Category Archives: Weight Loss

The Secret to Weight Loss May Be in the Gut

For years, health professionals claimed that the only thing you have to focus on when it comes to weight loss is calories. If the calories you eat total less than the calories you burn through regular daily living and exercise, then you would lose the weight. Simple, right? Not so fast. More recent research shows that it’s not that simple. Many people on restricted calorie diets and exercising regularly did not see results, which led to frustration and abandonment of a weight loss regimen altogether. So what gives?

While calories do play a role in weight loss — if you overeat, you won’t lose weight — they’re not the end all, be all. Other things, like genetics, metabolism, and types of food you eat, matter too. But researchers were not satisfied with this either, so they dug a little deeper, which led them into the gut.

Bacteria in the Gut

By now, you’ve probably heard about how the gut plays a role in your health. In fact, Hippocrates, often referred to as the Father of Medicine, went so far as to say that all disease begins in the gut. But your gut doesn’t just play a role in disease, or the absence of it, it also plays a role in how easily it is for you to lose weight.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, your ability to lose weight depends heavily on the amount of two types of bacteria — bacteroides and prevotella — in your gut. These two types of bacteria help digest the fiber in your diet and, based on research, people with higher concentrations of them in their gut tend to lose weight faster and more easily.

How Do you Measure Bacteria?

The bad news here is that the only way to know if you’re one of the people who has high concentrations of bacteroides and prevotella in your gut is to collect a sample of your stool and ship it off to the lab. But here’s the good news: you don’t really need to know because either way, you can do the things necessary to boost the number of these bacteria and improve your gut health and meet your weight loss goals.

Boosting Bacteroides and Prevotella

You can’t find bacteroides and prevotella in a probiotic supplement because they only have the ability to live outside of the human body for a short period of time. But what you can do is give these bacteria the nourishment they need to grow and multiply so that they take up residence in your gut in higher numbers. The way to do this is by consuming pre-biotics, which are plant-based fibers that feed them. Foods like chicory root, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, flaxseeds, wheat bran, and jicama contain prebiotic fibers.

Of course, even though you can’t directly increase bacteroides and prevotella through supplementation with probiotics, it’s not a bad idea to take them since they help balance the rest of the gut microbiome.

How to Get Rid of Stomach Fat

Last week we discussed the different types of body fat and how they affect your health. The most dangerous type of fat, called visceral fat, is found deep within the belly area and surrounds your major organs. The bad news is that having a lot of this type of stomach fat can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. The good news is that although it’s dangerous, it’s very responsive to weight loss attempt — meaning, you can burn it off pretty easily with the right strategy.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

The most basic strategy for all weight loss is this: take in fewer calories than you expend. The source of your calories definitely matters, but simply restricting your calories will have a significant impact on your visceral fat.

Move More

According to researchers at Harvard University, exercise can reduce your waist circumference and help get rid of visceral fat even if you don’t actually lose any weight. To reduce visceral fat, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or biking, on most days of the week.

Consume Calcium

A study done by researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham reported that the more calcium-rich foods a woman eats, the less visceral fat she gains. Good sources of calcium include plain yogurt, collard greens, broccoli, kale, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, and canned salmon.

Avoid Trans Fat and Fructose

Trans fats and fructose (read: high-fructose corn syrup) encourage the storage of fat around the belly. In addition, foods that contain trans fat and fructose are typically processed, packaged foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients anyway.

Sleep Right

Finding your perfect sleep balance is important for reducing visceral fat. Studies show that both too much (more than 8 hours) and too little sleep (fewer than 5 hours) can increase visceral fat. Aim for around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Manage Your Stress

Stress increases production of the hormone cortisol, which prompts the body to store belly fat. If you want to reduce your visceral fat, you’ll need to get your stress levels under control. Try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, exercise, and/or journaling.

Appetite-Suppressing Foods That Can Help Boost Weight Loss

We all know that when it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks or quick fixes. It takes dedication and consistency, along with a proper diet and exercise routine and the support that you need to keep going. That being said, these appetite-suppressing foods, when eaten in conjunction with an overall healthy diet plan, may help contribute to greater weight loss.

avocado

Avocado

We started the list with avocado because we think that it’s one of the best foods on the entire planet. You probably already know that avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, but it’s a certain type of fat, called oleic acid, that packs the true appetite-suppressing punch. Oleic acid is classified as an omega-9 fatty acid. When you eat oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, your body converts it to a compound called oleoylethanolamide, or OEA. Studies show that OEA travels to the gut lining, where it sends signals of satiety to the brain. When OEA levels are increased, it generally leads to decreased hunger and reduced calorie intake at the next meal.

A word of warning though: while avocados can help suppress appetite, they also contain a lot of calories due to their high fat content. When including avocados in your meal, pay attention to the proper serving size, which is one-third of a medium-sized avocado.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is made by straining out the liquid whey from regular yogurt. This process not only makes the yogurt thicker, it also makes it higher in protein per ounce. According to research, protein keeps you feeling fuller than fat or carbohydrates; so any food that is high in protein has appetite-suppressing effects. Research shows that when people increase protein intake to 30 percent of calories from just 15 percent of calories, they report feeling less hungry and typically eat fewer calories throughout the day.

A single 5.3-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains around 15 grams of protein, compared to just 7 grams for regular varieties; but be choosy when choosing yogurt. Flavored Greek yogurts still have the protein, but they can also contain as much sugar as a can of soda. Plain, nonfat or low-fat yogurt is best.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed packs a one-two punch when it comes to appetite suppression. It’s rich in both omega-3 fats and fiber, two nutrients that keep you feeling full. Fiber is especially beneficial because it has a “bulking” effect. It expands and pulls water into the digestive tract, which leads to feelings of satiety, and it doesn’t contribute any calories. The fat in flaxseed can also slow increases in blood sugar levels, which not only reduces hunger, but irritability as well.

One tablespoon of whole flaxseed contains 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of fat; but make sure to grind your flaxseed before consuming it because your body can’t properly digest whole flaxseed.

Spinach

Spinach contains compounds called thylakoids, which can contribute to appetite suppression and a reduced food intake. According to research, when thylakoids are eaten with a high-fat meal, levels of Cholecystokinin, or CCK, and leptin, two hormones that signal to your brain that you’re full and to stop eating, are increased. On the flipside, thylakoids can also reduce ghrelin, the hormone that tells your body that you’re hungry. When combined with healthy carbohydrates, thylakoids can also help reduce cravings for sugar and sweets.

To reap the benefits of thylakoids, try this magnesium-rich smoothie. It combines spinach with avocado and fruit to give you the fat and carbohydrates you need.

The Basics of Intermittent Fasting

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed HIIT, a type of workout that has been quite the trending topic on social media lately. This week, we wanted to stay with the theme of trending topics and decided to give you the lowdown on the dieting movement that’s also been making its rounds: intermittent fasting. We know it sounds complicated and a little bit intimidating, but when you break it down, it’s actually quite straightforward.

intermittent fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Put simply, intermittent fasting is a term for an eating strategy that alternates between set periods of fasting and eating. There are no guidelines as to what you eat, just when you eat; but even those guidelines are loose, as it’s typically up to you to determine your fasting and eating windows. There are different types of intermittent fasting, but these are two of the most popular patterns:

  • The Leangains Method (also called the 16/8 Method): When following a Leangains intermittent fasting protocol, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window. This means that you pick a time, typically in the afternoon, when you will consume all of your calories for the day. Outside of that time, you eat nothing for the rest of the day. For example, you may eat between 12 pm and 8 pm and then fast for the other 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week; then eating normally for the rest of the week. For the fasting day, you would typically eat dinner and then fast until dinner the next day.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Most people venture into intermittent fasting for its weight loss benefits, but the eating method has several benefits that reach beyond weight loss.

  • Hormone balance: When you fast, your body adjusts levels of several different hormones to make it easier for your body to use fat as energy. Your levels of human growth hormone (or HGH), which is associated with fat loss and muscle gain, increases as much as five times; while insulin levels drop significantly, helping to lower body fat.
  • Reduced inflammation: In some studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with many health issues, including asthma, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce several risk factors for heart disease, including LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • Brain health: Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase levels of a hormone in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Higher levels of BDNF are linked to better long-term memory.

Although the scientific studies on intermittent fasting are fairly recent, the research is promising. We think the trend is definitely worth looking into.

What do you think? Have you tried intermittent fasting? Tell us your thoughts!

*If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. Contraindications include diabetes, blood sugar imbalances, low blood pressure, medications, and pregnancy/breastfeeding. If you are a woman who is trying to conceive, intermittent fasting may not be right for you.

Product of the Month! Metasol ™ Low-Molecular-Weight Lychee Polyphenol (Oligonol®)

June is here; and although it’s not officially summer, that summer feeling is in full force.  It’s time to start shedding some layers and showing off that body you’ve been working hard for. If you’re not where you want to be yet, our product of the month will help with that final push.

When you purchase our monthly special, which includes:

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Craveaway Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

in June, you’ll also receive our product of the month – Metasol™ Low-Molecular-Weight Lychee Polyphenol (Oligonol®) – for FREE!

metasol

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed above for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200) – and we’ll throw in the Metasol™ at absolutely no additional cost.

What is Metasol?

Metasol™ is a low molecular weight polyphenol that helps boost your metabolism. The low molecular weight makes the polyphenols in Metasol™ easier to absorb. In fact, Metasol™ has been shown to be five times more bio-available than other polyphenol supplements.

A published, randomized, double-blind human clinical trial lasting 10 weeks found that compared to placebo, taking 200mg of Oligonol daily:

  • Reduced visceral fat volume by 15%*
  • Shrank waist circumference by 3 centimeters*
  • Caused a significant reduction in body weight*
  • Increased sensitivity to insulin*

The main ingredient in Metasol™ is an Oligonol Proprietary Blend which comes from lychee fruit extract and green tea extract.

Learn more about Metasol™ here.

Contact Us

If you want to advantage of this special offer and sign up for our monthly special, drop in or call us at either one of our locations to find out more!

North Phoenix: 602-374-3374
Phoenix: 602-441-3305
Tempe: 480-968-5673

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products do not diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition.

Seltzer Water and Weight Loss: The Skinny on the Bubbly

There’s this major company that makes seltzer drinks. And let’s just say that every time said company comes out with a new flavor, there’s also a major uproar. We’re talking uproar in a good way. People go nuts; and oftentimes, the new flavors start selling out so fast that they become extremely difficult to find in stores. When this happens, we also start to get a lot of questions about whether or not seltzer drinks are conducive with a weight loss goal. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it’s no wonder you’re confused. Some weight loss programs allow seltzer, while others tell you to steer clear, so which is it? Can you drink seltzer water when you’re trying to lose weight?

seltzer water

What is Seltzer Water?

It’s simple really. Seltzer water is plain water that has carbonation added to it. To do this, manufacturers take carbon dioxide gas and add it to the water under pressure. Now this is where it gets a little tricky, so pay attention. Although the terms “seltzer water”, “club soda”, and “tonic water” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
While seltzer water is simply water and carbon dioxide, club soda generally has sodium and other minerals like potassium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate added to it. Tonic water contains a compound called quinine, which gives it its signature bitter taste, along with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.
For the purposes of this article, we are discussing seltzer water only. Club soda comes with its own concerns and tonic water, which as just as much if not more sugar than soda, is completely off limits when trying to lose weight.

Dispelling the Myths

Because seltzer water contains no calories and no sugar, drinking it won’t cause weight gain or stall weight loss; but there is a murky area. As you probably know, carbon dioxide is a gas. When you introduce excess gas into your stomach, what happens? Yes, you guessed it. Bloating. While drinking seltzer water counts toward your daily water intake, unlike flat water, drinking too much can leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean actual fat pounds gained, but it’s something to consider when trying to fit into those skinny jeans.
There are also a few other concerns regarding bone and dental health. The pH of seltzer water is around 3 to 4 (flat water falls around a 7), making it slightly acidic. Because of this, there are concerns that regularly drinking seltzer water could destroy the enamel on your teeth, making you more prone to cavities, and prompt your bones to release minerals into the blood to increase the pH of your body. Studies have shown that both of these concerns are unfounded; seltzer water is safe for both your bones and teeth. On the other hand, when combined with sugar, as is the case with tonic and soda, carbonated beverages do have the potential to cause enamel erosion.

Benefits of Seltzer Water

In addition to dispelling these myths about seltzer water, some studies went so far as to research added benefits of drinking the bubbly stuff over flat water. One study found that drinking seltzer water over flat water may help you feel full longer. This can prevent overeating and actually lead to weight loss. In this study, researchers concluded that seltzer water may trigger food to stay in the upper portion of the stomach longer, which translates to feeling full for longer.
Another study found that drinking seltzer water may help alleviate digestive problems like constipation and stomach pain (associated with indigestion).

The Verdict

If you want to add seltzer water to your diet plan, you can do so with peace of mind. The bubbly stuff won’t inhibit weight loss or cause weight gain; and your teeth and bones will remain as healthy as ever. Just make sure that you’re staying away from tonic water or any flavored carbonated drinks that contain added sugar of any kind (we’re looking at you high fructose corn syrup).

Apple Cider Vinegar: 2017’s Hottest New Superfood?

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly a “superfood”, but the year just started and there’s already been a lot of talk about apple cider vinegar, or ACV, as the regulars are calling it. For years, celebrities like Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr have sworn by ACV as a weight loss aid. Both beauties claim that drinking the vinegar daily is at least in part responsible for their svelte figures. That all sounds promising – and easy enough – but could it be too good to be true? To find out, we did some research on what the experts had to say.

apple cider vinegar

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

The research on whether apple cider vinegar can actually contribute to weight loss is lacking; but one study out of Japan in 2009 found that drinking two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar twice a day with meals helped participants lose four pounds in a period of 12 weeks. Researchers think that this benefit could be attributed to acetic acid, one of the main components in apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid can help speed up metabolism, contributing to weight loss. Another study found that drinking apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite; however, researchers speculated this may be due to the fact that some participants felt nauseated after taking it. Although the research is promising, it would take more studies to really make a claim about whether apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss.

Other Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While it may not be a magic potion for weight loss, apple cider vinegar does have plenty of health benefits, so it’s worth including in your daily diet. It’s rich in beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium, as well as probiotics, and enzymes, which contribute to a healthy gut and digestive system. Apple Cider Vinegar is also rich in antioxidants, which help fight off the substances (called free radicals) that contribute to cancer.

Choosing an Apple Cider Vinegar

As with most foods, the apple cider vinegar available for purchase differs. Some is highly processed, which leaves it lacking in the nutrition department. When choosing an apple cider vinegar, it’s best to choose a raw version that has the “mother” intact. The “mother” is a cloudy substance that consists of cellulose and acetic acid. It’s the mother that contains most of the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes of the vinegar. You’ll be able to spot it right away because the ACV will look cloudy and a bit murky. This is a good thing!

How to Drink It

When drinking apple cider vinegar, it’s best to dilute it in 8 to 10 ounces of water. This makes it easier on the stomach and your tooth enamel, which can respond negatively to the acidity of the vinegar. After drinking the diluted apple cider vinegar, swish warm water in your mouth; and then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Emotions and Weight Loss: How Meditation Can Help You Shed Pounds

When it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise get most of the credit. However, according to research, the key player in the game is actually psychological well-being. When you embark on a weight loss journey, learning to manage emotions and develop a healthy relationship with food isn’t always at the forefront, but maybe it should be. Now, we know what you’re thinking: well, all of that is great, but how do I achieve this psychological well-being? How do I stay present in the moment so that I can enjoy my food and listen to my body’s internal cues? The answer is actually quite simple: meditation.

The Research

Although there is still a lot of research to be done, a survey published by the healthcare network Orlando Health reported that successful weight loss is dependent on management of emotions and psychological well-being more than other any factors. However, 90 percent of the survey participants weren’t even aware of the importance of a positive mental state. Most gave all of the credit to diet and exercise.

Another study done by researchers at Cornell University looked at why some people seem to maintain a healthy weight all their lives, while others struggle. The study, which was published in 2016, reported that the leading three reasons were taking pleasure in food, listening to the body’s internal cues, and lack of guilt after eating. Yet another study out of the Brown University Public School of Health found people who pay more attention to the present and their current thoughts and feelings had lower levels of abdominal fat and were less likely to become obese.

How to Meditate

Although the word can be intimidating for some, meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on the moment. This results in more calm and clarity.  In addition to increasing psychological well-being, which can in turn lead to weight loss, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep patterns, and reduce chronic pain.

It does take practice, but the good news is that there’s no real right or wrong way to do it. If you’re new to meditation, try this:

  1. Find a quiet spot where you’ll be free from any distraction for 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable position – you can sit, stand, lie down, or even walk. It’s completely up to you.
  3. Find a point of focus. Many people choose to focus only on their breathing. Feel the breath as it comes in and then goes out. Take note of any tension in your body and relax any areas that feel tight.
  4. Be still.

You can also try guided meditations if you find it difficult to remain still or focus on your own breathing. There are many available for free on YouTube that range from 3 minutes to 3 hours.

If you’re new to meditation, the practice may seem a little silly and pointless at first, but trust us. The benefits of meditation extend to all areas of your life. If you combine meditation with the practice of mindful eating, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline in no time.

Product of the Month! Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage from Progressive Laboratories is without a doubt one of our most popular supplements. It tastes great, it works, and it’s easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. We know that January is the perfect time to make a fresh start, so we’re offering Skip-a-Meal as part of our January monthly special.

Monthly Special Details

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
Meta-Blast Supplements
Crave-away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, the product of the month ABSOLUTELY FREE!

skip-a-meal replacement beverage

All about Skip-a-Meal

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Shake is a whey protein meal replacement shake that serves as a high-protein, low calorie replacement for a higher calorie meal. You can replace one meal with a shake each day, or all three meals. It’s totally up to you.

The shake contains several vitamins and minerals, so it serves as a balanced nutrition source, just like a healthy meal would. One serving of the Skip-a-Meal replacement shakes provides only 192 calories and at least 30% (in some cases, it provides 35%) of each of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper. So if you’re drinking the meal replacement three times a day, you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.

A single serving of the shake also provides 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat. The even better news? One tub contains 15 servings and you get it FREE when you sign up for our monthly special. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

If you have any questions about Skip-a-Meal or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Product of the Month! Metasol ™ Low-Molecular-Weight Lychee Polyphenol (Oligonol®)

There’s a popular expression that says “summer bodies are made in the winter”. In simple terms, this means that if you want a rockin’ bikini bod come June, you need to start preparing for that body NOW. Instead of turning to comfort foods during the cooler weather, it’s time to kick it into full gear. We’re here to help you do that by offering metabolism-boosting Metasol as part of our monthly special, which also includes:

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins

Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Craveaway Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

And in December, you’ll also receive our product of the month – Metasol™ Low-Molecular-Weight Lychee Polyphenol (Oligonol®) – FOR FREE!

metasol

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed above for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200) – and we’ll throw in the Metasol™ for FREE!

Metasol™ is a low molecular weight polyphenol that helps boost your metabolism. The low molecular weight makes the polyphenols in Metasol™ easier to absorb. In fact, Metasol™ has been shown to be five times more bio-available than other polyphenol supplements.

A published, randomized, double-blind human clinical trial lasting 10 weeks found that compared to placebo, taking 200mg of Oligonol daily:

  • Reduced visceral fat volume by 15%*
  • Shrank waist circumference by 3 centimeters*
  • Caused a significant reduction in body weight*
  • Increased sensitivity to insulin*

The main ingredient in Metasol™ is an Oligonol Proprietary Blend which is derived from lychee fruit extract and green tea extract.

Learn more about Metasol™ here.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this special offer and signing up for our monthly special, drop in or call us at any of our locations to find out more!

  • North Phoenix: 602-374-3374
  • Phoenix: 602-441-3305
  • Tempe: 480-968-5673

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition.