating extra super size portions to a measly pile of rice and a small few slices of turkey.  You might start getting hungry and wonder why you’re even dieting after all.  But remember that a lot of times our hunger is actually just dehydration. Make sure to drink at least 8 large glasses of water a day to make sure that you are really not just thirsty rather than being hungry.  Help yourself to a serving of fruit or a small portion of nuts or seeds to keep the cravings at bay and remember that over time, your stomach will shrink and you’ll be less hungry and be slimmer and happier.

Getting Skinny By Increasing Your Fiber Intake

whole-grain-fiber-tips

Fiber is one of those things that we will ignore if we aren’t careful to eat enough of it. There are plenty of sources of fiber, but unless you are consuming whole grain or whole wheat products, you might be short of your recommended daily intake of 25 grams a day.  Nowadays, there are plenty of whole wheat and multigrain rices and pasta products available, so there is really no excuse for not selecting these when preparing Italian food like lasagne or spaghetti or even Asian dishes using rice.

What are the benefits of fiber?

A lot of people are less concerned with their health and more concerned with their weight, so let’s focus on how fiber can actually help you lose weight.  It is found primarily in carbohydrates which people tend to avoid, thinking that in consuming carbohydrates, they will gain weight.  While this is true if you consume carbs in excess, it is actually false that carbs directly lead to weight gain.  Weight gain is caused by eating anything excessively, that could be foods that are high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates.  But eating fiber can actually help decrease your appetite which will lead to weight loss.  Fiber is one of those “filling” ingredients, that gives your stomach a satiated and satisfied feeling after consuming a bowl of whole grain rice and chicken for example.

If you eat a bowl of white rice, you will still feel hungry an hour or so later because that rice lacks fiber which leads you to feel full and content for a longer period of time.  When you consume less calories, you naturally will lose weight.  Burning more calories = weight loss and in consuming less, you’ll create a calorie deficit.

Some people even recommend taking supplements to make sure they are meeting their needs. Various skinny fiber reviews from those who have lost weight show that people can lose up to 30 pounds by going on a diet rich in vegetables, wholegrain fiber products and drinking plenty of water.  These skinny fiber supplements can especially help those people who have an intolerance to gluten but still need to get in enough fiber.

What are some ideal high fiber snacks?

In addition to consuming fiber for your meals in the forms of oatmeal, brown rice and pasta, you can also bake or cook your own high fiber snacks to keep you energized and satisfied throughout the day.  One of my favorite snacks to prepare are homemade protein and fiber granola bars.  Using oatmeal, raisins, small quantities of nuts and peanut butter to bind it together, you’ll get a tasty treat that will keep you energized for the entire day.  What are some ways you like to get in enough fiber and are you taking any supplements or relying purely on your food intake?

Developing a Healthy Routine in 21 Days

Several of our patients have been coming forward with the same questions and concerns, primarily with regards to how to get healthy before the summer hits.  This is common around this time of year. People wonder why they have gained weight over the winter months and are urgent to get in shape before their diet spirals out of control.

healthy diet and new habits

In general, these concerns stem from vanity – people want to look good in their summer wear and come seeking help because they want to improve their physical appearance. While there is nothing wrong with that, the real problem is in how excessive weight gain, particularly around the stomach area, can cause enormous health problems if the situation isn’t reversed or fixed.  Weight gain over the winter and fall months are normal for most people.  As summer fades, we change to bulkier and heavier clothing and if we start to get plump around the mid-section, it’s less noticeable in a sweater and jeans than in a tank top and shorts.  But having excess fat around the waist can lead to clogged arteries, spikes in cortisol levels and lead to problems with the thyroid and even increase mental health issues such as stress or depression.

Studies suggest that starting a new lifestyle can be achieved by slowly changing habits. And it can take up to three weeks for habits to stick.  Losing weight can begin by starting the 21 day diet plan, a system that allows for detox by decreasing sugar and carb intake and increasing protein and vegetables.  It’s also the best way to slowly integrate new lifestyle changes and see dramatic increase in energy and an improved mood.  If you start dramatic lifestyle changes without a slow integration process, you’re at risk for quitting before you even get started.  The best way is to gradually decrease sugar and carb consumption and try to eat proteins from lean sources such as beans, fish, chicken and low-fat dairy sources.  By consuming healthy fats such as low quantities of raw nuts (almonds, peanuts or pistachios) and olive oil, you’ll decrease your hunger and these mono-saturated fats help to trim the waist line.

In addition to eating healthier, you must keep your body fully hydrated by drinking plenty of water and sugar-free fluids like green tea which also boosts the metabolism and keeps you feeling full and satisfied after each meal.  It’s important to add exercise into your diet as well.  By exercising regularly, you’ll not only burn calories and increase your caloric deficit each week and lose weight, but you’ll grow lean muscle which helps burn fat faster than simply restricting calories alone.  If you can start exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day for three days a week to start, you will develop a habit and the exercise becomes easier and even enjoyable. Increase this to four or five times a week after a month and then increase your exercise amount to 45 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise.  You will be amazed at how much fat you will shed and how enjoyable the workouts will become.  Only by combining both a healthy diet with regular exercise will you be able to get the body you desire and the health level you need in a short amount of time. Remember that starting now is the only way to get the results you want as soon as possible.  Let us know how you do and which exercises you enjoy most.

3 Reasons to Start Changing Your Lifestyle

If you have ever wondered why it’s the time to start getting in shape, don’t think twice about it.  There are so many reasons why you need to be working on your body now and shedding any excess fat that you have put on over the years.

1 – Are you single or do you have a family? Do you value your family and want to be able to grow old but still play with your kids and grand kids.  How do you expect to do this if you aren’t in good shape? In a recent study, 34% of grandparents said they wished that they weren’t overweight so that they could play with their kids and grand children.

2 – Your Health.  If your bones are aching or you feel tired after doing small amounts of exercise, you need to work on your heart and endurance.  By exercising or doing 2-3 hours of cardio a week that is high or moderate intensity, you’ll have more endurance, strength and help to expand your life.

3 – Your Weight. How many of you have a few pounds to lose? Most people need to lose over 10 pounds and even more, over 20 pounds. Obesity is an epidemic that needs to be solved.  If you aren’t making healthy eating choices on a daily basis, don’t exercise and are likely to indulge on the weekends, you need to re-evaluate your life.