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effective diets for weight loss

5 Effective Diets for Weight Loss

Learn 5 effective diets for weight loss so you can better understand which diet might be better for your weight loss goals.

With so many diets out there, you may wonder: Which diets truly work? 

It seems like every week there is a new fad diet and a lot of hype around a “secret” solution for weight loss. 

The truth is that what it takes to lose weight isn’t much of a secret. There are a couple of features your diet should have if you want to lose weight–and the most effective diets for weight loss all have these things in common.

What is necessary for weight loss?

There are certain similarities between most diets, especially if you’re following that diet to lose weight. When you start a diet to lose weight, you’ll want to ensure your diet helps you do these two things: achieve energy balance and cut out processed foods.

  1. Achieve a calorie deficit

To lose weight, it’s important to achieve the right energy balance. 

Energy balance is when the number of calories you eat is equal to the number of calories you burn. There are a lot of factors that influence your energy balance, like exercise, genetics and body composition. But one of the most important factors is diet because that is how you consume calries that get used by your body.

When you want to lose weight, you want to change the balance of energy in your body. Instead of taking in too many calories to burn, or instead of taking in just enough to remain at the same weight, you want to achieve what’s called a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns overall.

Achieving a calorie deficit is important for any of the effient diets for weight loss. But it’s also true that your weight is related to many factors of your body and health working together. That is why it’s important to not just focus on calories alone but to also look at other health factors and activity level when you start a diet to lose weight.

2. Cut out processed foods

Even diets as polar opposite as the carnivore diet and the vegan diet have one thing in common: they cut out the vast majority of highly processed foods found in the American diet. You’ll find that this is true of almost every diet out there.

Food is considered processed if it’s been altered in any way during the preparation or packaging process. Some processed foods make only slight modifications–like baby carrots or canned vegetables. But other processed foods change so much that they lose their original nutritional value and have so many additives that they’re in many ways unrecognizable compared with the original food it was derived from.

Processed foods are particularly unhealthy because of the high levels of sodium, fat, or sugar they contain. Diets high in all of these are correlated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other conditions and diseases.

As far as weight loss, these foods are particularly damaging to weight goals because they are not filling but have more calories than whole, natural foods. It’s easier to eat more calories than you should when you eat heavily processed foods. And it’s made especially easy to overeat when you consider how addicting these foods are as well.

5 effective diets for weight loss

Although it’s important to achieve energy balance and reduce your processed food intake, there are multiple effective diets for weight loss. There is not a single, one size fits all solution that everyone who wants to lose weight must follow.

Instead, with the right knowledge and support, you can achieve your weight loss goals with a diet that suits you. There are diets that emphasize carbs, and other diets that cut carbs out. There are diets that manage the timing of meals while other diets are more flexible.

You can choose to eat food that suits your taste and lifestyle while still losing weight.

  1. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the best diets–if not the best–for overall health. It is one of the most helpful diets to get diabetes and heart disease under control.

The diet can be helpful specifically for weight loss goals as well, but it does require being proactive about calorie counting. There is a bigger variety in what you can eat on the Mediterranean diet versus other diets. It’s a diet if you want more flexibility and don’t need as much structure.

The Mediterranean diet is also a primarily plant-based diet, but you can eat meat in moderation. Another bonus of this diet is that some who want to be able to continue drinking wine in moderation are able to on this diet. While limiting alcohol to rare instances is best for overall health, you can drink a glass of wine a few nights in a week on this diet.

Check out our Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet article to see the whole picture on why this diet is ranked by doctors as being the best.

2. DASH Diet

The DASH diet is right up there with the Mediterraean diet as one of the best and healthiest options. It’s especially helpful for those who want to improve their heart health.

DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet emphasizes choosing foods with lower sodium content and eating predominantly fresh, whole foods as much as possible. It’s a flexible diet compared to many others, and is one of the most sustainable diets for that reason. Plus, when combined with a calorie deficit, it’s a healthful option to lose weight.

Look at our Why the DASH Diet Is One of the Best Diets article to get a better idea if this is a diet that can help you achieve your health and weight goals.

3. Keto Diet

The Keto diet is an increasingly popular diet. It cuts out carbs and emphasizes eating proteins and fats. The diet is high in meat, healthy fats, while low in carbs.

Many have cited successful weight loss results from the Keto diet. But it is one of the more extreme diets because it restricts a lot of the foods you can eat. Some find it difficult to sustain for the long run.

Read our Keto Diet article to get a better idea if it’s right for you and how to follow the diet.

4. Intermittent Fasting Diets

Intermittent fasting is when you use timing of meals versus strict elimination of foods to manage your diet. When you do intermittent fasting, you don’t eat meals at traditional times on a consistent basis. Instead you go for extended periods of time without eating, and then eat what you normally would for the rest of the day.

Learn more about intermittent fasting in our Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work for Weight Loss? article.

5. Paleo Diet

The goal of the Paleo diet is to eat as close as possible to what our ancestors ate. It’s one of the best diets for cutting out processed foods and emphasizing fresh, whole foods. It has been connected with weight loss and improved health outcomes like lower cholesterol.

Check out our Benefits of the Paleo Diet article to learn more about following the Paleo diet.

Get a diet tailored to your goals and the best weight loss support in the Valley

At Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you achieve your weight loss goals with personalized support from our doctors.

You are more likely to lose weight when you have the support of a professional. We offer a number of weight loss programs and diet plans. When you follow any of them, our doctors learn your health history and track your progress to make sure you lose weight safely and efficiently.

To get your first appointment with us and finally achieve your weight loss goals, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.

counting calories

Is Counting Calories Really All It Takes to Lose Weight?

Counting calories is one of the most common suggestions when starting a weight loss plan. But is it the best way to tackle your weight loss goals?

We’ve all heard that if you want to lose weight you have to “eat less and exercise more”. 

And there are reasons for that—it’s been proven in many studies that calories play a crucial role in weight loss and weight gain.

One way it’s been shown is in “overfeeding studies”. These are studies where participants eat more calories than they burn and the researchers track their weight over time. The result of these studies is consistent weight gain.

There are also many studies that show the impact of cutting calories on weight loss. One study even shows that when a diet plan includes counting calories, more weight loss occurs compared with those who don’t count calories.

Reducing calorie intake is one of the first logical steps to take when you want to lose weight. This is why many people track calories when they want to lose weight. Some people will keep a food diary and manually tally up their calories each day. Others will use apps that help them track their foods digitally. However you decide to count calories, the point is to track and count every single calorie you eat in a day. Even if it’s just one cookie or a handful of grapes. 

Calorie counting is only successful when you have a truly accurate measure of how much you really it. As a result, counting calories is not the easy catch-all it sounds like.

When it comes to starting a diet, there is more nuance in what it takes to make counting calories work.

Why counting calories is harder than it sounds

While counting calories sounds simple, it isn’t always so easy in practice.

It’s easy to undercount, as many people do. One study found that Americans tend to underestimate the number of calories in meals and snacks. Without accurate calorie information, guesses tend to be under the actual calorie amount by anywhere from 110 to 165 calories on average.

Not only do we tend to underestimate our calories, but it’s also easy to forget to track a meal or a snack, and then have to guess later on what the calorie count was. Plus, it adds extra steps to your meal prep process by measuring and weighing out specific amounts of foods so you hit your calorie targets.

All of these factors combined together make calorie counting harder than it sounds. So, while yes, it is fundamentally true that a calorie deficit is necessary to lose weight, there are other factors at play that make it more complex.

The method also doesn’t address the importance of another factor—the quality of the food you eat.

Quantity vs quality of the food you eat

The positive about using calorie counting as your method for dieting is that it doesn’t require you to strictly cut out certain types of foods.

But, if you want to see results and experience positive health effects, then the quality of your calories matters.

While you could technically eat ice cream, chips, and other highly processed foods every day and stay under your set calories and lose weight, what are the long-term impacts of that?

When your diet is high in processed foods, you are at a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation

So while a diet that helps you track calories is part of the equation, it’s also important to have a diet that fulfills your nutritional needs with high-quality calories. 

This is why many people include tracking macronutrients in their calorie-counting diets.

What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are types of food that are needed in high quantities in our diets. The three types of macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and also help in hormone production. Meanwhile, carbohydrates and fats are used for energy. 

And with the right balance of macronutrients, you’re more likely to get enough of the vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber you need as well.

To have a balanced diet it’s important to have a healthy mix of:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Lean protein sources
  • Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds
  • Complex carbs

In addition to being more nutritionally dense than highly processed foods, choosing fresh, whole foods are also more satisfying, or satiating.

Food is satiating if it leaves you feeling properly full and satisfied. If food is filling, it tends to be:

  • High in protein, as it’s the most filling macronutrient
  • High in fiber which provides bulk and helps you feel full longer (for example, eating an apple that has a lot of fiber will keep you fuller longer than a few cookies)

When you want to lose weight, it’s helpful to choose these types of food so you get the most nutritional value and have an easier time staying within your calorie limit each day.

Weight loss is complex

While on the surface weight loss seems simple (burn more calories than you eat), it’s a bit more complex than that.

Many of your diet habits are ingrained from a young age. Emotional and psychological associations with food influence the type of food you crave. And those associations influence how easy it is to stick to a diet. On top of that, making a conscious effort to count every calorie can get time-consuming. Even when you use an app you still have to weigh out your food and remember to input your meals. Like any new habit, it’s hard to stick to and can add an extra barrier when simply trying to eat healthier can be hard enough.

That’s why simply trying to eat less is a challenge for many people. Instead, they need extra support and help to learn new diet and lifestyle habits better for long-term health.

When you have support to achieve your weight loss goals, you are more likely to achieve them —and get to your goal weight faster. Instead of wasting time jumping from plan to plan without success, you can trust that you’ll get the right weight loss plan to see results.  

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we help make tracking calories easier and we help you get a nutritious meal plan that’s easy to follow. And with each of our weight loss plans, you get weekly check-ins and support from our doctors. 

For your first consultation, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss today. There’s no appointment necessary!

intuitive eating

What Is Intuitive Eating and Can It Help You Lose Weight?

What to try when all of the diets have failed. Maybe for your goals, a diet isn’t the answer and intuitive eating can help.

One of the hardest parts of adopting a healthy lifestyle is finding a diet that works.

There are so many diets out there, with new fad diets popping up all the time. For each one, you’ll hear stories of success and many more of failure. What ultimately works for one individual might not work for someone else. And the reasons for that are varied—because of genetics, psychology, or lifestyle. 

What can become a barrier to sticking to a healthy diet though is the feeling that none of them work. When it feels like you’ve tried everything, it can feel like a healthier lifestyle is forever out of rhea. Like it just isn’t possible at all for you.

But, for many people who feel like they yo-yo between diets, there is an alternative that can help improve your relationship with food and overall health.

It’s called intuitive eating.

What is intuitive eating?

Unlike traditional diets, intuitive eating does not have restrictions. Intuitive eating is all about learning how to listen to your body and hunger cues.

Although knowing to eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re full is an idea that sounds obvious, in reality, it’s harder to make that happen.

The truth is that we often don’t just eat because we are physically hungry. This is when your body is telling you to replenish your energy stores and nutrients. When you feel properly hungry, you might experience irritability or something often called being “hangry”—feeling angry because you’re hungry.

But there’s also emotional hunger. Many people eat in emotional circumstances, whether it’s sadness, stress, or loneliness. And others eat when they’re bored. This habit of eating in times even when your body isn’t actually hungry can lead to weight gain and detrimental health effects.

The goal of intuitive eating is to learn how to listen to when your body is truly hungry and develop the lifestyle habits of listening to your body.

Listening to your hunger cues means eating when you’re hungry without guilt, but also stopping when you’re full. For many, this is the hardest part. Many have ingrained that it’s wrong to not finish a full meal when it’s put in front of you. So we learn to ignore our body’s cues that we’re full and ultimately overeat more often than we want. Intuitive eating means being okay with saving the rest of your food for later, or even the next day, when you recognize that you feel full.

Many doctors and dieticians who teach patients to eat intuitively will often enourage them to reflect on a few important ideas around food:

  • Think about your cravings—is there a pattern between what you crave and when you crave it? 
  • What is going on internally or externally for you when you have certain cravings?
  • What does it feel like when you reach a state of being full?
  • Reflect on how you feel after each meal. Do certain foods make you feel tired, give you a headache, or make you feel unwell?

The point of these reflections is to start to recognize when you have a genuine craving for a particular food versus using it on an emotional level.

Is it effective for weight loss?

Intuitive eating is associated with lower BMI and healthy weight maintenance.

But it’s not usually the option for those who want to lose weight on a set timeline or who have ambitious weight loss goals.

Part of the reason for that is that when starting on a weight loss journey, it is difficult to regain control over your relationship with food. It’s a challenge to listen to your hunger cues after years of ignoring them. As a result, the lack of structure and ability to keep any food in your diet can make intuitive eating harder for those who are already struggling with food and their weight.

The association with lower BMI and healthy weight maintenance is in part because those who listen to hunger cues are less likely to consistently eat beyond what their body needs to replenish their energy and 

In time, learning a healthy relationship with food is the goal of any diet and weight loss program. The goal isn’t to have to stick to a rigid diet plan for the rest of your life. But for some, at the start, a stricter diet can be helpful for weight loss progress while still learning the principles of intuitive eating.

Are there other benefits?

One of the major benefits of intuitive eating is how it improves your relationship with food.

Many people, whether they are overweight or even at an ideal weight, have an unhealthy relationship with food. 

What does an unhealthy relationship with food look like? There are a few indicators actually, including:

  • Binge eating
  • Feeling guilt or shame for eating certain foods, or for simply wanting to eat certain foods
  • Having a rigid of “good” food vs “bad” food and practice extreme restrictions with food
  • Food is rarely enjoyable and you worry about the scale every time you eat

Anyone can have an unhealthy relationship with food, and oftentimes diet culture promotes and prolongs an unhelpful outlook towards food and lead to increased psychological stress.

It can create a vicious cycle of feeling guilty for eating “bad” foods or looking at dieting through an all-or-nothing lens (that feeling of being a failure or like the day is ruined if you break your diet for one snack).

It turns out there is a connection between intuitive eating and improved psychological health. This is because there is more flexibility in a diet with intuitive eating. You also learn how to understand your real hunger cues, improving your perceived body image and self-worth.

Find a weight loss program that works for you

When you come to Valley Medical Weight Loss with your weight loss goals, we help you get a personalized approach to diet, exercise, and supplements so you can achieve your goals. We’ve seen our patients reach and exceed their goals with the dedicated support of our doctors and staff. 

If you’re ready to reclaim your health and find a weight loss plan that works for you, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss today for your first consult.

Plant-based Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

How a Plant-based Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

More and more research shows the benefits of plant-based diets for maintaining a healthy weight. Here’s how to choose the right plant-based foods to improve your overall health and lose weight.

Plant-based diets are becoming more popular in the US with 23% of people choosing a diet of mostly plant foods.

The reason is because of the growing amount of research in recent decades about the benefits of increasing plant intake and cutting back on meat, especially red meat.

While there are a lot of ways to do a plant-based diet, and some are more strict than others, the research shows that getting more plants in your diet is beneficial for your health.

So let’s break down some of the most common plant-based diets and how a plant-based diet can benefit your weight loss goals.

A plant-based diet can help you lose weight

A plant-based diet done right can help you lose weight.

“Done right” means eating whole foods instead of heavily processed plant-based foods.

For example, highly-process cereals are a plant-based option. There are no meat or animal products in them. But because they’re highly processed, they’re high in extra sugar and calories. Plus they end up not being very filling and you have to eat more to get full.

So highly processed cereal is plant-based but it is not a healthy or weight-loss friendly option.

Instead, to lose weight on a plant-based diet

So rather than cereal, choose oatmeal mixed with fruits, cinnamon, and honey to achieve a sweet and palatable flavor. 

When you choose whole foods and complex carbs over the highly processed plant options, then a plant-based diet is effective for losing weight.

One study found that those on a plant-based diet were able to cut calories more effectively than those including animal products in their diet. This is due to the nature of whole plant-based foods being higher in fiber and are more filling. So a full plant-based meal is more likely to keep you fuller longer and help you consume fewer calories.

Another review of 12 different studies found that those who followed a plant-based diet to lose weight lost significantly more than those who kept meat in their diets.

So if weight loss is your goal, a plant-based diet can help you lose weight. Plus going plant-based provides other health benefits as well.

Other health benefits of a plant-based diet

Diets low in meat and animal products are associated with lower incidents of many diseases and conditions.

According to Harvard Medical, those on a plant-based diet are less likely to develop:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer

So while losing weight on a plant-based diet is a beneficial short-term goal, cutting meat out of your diet or consuming it in moderation also has long-term health benefits.

Types of plant-based diets

Choosing a plant-based diet isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. 

While the vegan and vegetarian diets are the most commonly talked about, the category of plant-based is much broader than that.

The reason is that when you talk about a plant-based diet, the key is in thinking about what foods make up the foundation of your diet.

In other words, what do you eat the most of?

On any plant-based diet, plants will make up the majority of your diet. That means that while some people make plants 100% of their diet, for many others plants are the majority of their diet and they also eat small amounts of animal products.

That’s why the percentage of plant-based eaters is as high as 23% of the population.

If plant-based meant plants ONLY, then the percentage would be much lower. Only 2% of people consider themselves vegan or only eat plants at all times.

Below are some of the most common plant-based options out there, plus the pros and cons of choosing them.

Vegan diet

The vegan diet is one that only allows for plants. 

Many people find it unsustainable in the long term.

While restaurants and our culture as a whole grow more accommodating to a vegan diet, it’s still not easy to find balanced vegan options everywhere.

It’s also a restrictive diet. While there are many plant-based foods to choose from for a varied diet, you also have to cut out a lot of foods that are a staple in diets all over the world.

You can count out things like honey, eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or anything with gelatin in the ingredient list. And of course, any meat.

While for some removing all of this from the diet is possible, for others it’s a challenge that makes a vegan diet too difficult to maintain.

But there less restrictive plant-based diets out there.

Vegetarian diet

The vegetarian diet is the less strict version of the vegan diet.

You primarily eat plants but can eat some animal-based foods.

The deciding factor on a vegetarian diet is if an animal was killed to get the product. So you can still eat eggs, honey, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. But gelatin and any meat like chicken, pork, or fish would still be off the list.

This option gives a bit more flexibility than the vegan diet. But to be done right, like the vegan diet, the vegetarian diet requires focusing on adding non-processed foods to your diet.

It’s easy to find highly processed vegetarian options and think it’s good for your health because it’s plant-based. But remember that whether you’re choosing vegan or vegetarian, the emphasis should be on choosing a wide variety of whole foods.

Flexitarian diet

A flexitarian diet is what it sounds like—a flexible diet.

The term was coined and written about by Dawn Jackson Blatner in her 2009 book, The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life.

It’s a diet where someone will primarily eat plants and veg-based protein sources. But they will not say no to the occasional animal-based product or meat. 

They may choose to rarely cook it themselves or just save their meat-based meal for the rare special occasion. The purpose of the diet is to make eating more plants a consistent habit without the restrictions of a vegan, or vegetarian diet.

The flexitarian meal plan as put forward in the book also helps with weight loss by keeping calorie count around 1,500 each day. This is within a reasonable window to make weight loss progress over time. As a result, this diet is one that’s good for weight loss and for overall health as you reap the benefits of going primarily plant-based.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet doesn’t get talked about much in plant-based circles because it still includes meat in moderation.

But the diet is plant-based and predominantly made up of whole fruits, vegetables, and legumes. But you can still consume dairy and some meat.

Not only have studies shown that they’re good for heart health, managing diabetes, and weight loss. It’s also one of the most sustainable diets.

These more flexible plant-based diets are sustainable because the foundation is whole foods and plants. But there’s still room to enjoy the foods you enjoy in moderation. 

For example, with the Mediterranean diet, you can have red once a month. Fish or chicken a few times a week. You can have dairy in the form of Greek yogurt or low-fat cheese daily. And you can have wine.

The thing about dieting is that losing weight fast is only one piece of the plan. 

You also need a plan for how to keep that weight off in the long run.

And that’s why flexible diets, like the Mediterranean diet, that allow you to eat a variety of foods win across the board for weight loss and overall health. They’re both healthy and sustainable.

Looking for support to make long-term weight loss?

We offer a range of options for our clients because we know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss.

That’s why we provide a range of diet plans, injections, and supplements that help you lose weight safely and with the support of our team.

With us, you can have a slow and steady weight loss strategy, or you can get the HCG diet to lose weight fast under the supervision of our doctors.

But because the HCG diet is a short-term diet, you also need a plan to eat well and keep losing weight for the long run.

And that’s where we continue to support you until you achieve your goals.

We get to know you, your health, and your diet preferences to create a long-lasting and sustainable plan. 

While a plant-based diet can help you lose weight, we know there are many options out there to help you lose your goals.

Whether that involves a flexible diet or a more strict diet will depend on your goals and the advice from your doctor. But there is a way for you to lose weight and feel healthy again.

We’ve helped hundreds of people across the Valley and we’re here to help you too when you’re ready.

Reach out to us with any questions or visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location to start your weight loss plan today.

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.