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what is the keto diet

What Is the Keto Diet and Is It Right for You?

Learn what it’s like to follow one of the most popular diets around and discover if its benefits make it worth trying for your weight loss and health goals.

The Keto, or Ketogenic, diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss.

It’s a low-carb diet that naturally cuts out the highly processed foods that contribute to weight gain.

The origin of the Keto diet is actually unrelated to weight loss. It was originally recommended to mimic the effects of fasting and to help treat epilepsy in the 1920’s. It fell out of practice for epilepsy treatments after effective drug therapy was developed. 

But in more recent years, it’s been the center of interest for maintaining a healthy diet, improving metabolism, and achieving weight loss goals.

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. “Extreme” in the sense that it requires you to cut out a lot of foods to successfully adhere to it and see desired results. And being one of the more extreme diets, it can be hard to maintain

But those who do stick to the Keto diet experience meaningful health benefits and weight loss.

So let’s explore—what’s the Keto diet and is it right for you?

What kinds of foods do you eat on the Keto diet?

A low-carb diet cuts out a lot of staple foods in the American diet.

To follow the Keto diet, you have to avoid:

  • Anything with added sugar like soft drinks, juices, and candy
  • Grains like wheat, rice, cereal, bread, and pasta
  • Starchy fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes
  • Dairy that’s high in sugar, like ice cream and some yogurts (a low sugar greek yogurt or skyr is allowed)

Instead, the Keto diet is made up of foods like:

  • Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, eggplant
  • Meats like eggs, fish, chicken, pork, and steak — and there’s a big emphasis on choosing grass-fed when possible
  • Dairy products like cheese, butter, and low-sugar, plain greek yogurt
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil
  • Fruits like raspberries, grapes, and strawberries 

The high-protein and high-fat foods are great to stay full longer. But without the usual carbs as fuel, your body has to adjust. That adjustment is called Ketosis.

The Keto diet is all about getting your body to a state called “ketosis”

The name of the Keto diet actually comes from the state your body enters once you’ve adjusted to the low-carb lifestyle.

That state is called Ketosis and it occurs when the “ketones” in your body are elevated. 

Ketones are produced in your liver and help fuel your body in the absence of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the usual source of immediate energy for your cells. But without them, your body uses fat to provide energy. This process involves breaking down fat and releasing ketones into your bloodstream.

Getting to this state is critical for making the keto diet a sustainable option.

Weight Loss Benefits of Keto Diet

One of the best benefits of the Keto diet is that it helps you achieve weight loss goals.

The reason it works so well is that it helps you stay in a caloric deficit by focusing on high-satiety foods in your diet. It also prevents binging on those low-satiety, but extremely high-calorie foods like chips, sweets, and soda that make it easy to exceed your ideal calorie intake each day.

By eating high-protein foods you stay full longer and curb your appetite. So most people on the diet are naturally in a caloric deficit each day.

It’s also especially useful for faster weight loss. Some studies have found that when compared to other diets, the Keto diet can prompt more weight loss in the first 6 months on the diet. But by reaching the year mark, the overall results even out. So while you won’t ultimately lose more on that diet than any other, you may lose much of the weight faster for a period of time.

Challenges and support on the Keto diet

The Keto diet isn’t an easy one to adjust to. So there are a few things to keep in mind when you start the diet so you can create a plan that helps you stick with it and reap the benefits.

Keto Flu

On the Keto diet, you’re restricted to 50 grams of carbs each day. Consuming so few carbs every day shocks your body and you go through an adjustment period.

And that adjustment time is called the “Keto flu”.

Because unfortunately, a mild flu is exactly what it feels like with symptoms like fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

The Keto flu is the biggest hurdle to overcome when starting the diet. But most people get over the Keto flu symptoms in one or two weeks.

Additional supplements

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. It requires you to cut out a lot of foods you’re likely used to eating and enjoy. So to make it work, there are supplements and other options for support to make sticking to the diet easier in the beginning. Especially when you haven’t yet reached the state of Ketosis.

Some supplements can help initially with reducing carb cravings–because that’s one of the hardest things to overcome. One supplement that reduces carb cravings is CarbCrave Complex. It helps to reduce cravings for sweets and carbs that you have to give up on the Keto diet.

There’s also the 7-Keto Lean supplement that makes it easier to lose weight with the Keto diet.  The supplement helps improve metabolism, promotes weight loss, and helps you get the best results from your Keto diet.

But both should only be taken exactly as recommended by a doctor.

Get the right guidance to make Keto work for you

When the Keto diet is an option for your weight loss goals, it helps to have the right guidance so you get the right plan that’s responsive to your body.

The diet may be right for you if you want to quickly drop weight and are able to overcome the first two weeks of carb cravings. It may also be great for you if you want to improve your heart health and manage your insulin levels.

But when deciding on any diet, it’s best to talk with a professional to get the best results.

That’s why our specialists help you create the right plan that includes meals, exercise, and supplements. Because we know that when you have support on your diet, you’re more likely to stick with it and see results.

Reach out to your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location to connect with a specialist and start your weight loss journey today.

Sources

  1. JW;, Wheless. “History of the Ketogenic Diet.” Epilepsia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19049574/.
  2. McClernon FJ;Yancy WS;Eberstein JA;Atkins RC;Westman EC; “The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self-Reported Symptoms.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228046/.
  3. Foster GD;Wyatt HR;Hill JO;McGuckin BG;Brill C;Mohammed BS;Szapary PO;Rader DJ;Edman JS;Klein S; “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12761365/
weight loss treadmill

Make Your Weight Loss Resolution a Success this Year

If it’s your goal to lose weight this year, here are some of the best tips to help you stick to your New Year’s weight loss resolution.

We go into every year feeling hopeful about what we can accomplish. We always want the next year to be different than the one before in some way. Especially this year. We’re all ready to leave 2020 behind for better times. And millions of Americans are preparing by making resolutions for next year.

If your resolution for 2021 is to finally stick to that new diet plan and hit your weight loss goals, then it’s time to get a strategy in place.

Because without a plan, you’re bound to end up with the results that many of us who have made a weight loss resolution are familiar with—after only a month, or sometimes just a few weeks into the new year, you fall back into your regular habits. You get distracted. Real life gets in the way. And those diet and weight loss plans for 2021 are just a dream from another time.

And as the year unfolds, you don’t make nearly as much progress as you’d hoped. 

So how do you get over this cycle of starting and stopping? How can you stick to your weight loss goals this time around?

Let’s get into how to make resolutions you can actually stick to. Plus, some mindset tips to help you get through the inevitable tough times you’ll face achieving your goals.

What makes a good weight loss resolution?

While the heart and desire you put into your resolution at the start are admirable, not all New Year’s resolutions are created equal. 

Some resolutions are so grand and unwieldy that there’s no way it can be accomplished in a year.

Others just aren’t specific enough. And it makes it hard for you to focus on taking all the steps to get where you want. 

So what do you need to make your New Year’s weight loss resolution a tangible goal that you can actually achieve in time?

A big goal with small steps

Losing weight is a big goal. It’s challenging, requires determination, consistency, and often saying “no” to things you enjoy.

This is why a plan to take you from where you are now to where you want to be is essential. It’s the piece that can’t be overlooked as you think about losing weight in the new year.

When you decide you want to lose weight, you need to break that goal down into steps or chunks of time. 

The reason is that just saying you want to lose weight is too big and unwieldy of a goal. The bigger a goal is, the more difficult it is to accomplish it. It also means it’ll take more time to get where you want to be. And it’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t lose weight as fast as you expect.

To avoid that frustration, you want to break down the steps that will take you from where you start to where you want to end

Start by creating a plan you can follow for 2–3 weeks at a time, with a goal to lose a certain amount of weight. Within each week’s plans, you’ll break down your diet and exercise plan. There should be at least one goal you know for certain you can accomplish in that amount of time. So that way you always have something to celebrate and keep your motivation up.

Once you’ve reached the end of the 2–3 weeks, then you observe where you are, celebrate the progress you made, and tweak your plan for the next 2–3 weeks to reach your next target.

The point of all these smaller chunks of time is to hit important progress points on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. That means celebrating the 2.5 pounds you lose every two weeks in addition to the 10 pounds you lose after two months. Even if you can’t see the progress, it’s still worth celebrating.

Strategies to help you stick to your resolutions

So now that you have a plan in place you’re ready to go. But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing from here.

You will to face challenges achieving your weight loss goals. You always have in the past, and you very likely will in the future.

So how can you make facing challenges easier this time?

Set yourself up for success by building in reminders and rewards to keep you on track.

Embrace slow and steady progress

Lifestyle changes take time to stick. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel off-center when you change aspects of your life as ingrained as your diet. And when the results don’t show up overnight, you’re more likely to revert to the old habits that feel more convenient and comfortable to you.

Remember that the weight you want to lose didn’t just show up overnight. It took time. That means it will take time for you to lose that weight too.

So when you haven’t lost all the weight you imagined after one month of diet and exercise, but you have seen some progress remember to trust the process! You will hit your goal, it just takes time.

Reward

Everyone loves a reward. 

And if you’re tackling the challenge of weight loss, then you deserve rewards. So build in a time each week you know you’ll reward yourself for sticking to your plan.

This might be a cheat meal on Saturday night. A time where you get one hour to have your favorite meal. Or maybe you enjoy a glass or two of your favorite wine. And once that hour is done, no more eating or drinking outside of your meal plan for the next week. 

Another ideal time to reward yourself is when you hit an important milestone. Like when you lose the 10, 15, and 20 pounds that you worked so hard to lose.

But the truth is, the reward is just something extra to boost your motivation at the beginning

As you keep going in your weight loss plan, you see how amazing you feel with a good diet and regular exercise. And that alone will be enough motivation to keep going!

Gratitude

Remember that bullying yourself into losing weight isn’t how you change your life.

Feeling shame about your body won’t help you lose weight.

Embracing a healthy and fit lifestyle is far easier when you enjoy the process. 

So remember to be grateful for everything your body does for you already. And feel the gratitude as you get through each day of eating healthy and exercise. Be grateful that you are capable of change, and trust that if you keep making progress that 

Feeling grateful and hopeful about your ability to lose weight will help you see your goals through to the end.

Daily reminder

Write down exactly what you want to achieve. And look at it every single day. Some days you won’t need it. But on the days your motivation is weak, you’ll be grateful that reminder is there.

And when you feel the temptation for unhealthy snacks, remind yourself how wretched you felt when you lived on unhealthy foods. It won’t take long into a healthy diet for you to notice how much better healthy food makes you feel.

Get assistance from professionals who are ready to help you make your weight loss resolution a reality

It’s far easier to lose weight when you aren’t trying to do it alone.

At Valley Medical Weight loss we have professionals to help you create a weight loss plan that actually works. And we offer ongoing check-ins with experts when you need someone to hold you accountable to stick with your plan.

Start 2021 off right by investing in your health, yourself, and your future. We’ll help you create a weight loss plan that works and lets you enjoy the process of losing weight.

Reach out to one of our locations to set up a time to meet with one of our experts. 

hCG diet rules

What Can I Eat on the hCG Diet?

Now that you have a background on what the hCG diet is and how it works, your next question is probably, “what can I eat on the hCG diet?”

Even though your daily calories and pretty low in the early stages, there are still a lot of foods you can choose from.

 

Breakfast on the hCG Diet

Skipping breakfast is a big part of the hCG diet. This not only helps you save calories, but it offers all the benefits of intermittent fasting (although the hCG diet was popular way before fasting was a trending topic).

When you wake up, you can have as much black coffee or tea as you’d like. You’ll have to skip the sugar, but you can use stevia in its place. As for milk, you’re allowed one tablespoon in a 24 hour period, so you’ll have to divide that up between the coffee and tea you drink.

hCG-Approved Lunch and Dinner

Your lunch and dinner meals provide around 250 calories each and are built off the same template. You’ll start with 150 grams (or about 5.3 ounces) of lean meat. You can choose from:

  • Organic grass-fed beef or veal
  • Organic skinless chicken breast
  • Wild sea bass
  • Flounder
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Shrimp

After you’ve chosen your meat, you choose a handful of one of the following vegetables:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Beet greens
  • Lettuce (any kind)
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Onions
  • Red radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus

To finish your meal, you can add one grissino-style breadstick or one piece of melba toast and a medium apple, a small handful of strawberries, or a grapefruit.

Other hCG Diet Rules

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what can I eat on the hCG diet?”, there are some other basic rules and guidelines that you should follow for best results.

  • Don’t make the same lunch and dinner in the same day. Varying your food choices helps optimize your nutrient intake since different types of foods have different vitamins and minerals. If you have chicken and spinach for lunch, opt for beef and cabbage for dinner.
  • Only use dry cooking methods like grilling or baking for meat. Don’t add any fats or oils.
  • You can eat vegetables raw or steam, grill, or lightly boil them. As with the meats, don’t add any fats or oils.
  • You can use unlimited amounts of fresh herbs, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and/or liquid aminos to flavor your food.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of filtered water daily.
  • Include green tea and oolong tea whenever possible (this doesn’t count toward your water intake).
  • You can drink the juice from one lemon daily.
  • If you include fruit with your meals, make sure it’s organic.
  • Use a scale to weigh your food and use gram measurements, which are more accurate.
  • Weigh your food raw.

If you feel confident about the hCG diet and you’re ready for some recipes, send us an email at info@vmweightloss.com with ‘hCG” in the subject line. We’d be happy to send you a list of hCG-friendly recipes that we’ve compiled for our clients!

hCG diet

The hCG diet: A Powerful Weight Loss Tool

The hCG diet is one of our most popular weight loss plans—and for good reason. On average, our clients lose 0.5 to 3 pounds per day* following the plan. And the best part? They don’t feel hungry.

That’s because hCG—a hormone that’s the foundation of the plan—helps control hunger while also making it easier for you to lose weight. You may have heard conflicting views and opinions about the hCG diet, so let’s dive in to what it’s all about to clear some of that up.

What is hCG?

hCG injections are a major component of the hCG diet, so it’s helpful to have an understanding of what hCG is and how it works.

hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone that rises significantly during pregnancy. While the main function of hCG is to help the body support a growing baby, in 1954, a British doctor named Albert Simeons found that hCG in supplemental form may help with weight loss, too.

That’s because hCG can help boost your metabolism and control your hunger while you’re following a low-calorie diet.

The hCG Diet Breakdown

A standard hCG diet plan is divided into three phases: a loading phase, a weight loss phase, and a maintenance phase.

 

The loading phase is designed to ease the body into calorie restriction. During the loading phase, which lasts two days, you follow a high-fat, high-calorie diet, similar to a keto-style plan. You’ll also start hCG injections during this time.

The next phase, the weight loss phase, is when you’ll do the bulk of the work. During this phase, you’ll stick to a 500 to 800 calorie diet. These calories are divided between two meals—lunch and dinner. This phase lasts up to six weeks, depending on how much weight you’d like to lose.

Once you’ve hit your weight loss goals, you move on to the last phase—the maintenance phase. During this phase, you’ll slowly increase the amount of calories you eat, while also scaling back on your hCG injections. The goal is to transition to a more sustainable lifetime diet, which will include around 1,200 to 1,500 daily calories.

HCG Diet versus Low-Calorie Diet

You can still lose weight following a low-calorie diet without hCG injections, but there’s benefits of adding the hormone to your plan.

hCG targets fat deposits directly, so instead of losing lean muscle and fat (like you do with low-calorie diets), you lose mostly fat. In other words, the hCG diet reshapes your body and helps you retain your muscle structure.

The hCG injections also help control hunger and fatigue, which makes it easier to stick to the plan so that you can reach your goals.

Why hCG Injections?

hCG is a protein, so when you take it by mouth, your digestive system immediately starts to break it down. This breakdown renders the hCG inactive by the time it reaches your bloodstream. That’s why the hCG that’s in capsules, tablets, or drops has a minimal effect on your body.

On the other hand, injections bypass the digestive system so that the hCG remains intact and can start its work on your fat almost immediately.

A Word of Caution

You should not take hCG if you’re pregnant or nursing. Even in healthy individuals, it’s possible that there may be some side effects. Possible side effects include

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair Loss
  • Dry hair
  • Acne
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Rash

Some women have also experienced menstrual changes while taking HCG. In most cases, a normal menstrual cycle returns as soon as the program is over. Men most commonly develop an enlarged prostate and a more apparent outlining of the breasts.

Disclaimer: HCG is a drug which has not been approved by the food and drug administration as safe and effective in the treatment of obesity or weight control. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.

*As with any weight loss program, there are no guarantees for individual weight loss. Information provided herein is based on historical research, studies, and results from the many thousands of former HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) weight loss clients. Individual success is dependent upon a variety of factors.

paleo

Getting Familiar with the Paleo Diet

Interest in the Paleo diet is on the rise. Practically everywhere you look, there’s Paleo this and Paleo that. Facebook has been inundated with Paleo recipes – and they look darn good! – but is there any merit to the diet (or lifestyle, rather)? Should you cut out entire food groups to drop the excess weight and reach optimal health? We’ll break down the good and the bad of the diet to help you decide if it’s right for you.

What’s This All About?

Before we get into the good, the bad, and the ugly, we thought it would make sense to describe the philosophy behind the Paleo diet. The diet is based on the theory that you should only be eating what your ancestors were eating in the Paleolithic era before the Industrial Revolution and the ability to process foods. In order to eat, these ancestors had to go out and literally hunt and/or gather their food. Proponents of the Paleo diet say that the human body was only designed to eat and process the foods that we could hunt and gather, not the foods that are made in a lab by man. So here’s the diet breakdown:

What You Can Eat

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy Fats
  • Raw Honey/Pure Maple Syrup

What You Can’t Eat

  • Grains (Wheat, Oats, Barley, Rye, Quinoa, Couscous, Amaranth, Millet, CORN)
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream, butter)
  • Legumes (Soy, Peanuts, Chickpeas, Beans)
  • Alcohol
  • Refined or Artificial Sweeteners

The Good

In addition to focusing on fresh, whole foods, the Paleo diet also focuses on getting the highest quality foods you can – grass-fed meats, organic produce, etc. It’s about getting back to nature and trying to eat sustainably, and we think that’s great.

The Bad

The diet can be very meat heavy and since there are no real rules about how much you should – or shouldn’t eat – some people tend to misinterpret the guidelines. While we agree that meat can be part of a healthy diet, it shouldn’t take the place of veggies and other healthy foods. The diet also eliminates several food groups. While we think that you could still meet your nutrient needs without these food groups, as long as you’re eating a variety of different foods, it’s just not sustainable for most (especially vegetarians/vegans).

Something to Note

The Paleo diet isn’t a specific diet plan; it’s more of a template. Some people decide to eat dairy products or legumes, for instance, while still following a basic Paleo template. We’re big fans of finding what works for you, so if you want to try the Paleo diet, work with it to make it your own. One thing we can certainly agree on is that you should be eating as many fresh, whole foods as possible and refined sugar and processed foods shouldn’t be a regular part of any diet.

VM cake

The Three Bite Rule: Indulging While Losing Weight

Take a minute to sit and think about this for a second. When you eat something – whether it’s a piece of cake, a slice of pizza, or some cheese and crackers – which bite or bites taste the best? Is it the 24th bite? The 100th bite? The 4th slice of pizza? No. Usually, it’s the first bite. Maybe even the first, second, and third. Yet, when we decide to treat ourselves, we tend to completely overdo it.

Instead of lightly giving in to temptations and cravings, we dive in headfirst until we’re surrounded by an empty bag of chips or a whole sleeve of cookies gone, even though we’re probably not enjoying every bite like we should be. At Valley Medical, we’re all about moderation and allowing a treat here or there and we’re going to share a method that works well for us and many of our clients. It’s called “the three bite rule”.

The rule is simple. If you decide to eat something that’s off your diet plan, eat only three bites. Savor each bite. Chew slowly. Turn off all distractions around you and pay attention to how delicious each bite is. You’ll notice that when you take the time to slow down and eat mindfully, your cravings are satisfied more easily than if you were eat distractedly. The first bite is usually the most delicious. The second bite is also good, but it doesn’t have that “mmmm” factor that the first bite has. By the third bite, you’ve already experienced the flavor and the excitement starts to decline.

Now let’s clarify something here, we’re not saying to do this all day. Calories still add up and if you’re having three bites of this here and three bites of that there, it could stall your weight loss goals. What we’re saying is, when it’s time for a treat – say you’re out to dinner and your favorite dessert is on the menu or you had a healthy dinner and that ice cream in the freezer is calling your name – only have three bites of whatever it is that you want and then put down the fork (or spoon).

You’ll be able to treat yourself without completely sabotaging your goals. What do you think? Have you tried the three bite rule? Are you planning to now? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment on our Facebook page.