Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

exercise helps you lose weight

How Exercise Helps You Lose Weight and Improve Your Overall Health

Exercise helps you lose weight and is one of the best changes to your lifestyle you can make for your health.

When it comes to weight loss, we often focus on diet more than anything else. There is, of course, a reason for that. A healthy diet is the most influential aspect of maintaining a healthy weight.

What also helps, however, is exercise. When combined with diet, exercise can help you attain a body composition that makes you feel good. Not only that, but strength training and cardiovascular exercise also drastically improve your overall health.

How exercise helps you lose weight

Combining diet with exercise helps you lose weight. Weight loss happens primarily due to reducing calorie intake. That is why diet is so essential.  But exercise is also helpful when it comes to losing weight, because it helps your body burn more of the calories you eat. Exercise helps your body burn more calories than you would burn when at rest.

In addition to helping burn calories through activity, exercise also changes your metabolism.

Your metabolism is the process your body goes through to turn food into energy. Your metabolism is controlled by a number of hormones and influenced by lifestyle factors and health conditions. Exercise improves your metabolism by helping you burn more calories more efficiently. This is especially true as you build more muscle. The more muscle you have on your body, the more energy your body requires. 

Exercise helps prevent chronic health conditions

While improved weight is one of the major benefits of exercise, there are other worthwhile benefits as well. Below are just a few of the additional health benefits of exercise:

  • Improved heart health
  • Helps reduce certain types of cancer like breast, colorectal, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, and prostate, just to list a few
  • Reduces chances of developing Type 2 diabetes 
  • Reduces bad cholesterol levels
  • Improved bone density
  • Reduces hypertension
  • Improves brain health and memory
  • Improves skin health and has anti-aging benefits

Exercise improves daily life quality

Aside from preventing chronic conditions and diseases, exercise also improves the quality of your day-to-day life. One of the biggest ways it does this is by making it easier to move around and balance.

When you combine stretching or yoga as a type of exercise in your routine, you also improve your flexibility. While exercise alone can improve your mobility (or how easily your body moves and balances), recovery activities like stretching improve your flexibility as well. 

Flexible muscles and mobile joints are less likely to feel stiffness and pain, as well as less likely to sustain injury. That’s why it’s important to always remember to work have a well-rounded outlook towards exercise in your lifestyle. Combining flexibility and mobility work with strength training and cardio is the way to achieve the best health outcomes.

What becomes easier when your mobility and flexibility improve?

  • Walking up and down the stairs
  • Carrying groceries
  • Keeping up with kids and grandkids
  • Ability to perform more strength and cardio exercises

On top of making it easier to move, exercise also has an impact on our emotional and psychological health. Exercise, and the increased flow of oxygen it promotes, helps you feel more awake and alert throughout the day. Not only that, but it also promotes greater energy levels throughout the day by improving overall sleep quality. 

As far as emotional health, exercise also improves mood and helps reduce and manage feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. 

How much exercise to see improved health

Just 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week improves your overall health in measurable ways. Ideally, 30 minutes of movement every day should be your aim to see faster improvements in overall health and weight.

It should be noted however that health conditions that arise as a result of a sedentary lifestyle won’t go away overnight. A condition that took many years to develop with also needs many months to a few years to work back from. But that’s not to discourage anyone from starting. Even before attaining your goals, you are likely to feel improvements in your energy levels, mood, body composition, and more even if you haven’t achieved your weight or health goals from increasing your activity levels.

Here are some tips to make attaining 30 minutes of exercise each day a bit easier:

  • Do what you like: Find an exercise you enjoy, it should be something you look forward to doing each day 
  • Keep things varied: You can mix up the types of exercises you do to avoid repetition and boredom
  • Exercise with others: Join a group class or get a workout partner so you can push each other and hold each other accountable; for many people, working out with others who are going through the same things you are can make exercise more fun
  • Remember your many options: Remember that 30 minutes of movement can be anything–walking the dog, running, biking, hiking, swimming, yoga, or playing pickleball
  • Take it slow: If you haven’t done exercise in a long time, don’t pressure yourself to do anything intense from the start–begin slowly to build your endurance and avoid injury
  • Listen to your body: Even if you have been exercising regularly, don’t feel like every single workout has to be intense to see results–learn how to listen to your body and know that some days you will take it slow and do a light workout instead of a high-intensity workout

Types of exercise

Strength training:

  • Strength training is also referred to as resistance training. This type of exercise helps you build stronger muscles and build your muscle endurance. The most common exercises for strength training include using bodyweight resistance (like pushups and pullups) or barbells and dumbbells. 

Cardio: 

  • Cardio is an exercise intended to improve the performance of your heart and lungs. These kinds of exercises help build your endurance and allow you to remain active for long stretches of time. Common exercises include running or swimming.

Is there an exercise that combines the two? A lot of exercises will work both your cardiovascular system and your muscles. For example, although swimming is technically considered cardio, it helps build your back muscles substantially. 

The most effective combination of strength training and cardio is HIIT, which is short for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a type of exercise that alternates periods of intense activity with short moments of rest. The movements done are often chosen to work on building muscle, but because of the intensity and duration of the workout, it works your cardiovascular system also.

Start your weight loss plan with diet and exercise

Exercise helps you lose weight and improve your overall health. Movement is such an integral part of every facet of our health, that although it’s important to find a way to make it a regular part of your routine. Even if you feel out of shape. Even if you have not exercised in years, or maybe never exercised much at all. Everyone can start somewhere. 

At Vally Medical Weight Loss, we can help you create a diet and exercise plan to achieve your health and weight loss goals. 

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When combined with a healthy diet, you can lose weight even faster and feel more energized than before.

To find an ideal exercise regime combined with a personalized diet plan, contact your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.

stick to your weight loss goals

How to Stick to Your Weight Loss Goals Through the Holiday Season

Sticking to your weight loss plan is hard no matter what time of year it is–the holidays can make it even more challenging. Here’s how to overcome the temptation to throw your diet out the window and instead stick to your weight loss goals while enjoying the occasional holiday treat.

The holiday season is here and that means more than gifts, celebrations, and pretty lights. It also means it’s the time of year when we have so many of our favorite holiday treats. Whether it’s a family tradition to have a special holiday dessert or the temptation of all those holiday flavors at your favorite ice cream parlors and coffee shops–it seems like there’s more delicious food to try than ever at this time of year.

If you’re on a diet, that means that this can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. 

Quickly following Thanksgiving, which is one day of feasting, we have the whole of December with multiple holidays and more gatherings than any other time of year. That means there’s more alcohol flowing and more food for eating so you have more opportunities to slip back into your old eating habits. The stress comes in when you know you want to achieve a weight loss goal but you also want to enjoy your special holiday.

When you feel like you have to avoid your favorite foods or feel left out by turning down gatherings to make sure you stick to your diet, it’s a downer for your whole holiday season. That’s why so many people end up giving up on their diet around the holiday season.

The good news is that the holiday doesn’t have to be a stressful time if you want to lose weight. It’s possible to stay on track with your goals for the month of December and enjoy all the holiday gatherings. 

5 Tips to stick to your weight loss goals

  1. Get clear about your goals

The first and most important step for weight loss is to get very clear about what your weight loss goals are. It’s impossible to achieve your goal if you aren’t super clear on what it is.

But here’s the thing about your weight loss goals during the holiday season–they might have to be slightly different than at the other times of the year. Whether you travel or have family visiting, or just have more social gatherings to attend, you likely cannot follow the same routine you typically do. This makes it difficult to stick to your regular diet plans.

So with that in mind, it’s helpful to create short-term goals for your most busy and tempting weeks in the holiday season.

These short-term goals help you get through the day-to-day of the holiday season and help you keep the few weeks of the holiday in perspective. This is just a few weeks of the year–you don’t have to give up on your diet just because there’s more temptation at this time than others.

2. It’s okay to make slight adjustments to your diet at this time of the year

While adjusting your short-term goals for the holiday season, you can make minor changes to your diet too. Take a look at your calendar and see when you’ll be expected to attend holiday gatherings where non-diet-friendly food will be amply available. Consider what your plans with family and friends are that revolve around special meals and treats for the holiday.

To be able to both enjoy the holiday and stay on track, you can work your favorite holiday treats into your diet in moderation. Consider your regular ideal calorie intake and how you may fit your favorite holiday dessert or special meal into your plan for the week.

Remember that these adjustments are temporary. You are not defined by eating your favorite chocolate at the holiday or by having a deviating one day of the year to enjoy quality time and traditions with friends and family. The very next day, you can get right back to your typical diet for weight loss success.

3. Have a post-holiday plan for how to get back into the swing of your regular diet

Once you’ve created your smaller goals to get through the holiday season with balance and moderation, it’s important to get back to your weight loss diet quickly. It’s easy to use the holidays as a means to completely give up on your goals as many do. But it’s easier to stick with it if you have a plan to get back on track again. Here are some tips to get back to your regular diet:

  • Create a plan for how to keep away from food that’s not part of your regular diet
  • Make sure any holiday treats aren’t left in your home or within easy reach
  • Get back on your regular meal plan and schedule

4. Have a weight-loss buddy so you can hold each other accountable 

Achieving weight loss goals is easier with others. If you know that others you’re close with also want to lose weight, make plans to help each other stick to your diet goals during the holiday season. This can take form in a number of ways:

  • Agree to follow the same daily diet and track your results
  • Get together to meal prep with your weight-loss buddy to follow through on cooking what you’re supposed to according to your goals
  • Check in with each other if either of you feels tempted to deviate from your agreed-upon plan

4. Opt for making healthier versions of your favorite holiday recipes

Finally, a simple way to prevent eating too many more calories during the holiday is to adjust your favorite recipes. Look for diet-friendly options for your favorite meals and desserts that cut back on sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt. Opt to make meals with as many fruits, veggies, and other whole foods as possible. You can still enjoy delicious food while being calorie-conscious.

Even if you aren’t the one cooking, see what healthy options are on the menu for holiday dinners at restaurants. Although the temptation is always there with heavy comfort foods, almost every restaurant has smaller and more calorie-friendly options available. When in doubt, enjoy your meal out and factor those calories into the rest of your day by cutting out calories from other meals in your day to stay on target for your daily goals.

Stick to your weight loss goals and start the new year off right

As part of your post-holiday plan to achieve your weight loss goals, we’re here at Valley Medical Weight Loss to help you.

You’re more likely to achieve your weight loss goals with the support of doctors and weight loss professionals. We offer weight loss programs that fit anyone’s goals, no matter how much weight you want to lose. You can start one of our programs or try our weight loss supplements. We have options that suit any lifestyle and any goal. 

When you come in for a consultation with one of our doctors, you’ll get to discuss your health history, your lifestyle, and your ideal weight goal as they help you determine the best weight loss plan for you.

Contact your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today to get on the right track for 2022.

stay active at home

Best Tips to Stay Active at Home

Not going to the gym doesn’t have to stop you from exercising. You can have fantastic workouts and stay active at home with the right plan in place.

Everyone has their opinion of what makes the best exercise. But the truth is—a lot of the claims that there’s a “best” type of exercise is nothing more than personal opinion.

We often complicate exercise to the point it becomes dreadful. And we create unrealistic expectations and routines that are impossible to stick to.

The most important thing about making time for exercise is to find something you like and keep doing it.

But that may be harder for many of you right now. Your gym may be closed right now. Or if your gym is open, it’s harder to get in with limited capacity rules in place. 

And then there are reasons totally unrelated to being in the middle of a pandemic that influence whether or not you want to exercise in a gym.

Some gyms are intimidating, especially if you’re new to exercise. You may not live close to a gym. Or you may not have extra time to add it to your routine.

But the good news is that you don’t need a gym for effective workouts.

Whatever your reason for wanting to exercise at home—it can be done, and you can do it well.

So let’s break down everything you need to know about getting a great workout done at home.

How much exercise do you need?

Your ideal exercise routine depends on how much exercise your goals require.

Whether it’s weight loss, strength gain, or increased mobility, your exercise plan will be unique and depend on where you start and where you want to end.

But there is a minimum amount of exercise that’s recommended for every adult.

These are the CDC recommendations:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training

OR

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week + 2 days of strength training

The reason the CDC includes both aerobic exercise and strength training is that they have different benefits for your health.

Aerobic exercise—a.k.a. “cardio”—is any exercise that conditions your cardiovascular system. 

Your cardiovascular system is also called your circulatory system. It’s your heart and blood vessels that transport blood and oxygen around your body.

Cardio workouts keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy by targeting these systems in your body. When you do cardio your breathing intensifies and your heart pumps faster.

Some examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming, biking, hiking, or power-walking.

On the other hand, strength training is any exercise that’s intended to build muscle.

These kinds of exercises are done in short bursts or for limited amounts of time (while cardio is sustained for longer stretches of time).

Strength training is an important component of your workout routine because it improves your balance, mobility, and bone density.

How to stay active at home

You don’t have to worry about missing out by not going to the gym.

Home workouts can be fun and effective. Even without a full home gym.

Here are the best ways to stay active at home. 

Take stretch and movement breaks throughout the day

Many of us don’t spend all day on our feet. If your work requires you to spend most of the day sitting, then you’ll benefit from short movement breaks in your day.

All these breaks do is get you up and out of your chair to get your blood flowing.

You can make them 5 or 10-minute breaks. Do some stretches, air squats, or just go for a little walk around your home or office. 

The key is to break up your day with bouts of movement until you reach 30 minutes of movement over the course of your day. 

You’ll not only get your body moving, but you’ll notice other benefits too.

Taking a short break away from your work can improve your concentration when you return. Plus, movement improves your mood—so you can return to your work feeling reinspired and content.

These breaks are good for days you don’t work too. Take some time to move between your Netflix episodes!

Follow workout videos online

Staying active at home is easier than ever thanks to the internet.

There’s a never-ending stream of workout videos online. Many of them posted by expert trainers who are so passionate about seeing you improve that they post short workouts for free. There are classes you can pay for online as well, but it’s worth checking out those free videos (often available on YouTube) to see what you like first.

Here are some of the best types of workouts to look for:

  • Yoga classes 

There are so many types of yoga classes out there. Your favorite types will depend on your ability level and 

You’ll find yoga classes that are slow-paced with deep stretches, moderate classes that challenge you just a little bit, and classes designed to get your sweat on and your heart pumping.

It’s worth finding a few different types of classes you can enjoy if yoga becomes your go-to for online workout videos. That way you get the benefits of a varied workout routine and yoga practice.

  • HIIT workouts

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This is a type of exercise where you go through phases of high-intensity exercise and rest.

These workouts are perfect to do at home. They don’t require equipment. They’re great for cardio (especially if you hate running).

  • Body-weight workouts

You’ll find a ton of strength training workouts that require nothing more than your body. Many of these videos range from 20 to 30 minutes that help you get stronger at tough exercises that require no weights at all. Movements push-ups, planks, or pull-ups.

So they’re great for building strength and require a minimal time commitment each day.

Sign-up to work with an online personal trainer or yoga instructor

Working with a personal trainer is one of the best ways to ensure you get results. They hold you accountable and they’re experts in designing training routines for a wide range of needs.

Now, with the rise in online training, there are so many ways you can get a trainer without ever stepping foot in a gym.

Some online trainers still offer very personalized plans online. While others offer a subscription to general classes for anyone to take.

Many online trainers offer more cost-effective online training programs on a month-to-month basis. And you can choose a level of personalization that’s right for you.

The reality is, it’s easier than ever to find a personal trainer. This means you have even more support options as you go through your weight loss journey.

Need help staying active at home?

If your goal is to lose weight, exercise will help you get there. And it’ll make you healthier in other ways, like elevated mood and improved heart health.

But it’s hard to figure it all out on your own.

Our weight loss specialists help you create and stick to an exercise plan that’s right for you. One that goes along with the diet and weight loss plan we create just for you.

So if you need support and guidance in your weight loss goals, reach out to your closest Valley Medical location today.

Sources

  1. “How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
weight loss

Don’t Believe These Common Weight Loss Myths

Image credit: Total Shape

Breaking down 5 of the most common and unhelpful weight loss myths. Plus what you should do instead.

There’s a lot of misinformation about there about health. We see it all the time, but especially when it comes to losing weight. There are weight loss myths of all kinds that get spread like wildfire. 

The reason is that people know how hard it is to lose weight. They know it’s one of the toughest things to do and there are millions of Americans who are somewhere along their weight loss journey, just looking to make it easier.

So naturally, myths about how to do it best are everywhere. And it’s easy to get caught up in some of these myths, especially if you feel like you’ve been trying and failing over and over again.

So let’s get into some of those most common weight loss myths and what actually works instead based on the best research around right now.

Myth 1: You must have an intense exercise plan to lose weight

You’ll find any number of trainers and health gurus suggesting the most extreme measures when it comes to exercise.

But the truth is, you can lose weight through diet alone, but not through exercise alone. If you exercise and just keep up with the same eating habits, or even add food because now you’re hungrier after adding intense exercise, you’re actually undermining your weight loss efforts.

For most people, losing weight depends on eating fewer calories than you burn each day. But how you go about doing that will depend on your unique circumstances. And it isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are tough physical and psychological challenges that come along with changing lifestyle habits to lose weight. Weight loss is hard. No matter how anyone tries to boil it down to a simple equation of calories in vs calories out.

With all that being said, it’s still important to do exercise. There are countless other benefits from exercising regularly, from preventing cancers, improving heart health and blood pressure, to reducing stress, and improving sleep, energy, and mood. And the kind of exercise you do has an impact on your physique as you lose weight through dieting efforts. Your physique outcomes will be different if you spend most of your time exercising by lifting weights instead of running.

But the important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

How to exercise for weight loss:

The important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

What’s most important is to find the kind of exercise you like most and pair it with a healthy diet and ideal calorie intake for your weight loss goals. You also want to make sure your program is something sustainable—something you can actually stick with for long enough to see results. 

You also want to train in progressions. Start with 30-minute sessions and build to 60-minute sessions if you have the time for that. It’s ideal to get a mix of training styles. Two days of cardio and three days with strength training, all for 30 minutes, is a great place to start. 

Myth 2: Healthier foods are more expensive

We hear this one all the time, don’t we? We hear about how all the healthy food is just so out of reach for many Americans.

But the opposite is actually true.

Let’s think first about what we mean by “healthy”.

Healthy doesn’t mean organic. By healthy foods, we mean whole foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, complex grains, and depending on your dietary restrictions, certain dairy (like yogurt and low-fat cheese) and lean meat as well.

So how expensive is it to eat healthy whole foods compared to lower quality foods and fast-food? Well it depends on how you calculate the price of food. According to USDA, we often hear that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods because the conversation centers on one way of calculating cost: price per calorie. It’s true that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods when talking about calorie density. But it’s a misleading way of talking about food cost alone.

Calories aren’t the only way to think about food. You can also think about the overall nutritional value. And how filling the food is. The same report from the USDA found that when calculating the cost of food by edible weight or by average amount eaten, the healthy foods are cheaper than unhealthy foods. 

The one caveat is that you do end up spending more time preparing meals when you opt to buy the fresh whole and healthy foods over other options. And that time can seem like a huge downside. 

But in the long run, for your health, that time spent is worth it. And cooking, once you get used to doing it and learn some tricks, can be not only fun, but relaxing. 

Myth 3: Losing weight is impossible if you have snacks

Okay, there’s a lot of hate for snacking out there. But there’s nothing inherently evil about snacks. It’s all about moderation and smart choices in your diet plan.

How to snack smart

First off, make sure any snacks you add don’t put your over your daily calorie amount. Then you want to make sure your snacks are still nutritionally balanced. If all of your snacks are a serving of chips, sweets, and other high calorie foods, then your snacks aren’t serving you well.

The point of a snack is to have something to tide you over until you get to your next meal if you need it. Or for an energy boost in the afternoon when you start feeling sluggish.

So to make it impactful, you want to have a snack that is filling and full of essential vitamins and nutrients.

Good options would be a high-protein, low-fat yogurt. Greek yogurt or skyr are great choices. An apple with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, depending on your calorie allotments. Both of these are tasty snacks that are filling enough to get you through to your next meal. Plus you get important nutritional requirements from them.

Myth 4: Losing weight is all about willpower

This is very likely the most harmful weight loss myth on this list. And one of the most damaging of all the myths around weight loss.

Now I won’t deny that losing weight takes a certain amount of discipline. But it’s about so much more than that.

There are ingrained patterns to overcome. There are eating habits that you’ve been living by for years and it will take time to undo and recover from that damage. A lot of times, these are habits or thoughts about food you don’t even realize you have. This is true of everyone. 

How to think about your weight loss journey instead?

Will power isn’t something you can rely on forever. The key is to find a weight loss plan that works for you and that you’re happy to do.

And equally as important is to be patient with your progress and trust it will come. And in the meantime practice gratitude.

Be grateful for what your body does for you and be patient while waiting for the outcomes that you want. 

Take it all one day at a time. Don’t judge yourself for what you did last year, last week, or even yesterday. Know what you need to do each day and give it your best effort to reach it. And if you fail one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll fail the next. With continued effort, changes will come about over time.

Work with us

As experts, we know that losing weight is a complex process. And while there are general rules everyone can follow to lose weight, what works best for you depends on your unique circumstances.

It’s our goal to help you create a plan with the best information and resources available to help you get to your ideal weight as soon as possible in a healthy and safe way.

Contact one of our offices today to get more information about what we offer and how you can work with one of our experts.

Sources:

  1. Carlson, Posted by Andrea, et al. “Healthy Foods Not Necessarily More Expensive Than Less Healthy Ones.” USDA, 21 Feb. 2017, www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/05/16/healthy-foods-not-necessarily-more-expensive-less-healthy-ones
yogurt, healthy gut

Healthy Gut Bacteria Can Help You Lose Weight

Healthy gut bacteria is an often overlooked key to improving health and losing weight

Did you know that when you eat a piece of pizza, you aren’t the only one consuming all of those calories? There are trillions of bacteria in your gut you share that pizza, and all the rest of your food with.

This sounds pretty great because you aren’t actually absorbing all the calories of the food you eat. There are more bacteria living in and on your body than you have cells, and those bacteria need plenty to eat.

But it also means there’s a lot more going on inside our bodies when it comes to our health and weight. We have to be aware of the role our gut bacteria plays in our health.

The importance of healthy gut bacteria has become more clear in recent years with more studies finding that your microbiome impacts your health in unexpected ways. The bacteria in your body help your immune system work better and supply essential nutrients vitamins to the rest of your body.

Researchers are also finding that gut bacteria play a role in weight gain and weight loss

The connection between healthy gut bacteria and weight

Some of the earliest research into the gut microbiome and weight loss showed the connection between certain types of bacteria and weight. 

There are a lot of different bacteria in your body. You have Prevotella that helps you digest carbohydrates and fiber. Then there’s Bacteroidetes for processing meat and fats. You also have Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia which are important for your gut barrier. They line your intestines and prevent inflammation by limiting inflammatory chemicals from entering your bloodstream. And this isn’t even scratching the surface of all the bacteria in your body.

What’s fascinating is that the types of bacteria you have drastically influence your weight. So much so that scientists discovered that when they put the gut flora from overweight humans into lean mice, the mice gained weight weight.

Other studies showed that scientists could predict whether a person would be overweight or lean based on their gut microbes. Even in twin studies, researchers could predict which twin was lean or overweight based on the flora in their gut. They found that the lean twin and the overweight twin have different types of gut flora, and bacteria in different quantities. Individuals who are lean have bacteria in greater quantities and with more diversity compared with those who are overweight.

So what can you do to improve your gut health?

Eat more fermented foods

One of the best things you can do for your gut health is to eat fermented foods. What are those exactly?

Fermented foods have gone through the process of fermentation—which is when yeast and bacteria break down food components into something new. So when the yeast and bacteria break down sugars into other molecules that change the taste, texture, and flavor of the food or drink.

Some common examples of healthy fermented foods are sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, skyr, tempeh, miso, and kombucha.

Eating more of all of these foods have been associated with improved gut health and weight loss. Especially yogurt. One weight loss study looked into the impact of dietary factors on weight and found that people who introduced yogurt into their diet and ate it regularly lost weight over the course of the year.

Eat more fiber

We often talk about how eating fiber is great for curbing your appetite. High fiber foods are known to be low-calorie, high-satiety. They keep you feeling full longer than other foods like simple carbohydrates and processed foods. 

But fiber is also helpful for losing weight by promoting a healthy gut microbiome. Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breakfast cereals provide the type of fiber and nutrients that your gut bacteria likes to feed on.

Aim to get the recommended amount of fiber every day. You should have 25–30 grams of fiber from food, not from supplements. Most American adults don’t get enough fiber and it wreaks havoc on the gut flora.

Eat less processed sugar

All the highly processed foods packed with sugar and unhealthy fats aren’t just bad for your own cells. They’re bad for your gut bacteria too. 

Part of the reason that so many people lack a healthy quantity of the gut bacteria that help them break down food properly is that many of the bacteria that rely on fiber and complex carbohydrates from legumes and whole grains have been starved. 

Your bacteria can’t live on sugars alone. So when they’re only fed unhealthy foods, they become so hungry that they die or adapt and eat what’s available: the mucus inside your intestines. Sounds gross, I know. But experts believe that this could contribute to inflammation, which is linked to obesity.

So just like your cells require the variety of nutrients found in whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and complex carbohydrates, the bacteria in your body need a healthy diet too. And the healthier they are, the healthier you can be too.

Talk with experts

Making sure your gut bacteria is healthy and thriving requires a lot of the same dietary and lifestyle changes to keep the rest of your body healthy. And there’s no doubt that making such lifestyle changes are hard to do. Especially when trying to do it alone.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we help you with your weight loss plans and talk about creating a diet that works for you and keeps your gut flora healthy.

Contact our experts and get the support you deserve to lose weight and live your healthiest, happiest life.

Sources

  1. E;, Thaiss CA;Zmora N;Levy M;Elinav. “The Microbiome and Innate Immunity.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27383981/.
  2. LeBlanc JG;Milani C;de Giori GS;Sesma F;van Sinderen D;Ventura M; “Bacteria as Vitamin Suppliers to Their Host: a Gut Microbiota Perspective.” Current Opinion in Biotechnology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22940212/.
  3. Ridaura VK;Faith JJ;Rey FE;Cheng J;Duncan AE;Kau AL;Griffin NW;Lombard V;Henrissat B;Bain JR;Muehlbauer MJ;Ilkayeva O;Semenkovich CF;Funai K;Hayashi DK;Lyle BJ;Martini MC;Ursell LK;Clemente JC;Van Treuren W;Walters WA;Knight R;Newgard CB;Heath AC;Gordon J. “Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice.” Science (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24009397/.
  4. Turnbaugh, Peter J, et al. “A Core Gut Microbiome in Obese and Lean Twins.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 22 Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19043404.
  5. Mozaffarian, Dariush, et al. “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2011, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/Nejmoa1014296

How to Help Your Child Lose Weight

Follow these expert-recommended strategies to help your child lose weight. And know when it’s time to talk with a professional

In recent decades, childhood obesity has become one of the most serious youth health epidemics in America.

18.5% of children and adolescents in the US are obese. But this wasn’t always an issue. It’s one that’s been rising in recent decades because of certain lifestyle factors.

Children today are more likely to eat out regularly, exercise less, have more access to high fat and high sugar processed foods, and spend more time doing sedentary hobbies—watching TV and playing video games.

All of these have contributed to a growing problem for children and teens that goes beyond being overweight. Childhood obesity comes along with other health concerns like depression, diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure.

So it’s important to tackle this issue early to prevent other serious health problems from arising.

But losing weight isn’t easy. It’s complex and there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

So here are some of the top suggestions to help your child lose weight so their health can improve, and they can live happier and longer lives.

1. More movement

Getting more movement each day is one of the most important things a child can do to start losing weight.

You can help by signing them up for a sport or activity that requires them to move for at least an hour each day. It may take a few tries to find an activity they really enjoy. But it’s worth the time investment to discover an activity that will keep them moving.

It’s also a good idea to restrict screen time and encourage time outdoors. This is especially important on the weekends when there’s more time in their day for activity.

There’s little you can do about the hours they spend sitting in school (or in front of the screen for online school now). But on the weekends is the time to ensure they’re not spending all day in front of a screen.

Many electronic devices and apps can have restrictions and timers set up to limit how long they can be used or who can login and use them. This is an easy way to enforce a limit on their screen time.

2. Restrict Access to Processed Foods

Processed foods are everywhere. And we can’t deny that many of them are delicious. But to make these foods a big part of the diet is one of the leading causes of youth weight gain.

What do we mean by processed foods? Foods that you find on the grocery store shelves that are premade and full of extra salt, sugar, oils, and preservatives to make their shelf-life longer. Foods like frozen pizza (or any frozen meal), cookies, canned foods, and chips, are some of the most highly processed foods. And they have a higher calorie count than making those foods yourself from scratch.

It’s essential to restrict access to these and replace them with whole foods to help your child lose weight.

This doesn’t mean you have to do anything crazy.

One of the easiest ways to change their diet is to replace their high calorie, low satiety snacks with low calorie, high satiety snacks. The same thing we suggest for adults looking to lose weight.

Instead of buying Cheeots, have popcorn in the house. Instead of frozen french fries, make homemade baked, mashed, or lightly fried potatoes with far less oil than used in the premade options.

Stock the house with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-sugar yogurts.

When they are hungry but there’s nothing else around to eat but these healthier options, they’ll have no choice but to eat them. And over time their palette will adjust to these foods. And they’ll crave the highly-processed foods less and less over time.

This also doesn’t mean that you have to go all or nothing when it comes to treats. When an occasion comes up and your family wants pie, or cake, or cookies. Great. That’s the time to indulge.

But it’s not necessary to have all of those foods in the house at all times.

3. Eat out less

This one’s tough for working families and anyone who is short on time. (Aren’t we all?)

Cooking is time-consuming. But it is one of the most important things to do for the family when it comes to nutritional health and managing obesity.

When you cook from home you know everything going into those dishes.

A lot of those meals you get when you eat out taste so delicious because they sneak in all kinds of extra oils, fats, and sugars. This means the same dish at a restaurant is going to have more calories than it does when you make it at home.

There are a lot of ways to make cooking easier and take up less of your time.

It’s possible to cook only a couple nights in a week instead of every night if you buy enough ingredients to always have leftovers. This gives you and the family extra servings for meals later in the week. And saves you from having to cook another night or two.

You can also meal prep on one day of the week and make enough for the family to have a variety of dinners throughout the rest of the week.

And if possible, pack a lunch for the kids to eat at school every day. This is something that older kids can do for themselves when given the right variety of options to choose from. Plus they gain that sense of self-sufficiency by taking care of their own meals.

4. Encourage kids to try new things

This counts for both activity and food.

It can be tough for a teen to want to try new things. There are all kinds of social and other concerns that they’re consumed by that we oftentimes forget.

But it’s important to encourage them to try new activities that can get them out in the world and spending less time in front of the TV and on their phones. This helps them increase their activity and expend more calories throughout the day.

And it’s important to encourage your kids to try new foods. It’s easy for kids, and for anyone really, to get into a habit of eating the same few foods they’re comfortable with. It’s crucial in this time of development to encourage them to try as wide a variety of foods as possible. Show them the range of delicious fresh foods and healthy meals that exist from all over the world. 

This adventurous way of eating makes it more likely they’ll find whole foods they enjoy and want to make a regular part of their diet. 

5. Make it a family plan

The truth is, while it may not seem like it sometimes, all kids and adolescents look to the adults in their life for guidance and as a model for how to live.

So when you model healthy habits, they’re more likely to pick those up.

One of the best ways to make healthy habits that benefit your kids (and you) is to make any lifestyle changes in diet and exercise a family change—not just one for the child.

This prevents the lifestyle changes in activity and nutrition from feeling like a punishment for your child

So make it a positive and exciting change not just for your child, but for the whole family. There are so many ways to make these changes that the whole family can enjoy. Make family bike rides a regular activity. Go swimming, go for walks, go hiking together—it could be anything.

Buy healthy food options. Cook with your kids. Teach them how they can be aware of, and control, what they eat. And talk to them about the outcome of healthful eating versus convenience eating of highly processed foods. 

When to get expert advice?

If you’re worried about your child’s weight, it’s always smart to get insight from an expert.

While these tips are a helpful starting point, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like it’s not enough, then it’s time to talk to a physician about how to help your child lose weight.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss we have doctors who help you find the best solution for your child. We know that making weight loss happen isn’t always easy for complex reasons that are often environmental, psychological, and physical in nature. So we help you and your child work through those barriers to weight loss with compassion and understanding.

We offer weight loss plans that ensure your child can lose weight safely and still get the total nutrition they need. We provide a meal plan, probiotics, multivitamins, weekly weigh-ins, and physician consults. And if it’s the right option, you can also get an FDA approved appetite suppressant for youths over 12 years old. 

The reality is that getting a handle on childhood obesity early has so many health impacts on their life as healthy adults.

Read more about our youth weight loss program and contact us to set up your appointment today.

Sources:

  1. “Childhood Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 June 2019, www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html.
  2. “Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html

The Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Get the most weight loss benefits out of your time spent exercising

If you’re going to start exercising with the goal of losing weight, then you want to choose the most effective exercise for weight loss.

That’s not to say you should do a type of exercise you hate. It’s important to find something you love so you feel happy to have exercise as part of your routine.

But if you’re newer to exercise, or just haven’t in a while, then you may be wondering what’s the best exercise for weight loss.

Well, you’re in luck, because there’s not just one best exercise to lose weight. There are plenty of options to choose from.

So if you’re looking for something to try for your new weight loss plan, give these calorie-burning exercises a try first to figure out what exercise you enjoy most.

Exercises to burn the most calories:

When your goal is to lose weight, you want to find exercises that burn the most calories.

Or in other words, make you to use the most energy to get through the exercise and recover from it.

The key is to get your heart rate up and keep it elevated for as long as is safely possible.

For that reason, cardio workouts are the best for losing more calories in one training session.

So it should come as no surprise then that many of the exercises we list here for weight loss are cardio-based.

Below are some of the best workouts to burn the most calories:

Running:

It’s likely that the first type of exercise that comes to mind when you think of cardio and losing weight is running.

Even looking at pictures of runners, you can assume that running must be great for keeping weight off–most of them are so thin!

So it’s true that running is great for your heart health and for burning calories.

Depending on your pace you can expect to burn between 648–960 calories in one hour of running.

That’s a ton of calories.

Swimming: 

Swimming is fabulous because it’s great exercise but doesn’t always feel like it. The water lets you feel weightless and able to move freely. Plus, if you love the water there’s something soothing about it too.

So it’s exciting that something so fun can also be such a great exercise for weight loss.

You can burn anywhere from 369–588 calories in one hour of swimming.

Cycling:

Whether you sign up for a spin class or take out your bike for street riding, this is a great exercise for weight loss.

There are plenty of people who swear by their cycling classes, not just for the calories burned, but also for the energy and enthusiasm infused in every session.

Depending on your rate it’s possible to burn 420-622 calories in a one-hour session.

HIIT:

HIIT workouts are one of the best options if burning the most calories is your goal.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. And the way it works is you do shorter workouts ranging from 20-40 minutes. During these workouts, you alternate between high bursts of energy and longer rest periods.

So for example, you do might 30 sections of high-intensity exercise followed by 45 seconds of rest before you start the next 30-second round. This is the usual pattern of a HIIT workout.

How many calories can this type of exercise burn for you? Around 450 calories in 30 minutes.

That’s right—almost as much as running burns in an hour. 

It’s honestly staggering how great HIIT is for burning calories. And it’s a big part of the reason why it’s become so popular all over the country.

And another great thing about HIIT is that it’s possible to combine cardio and some strength training in one workout. So you get the best of both worlds.

Because there are major benefits of strength training and building muscle to help you lose weight. 

Want to burn more calories at rest?

Exercising at all will help boost your metabolism. So your body will start burning more energy even when you aren’t active.

But there’s one type of exercise that improves your metabolism above all others: strength training. 

When you lift weights (or use bodyweight) to build muscle you make it possible for your body to burn more calories at rest.

How?

Because muscle uses more energy than fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body uses—even at rest.

So if you want an exercise that does more for you throughout the day and not just when you’re exercising, then make sure you include strength training in your routine.

But you don’t need to lift weights every single day to see these effects.

Even two or three times per week is enough to see improvement over time. 

Need your exercise to be low impact?

But you may be thinking that some of the activities are too intense for where you’re starting out. And that’s okay—we all come from different starting points and have different needs.

That doesn’t mean exercise is impossible for you.

You can start by simply walking.

Walking is the best place to start if exercise feels unattainable for you.

Will you burn quite as many calories in an hour as other forms of exercise? Of course not. But you can burn around 186-276 calories when walking at a moderate pace for one hour. It’s definitely possible to burn even more than that depending on your pace and how far you choose to walk every day. 

And you will be amazed by what’s possible when you start walking and stick with it over time.

It works when you’re consistent and patient with yourself and your body. But the results do come. 

Making Exercise Consistent Is Key

While you now have an idea of the best exercise for weight loss, that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to do activities you don’t enjoy.

If you hate running, or any other type of exercise listed here, it’s not going to be the best way to lose weight for you.

The most important thing when it comes to exercise is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy most.

It could be dancing, tennis, golf, basketball, hiking, or any number of other activities. The key is to find the right exercise for you. And the weight loss will follow in time.

When you work with us at Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you get a plan for exercise that works for you and your goals. We pair your exercise plan with a diet plan and check-in to make sure you get the best results possible. 

Learn more about working with a weight loss doctor who can help you make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

  1. “12 Exercises That Burn the Most Calories.” Healthline, 2019, www.healthline.com/health/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories#at-home.
  2. Glantz, Jen. “5 Women Explain How Walking Helped Them Finally Lose the Weight.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 22 Oct. 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/g19917712/lose-weight-by-walking/.